Category Archives: Librarians Can Be Fun Too
On a recent trip to the Netherlands I had the opportunity to visit one of Amsterdam’s public libraries. Public libraries in Amsterdam are collectively known as Openbare (“public”) Bibliotheek (“library”), or OBA. The largest of these is the Centrale (“central”) Bibliotheek (“library”) located near the Amsterdam Centraal Station.
The Central Library opened its doors in 2008. It was designed by Jo Coenen, and cost around € 80 million. This state of the art building houses half million books, magazines, CDs, DVDs, games and blu-rays, more than 1,000 seats and 490 internet computers, an auditorium, an exhibition room, the Library Museum, and the Gerard Reve Museum spread out over 10 floors manned by a staff of 200.
I was surprised to see AmsterdamFM broadcasting live on the first floor. There is another radio station, OBA Live, located on the fourth floor. It really is a beautiful design. I can see why in 2012 it was voted as the best library in the Netherlands. For more information, check out their website at http://www.oba.nl/home.html.
Come on by the Library and check out our Holiday Tree. As Mary Susan Lucas said, “Librarians will do ANYTHING to save books.” This is our starter version with greater hopes for next year.
And while you are here, get your Polaroid picture made for the background display. Truly retro! Inquire at the Circulation Desk.
Next, we will be adding snowflake making to the festivities.
Hope to see you in the Library!
In case you are visiting Washington, DC in the coming year, plan a visit to the Library of Congress’ new exhibit “The Civil Rights Act of 1964: A Long Struggle for Freedom.” The exhibit which recognizes the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is open to the public Monday-Saturday 8:30 am- 4:30 pm until September 12, 2015.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 (PL 88-352, 78 Stat. 241, enacted July 2, 1964) outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. It provided injunctive relief against discrimination in public accommodations and segregation in public education. It enforced the constitutional right to vote, ending unequal voter-registration requirements. The law is a landmark piece of civil rights legislation.
The Library of Congress’ free exhibit “The Civil Rights Act of 1964: A Long Struggle for Freedom” highlights the legal and legislative challenges and victories leading to its passage. The exhibit highlights the individuals, both prominent leaders and private citizens, who participated in the process. The exhibit contains more than 200 items from correspondence to photographs, newspapers, legal briefs, drawings and posters. It also includes audio-video stations throughout the exhibit showing film clips of dramatic events related to the civil rights era such as protests, sit-ins, boycotts and other public actions. An introductory film narrated by Julian Bond focuses on the significance of the legislation. Another video explores the impact of the Civil Rights Act. There are six themes in the exhibit: Prologue, Segregation Era, World War II and the Post War Years, Civil Rights Era, Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Impact.
Much of the exhibit’s documentation comes from NAACP Records in the Library’s Manuscript Division and the Prints and Photographs Division. The audio-visual materials come from the Library’s American Folklife Center’s Civil Rights History Project and the Library’s National Audio-Visual Conservation Center. Newman’s Own Foundation with additional support from HISTORY® provided funding for the exhibition. Further details about the exhibit can be found at http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/civil-rights-act/
If you’re the type who stalls, delays, drags your feet or becomes paralyzed at the thought of turning in sub-standard work and, consequently, has been shamed into being called a procrastinator, take heart. You’ve been redeemed. John Perry, in his book, The Art of Procrastination, A Guide to Effective Dawdling, Lollygagging and Postponing has cast a positive light on the subject. Perry promotes the theory that procrastinators actually accomplish many tasks and has subtitled the book: Or, Getting Things Done by Putting Them Off.
This is a book which should appeal to all of us within the legal profession. Our calling is comprised of proficient procrastinators. This isn’t to say that we’re lazy; rather we’re perfectionists and strategists who are adept at juggling shifting priorities. Litigators are the prime example. A litigator will diligently prepare a case for trial, yet simultaneously plan a thoughtful settlement agreement. Sometimes this works and at other times it leads to late hours, additional staff and much coffee consumption. In an environment where litigators find themselves facing each on a regular basis, preparation becomes a well-calculated game of chicken.
Trial preparation aside, our profession is also comprised of individuals who are such perfectionists that they are reluctant to start any project, especially a project with a “fuzzy” deadline because they don’t want to start anything that doesn’t represent their best efforts. As we fret, worry and deny “that” project, we set about accomplishing many other projects, most which have firm deadlines, are routine but necessary, or which don’t so intimidate us that we become incapacitated. Perry explains how avoiding the big “to do” task encourages us, through avoidance, to accomplish countless other tasks. In fact, procrastination is both an art and a science.
I first heard about The Art of Procrastination when I attended a library conference in early 2012. I was captivated as the speaker discussed Perry’s book. As he ticked off a litany of topics (i.e., making lists, structured procrastination, perfectionism, etc.), I felt as if he was reading my mind. I could barely wait to order Perry’s book and had it rushed to me. I dove right into it and managed to work into many conversations that I was reading this book and that I would recommend it to anyone. I went to the CSL librarian who coordinates this blog and told her that I wanted to write about this book and how so many could identify with the subject.
As I said, that was over two years ago and I am still on page 32 of a 92 page book. My librarian colleague has stopped asking me when I will have the procrastination article finished and has, instead, praised me for the other blog articles I’ve written, the research guides I’ve created and the other collaborations we have completed. Never-the-less, I can only dodge my commitments for so long. Besides, I want others who may share the shame of procrastination to understand that it is no longer something of which to be embarrassed.
I encourage you to read the book. But don’t expect me to ask if you have read it. Sorry. I’ve already heard it: ”I meant to, but I haven’t gotten around to it.”