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MSU Libraries Emerging Technologies Summit

The MS Library 2.0 Summit is back! We’ve re-imagined it as the MSU Libraries Emerging Technologies Summit, and we are already starting to get great submissions for the Steal-This-Idea sessions. We are so excited to have Jason Griffey as the keynote this year!

This conference started in 2007 with Michael Stephens introducing about 100 folks from eight states in the region to new technologies that were poised to change the library world. Along the way, some have–and some have disappeared–but the culture of learning that took hold after his visit has changed the MSU Libraries. We had cutting (bleeding?) edge presentations that have echoed in the library community since (mind you, this in was 2007):

    A report from Southeastern Louisiana’s SMS virtual reference project (an early report from the pioneers of text messaging reference)
    A workshop on the impact of social media, and Facebook in particular, for marketing in academic libraries
    A panel on the challenges of institutionalizing 2.0 technologies in libraries

Enthusiastic about our work in the area and wanting more, we invited Sarah Houghton-Jan to come in 2008 to give us a big-picture for the state of 2.0 in the library world. Her timely keynote, Sustainable Web 2.0 Services for Small and Underfunded Libraries, came just as we were all beginning to feel the pinch of the economic downturn. Other sessions were perfectly timed for this Wild West period of 2.0 development in libraries, including:

    Managing Identity in Social Networks / Information Overload
    Using Google Analytics in Libraries
    How Viral Marketing Can Help Your Library

Though we weren’t able to host the Summit in 2009, it has given us time to reflect on what we would like to know about (and talk about) at this point–in particular issues around assessment, sustainability and the future of social media in a post-2.0 environment. Now that we are using these tools, doing this outreach, in a culture of learning and growing, what’s next?

As we’ve done in the past, we’ll be podcasting and archiving the Summit, but nothing beats actually being a part of the discussion. If you’ve got something you want to talk about, consider submitting a proposal.

April Poetry Month Challenge

The now annual April Poetry Month Challenge has started over at Robert Lee Brewer’s Poetic Asides. Basically, he gives a prompt every day and you churn out a poem. I’ve had several friends do this (and I sort of half did it once, lol)…one of them has had several poems published now. It’s a great way to get a body of poems to work on without a lot of judgment on your part…how much time do you really have to agonize over a poem if you are generating one a day? Plus it’s just a fun community to be a part of. Let me know here if you are doing it…I’m considering it, but I’ve got a Computers in Libraries presentation coming up on the 12th and my creative energy might be tapped out working on it.

MS Library 2.0 Summit 2010???

Looks like we may be able to do the Summit again this year! Still thinking about assessment and writing up the proposal now. Any thoughts about what you’d like to see? I’m wondering about trying to do a virtual component, in case people can’t travel all the way to Starkville… How did the Handheld go this year? Glitch-free? Any tips from people on that? I wasn’t able to attend because of work conflicts, unfortunately.

So excited!!!

My Boston = Food

Most of my favorite restaurants from living in the Boston area are in Cambridge or Somerville. If you are going to MLA Midwinter, I suggest you get out of Boston proper and see the Squares anyway–and don’t just stop at Harvard Square…Kendall (mostly for MIT stuff), Central, Porter and Davis (great cafes) are all worth a look–just head north on the Red Line toward Alewife. Send me a message @AmandaClay or comment and let me know if you go to any of them. And I’m always looking for new places, so let me know what you find. I’m particularly interested in the new shabu shabu restaurant in Harvard Square… Yelp.com is amazing for this sort of thing, on the web or on your iPhone. I don’t have much use for yelp in Starkville, but it was invaluable in New York last month.

Some of these are off the beaten path–I’ve noted when they are near a subway stop or where to catch a cab/bus.

