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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Leader of the Band*

I just came home from my son's HS band concert.  I'm not going to spend time here critiquing the performance--Mr. Trujillo, the band's director, did a fine job with his assembled forces.  Rather, it was news that I received from a fellow band parent and Scouter--that Jeff Scott, longtime Troop committee chair, had passed away this morning.  I blush to confess that I don't know how he became wheelchair-bound; I can only talk about how he kept coming to parent/leader meetings and quietly taking charge until he simply couldn't any more.  He truly cared about the boys and about Scouting and I know he'll be missed.  As troop committee co-chair (and now chair) I have big shoes to fill, but I'll find my way.

"The leader of the band is tired and his eyes are growing old, but his blood runs through my instrument and his song is in my soul;
My life has been a poor attempt to imitate the man, I'm just a living legacy to the leader of the band".


*--Dan Fogelberg, The Innocent Age, 1981.

No Man is an Island*

No Man is an Island

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee. 

          --John Donne, 1572-1631

I've been reflecting on the awful events of last Friday in Newtown, Connecticut. So much has been said, by so many, in so many corners of the American consciousness, that I will no doubt end up parroting what has been stated by those more prominent or those closer to the situation who were thrust into prominence through no fault of their own. I thank God that while Nancy and I have had a couple of health scares with the kids, they've been safe and secure, and we haven't received that phone call.  I can't pretend to imagine how horrible that must be.  I'm not sure I'll ever have the words, if words are ever sufficient, other than to say that if the United States of America ever heard a conversion call  for individuals and families to embrace their Creator and follow Him more devotedly, this was it.  For those who would curse God  and ask, "Why did he allow this to happen?", I would offer that He gave us all free will and unfortunately some of us choose to abuse it. As a result, dozens of families and a community--indeed, our nation and the world--will never be the same.

Two issues at the heart of the issue have been mental illness and access to guns.  Again, a lot of people have weighed in on  many sides of the issue, and I am in agreement that mental illness is an issue that needs to be properly dealt with in this country.  I'm going to quote (in part) from a message board to which I contribute (I'm the writer):

"As a mental health patient (I'm bipolar), I can appreciate the need for access to quality mental health care.  Over the years, I've benefited from medication and talk therapy to the point where I can live a relatively normal life.  Is it easy? in a word, NO--but it beats the alternatives.  I'm better served when I'm honest with myself and others around me regarding my condition.  Does everyone with a mental health think as clearly? NO.  That is where family and friends need to step up and be persistent advocates and protectors of the person in need of help, that tenacious "bug in the ear" for that person. Does it always work? NO.  But that doesn't mean you quit trying. Ever. I've never been institutionalized, but there were times over the years when it would have been a viable alternative. Commitment isn't a decision made lightly or out of casual convenience. Further, the patient does have rights--and a whole system of legal advocacy of which they can take advantage.
"As for the gun issue--I imagine that there are those who read the third paragraph of this post and thought to themselves, "He doesn't get one".  Whatever.  I've never owned one; I'm not a hunter or law enforcement officer or competitive shooter so I don't really need one. Besides, I have Parkinson's and my aim is about as good as Gene Wilder's in "Blazing Saddles" ("See this hand?" "Steady as a rock" "Yeah, but I shoot with this one")" (The Trombone Forum, 15 December 2012). 

This isn't an easy issue for me (or anyone else for that matter), but I need to go further on the second issue--access to guns.  Many have directed hateful diatribes at the National Rifle Association.  Indeed, their decades-long pattern of lobbying and today's instant communication had me expecting a pre-packaged-sounding response from the group.

Five days and counting.  Nothing. Not a word, in the media or on their website.

This morning it was announced that the NRA would have a press conference on Friday.  Can't imagine how this will go, but I have a pretty good idea how it will be received.

*--Choral setting by Roy Ringwald [date unknown]. We sang it my freshman year in U-M Men's Glee Club.  A powerful bit of music, especially accompanied by organ.

Friday, December 14, 2012

For all the saints who from their labours rest*

A little under 24 hours ago I finished my Cataloging final.  Eight questions, just like the Management final.  Three of them were RDA-related (two of three right--missed the one on whether it was ever permissible to list both the copyright date AND the publication date for the same item).  One question on bibliographic relationships (MARC field 130 on a listing for a particular edition of the Latin Vulgate--switched two of the subfields, otherwise nailed it); two on personal name entries (nailed one, slightly missed the other), one involving a committee report (messy), and the big one (60 of the possible 100 points) on a book on the subject of (wait for it) Turkish pottery (perfecto!). Dr. Maccaferri does go blotto for the Ottoman Empire!

I consider it a badge of honor to have earned an 87.2% on this test; that score fell just above the class average of 86.  My current grade for the class stands at 86.27; it's  89.5 or better for an A.  We're all sweating out what he gives us for class participation and extra credit, because according to my arithmetic he has not factored those numbers in.  If I receive what I think I'm supposed to, I'll cross that 89.5 threshold, and there will be much rejoicing.

UPDATE:  I ended up with a 92.04 for the semester.  Not sure how, but I'll take the A.

I'm still awaiting the results of the Management final.  If word count were everything, I'd get an A+++.  As it is, I'll be happy with an 80--I'll still  get an A for the semester (actually, a 70 will do likewise, but I already have one 70 on my record in that class and I don't want another.  That seems to be the pattern for me in Dr. Harhai's classes--work like the devil and JUSSST make the grade.LOL.  In fairness, both classes have a LOT of material to cover, and as I've discovered in the online world, you fail to buckle down at your own peril.

UPDATE:  I ended up with a 92.94 for the semester.  My 4.0 is intact. YIPPPPEEEEE!!!!

This morning's a very quiet Friday at the library.  I retrieved My Indian Kitchen by Hari Nayak (Tuttle, 2011) for an upcoming potluck dinner at my son's Scout troop. I'll be cooking three dishes:  corn and mushrooms in a spicy curry, stir-fried paneer cheese with peppers, and whole wheat flatbread (well, four, because I have to make the paneer cheese for the stir-fry, which isn't as hard as it sounds).

At home, between now and the 26th I can concentrate on cleaning the house, practicing for a Christmas Eve gig in Wayne, and getting ready for our trip to Michigan.  More immediately, my youngest daughter is performing in her schools improvisational comedy group, LOL, tonight at the school. Fun times!

