Friday, September 30, 2011

BOOLEAN: Friday Fashion Finds - Diamond in the Rough

I like tights that are a new take off of an old standby. Tights with a diamond pattern are easy to wear because they are subtle and offer just enough pattern to be interesting. Anthropolgie's spotted diamond tights are a more whimsical take on the basic look.

I would wear these babies with a gray skirt and blue top. The tights are fun enough to stand on their own and/or make an outfit, but still subdued enough to not dominate your look.

Send your BOOLEAN pictures and links to

Thursday, September 29, 2011


The ladies and I went for pedicures (and delicious Indian food) last night. I've been pondering what color to paint my toes for about a week (The Boyfriend, for the record, is undecided about spots). I wanted a color that was seasonal, but not orange or yellow (they look horrible with my skin tone). I also wanted to avoid colors I own (i.e. dark shades of red, blue, green, purple, brown) because I like trying new things when I get my toes professionally done.

That didn't leave me with many options. I decided to just look at the wall o'bottles and just go with something that spoke to me. Once in the salon, my eyes found OPI's My Private Jet.

Again, not my fingers.

This shade looks fantastic. It's black with sparkle in some light, brown in others, and also looks gray on occasion. I love shades that change throughout the day. I consider it a win.

My toes look awesome. Too bad it's getting to be closed toed shoe season.

Links and Stuff: September 29, 2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Useful Things: Book Genie

You can never have too many book recommendation services. Booklamp's claim to fame is that it recommends books based on their content - think Pandora. According to the website:

We're attempting to help you find books with similar themes and writing style to books you've enjoyed in the past - comparing elements like Description, Pacing, Density, Perspective, and Dialog - while at the same time allowing you to specify details like... more Medieval Weapons.
Booklamp is focusing on "book dna" to help match like with like. You can search by author, title, or genre to see what the service recommends for you. For each result, you can see the "book dna" and just why the book was recommended.

The service is free, but still in its infancy - the more you check back, the better it gets. Check out the blog for the most recent additions and changes.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

YouTube Tuesday: Action Hero!

Yes, yes.... librarians are action stars. Although, I tend to use my cape to keep me warm.

Monday, September 26, 2011

On the Job: When to Report

This week's On the Job is an addendum to last week's entry.

When criticism goes too far or feels too personal, it is time to consider your options. If you feel personally attacked, or overly criticized, consider the following options:
  • Speak with your criticizer. Sometimes harsh criticism is a case of misunderstanding or confusion. If you feel comfortable, speak calmly with your colleague and try to better understand the situation. It may be that sitting down and having a conversation resolves the problem. At the very least, you will have a better understanding of why you are being criticized. Never confront your coworker or take an angry/accusatory stance - that will only exacerbate the problem.
  • Speak with your supervisor. If the criticism has become a personal attack, is unwarranted, or feels overly harsh, speak with your supervisor. They are there to help mitigate workplace conflict. Sometimes it takes "a boss" to help calm a criticizer's ire.
  • Speak with HR. If the criticism has not stopped, becomes harassing, or involves your superior, it is time to visit HR. Employees in human resources are trained to evaluate workplace conflict. Sometimes it takes a third party to mediate a tense situation. 
  • Start Looking Elsewhere. Unfortunately, some organizations have an environment of criticism. If you are not happy in this organization, look elsewhere. There are other offices that are better suited for your work style. Sometimes, it's not worth sticking with a job if it makes you miserable.
Criticism is often a healthy motivator in the workplace. But it can go too far. When you feel that criticism has gone past the acceptable boundaries, take action. If you let unwarranted criticism go on too long, it will affect your performance and happiness. Many times, simply acknowledging that criticism has gone too far can help reduce the problem. Speak up sooner rather than later, or you risk becoming a punching bag.

Friday, September 23, 2011

BOOLEAN: Friday Fashion Finds - Maple

Every fall, I try to schedule a trip to my hometown in upstate New York. While I love DC, it doesn't have much a foliage season. My hometown does, and it is glorious. I love seeing the beautiful colors, and how they seem to set the rolling hills on fall. The little kid in me, also misses jumping into piles of rake leaves.

These tights remind me of fall foliage. Enjoy!

