It’s official–I now have actual library work experience!  A few weeks ago, I began volunteering at Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin, my hometown.  Even though I’ve only gone a few times, it’s been great.  The first project I worked on involved transcribing, organizing, and even somewhat analyzing data about reference transactions at the library.  It was really interesting to see what kinds of questions people are actually asking and especially interesting to see how these librarians answered them.

The second tag you see above is my ID for my new contractor job at the Kraft Foods Research and Development Corporate Library.  Through the end of the year, I’ll be working on an indexing project–adding keywords and brand names to countless past reports that have recently been scanned for electronic access in a database.  Let’s just say that I now know more about cheese than I ever even thought possible.


It’s Banned Books Week!  Each year, in the last week of September, libraries sponsor this event to celebrate our freedom to read and access information.  In the face of efforts to censor information, it is the library’s duty to provide equitable access to materials–so let’s take advantage of it!  Ask your local library about any events they might have going on.

Catcher in the Rye

Catcher in the Rye

ALA has a lot of great lists and statistics, and I just wanted to take the time to highlight a few things.   I had always wondered if there was a definitive list of the most challenged books out there, and how many I had read.  Since the ALA has only been tracking these statistics since 1990, there is no complete “all-time” list.  One list that is considered quite definitive is The 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books 1990-1999.  I was actually surprised that I’d only read 15 of these.  Shirking my reading responsibilities!  Since many books’ histories are so entwined with censorship, the ALA has also highlighted the 42 books which appear on the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century that have been challenged.  That’s almost half of the books that are considered to be the greatest of our time!  (The complete list is here, for those who are interested.)

How many of these books have you read?  How many do you want to read?  Ever wonder what all the fuss is about?  In honor of Banned Books Week, pick one up!  I’ve got a few of these sitting on my shelf, waiting to be read, and I think this might be the perfect opportunity to get one started.

Also, in my Readers Advisory class over the summer, I wrote a paper on the social history of The Catcher in the Rye.  You can check that out here or in my portfolio.

This is a topic that people devote entire classes, blogs, books, and careers to, and I have found myself becoming more and more interested in Web 2.0 technologies and how they relate to the library world.

First, library websites can only do so much.  Yes, your library may have spectacular things to offer.  And it may even have a beautiful, content-rich, user-friendly website to boot.  But the bottom line is that the website only performs its function when someone has already found it.  More often than not, people only find library websites because they are looking for them.  So what do we do about potential patrons in the communities we serve who aren’t looking?

This article from Digital Inspiration has a great breakdown of the sites people have used and are currently using to share content on the web.  When I was new to social networking–a sophomore in college, I believe, which would be 2004–Facebook was a way of telling your “friends” at college what your favorite movies and books were, saying where you were from, and illustrating little idiosyncrasies of your life by joining various groups (like “Raisins, stay the heck out of my cookies!” which I will admit, I’m a member of).  Somehow, the world of social networking on the web has grown and morphed into an entire online life.  Now, if I find something even remotely interesting, I can share it with hundreds, if not thousands of people, with just a series of clicks.  The people have spoken, and these sites–Facebook, Delicious, Twitter, and You Tube–are the medium they have chosen to share (and conversely, find) information on the web.

If this is where the people are, this is where we need to go.  We have so much quality information organized in our library-fortresses; we can’t presume that making some of it accessible by putting (sometimes burying) it on a library website is enough.  According to this article, You Tube has become the second-most searched search engine on the internet.  And it’s not even a “search engine”!  This is the perfect opportunity to stumble upon information.  Imagine using You Tube to post short video tutorials on how to use information resources at the library.  Or, maybe you offer a class on Microsoft Excel; you can draw in more patrons by giving taste of what you offer on video via You Tube.  Using You Tube as a free marketing device is a fantastic possibility, and this is a great place to bring social networking back to that idiosyncratic feel–it’s supposed to be fun, remember?  Here is a great example from HarperCollins Children’s Books, who created an awesome domino rally using only children’s books.

This article from Bibliothekia has some great ideas and examples of ways libraries can use You Tube.

I’ve decided that this post should have a permanent place on the blog, and so it will also appear in the “about” section.  Below is my mission statement, if you will.

My name is Elizabeth Ludemann, and I am a librarian-in-training. I’ve created this blog to document my adventures in library school. That’s right, adventures. It takes its title from a concept found in an article by Michael Buckland. It was just a phrase that always stuck with me. Citing Briet, Michael Buckland discusses the notion of information as thing: what constitutes information, or a document for that matter? Could we–and should we–be cataloging such things as antelopes?

Why not?

In the interest of giving credit where credit is due, here is the article by Buckland.  Otherwise, welcome to Cataloging Antelopes, and here’s to life-long learning!