Sunday, August 14, 2011


Yup. I finally did it. I retired from Rockford Public Library. I began as a library page in 1964, worked at Rockford College Library with David Palmer in 1965 and 1966, went back to Rockford Public Library in 1967, worked at Rock Valley College Library, and went back to Rockford Public. I also worked for Rasmussen College Library briefly while getting my Masters from SLIS.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Political Corruption

I'm talking about political corruption and graft. I'm talking about greedy people behaving badly, taking advantage of lots and lots of people who trusted them to be fair and honest.

We were wrong, folks. We should never have been so trusting.

What's going to happen now?

Honestly, I had nothing to do with it.

Sure, no sooner had I received my degree and could call myself a "real" librarian than the library world collapsed in on itself. Rockford Public Library announced that it would cut staff and hours by 25 to 30 % before 2010. Other libraries began slashing jobs and/or hours, mandating furloughs, and closing branch locations.

Believe me, it wasn't my fault.

I had absolutely nothing to do with the collapse of America's economy. Oh, sure, I did vote for some of those bozos who allowed it to happen, but I trusted in my elected officials to regulate financial markets and pevent unconscionable risk-taking by bankers and investment gurus. I trusted them.

And I was wrong.

I've never been wrong before. Yeah, I thought I was once, but it was only a mistake.

Wrong is wrong is wrong.

I'm beating myself up for allowing this to happen. I was so busy with school and having my attention diverted with wars and terrorist attacks and other such trivialities that I neglected to watch what was happening with the money: who was gettin rich by doing what.

That was not only a mistake, it was wrong.

I wasn't alone. No one else was watching what the thieves were doing, either. No one, that is, except the thieves and their cronies.

Because we weren't watching, my colleagues and I were blindsided when libraries began closing and/or curtailing services and/or laying off people.

And, when we were told by Rockford Public Library adminitrators that 30 staff would be cut before the end of the year, we were shocked, traumatized, and left with few viable options.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The end of the world as we know it

Things are changing. Things always change, of course; nothing ever remains the same. Everything in the universe is evolving, growing, shrinking, expanding, contracting, moving, becoming. Quiet and stillness--and peace--represents death and an end to becoming.

Then why do all religions and most societies consider peace to be the highest good?

Peace and quiet are anathema to most human beings and the mortal universe. They are the province of god and god-sayers. We get to partake only after we shed this mortal coil.

Though I graduated from UW Madison School of Library and Information Studies program in August and looked forward to a modicum of peace and quiet, that peace and quiet and the much-desired time of rest and relaxation failed to materialize. I should have known. It is, after all, the way of things.

You can visit my other blog at and get an inkling about what has happened with the Google book settlement and its possible impact on libraries, librarians, booksellers (both new and used/antiquarian), publishers, and writers. What I foresee happening is the end of libraries as we know them.

Not that it's Google's fault, mind you. It isn't. It's just the way of things.

Libraries have had their time in the sun. There is no place for the old library as we knew it in the new world order. Ot's just the way of things that libraries will be replaced with something else that does the same job--maybe not better--but differently.

About the time I graduated from library school and became a full-fleddged librarian, Rockford Public Library (where I have worked on-and-off for nearly 45 years) announced that it would lay off 30 full-time-equivalent staff members and significantly reduce hours of operation.

Google didn't cause that to happen. Capitalist excesses during the past eight years have led to the demise of many cherished not-for-profit organizations, and libraries may be among them. What Google did do, however, was to mitigate the public outcry when it was announced that library services and staffing could be cut.

Many people reasoned thusly: We have Google, so who needs libraries and librarians anymore?

This train of thought will be continued in future blogs. Tune in again tomorrow, same bat time, same bat channel (or URL).

Change is inevitable. Nothing remains the same forever.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

More on Butcher and Dresden Files

If you haven't yet read Jim Butcher's Dresden Files novels, I heartily recommend them to you. He is an excellent writer who crosses genres between various pulp fiction traditions: hardboiled PI, mystery, science fiction, horror, fantasy (both dark and high; Robert E. Howard and H. P. Lovecraft would both be proud), and advenure. It's pure escapist reading, and it's lots of fun!

Harry Dresden is a wizard, sort of a grown-up Harry Potter. Harry Dresden has a dark side that's violent and smashes things and more than a little mysterious, but he also has a weakness for maidens in distress and for doing the right thing. He may be tempted, but he fights the good fight and we're all grateful when he has small victories. The supporting cast of characters include a female police lieutenant, a fairy godmother, a White Knight, a Chicago crime boss, various and assorted spirits, demons, werewolves, vampires, ghosts, and other creatures that go bump in the night, and a cat named Mister and a dog named Mouse. Mouse isn't any ordinary dog, however. He's a Tibetan Temple Dog, specially bred to guard temples against demons. There's also an intrepid girl reporter who gets in as much trouble as Lois Lane.

Like I said, it's lots of fun!

Jim Butcher and The Dresden Files Novels

I plan to attend DucKon18, the Science Fiction convention in Naperville, tomorrow and Saturday. Jim Butcher, author of the 11 Dresden Files novels, is the author guest of honor at Ducky. I'm looking forward to meeting Butcher and getting his autograph on a few copies of the books.

Summer Semester begins on Monday

It was great while it lasted: I actually had three weeks to read fiction of my own choosing.

But classes begin on Monday, and I am taking a children's lit class and a digital permissions class and I have lots of non-fiction and tons of K-12 fiction to devour in the next four to six weeks.

Actually, I'm excited about my new classes. Both are topics near and dear to my heart, and I can't wait to get started. I love learning new things, and I love adding those new things to the accumulated knowledge that is the sum total of my consciousness.

I'm also excited about attending my first ALA conference. Believe it or not, I've never been to an annual ALA (not even a mid-winter). I've been to ILA conferences numerous times, and I've even been a guest at the ILA Author's Luncheon. But ALA is different.

ILA is like being in middle school. ALA is like being in high school.

Golly, gee-whiz! I feel all growed up all of a sudden!

I couldn't afford not to take advantage of the student registration fees for ALA. Though Rockford Public Library has no money in this year's budget to send staff to ALA, I can afford the student fees from my own pocket and Chicago is only 90 miles away (about 2 hours driving time each way).