Been in the Storm So Long: The Aftermath of Slavery (Review)

21 Jun

Been in the Storm So Long: The Aftermath of SlaveryBeen in the Storm So Long: The Aftermath of Slavery by Leon F. Litwack
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had to read this book for a US History course at Cal Berkeley. The only thing more magical than reading this book is having Dr. Litwack read the primary documents contained in it. I have never been more mesmerized in a large lecture with only a podium and a man speaking.

His mastery of mixing text with primary sources is amazing and even more amazing when you realize this title was published before the days of the internet.

Great book- an awesome textbook for history courses and a must read for anyone that wants to get an accurate portrayal of slave life and the reconstruction.

View all my reviews

Boring Library Screencasts meet GoAnimate: The intersection between information literacy and humor

21 Mar

In my quest for using new technologies to convey library concepts I started integrating GoAnimate (www.goanimate.com) with Camtasia video captures. This is my first attempt. More info soon!

My Review of Open All Night by Ken Miller

12 Apr

Open All NightOpen All Night by William T. Vollmann
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is awesome. It is very Diane Arbus-esque examining the underbelly of the Haight Ashbury District of the 1980s. I personally love this book for its documentation of Skinheads in the early 80s (SF Skinz) which was rarely done pre-Geraldo/Oprah.. If you are a collector of subculture you should definitely check out this book and William T. Vollmann’s book Rainbow Stories based upon the same groups of people.

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Meeting Joe Strummer

23 Dec

I posted this on MYSPACE a few years ago (lmao!!) so i thought i would repost it here:

The Clash has always been one of the major soundtracks of my life. I never got to see them play live so when the chance to see joe strummer and the mescaleros at the house of blues in anaheim came about i was down. Seeing joe strummer on stage with all the same energy of clash footage from years past was awesome..but i never thought we would run into an old friend of Boxer’s that would take us backstage. I have met and know alot of people in entertainment so i have never been one to get starstruck but being inches away from joe strummer left me speechless..he and boxer were talking about some tour they were on together in italy while i stood listening to them. Joe strummer saw me and asked boxer: “arent you going to introduce us?” and then he politely shook my hand. we stayed backstage drinking beers and hanging out for what felt like hours but was probably just an hour and a half. forever etched in my mind will be joe strummer listening (no really FEELING the music- eyes shut head shaking) to music blaring out of a boom box, drinking a glass of red wine..talking about the magic of reggae. Feeling the sweat soaked wetness of his shirt as he handed it to me and asked me to put it under the chair i was sitting in…how fucking NICE and down to earth he was. no attitude no rock star persona- he was just chillin listening to some nobody girl’s demo tape and tripping on the fact that manic hispanic would do a cover of one of his clash songs..he was amazing in the few minutes our paths crossed and i am so glad i had the privelege of meeting him that night..

Later that summer i took my little boy to the hootenanny and it was so cool to watch him recognize the clash songs and sing along..his first show he was able to see joe strummer- how awesome is that? esp. when a few months later joe passed away. my kid doesnt know it now but he is one of the few 6 year olds that when he is older can say he saw a legend perform.

You will be forever missed.

The Reason I love what I do

28 Oct

Every once in awhile between the half listening slackers and the “I already know this” students you get the kind of student that becomes THE REASON I LOVE WHAT I DO. This semester it was a petite Latina girl in a college sweatshirt with a carefully made up face and waves of black hair. A typical freshman.

She never told me her name but she was attentive and engaged. She waited until class was over and all the students were gone before she asked her questions. She was doing her first college paper on global warming. She was planning to become an engineering major but the College of Engineering doesn’t accept “pre-bac” students (the ones that don’t pass the writing requirement). She was clearly stressed about passing this class. I HAVE TO DO REALLY WELL ON THIS PAPER. And after talking to her for a minute it became clear why.

“I am the first person on either side of my family to go to college. NO ONE at home can help me. My mom is a single mom and my dad was never around. My mom and grandparents came from Mexico and I am the first one.” I could feel the magnitude of her situation in her tone of voice and body language: This is a BFD.

I could feel the weight on her shoulders however, she wasn’t like a typical stressed student. While she was overwhelmed at the enormity of her accomplishments she was still determined to succeed. I could see an inner strength in her that you don’t always see in freshmen or first generation students.