You can purchase a pair of these from Anthropologie.

Send your BOOLEAN images and links to

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Variations on a Theme: Back to School

September marks the days when most kids and college students head back into the classroom. September screams freshly sharpened pencils, backpacks, and new notebooks. This month's Variations on a Theme celebrates books set at or about schools, universities, or other learning institutions. They may also give you a hankering to watch Dead Poet's Society.

As usual, summaries have been yoinked from Amazon.

I am Charlotte Simmons
Tom Wolfe

Dupont University - the Olympian halls of learning housing the cream of America's youth, the roseate Gothic spires and manicured lawns suffused with tradition... or so it appears to beautiful, brilliant Charlotte Simmons, a sheltered freshman from North Carolina. But Charlotte soon learns, to her mounting dismay, that for the uppercrust coeds of Dupont, sex, Cool, and kegs trump academic achievement every time.

As Charlotte encounters Dupont's privileged elite - her roommate, Beverly, a Groton-educated Brahmin in lusty pursuit of lacrosse players; Jojo Johanssen, the only white starting player on Dupont's godlike basketball team, whose position is threatened by a hotshot black freshman from the projects; the Young Turk of Saint Ray fraternity, Hoyt Thorpe, whose heady sense of entitlement and social domination is clinched by his accidental brawl with a bodyguard for the governor of California; and Adam Geller, one of the Millennial Mutants who run the university's "independent" newspaper and who consider themselves the last bastion of intellectual endeavor on the sex-crazed, jock-obsessed campus - she gains a new, revelatory sense of her own power, that of her difference and of her very innocence, but little does she realize that she will act as a catalyst in all of their lives.

Curtis Sittenfeld

A self-conscious outsider navigates the choppy waters of adolescence and a posh boarding school's social politics in Sittenfeld's A-grade coming-of-age debut. The strong narrative voice belongs to Lee Fiora, who leaves South Bend, Ind., for Boston's prestigious Ault School and finds her sense of identity supremely challenged. Now, at 24, she recounts her years learning "everything I needed to know about attracting and alienating people." Sittenfeld neither indulges nor mocks teen angst, but hits it spot on: "I was terrified of unwittingly leaving behind a piece of scrap paper on which were written all my private desires and humiliations. The fact that no such scrap of paper existed... never decreased my fear." Lee sees herself as "one of the mild, boring, peripheral girls" among her privileged classmates, especially the ├╝ber-popular Aspeth Montgomery, "the kind of girl about whom rock songs were written," and Cross Sugarman, the boy who can devastate with one look ("my life since then has been spent in pursuit of that look"). Her reminiscences, still youthful but more wise, allow her to validate her feelings of loneliness and misery while forgiving herself for her lack of experience and knowledge.

The Harry Potter Series
J.K. Rowling

Follow Harry from his first days at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry, through his many adventures with Hermione and Ron, to his confrontations with rival Draco Malfoy and the dreaded Professor Snape. From a dangerous descent into the Chamber of Secrets to the Triwizard Tournament to the return of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, each adventure is more riveting and exhilarating than its predecessor.

100 Semesters: My Adventures as a Student, Professor, and University President, and What I Learned Along the Way
William Chace

Chace, former president of Wesleyan and Emory Universities, expounds on his half century in the academic trenches, drawing from his experiences as a student, professor and administrator at six different institutions. Through his memoir, Chace has set his sights on the larger issues of higher education, and at times is successfully illuminating. His discussions of the professor's cult of personality and the increasing economic stratification of modern higher education are particularly worthwhile, and Chace has the rare ability to take a strong stance without preaching. Perhaps inevitably, Chace's narrative returns occasionally to the introspection and self-indulgence that characterize the memoir form, but is at its best when Chace has a bone to pick, as when confronting D-1 athletics or contrasting the struggles of a professor with the role of a corporate CEO. He also tackles the ineffable quality of true education: how hard it is to explain and cultivate, and how citizens must continue to support colleges and universities to allow them to function without government or corporate oversight that could potentially change them for the worse.

