Saturday, December 31, 2005

New Branch Coming, You Bet

Southside Library is really coming along. Still flat, nothing rising up into the air yet, but the whole thing looks, well, real.
       The architect's notes for this week say, "Work in progress: a. Structural concrete at the interior of the building is complete, and the radiant piping is in place at the south side of the building. b. Electricians are installing the conduit for below-slab locations. c. Locations have been laid out for columns outside the heated area of the building."

construction photo
construction photo

Friday, December 30, 2005

Holiday Hours Reminder

Main and La Farge will be closing at 1 PM on Saturday, December 31st. (Bookstop will not be open). All three libraries will be closed Sunday and Monday, January 1 & 2. We will reopen on January 3rd.
       The library's holiday calendar for 2006 has been posted on our web page. It is always available from both the news page and the About the Library page.
       PS The usual reminder: the catalog, the magazine and newpaper databases, and the webpages never close. Available 24 x 7 x 365.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

timbl's blog (& social networking)

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the man who developed the WorldWideWeb protocol back in the late 80s, began a blog on December 12. "In 1989 one of the main objectives of the WWW was to be a space for sharing information. It seemed evident that it should be a space in which anyone could be creative, to which anyone could contribute," he said. "Now in 2005, we have blogs and wikis, and the fact that they are so popular makes me feel I wasn't crazy to think people needed a creative space."
       Some people are talking about the collaborative, conversational, social media presently carrying much of the traffic on the Web as 'Web 2.0', the second version of the Web, even as they acknowledge that in fact Web 2.0 is what Berners-Lee intended the WorldWideWeb to be when he invented it in the first place. (E.g., Paul Graham: "Web 2.0 means using the web the way it's meant to be used. The 'trends' we're seeing now are simply the inherent nature of the web emerging from under the broken models that got imposed on it during the Bubble."
       A month or so ago the New York Times had an article on travel blogging services, and how people are using them to write about their travels, stay in touch with people at home, share their photographs, and talk to each other about travelling. On December 12, Business Week's cover story was The MySpace Generation, focussing on social networking sites like myspace and xanga, and describing the largely youthful tens of millions of people visiting these sites daily, posting profiles, pictures and weblogs about themselves, and talking to each other online. Wikipedia, the collaborative encyclopedia ("the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit"), also hit the mainstream media big-time this month, first because of a high-profile hoax posting, and then in the same week a study posted online by the prestigious journal Nature which found "Jimmy Wales' Wikipedia comes close to Britannica in terms of the accuracy of its science entries". (This article, Internet encyclopedias go head to head, is available online free, not often the case with Nature.)
       The social networking tools and websites, the explosion of the blog world, photo-sharing sites like flickr, instant messaging... this Web is not quite the passive one we're familiar with; it's a place where 455 people immediately posted comments to timbl's blog, thanking him for having created the web...

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Dry Dry Dry

Yesterday's fairydusting of snow notwithstanding, we are having a dry winter, as predicted. The reservoir system is down to 56% (see the City's Weekly Water Reports. The Southwest Climate Outlook tells us "Drought is like to persist or intensify over most of the Southwest except for far western Arizona. Hydrological drought continues to affect some large reservoir levels in the region, and agricultural drought conditions have developed in eastern New Mexico." The Drought Outlook Monitor has us marked for 'Drought Development Likely'.
       The photograph was taken in the Valles Caldera National Preserve at the foot of the Valle Grande Trail on December 26th. It should not be possible to get down there at this time of year, at least not without snowshoes; but there was no snow, no snow, no snow at all.
photo: valle grande without snow

Monday, December 26, 2005

Gas Mileage Guide

cars from the 30sThe EPA's Fuel Economy Guide for model year 2006 vehicles is on their website. The site includes other features--for example, you can look up a particular year and model of car and find out its MPG, annual fuel cost, and greenhouse gas emissions in tons/year--and external links, such as gasoline price trackers.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Holiday

holiday greeting card with vintage image

Yes, all three library locations are closed December 24-25-26. But don't forget that the magazine and newspaper databases, the catalog (renew materials, place holds, browse lists), and the web pages never close.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