St. Jerome, Pray for us!

*--opening line to Sine Nomine by Ralph Vaughan Williams, 1905 (text by William Walsham How, 1864).

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

All I care about is love*

Some random musings on the Grammys:

Well, the 2013 Grammy nominations are out. Yawn.

Kelly Clarkson seems to have done well; Taylor Swift, not as much.

Bruce Springsteen is still getting nominations in the Rock category? Impressive.

It's telling about our society when two of the "best" rap song nominees have to be referred to by more asterisks than letters.  Hmm. The industry won't print the titles but they have no problem producing the albums and making money off of it.

Why don't they just change the name "best spoken word album" to "best drooling liberal blather" and be done with it? It'd certainly be more honest. In case you think I've slipped off the rails on this one: Recent winners include Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Al Gore.  This year's nominees? Michele Obama, Bill Clinton, Rachel Maddow, Ellen DeGeneres, and Janis Ian** (?).  Political nonsensibilities aside, they really need to get rid of this most self-indulgent of categories.  I checked out the entire list of winners in this category.  In the early days we saw luminaries like Helen Hayes, John Gielgud, Orson Welles, and William Warfield, not reciting their own writing but that of others (Performances of Copland's A Lincoln Portrait won twice, and even Leonard Bernstein won for an album entitled Humor in Music.) Great literature has been replaced by self-important political screeds in this category.  I'd probably feel the same way if they were conservative.  No, really.  Dump the category already, or at least present a nominees list that doesn't slant farther left than the post-iceberg Titanic.

I don't know why, but you have to go past "best album notes", producer of the year, and best long form music video (don't they call those MOVIES?) to get to what's left of the classical categories.  I have to say it's nice to see new nominees in those categories, though.  Now if they'd only include these performances on the broadcast.  Honest to God, the last classical performance I remember at the Grammys was Evgeny Kissgin (sp?), who played the snot out of a Chopin piece, followed by Whoopi Goldberg intoning "that was exquisite" with all the spirit of placing an order at the dry cleaners.

I had a couple of interruptions to completing my management final tonight--I had to go get a shirt for Daniel Jr. for his performance tomorrow, and I am about to return to hand-copying some music for a rehearsal tomorrow.  Orchestral management is going to get a separate post, post-concert and final exams.  It won't be pretty. 


*--John Kander and Fred Ebb, from the musical Chicago, 1975.
**no nasty letters please, I LOVE Ms. Ian's music as do you if you're considering hate mail.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

American Salute*

I played a concert with the Southeast Pennsylvania Symphony Orchestra this past weekend.  The programming was notable, not because it was all American Music, but because it was not the usual bill of fare for such programs.  We opened with Barber's arguably most famous piece, the Adagio for Strings.

Next was a piece written for Benny Goodman, the Concerto for clarinet, piano and strings of Aaron Copland.  Beth Villsmaier, our principal clarinetist, gave a wonderful performance.  My own history of the piece includes listening to it first as a student at U-M, where then-graduate student Richard Shillea performed it for the annual concerto competition.

Later, when I started collecting music (thanks Columbia Record Club!), one of the first purchases I made was a recording of Benny Goodman (for whom the concerto was written) playing the Copland, and pieces by Bartok (Contrasts), Bernstein (Prelude, Fugue, and Riffs) and Gould (Derivations).

The second half opened with Symphony #3 (The Camp Meeting) of Charles Ives. Hard to listen to, harder to perform, but I thought it went well.

We closed with what this writer thinks should be Samuel Barber's most famous piece, his Knoxville: Summer of 1915. The text is taken from the prologue to a larger work by James Agee, A Death in the Family. It ambles, and reflects on a almost-forgotten, peaceable time in our past where life didn't rush and harrass and jostle.  I refer to the piece as 14 1/2 minutes of chamber music, because it never gets too loud or fast or boisterous, but depends on all its parts to produce one of America's crowning achievements in classical music--for that matter, in any music.Our soloist sang and told the story well, and did two of Aaron Copland's Old American Songs--"Long Time Ago" and "The Dodger" as encores.

Sorry I didn't get to this sooner.  It might have been even longer but I was going over recent stats in my blog and realized I hadn't finished this post.

*--Morton Gould, 1942, for performance on the Cresta Blanca Carnival radio show--speaking of times gone by.  The piece is 70 years old this year.


Nothing profound today--mostly musings of a procrastinational nature.

1)The country count for readers of this blog is up to nine with the addition of Hungary yesterday and France today.  Sure wish they'd leave comments, even if they don't think their English is up to snuff.  I'm always so excited to see new faces.  It'd be even MORE exciting to hear new voices, too!

2) That much closer to an A for the semester in Management class with grades in for my book review (The Accidental Library Manager by Rachel Singer Gordon) and webinar review (New Faces in Library Management).  Also completed Turning the Page, a PLA-sponsored webinar on advocacy.  Cataloging is another story.  More about that another time.  After all, this page is about CELBRATION!

3) My youngest daughter turned 13 today--three teenagers in the house now (BLECH!) but they're cool kids. 

4) Natalie has a concert with the Kennett Symphony Children's Chorus accompanied by--you guessed it--the Kennett Symphony Orchestra, Mary Woodmansee Green, music director and conductor.

Back to my Management final...Cheers.

*--Ronald Bell and Kool & the Gang, Celebrate!, 1980

Monday, November 19, 2012

My Back Pages* and non-profit organizations

I'm going to use this title when I'm in "cranky old man" (Dana Carvey, SNL, 1990's) mode.  Here's part one:

I participated in a canned food collection drive this weekend called "Scouting for Food".  I'm not here to besmirch Scouting nor am I here to denigrate collecting food for those who don't have enough to eat. They're both fine, worthwhile activities, and have been so for years. What I'm going to say is no doubt going to anger some people, but it needs to be said.  If you're involved with a non-profit of any kind, you may recognize these behaviors because they happen at your events, too.

1) Donated food vs. trash collection:  Last year at the same event, our oldest can was from 2003.  This year, the oldest can was from 1999! Thirteen years old! People, please:  if you wouldn't serve expired food to a family member, don't palm it off on the food banks (who have to pay to dispose of it instead of you). I personally have handled leaking cans, broken boxes, and Jell-o packages that were rock hard (which means that moisture has seeped through).  I don't care what the manufacturers said, or what you heard from your friend's mother's third cousin's stepsister about "how good the stuff is"--if it's expired, toss it out yourself.

