Archive for librarians

hey, Beastmaster’s (still) on

Posted in Film, Library Science stuff with tags , , , , , on June 8, 2017 by phanteana


as technology and media continue to advance forward in new formats, the VHS tape still lingers as a reminder of the past (especially since HBO isn’t showing Beastmaster ad nauseum anymore) thanks to organizations like the VHSPS. but the folks at VHSPS aren’t the only ones working hard to preserve the life span of videotapes; meet the XFR Collective, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving at-risk A/V media through digitization services and education.

according to a recent interview with NPR, the life span of a videotape is decreasing, thus resulting in a “magnetic media crisis“. most VHS tapes typically don’t last more than 15 years (i managed to hold onto a copy of this gem for 13 years before it set sail for the Grey Havens). this is where the fine folks of the XFR Collective come in to reverse the aging process. it can be painstaking work, but it’s also a labor of love as many of these archivists, technicians, and librarians grew up with VHS tapes and are fighting the good fight to see them continue to bring joy to nostalgia-obsessed audiences everywhere…and while it might not have the same effect as it did 30 years ago, we can still say “hey, Beastmaster‘s on.”


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“hey, we’ll still be on!”

rock you like a…

Posted in Library Science stuff, Music with tags , , , , , on May 26, 2017 by phanteana

do you have a vast knowledge of music? do you enjoy cataloging library resources and giving tours? are you willing to brave brutal Midwest winters, sticky summer humidity, and swarms of Cleveland Browns fans to get to work everyday? if so, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is looking for a librarian*!

for those about to apply, we salute you.


*this posting has been up for quite awhile, so clearly they still haven’t found what they’re looking for.



NBD…it’s National Bookmobile Day!

Posted in Library Science stuff with tags , , , , , , on April 12, 2017 by phanteana

spring has sprung, and with it comes one of the best times of the year. no, not Tax Day (unless, of course you actually enjoy filing those)…National Library Week! today in particular, however is a special day: National Bookmobile Day. on this day, we celebrate libraries-on-wheels and the library professionals who provide these on-the-go services to their communities. these are especially crucial to areas where libraries are sparse or non-existent. so if you love your Bookmobile, let it be known!


a lending library of coziness

Posted in Library Science stuff with tags , , , , , , on March 29, 2017 by phanteana

ever go to the library in the summertime to escape the heat and cool off with a good book, only to be frozen by the air-conditioning? or maybe you’ve ducked in during the winter, but are still shivering from the outside elements. some libraries offer coffee (just don’t drink it near the computers) to perk up their chilly patrons, while others provide free lunches to kids during summer vacation. then there’s the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC, whose staff have taken to lending hand-knitted shawls to researchers spending hours in the library’s reading room. since temperatures have to be kept at a certain level in the reading room to protect the rare books, patrons are prone to feel a bit cold. but the shawls, designed by the room’s Head of Circulation, will help keep them nice and cozy.

the end of overdue fines?

Posted in Library Science stuff with tags , , , , on February 24, 2017 by phanteana

come on, admit it…at some point in your life, you’ve forgotten to return a library item (or several) and were issued a late fee. when i was in elementary school, i borrowed a book from the school library and totally forgot to bring it back. after awhile, they said i could keep it and thankfully didn’t charge me. the book in question was this classic piece of childhood nostalgia, which has made appearances on eBay or Amazon from time to time (as other overdue library books have been known to do). i was lucky, but others weren’t and their library privileges were revoked until they redeemed themselves.

the idea of overdue fees began in the US during the early 20th Century, and seems to have stuck among public libraries. the drama of failure to return books still unfolds today, but librarians are beginning to have a change of heart. several states have already done away with overdue fines, because they were counterintuitive to their library’s mission and purpose. not everyone has the money to fork over if they or their kids misplace or lose a book. as a result, circulation within the children’s and young adult sections rose and staff members no longer engage in awkward conflicts with patrons who forget to bring everything back. the executive director of a library district in Colorado even went so far as to announce to patrons: “we trust you.” this is the message all libraries should send to their users.


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keep it as long as you like, Bart




diagnosis: Bibliomania

Posted in Library Science stuff with tags , , , , on December 8, 2016 by phanteana

a bibliophile is someone who collects books. you don’t have to be a librarian to have a huge collection, you just need to love reading. but what happens when your fondness for books gets out of hand, and is effecting more than just the space in your home?

such is the case of Dr. Alois Pichler, who took a position at the Imperial Public Library in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1869. he was constantly surrounded by books, as is common when working in an archive. but Pichler’s colleagues noticed strange behavior among their co-worker, as well as a large number of materials that had gone missing since he joined the staff. two years later, it was noted that Pichler had pilfered over 4500 books- the largest library crime on record! he was eventually let go, and put on trial for his crimes of (reading) passion. Pichler’s lawyer claimed his client suffered from Bibliomania, described as “a mental condition where an individual displays an overzealous passion for book collecting.” although it was never actually classified as a medical condition, Bibliomania, which swept through Europe during the 19th Century, sent folks into a panic. Alois Pichler was eventually found guilty and exiled to Siberia for his book coveting.

today, Bibliomania might be akin to hoarding behavior. but owning a ton of books doesn’t necessarily translate into hoarding. if there is ample space to walk through the living room (or wherever you keep your library), then that’s a positive sign.


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domo arigato, Mr. Roboto

Posted in Library Science stuff with tags , , , , on June 13, 2016 by phanteana

ever go to the library, pick a book from the shelf, browse through the pages, but upon returning it you forget which shelf you got it from? misplaced items are quite a nuisance for patrons and staff alike. this is why cataloging and classification are essential; so we know where everything belongs. whether you work at a large public library or a small archive housed inside a major corporation, tracking down missing materials is just another part of the job description (even if it’s not listed in the write-up).

fortunately, there is a solution to this dilemma: robots. at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in Singapore has developed a shelf-scanning robotic arm to find all those missing books/DVD’s/CD’s/etc. the robot, known as AuRoSS, is able to determine which items are on the wrong shelves through laser-guided navigation. some information professionals program AuRoSS to cover the night shift after the human staff members have left, then instruct them how to get the books back in order when they come in the next morning. the robot will hopefully be a time-saver when it comes to hunting down misplaced records. to that, we will be able to say thank you very much, Mr. Roboto!