The Continuing Drought and Trees

downtown branchesWe received the following message from the City's Parks and Recreation Department:
      "Last week a co-worker and I down south at Parks and Recreation were talking about the condition of his outdoor plants and water when he stated 'Well, I guess the drought is over and our trees are going to be okay.' My answers was 'that depends,' we ended by talking about the recent weather and I thought we should all think about the need for winter watering.
      "The trees all over town were placed under severe stress from the lack of adequate moisture during the past 3-4 years, in particular winter snow pack, more specifically the lack of winter snows.
      "These trees all around town and in the surrounding areas continue to suffer to some extent from previous dry years.
      "Recent research tells us that plant roots of some species continue to develop during the winter months, in particular if they are below the frozen soil line. Right now in town, it varies from no frozen ground to about six inches.
      "We did not receive any appreciable moisture in the fall and are not receiving enough recent snows to keep most trees hydrated.
      "Continuing of cold and dry winds are causing the moisture under tree bark and in the leaves of the evergreens (like Pinon and Juniper) to lose moisture on a daily basis. The moisture needs to be replenished or many trees will lose buds and stems as they desiccate beyond their ability to re-hydrate.
      "On a warm afternoon hook up the garden hose and water the trees. You should probably do this every 2-3 weeks unless we begin to receive heavy snow packs. It does look like we are in for a dry winter.
      "Remember, the native trees and shrubs in our yards and landscapes evolved in a climate where most of the moisture that is available to recharge the soil moisture level comes in the form of snow.
      "It would also be a great idea to place a layer of clean straw, like Timothy grass hay or any other mulch, around the base of the trees or shrubs out as far away from the base towards the ends of the limbs ( the drip line ) as possible. This will help to conserve and minimize the loss of valuable soil moisture around the root zone.
      "So continue to save and utilize that valuable recycled water from your house hold use, or give your plants a Christmas present of water from the hydrant (do not forget to disconnect the hose when you are finished). No, the drought is not over.
      "Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays
      "Fabian Chavez III @ Parks and Rec."
downtown branches

Friday, December 23, 2005

68 Sacred Clowns

Not really. But the Bookstop has a copy of Tony Hillerman's Sacred Clowns that has circulated 68 times and is sitting happily on the shelf ready to go again. We don't mean all the copies of this book at the Bookstop total up 68 circulations; no, this one physical object has held together through 68 adventures in people's homes. Not all books are this tough; many wear out, and we have to discard them. But we ran a search for items which have circulated 75 times or more, and we have about 1200 of these immortal-seeming objects.
       Always we are thinking about when we move the Bookstop branch's collection to the new Southside Library. Here in hand is a nearly-brand-new donated copy of Sacred Clowns. The Bookstop's existing copies will move to the new library, but shall we also add this one to the Southside library's Opening Day Collection which is growing in boxes in a corner of the basement (and in our vendor's warehouse)? Yes, I think so.
       Southside's items are starting to appear in the catalog, nearing a thousand already, and only 84,000 more to go :-} They look like this:
image of catalog entry
Keep those crisp donated books coming; we're making good use of them.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Rebar Grid, Radiant Tubing, Stem Wall

radiant tubing

This week's notes from the architect, about progress at the Southside Library:
"a. Concrete is being placed for column bases on the interior of the slab and some on the perimeter.
b. Rebar grid has been set and some of the radiant tubing has been placed in the south part of the slab. Tomorrow, the base course will be placed on the north side of the slab, and the rebar grid will be set over that.
c. The concrete subcontractor will close the footprint of the building. There is a portion of the stem wall that has been left open for vehicular access."
       Don't you just love technical talk??
rebar grid

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

What People Want To Read

The titles with the most holds on them at the moment are        The hold process works pretty well. We have filled 26,000 holds this year to date. It's one of the most satisfying things we do: we know we are giving people Exactly What They Want each time a hold is filled!
       Nevertheless, if you're already in line for one of these titles, don't count on getting it in your hands before the weekend. Come in and round up something else for your holiday TBR (to-be-read) stack, to make sure you're covered for the days we'll be closed. (The list of titles with the most holds, Books You're Willing To Wait In Line For, is always available from both the catalog and the About Books & Literature page.)
cover of bookcover of bookcover of bookcover of bookcover of book

