Sunday, July 28, 2013

Felting rack is cat hideout

A knitted and felted bag rests on a makeshift drying rack: a window screen held up by books. My beautiful cat Starfire is stretched out beneath the rack.

Felting was the next step after completion of a circular-knit bag for a class taught by Erin Duffy at The Web-sters. After setting up a drying rack on the bed, it came as no surprise to find my sweet Starfire stretched out underneath.

I spent the morning “roughing up” my knitting against the sides of a steel colander in a sink full of hot water, occasionally “shocking” it in cold.

Paper from a newspaper end roll gives the bag shaping while it dries. The final step will be to attach contrasting-color shoelace handles, chosen to highlight shading in the novelty yarn that I used when knitting the bag’s “cowl.”

Ravelry: Elizabeth models ‘Honeycomb Flower Patch’

Tabby-on-white cat sitting on multi-colored honeycomb afghan
Newly selected as a feature photo on Ravelry: Elizabeth, who died in July 2011, models “Honeycomb Flower Patch” by Judy Bolin.

This project is a great way to use up remnants of yarn. I made it using a multitude of colors as well as the more coordinated blend depicted in the feature photograph.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Volunteering at Ashland library: May have an in

I may finally have an “in” volunteering at the Ashland public library. Esther Mortensen, the teen librarian, encouraged me to submit another application and specify I wanted to help her with Saturday teens’ “crafternoons” that she wants to do once a month.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

FDsys: search engine for Government Printing Office

At the recommendation of Dorothy Ormes, government information librarian at Southern Oregon University’s Hannon Library, I viewed the first in a set of tutorials about the U.S. Government Printing Office’s Federal Digital System (FDsys).

I’m with ALA president: ‘Libraries Change Lives’

Mug shot: American Library Association 2013-2014 President Barbara Stripling
Barbara Stripling
In the July/August American Libraries, American Library Association President Barbara Stripling details her presidential initiative, “Libraries Change Lives.”

Stripling’s initiative focuses on strengthening literacy initiatives, sharing innovative practices and building on community engagement. In her words:
“Americans have a right to effective school, public, academic, and special libraries. As part of Libraries Change Lives, we have developed a Declaration for the Right to Libraries to serve as a strong public statement of the value of libraries to empower individuals, strengthen families, build communities, and protect our right to know.”

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Final thoughts on LIBT 213

Through its explanations of Boolean logic and summary of available resources, this course met my expectations for becoming more proficient at Internet search.

I enjoyed following step-by-step exercises in the book. Of particular value were the annotated bibliography and literature review, which encouraged thinking critically about the information we viewed online.

The one area of improvement that I would recommend is directed less toward the instructor than toward the authors of our text. While written in 2010, the book has not kept pace with options that are no longer offered by providers.

While otherwise of value for detailed step-by-step instructions, the book needs to eliminate references to services and features that are no longer online.

Stakeholders address accessibility in web design

Because it transcends geographic boundaries and puts the power of content creation into the hands of anyone, the Internet offers a unique opportunity for people with disabilities to shape social attitudes and dialogue.

Monday, July 22, 2013

‘READ!’ with Big Bang Theory cast

We have a winner: The coolest thing I saw today is a “READ!” poster from American Library Association's ALA Store, featuring the cast of The Big Bang Theory. Read along with Howard, Bernadette, Penny, Sheldon, Leonard, Amy and Koothrappali.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

‘The New Information Professional’

The New Information Professional examines education and career paths in what authors Judy Lawson, Joanna Kroll and Kelly Kowatch identify as “some of the most cutting edge career and educational opportunities available.”

The information career tracks profiled in their book include Archives/Preservation of Information, Records Management, Library and Information Services, Human-Computer Interaction, Social Computing, Information Policy and Information Analysis and Retrieval.

I have experience in more than one of these information tracks.

During my tenure at the Lake County Record-Bee, I was engaged in social computing. I administered corporate Twitter and Facebook accounts to promote content and engage with readership.

I continue in this capacity with my library advocacy initiative, Yarn Bombing @ Your Library. In addition to creating and installing my own tags, I curate images on Facebook of other artists’ work.

I blog about issues of information policy and human-computer interaction, including accessibility of web design.

And, of course, I treasure my experience as a library volunteer: locating holds, shelving and supervising other volunteers during the Middletown library’s move to a new and larger facility and purchasing books, generating policy and promoting enjoyment of a small church lending library.

I am grateful for more recent volunteer experience in the Government Publications Department at Southern Oregon University’s Hannon Library. This and my work as an independent contractor for the Ashland-based Folium Partners represent some of my earliest connections in a new community.

So while I fight to rally support for financing Jackson County libraries, while I continue submitting applications to work at area libraries, I would welcome work — and have already worked — in these alternate areas.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Jackson County libraries: Digital Library Champion semi-finalist

Logo: OverDrive Digital Library Champions 2013
Congratulations to Jackson County Library Services, named a semifinalist in the Digital Library Champions contest.