2) Baby food is great--but the same rules apply.  No expired stuff.  The stores can't sell it and they'll get in BIG trouble if they try.  No leaks, no partial packages, please.

3) Give the pet food to the SPCA or some other pet-friendly charity--and while we're on the subject of pets:

4) Safety and liability:  Recent reports notwithstanding, Scouting is all about child safety.  These days, adult leaders have ample opportunity to be well trained and are probably vetted as well as we can be in a national non-profit.  That being said, it doesn't necessarily keep us from doing questionable things. One of the leaders of the Cub Pack assisting with the food drive brought his boxer along, and it proved to be quite a distraction for the Cubs (mostly 2nd and 3rd graders), and frankly it was a nuisance when it was being walked among the people filling boxes.  The  young boy who was walking it (I'm presuming it was the dog's owner's son) also brought it over to the snack table, where the dog was clearly straining at the leash to investigate the hot dogs.

The dog may have been the sweetest, nicest dog on God's green earth, but one bite, or one run into the street getting hit,  and the owner has more to deal with than an injured person and/or a injured/dead dog.  Who's liable?  The dog owner? The Scouts? The Scout's chartering organization (in this case a local congregation of the United Church of Christ)? The Scouts' council or national organization? Think before you put so many people at risk just because you want some convenience or companionship.

5) Keep all workers on task, even when it's your job to do so.  With few exceptions, the laissez-faire approach to Scout leadership doesn't work. The boys need to be led by the leaders showing them how, not by a few random adults standing around bellowing orders.

6) Have clear procedures and rules for the day; modify only if necessary.  Nothing worse for an organization's event than asking a question and getting three very different  responses.  If a 30-second meeting is necessary, get the responsible parties together, hash it out, and move on.  If it takes longer than that, make a decision but be sure to discuss it at the next meeting.  If there's more than one group involved, the leaders of both groups need to sit down and determine the plan.

I have more to say on this topic (and I will) but my Management final awaits.  Onward and upward.

*--Bob Dylan, Another Side of Bob Dylan, 1964.

Friday, November 16, 2012

I'm Sorry...*

Nothing profound here.  I've been writing this blog for going on two months and wondering why NO ONE has responded to ANYTHING I've written.  Now I know why, and it's been taken care of.  Fire Away!

*--Brenda Lee, 1960.

Visions of Light*

If you’re a regular leader of this blog you know I’m in the habit of providing titles in the form of a song lyric or title.  Today will be no different, other than that part of today’s entry will be a remembrance of my late high school band director, Carl Dephouse, so not just any title will do. I know you’ll understand why after you read this.

I first met Mr. Dephouse as a 7th grade general music student.  Our class met next door to the band room, and Mrs. Gamble sent me next door to get a couple music stands.  I opened the door and heard the band playing a familiar tune (Khachaturian’s Gayane Ballet), complete with the trombone glissandi.  I stood there, mesmerized by the 9th grade band that was playing that piece.  He stopped and looked at me; the band turned to look at me.  Silence. I just muttered something about the music stands, picked them up, and went back to my class, the music still ringing in my ears.

Fast forward to ninth grade band and time for MSBOA Band Festival.  We played San Mihiel  by Karl King, Festivo by Vaclav Nelhybel, and Chorale and Capriccio by Giovannini.  We earned our First Division rating, and felt good about ourselves--until we got home and Mr. D reminded us that we didn’t do our best.  Nonetheless, we went to states, playing the King, the Giovannini, and a new piece (to us)--the Hebrides Suite of Clare Grundman. We played our best, but received a “two” (I don’t care WHAT you say about Texas band directors, Michigan band directors live and die by their MSBOA ratings).

Why am I telling you about music I performed almost 40 years ago?  I’d be willing to bet you don’t remember what you played in high school concert band, but here’s a sampling of what we performed:

Holst--First and Second Suites
Howe--Pentland Hills
Sousa--Stars and Stripes Forever, Daughters of Texas
Alfred Reed--Russian Christmas Music
Haydn Wood--Mannin Veen
Zdechlik--Chorale and Shaker Dance
Holsinger--Prelude and Rondo
Vaughan Williams--Sea Songs
Alexander--Colossus of Columbia
Rodgers/arr. R.R.Bennett--Victory at Sea

The man chose music for us like a preacher chooses Bible texts for a sermon. To Mr. D, the quality of the music he presented to us and with us was the most important aspect of his job--and anything less than the best simply wasn’t good enough.  His choices made our band better and more importantly made us better people.

But even more important to him than his music, especially the  1961 Russia Tour with the U-M Symphony Band (which he loved to talk about--his stories about playing for William Revelli and his days playing sousaphone in the Marching Band with Gene Thrailkill were classic) was his deep abiding Christian faith.  He didn’t preach to us per se--although we did play a nice arrangement of Onward Christian Soldiers from time to time--but it spoke so plainly in his actions that words weren’t really necessary.   We never had evening rehearsals or concerts on Wednesday--“That’s church night” (for him as well as many of us).  Family was important to him, and grew to be more so as his family grew.  I even had the privilege of playing a few church gigs with him senior year, up in Holland Heights at a Reformed Church where my former (almost said old) 4th grade teacher Dorothy Bauman was choir director and soloist (we did something called “Night of Miracles” around Christmastime).

I knew him as a teacher, a fellow Wolverine, even as a colleague.  During my first few years out of high school, whenever I attended a music function and the conversation turned to our homes, I’d mention Holland, and people would knowingly smile and say, “did you play for Henry Vander Linde?”.  When I said no (which wasn’t precisely true--I did play a couple seasons in American Legion Band), I went to Holland High School and played for Carl Dephouse, they’d almost act disappointed.  They shouldn’t have.  I had the privilege of playing in a great high school band led by someone who cared deeply about the music and who inspires me to keep playing even today.