Boston Area Subway Line

AfghanHelmand is delicious and elegant. Anything they do with lamb is amazing, especially the Qabelee. Just across from the Cambridgeside Galleria Mall–you can get a shuttle bus from Kendall Square.
Brunch Henrietta’s Table in Harvard Square has the Most Amazing Brunch of all-time. The restaurant does locally sourced, organic, etc., but the scope of this brunch is beyond belief. Delicious. Pricey–$45/plate. Another Very Special Meal.
BurgersMiracle of Science has a straightforward menu broken down into a periodic table on a chalkboard in the restaurant. Very MIT. Great vegetarian options and big plank tables to sit. Gets busy at lunch during the week. Head toward MIT after you get off the red line at Central Square.
ChineseMary Chungs, Central Square. Order the Suan la Chow Chow or anything “dun dun”–esp the fried tofu. YUM!
Chocolate Burdick’s. Period. Sit down. Have espresso and chocolate. Amazing. Harvard Square.
DeliS&S Restaurant Deli Great old fashioned sit-down deli with the best Ruben and blintzes ever. Somerville, MA. Cab from Porter Square (it’s in Inman Square, but only buses go there).
Haitian Highland Creole Cuisine in Somerville, MA (this is a drive, and the service is terrible, but the food is great–DM me @AmandaClay to find out more) Must haves: fresh squeezed (SWEET) lemonade, Tasso boeuf (sometimes I call first to see if they have this–they run out of dishes), griot (pork), cabrit (goat), plantain, conch, rice and peas. I like the white beans with rice, but again, sometimes they run out. The menus are in English and French. Careful of the “cole slaw” garnish–it’s made with habanero peppers. Cab from Porter Square.
IndianIndia Samraat on Mass Ave near the Charles is my favorite. Great paratha, saag, and samosas.
Italian PastriesModern Pastry I find there is less of a line than at Mike’s (the other popular North End bakery), and great stuff. There’s also one in Medford, if you are around that area. Close to Haymarket on the Orange Line.
Mediterranean — Definitely upscale, Casablanca is where I have had some very memorable meals, including the first time I ever had skate–delicate, buttery, delicious. Harvard Square.
Micro-brewed beer and locally sourced foodCambridge Brewing Company a short hike from Kendall Square on the Red Line (the best Porter in the world–called Charles River Porter after the formerly impenetrable river).
Mussels from Brussels (steamed mussels topped with perfect fries and garlic aioli) — Central Kitchen in Central Square (go for lunch and order apps–it’s overpriced for regular entrees and dinner).
Sandwiches Darwin‘s in Harvard Square is a little off the main Square on Mt. Auburn and is a neighborhoody (gourmet-ish) sandwich shop and cafe. Very inventive sandwiches and a nice place to read the paper.
TapasDali. Hands down a wonderful experience. Have the shrimp in garlic and olive oil, fresh anchovy filets, white asparagus, “meaty” mushrooms, stuffed squid and garlicky chicken for sure. This is in Somerville, but it also has a sister restaurant on Newbury Street called Tapeo. I like Dali better, but Tapeo is easier to get to. Cab from Harvard Square to Dali. Tapeo is near the Hynes Convention Center stop on the Green Line.
Very Special Meal Rialto in Harvard Square is amazing. Italian in sensibility, but it’s really just amazing gourmet food. Award-winning chef, Best of Boston, etc.

Post-feminist housekeeping

As I mentioned in the intro to this new phase of my blog, I’m staking out Poetry, Art, Graphic Novels, Housekeeping and Basic Science here. Housekeeping may seem like an odd addition, but I’m in the process of learning how to keep house. I never learned, and I think it has something to do with being raised by a generation of women that were rebelling against that role for women in our society. I ended up not want to clean, because I thought it was bad for women. I have found that all these strong, successful women already knew all about these mysteries, so that’s why they were able to keep such lovely homes. Needless to say, I am deficient in this area. And I have come to a place in my life where I am nesting. I want to have a comfortable home. I have long had a theory (I have been more than willing to theorize about housekeeping, just not to master it) about places the “chi” gets stuck in the house: overflowing laundry bins or trash cans, piles of anything on the bed, stacks of dishes in the sink, litter boxes, past-due leftovers in the refrigerator, etc. I just never pursued the idea of developing an effective system to keep the chi running smoothly.

I’m realizing I want very much to have these skills…to learn these mysteries about bleach and baking soda and vinegar. To figure out how to sustain a home. Like any good librarian, I began with research. I subscribed to blogs and found books and articles about housekeeping. In applying my research I have learned several things so far about keeping my house (and I do believe there are no absolutes–each home will have to be unique in its needs):

I have to sweep my house twice a day to stay on top of the dog and cat hair, as well as the dirt that gets into my house somehow. It’s only about 900 sq ft, but the floors can get impressively dirty rather quickly. I don’t really cook, but my roommate does (thank goodness), and dishes have to be washed daily in the evenings (I have no dishwasher–or rather, I am the dishwasher). Living areas have to be straightened in the mornings. Floors have to be mopped on the weekends. Window sills and baseboards have to be wiped twice a month. I got scoopable cat litter that can be cleaned out daily…I’m still working on dusting–I haven’t got a rhythm for that yet. The entire business seems to be about building rhythms…rituals. And I love rituals.

Here is the new one I’m working on this weekend:

Sinks and Faucets:
Barkeepers Friend seems to be the winner in the collective wisdom category on cleaning sinks and faucets. A slight twist offered is a vinegar-based approach that involves a toothbrush. In order to make the sinks and faucets gleam, drops of olive or baby oil spread around make them shiny and resist spotting. I think I’m okay with just drying them with a dishcloth after I use the sink. That keeps the spots off nicely. I can only imagine how an oiled up sink would call to any stray dog/cat hairs floating around.

I’ve already started using this practice: from Home Comforts: to keep your drains clean (all of them), periodically pour 1/2 cup of baking soda in and then chase it with 1/2 cup vinegar. Fun foaming action keeps your drains in good shape without the harsh commercial drain cleaning products. I think this one will be a monthly thing for me. Plus it’s like a cool science experiment.

I am going to buy Barkeepers Friend scrubbing powder and a new toothbrush (I needed a new one anyway) today–buying cleaning products is now a favorite past-time. I’ve love to go down that aisle in the grocery store. It turns out there is a world of tubs and tubes and bottles I’d never noticed before.

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