My Freshman Year: What a Professor Learned by Becoming a Student

Rebekah Nathan

After nearly two decades as a university professor, the author (writing under a pseudonym) realized she was out of touch with her students. She didn't understand them. They no longer stopped by her office for consultations, no longer did assigned readings or participated in class discussions; they openly took naps in class, brought in food and drink, and behaved as though their education was of no importance to them. Looking for a way to close the gap between her and her students, Nathan enrolled in her own university as a freshman. Over the year, she gained an understanding and appreciation of contemporary college life. She found that many students who seemed uninterested in the whole idea of school were actually intensely curious and passionate about their education. They weren't the problem; the institution of learning was.

Beer and Circus: How Big-Time College Sports is Crippling Undergraduate Education
Murray Sperber

Sperber, an academic who has written extensively on college sports and their role in American culture (Onward to Victory: The Crises That Shaped College Sports), examines the impact of intercollegiate athletics on undergraduate education, particularly at large public research universities with high-profile football and men's basketball teams playing at the top National College Athletics Association level. Using questionnaires and interviews with students, faculty, and administrators in all parts of the country, he makes a strong case that many schools, because of their emphasis on research and graduate programs, no longer give a majority of their undergraduates a meaningful education. Instead, they substitute "beer and circus," the party scene surrounding college sports to keep their students content and distracted while bringing in tuition. Sperber uses concrete examples to make his case and concludes by offering a plan to remedy the situation, considering both what should happen and what will more likely happen.

Other Books Set in the Classroom
Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses - Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa
Commencement - J. Courtney Sullivan
Hooking Up: Sex, Dating, and Relationships on Campus - Kathleen Bogle
Moo - Jane Smiley
Old School - Tobias Wolf
The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky
The Secret History - Donna Tartt
Teacher Man: A Memoir - Frank McCourt

Links and Stuff: September 22, 2011

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Book 40: Surviving the Future

TITLE: Surviving the Future: Academic Libraries, Quality, and Assessment
AUTHOR: Gail Munde and Kenneth Marks
STARTED: August 25, 2011
FINISHED: September 14, 2011
PAGES: 201
GENRE: Library Science

FIRST SENTENCE: [From the Preface] In 2007 we set out to prepare a workshop for academic librarians on the general topic of library quality improvement and assessment.

SUMMARY: [From] Striving to increase your library's visibility and contribution to your university's success? Surviving the Future will teach you to use data collection, assessment, and comparative evaluation to vastly improve the quality of your library and its services. Authors Gail Munde of East Carolina University and Kenneth Marks of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas draw from a wealth of international expertise and use a clear and easy-to-understand style to address such important topics as creating a culture of assessment, strategic planning and budgeting, performance indicators, and user-satisfaction. There are real-life examples of successful quality improvement models, as well as an in-depth look at the librarys role in faculty research and teaching, and postgraduate, graduate and undergraduate studies.

THOUGHTS: If you are looking for a way to assess your impact on a public service level, read this book. It discusses the various types of assessment (professional and in-house) that are available, how they work, and what the results say about your library.

This book is steeped in the nitty gritty stuff and is, I believe, meant more for administrators. It's not bad, per se, but if your not shopping to buy a professional assessment, you can skip this book.

RATING: 5/10 [Meh.]

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Time is Nigh!

Guess what is just around the corner....


This weekend, the call went out for readers and volunteers to sign up for October's read-a-thon. You better belief I signed up, post haste!

The 24-hour read-a-thon is a delightful mix of books, snacks, and blogging. The October read-a-thon also comes with a dose of Notre Dame football. (We play USC in prime-time that night, so I may be a wee bit distracted for a few hours.)

I've been keeping a list of book and food ideas since the previous read-a-thon. Now, I begin my planning in earnest. I must select my books (a delightful mix of graphic novels and "regular" books), choose my nibbles (nom nom nom), figure out my reading locations (the butt falls asleep if you don't shift), and conn The Boyfriend and Roomie into joining my adventures (it won't be hard - the like snacks). I shall blog about updates as they happen. Consider this the first entry in the countdown to October 22 at 8am.

Read-a-thon awesomness... here I come!

On the Job: Backbone

One of the unsavory sides of work is criticism. Some employees are luckier than others, but I doubt few escape the working world without their ideas and job performance being criticized at least a few times. Some criticism is easier to take than others, but it helps to develop a backbone.