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Staying Safe

In tech news last week we heard about yet another Microsoft security flaw, another critical patch for Internet Explorer. (But hey, you're using Firefox or Safari and don't care, right?)
       There were stories in the news a couple of weeks ago about the AOL/National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) Online Safety Study. Collectively we are doing somewhat better than a year ago at protecting our machines, but 'better' is still fairly dismal:
       "The study found that 81% of home PCs lack at least one of the three critical protections — updated computer virus software, spyware protection, and a secure firewall — necessary to help guard against viruses, spyware, hackers, and other threats. More than half (56%) of the participants either had no anti-virus protection or had not updated it within the last week, almost half (44%) did not have a properly-configured firewall, and four in ten (38%) lacked spyware protection. Yet, despite these findings, the large majority of users (83%) falsely believed that they were safe from online threats."
       The security specialists at CERT at Carnegie/Mellon University have a nice site on Home Computer Security.
      Redwood City Public Library's LibBlog is often a good source in general for incoming tech stories.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Holiday Schedule Change

The Main Library will be closing an hour early, at 5 PM, on December 23rd.
The La Farge Library will close at 1 PM on December 23rd.
The Bookstop will not be open on December 23rd.
(And all three will be closed December 24-25-26 as previously announced.)

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Books and Movies, Movies and Books

Movies create a demand for the books on which they are based. This fact seem to surprise each person who comes to the library for a book because they've seen or heard about the movie, only to discover that there is already a waiting list. But really you should not be surprised. Your fellow citizens collectively are literate, and many of them are heavy readers. :-)
       So what's around town right now that we have books for?
cover of bookcover of bookcover of bookcover of bookcover of book

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Wireless Is Coming

!!Good news. Santa Claus is bringing wireless access to the Main Library and the La Farge Branch some time early in the new year. Maybe by Groundhog's Day, or President's Day, or thereabouts.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Pierce Brosnan Sighting Opportunity

Mel Gibson's production company will be filming for Seraphim Falls on Friday in the City's (former) Tino Griego Pool, in the building attached to the La Farge Branch. This time the pool is the bottom of a waterfall that Pierce Brosnan jumps or falls off. Last time, for Ron Howard's The Missing, it was a raging river. What brought them here? The real Seraphim Falls, where the story is set, is in Idaho; and is frozen solid at the moment.
       If you can possibly avoid it, don't try to get to La Farge on Friday. They are taking over almost the whole parking lot with all their trailers and equipment. The various production staff and fake-rock-wall-builders have been coming into La Farge all week to use the computers, and bringing us snippets of gossip. The rumour that Liam Neeson would also be hanging around our parking lot turns out not to be true. :-)
       Press release about Seraphim Falls; at the Internet Movie Database.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Progress In All Weathers

This week Administration met with the architects to make final decisions on colors for both exterior & interior. (Even though the future interior, or any color but mud brown and concrete grey, is a bit hard to imagine at this point.)

workmen working

Also this week the gas lines are coming in, and they are working on the retaining wall in the parking lot.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Media Lists Etc.

The lists of media materials have been updated over the past few days. These lists show everything, old and new, and are always available from the catalog top page. Here you can browse for thousands of DVDs ; Videos ; Books on CD ; Books on Cassette ; and Music on CD.
        For a look at what has been recently added to the database, try the Recently Added CDs, DVDs and Videos in the What's New lists. That one gets updated more often. Being the newest, the titles include both donations and items just ordered. Even if it's something that hasn't arrived yet, you can place a hold on it.
       The absolutely most recently ordered include sound recordings of Jennifer Weiner's Goodnight Nobody, Bob Woodward's The secret man: the story of Watergate's Deep Throat, Jan Karon's Light from Heaven, and other 2005 titles.
cover of bookcover of bookcover of bookcover of bookcover of book

Monday, December 12, 2005

Magic! Juggling!! Wednesday!!!

photo of juggler at Clan Tynker performanceWednesday evening, December 14th, from 7PM - 8PM, Elijah Whipple and the Clan Tynker will offer a holiday program of magic and juggling for children. We hope to see you at La Farge Library for this fun evening (and adults are welcome, to get into the Holiday Spirit.)
       1730 Llano Street. For more information, call 955-4863.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Wireless Hotspots Around Town

