EPA.gov: government websites you should know about

EPA seal

EPA sealThe Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is a political agency, and so I suspect you probably approve or disapprove of its policies depending on what you think of whatever administration happens to be in power.

But regardless of your politics, its website contains a great deal of useful, practical, and non-controversial information. Continue reading

Meet the library staff, answer a question


Librarians do. . . all kinds of fun things!
Barbarian/Librarian Party

As much as I would love to post here every week, it hasn’t been possible. I have managed only once so far this month. Today’s post is scheduled for Christmas Day, which means you’re probably reading it later.

You are used to going to librarians to ask questions. This time, the librarian (that’s me) has a question for you. It’s at the bottom of the page.

Here’s a compilation of earlier posts about librarians and library staff, only one of which has anything to do with Christmas at all. If you’re really looking for fresh, Christmas-related content, be sure to catch the post on Musicology for Everyone about Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols This year is the centennial of Britten’s birth.

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Librarians at work

  • library catalogers

    Catalogers at work

    The librarian’s job Maybe the old stereotype of a librarian as woman with bad hair and an aversion to conversation is dead, but lots of people still don’t get what a librarian does.

  • Helping the reference librarian help you Librarians conduct a “reference interview” to learn what you need to know. Knowing what they will ask and how to answer will help both of you get to your answer.
  • Reference librarians reach out Reference librarians don’t just sit at a desk waiting for patrons to come to them. They also have all kinds of ways to reach out to patrons, both high and low tech.
  • Circ staff: the most visible people at the library You might not see catalogers, administrators, etc. at the library. Some don’t have reference desks any more. But you will see the circ staff. Get to know them.
  • Catalogers: the invisible librarians Catalogers aren’t really invisible. They just work outside the public eye. Their work is vital to library services, and very visible to the public.
  • Library staff: the paraprofessional Gone are the days when only librarians and clerks worked in libraries. Highly skilled paraprofessionals take on critical responsibilities in every department.

The librarian left the building

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Librarians at play

The request

Are you a librarian or a frequent library user? I would love to publish guest posts here.

So far as I know, Reading, Writing, Research is the only blog by a librarian that is not aimed either at other librarians or the patrons of a specific library. If something is happening in your library that you want the general public to know about, let me be your soapbox!

If you have something to write, let’s correspond. Write to me at dmguion@allpurposeguru.com

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Photo credits:
Barbarian librarian. Some rights reserved by Glamour Schatz.
Catalogers at work. Some rights reserved by sundaykofax.
Bookmobile. Some rights reserved by Loyola Marymount University Library.
NUC Christmas tree foundation. Some rights reserved by Monterey Public Library.

John F. Kennedy Library & Museum

JFK_library at dusk
JFK_library at dusk

JFK Library at dusk

As part of the 50th anniversary remembrance of the assassination of President Kennedy, it seems good to pay particular attention to the JFK Library. Like all modern presidential libraries, it was constructed with private funds and then maintained and operated by the National Archives and Records Administration.

Franklin D. Roosevelt established the first one. The Presidential Libraries Act of 1955 encouraged subsequent Presidents to do the same, even though at the time the President’s papers were still considered private property.

And so on September 20, 1961, less than a year into his administration, Kennedy began consultation with the Archivist of the United States to begin plans for his own library. He planned to establish it, following Roosevelt’s model, near Harvard University. A month before his final trip to Dallas, he selected the site. Continue reading

Borrowing from a digital library

North Carolina Digital Library

I have written numerous posts about the general concept that libraries are about more than books. That doesn’t change the fact that libraries are still very much about books. It’s just that nowadays, an increasing number of titles are available as ebooks. Or quite often, only as ebooks. Libraries lend ebooks. And audiobooks, for that matter.

North Carolina Digital Library

Screen shot of North Carolina Digital Library

Continue reading

Bad news from a good undergraduate paper

Research using a laptop
Research using a laptop

Research using a laptop

Ever since I came across an online article claiming Benjamin Franklin as America’s first environmentalist, I have been looking for information that I can use in one of my other blogs.

I just took notes on another online article called “What Would Ben Franklin Do? Influences of America’s First Environmentalist “ by Lauren Siminauer and noticed that at the time of publication she was “finishing her bachelor’s degrees in biology and psychology at the University of Virginia.

I have written quite a lot about research, sources, and using the library for writing term papers. Since Simenauer has essentially gotten one of her undergraduate papers published online, it makes a good opportunity for making specific comments about how how an undergraduate student did her research—and how she should have. Continue reading