Incident in the Library

Posted in Library on March 9th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: Today in our library, a student was attacked and stabbed in the arm and shoulder by three other individuals, while studying on the second floor. Most of us working in the building weren’t aware anything had happened until afterwards. The student apparently bolted from the library, bleeding profusely. Soon afterwards, Campus Security, the Edmonton Police, and other officials were in the building. Currently, a section of the entrance, and the second floor, are sealed off as a crime scene. The incident made the local news, and a statement was issued by the University. In addition, the students on campus are already discussing it online.

The event and its aftermath left most of us feeling a bit unsettled. In my 25+ years as a librarian, I’ve never experienced anything like this.

Update on 18 March 2004: The Edmonton Journal story has been removed from their website, so here’s an account of what happened from the UA Student newspaper, The Gateway.

LOTR Stamps, and Wireless Library Necklaces

Posted in Library on March 3rd 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: Found on Hilary’s site:

    – The UK Royal Mail has issued stamps commemorating the 50th anniversary of the publication of the first two volumes of the LOTR trilogy.

    – Seattle’s new Central Library, opening in May, 2004, is truly on the cutting edge of technology these days. In addition to wireless service available anywhere in the 11-story building, staff will use wireless “smart” communication devices a la Star Trek:

      “For instance, there will be wireless “smart” necklaces that let library staff communicate and respond from anywhere in the building. If, for example, a patron who speaks only Spanish phones the reference desk, the librarian can tell the device to patch the call through to a librarian who speaks the language. If the patron shows up in person, the librarian at the desk could ask the device to locate the nearest staffer who’s qualified to translate.”

    To be able to provide reference service from anywhere in a library would be interesting. We wouldn’t be restricted to the information desk area when answering a question by phone, and we could move about the floors of the building without losing contact with a customer.


Posted in Film, Library, Pop Culture, Random Thoughts, Technology on January 7th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: The Directors Guild of America has announced its nominations for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for 2003. One notable absentee is Anthony Minghella, for Cold Mountain. Overall, it hasn’t been the best year for film. Sales of tickets in the USA dropped for the first time since 1991.

:: With the Spirit Rover firmly in place on Mars, the US will now move its search for WMD to the red planet itself. Meanwhile, The Beagle isn’t doing too well.

:: The Writers’ Union of Canada is “aghast” over cuts to Regina’s public library system.

:: I’m a bit cranky tonight. Last night while falling asleep, my right eye began bothering me. This morning I woke to a burning feeling in said right eye, and it has yet to subside. I know, I should have it examined.

It Takes … Balls

Posted in Blogging, Library, Technology on October 24th 2003 by Randy Reichardt

:: I was at the Netspeed 2003 conference today in Edmonton, and attended a number of interesting sessions, including ones covering virtual reference services, and PDAs in the library. One of the keynote speakers, Ian Whitten, currently the iCore Visiting Professor at U Lethbridge, and Director of the NZ Digital Library at the University of Waikato in New Zealand, discussed Greenstone Digital Library Software, a suite of open-source software used to build and digitize library collections. During his engaging and at time hilarious talk, he showed us examples of digitized collections created with Greenstone, including this page on castration from Basic Husbandry Practices and Veterinary Care. (The foreword of the book states: “The manuals are based upon experiences documented through a series of intensive field work activities over a one-year period with a group of livestock small-holders living and working in Cavite province of the Philippines.”)

Note the picture of the farmer tossing the animal testicles onto a roof of made of galvanized iron. This is an indigenous practice done on hot days, as the belief is that the testicles will dry up faster, and thus so will the wound to the animal.

The attentive crowd watching Ian, myself included, had just finished eating lunch at this point in time.

:: I’ve been playing around with Blogger sites again, ones I’ve created to keep myself familiar with how to set up an instant blog on that site. Among these sites is my original blog from July 2002. I need to maintain familiarity so that I might sound somewhat intelligent and coherent when G and I present blogging sessions in the not-too-distant future. As some of you might notice, I’m also experimenting with the font size and styles here as well.


Posted in Library, Technology on September 24th 2003 by Randy Reichardt

:: I experienced two “firsts” today. At work, we began our Librarian On-Site! service. For the first time in my 25-year career as a librarian, I left the library to do information and reference work, and went to where the users “live”, on their turf. I set up shop in a large computer lab, and offered consulting to any engineering student or faculty who needed help. It was a lot of fun, especially in the second hour, when a class of chemical engineering design students descended upon me with a propane pricing and chemical property question.

The other “first” was more personal – I was fitted for a hearing aid. Yah, you read that correctly. It’s wonderful getting old. I’ve had a version of low tone conductive deafness in my right ear since 1985 or so. It’s never worsened or improved, so my ear doctor suggested I consider a hearing aid. I’m going to try it for a few weeks, and then decide whether or not to purchase (~$1,500Cdn, just a pile of chump change).

A hearing aid. I can’t believe I typed those words. It seems to work well most of the time. It doesn’t work well with a telephone or headset or headphones, so I’ll have to get used to using the phone in my left ear. It has two settings, one for group noise (used in a meeting or a party), and a basic setting for conversation. The device feels ok in my ear, not too much of a bother, and most people I spoke to didn’t even notice it. That’s cool because it protects a bit of my vanity, but inside, a small part of me is very, very sad.

OCLC – Not The Bad Guy After All?

Posted in Library on September 23rd 2003 by Randy Reichardt

:: More news about the OCLC-Library Hotel lawsuit is emerging. According to the Sept 26 Library Journal Academic Newswire (to which I have no e-access, and which I cannot quote for 60 days according to its redistribution rules, and therefore am paraphrasing), OCLC has tried, for three years, to get the owners of The Library Hotel to sign a simple agreement regarding use of the DDC. The agreement would in effect acknowledge that The Library Hotel’s use of the DDC was done with permission of OCLC. The owner of the hotel is a man named Henry Kallan, and according to the OCLC lawyer, Joseph Dreitler, they heard nothing from him for two years. Then, in 2002, Dreitler noted that, “He basically told OCLC to get lost.” At the moment, the hotel has denied any wrongdoing, and the General Manager, Craig Spitzer, has advised that Kallan is on vacation and will speak with the press when he returns.

At this point, I think I’m siding with OCLC.

Stay tuned. Who would’ve thought that the library world could get this exciting? I wonder what Melvil would do? Why doesn’t OCLC have a press release about this on their web site? And what’s up with the Library Hotel Erotica Package, and its special Erotic Literature Room? Mmm…classify that under, “rrrrrrrrrrr“.