No, not at the library. (Yet. The new Southside Branch will have wireless! Yaay!) But we have an ever-growing, ever-changing list (organized roughly by distance from the downtown library):
Ecco Expresso -- 105 E Marcy St, Santa Fe, 87501 - 986-9778
Tribes Coffeehouse -- 139 West San Francisco St. - 982-7948
Back Door Café -- 201 East Water St. - 992-1096
Meridian Espresso & News -- 228 Old Santa Fe Trail - 989-9252
Zele Coffee & Café -- 201 Galisteo St. - 982-7835
Atomic Café -- 103 East Water St. - 820-2866
Travel Bug Espresso Bar -- 839 Paseo de Peralta - 982-0418
Aztec Café -- 317 Aztec - 820-0025
Hunt and Gather Bookstore -- 311 Aztec - 988-0025
CD Café -- 310 North Guadalupe St. - 986-0735
Santa Fe Baking Company -- 504 West Cordova Rd. - 988-4292
Cruz Jewelry and Café -- 618 Canyon Rd. - 986-0644
The Tea House -- 821 Canyon Rd. - 992-0972
Annapurna -- 903 West Alameda - 988-9688
Java Joe's -- 2801 Rodeo Rd. - 474-5282
Eldorado Community Center -- 1 Hacienda Loop(in Eldorado) - 466-4248

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Online Books, Free, Already

Someone called to ask if we offer ebooks. Though the library does not subscribe to any pay-for-ebooks service, there's an awful lot of material out there which is already available on the open web. Just for example, the Online Books Page pulls together 25,000 titles put up by various free etext projects. They have a what's new listing, which offers an RSS feed. At the moment the What's New array includes such serendipitous treasures as Nabokov's Ada or Ardor from Pennsylvania State University; a 1734 Koran (from Carnegie Mellon University); The Emperor Jones and other plays by Eugene O'Neill at, The Official Website of the Eugene O'Neill Society (now there's a find); and...
       ...most impressively from a southwesterner's point of view, Northwestern University has put up the entire 20-volume text of Edward S. Curtis's The North American Indian. 5000 pages of text and 2200 images. The scanning was done from the set owned by Northwestern University Library. The scanned images are housed in Library of Congress' American Memory Collection, the funding largely came from IMLS (Institute for Museum and Library Services). The project was completed in 2003, so it is not in fact new, but apparently new to the OnLine Books Page's database.
       Our About Books and Literature page has a section on Electronic Text which can lead you to many other resources and collections of online book sites. There’s no one site that pulls it ALL together.

Friday, December 09, 2005

More Non-Fiction Pleasures

We lately read a terrific little book about geology, Reading the rocks : the autobiography of the earth by Marcia Bjornerud. It's gracefully written, the author is a working scientist who knows what she is writing about, it's short, and for the non-specialist it offers new thoughts on almost every page.
       There's a particular pleasure in reading science written (clearly and well) by scientists. Other examples in recent years include Craig Stanford's Upright : the evolutionary key to becoming human, or Ants at work : how an insect society is organized by Deborah M. Gordon.
       And though James Gleick is a science writer, not a working scientist, in the realm of learning things you otherwise might have no idea about, you might also consider his brief biography of Isaac Newton. Or New Mexico essayist Sharman Apt Russell's An obsession with butterflies : our long love affair with a singular insect. Or, moving on to slightly longer books, almost any of anthropologist Brian Fagan's books about archaeology; two recent titles which might work for any serious general reader are The long summer : how climate changed civilization and Chaco Canyon : archaeologists explore the lives of an ancient society.
       PS. The list of recently ordered non-fiction has just been updated. In fact, all the What's New lists are refreshed.
cover of bookcover of bookcover of bookcover of bookcover of book

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Holiday Schedule Notes

The libraries will be closed December 24, 25th, and 26th, for Christmas Eve, the real Christmas Day, and the legal holiday. For New Years, Main and La Farge will be open from 10AM to 1 PM on Saturday, December 31st, New Year's Eve (Bookstop not open); and then all three libraries closed on January 1st and 2nd, the actual and legal holiday days.
       On December 17th and 18th, the children of the Palace of the Governors Portal Program vendors will be having an arts sale in the Community Room at the Main Library. The hours are Saturday the 17th, 10AM-4PM; and Sunday the 18th, 1-4PM. The kids' parents have decorated the Community Room, and the holiday tree on the balcony. There will be storytellers in the Community Room and in the childrens room during the event.
       As we have in the past, we will be suspending our Inter-Library Loan operations for the holidays. The reason for this is to avoid losing materials in the mail during the busy holiday season, and because many of the lenders are academic libraries who--lacking student help during the vacation period-- could not fill the requests. The last day to place ILL requests will be Sunday, December 11; we will resume normal operations on January 3.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Still Readying for the Slab...