While most criticism is meant to be constructive, it is never a fun experience. It causes you to second guess your work and skills. Sometimes, the attacks can seem personal. When it comes to criticism, it helps to develop a backbone.

Having a backbone takes two forms:
  • First, it allows you to hear criticism without becoming defensive. More often than not, criticism is meant to help your work and is not meant to put you down. In this instance, having a backbone will let you hear your colleagues arguments without causing you to become a nervous wreck.
  • In the second case, having a backbone means being able to stand up for yourself. If you strongly believe that your work is accurate or your arguments valid, then having a backbone will let you stand up for your actions and ideas. It is good to be able to argue for why you acted a certain way.

Developing a backbone takes time. Criticism, even when it is clearly not personal, can hurt. You worked hard, and now someone is telling you that you're wrong or could do better. Yes, those words can hurt. Try to take them in stride. The more you listen to criticism, and take in it's benefits, the stronger your backbone will be. Just remember that everyone has been in your position before.

Friday, September 16, 2011

BOOLEAN: Friday Fashion Find - Check It

I had to wear a jacket today. You know what that means.... BOOLEAN season is open. Huzzah!

The air was chilly enough today that I expect to be dawning awesome tights very soon. Just like last year, there will be pictures... oh! will there be pictures. I have acquired new tights and cannot wait to show them off. (I even rearranged my dresser to make them more accessible.)

BOOLEAN members! It is time to dust off your cell phone cameras, don some stripedy nylons, and get ready to share your BOOLEAN wear. Members are listed on the BOOLEAN page of this blog (see the tab up top).

Not a member? That's okay, becoming a members is easy. Just snap a picture of your awesome hosiery, socks, tights, or leggings and send the images (and your blog/homepage/twitter/etc. if you've got one) to

We open this season's Friday Fashion Finds with a new item from the Wolford line. These tights are subtle enough for the office, but still incredibly awesome.

You can purchase a pair of these darlings at Bare Necessities.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Links and Stuff: September 15, 2011

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Do want!

A while back, I found the above letter in an issue of American Libraries. I want this poster to be real.

Doctor Who is one of my favorite television shows, and it happens to embody the essence of libraries. Libraries stand for freedom of and access to information. The Doctor likes to share information so that people can survive the shenanigans he puts them through. Granted, much of that information is simply the command "Run!" - but I digress.

The Doctor is all about preserving the unique "stuff" he encounters. In many ways, he's an alien archivist. He would rather save something than destroy it. And, he hangs out with one kick-ass archeologist.

Most importantly, The Doctor encourages intellectual curiosity. He wants to know knew things, and share what he has learned. Why else would he travel through all of time and space?

And then, there is this quote:

If you are a Photoshop master or happen to work on the ALA READ posters for a living, can we make this happen?

Useful Things: Your Story

If you are even remotely interested in genealogy, then you need to head over to Proust ASAP. Proust is a web tool that lets you track family history has it happens. This tool lets you share your family stories now, while you can still remember all the details.

According to the website: is a place for families to share the stuff that really matters.
It's a place to capture our life stories, thoughts, and aspirations and spark meaningful conversations about who we are. 

On, meaningful discussions start with compelling questions. Fun questions like "If you could have any natural talent what would it be?", probing questions like "What did you learn the hard way?", and nostalgic questions like "Who was your first kiss and how did it happen?".

You choose the questions that you want to ask, or create your own. Then send to all the people that matter most to you. Just a few questions can unlock so much. And if you want to tell the story of your own life, the questions on are great prompts to help you get started. Just sign up, add your answers, then share your story with those closest to you.
You have to create an account to access all the tools, but you can take a tour of the Proust before you sign-up. Once you create an account, you can start sharing your story. Proust allows you to enhance your stories with images, video, file attachments, and people tagging. As your write, you can tag things to maps and timelines so you can see where you're been. As you answer questions, Proust makes a book of your life (and soon you'll be able to see it in dead tree print form).

