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taygete

adventures, by accident

Month

July 2012

Marriage Equality Day

Marriage equality has been in the news quite a bit recently, both on the national level, and on the local level as Maryland faces a ballot initiative to strike down the recently-passed Civil Marriage Protection Act (links to .pdf). As I’ve said before on this blog, I believe strongly that civil marriage is a civil right. As a non-theist, I am less concerned about religious ceremonies and practices, and am more focused on the ability of same-sex couples to access to the very real social, legal, and economic benefits conferred by the word and concept of “marriage”.*

Sometimes, a girl has to put her money where her mouth is, and if you know me, you know I have a big mouth. I recently became involved, through a grad school classmate, with a Facebook event entitled Donate (the cost of) a Chicken Dinner for Marriage Equality Day. The event was organized in response to the recent admission of Chick-fil-A president/COO that he and the organization “support a biblical definition of a family unit.” They have never hidden the Baptist values that support their corporate structure (being closed on Sundays, for example), and they also make really delicious chicken sandwiches.

Now, as a private corporation, they have every right to act in accordance with their beliefs, values, and best corporate interests. As a private citizen, knowing that a percentage of their corporate profits go to organizations explicitly opposing marriage equality and the rights of the LGBT population, I have an equal right to choose not to spend my money actively opposing my beliefs and my best interests. It’s for this reason that I became involved with my friend’s Facebook event, helping to promote it and moderate comments (as you can imagine on an issue like this, the comment section has occasionally been quite heated). I chose to participate in this among many protests because I really do believe (unfortunately!) that money often speaks louder than words, and I am choosing in this instance to vote with my dollars. I understand other groups have organized LGBT “kiss-ins” at a variety of Chick-fil-A locations, but that is a bit confrontational for my personal political taste, and I do worry a little that it’s an invitation to the sort of physical confrontation that leads to violence, not to mention how it confuses the issue of when PDAs are appropriate with larger political issues.

Frankly, I can’t quite tell you why I’ve chosen to draw my line in the sand here, over this issue, at this point. I shop at Target regularly, despite their spotty track record of corporate donations. I avoid Walmart for a variety of reasons (I come from a pro-union household, to start, and I find their pricing practices predatory and their history of pressuring municipalities for tax exemptions and then leaving when the exemptions expire is also problematic). I’m sure there are dozens of ways I’m making the wrong choice on a regular basis when it comes to spending my money. I think I just have to hope, every now and then, that I can make a difference.

* With the understanding that marriage is not mandatory, and no person or couple who does not wish to be married should feel compelled to participate. It should be an option, not an obligation.

Behind

I’ve been behind on posting because there’s been a lot going on, and yet not much forward progress. Also, a lot of photos are still hanging out on my camera, unfortunately, because I haven’t had time to pull them onto my computer and sort them out.

The move went well, and I was lucky enough to have friends willing to help out with the heavy lifting even in the 100+ degree weather. HOORAY for friends. We’re slowly settling into the new place, but of course I wish it were going much faster. A variety of events have kept me from having the time to really invest in the little things, so the roll of drawer liner is just taking up space in the kitchen, pictures are leaning against the wall instead of hanging, and I haven’t even organized my cookbooks yet! I have a six day week this week, but am hoping to really buckle down this weekend and get some things done.

In exciting news, we are cat-sitting for a friend this week, both as a favor and as a trial run for our own pet ownership. It’s going well so far, and I’m enjoying having the little furball around. I went to a great show (Girlyman) at a weird venue (Baltimore Soundstage) last night, and was glad to get out and mix up the routine a little bit.

In less exciting news, I have a severe case of not-finishing-itis. I haven’t done any knitting lately, have started a number of books but haven’t stuck with any of them, and our fridge is cluttered with food for recipes I want to try but haven’t yet. I’ve hardly been to the gym in weeks, and I’m just generally feeling a constant sense of not having enough time. When this happens I tend to get easily flustered, flitting from one thing to the next, losing focus on my goals. How do you snap yourself out of these kinds of things?

Bloggery

If I were the sort of person to list things I hate, moving and hot/humid weather would absolutely be in the top 5. Possibly the top three. Suffice it to say, I am in a better mood post-move than I was for the month pre-move.

Luckily, even though I live without central air or ceiling fans (but window unites now, yay!), I work in a well air conditioned building, and therefore have respite from the heat during the bulk of the day. It’s gotten cooler, but it’s still wildly humid, and the AC is much appreciated.

Once nice thing about summer at a library like mine is that, while still quite busy, there is a little time to catch up on professional reading related to projects we’re working on. Right now I have a stack of articles on faculty spaces in academic libraries, another on screencasting tutorials for students, and a number of bookmarked blog posts on social media (Pinterest especially) to catch up on. I enjoy that the library world has a plethora of blogs in a wide range of topics and specialties, some of which are highly personal and some of which are strictly professional. I find it’s usually easy to get a few different perspectives on the topics of the day, even given that there’s a bit of an echo chamber effect (blogs talking to each other but not engaging with wider audiences).

I follow a number of the “big” names – In the Library with the Lead Pipe, Hack Library School, and the Smithsonian Libraries Blog, to name a few. There are also a few smaller* blogs I follow, and I’d recommend to anybody interested in the topic:

SearchReSearch: Billed as “A blog about search, search skills, teaching search, learning how to search, learning how to use Google effectively, learning how to do research.” It focuses heavily on using Google’s tools for research, which I find helpful, both because Google does provide a number of powerful search tools, and because it’s relied on heavily and to some degree trusted by the public. While librarians occasionally steer people away from Google and similar broad public-web search activities, it’s also important to be able to meet the user where they are, and I think SearchReSearch provides good skills for librarians to do just this. I also like the blog/author’s approach to information searching, wherein a problem is presented, readers are encouraged to participate by “searching along with” one another, and then strategies and tactics are discussed. It’s as useful, if not more so, than the “Information Access Services” class I took in graduate school.

Eleventh Stack: A blog from the Main branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh highlighting their offerings, co-written by a number of librarians and staff members. I’m not sure how I was turned on to this blog, but I really like that it blends in a personal element to discussions about home renovations, diabetes treatment, and other topics. The bloggers do a good job of presenting the library as a solution to their problems or questions – framing the library as a resource for fun and information.

Swiss Army Librarian: This blog, written by one public library reference librarian, is really hands-on and tactical, as the name implies! He talks about little things, like the “Reference Question of the Week” post, where he discusses a specific reference question and how he did (or didn’t) find the answer. He also discusses library policies and ongoing projects in a frank and open manner. I like that this blog provides some transparency to library administration, and Herzog is really upfront about what has or has not worked for various policies and projects the library has undertaken. It’s a good behind-the-scenes glimpse into the inner workings of a public library.

Finally, two blogs I like, but aren’t updated as often: The ‘M’ Word: Marketing Libraries and The Outreach Librarian. The former is written by a pair of librarians presenting information on marketing trends and tactics in the library world, bringing in outside experience and a tried-and-true perspective. The latter is written by a blogger who does both academic and public style library outreach, and highlights the work of other outreach librarians. Individual programs and assessment are discussed, and it’s a great place to go for inspiration.

What library blogs do you read?

* By smaller, I’m not even considering delving into hit counts, blogbacks or other quantitative metrics. I consider these smaller because of the relatively small staff behind the blogs, the individual perspectives they provide, and especially the practicality of the tips they provide.

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