Southside Library is coming along. The crushed rock in this photo is to go under the slab. One hundred fifty conduits will be laid in the crushed rock before the pour, 100 of them for the data room.

       When they are ready for a concrete pour, it can only happen if the temperature is above 32 degrees and rising. They have insulating covers to protect the pour for several days while it dries and cools at an even rate.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

More About Ice and Climate

The November 25 issue of Science, with the articles on the ice core that reaches back 750,000 years, has finally arrived.
       The Waterboro Lib Blog pointed out a list of books about climate change at The site itself appears to be a terrific resource, a window on the response of working scientists on the recent news of the EPICA Antarctica ice core and other topics.
       (The Antacrtica thumbnail images are from the United States Antarctica Program Photolibrary).
photo of Anvers Island, Antarcticaphoto of Anvers Island, Antarcticaphoto of Anvers Island, Antarctica

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Reading, Writing (and Prizes)

Garrison Keillor has a very nice piece in Salon, The more noble prize, about being at the National Book Awards last month. (He hosted the event, although he modestly doesn't say so in his essay.) It's free. You have to watch an ad first, but the article is worth the trouble.
       The winners of the 2005 National Book Awards were: William T. Vollman, Europe Central, for fiction; Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking, for nonfiction; W.S. Merwin, Migration: New and Selected Poems, for poetry; and Jeannie Birdsall, The Penderwicks, for Young People's Literature. It is worth looking at the full lists of nominees as well as winners. Over time they tend to sort themselves out, and the winners in each year's small group are not necessarily the titles which remain memorable.

cover of bookcover of bookcover of bookcover of book

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Ice Volcanoes and Other Updates

cassini image of enceladus from NASAThe Cassini spacecraft lately captured photographic evidence that there are indeed ice volcanoes on Saturn's moon Enceladus. Sky and Telescope and NASA both give the image, and explanations.
       It does not appear that there are results yet in the study of Kennewick man, just the occasional stray news story.
       The archaeologists are still at work in the parking lot behind the present Sweeney Convention Center (and possible future Civic Center). If you search in the newspaper database (call the library for username and password) for 'tesuque pueblo and mitchell', you will find a number of recent news articles, including Tesuque Pueblo Governor Mark Mitchell's November 20th editorial explaining the Pueblo's opposition to the relocation of human remains the archaeologists have image from the NASA SOHO page has a rapidly growing sunspot for us to admire.
       The youngest cohort of birds in the eastern whooping crane flock, being led on their first migration by ultralight vehicles, flew 100 miles in 2 hours on Thursday! They seem to be getting stronger and flying further as the journey progresses. There's a good clear map in each entry, updated each time they move.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Languages Lost and Found

One of our readers pointed out the website for the National Yiddish Book Center ("Rescuing Books, Inspiring Readers"). He read about it at the AnglicansOnline website. Why did the Anglicans want to point it out? "Linguists predicted in the 1970s that the language would be dead in their lifetimes; today it is alive and well, the object of serious study and active use by a growing community of people throughout the world."
       In the Native American West, the question of language preservation, of keeping cultural traditions alive, is very well understood. An organization based at UNM is the Linguistic Institute for Native Americans. There are a lot of good links here and there on the web, such as at the Endangered Language Foundation at Yale; at Native American Language Net; articles from Tribal College Journal, "Native American Language Renewal" and "Resource Guide: Renewal of Indigenous Languages", etc.
       And yes, we do have the book by the man who created the Yiddish Book Center: Outwitting history : the amazing adventures of a man who rescued a million Yiddish books by Aaron Lansky. Outwitting history... such a great notion.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Winter Spanish Market

This weekend, December 3rd and 4th, the Winter Spanish Market will be taking place at Sweeney Convention Center.
       If you're coming downtown anyway on Saturday for the Friends of the Library's special Holiday Book Sale, you might want to take a look at the Market, too. Or vice versa. :-)