Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Holiday Book Sale

'Tis the Season to find great gift books at the Friends of the Library Holiday Book Sale.
       ONE DAY ONLY. Saturday, December 3 from 10:00 am to 4:00 p.m. in the Southwest Room of the Main Library, 145 Washington Avenue.
       This sale is open to the public. 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!

Stan Berenstain, 1923-2005

We are Beary sorry to hear that Stan Berenstain, co-creator of the Berenstain Bears, died this week. He was 82. Year in and year out, Jan and Stan Berenstain are in our top five most popular authors. We have multiple hundreds of copies of their hundreds of titles, and the little kids love them.
       There's a nice obituary in the New York Times.
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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Season of Lists : An Early Peek

The online New York Times Book Review has put up their 100 Notable Books of the Year in advance of their December 4th "Holiday Books" issue.
       Lots of the book bloggers will have something to say about this. GalleyCat, for example, points out that genre ficton is scarcely mentioned. The Grumpy Old Bookman points out that the Toronto Globe and Mail has also put up its Globe 100.
       Lots more 'Best' lists will no doubt be appearing soon. Librarians' lists; mystery readers lists; and so on. We'll keep you posted. The covers of the first five on the Times list are below.
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Monday, November 28, 2005

Ice and Air

This week's Science Magazine has papers on earth's greenhouse gases as studied from air bubbles in a 750,000 year ice core drilled in Antarctica. Only the summaries are available at the online Science, and it there doesn't seem to be full-text in the magazine databases either. The printed 11/25/05 issue hasn't arrived yet but when it does it will be in the magazine room at Main.
       Meanwhile you can extract the gist of their findings from news stories: Christian Science Monitor ; Los Angeles Times ; New Scientist. Or try Richard Alley's The two-mile time machine : ice cores, abrupt climate change, and our future (2000). Alley was one of the scientists working on the Greenland ice core project in the 1990s, and describes just how this kind of work is done.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Steps to Find a Human

You may have heard about this web site on the news: Paul English's IVR Cheat Sheet, with directions for bypassing telephone trees and talking computers to break through to a human operator at companies and government agencies.
       IVR? Interactive Voice Response. That's what those maddening robots are called.
       It includes such impossible-to-guess tricks as (for Sony), "When prompted by the automated voice system to answer ANY questions, just say 'Agent'"; or, for the INS, "After selecting English, (with a 2 second delay between) 2 6 2 4."

USGS Aeromagnetic Survey

The USGS warns us that there will soon be a lot of helicopter overflights of Santa Fe, in aid of the NM OSE/ISC, Santa Fe County, and US Geological Survey aeromagnetic survey commencing next week. Its purpose is to better understand the underground geology that influences the groundwater system.
"In conjunction with the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer/Interstate Stream Commission (OSE/ISC) and Santa Fe County, the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) has contracted Geophex, Inc. to conduct low-level research flights by helicopter over the city of Santa Fe and vicinity. The survey area is a 5-mile-wide strip from the northeastern part of Eldorado on the south to Chimayo on the north, including downtown Santa Fe and parts of Tesuque and Nambe Pueblos. Operations will begin December 1. The research flights are part of airborne geophysical surveys conducted in order to understand the underground geology that influences the groundwater system.
       "...The flights are low-level in order to detect the effects of naturally occurring magnetic minerals located just below the surface and deep underground. The distributions of these minerals give clues to the unseen geology below.
       "The helicopter survey will expand the existing coverage of data that were collected by fixed-wing aircraft in 1998 over most of the southern Española basin. Data from the previous study helped geologists and hydrogeologists understand faults, basement structures, the thickness of aquifer units, and the extent of basalts in the subsurface as part of investigations into the ground-water system. The technical results are presented in a USGS report, available at the link given below. The goal of the upcoming 2005 survey is to cover the narrow strip of the basin near the mountain front that could not be accomplished with fixed-wing aircraft in 1998. Unlike fixed-wing aircraft, a helicopter can easily maintain low elevations near high terrain. Preliminary results will be presented at the 5th Annual Española basin workshop March 7-8, 2006, hosted by the Española Basin Technical Advisory Group (EBTAG).
Detailed location of the 2005 aeromagnetic survey:
USGS report on the 1998 aeromagnetic survey:
USGS geophysics in the Española basin:
EBTAG and workshop:"