I learned of Carl’s passing at 3:00 pm on Thursday afternoon after a day of library conferences.  The time is significant because at 6:00 pm, I was scheduled to audition for the principal trombone chair in the orchestra I’ve played second trombone in for seven years.  Up to that point I hadn’t felt up to the task.  My solo sounded sloppy, and my excerpts ragged.  No matter.  After I recovered from the initial shock, it was clear what I had to do.  I packed up my horn and my music, went to my audition, and knocked everyone’s socks off on my solo (Visions of Light by Eric Ewazen) and the excerpts (Mozart Tuba Mirum, Mahler 3, Ride of the Valkyries,  and Bolero). 

Yes, the music matters.  Deeply.

Thank you, Mr. Dephouse. Well done, thou good and faithful servant.

Daniel J. De Kok Sr.
HHS class of 1978
Bachelor of Music, 1982, The University of Michigan
Master of Music, 1987, Western Michigan University
Acting Principal Trombone, Southeast Pennsylvania Symphony
Principal Trombone, Warminster (PA) Symphony
Principal Trombone, Doylestown (PA) Symphonic Winds

*--Eric Ewazen, Visions of Light: Concerto for Trombone and Wind Ensemble inspired by the  photographs of Ansel Adams (2000).

Friday, November 9, 2012

From Hanover Square North, at the End of a Tragic Day, the Voice of the People Again Arose*

I was setting up in the library this morning, collecting books to go out and listening to a lecture on ethics given by the daughter of someone who worked for the first Daley administration in Chicago in the 1970's (that's going to be the subject of another entry, trust me), when an extraordinary book caught my eye.  I'm a huge fan of Charles Ives, not only of his music but of his written contributions to the American conversation on the arts and politics--plus, I'm playing in a performance of the Ives Third Symphony next week (  So when I saw "The Extraordinary Music of Mr. Ives" by Joanne Stanbridge (Houghton Mifflin, 2012), I literally stopped dead in my tracks.  It's not often that a book does that to me.

In age-appropriate terminology, Stanbridge describes what inspired Charles Ives to write down his extraordinary music--steamship whistles, baseball games, even the click-clack of manual typewriters in the office.  One day, Ives is downtown and hears news of the sinking of the Lusitania.  Spontaneously, people start singing a gospel hymn, In the Sweet By and By, a performance that haunts him.  People knowledgeable about Ives' music will remember that he was quite fond of quoting familiar songs in unconventional ways, and Stanbridge does a good job explaining this to young children. She even introduces the reader to works by other American composers, including Elliott Carter (Pocahontas), Aaron Copland (The Tender Land), and John Adams (On the Transmigration of Souls), whose works were influenced by Charles Ives.

It should be noted that she began writing this book in the months before the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.  The jacket notes state that after 9/11, "the mood and setting of my book felt too raw, so I had to put it away". We can be grateful that she chose to complete this wonderful book  The only issue I have with "The Extraordinary Music of Mr. Ives" is the omission of a CD containing a recording of the musical work discussed in the book.  Future editions of this work would do well to include such a feature.

*--Charles Ives, third movement of Orchestral Set No. 2 (1919), c. 1915.  First performance given by the Chicago Symphony, Morton Gould conducting, 11 February 1967. Available commercially on Sony Music Distribution #37823 with Michael Tilson-Thomas leading the Concertgebouw Orchestra.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

State of the Union*

I went to vote today, more out a sense of duty than any political leanings (I'm Republican, thanks for asking) or thinking that my one vote will sway things nationally or even locally.  Besides the state and national offices, we only had one ballot question, about amending the home rule charter in Norristown so that bid procedures align with those of the Commonwealth (I voted yes), so I was quite surprised when I saw the line snaking down the school hallway and around the corner.  Most elections we're in and out in five minutes.  Not until I get about halfway up the line do I discover why it's taking so long.  Apparently the board of elections in its infinite wisdom hired "a worker that didn't know how to alphabetize"--the words of the woman in charge, not me. 


In 2012?


Never mind.  I kept a civil tongue in my head, wondering if the words I'd heard were real. I made it up to the table and realized I hadn't seen any of these people before.  All new workers for a presidential election.  Hmm.

As I was leaving, I saw a colleague from Warminster Symphony and chatted it up with him about the day and about things musical.  He was there to supervise his students with their bake sale.  Two men approached the bake sale table and asked the kids if they could put their signs up. The kids, not knowing any better, said sure.  When I told the men that they should check with the elections officials about where they should put their signs, I was met with vitriol and disdain. Mr. Vietnam Vet told me that following the rules is "old school" (which would explain why he dodged the draft NOT).  He started yelling at me, asking me where I went to school and a lot of unrelated questions.  Walking away seemed the better part of valor, so I did.

This country has a lot more problems than who's living in the White House, but I did my part to take care of that one.  Nonetheless, I don't think things are going to change.  To quote the late David Brinkley in speaking of the re-nomination of then-President Clinton, we're going to have "four more years of goddamned nonsense".

*--Robert Lamm, Chicago V, 1972.

Saturday, October 27, 2012


(DISCLAIMER:  This post has absolutely NOTHING to do with the city in Pennsylvania or the town in New Jersey--or any other Allentown for that matter.  More at the end.)

Yesterday was a bit of an anomaly for me.  I was up at 345 am, not to take care of emergencies, but to shepherd our youngest daughter Natalie down to Philadelphia, where we would both take part (as extras) in our first TV show recording.  We arrived about 20 minutes shy of our 618 am call at Tenth Presbyterian Church in the Rittenhouse Square section of the city.  It was clear that many of the people knew each other from countless similar previous encounters.  Natalie, being the social butterfly and wanting to get to know people, struck up a conversation with a young woman.12 years old and she's so good with people.

I almost posted this without telling you what show it was!  Apparently it's going to be a mid-season replacement on NBC about a doctor with a Jekyll-and-Hyde thing going on called, "Do No Harm" (the Hyde part is that he goes out at night after bad guys a' la Batman).

The whole day could be summed up in four words: HURRY UP AND WAIT.  That phrase is familiar (I'm told) to those who have served in the armed forces, always waiting in lines.  We waited in line to turn in paperwork, to be seated in the recital hall, to have our wardrobe checked; I was a bit concerned because at four in the morning everything looks black (I have an identical pair of navy slacks and in the dawn's early light I thought I had put them on instead--not good with the brown tweed blazer. My fears were unfounded).

