All Quiet

It's the end of the beginning of the school term.  Course syllabuses and PowerPoint outlines have been printed.  Calls about whether the library has course textbooks have been taken.  Deadlines for midterm assignments are comfortably in the future.

I took a call last week from a man in Georgia who wanted photocopies of our newspaper clippings on the Rosewood Massacre, in which a black settlement near Cedar Key, Florida  was wiped out by racial violence in 1923.  His grandmother had some connection, and he wanted to make  a scrapbook for her.  Our clippings  date from the 1990's, when survivors of the massacre successfully sued the State of Florida for compensation.  It was a lot of work to sort out the file and copy the articles, but I got them in the mail Tuesday afternoon.

I am finishing up my semi-annual lease returns to Baker & Taylor.  The workroom is stacked high with boxes of last year's fiction bestsellers.

Freestone Wilson raved to me about a free Internet radio program, RadioSure.  I downloaded it, and it is a nice player.

I'm still reading around in Orwell's essays and letters, as well as some criticism in Gale's Literature Resource Center, (Dugan, Lawrence. "Orwell and Catholicism." Modern Age 48.3 (2006): 226+) .  I found his diaries online, where you can subscribe to daily entries from 70, (!) years ago.


Monday Again

I shouldn't complain, but Mondays at the main library do wear one down.  The branch libraries are closed on Mondays, so that public access to the Internet is only available at main on Monday.  We must spend the day approached by innumerable unfortunates without library cards, wanting "guest passes" for the Internet.  Maddeningly, numbingly repetitive as it is, I have to remind myself what it means to them.  Public service...

A reprieve at the end of the day to attend a memorial service across the street at Trinity Methodist, for the wife of T. who is an usher at Blessed Sacrament.  I had not known that his wife was a Methodist.  She was a schoolteacher and a singer, which is telling, because Trinity has many educators, and Methodists are well-known for their choirs.

There were maybe a dozen Catholics there besides R. and me.  We all seemed awkward at the entrance afterward.  It didn't seem like any of us were going to the reception.  I don't suppose any of us actually knew T.'s wife.  We showed up for him, but were lost among the multitude of real mourners.

Reading An Age Like This, 1920-1940, the first volume of George Orwell's essays and letters, I find it much more satisfying than the diaries.  They are more composed, being meant for other eyes, and not private notes like the diaries.


Information Behavior; Eastern Chant; Blitz

Working this weekend, I had an e-mail from a student at Everest.  He needed three book references for an essay about "online vs. traditional education."  What I usually do with a question like this is to help the person find a bibliography to work with.  It is up to them to find and choose the books they will use.

One of the big disadvantages of getting a degree online from a school with no "brick and mortar"  location near you is that the school cannot provide you with library services.  Fortunately, Tallahassee has two universities and a community college, so online students are not short of college-level libraries.  But sometimes they try the public library first, and our collection isn't suited to the needs of college students.

I should have taken the hint from his question, but I initially searched using the term that was in use when I was in school in the '90's, "distance learning".  I was puzzled when I found three or four bibliographies, all of them limited to sources from the '90's, up to 2001 or so.  These were way too old to offer.  Surely research was still being done on the topic.  Then it occurred to me that perhaps the term, "distance" was no longer used.  I searched using "online learning or education" and found a good bibliography.

R. and I often listen to Millennium of Music on public radio on Sunday night.  This week the program featured a recording of Eastern Slavonic chant by the monks of the Monastery of Chevetogne.  I love liturgical chant, and theirs is among the most beautiful I have heard.  It is streaming at their web site, so give it a listen.  The first time I heard it, though, was not on Millenium, but on Music From The Hearts of Space, back in the late '80's, when they did a show on Russian Orthodox chant.  HOS seems to have dropped off the public radio schedule in recent years, and now I see that they have a pay-wall.

I'm afraid that Orwell's Diaries have defeated me.  The book is due Wednesday, and I am only half-way through them, to the end of 1940 and the Blitz.  I'll get it again when the hold list has run out, and turn instead to our collection of his essays for now.  I will mention in passing that one of the best diaries of the London Blitz is Few Eggs And No Oranges, by Vere Hodgson.


Orwell; The Golden Ring

Back in the '90's, when I was still running the library bookmobile, I noticed in the discard bin in the passage outside the Extension Services workroom, volumes 3 and 4 of The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell.  When I saw that volumes 1 and 2 were still in the collection, I realized that a weeding mistake had been made.  I brought the discarded volumes up to Adult Services.  Volume 3 was put back in the collection.  I don't know what happened to volume 4.  This was what introduced me to Orwell's writings beyond Animal Farm and 1984.

Now we have a collection of Orwell's diaries, edited by Peter Davison, and with an introduction by the late Christopher Hitchens.  I love to read diaries and journals.  They are a lot like blogs, to me.  When Diaries came in on reserve for me, I thought to look at the catalog record for The Collected Essays.  There they were, with a note that the library lacked v. 4.  They had not been checked out much lately, though I think they would survive our current weeding criteria  In any case, the 800's are my responsibility, so I am their guardian.

A lovely travel article in the Sunday NYT by Celestine Bohlen, Driving Russia's Revived Golden Ring.  This area of Old Russia is the setting for a series of mysteries by "Boris Akunin" featuring a Russian Orthodox nun, Sister Pelagia.