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Frontier Women

Sometimes sorting the donated books gives us a window into what people have been thinking about. Lately we received a couple of cartons of books about early Southwest pioneer history, and about women ranchers and homesteaders both historical and modern-- books like Desert Wife by Hilda Faunce; a Charlie Siringo book we don't already own (a little beat up; not sure we can add it to the collection); two of detail of Russell Lee photographElinor Pruitt Stewart's books; several by Linda Hasselstrom; semi-academic titles like Sandra Myres, Westering Women and the Frontier Experience 1800-1915; Joanna Stratton's Pioneer women : voices from the Kansas frontier; Schlissel's Women's Diaries of the Westward Journey; Faragher's Women and Men on the Overland Trail.
       Picking up the subject headings from some of these books can be fruitful: Frontier and Pioneer Life West U S has 207 titles (and that's just the books cataloged recently enough to have thorough subject headings); West U S History, 132 titles; Frontier and Pioneer Life New Mexico, 38 titles.
       Exploring around the catalog in this way leads you into wider and wider circles of material; among the more modern authors writing modern pioneer and ranch life, you might try Pie Town Woman : the Hard Life and Good Times of a New Mexico Homesteader, in which Joan Myers revisits the history of one of the women documented in Russell Lee's depression era FSA photographs; Judy Blunt's hair-raising memoir, Breaking Clean; Barbara van Cleve's photo study, Hard Twist : Western Ranch Women, or Sandra Day O'Connor's memoir, Lazy B : Growing Up on a Cattle Ranch in the American Southwest.
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Friday, November 25, 2005

Tech Topics in the News

Top of the tech news at the beginning of the week was the Sony BMG flap. A search of Google News or Yahoo news for Sony BMG will bring you what's current. There's a nice story on an Austin news site describing Mark Russinovich's discovery of Sony's spyware boobytrap, and how he spread the word from his blog.
       What displaced the Sony story was the latest worm outbreak. Be careful out there...
       The indefatigable Pew Internet & American Life Project has released a report, Online Activities and Pursuits, pointing out that search engine use has increased greatly. According to the chart on page 4, "On an average day, about 94 million adults use the internet. Here is the proportion of that daily population who are doing some well-known internet activities... Email    77% ; Search engine     63%..." That's about what we have observed on our public machines--most people want to check their email, but other uses are increasing noticably.
       Meanwhile, Google has renamed its book scanning project, now calling it "Google Book Search", to emphasize that although both materials in copyright and public domain materials are being scanned and will be searchable, there will be only limited access to the full texts unless the book is in the public domain. This seems not likely to mollify the publishers who have been opposing the project.

Thursday, November 24, 2005


snow geese at Bosque del Apache
Some New Mexicans take their Thanksgiving holiday meal as a tailgate party at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. It's not very cold yet, the big impressive birds have arrived (and the ducks haven't moved on south yet). The bird count on the Friends of the Bosque site reads:
   43,250 light geese
   82,174 ducks
   12,000 sandhill cranes
   2 eagles
plus some miscellany. Great blue herons. Hawks. Falcons. Canada geese. Like that. :-)
       NPR had a story about the sandhill cranes at the Bosque earlier this week. The soundtrack behind the narrator, the cranes talking their crane-y talk, is wonderful.
       We hope you enjoy your holiday, however you are spending it. The cranes and geese will stick around until the latter part of February. So you have plenty of time to get down there.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Starting to Look Like a Building

If you look closely, Southside Library is starting to look like a building. This week's big news is that both the electricians & plumbers were onsite Monday installing under-slab and within-slab pipes & conduit! Yeah!
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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Toy Safety

'Tis the season: the annual toy safety study from the U. S. Public Interest Research Group, Trouble in Toyland: The 20th Annual Toy Safety Report is available online. A more web-friendly version of parts of the report is at

Monday, November 21, 2005

Thanksgiving Holiday Reminder

The libraries will be closed for the Thanksgiving Holiday on Thursday and Friday this week. We will resume our normal hours on Saturday: Main and La Farge open 10AM to 6PM Saturday; Main open 1-5PM Sunday; Bookstop open Noon-6PM both Saturday and Sunday.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Roman Calendar