After paperwork and wardrobe issues were dealt with, we were taken to the location where the scene was shot--which turned out to be, to my great surprise and delight, a recital hall at the Curtis Institute of Music, one of the world's great music schools.  I mentioned this to Natalie (and what dad wouldn't mention the free tuition) but gently reminded her that it was VERY VERY VERY hard to get into (didn't get into the details, but musicians out there know what I'm talking about).  The fact that she seemed remotely interested was encouraging.

What little Natalie would reveal to me told me she wants to keep doing this kind of thing. Yikes--but in a good way!   She's making friends from the start and that's never a bad thing. It's definitely a different parental dynamic than I'm used to.

For me the most interesting part of the day was watching the attention to detail by everyone involved, from the camera operators to the costumers to the directors. Time is most certainly money to the folks behind the camera.  Even the caterer had kosher food available on separate dishes (I saw--but didn't try--the nova lox).

We were done about 1230, and drove home but not before stopping at Qdoba for a celebratory lunch of sorts (which became dinner as well--the burritos are so freaking HUGE), and then drove down the block to For Eyes to pick up our new glasses.  I can see again!

Billy Joel, The Nylon Curtain, 1982.  I chose this title because of the line, "Out in Bethlehem they're killing time, filling out forms, standing in line" which is what we did most of the day.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Day in the life*, part 2

1015 am: Today brings a weird melange of tasks to the table--or in my case, the circulation desk.  Upon arrival I discovered that the two games we had requested as part of our allotment for International Games Day ( had arrived.  Neither of them were familiar to me, so I proceeded to check them out.

One was called "Labyrinth", and as the name implies, involves finding your way through a maze to collect various items and characters.  Read the rules--seemed pretty straightforward, so I experimented with the game.  Could be good family fun, but may frustrate younger players; the game suggests a minimum age of 7, but I might bump that up a bit (older 2nd grade-3rd grade).  As per my usual practice, I'll bring the game home for my kids to try. They're a bit older now (daughters 12 and 14, son 17) but they like (okay, put up with) playing games with dad, especially when it's something new.

The other game, "Pathfinder", is a roleplaying game that will DEFINITELY appeal to my son and his friends, so I'm going to let him be a guest blogger and review the game when he's ready.

Kate's doing children's story hour right now (topic: School Buses) so I'm manning the desk solo.  Volume's pretty light right now, so it's not too bad.  Besides circulation, the only  patron I've had to deal with is a woman trying to edit a scanned document.  Wish I knew how.

1040am: Book van's here, so I'll be checking in things for a while.  More later.

1110am: finished with book van materials; next is shelving returns--mostly children's, so Kate will probably take care of those after story time is done...updated the reference department survey.

Curses!  I left my flash drive home.  I can still do school work, but it's a little more complicated to save it.  I can always read my book report book.

140 pm.  Worked on two cataloging exercises using RDA/MARC formats; my classmates are cursing and I'm feeling like a genius for attending the workshop last Friday. It all feels familiar.

The homeschoolers are returning books in droves today.  I've been tied to the circulation desk for most of the day so far. The biggest load was at least two dozen graphic novels with a character named "Asterix".  Hope the kid got an A on his report...

Mr. M., one of our hearing-impaired regulars is in for his daily session on the computer.  He keeps to himself, especially if you're not proficient in signing.  One more skill to master...

We were busy today, but I managed to make progress on my numerous ongoing homework assignments.  Wish my team members for Management class shared my sense of urgency.  I'm going to plow on ahead without them.

Busy day tomorrow--Scrabble night, the Sears guys are coming to fix my dryer, and I am pressing onward and upward.  Cheers.

*--Paul McCartney and John Lennon, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, 1967,

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Soft stillness and the night become the touches of sweet harmony*

An 80.4/100.  Could have been better, could have been a LOT worse--but at least my Cataloging midterm is over.  Beaucoups of Management classwork and reading await.  I can stop sweating LS502 for the time being. 

I had two perfect out of the ten.  Except for one of the remaining eight, where I took the totally wrong approach, I was making mostly MARC coding errors or had minor corrections on Cutter or call numbers.  Not too shabby overall.  Can't say I didn't earn every point. Now there WAS the issue of the timeclock, which shorted me 40 minutes.  It happened to others, too.  In situations like that, you take the test as best you can, contact the prof and hope for the best.  The only thing is I'll have to be just about perfect from here on out to the final to get an A--but in the back of my mind is "any shade of improvement will be a better B". UPDATE:  my final grade on the midterm was a sterling 87.2%.  Never mind that the class average was 91%. There is much rejoicing in the De Kok household.

Let me tell you about the MLA workshop I attended on Friday.

The MLA to which I refer is Music Library Association, Atlantic Chapter, which had its annual meeting at Princeton University in New Jersey.  The morning meeting was devoted to a pre-conference presentation on a relatively new cataloging system called RDA.  A librarian from the University of Maryland (who admitted that she didn't use it at her library) showed us how subject access worked, how MARC codes were significantly different, even how punctuation changes from LCSH to RDA, using audio recordings as a starting point.  I don't imagine that we'll be dealing with audio recordings in LS502 class, but it at least gave me an excellent point of reference going into the last half of this class. 

After lunch at the student center, I attended a session on what the University of Pennsylvania Library was doing to modernize their online catalog; a session on Kaltura (an online video platform) given by the head of Princeton U. Productions; an "RDA-Lite" session; and a presentation from Princeton U Musical Society using photos and documents from their archives focusing on the early (Woodrow Wilson era) years of the Society.

The highlight of the day was an organ recital at the University Chapel by the University's organist, Eric Plutz.  I don't really have superlatives for what I heard.  Magnificent just doesn't seem enough.
From his transcription of "Procession of the Nobles" to the great JS Bach Passacaglia in c and works by Vierne and DuPre, His command of the music and that enormous "piece of furniture" (his words) reminded us all what a great art we serve.

Onward and upward.


*--from Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, Act V, Scene 1.  It's also the closing text to one of the 20th century's crowning achievements in choral music, Ralph Vaughan Williams' Serenade to Music.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Oh Lord it's hard to be humble*

Well, if you ever need a lesson in humility, take a cataloging class. 

