At the Ref Desk (11/7/19): Everyone who watched the morning news has come over to ask if that was me on TV. [more...]
Subscribe to RSS - Academic Libraries

Academic Libraries

Interview with WGN-TV

Submitted by Leo Klein on Wed, 11/6/19 (10:36pm)

Tuesday, Nov. 5th, 2019 was an important day -- or rather important evening. It was when WGN-TV broadcast the interview with me [link here] produced by the excellent reporter, Erik Runge. The actual interview took place a few days earlier at the DePaul Library.

The topic was my experience in West Berlin both before and after the Wall came down. The segment also included other witnesses both here and in Berlin. The fact that the reporter included so many other photos of me -- from my days in Paris to a shot of me in lederhosen at 4 years old holding on to Mayor Daley -- made the whole thing seem so much like a personal biography.

That said, I truly appreciate how the reporter let me have the last word. For so long the east side of Berlin was a symbol of oppression while the west side observed tolerance and liberty. It truly was a triumph of democracy -- something I shall never forget.

Update: Erik Runge and the good people at WGN-TV aired a follow-up segment on Thursday evening. The title was, "Lessons from the Fall of the Berlin Wall Still Ring True, 30 Years Later" [link here]. As the title suggests, the piece looks at the lessons from this period together with what people born afterwards think about it. My own comment which they include was to agree that lessons were drawn but that people can forget them -- if only (one hopes) temporarily.

Location: 
Institution: 

First Saturday of the New School Year 2019

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sat, 9/14/19 (6:35pm)

1st Saturday of the school year with colleague Jim from the West Desk. Note: folder was carrying all the articles I've been going through for a research project.

Location: 
Institution: 

Remembering the Spectator - Issue no. 105 (6/30/1711)

Submitted by Leo Klein on Thu, 5/9/19 (4:50pm)

Talking to a student last week, I tried to remember the quote (and the source of the quote): "I spell like a gentleman and not like a ..." Finally found it: [LINK].

P.S. Initial Google search (with auto-correct) came up with, "I smell like a gentleman..." Ah, no.

From the Series, Why We Need Librarians...

Submitted by Leo Klein on Tue, 1/15/19 (5:40pm)

From the Series, Why We Need Librarians (IM edition) ...

Question: "Got the '3rd Symphony' by Copland? I had a look but couldn't find anything."
Answer: "Try 'third'..."

First Saturday of the Year

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sat, 9/8/18 (10:48pm)

First Saturday of the school year -- with Jim from Access Services!

Location: 
Institution: 

Proceeds of the day

Submitted by Leo Klein on Thu, 10/18/12 (7:52pm)

At the Reference Desk (actually in the workroom):

  1. OMG! 'Students Help Yourselves'? So unfair! What about us starving non-students? Strike! Strike!
  2. Then I turn to the table and see this wonderful home-made cake!
  3. Then a student brings over a burrito from some event just outside the library! At the same time, someone from Access Services says they've got a bunch of trays from yet another event and could I help clear them out? Are you kidding? Here's a picture of the final haul. It's too much!
Institution: 

Woodworking vs. Library Science at the University of Alabama

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sat, 12/4/10 (12:43pm)

The old joke in the Soviet Union used to be: 'We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us' -- Soviet currency being completely worthless outside its own borders. So what can I say about the position of "Digital Repository Coordinator" at the University of Alabama (UA) advertised recently on the LITA list? First, it's not even listed as "Coordinator" on UA's own HR site (or on LibJobs for that matter) but rather under the slightly more dignified title of "Digital Repository Manager". So somewhere in between, there must have been a reclassification.

But whatever it's called, the job description is the same: the lucky-ducky who lands this position must demonstrate "expertise" in MS Basic, Perl or Python, have some knowledge of either JavaScript, Java or PHP and of course, be able to design and interact with SQL databases. These are the "minimum qualifications". "Preferred qualifications" include a knowledge of XML, XSLT, diacritics and encoding issues as well as metadata standards such as EAD and MODS. An academic degree in Computer Science would be nice plus some experience in programing.

Annual salary: $26,062.40.

When someone pointed out that $26k might be a tad low, the original poster defended the rate saying "technical skills have historically been paid little in academia". On the bright side, she added, "we don't require employees to work 60-80 hour weeks as is common for programmers in the wider marketplace."

I s'pose not being required to work "60-80 hour weeks" might be a consolation for making $26k a year -- but I hardly think it's an incentive to stay very long with the employer. In fact, if I were making that little, you better believe I'd be carrying off everything that wasn't nailed down at the end of the day (joke). In any case, I did have a look at some of the other jobs available on the UA HR site -- just to get a feeling of what the prevailing wage is. And wouldn't you know, they've got a position as "Cabinet Maker III" paying close to $23 an hour -- or more than double what the library is offering for the position of "Digital Repository Manager".

So what's the moral of this tale? Woodworking beats Library Science -- at least at the University of Alabama. (And Thank God I've got a background in both.)

Blogger to End FTP-Blogging - Early Days of Library Blogging

Submitted by Leo Klein on Tue, 2/2/10 (12:38pm)

blogger-logo.pngBlogger is shutting down its FTP service. That's a shame. It's what allowed me to put together one of the early blogs on a library web site -- at the end of 2002.

In fact it was so early that library administration didn't quite know what to do with it. Months passed and I ended up putting up the first post myself on 2/9/2003:

Test Drive the New Version of CUNY+
Sunday, February 09, 2003

(note: many functions are currently not available). CUNY has released a new web-based version of CUNY+, the online library catalog. The new CUNY+ has improved features that were requested by our users. See for yourself by going to the CUNY+ page. - posted by lrk on 11:56 PM

Ah, those were the days!

Location: 
Institution: 

Pages