We lately had a reference question about the Ides of November. Just in case it comes up again, here is what we found out:
       Originally, before various calendar reforms, the Ides was the day of the full Moon in a given month. (As the Calends was the first or New Moon day, and the Nones the first quarter moon day.) Later, it was tied to specific dates: the Ides is the 15th day of March, May, July, October; the 13th day of January, February, April, June, August, September, November, December. The doom that the phrase "the Ides of March" connotes entered into our vocabulary due to Shakespeare, before that it just meant the 15th of March.
       There's lots more about the Roman calendar at Wikipedia. The links at the bottom of that article lead you further. Or try the Roman Calendar article at

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Vine Deloria, Jr.

Sioux author Vine Deloria, Jr., died last Sunday. Since the publication of his book Custer Died For Your Sins in 1969, Deloria has been a prominent and sometimes controversial author and activist. We have a dozen or so of Deloria's books. The New York Times obituary is available online, as are a great many other tributes and evaluations of his work (try searching in Google news).
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Friday, November 18, 2005

Federal Depository Library of the Year

state library logo   As you know, the New Mexico State Library here in Santa Fe is a terrific resource-- strong reference collection in such areas as business, education, government; state and Federal document depository; services to the libraries of the state; a reference desk that never gives up; a Foundation Center deposit collection for grant information; and, oh by the way, they pay for most of the magazine database access which we and all the other libraries in the state offer to you at home as well as from inside a library...
       Last month the State Library was named the Federal Depository Library of the year!! Earlier this week there was a celebration at the Supreme Court Law Library to congratulate all involved, especially the State's documents librarian, Laurie Canepa.
       Read more about the award at GPO Access, and in detail in the State Library's newsletter, The Hitchhiker.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Data Lines

Although to most people laying data lines under the concrete slabs at the Southside Library is not exciting, it is to the Library staff. Over 150 data lines are being installed this week.
       It's a bee hive of activity at the site as trucks charge in with key deliveries. We don't have a picture of the data line guys at work, so here is some more concrete:
concrete in the trench

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Space Weather

A big new sunspot has rotated onto this side of the sun, and there's a terrific picture of it at, as seen from Ocean Beach in San Francisco. (If you are reading this message after November 16, you should be able to pull it back from the archive search box. Put in the 16th for the date.)

La Farge Mid-Season Book Sale

The Friends of the Library are having another great book sale! Hope you can come this Saturday and Sunday, November 19 and 20 at La Farge Library, 1730 Llano Street.
       Saturday hours are 10 am - 4 pm; Sunday hours are 1 - 4 pm.
       Sunday is Bag Day - all bags $2.50 each (bags provided). The sale is open to the public, so please bring your friends. And this sale is special because all of the proceeds will go directly to the Friends of the Library Southside Library Campaign. So please come and help us earn money for the campaign, as well finding some great books and great deals!
       See you there.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Just Added to the Database

We've updated the Just Added to the Database list. It includes titles ordered or donated in the past week or so--books, CDs, large print, kids books, etc. There's some Good Stuff. You can put holds on them even if they are 'on order' or 'in processing' and not actually here yet.
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Monday, November 14, 2005

This Is The Season It Is

leaves turningThe cottonwoods in front of the library have finally begun to turn, and apparently are not going to go all golden all at once. They are way behind the other trees around town; the trees along the river were glorious ten days ago.
       The other trees near the building, and up and down the block, lost their leaves already. We miss our third cottonwood, the one on the Marcy Street side which died a couple of years back and has been removed. Give the stump a glance and a thought when you walk by--that tree was enormous...

