The world’s best search engine

Posted February 24, 2010 by loudatthelibrary
Categories: Literacy program, Online resource, Uncategorized

Seems like librarians are under siege recently. Shrinking budgets, claims that in the Internet age they are obsolete. Well, not so fast…

Google Technology Director Craig Silverstein recently said their goal is to make a search engine as effective as a librarian.  “The idea is having the computer be as smart as a reference librarian…(Librarians) put some element of intelligence into it that a computer cannot,” he said.

A recent book by Marilyn Johnson makes the same claim–even with many resources being digitized and online search capabilities improving, librarians are still more important than ever. Her book, This Book is Overdue: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All, points out that librarians can find “hidden” resources that might not be available on the Internet. “It’s an illusion that everything is digitized and at our finger tips.”

NPR’s On the Media recently did a radio interview with her. And, Salon has a piece also.

Baseball fan photos

Posted February 11, 2010 by loudatthelibrary
Categories: Uncategorized

Despite the Super Bowl only being over less than a week and many people already jonesing for football (myself included), it is undeniable that American’s have a special relationship with baseball. It is called America’s Game and there are some people who are addicted to it (myself not included). I had a friend who had a photo he took of the Orioles pitcher Jim Palmer at a game blown up and put up in his bedroom wall. It really wasn’t that great a shot, but it meant a lot to him.

You can see this fantacism in the photos on display at an exhibit at the Central Library. The display, entitled Fantography, was compiled by local author and baseball lover Andy Strasberg. It includes family shots taken of professional players. Strasberg is collecting and archiving the images and hopes to publish them in a book one day. The exhibit is on display through the end of February.

Click the image below for a news story Larry Himmel did on the exhibit.

Andy Strasburg with Fantography exhibit.

What’s with all the kids?

Posted February 5, 2010 by loudatthelibrary
Categories: Uncategorized

A new library opened in San Diego in December. It’s the Logan Heights Branch Library on 28th St.  It’s a beautiful building with strong Aztec and Hispanic architectural influences. Beyond the new books and other resources now available at the 25,000 square foot branch, the cool architecture alone is worth a visit. 

And, if you have kids, bring them along. They won’t be alone. This library is packed with kids. The library actually sits on the grounds of Logan Heights Elementary and is adjacent to Memorial Middle. Kids have access to it before and after school. I was there on a Thursday afternoon recently and there were kids everywhere. In the computer room(s). In a cool little room called the Child Development Center. In the large Spanish language section.

It looks like the community is getting a lot of use out of the facility. In the old building, which was just under 4,000 square feet, they circulated 4,400 items in January. In the new library this January, more than 14,000 items were checked out.

To see this library and hear about its design, check out this video…

Strange characters at the downtown library

Posted February 2, 2010 by loudatthelibrary
Categories: Uncategorized

There are some strange characters in the second floor hallway of the downtown Central Library.

Along the walls of the corridor leading to the computer lab, you will find 40 original pen and ink drawings, primarily JD Abel artworkportraits, by San Diego artist J.D. Abel. The exhibit shows original drawings created by Abel over the past decade and recently published in The Last Word: 56 American Epitaphs. The exhibit is free to the public. All of the works in the exhibit are for sale and the proceeds will be divided between the Library’s Visual Arts Program and the San Diego Art Institute. For more information on the exhibit, VISIT HERE.

The Union-Tribune’s Robert Pincus reviewed the show recently. His article is HERE.

The question no parent wants to hear

Posted January 25, 2010 by loudatthelibrary
Categories: Online resource

Tags: , , ,

Dad, how do you do this problem?

Calculus problem

Find the value of this integral or show that it diverges.

Several years ago, my son advanced past my ability to help him with his math homework. And, when my wife had the same blank stare I usually display when my high school senior asked for help with this calculus problem, we were stuck.

Fortunately, the library’s Live Homework Help service was there. Open each day from 1 to 10 p.m., Live Homework Help is an online services where students from Kindergarten through college can log on with their San Diego Public library card and get live, free and professional one-on-one help with math, science, English and social studies assignments. Spanish-speaking tutors also are available.

So, Stephen signed on and had a live online chat with his math tutor, April. She did not provide him the answer, but used a whiteboard to show him the formulas and concepts he needed to solve the problem. A half hour later his calculus homework was finished.

“That online homework thing was pretty cool,” Stephen mumbled. That is a rave and overly enthusiastic endorsement from a high schooler!

Below is a public service announcement explaining the free service.

“Check out” the Children’s Museum at your library

Posted January 25, 2010 by loudatthelibrary
Categories: Cardholder benefits

Tags: , ,

The New Children’s Museum is available for “check out” at your library. The Museum offers tons of hands-on learning experiences for toddlers to teens. With a special new partnership between the Museum and the Library, you can check out a family membership at your San Diego Public Library.

New Children's Museum

When you check out a Museum membership card, you receive full Museum membership benefits, including free admission for up to two adults and all children in the household and discounts at the Museum’s café. You can check out the membership for two weeks.

As you can imagine, this is a popular item. It would probably be best if you visited the Library’s website and type “New Children’s Museum” into the online catalog. You can then place a hold on one of the memberships. The library will send it to your local branch and let you know when it is ready for pick up.

More than just books!

Posted January 24, 2010 by loudatthelibrary
Categories: Uncategorized

I work with the San Diego Public Library Foundation, helping attract private support for collections, programs, resources and events at San Diego’s 36 City libraries. It’s a great “product.” Unlike someone schilling armor piercing bullets, tickets to Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 or Charger’s jerseys, I find most everyone likes their library. However, many have’nt visited a library recently. They have an outdated perception of what is available. The library is so much more than just books. Yes, with your library card you can access more than 3 million books, magazines and newspapers. However, that really  just skims the surface. There’s much more. This blog will highlight the unique, cool, contemporary and wow resources at your library.