Thursday, November 30, 2006

Annual Friends of the Library Holiday Book Sale!

The World-Renowned, Annual Friends of the Library Holiday Book Sale!
This is THE Holiday Sale.
Saturday, December 2nd, 10 AM to 4 PM
There will be many gift-worthy items. All items are individually priced.

Saturday only, in the Southwest Room at the Main Library, first floor.
We hope to see you there!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Next Catalog Changes

We are continuing to tinker with the catalog, trying to make it more convenient and easier to understand.

The next thing to happen will be that the processing of the holds you place will be interactive: you will immediately see the holds on your record (instead of your having to wonder: did I do it? where did it go?) Of course the process will still require a lot of human intervention, but the first step will be automatic. Behind the scenes there will be a number of other changes in the holds procedures; if you notice anything unusual, please find a librarian and let us know. This is one of our most popular services: we have filled about 25,000 holds so far this year. That's a lot of transactions to change procedures on.

Following that, spell-check will be coming to your keyword searches. If you enter for example 'medevil history', it will ask you "Did you mean 'medieval history'"?, and also let you choose other possibillities from a pulldown list. Try it at Cedarville University or Westerville Public Library, who are running the same catalog software we have.

It's not going to be perfect, but only as good as the database it is checking against. Apparently it knows nothing about any possible misspelling of 'serotonin', for example. But when it works, it will be very helpful.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Sherry Bishop Program on Wednesday

Sherry Bishop's second holiday craft program, Illuminated Manuscript Cards, will take place at the La Farge Branch Library on Wednesday, November 29th, 3:30-4:30 PM. This free program is for children ages 8 to 12. Please call La Farge to register, so we can prepare enough supplies.

Sherry will have two more programs in this series, Handmade Gifts on Wednesday, December 6th; and Holiday Ornaments on Wednesday, December 13th. Also at La Farge, 3:30-4:30 PM, for children 8-12.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Fire on the Mountain Once Again This Week

Many people were startled by last week's prescribed burns in the Santa Fe National Forest, the huge column of smoke in the east reminding us of scary fire seasons past. Porfirio Chavarria, the city's Assistant WildLand Urban Interface Specialist, has passed on the following press release from the Forest Service, announcing additional burns for this week, two of which may be visible from Santa Fe:


(SANTA FE, NM)—Next week if air quality, weather, and fuel conditions are favorable, Fire Managers on the Santa Fe National Forest will treat four hazardous fuels areas with prescribed fire.

  • Santa Fe Municipal Watershed Pile Burning, Española Ranger District : The Santa Fe Municipal Watershed burn is located on the north side of Santa Fe Watershed, south of NM 475, North of Nichols reservoir, and east of Hyde Park Estates. Smoke released from the Santa Fe Watershed Burn will be visible from the city of Santa Fe, east of Santa Fe, Tesuque and surrounding areas. Smoke will settle into lower elevations and in drainage areas during the evenings, but should lift by mid-morning.
  • Road 18 Burn, Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger District : The Road 18 prescribed burn area is located approximately 16 miles northwest of Las Vegas. Smoke released from Road 18 burn will be visible from the communities of Mineral Hill, Camp Blue Haven, San Geronimo, San Pablo, Gallinas, and Las Vegas.
  • Chaparral Burn, Cuba Ranger District : The Chaparral prescribed burn area is located 3 miles west of the community of Seven Springs. Smoke released from the Chaparral burn will be visible from Rio Rancho, Cuba, Seven Springs, and Santa Fe.
  • Mesa Camino Burn, Coyote Ranger District :
    The Mesa Camino prescribed burn area is located 7 miles northeast of Gallina. Smoke released from the Mesa Camino burn will be visible from the communities of Ghost Ranch, Rio Chama Monastery, and Abiquiu.

For daily progress reports regarding ongoing prescribed burns on the Santa Fe National Forest, please call toll-free: 1-877-971-FIRE (3473)."

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Lists, Lists, Lists

We've updated all the What's New lists. We're able to present lists which are a lot longer, now that you can browse 50 titles at a time. Even a thousand titles is only 20 clicks.

