Thursday, February 25, 2010

Variations on a Theme: Millennial

This post's theme comes to you from NPR. That's what I get for listening to a story while trying to think of a topic. As I was listening to "Poll Examines Attitudes of Millennial Generation," I decided to do this month's Variation on a Theme on the generation of which I am a part.

Oddly, according to a PEW Research quiz, I am only 52% millennial.

Also, for the record, it upsets me how much this books rely on the stereotype of the Millennials being self-important, selfish, and entitled. Methinks someone needs to write a book making the counterargument to that negative image.

The Trophy Kids Grow Up: How the Millennial Generation is Shaking Up the Workplace
Ron Alsop

Apparently my generation is demanding and coddled, and this has caused problems to the workplace as a whole. This book is all about the common traits of the Millennial Generation and how to deal with their "issues" in the workplace. And by issues, the books means our reach toward the common good through civic and philanthropic end goals. The book "provides a rich portrait of the Millennials, told through the eyes of Millennials themselves and from the perspectives of their parents, educators, psychologists, recruiters, and corporate managers."

Keeping the Millennials: Why Companies are Losing Billions in Turnover to this Generation - And What to do About It
Joanne Sujansky and Jan Ferri-Reed

The workplace likes the Millennial Generation for their "tech-savvy, energetic work ethos, and young, hip attitude." What they don't like is how we don't stay in one place for very long. This book explores how Millennials do not share the traditional values of the Boomer generation, and why this causes such a high turn-over rate in the workplace. The book also offers advice on how to attract and keep the Millennials on staff.

Managing the Millennials: Discover the Core Competencies for Managing Today's Workforce
Chip Espinoza, Mick Ukeja, and Craig Rusch

You've hired us; now, you have to manage us. Fun! This book explores how to motivate your twenty-something employees. It uses interviews, case studies, and research-backed ideas throughout the text to support its point. This book is probably a valuable tool to someone who has a young staff but needs ideas of how to keep them working.

The M-factor: Why the Millennial Generation Is Rocking the Workplace and How You Can Turn Their Great Expectations into Even Greater Results
Lynne Lancaster and David Stillman
That's right. We rule. Due out soon, this book explores the clash of generations in the workplace. When Millennials enter the workplace, you don't just get the employee... you often times get their helicopter parents as well. This book uses surveys, interviews, and case studies to highlight how the generational clash can effect a company or industry.

Generation We: How Millennial Youth are Taking Over America and Changing Our World Forever
Eric Greenberg and Karl Weber

Finally! A book that doesn't assume Millennials are nothing but disruptive egoists. Generation We takes a more anthropological and social take on the Millennials. The book "explores the emerging power of the Millennial Generation, shows how the Millennials... are poised to change our nation and our world for the better, and lays out a powerful plan for progressive change that today s youth is ready to implement."

Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation
Neil Howe and William Strauss

This book takes a positive tone as well. It discusses how Millennials are actually hard workers and community builders. Beyond that, the book discusses how Millennials view and wish to shape their social and political world.

Other Millennial Generation Related Material:
From Boomers to Bloggers: Success Strategies Across Generations - Misti Burmeister
Generation Me: Why Today's Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled--and More Miserable Than Ever Before - Jean Twenge
Millennial Leaders: Success Stories from Today's Most Brilliant Generation Y Leaders - Bea Fields, Jim Bunch, and Scott Wilder
Millennial Makeover: MySpace, YouTube and the Future of American Politics - Morely Winograd and Michael D. Hais
Plugged In: The Generation Y Guide to Thriving at Work - Tamara J. Erickson
Serving the Millennial Generation - Michael D. Coomes and Robert DeBard (eds.)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

YouTube Tuesday: Transliteracy

This video sums up perfectly why "being able to read" does not mean one is literate. Knowing the words on a page or sign is one thing, but being truly literate is a higher level of learning and intelligence. To be information literate, one needs to know more than the words and how to navigate technology. To be truly information literate, a person has to:
1. Access information efficiently and effectively
2. Evaluate information critically and competently
3. Use information accurately and creatively
4. Be an independent learner and pursue information related to one's personal interests
5. Appreciate literature and other creative expressions of information
6. Strive for excellence in information seeking and knowledge generation
7. Contribute positively to the learning community and society and recognizes the importance of information to a democratic society
8. Practices ethical behavior regarding information and information technology
9. Participate effectively in groups to pursue and generate information

The above are the Information Literacy Standards for Student Learning laid out by the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) and Association for Educational Communities and Technology (AECT). These are a lot of standards, but they are all right. The best part about these standards - they're easy to meet.