I wanted to give her a hug.

Instead I gave her the most heartfelt advice of my life. I told her everything I wished I had done to take advantage of support programs in college. I told her about my other first generation students and assured her that others did it before her and she could do it too. She didn’t know it but she brought tears to my eyes. She left the classroom with a renewed sense of confidence and told me she would “see me around”.

So thank you for reminding me of why I teach six classes in one day. why I never dread coming into the office. Why I smile even though I have worked more than 10 hours straight. I hope I see her in a cap and gown within the next five years.

Because you, dear student, are a big fucking deal.

Designing Low-Cost Mobile Websites for Libraries

14 Oct

Aaron Tay and I wrote an article for ASIS. Check it out!

http://www.asis.org/Bulletin/Oct-11/OctNov11Travis_Tay.pdf

IFLA 2011: Slides for presentations

24 Aug

I had a wonderful time at both the satellite meeting in Havana Cuba and at the full conference in San Juan Puerto Rico. Many thanks to the IFLA Social Science Libraries Section and Library Theory and Research Section with Statistics and Evaluation for allowing me the pleasure of attending my first IFLA Conference. Please find both my presentation slides. While my co-presenters were unable to join me, they are equally responsible for the ideas and content- many thanks to  Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe and Aaron Tay. Handouts and link to other materials will be added soon.

Book Review: A Practical Guide to Information Literacy Assessment for Academic Librarians

3 Mar

A Practical Guide to Information Literacy Assessment for Academic LibrariansA Practical Guide to Information Literacy Assessment for Academic Librarians by Carolyn J. Radcliff

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really liked this book.. so much so that I ordered a copy for my collection as well as a personal copy so the library copy wont just hide in my office.

Very practical and easy to read- the perfect manual to get acquainted with basic assessment techniques. What I found most useful is the section on interpreting data and writing the final assessment report. While I have done both of these before, its a nice refresher for those that have experience and an excellent blue print for newbies.

I highly suggest purchasing this book if you are directly involved with assessment efforts at your library.

View all my reviews

iPad and Instruction (repost from other blog)

8 Feb

Additional Reading

Rise of the “Apps Culture” by Pew Research

Why the iPad Changes Everything by Roy Tennant

The Ipad Five Months Later by Wayne MacPhail

Pros and Cons of the Ipad in Education by MarK Crump

Gizmodo’s Essential iPad Apps by Gizmodo

Top Ten iPad Apps for Librarians by Andy Burkhardt

Why a librarian? And other paths of least resistance

4 Feb

When people ask me what my favorite job ever was I tell them the truth: Cocktail Waitress. I loved wearing too short skirts and fishnets with platforms, customers that were either drunk or tipsy but always happy and the ability to drink Pepsi and watch ESPN at work. The tips weren’t bad either.

As an undergrad I had my life mapped out. Political science major, top law school, move to Washington DC and turn politicians into rock stars everyone would vote for. My GPA and compulsive behavior made sure that plan wasn’t going to quite work out. I still got my picture taken with Bill Clinton on the tarmac of the executive terminal at the Oakland Airport. That’s as close as I got to world domination. On to Plan B.

I applied to library school because I didn’t want to be a teacher. I applied to library school because I thought what could be hard about checking out books and calling people to remind them their books were overdue? I applied to library school cuz I figured it was easy money and I had fun doing research. And I never wanted to work with kids. Ever.

Something magical happened when I started classes. I discovered my inner nerd. She must have been hiding behind all the late night clubs in SF and ultra cool vintage gear, waiting to break out. Information seeking behavior, systems design, the Zen-like art of the almighty reference interview, so many options. I thought I would design seamless interfaces with sophisticated search algorithms or top secret research for the RAND Corporation. But I have a compulsion to tell when I see the words “confidential” and I can’t program for shit. On to Plan C.

Oddly enough, I find reference at an academic library is almost like working at a bar. Instead of ESPN I have Meebo and Twitter, my students dress like they are going to a club. I still get to hear life stories although they are more coherent cuz it’s not from a rambling drunk. While I hung up the mini skirt and fishnets long ago, a peak under the “modesty panel” at the reference desk lets you know i still have a fetish for platforms. When I am thirsty I have a full sized Starbucks in the lobby. I miss the tips though.

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