There's the usual array of seductive things: in nonfiction, a wonderful book about David Hockney, David Hockney: Portraits: and Robert Creeley's last works, taken from the notebook he was working in when he died in 2005, On earth : last poems and an essay ; a well-reviewed biography of William James ; and 600 or so others. In fiction, the good stuff includes Isabel Allende's new novel, Inés of my Soul, which we have ordered in English, large print, audio, and in Spanish ; a new book by Dana Stabenow in the Kate Shugak series ; and Jim Harrrison's new novel, Returning to Earth. New media materials, new Southwest materials, etc.

cover of bookcover of bookcover of bookcover of bookcover of book

We've also tinkered with the media lists, which are always available from the catalog's opening page. The links for DVDs, Books on CD, and Music on CD are now simply catalog searches, and therefore always up to date. Click any time and the catalog will show you--50 at a time--the entire list, including what may have been ordered this morning :-) . These searches are presently limited to exclude the media materials which have been ordered for Southside, since you can't get at them until maybe Valentine's Day. The videos and the books on tape need to have their call number schemes made consistent before a simple search will work, so those are still specially processed data outputs, which are updated only about once a month.

If you log in to your record before you search, you can use the same trick of constructing your own detailed searches, and then save the search as a preferred search (the button will be there when you need it); if you have your search sorted to put the new materials on top and run it every now and again, it will be easy to see if anything new has appeared. Interested in materials "with the subject headings 'climatic change' or 'global warming', no children's materials, published since 2003, sort with most recent on top"? Log in, construct a search, such as the example just described, then save as a preferred search. Run it tomorrow. Run it next month.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Clearing Out the (E)Mail Box

The whooping crane chicks which are following ultralights on their first migration from Wisconsin to Florida are more than half-way there. The best picture of the migration so far is on the Nov. 21 page...

One of our readers sent us links to a couple of book-related sites, JGodsey's wonderful new Literary Stamps blog, and a page about the Voynich Manuscript, "The Most Mysterious Manuscript in the World." Other readers sent us links to Bill McKibben's review of five recent books about climate change: "How Close to Catastrophe," at New York Review of Books; and to an article at a search engine optimization site about Looking for a Library on Google Local. It works pretty well if you look us up in Santa Fe (go to, click on "find businesses", put in 'library' & 'Santa Fe') — we come up right on top. Would presumably work for most places.

More: There's a new children's book award, the Children's and YA Bloggers' Literary Award. Why not? The Litblog Co-op does it. (And does anyone understand why it's nearly impossible to make google find 'Litblog Co-op'?) Pan in the Encke gapThe librarians on the Public Libraries email list pointed out a terrific College Rankings page from UIUC that pulls together links to current rankings pages; and a couple of non-mainstream lyrics search sites, Mudcat Cafe and at

The image is from the Cassini spacecraft, a picture of Saturn's moon Pan, which circles Saturn within the rings and keeps the Encke gap open by gravitationally sweeping the ring particles out of its way..

Friday, November 24, 2006

Working in LibraryLand

The most recent postings on American Libraries Online are particularly full of the sort of events which people would like to imagine that libraries are a safe haven from: shooting, tasering, arson...

In general we have been very lucky at Santa Fe Public Library. The occasional irate patron is the most we usually have to deal with.

Another posting on the ALA news site pointed out a story from across the border to the north: Canadian academic institutions offering their scholars the Refworks service are moving scholars' bibliographies and research data from Refworks' own server to a Canadian server instead, where the US government wouldn't be able to use the Patriot Act to examine the scholars' research. If the original news story from the Toronto Globe and Mail has moved to archive and now requires you to have a login (it will at some point), you can get the gist from the University of Alberta's library news, and other sources (1) , (2).

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Looking Past the Circulation Desk

The shelving at the Southside Library started going in this week, but we don't have photographs yet. We hear it's really gorgeous (at least to librarians). We'll ask the architect for pictures next week. Meanwhile, looking past the circulation desk toward the main entryway (the front doors are still plywood.)

P.S. Reminder: We are closed both today and tomorrow in observance of Thanksgiving Day. See you on Saturday and Sunday, as usual...

construction photo

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


We have updated the list of the titles with the most holds. As usual, the top of the list is kind of predictable. It's hard to be interested in the demand for the latest books by the usual authors (even those we are personally looking forward to reading): John Grisham ; Michael Connelly ; David Baldacci ; Tony Hillerman ; Janet Evanovich ; Elizabeth George ; James Patterson.

It gets more illuminating further down the list, looking at some of the books with only a few people waiting:

We wasted a noticable amount of time trying to figure out what IS that diacritic in Icelandic author Arnuldur Indriðason's name (Indridason, in case your browser can't handle an eth; authority for reproducing it as a "d" comes from the Reykjavik City Library's page about him...)

cover of bookcover of bookcover of bookcover of bookcover of book

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Thanksgiving Holiday Reminder

The libraries will be closed for the Thanksgiving Holiday on Thursday, November 23rd, and Friday, November 24th, this week. We will resume our normal hours on Saturday: Main and La Farge will be open 10AM to 6PM Saturday; and 1PM to 5 PM on Sunday.

