public libraries

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IRS to libraries: "Thank You"

After posting about taxing resources recently - discussing the added burden of library resources as government and business push off services and access to the web - I was pleased to see this letter sent to the ALA from the IRS. Notable quotes:
We appreciate the important role libraries play in meeting individual needs for tax help and information.

Hotmail not so hot.

Patrons were very upset today because of problems logging into Hotmail. I tried to assure them that it was not anything to do with our computers or network, though many still think we control all aspects of the Internet.

Taxing resources

For some, their single annual visit to a public library is to get their necessary tax forms. In Oklahoma, public libraries have an added burden this year. The Oklahoma Tax Commission is NOT sending any forms to public libraries as they have in the past. Instead they are instructing libraries to point patrons to the website where they can print out the necessary forms.

In search of....

Another staff member told me about a call from a man who was told that you can find women on the Internet and wondering if we could help him. It may seem humorous, and certainly isn't the first. We have had several instances of patrons coming in for the first time on this new-found revelation that the Internet, was among other things, a seeming repository for whichever gender you might be searching for. "I just thought I should warn you that he might come in and ask for your help," my colleague said. Sure enough, this gentleman did come in.

Marsha's Computer.

The daily interface with the public in a public library allows me to meet colorful individuals (as I've noted before). Many patrons make the library a frequent stop weekly or for some daily and relationships form. One woman, Marsha, came in every day to use the computers for her alloted two hours. I enjoyed watching her learn to master the computer as I answered her questions from time to time. She would also give me feedback on things I changed on the computers or the general status of Yahoo Mail which sometimes would be slow and generate lots of complaints.

It's a guybrarian thing.

A new entry appeared last week in Meriam-Webster's OpenDictionary:
guybrarian (noun) : A male librarian in a female dominated field.
With so many women studying library science, Tim felt conspicuous as the only guybrarian in the class.
Submitted by: Verlene Schafer from Arizona on Sep.

OSS - Community Property

I was reading Karen G. Schneider's recent blog on Enterprise Open Source, and two lines really struck me:
  1. A "significant value of open source software is that its survival depends on a community's needs, not the whims of a corporation."
  2. "The ability to change the software changes the balance of power.

Psychology classes for MLIS?

I've worked in a public library for about four years now and I've met more unique individuals than I would have ever imagined lived in our little town. There is a gentleman who comes in nearly every day, sometimes repeatedly in the same day. He walks up to my desk, sets a small bag down on the ground and begins a little speech. It varies a bit - usually involving respecting something or other and then listing two to four things about it, which he repeats. One day he was respecting the fact that Oklahoma is a coastal state.
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