I just took my midterm--worth 40% of my final grade--and sort of bombed it.  I got two of the ten questions perfect.  Not all is lost though.  With the exception of one question, I was able to get MOST of the correct information down for the other eight examples, and he is going to grade these manually. There was one subject heading for which we needed to provide a description, four titles that needed subject headings, three titles that needed Dewey numbers, and 2 titles that needed Library of Congress numbers.  Most of my mistakes were dumb ones--reversing symbols, writing "bibliographies" instead of "bibliography", stuff I would have nailed if I'd had five more minutes to give it another onceover.

The one I missed outright (well, SOME of it is good) had me emphasizing the wrong subject.  I don't want to say too much because there's still people taking the test.

I even went to Mass this morning beforehand, something I don't normally do--just felt the need.  Feast of St. Luke today.  Deacon homilized about "using your talents".  I'm getting better at cataloging, but for now I'm not listing that as one of MY talents.  Onward and upward.

*--Mac Davis, It's Hard to be Humble, 1980

Friday, October 12, 2012

Pick Yourself Up*

I am beyond tired right now.  I've spent the last hour and a half working about a dozen cataloging problems.  Were any of them perfect? No.  Some had errors as tiny as using "in" instead of "during", or going one step too far on a Cutter number. My biggest errors were in LCC, where fatigue played a factor.  I wasn't quite thorough enough and didn't find the right number (five more minutes when I 'm less tired would have done it).  I'm still not where I need to be but I'm learning the ropes--and I think that that's the point at this point in my career. I am making progress.

Management continues to be a cross to bear--a LOT of work, a lot more than I had for LS550 (Intro to Research)--and that was a four-week class, not fourteen.  I just have to remember that I'm eating an elephant--and to do it one bite at a time.  Eyelids heavy. Going to bed.

*Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields, Swing Time, 1936

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

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I'm going to have to BE a powerhouse this week and next if I'm going to get through it--and we're almost out of coffee at home. The schoolwork seems never-ending, and I don't know where to begin.  It's times like these that remind me of the old saying that it's even possible to eat a whole elephant--one bite at a time. So away I go--working on two papers for management class, prepping for a cataloging midterm, getting music ready for an SPSO performance, and this on top of everything I do for my family.

About the SPSO:  We're doing a program of American music at Arcadia University on Saturday, November 16.  Samuel Barber is represented twice:  the familiar Adagio for Strings and the lovely Knoxville: Summer of 1915 for soprano and small orchestra. We're also performing a piece written for Benny Goodman, Aaron Copland's Concerto for Clarinet and String Orchestra, and closing with one of the stranger pieces ever to win the Pulitzer Prize, the Third Symphony ("the camp meeting") by Charles Ives.  This will be the first time I've performed Ives since graduate school in the mid-1980's.  There's a killer trombone lick in the third movement (which is the only section of the program I play) so I need to be ready.  I'm going to move heaven and earth to give my readers some program notes prior to the concert, but if by chance I don't, you'll know why (see first paragraph).

Back to subject headings. 


*--Raymond Scott, 1937.  Carl Stalling used this tune in countless Warner Brothers shorts with Bugs Bunny, Marvin K Martian, etc. You'd know it if you heard it, trust me.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

One More River to Cross*

1030 pm Sunday night: so much to do, so much left undone.  I don't really have a method of prioritizing. I just go and do something.  Then I go and do something else.  Eventually it all gets done--the fun stuff, the chores, and everything in between.  That way I don't obsess over NOT getting everything done at once, and I feel better about what I DO get done in a given segment of time.

This week is a rarity.  I don't really have anything due this week, but a lot of ongoing projects for MSLS and the musical side of things.  To whit:

Webinar project due October 31 (Management) I've listened to the session once.  I need to listen to it again and start writing
Book Review due November 7 (Management) I've outlined and skimmed the book.  I need to sit down over the course of a couple of weeks and read the damn thing.  Should have picked a smaller book.
Midterm October 18 (Cataloging) I'm going to review all the practice exercises in LCSH, DDC, and LCC, in addition to any other information I can go over.
Music Distribution begins for November concert (SPSO). Can't do that till the Personnel Manager gives me the concert roster.
Weigh-in by Wednesday (Weight Watchers).  It's gloat time, baby.
Audition November 15 (SPSO) I've been acting principal trombone up to this point.  I have to choose a concerto and hope my laying off this summer hasn't hurt me TOO badly.  I still have second chair to fall back on, but I've been there seven years, and it's time for a change.  The down side is that I will have to eventually give up playing in this group, especially if school duties are getting more intense (which they are).

God, that's a lot.  I'm going to need a good night's sleep for starters.

Lord, keep me moving so I can be useful to my family AND get all this stuff done.  Amen.

*--Canned Heat, One More River to Cross, 1974.

Friday, October 5, 2012

All (Indian) Summer Long*

1155 am. It's a brilliant, sunny fall day, and I'm getting ready for what promises to be a killer midterm in Cataloging class.  Seemingly no amount of preparation will help, but there are encouraging signs, nonetheless.  Work slogs on in both classes.  I have a major paper--a book review--due in just over a month, and a webinar review due the week before that for Management class. 

Registration for spring term classes are next week.  If everything goes according to plan, I'll be taking classes on Digital Libraries and Bibliography of Science, Technology, and Medicine.  Bibliography of the Humanities isn't available till Summer.

CATALOGING UPDATE:  Okay, so I didn't get any of the five cataloging exercises correct. My mistakes WERE less egregious, so it's cause for celebration. I'm getting closer, so I must be my nose growing?

The semester's almost half over and there's so much trepidation among my fellow students (okay, me too)

In about five minutes, one of the highlights of my workday will happen.  We get a serenade from a local carillon (electronic--no one can afford the real thing these days except for churches with financial "angels") but it still warms my heart to hear the bells play the traditional Protestant hymns.

*--Kid Rock, Rock 'n Roll Jesus, 2007 (Author's note:  Say what you want about Kid Rock, but I love this song.  I grew up in Michigan, too, and he captures a teenager's summer there to a tee.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Night Shift*:

11:35 pm:  The house is silent, the stillness broken by the hum of the refrigerator, the ticking of the wall clock, and the occasional passing car (some with sirens attached).  I found it amusing that my history-loving son slept thru the presidential debates while my wife and our daughters watched it.  Who knew?