In case you are wondering why we have a two-day holiday: State and City workers take the Presidents' Day holiday the day after Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Graphic Novels For Grownups

At the National Book Awards ceremony this week, the winner for young people's literature, M. T. Anderson, noted that one of the other finalists, Gene Luen Yang's graphic novel, American Born Chinese , was the first graphic novel to be nominated for a National Book Award. Graphic novel and comics blog sites hadn't missed this shift towards respect for the developing medium (1) (2) (3) (4).

This calls to mind a discussion which ran a few months ago on the Public Libraries email list, about what graphic novels librarians know about which simply are really good books, really good reads, regardless of the less familiar format. The suggestions began with the grandfather of the genre, Art Spiegelman's Maus, and included also Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis, Alison Bechdel, Fun Home; Craig Thompson, Blankets; Brian Fies, Mom's Cancer; and Harvey Pekar, The Quitter.

We are ordering both Anderson's The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. I: The Pox Party and American Born Chinese for the Young Adult collection; continue to order more graphic titles for all ages including the more manga-influenced segment of the genre (and with particular emphasis on a good opening day collection for children and young adults at Southside); and meanwhile continue to pursue other graphic novels that are good reads for grownups as we learn about them.

cover of bookcover of bookcover of bookcover of bookcover of book

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Dirk Wales Reading On Wednesday

book cover
On Wednesday, November 22, at 10:50 AM, Dirk Wales will be in the Main Library Community Room (145 Washington Avenue) reading two of his books, A Lucky Dog: Owney, U. S. Rail Mail Service Mascot and Penny House. P.S. Hope you can join us!!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Definitely Real Now

The Southside Library has currently posted positions open for the new branch. Hiring will be completed in November with new staff on board by late December. A total of 12.5 positions, full time and part time, will be available. La Farge Library manager Susie Sonflieth will be the Director of the Southside Library, adding it to her branches.

The first several of these job postings for Southside Library are up on the City's Human Resources Department website. It is time to begin keeping your eye on their Job Opportunities page. More positions will be posted.

The Architect's Field Report for November 13th includes the following (some of it familiar, some of it new): "Drywall, taping, and texture. Operable units are being transported and installed. Bathroom tile is being set and grouted. 95% of the tile has been grouted. The boiler room is complete with the exception of the dampers. Colored concrete and other exterior flatwork are being poured. Metal roofing is being installed and trimmed out. HVAC controls are being installed and adjusted. Cisterns have been placed with the exception of Cistern A, which is temporarily in the Children’s Courtyard until the stucco wallis finished. Artwork fascia panels have been installed. Carpet tile is being installed in the main stacks area."

Remember those cistern pads which had just been poured back in February? The cisterns for the rainwater harvesting system were put in place this week.

construction photoconstruction photo

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Books and Babies Stars

It's maybe a little late to post here, but babies in costumes are always in style. Here are some of the library's newest readers, at the Halloween party for the Books and Babies participants. The current cycle of Books and Babies will run through December 7th; it meets on Thursdays, 10:30 am to 11:00 am at La Farge Branch Library. Call 955-4863 to register. Sponsored by the Brindle Foundation.

(That's children's librarian Gail Schuler with the pirates.)

baby in costumebaby in costumebaby in costume

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Friends of the Library Book Sale

   There will be a sale at La Farge Library, 1730 Llano Street, November 18 & 19. This is the bargain sale.

Saturday, November 18, 10AM--4PM. Hardcover $1.00 ; Movie Videos $1.00 ; Paperbacks $.50 or 3/$1.00 ; Records & Children's Books, $.25 ; Cassettes, Videos & CD's $.50. Sunday, November 19, 1:00--4:00PM, Bag Day - $2.50/bag.

Also keep in mind the special Holiday Sale. ONE DAY ONLY. Saturday, December 2 from 10:00 am to 4:00 p.m. in the Southwest Room of the Main Library, 145 Washington Avenue. We have many special books to offer. Come Early and Don't Miss It!