Administered by the OverDrive eBook and audio book lending platform, the Digital Library Champions contest honors libraries that promote their digital collections in “creative, innovative and effective ways.”

Education and health care: the best choice, even if you’re selfish

My Facebook timeline displays a head shot of Young Adult fiction writer John Green with the caption: “Let me explain why I like to pay taxes for schools even though I don’t personally have a kid in school: I don’t like living in a country with a bunch of stupid people.”

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Jackson County libraries: Supporters pack hearing

Library card for Jackson County Library Services. Silhouette of hiker against wooded mountain background bearing caption "Explore"For KOBI NBC 5, anchor Christine Pitawanich reported that people “packed into” a public hearing on Wednesday to support the 15 branch libraries of Jackson County Library Services.

The purpose of the hearing was to discuss ideas for keeping the libraries open. Creating a library tax district was among ideas proposed.

In the words of supporter Michelle Blum Atkinson, “By doing a district for the library, people would know that this money is definitely going to go to the library.”

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

‘Yes, and’: Improv for social skills training

At, guest author Robin Fox identifies improv exercises as an effective way to teach “the back and forth exchanges that are the hallmark of all relationships.” It’s worthwhile reading if you, like me, have struggled in this area.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Web accessibility: Annotated bibliography

According to Katie Cunningham, author of the Accessibility Handbook (O’Reilly Media), web accessibility can cover four groups: people with visual, physical, hearing and cognitive impairments. As a woman on the autism spectrum, I am a personal stakeholder in web accessibility.

The subject is additionally timely, given a focus on “Technology in the Library” in American Libraries’ “Professional Developments” column (May 2013). Given these combined factors, web accessibility seemed a natural focus for my Advanced Internet Searching class.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Jackson County libraries: Where to write in support

An official notice for Wednesday’s public hearing regarding funding options for Jackson County Library Services can be viewed or downloaded in PDF format at

Saturday, July 13, 2013

YA book blog: series fiction

Book cover: The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
A bicycle trip to the Ashland library netted several beginning volumes in young adult series fiction.

Ashland teen librarian Esther Mortensen recommended The Adoration of Jenna Fox and its sequel, The Fox Inheritance, by Mary E. Pearson. The story involves a 17-year-old girl, Jenna Fox, who has awoken from a coma after supposedly being in an accident.

A publisher’s summary for Adoration sets the story in “the not-too-distant future, where biotechnological advances have made synthetic bodies and brains possible but illegal.” I’m barely into the story but find it an intriguing premise.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Friday cat blogging: Starfire rests now, but is sure to pummel the yarn I’m knitting with

Knitting on circular needles, draped across human's legs and the back of a sleeping cat

I took advantage of cat quiet-time to work on my project for Erin Duffy’s circular-knitting class at The Web-sters, an arts and crafts supply store in downtown Ashland, Oregon.

I have 16 inches of knitting to complete, which will form the body of a bag. The utilitarian nature of the project can’t conceal the fact that yarn is, in fact, evil and must be vanquished.

Jackson County libraries: hearing scheduled

Jackson County Library Services asks library supporters to attend a public hearing, 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Courthouse Auditorium, 10 S. Oakdale Ave. in Medford.

(Transit travelers, the destination is accessible via an eight-minute, 0.4-mile walk from Rogue Valley Transportation District’s Front Street Station. Head northwest on South Front Street toward East Ninth Street. Turn left onto East Eighth Street and turn right onto South Oakdale Avenue.)

The Jackson County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to receive input on library funding options; On its Facebook page, JCLS asks patrons to share funding ideas and support.

Yarn Bombing @ Your Library: Yarnbombed bicycle racks

Bicycles parked between upside-down U-shaped bike racks that have been covered with multicolored knitting.

Circa May 4, 2013: Toledo, Ohio-based Streetspun reported that all 10 bike racks at the library had been yarnbombed.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Laura Solomon explains social capital for libraries

For American Libraries Magazine, author Laura Solomon shares strategies for libraries to earn, build and cash in on their online reputations.

“Gaining social capital really means becoming a strong, consistent member of the online community. People expect reciprocity. Building a social media reputation means giving back.”

Worthwhile advice for any industry (not just libraries) and the idea of reciprocity seems applicable to any relationship, whether on- or offline.

Why are libraries important? Share your story

Library card: Jackson County Library Services in Oregon
Jackson County Library Services asks supporters to share their stories about why libraries are important. “Relating how the library impacts your life, and sharing your passion about the library will help people understand how libraries are a basic part of community infrastructure.”

I depended on libraries throughout my life to engage in life-long learning. Libraries gave me my earliest access to the Internet and to desktop and web publishing. And for nearly every subject that I need information about, I rely upon libraries. Share your story on the JCLS Facebook page,

Library news: How do you keep up?