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Generation M

Walt Crawford at Cites and Insights has pointed out the Kaiser Family Foundation report, Generation M: Media in the Lives of 8 - 18 Year-olds. The executive summary is full of juicy tidbits. For example, in a typical day, the percentage of the 2000 respondents who watched TV was 81%, and the percentage of respondents who listened to radio was 74%.
       What about reading? 47% read a magazine; 46% read a book (NOT for school); 34% read a newspaper.
       Particularly interesting is the report's Key Finding #8, "Today's youth are masters of multitasking." We are not to imagine that if they are watching TV or listening to music they are not ALSO reading or playing a game or using their computer. Compared to a similar study five years ago, young people are using media nearly the same number of hours per day (6:19), but because of multitasking the total amount of media consumed has increased by about an hour... Perhaps the "M" in the report's title should be construed as being for Multitasking rather than for Media.
       About reading, Key Finding #14 says, "Children continue to read regularly for pleasure... In a typical day, nearly three out of four (73%) young people report reading for pleasure. On average 8-to-18-year-olds spend about three-quarters of an hour a day reading (0:43)." 19% of respondents spend more than an hour a day reading print.
       The whole exective summary makes an entertaining 'read' or anyway browse. Charts, facts, and factors one might have thought to consider: does the household have TV rules? How many portable media devices in the household?

Friday, November 11, 2005

Mayor's Holiday Food Drive

This message just in: "The Mayor’s Holiday Food Drive Committee invites you to shop at Whole Foods on Thursday, November 17th, 2005.
       "Whole Foods will graciously donate 1% of total sales for that day to the Mayor’s Holiday Food Drive. This is a tremendous fund raiser for the Mayor’s Holiday Food Drive Committee. With the proceeds of this fund raiser – we feed 13 families from each elementary school (14 schools – 182 families) plus many other needy community members.
       "The Mayor’s Holiday Food Drive Committee would like to thank you in advance for support in the 2005 Mayor’s Holiday Food Drive efforts."

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Holiday Reminder

Yes, we are closed tomorrow, November 11th.
       There's a nice short piece about the history of the Veteran's Day holiday on the Miami-Dade Public Schools site, and a more elaborate site at the Department of Veteran's Affairs..
       The library's holiday calendar is always available on the About the Library page.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

River of Concrete

concrete in the foundationCameron Construction reports pouring the first pour of concrete last week-- 50 yards of it-- to form the foundation of Children’s patio, reading and young adult area. You can see the river of concrete in the trenches.
     We have made a new web page that archives the construction photos as the new Southside Library takes shape before our eyes. There are also "before pictures" from the site, taken on August 11th; and a lot of fun pictures of the September 14th Groundbreaking.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Whole Book Right There on the Screen

It's going to happen.
       Google Print is now in beta, as you no doubt have heard on the news. Also Amazon is unveiling a project whose direction is apparently to try to sell us partial access to what we only need a little bit of. The project which the news media are presenting as Yahoo's, to hype a competition between Google and Yahoo, is actually the Open Content Alliance and will be administered by the Internet Archive. A good many major libraries-- including the Research Libraries Group, Columbia, Emory, and the University of California-- who are choosing NOT to participate in the Google project are going to be working with OCA. Peter Suber's SPARC newsletter has a long and careful description and comparison of the two different approaches.
       This is a fizzy time for book lovers. Suddenly, just in the past year, free access to the contents of books is precipitating onto the web. Not just a few, or those done as labors of love (like the 16,000 titles assembled by Project Gutenberg over the past 35 years) but a lot of books. Really this post exists to give you the following quote from Peter Suber's article: "The number of free online full-text journal articles is growing steadily and it's likely that its percentage relative to toll-access journal articles is also growing. However, the percentage of books that are free online may soon exceed the percentage of journal articles that are free online. A year or two ago that would have been most unexpected." (Emphasis added.)
       We'll be exploring Google Print, figuring out what's in there and what the consequences are of current technology and copyright constraints (among other aspects). We'll let you know how that goes.
       PS This post is already out of date. We keep finding more developments, announcements, activity.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

DVDs, Videos, CDs, Tapes

The media lists have all been updated. The lists of the library's holdings in DVDs, videos, books on CD, books on cassette, and music on CD are all available from the catalog's main page (look in the lefthand column).
       There is also a list of very recently added or ordered media materials.
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Saturday, November 05, 2005

