Friday, October 24, 2008

Two BIG Upcoming Events

Depending on your personal perspective, there are two big events coming up next week. The presidential (and other offices!) election is on Tuesday, Nov. 4. Also, starting on Tuesday, November 4, and running through Friday, November 7, there is the Wisconsin Library Association Annual Conferenceat the Marriott West in Middleton.

Both of these events are important in their own ways and, at first blush, may seem completely unrelated. But consider that ALA's latest survey of 2007 grads referred to in Library Journal's "Library Salaries and Jobs: Overview", only 29% of the respondents listed their new jobs as being in the private sector. That means that over 70% of the positions are in the public sector. The people making the public sector budget proposals and decisions that effect everything from building upkeep to employee payroll and benefits are often governmental bodies of elected officials (with the help of dedicated civil service administrators). So, having a voice in who is elected can effect Library and Information Studies professionals in a very direct way. Of course there are so many other ways that elected officials and politics effect our profession, such as the role politics can play in legal issues surrounding censorship and copyright.

Since politics, and by extension government, play such a big part in our professional world, be sure your voice is heard this election! If you need information on where to vote in the Madison area, look no further than the city of Madison's Office of the City Clerk's website. This site has information on how to vote early via absentee ballots that can be mailed to you now and up until Oct. 30. Right now, (today if you'd like!), you can vote in person via absentee ballot at the City County building located just off the square near the State Capitol. By voting early you can avoid the possible long lines or other problems that may impede your voting on election day. All absentee ballots are counted just like regular votes. If you still need to register to vote, you can do it in person at the City County Building or register at your City of Madison polling place on November 4. If you are not voting in Madison and need advice on voting absentee in another municipality, please visit the "Can I Vote?" website for assistance.

Also, since politics and government play such an important role in our profession, professional associations like WLA are integral to our well being. Not only does WLA organize great events like their Annual Conference, which provides us with numerous development opportunities we might not have otherwise, they are also an organization that spends countless (and sometimes thankless) hours giving librarians a voice in the political arena through their lobbying and public relations work. If you want to learn more about WLA and their work in the political arena, check out their website, but also consider attending the state conference. At the conference you can meet librarians in the field who will be chocked full of advice on how be active politically in the profession, as well as how to go about landing a job once you graduate. WLA offers special rates for students to attend the whole conference or just one day. It is not too late to sign up to go, so what are you waiting for?

Monday, October 20, 2008


Anyone with a class or a computer need this week will discover that the library elves have been up to their mischief in the computer lab. READ posters now glitter the walls like dewdrops on fresh morning leaves! Perhaps you would like to admire them, or maybe you'd like to know a bit of Read poster history? Well, READ on!

Posters promoting reading and libraries date back to 1919 when the Children's Book Council produced the Children's Book Week posters (more word on these from SLIS later...). Following, the first National Library Week poster was created in 1958 under the direction of the publishing community.

The American library community finally decided to take matters into their own hands and promote, promote, promote. In the mid-70's, ALA hired a big Chicago public relations firm and a Chicago advertising agency. ALA's first promotional poster, produced in 1980, featured Mickey Mouse and a simple message: "Read". After Mickey came another poster with the same message, this time depicting a controversial yet alluring Miss-Piggy-turned-Marian-the-librarian, standing atop a stack of books whilst shelving.

Suddenly, the library world was creating quite a stir for itself. Posters of Annie, Yoda, and Snoopy followed shortly after. In 1985, ALA got the hook-up to sign on some live stars-Bette Midler, Sting, and Bill Crosby. And the rest is history. It's interesting to know that each ALA READ poster features an original illustration or photograph, and not one celebrity has demanded to be compensated for their time or image.

Interested? READ more about it! To find out about READ posters, I found a great article in American Libraries' May 2003 issue called "Mickey Mouse, Miss Piggy, and the Birth of ALA Graphics." The article is written by Peggy Barber, who was on the original ALA staff when READ took off. She shares the history of the promotional campaign and the lessons she learned about libraries, marketing, and celebrities. To see today's line-up of celebrities reading, visit the ALA store at

It seems you haven't made it in this world unless your face is on a READ poster. And today, yours can be! ALA now produces CD's with the software and graphics necessary to customize your own READ poster image-already a hit with public library summer reading programs!