I had my first migraine in about four months this afternoon.  They're miserable, beastly things. If I feel one coming on, my day is shot, especially if I don't have my Imitrex with me.I'm light- and noise-sensitive when I have them, and making matters worse was having to pick up the girls, some of their teammates, and the son of friends of ours from volleyball and soccer practice.  Don't get me wrong--they're all lovely people, really--but when the migraine hits (and this one was bad) all bets were off.  The crowning touch was realizing when I got home that I'd left my flash drive in the hard drive of the terminal that I was using today.  C'est la vie--I'll pick it up tomorrow morning.

Turned in my paper for Management class last night, and submitted my resume` to the proper authorities.  Onward to choosing a webinar, FINALLY getting to the book for my book review, and taking a cataloging quiz on Library of Congress classification tomorrow. A busy week thus far.  Cheers...

*The Commodores, Night Shift, 1984. (personal note: this song has always been one of my favorites.  It pays tribute to Jackie Wilson and Marvin Gaye, R and B geniuses who left us too soon.  I had forgotten that it was the Commodores who recorded this on their first album after Lionel Richie left to pursue a solo career.)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

You can close your eyes*

It's the end of the day and it's been a full one.  I completed a paper for management class surveying job advertisements for academic library directors--13 pages, with graphs and 27 8x10 color glossy pictures with circles and arrows and OH, I CAN'T GO ON!! Just ignore the part after graphs--I was channelling Arlo Guthrie for a moment. If you have to ask, ask someone your parent's age.  Or your grandparent's age. Then have a Thanksgiving dinner that can't be beat...and say hi to Officer Obie for me.

It can be a real chore to write in APA style--you have to refer to yourself in the third person.  "The author stated", "The writer believes", "It is up to the reader to..."; no I or me or we or you. I once knew a librarian who talked that way.  "Mrs C. doesn't do that", and so forth.  I wanted to puke.  I still do. I persevered, it's done, on to the webinar report and book review.

Cataloging class continues to be a royal headache.  This week--Library of Congress Classification. Five titles, all bibliographies.  That takes part of the guesswork out of it.  I just wish it took the "second-guess"work out of it.

On the Music front, UPS dropped off the last two pieces I need for the SPSO November concert.  It's an American music program--Barber's Adagio for Strings  and Knoxville: Summer of 1915, Ives' 3rd Symphony, and the Copland Clarinet Concerto.  Glory be, the bowings are already marked, so next step is counting to confirm they sent everything, and then sorting for each player.

A lot of littles today.  Tomorrow is Spring City and getting ready for International Game day and the next SCRABBLE night.  Cheers.

*--James Taylor, Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon, 1971

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Firemen's Song*

The Pennsylvania State Firemen's Parade is lining up in front of our house.  300+ firefighting units from across the Commonwealth and they're all passing our house.  The noise will be astounding.  I'll be at work 15 miles away and I'll probably STILL hear it.  I could be dead in the ground and I'd still hear it.  I could be in another solar system and I'd still hear it.

God forbid there's a fire and the local companies have to get there.


*--I have no idea where "The Fireman's Song" came from.  I just remember my first WMU home football game where the band sang it during the 3rd quarter.  Since I'm a family man and this is a family-oriented column (OK, it's all about me, but I digress), you'll have to look up the lyrics on your own.



I'm happy that my Russian readers are back--although I'd love to be able to get a more accurate picture of exactly where in the world my readers are.

I'm reminded by the current US presidential campaign that many movie characters implore their listeners to be (or become) politically aware.  Two characters that spring to mind are both in musically based movies and both Austrian.  I'm talking about Captain Von Trapp (The Sound of Music) and Emperor Joseph II (Amadeus).  The former takes place in the years leading up to World War II; the latter takes place in the years leading up to the French Revolution. In both cases, the character in question warns a younger, more emotional man that to ignore what's happening in the world around him is to invite disaster.  Good advice for our times.

Back to my Management project.  Cheers...

*--Alec R. Constandinos, Thank God It's Friday, Love and Kisses, 1978

Thursday, September 27, 2012

9 to 5*, second shift

It's going to be brief today--there's a lot to do for management class, and of course I'll check my cataloging classwork, but first I'd like to welcome my readers from across the pond!   I was THRILLED to see two page-views from RUSSIA today. Wow!  Please leave comments on what you read, good, bad, or indifferent.  I'd love to hear what you have to say. That goes for my readers in Germany and the UK, and of course here in North America.

I spent much of yesterday organizing raw data from the library director job ads I chose to include in the study.  Here are some ideas on creating job advertisements for academic librarians:

1)  In the interest of brevity and clarity, it would be a GREAT idea for schools to put a hyperlink to their job description in the advertisement rather than cherry-picking items from that job description to add to the advertisement.  Even librarians recognize padded writing when they see it.

2) Proofread, proofread, proofread!  One ad asked for--no kidding--57 years experience as an academic librarian.** And it had NOTHING to do with Heinz (but that's a hint as to what college it was).

3) Same ad--this phrase--"strategic planning strategies".  Can we please be redundant again and again and again?  It's like ordering french fries and a baked potato when you've already had vichysoisse (another hint)**. Hey, HR folks--get someone from the English department (or maybe even the library) to proofread ads for you.

Tomorrow, with any luck, I'll share my conclusions.  Cheers.

*--Dolly Parton, 9 to 5 and odd jobs, 1980.
**--No, I won't tell, but the hints may help you find it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

9 to 5*, 1st shift

11:04 a.m. and I'm tying up some loose ends before I start on my management homework--a survey of advertisements for library director positions.  The example given us used 90 examples (!!!) but for the purposes of my project, I think 20 will suffice.  I'm still sorting through the raw data, but some trends are already becoming apparent, and I'd like to share those with you.

1)  If you're considering library and information sciences as a career, make SURE the program you enter is ALA-accredited.  I don't just say this as a member, the data bears this out.

2) A second advanced degree is helpful, especially if you want to break into the upper echelon.

3) If you want to work at the library of a college that specializes in a particular discipline, it will be helpful to have a degree in that discipline. For instance, the law school in my list wants an MLS and a JD; the school for the arts on my list wants an MLS and an advanced degree in an arts discipline.

4) There are exceptions, of course; the prominent culinary school mentions nothing about culinary arts, and even more curious, the prominent medical school lists nothing about medical training (but you can BET they won't overlook it).

5) Experience (but not too much) matters:  most colleges were looking for between 3 and 7 years experience in a dizzying array of combinations, mostly having to do with their particular situation (community college, law library etc.).