November Calendar News

Friday, November 11
The Libraries will be closed in observance of Veterans Day

Saturday and Sunday, November 19-20
Friends of the Library
Mid-Season Book Sale
La Farge Library, 1730 Llano Street
Saturday, 10 AM - 4 PM
  Hardcover $1.00
  Movie Videos $1.00
  Paperbacks $.50 or 3/$1.00
 Records & Children's Books $.25
 Cassettes, Videos & CDs $.50
Sunday, 1-4 PM, Bag Day, $2.50 per bag
All proceeds from this Book Sale go the support the Southside Library Campaign

Thursday and Friday, November 24 & 25
The Libraries will be closed in observance of Thanksgiving
The Libraries will keep their normal hours on Saturday and Sunday, November 26 & 27. (How do we get to be closed on the Friday? It's the Presidents Day holiday we didn't take in February...)
PS If you missed the Santa Fe Book Arts Group's event last month, you have not missed your chance to see a beautiful array of One-of-a-Kind Books. They will remain on display in the exhibit cases in the Tybie Davis Satin Gallery space at the Main Library through the month of November.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Françoise Sagan, Walter Farley & Mary Shelley

Still thinking about young authors: Maureen Daly was 17 in 1942 when she published Seventeenth Summer and invented teen literature. Unless you want to say that S. E. Hinton invented it at age 16 with the publication of The Outsiders in 1967.
       (We may be overstating, but it's easy to find good academic authority for the idea. As an article in the ALAN Review (Assembly for Literature on Adolescents) says: "Until the mid twentieth century, adolescents didn't really exist. There were two groups: adults and children. Some date the invention of teen literature to the publication of Maureen Daly's Seventeenth Summer in 1942; ... For others, S. E. Hinton defined the category with The Outsiders in 1967.")
       But young authors don't write only teen lit, nor only lately. Mary Shelley was 17 when she wrote Frankenstein. Françoise Sagan was 19 when she published Bonjour Tristesse. There's an article in a recent Christian Science Monitor about Helen Oyeyemi's new novel, The Icarus Girl. She's 18 (well, maybe a little older now, 18 when she wrote it).
       Salt Lake City Public Library has a list of young authors. People don't read Seventeenth Summer anymore, and maybe won't keep reading others of the books on the list. But they are sure still reading S. E. Hinton (and Mary Shelley).
       Mathematicians? Poets? Musical performers? How about classical composers? Mendelssohn, Mozart and Schubert all started doing their adult work while still in their teens.
       As for Walter Farley, he started writing The Black Stallion, the archetypal horse story, when he was 15, published it when he was 19. We have the book of course, as well as Carroll Ballard's lovely 1979 film.
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Thursday, November 03, 2005

Pluto's Possible Moons

Or in science-talk, "candidate satellites". Hubble Space Telescope may have discovered two additional moons orbiting Pluto. The observation images were taken by Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys in May. There are no clues in the press release or news stories about why they decided to release the news now.
       Hubble is still slated for retirement in 2010. There's a long discussion of its current status and likely immediate future, etc. in a September, 2005, story at

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Two Time Editors Choose 100 Modern Novels

Librarians love lists. There's a nice article in the online Time Magazine, selecting the 100 Best English Language Novels from 1923 to the present. (How'd they choose the time frame? 1923 is the year Time Magazine began.) They're presented in alphabetical order, so one can't immediately pick out their top choices and ignore the rest.
       The list includes the 1986 graphic novel Watchmen, written by Alan Moore and drawn by Dave Gibbons; children's titles such as The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret; science fiction titles such as Snow Crash, Neuromancer and Ubik; titles as recent as Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections (2001) and Zadie Smith's White Teeth (2000); and at least one we'd literally never heard of. (What? Oh. Flann O'Brien, At Swim-Two-Birds.)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Endcap Evidence

In a airport bookstore we saw a display that looks like this:
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Around here, Christopher Paolini's new book Eldest is not nearly as popular as the newest Harry Potter, and appeals to a somewhat older audience. But there is a waiting list for the Paolini, and the older kids are already asking for the not-yet-published (perhaps not-yet-written) final book of the trilogy.
       Christopher Paolini started writing the first book in his trilogy, Eragon, when he was 15. His youth, and the fact that he was first self-published and marketed in the science fiction and fantasy world, then picked up by a major publisher, may contribute to the interest his books hold for teens. There's an interview with him at But marketing can only take books so far. After that people actually have to want to read them; which appears to be the case...