You can invite family friends to share your story and submit their own. These stories will show up on your bookshelf that you can peruse them at your leisure and see how they change.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Book 39: At Home

At Home: A Short History of Private LifeTITLE: At Home: A Short History of Private Life
AUTHOR: Bill Bryson
STARTED: July 29, 2011
FINISHED: September 11, 2011
PAGES: 512
GENRE: Non-Fiction

FIRST SENTENCE: Some time after my wife and I moved into a former Church of England rectory in a village of tranquil anonymity in Norfolk, in the easternmost part of England, I had occasion to go up into the attic to look for the source of a slow but mysterious drip.

SUMMARY: [From] From one of the most beloved authors of our  time—a fascinating excursion into the history behind the place we call home. “Houses aren’t refuges from history. They are where history ends up.”

Bill Bryson and his family live in a Victorian parsonage in a part of England where nothing of any great significance has happened since the Romans decamped. Yet one day, he began to consider how very little he knew about the ordinary things of life as he found it in that comfortable home. To remedy this, he formed the idea of journeying about his house from room to room to “write a history of the world without leaving home.” The bathroom provides the occasion for a history of hygiene; the bedroom, sex, death, and sleep; the kitchen, nutrition and the spice trade; and so on, as Bryson shows how each has fig­ured in the evolution of private life. Whatever happens in the world, he demonstrates, ends up in our house, in the paint and the pipes and the pillows and every item of furniture.

Bill Bryson has one of the liveliest, most inquisitive minds on the planet, and he is a master at turning the seemingly isolated or mundane fact into an occasion for the most diverting exposi­tion imaginable. His wit and sheer prose fluency make At Home one of the most entertaining books ever written about private life.

THOUGHTS: I probably could have reviewed this book before I finished it. The reading was slow going, but none of it was bad. (I kept getting distracted by episodes of The Office and games of Lego: Pirates of the Caribbean.) Home left my head swirling with facts and stories that I will one day recant at dinner parties. (Fear me friends, those days will come.)  Bryson's book feels like a fact-o-pedia, but an unboring one. It was all good stuff. There was just a lot of it.

Frankly, I don't know how Bryson managed to cram in so much detail. He jumps around all over the place (using each room as a framing point), but not once did I think, "Hmmm, that was quite the stretch." In one chapter, he goes from talking about English boarding school to Darwin and parental approval. And! it all made sense. This is the kind of book where you are just hanging on for the ride. If you can trust that Bryson's "plot" lines and digressions make sense, than you will find this book enjoyable. On the other hand, if you attempt to follow his logic, you may find yourself wearing a "Baroo?" face. I found that just "going with the flow" made the book extremely enjoyable. Don't question. Just read.

For a book that is so steeped in facts and trivia, I expected to be bored with the "things I didn't care about" when they, inevitably, came along. That never happened. Even the categories of "stuff" I thought would be boring we're actually very interesting. Brsyon relates knowledge via stories. He keeps infodumping at a minimum, and gives each set of facts a narrative. In many ways, he reminds me of that random uncle who always entertains you at family holidays with all his useless knowledge. You don't know why you like it, but you can't wait to hear what he has to say this year. There is a familiar humor about this book that makes it so enjoyable.

As much as I liked At Home, I was extremely happy to finish; I'm ready for something else. Bryson is a masterful, non-fiction writer but I think my brain can only hold onto so much detail. I will, however, rock at an trivia nights. 

RATING: 7/10 [Very Good]

On the Job: Communicate

Your job does not exist in a vacuum. The reason you are a part of an organization is to help it move forward. You job exists for a reason, and it is not to be a standalone island of awesomeness. (Although that would be pretty nifty.) To do you job well, you must communicate with others. I don't think I can emphasize enough how important it is to be able to communicate well.

Most job descriptions contain the throw away line "Ability to communicate well orally and in writing." We tend to skip over this line because we see it so darn often. It is, however, still an incredibly valuable skill that we should never underestimate. If you can communicate well, you are an asset to your organization. When you share with your colleagues, you inform them. When you speak with your supervisors, your position with the organization is reinforced. When you train your employees, you make them integral parts of the department. All of these relationships require strong communication skills to flourish.

If you cannot express yourself well in writing, your risk being misunderstood. If you cannot share through personal presentations, your risk alienating or confusing your colleagues. If you refuse to share with others, you are not a team player.