6) There were three colleges of the 20 that did not mention a specific number of years experience.  Two of them were, well, let's just say I'd have reservations about applying there anyway.

7) The third was UCLA, which is searching for a University Librarian.  I'm going to provide the link for you and let you read it for yourself, especially the fifth paragraph that begins "Ideal candidates".  It's clear that the people responsible for that ad know what's at stake, and more importantly, deeply care who their leader is. We should all be so lucky.

I can't believe it's 11:35 and I'm still sitting here.  Back to the grind.

*"9 to 5", Dolly Parton, 9 to 5 and Odd Jobs, 1980.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

More Than Words* and Sheldon Cooper

We're about to start SCRABBLE Night at the library again.  It'll be on the last Thursday of the month, and it is, as the name implies, an opportunity for members of the community to come together to play the game.  As a future professional librarian, I know my duty is to serve the whole populace, in all its breathtaking diversity. I enjoy the game (even when I lose) and I want others to enjoy it as well. If someone comes in and is an absolute newbie to the game, I make certain (when possible) that their experience at club is positive; that they learn the rules; that they come to realize that with word knowledge comes word power in the game; that they have as much fun as humanly possible. 

Later on, when they're ready, they're encouraged to try a tournament or two.  If they survive the "baptism of fire", SCRABBLE may just get a friend for life.  That being said, nothing could have prepared me for what I experienced today.

FULL DISCLOSURE:  I didn't play particularly well in games 3-6 today.  I ended up with a record of 2 wins, 5 losses, and a point spread of -406 (total of point spread in all games).  That is NOT the reason I'm writing this blog entry.  I don't like the way I performed, but that's secondary.

I competed in a tournament held at the University of Pennsylvania today.  Some names are being withheld because I don't want their grief.   The following happened:

1) I was told by the tournament director that I had the "wrong tiles", because people could "Braille" (feel the indentation to see what letter it is) them.
2) I was told by my first opponent that "she didn't like my chess clock (we use chess timers for club and tournament play)"
3) I was told by the same woman that "(she) set aside (your) board" because it wasn't like hers. As far as I could tell, I was the only player who didn't have an expensive custom board (ranging in price from $150-250).
4) I was told by my second opponent, "don't announce your score on my time".
5) After game five, I decided I'd put my stuff away, since I hadn't used it since round one.  I keep it in a Bottom Dollar fabric grocery bag, which is rather "crackly" sounding.  I started to put it away, and was roundly redressed by the tournament director for making noise.  Stunned, I asked if she was going to tell the dozen or so people who were talking to be quiet. Her answer? "No."

I was really ready to walk out and not return, but sensing that doing so might endanger future participation in other tournaments NOT run by this woman**, I sought out the advice of Joe Neff, the director of the Warrington (PA) club.  He advised to stay for the last game (which I did, and won on the last play) but not to return to tournaments run by this woman.

Why is this important?  Why should it matter?

As librarians, our integrity is at stake every time we answer a question, solve a problem, or gently lead someone through the intricacies of the SATIRE list***.  We can't afford to put up insurmountable roadblocks or to be pharasaic about every point in a given policy. The SCRABBLE tournament rule book is over 50 pages in length and reads like it was drafted by Sheldon Cooper (The Big Bang Theory). As library professionals we need to present a welcoming atmosphere in all of our contacts with the public, whether it's the reference desk, circulation, or any programming we do. 

Onward and upward.

*--Song from Extreme's 1991 album Pornograffiti.
**--NASPA (North American Scrabble Players Association) does suspend player privileges and occasionally bans players.  The most recent example was a 14-year-old who was caught cheating (stealing blanks) and who had to vacate all his wins at this year's National tournament. My guess is that he'll be banned until he turns 18.
***--There are roughly 100 six-letter combinations which have been shown to have a higher frequency of leading to bingoes (seven-letter words), of which SATIRE is one.  For instance, SATIRE + T = TASTIER or ATTIRES (among others).

Friday, September 21, 2012

Day in the life*

Cause for celebration last night--got an 80 on my Cataloging/Classification quiz!  Probably should have had a 100 but I'll take it at this point.  Going to do revisions on my last cataloging exercise tomorrow when it opens up.  Not as much as last time, but it only gets more exacting from here on out. Yikes!

830 am: I have a Scrabble tournament on Sunday down at U-Penn, so I have to finish my management homework by Saturday night.  Two postings on communication based on two webinars and two chapters in our textbook, so I have a little more reading and viewing to do. My co-worker will be here in a few minutes, so off to work I go, so back later.

1140 am:  Answered phones, solved circulation problems.  Book van was here about an hour ago, dropped off two bags this time, mostly titles to re-shelve.  It's been a little slow since school started again. Four men at the computers, one reading a paper.  Quiet times here at SCFL. Processed a library card application and discovered that they had applied on line over the summer.  Talked Eagles football with an elderly gent.  Time for lunch.

325 pm:  Finally getting to my management homework after a trip to Wawa for soda, collecting a book replacement fee from a young lady's grandmom, and taking care of a shut-in patron who calls once or twice a week.  She generally orders mysteries, but will sometimes take popular fiction titles.  I'm all too happy to help her--it's part and parcel of why we're here.

I have to confess something.  Everyone thinks their local librarian knows every book EVER written, plus keeps up on every author, every minute of the day.  We do (Just kidding!).  I could stand to  do more leisure reading in fiction genres.  I daresay that 95% of the reading I do has an academic purposes, except for cookbooks and reading the news.  Maybe after I finish my MLS...Traffic's kind of light today.

Back to Management homework.  Posit:  "What are the underlying issues in effective interpersonal communication addressed by suggestions in Table 16.1 in Stueart?"  It's REALLY open to interpretation.  Time to start interpreting.  Cheers...

*--The title of today's post refers not only to a late Beatles song but to an ongoing project by a librarian that collects blog pages from various sites worldwide and publishes them twice yearly (I think the next one is in March). They posts run the gamut from art librarians who are doing presentations on their collection of "coffee table books" (not the right term but I'll find it) to public librarians talking about dealings with patrons, as well as a lot of things in between. I was required to read them as part of one of my classes in my first term, and doing so enlightened me as to the wide variety of activities we engage in. One of my short-term goals is to be included in the next edition.