P. S. The Friends' sales yield tens of thousands of every year for the libraries. Thanks to the Friends, and thanks to all of you who donate books!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Art and Craft of Calligraphy and Bookmaking

Sherry Bishop, artist and designer, will be presenting the art and craft of calligraphy and bookmaking in a series of craft programs for children ages 8 - 12. All four programs will take place at La Farge on Wednesday afternoons, 3:30-4:30 PM. They are going to be wonderful fun. Too bad most of us are too old to attend. :-)

For tomorrow's program, Wednesday, November 15, Sherry will teach Miniature Bookmaking. Wednesday, November 29, Illuminated Manuscript Cards. December 6th, Handmade Gifts. December 13th, Holiday Ornaments.

Call 955-4863 to register for these programs (so we know how many people we need to provide supplies for).

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Each Click Changes The Color

In case you don't have enough time sinks in your online life already, one of our readers has offered to fill up the gap. Click to change color, hold still for bigger blobs...

For the more serious-minded, the web this week offered up NASA's press release about the storm at Saturn's south pole, which includes lots of narrative, various views, and a small video.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Drywall, Taping and Texture

We're running a bit behind on Southside Library's Field Reports. The Architects' Field Report for October 30 mentions the following work in progress: "Drywall, taping, and texture. Exterior windows are placed. Operable units are being fabricated in the shop. Electric operator motors are being installed. Bathroom tile is being set and grouted. The boiler room is complete with the exception of dampers, which are on order. Colored concrete and other exterior flatwork are being poured. Electrical work is ongoing. Floor outlets are being moved. Scratch and brown coat are being put on the exterior of the building. Some color coat is in place. EPDM roofing is being patched. Metal roofing is being installed. Crusher fines are being installed in the patios. HVAC controls are being installed. Paint is being applied. Soffits and screen wall siding are on site. Millwork is underway in shop and on site. Cisterns are being delivered and will be placed this week. Artwork fascia panels have been applied to the substrate and will be installed this week."

The artwork fascia panels were indeed installed. The photo below was taken on Monday the 6th. These are the panels that we saw a picture of while they were still in the shop. They are now installed on the south face of the bulding, above the windows in the magazine reading area. A full run of construction photos is always available from the Progress page.

construction photo

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Holiday Reminder

November 10, Veterans Day
The libraries will be closed Friday, November 10, in observance of Veterans' Day.
    We will be open as usual on Saturday and Sunday, November 11 & 12.

Other events in the next week or so:
National Children’s Book Week (November 13th to 19th) Events:
Monday, November 13th
    Paul Glickman’s Puppet Truck
     1:00 pm Main Library
     7:00 pm La Farge Branch Library
Wednesday, November 15th
    Sherry Bishop : Miniature Bookmaking
    for ages 8 to 12
     3:30 pm - 4:30 pm La Farge Branch Library
     Register by calling 955-4863

Friends of the Library Book Sale
    There will be a sale at La Farge Library, 1730 Llano Street, November 18 & 19. This is the bargain sale.
     Saturday, November 18, 10AM--4PM. Hardcover $1.00 ; Movie Videos $1.00 ; Paperbacks $.50 or 3/$1.00 ; Records & Children's Books, $.25 ; Cassettes, Videos & CD's $.50.
     Sunday, November 19, 1:00--4:00PM, Bag Day - $2.50/bag.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Next Catalog Improvement

Right now, a keyword search in our catalog arranges the results by date, giving you first the most recent items which have the keywords anywhere in the record, so that for example "wild horses" right now comes up first with a song book that has 'horses' in one song title and 'wild' in another. Surely a modern software program can do better than that?

Yes. Some time in the next few days, two new features will arrive in the catalog. Keyword searches will sort themselves in order of relevance, rather than by date. Here is a good explanation of how the system calculates relevance, from the catalog at Bowling Green State University (who uses the same software we have). Search for 'wild horses' at BGSU, and it will give you first 23 Most Relevant titles, then 2 Highly Relevant titles, and so on. Much better. Watch for the little graphics indicating the relevance rankings:

At the same time, the catalog will start giving us 50 results per page, instead of the present 12. This will be true for all searches, not just for keyword. Many fewer clicks to work your way through all of Marc Simmons's books (50 titles), for example, or everything with the subject heading 'Indians of North America' (948 titles). Watch for the changes, and let us know if you see any strange consequences we didn't anticipate.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Zimmerman Update

It's been a while since we posted about the situation at the University of New Mexico's Zimmerman Library. Their website says "All Services have returned to somewhat normal operation. Some operations and most staff have not yet returned to Zimmerman Library." There is also a page about journals lost in the fire, with a list.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Seafood May Be Gone...