No person is a perfect communicator. This is the kind of skill that gets better with age and experience. Practice makes perfect. If you are a nervous presenter, take a public speaking seminar. If your know your writing is less than stellar, read about office communications or take a writing course. Being able to communicate well in writing and verbally is one of the most important skills you can develop.

Developing communication skills is always a worthwhile venture. No matter where your career takes you, communication skills will help you achieve your goals. This is one skill set that will always serve you and your organization well.

Friday, September 09, 2011

BOOLEAN: Friday Fashion Find - Singing in the...

It has been raining for days. I wish I was kidding. These tights seem appropriate for the weather.

Find your pair on Etsy, my new favorite tight website.

Send your BOOLEAN pictures and links to

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Links and Stuff: September 8, 2011

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

YouTube Tuesday: That Book

The Diary of a Disappointed Book from Studiocanoe on Vimeo.

Yes, I am the kind of reader who feels guilty about the unread books sitting on her shelves at home. I will get to them... one day.

Monday, September 05, 2011

On The Job: Not Laboring

It's Labor Day.

My library is closed, and my typing fingers are on holiday.

They shall return next week for my On the Job goodness.

Enjoy your cookouts!

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Book 38: Conflict Management for Libraries

Conflict Management for Libraries: Strategies for a Positive, Productive WorkplaceTITLE: Conflict Management For Libraries: Strategies for a Positive, Productive Workplace
AUTHOR: Jack G. Montgomery and Eleanor I. Cook
STARTED: July 18, 2011
FINISHED: August 22, 2011
PAGES: 208
GENRE: Library Science

FIRST SENTENCE: When we were first approached regarding the possibility of writing a book about organizational conflict in libraries, we asked ourselves, Why is this book necessary?

SUMMARY: [From the back of the book] Libraries are not immune to workplace stress and conflict. In a broad research survey conducted over three years, expert authors Montgomery and Cook asked, "What are the common causes of workplace conflicts in libraries?" From the results of the study, as well as formal and informal observations, the authors have developed seventeen scenarios of library workplace conflict, along with realistic ways to manage them. Drawing on these stories from the trenches, they share a balanced perspective to help reconcile even the stickiest situation.

An array of tools are offered to here to create a positive worrking environment, helping staff stay on track to achieve goals and live the mission of the library. The authors also provide crucial tips for anticipating and managing problems, and understanding the roots of conflict that typically arise every day in libraries.

Administrators, directors, managers, and supervisors in any library setting will find a valuable framework for understanding, interpreting, and defusing workplace conflicts using these library-specific examples.

THOUGHTS: I wanted this book to be better than it was. It's not bad, it's just not as useful as it could be. The bulk of the book is composed of fictionalized case studies which are presented and the analyzed. That structure is good in theory, but it makes the lessons of how to handle office conflict more obtuse. I think the authors point would have been better presented if they discussed the types of conflicts, why/how they arise, and how to handle each situation.

The negatives aside, the content of the book, on was generally useful. When the authors were more straightforward (and less story-telly), the information was well presented, useful, and complete in scope. I appreciated that Montgomery and Cook took the time to layout out why conflict occurs and why we must correct these issues. It's about time somebody said, "Stop ignoring things and fix them already."

I do wonder if the author's worried about getting sued. They are not offering legal advice (and even mention that several times), so many of their responses to conflict seem a bit weak. Can't say I blame them for hedging their bets.

This book is not perfect, but its better than nothing. Too often we bury our head in the sand, and this book forces the reader to take a look at their own office environment.

RATING: 6/10 [Good]

Friday, September 02, 2011

BOOLEAN: Friday Fashion Find - Back to School

I really wish they would bring this commercial back. It is perfect.

Since Staples refuses to please my school loving self, I had to look elsewhere. My quest for Ms. Frizzle tights was an epic fail, but the searches told me that Etsy is a new place to find awesome BOOLEAN wear. On Etsy, I found this fantabulous BOOLEAN specimen.

Anatomically correct cardiovascular tights. What!

Yes, they're a little bit creepy looking, but their sheer awesomeness overrides the ick factor.

Send your BOOLEAN pictures and links to

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Links and Stuff: September 1, 2011