Clearly, literacy is more than reading books. One cannot sit back and passively soak in piles and piles of information anymore. You might win a Jeopardy that way, but you won't be truly information literate. Unless you can actively synthesize, analyze, and contribute to the information society, you are not information literate. This has always been the case, but current information technologies (the Web, Web 2.0, Mobile technologies, etc.) make this point even easier to witness.

So, be information literate. Read, write, share, discuss. Be active in your use of information. Information is not a thing; it's an ever changing energy.

Don't be a sponge.

Friday, February 19, 2010

All the Ladies like Readers

Way way way WAY back, the New York Times had an article about reading habits and romance. Not romance the genre, romantic relationships. The article says:
We’ve all been there. Or some of us have. Anyone who cares about books has at some point confronted the Pushkin problem: when a missed — or misguided — literary reference makes it chillingly clear that a romance is going nowhere fast. At least since Dante’s Paolo and Francesca fell in love over tales of Lancelot, literary taste has been a good shorthand for gauging compatibility.
Jezebel talked about the same idea last year as well.

While I wouldn't fault a person for reading stuff that was not my cup of tea, I would considered a relationship a no go if the guy was not a reader. They wouldn't have to read fast or even a lot, but they would have to at least read something and be ready to talk about it. I am librarian - you'd think it be obvious.

I count myself lucky that The Boyfriend is a reader. Granted, law school does have way of forcing reading on you. But that's besides the point. He's a reader by nature and it makes me giddy. Where I really lucked out is in our reading tastes - they coalesce quite nicely.

As teh librarian, he often asks me for leisure reading. Usually, I just peruse my own shelves and throw out some titles at him. He had never read Vince Flynn before asking me for some fun reading recommendations one day. I handed over the first book in the Mitch Rapp series and he proceeded to plow through them. Joy. He's now a book ahead of me and I keep meaning to catch up so we can talk about it.

The Boyfriend's reading material have also rubbed off on me. I don't think I would have ever gotten around to reading Colbert's book or Sedaris' Naked if he hadn't handed them to me. I've even begun to read court rulings and other legal documents. For fun. I am a nerd. (Copyright law, FTW!)

Needless to say, our reading habits, while still maintaining their individuality, overlap in such a way that we can read and discuss books often.

The Boyfriend even read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, what a dear. Then again, it had zombies in it. Expect a review of World War Z to appear on this blog one day. Now if only I can sneak a copy of the unundead text onto his nightstand. 

But I digress, this is a part of our relationship that makes me all warm and fuzzy. (Wanna date a librarian, ask her what she's reading.) Several of my friends and their significant others also swap reading materials. I've even heard tell of our book club selections floating around to the guys. While I know we do not always agree with our significant others, the fact that we get to talk about the same books puts a smile on my face.

What say ye - are reading habits a deal breaker?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Book 5: Selling the Invisible

TITLE: Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing
AUTHOR: Harry Beckwith
STARTED: January 28, 2010
FINISHED: February 4, 2010
PAGES: 252
GENRE: Non-Fiction

FIRST SENTENCE:You can't see them - so how do you sell them?

SUMMARY: [From] Part of's Portal Biz Book series of books tailored for readers on the go, Selling the Invisible is the first book to address the millions of people who work in America's service economy--proprietors, top executives, and sales and marketing professionals who sell the "invisible," that is services rather than products.

THOUGHTS: This book is over a decade old; I expected it to be outdated and dull read. Luckily, I was wrong. While some snippets here and there show their age, the book's lessons still hold true to modern marketing.

Beckwith's book is composed of lots and lots of very brief lessons on marketing. Each point or anecdote is capped with a bold-faced take-away sentence. The briefness of each section causes the book to have a chopped, slightly disorganized feel. That said, the short lessons make it an easy read. I spent most of my time reading a few passages during my commute or right before bed. I found Beckwith repeats many of his messages but, instead of becoming tedious, this highlights their importance.

