Reference Workroom, Then and Now

We were talking about a slogan that one heard during the recession of 2008 and after, "doing more with less".  I said, jokingly, that we ended up doing less with less, but in a way it's true.  The agent of change was not so much lean times, but automation:  of acquisitions, (ipage), of reference transactions, (Google, etcetera), of interlibrary loan, (ILLiad).  Our workroom bears a kind of witness to these changes.



Workroom annex, built 2003?
Where did all the paper go?


St. Augustine Branch 2009: Before Cascades Park

I took these photos five years ago.  Now that the area has been completely remade into Cascades Park, I thought it might be interesting to take a look back.

The rest of these were taken through a chain-link fence.


More Walks

The weather has been gorgeous.  Highs in the '60s, lows at night in the '30s, clear and sunny.

My street, Sarasota Drive, looking east.
Alban Avenue
Camellias are blooming       
This little mid-century modern on Maple Drive is a favorite of ours.  It's behind our house.
A saucer magnolia.  Spring is a long way off, but the dogwoods and redbuds are already blooming as well.
Holly trees are heavy with fruit.
Chapman Pond was busy with Hooded Mergansers and Canada geese.


Old Fort Park

Old Fort Park is about a block from my house.  It isn't much of a fort.  It was a Civil War era observation post with perhaps an artillery piece, overlooking the approach to Tallahassee from the Gulf coast.

The park is the site of our Woodland Drives Neighborhood Association picnics.  People walk their dogs there, children play games.

An historical marker at the park reads:
This earth work located on ground once part of the plantation of E.A. Houston, father of Captain Patrick Houston (later state adjutant general) who commanded the Confederate artillery at the Battle of Natural Bridge, is a silent witness of the efforts of the citizens of Tallahassee to protect the capitol of Florida from capture by federal troops under General John Newton.

Newton's force landed at St. Marks light house and advanced up the east side of the St. Marks River, only to be decisively repulsed at Natural Bridge on March 6, 1865, by a hurriedly assembled Confederate force commanded by General Sam Jones, which included a company of cadets from the West Florida Seminary, now Florida State University.
So not a shot was fired in anger from this fort, nor a Yankee seen.


There is another line of breastworks downhill to the south in someone's back yard.  I saw them once when the house was for sale.

These were taken with my Droid Mini phone.  Not bad at all.


Long Walks

Two weeks off.  I used so much sick leave for my eye surgeries last year that I have to use some "annual" leave this month or lose it.  It's been very cold for Florida, hat & coat weather, but I have to move or my mind stagnates.

Back to my Canon S90 here.  Far superior to my Droid Mini's camera, and no more trouble to carry.

Sarasota & Country Club Drive; built in the 1920's.

Northeast perimeter of the golf course.

Where to send your golf ball.

Houses facing Old Fort Park at Seminole & Maple

House at Azalea Dr. & Alban Ave.

Ferns in my yard after a hard freeze.


Review and Book List for the Iraq & Afghan Wars

Michio Kakutani has published an interesting round-up in the New York Times of recent reportage, memoirs and fiction about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Human Costs of the Forever Wars, Enough to Fill a Bookshelf, accompanied by, A Reading List of Modern War Stories.
Even as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan morph into shapeless struggles with no clear ends in sight, they have given birth to an extraordinary outpouring of writing that tries to make sense of it all: journalism that has unraveled the back story of how and why America went to war, and also a profusion of stories, novels, memoirs and poems that testify to the day-to-day realities and to the wars’ ever-unspooling human costs.
 The reading list is not exhaustive, but would make a good start for a library display.  In my library, war displays tend to appear twice a year, for Memorial Day and Veterans Day.  This past summer we put up a special display for the one-hundredth anniversary of World War I, which moved pretty well.  But I am not sure how an Iraq & Afghan Wars display would be received.

I struggled over whether, and then how, to post these links, but they were clearly good material.  And the books themselves delineate better that I ever could the tragedy of these wars.  Would our readers pick them up?

I remember the time we tried a display on some anniversary of the 9/11 World Trade Center attack.  I don't think a single book was checked out.


Seeing Again & Old Newspapers

After a couple of years of deteriorating vision, and five eye surgeries over the last 14 months for cataracts and corneal transplants, I can at last see again!  For a librarian, this is a pretty big deal.  Add to this my recent acquisition of a smartphone with a decent camera, and I find I'd rather share pictures than write.

Our little Christmas tree
Fried cheese-grits, ham & egg, a Southern man's delight.
This was a black A.M.E. church, across the street from the library, now the offices of a non-profit org.  An ancient mossy live oak tree in front.
From Ancestral Voices, the first volume of the diaries of James Lees-Milne, I find an observation that has often come to me while browsing old newspapers on microfilm, "He only reads eighteenth-century newspapers, of which he has an enormous stock, for he says the news in them is just the same as it is today.  You merely have to substitute the names of countries occasionally, and not invariably."


Trying Out My Smartphone Camera

I bought a Motorola Droid Mini, my first smartphone!  I took these pictures with its 10 megapixel camera.  Not bad, but no comparison with my Canon S90.

The first two are of the southwest side of the library.

Here is Bronough Street looking north on a cool, bright December day.

Here are some MovinCool portable air conditioners in the basement corridor.  They had been used temporarily while repairs were made to the library's HVAC system.  They look a little Dalek-like, no?


Asian Crime Fiction

Here is a book list I put together for a display.  I don't much care for Scandinavian crime, but it has been credited with encouraging the growth of international crime fiction in English.  These books have Asian characters or Asian settings or both.  I include only books that our library owns, but the list might be of use to librarians, or as a reading checklist.  Where only the series name is given, see Fantastic Fiction for titles.  The image, which I borrowed from Grand Theft Auto, was used on my display poster, with the brushstroke font Bonzai.

Brackman, Lisa
    Rock Paper Tiger
    Hour of the Rat
Browne, Marshall
    Rendezvous at Kamakura Inn
Burdett, John
    Bangkok series
Chandra, Vikram
    Sacred Games
Chang, Henry
    Detective Jack Yu series
Cotterill, Colin
    Dr. Siri series
    Jimm Juree series
Flint, Shamini
    Inspector Singh series
Higashino, Keigo
    The Devotion of Suspect X
    Salvation of a Saint
Hirahara, Naomi
    Mas Arai series
    Murder in Bamboo Lane
Isaka, Kotaro
    Remote Control
Keating, H.R.F.
    Inspector Ghote series
Kirino, Natsuo
    Real World
Lancet, Barry
    Tokyo Kill
Lee, Don
    Country of Origin
Lewis, Simon
    Bad Traffic
Liang, Diane Wei
    Mei Wang mysteries
Limon, Martin
    SueƱo and Bascomb Investigations
Marshall, William
    Yellowthread Street
Miyabe, Miyuki
    Shadow Family
    All She Was Worth
Pattison, Eliot
    Inspector Shan series
Peace, David
    Tokyo Year Zero
    Occupied City
Qiu, Xiaolong
    Inspector Chen series
Robinson, Thatcher
    White Ginger
    Black Karma
Rozan, S.J.
    Lydia Chin series
Shimada, Soji
    The Tokyo Zodiac Murders
Swarup, Vikas
    Six Suspects
Vittachi, Nury
    The Feng Shui Detective