If you'd like, you can e-mail ALA Graphics with poster and product suggestions at

-BW, 10/19/08
Imagine from:
Barber, Peggy. "Mickey Mouse, Miss Piggy, and the Birth of ALA Graphics."American Libraries. 34, 5 (May 2003): 60.

Monday, October 13, 2008

SLIS Library Workshops

In August and September, we offered some workshops on RefWorks, LIS databases, MadCat, MyWebSpace, and Web Basics. We have some more workshops in October and November. You are welcome to drop-in any of these workshops. All workshops will be held in the SLIS Library Computer Lab. Please give us feedback on the evaluation after each workshop. We hope to provide workshops that are really helpful to you! For more information, please check the schedule out at

Workshop Schedule

Google for Academic Research

  • Instructor: Pamela O'Donnell
  • Wednesday, October 22, noon


  • Instructor: Ian Benton
  • Tuesday, October 28, 4:00pm
  • Jing is a free screen capture utility for capturing an image or a video. Also, you can add text, arrows, or highlights on the image.


  • Instructor: Peggy Cruse
  • Monday, November 10, 1:00pm Monday, November 17, 1:00pm
  • Write-N-Cite is a small utility program that makes RefWorks work with Word processor.

SLIS Library Computer Lab after remodeling

The SLIS library computer lab has been remodeled this summer. The brand new computer lab is now open for SLISers to use! There are computers, scanners, and LIS applications in the lab for teaching and workshops. SLIS students are welcome to use the resources in the lab whenever there is no reservation. The reservation status is updated on the website (,30)). And the hours are basically the same as the SLIS library, except that the lab opens 15 minutes later and closes 15 minutes earlier than the library. Also, there are basic instructions for printing and scanning. You can follow the instructions near the printer and the scanner step-by-step. If you have any questions or suggestions about the lab, or if you notice some problems with the lab resources, please e-mail lab PA at ttsai5 AT wisc DOT edu, or leave a message on the sheet which is attached to the computer desk in the back of the lab. We will get back to you soon.

Anyway, welcome to the brand new SLIS library computer lab! You can explore more on the computer lab website (

Monday, October 6, 2008

Where's my bus?

As someone who works at an Academic Library reference desk but has an interest in Public Library reference, I sometimes get a little dizzy from learning all the separate terminologies and procedures for these two similar, yet different institutions. Which is why it’s nice when the two areas overlap.

One thing that public library and academic library patrons have in common is they all need to get somewhere. And as gas gets ever more expensive, more and more students and academic staff, as well as city residents and tourists, are turning to mass transit as their primary means of transportation. In Madison, this means people are riding the Metro Bus.

What does this mean for the reference desk? No matter what type of library you’re in, chances are, you'll get frequent inquiries about Metro routes, schedules, and arrival information. In Madison, up until now, this has been a dicey proposition, since bus departure and arrival times are notoriously unreliable due to traffic, weather, construction, and other such annoyances.

Reference staff need not worry though. With the arrival of the Madison Metro's "WebWatch" software, you can get real-time Madison Metro bus information via the Internet. In case the link doesn't work, use this URL:

Here are the main features of the site:

  • Real-time bus stop arrivals: You will need to know your bus' route number and direction, as well as the stop number for the location at which you are waiting. (Click "View Live Stop Times" for this info

  • Stop information for Smart Phones: If you have an Internet capable Smart Phone (Blackberry, BlackJack, etc) you can even view stop information right on your phone. (Click "Accessible Text Live Stop Times" for this info)

  • Real-time bus location: Perhaps the coolest feature of the site, Metro's GPS network allows you to view real-time bus location over Google Maps and Google Earth. When combined with the bus stop arrival info, you can know exactly where your bus is, as well as when it will get to your stop. (Click "View Map- Virtual Earth" OR "View Map- Google Maps" for this info)

Hopefully, with this information in hand, SLIS students can be not only more informed Metro riders, but also more knowledgeable and helpful Librarians!

NOTE: Users of the site should be aware that this is a Beta version of the program, so there may be occasional glitches, delays, and crashes.