The research article which triggered the news stories last week (1)(2)(3)(4) about the collapse of fish populations in the ocean was published in the November 2, 2006, issue of Science: "Impacts of Biodiversity Loss on Ocean Ecosystem Services" by Boris Worm, Edward B. Barbier, Nicola Beaumont et al.

Science is not giving free access from the website (as they sometimes do with hot stories). But if you want to read it at the source, the principal author, Boris Worm, has posted the article on his website. The various news stories and editorials are a lot easier to read... or just look at a graphic, which may tell you much of the story as you can stand to think about.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

'the latest gasp in library efficiency'

According to the New Mexican for May 31, 1930, an anonymous donor helped the library acquire a new circulation desk that year, said to be "the latest gasp in library efficiency... It is equipped with sliding filing cases, roll top card-index spaces, and a dozen different ingenious contrivances..." This sounds very familiar to those of us who worked in the old main library building at 110 Washington. We think that this desk was still around 55 years later, and was left behind when we moved into the present Main Library in 1985. (The old building became the Museum of New Mexico's Fray Angélico Chávez History Library.)

The same article mentions that Santa Fe at that time had a population of 11,000; a 17,000 volume collection; and a circulation of 52,000. That hardworking little collection circulated really fast, more than three times a year for each item. For purposes of comparison: our population in 2005 was 70,063; the size of the collection, 247,829; and circulation that year was 453,330. So the collection today is a lot larger in proportion to the population; and today's population checks out more items per person per year...

Friday, November 03, 2006

Taking A Moment To Look Around

We had a little hard-hat tour of Southside Library on Monday. See below: the front door; in the lobby; customers :-) at the reference desk; and serious thought in the children's room.

A complete run of construction photos is available from the Progress page.

hard hat tourhard hat tourhard hat tourhard hat tour

Thursday, November 02, 2006

On The Calendar In November

PreSchool Story Time
Ongoing through December 12th. Tuesdays, at the La Farge Branch Library. Two sessions run concurrently, 2 & 3-year-olds, 10:30 AM to 11:00 AM; 4, 5 & 6-year-olds, 10:30 AM to 11:15 AM. It's free!
    Children will enjoy stories, songs, finger games, puppets, and crafts. Call 955-4863 to register. Open enrollment. For more information call 955-4863

Books and Babies Program
Thursdays, November 2nd to December 7th, 10:30 am to 11:00 am, La Farge Branch Library
    A Six Week Program for Babies 6 months to 24 months old. Children will enjoy books, songs, and finger games from the comfort of their caregiver’s lap. Call 955-4863 to register. Sponsored by the Brindle Foundation.

November 10, Veterans Day
The libraries will be closed Friday, November 10, in observance of Veterans' Day.
    We will be open as usual on Saturday and Sunday, November 11 & 12.

National Children’s Book Week (November 13th to 19th) Events:
Monday, November 13th
    Paul Glickman’s Puppet Truck
     1:00 pm Main Library
     7:00 pm La Farge Branch Library
Wednesday, November 15th
    Sherry Bishop : Miniature Bookmaking
    for ages 8 to 12
     3:30 pm - 4:30 pm La Farge Branch Library
     Register by calling 955-4863

Friends of the Library Book Sale
    There will be a sale at La Farge, November 18 & 19. This is the bargain sale.

November 23 & 24, Thanksgiving Holiday
The libraries will be closed Thursday and Friday, November 23 & 24, in observance of Thanksgiving.
    We will be open as usual on Saturday and Sunday, November 25 & 26.

Wednesday, November 29th
Sherry Bishop - Illuminated Manuscript Cards
for ages 8 to 12 ; 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm, La Farge Branch Library.
Register by calling 955-4863

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Hubble Reprieve

You heard it on the news: NASA has reconsidered its decision to abandon the Hubble Space Telescope. A servicing mission is being planned for May 2008, to replace batteries and repair gyroscopes. With this work, the HST is expected to be able to stay in service through 2013, when its replacement, the James Webb Space Telescope, will be launched. NASA's press release about the mission.

The Hubble images below are featured on the Hubble News Release Archive Page for 2006. It's such a relief that this wildly successful astronomical instrument is going to be given a longer working life, producing more pure knowledge and more images like the ones below, or the Antennae Galaxies picture NASA featured earlier this week (click for a really big one). The library also has a good many books about the HST, most of them stuffed with beautiful images.

HST imageHST imageHST image