There were a few sections of the Selling the Invisible that I felt were ego trips. Beckwith spends a lot of time touting what he has done in the marketing field. I understand writing what you know, but in this case it sounds like Beckwith is trying to gain more clients.

This book will not make you a marketing master, but it will at least give you some smart, sassy, and helpful guidelines to follow.

RATING: 6/10 [Good]

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Useful Things: Mythically

I admit it. I've got a crush on all things mythical. Roman gods, Norse epics, Egyptian creations stories - I love them all. (Yes, this includes Disney's Hercules and Xena Warrior Princess - the knock-offs entertain me just as much as the real stories.)

Imagine my joy when I stumbled upon Encycopedia Mythica. A single destination where I can explore all things mythology, folklore, and religion to my heart's content? Win!

The website breaks down its content my geographical region and then further subdivisions by type, age, etc. There are separate sections for items found in Folklore. Even better, the website offers image galleries and special sections such as Heroes and Genealogy Tables.

I could spend all day here. Why don't you join me?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

YouTube Tuesday: Snowed In!

DC has been snowed in the past few days... with more to come. In honor of that, this week's YouTube Tuesday comes from the film adaptation of Memoirs of a Geisha. Snow dance anyone?

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Useful Things: Fo Shizzle

I consider myself to be young and well versed in the current slang of my generation. But there are times where certain words, acronyms, or phrases fly over my head. Nothing makes me feel more out of it than having to stare dumbly at a word I've never seen before. (Thanks, little brother.)

But no more! The internet to the rescue! (No capes.)

If you ever need to figure out just what the heck someone is saying, check out Slang Site or Urban Dictionary.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Book 4: Misquoting Jesus

TITLE: Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why
AUTHOR: Bart D. Ehrman
STARTED: January 14, 2010
FINISHED: January 28, 2010
PAGES: 272
GENRE: Non-Fiction

FIRST SENTENCE: More than almost anything I've ever written about, the subject of this book has been on my mind for the past thirty years, since I was in my late teens and just beginning my study of the New Testament.

SUMMARY: [From] "The Bible"-its use in the singular can gloss over the fact that we do not have access to the original text, but only to manuscripts of a relatively late provenance produced at different times and places and containing among them thousands of variant wordings. An accomplished scholar of early Christianity, Ehrman (religious studies, Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) ventures out of the ivory tower in this accessible lay introduction to New Testament textual criticism. He sketches the development of New Testament literature, the gradual accumulation of errors therein through the accidental or intentional revisions of copyists, and attempts (beginning with Erasmus in the 16th century) to reconstruct the original text. Since mainstream study editions of the Bible have long drawn attention to the existence of alternate readings, the reasonably well-informed reader will not find much revolutionary analysis here. But Ehrman convincingly argues that even some generally received passages are late additions, which is particularly interesting in the case of those verses with import for doctrinal issues such as women's ordination or the Atonement.

THOUGHTS: This book = Memories of college religion courses. That equation is not necessarily a bad thing.

I started this book because I was craving non-fiction. I wanted to learn some stuff. What I did not foresee was being railroaded by a cold. I ended up reading this book in very small chunks. This made seeing broader themes and remembering who was related to what more difficult than I would like. Reading in chunks also meant that I was not processing this book too deeply. Luckily, Ehrman is a conversational writer and I understood the bulk of what he was trying to say. I certainly could not pass an exam based on this book, but I can tell you what Ehrman means to say.

Misquoting Jesus chronicles the many ways and whys of how the Bible changed throughout its extremely lengthy history. Ehrman's book takes on tones more of reverence and understanding rather than accusation and denouncement. (He is a born-again Christian who has studied the New Testament for decades.) This take on the material makes it easier to read; I was not distracted by anyone trying to prove the Bible was a sham or raise it upon a holy pedestal. Ehrman's straight-forward take is more historical than moral; he tracks how the modern Bible text came to be. He breaks down changes as they occurred throughout history whether through human error, deliberate story altering, or mistranslation. I applaud his method because it makes the Bible a more fascinating book to me.