At Hack Library School, Paul Lai wants to know how library professionals stay current on library news. He asks readers to share two things:
  1. What is one source of library news that you check regularly to stay on top of the news (listserv, blog, professional magazine, scholarly journal, podcast, etc.)?
  2. What is one current library news item that has caught your attention recently?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Jackson County libraries: property levy considered

On its Facebook page, the Medford Mail Tribune asks, “Would you vote for a levy to keep the libraries open?” A budget shortfall threatens all branch libraries in Jackson County Library Services.

According to Commissioner John Rachor, as reported by freelance writer John Darling for the Medford Mail Tribune, “a levy of 27 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation would provide the nearly $5 million needed to keep all branches open. On a house assessed at $189,000, the median price of single-family homes in the county, the tax would amount to $51 a year.”

Monday, July 8, 2013

T-shirts repurposed into jewelry

Necklace from T-shirt fabric strips: Two cord strands with a third strand that is braided from three cords. The necklace is embellished with beads and a glass heart
I spent an enjoyable couple of hours today during a Jackson County Library Services Teen Library-sponsored activity, repurposing T-shirts into jewelry at the Ashland Branch Library.

Count me among Ashland Teen Library fans.

Today’s event was part of Summer Reading Program activities that are taking place; a book talk featuring Young Adult and young readers’ literature prefaced the activity.

There are summer reading programs for all ages including adult. And if you missed today’s activity, there are several other opportunities at other JCLS branch libraries.

‘Unbored’ for summer reading and doing

Book cover: "Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun"
Perfect for summer reading and doing, Unbored is as its subtitle suggests, “The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun.”

Compiled by Joshua Glenn and Eizabeth Foy Larson with a variety of contributors, Unbored offers guidance and inspiration for activities that encourage young readers to experiment, explore and become engaged members of society.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Parade viewers block access to Ashland library

With the Ashland Chamber of Commerce’s Fourth of July parade behind us, can we talk about access and courtesy? Maybe even -- as we near the 23rd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, can we talk about respect for the law?

On Wednesday afternoon -- the day before the holiday parade in the City of Ashland, Oregon -- several people obstructed the mobility walkway that leads to Jackson County Library Services’s Ashland library.

Friday, July 5, 2013

‘Pay It Forward’ at Oregon universities

Banner, "Free Education to All," hanging out window of Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York
Image credit:

Oregon will become the first state to offer a “Pay It Forward” program for education at its seven state universities.

As explained by Chris Lazare at, “Students will be able to initially attend state universities free of cost. Upon graduating students will pay 3 percent of their paycheck for 24 years in order to help fund the program for future students.”

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Water refill station at Fourth of July celebration

"WOW Water on Wheels" water bottle refill station
Water on Wheels
Some kind of awesome: The “water on wheels” refill station encouraged reusable bottle use during the Fourth of July celebration in downtown Ashland, Oregon. It was an unexpected pleasure, this being a federal holiday event and not, say, the Rogue Valley Earth Day celebration.

Have ‘safe and sane’ Fourth of July

Have a “safe and sane” Fourth of July, everyone. Keep your companion animals safely in at home; loud noises may frighten them. And spare a thought for your fire department (as well as government ordinances). Leave pyrotechnics to the professionals.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Bullying: ChoicePoint empowers bystanders

In a letter posted June 27 by the Ashland Daily Tidings, I emphasized the important role of bystanders and adults to combat bullying in schools. So I was gratified to learn about the ChoicePoint bullying prevention and bystander awareness program.

Yarn-bombed bicycle for Fourth of July

Cynthia Parkhill places knit-swatch seat cover on yarn-bombed bicycle
A knit-swatch seat cover for my yarn-bombed bicycle
An ankle injury sidelined me from riding during’s Go By Bike Week in May, but I was able to resume riding in time to participate in the Fourth of July parade.

The Web-sters yarn shop in Ashland, Oregon provided swatches and yarn for crafters to decorate their bikes. A bicycle yarn-bombing party took place Tuesday at Lithia Park in downtown Ashland.

LibraryReads recommendations debut this fall

Logo: LibraryReads
Readers’ advisory has a chance to expand its scope. From Molly Driscoll, writing for the Christian Science Monitor, libraries all over the country will contribute to a Top 10 recommendation list starting this fall.

Driscoll cites a statement by Robin Nesbitt, collection management director of the Columbus Metropolitan Library:
“Every day, thousands of people who work in libraries recommend books in all categories and genres to the communities they serve. LibraryReads will harness their passion and deep book knowledge, and create a new way to connect readers and authors, using the incredible collective outreach of library systems, big and small, across the country.”
LibraryReads is overseen by a committee that includes library staff members and advocates, with assistance from the Association of American Publishers and American Booksellers Association. Any regular library employee can make a recommendation. Selections will be compiled from top picks.