While Misquoting Jesus can seem heavily academic at times, the writing is not incredibly scholarly in form. The text is simple, easy to read, follow, and understand. Ehrman also includes personal stories throughout the text which makes it easier to connect with the text.

RATING: 6/10 [Good]

YouTube Tuesday: It's Magic

If every library had promotional videos like this, I think we'd all benefit. To me, a library promotional video is like a pop-up book. It has to wow, be inventive, and surprise you in some way. This video nails it.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Book 3: Library Marketing that Works!

TITLE: Library Marketing that Works!

AUTHOR: Suzanne Walters
STARTED: January 12, 2010
FINISHED: January 24, 2010
PAGES:  257
GENRE: Library Science

FIRST SENTENCE: Library Marketing that Works! is not just another book for library professionals.

SUMMARY: [From] Marketing expert Suzanne Walters helps you develop a winning plan for marketing library programs and services to your community. Her easy-to-complete brainstorming sheets and questionnaires help your library: Create a solid mission statement; Conduct a SWOT analysis; Perform market research, and Draft plans and campaigns. This book de-mystifies marketing and helps you utilize listservs and Web sites, contact databases, stakeholders and donors, and community partners to get your mission accomplished. Loaded with success stories, this book combines practical guidance with ready-to-use ideas. The companion CD-ROM contains all the forms and tools your team will need to create a complete marketing plan for your library.

THOUGHTS: Walters' book is more fill-in-the-blank workbook than actual textbook, but this structure does a rather good job of giving the reader a strong, beginning basis in library marketing. The text is geared toward a reader/library that has absolutely no marketing background. The structure is easy to follow and walks the reader through a step-by-step plan. This allows them to create a marketing plan (that works!) for their organization.

The text is easy to follow and does a fine job of laying out all the basic activities and library should follow when they seek to market their services. The book, however, is slightly outdated. Released in 2004, Walter's text lacks information about recent developments in social marketing and web 2.0 free media. While most of the text is still applicable to today, certain chapters need to be rewritten incorporating all the new developments in the marketing and mobile technology world.

While I would not consider this text a groundbreaking or crucial work, it does give a nice platform for organizations that need an idea of where to start.

RATING: 6/10 [Good]

Book 2: Noble Destiny

TITLE: Noble Destiny

AUTHOR: Katie MacAlister
STARTED: January 9, 2010
FINISHED: January 14, 2010
PAGES: 366
GENRE: Romance

FIRST SENTENCE: "You can't leave me now!"

SUMMARY: [From] After scandalously eloping with an Italian count, Charlotte Collins returns to England a penniless widow and finds to her dismay that she is no longer welcomed by polite society. Determined to regain her rightful place as the toast of the ton, Charlotte begins searching for an eligible, wealthy, and, more important, handsome, nobleman. Already hunted by every marriage-minded miss and lovelorn widow in London, Alasdair "Dare" McGregor has no intention of succumbing to Charlotte's matrimonial schemes, but somehow he winds up having to propose to the seductive minx. Charlotte is convinced that Dare will now provide her with everything she most desires, only to find that her new husband insists on a marriage based on love. So Charlotte, a remarkably original heroine whose unique outlook and frequent mangling of English will bemuse, bewitch, and beguile readers, constructs another of her "brilliant" plans. Imbued with a delectable sense of wit, the second of MacAlister's "Noble" Regency historical romances is an irresistible, laughter-laced treat.

THOUGHTS: Never have a met a more annoying, selfish, and stupid heroine. I honestly can't believe I stuck with this book until the end. Charlotte aggravated me so much that I was hoping something incredibly horrible would befall her character. She didn't deserve Dare. Heck, she didn't deserve to be in a book. Our so called heroine is so self-absorbed in her own problems that her brain does not seem to compute how she simply uses people for her own need. On top of that, Charlotte's mangling of the English language is not cute or humorous. It makes her character even more shallow and unbelievable stupid than I thought possible.

The only reason this book does not bomb is because of the hero and the secondary characters. They may have been rather dull but, unlike Charlotte, they at least had some redeeming qualities.

RATING: 3/10 [Poor, Lost Interest]