Monday, September 26, 2011

LGBT People's History film

November 17, 2011, 6:30 p.m.: the premier screening of A People’s History of the LGBTQ Community in Grand Rapids takes place at the downtown campus of GVSU, Loosemore Auditorium, DeVos building E.

LGBTQ People's History of Grand Rapids Project from Girbe Eefsting.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Research Papers?

In Whither the research paper?, Maura Smale (ACRLog, Feb. 18) questions the value of formal research paper assignments. It is the comment by Joan which has the most insight: "It’s really hard to present your own ideas when you’ve read all the experts’ thoughts. What are your own ideas at that point? Even as a graduate student in English studying in a relatively new area, after a thorough lit review that covered all the questions I had about a piece, I wasn’t sure what was left to say."
Her solution?

"Perhaps a remedy would be this: get the students to choose the topic and write about it in-depth and thoughtfully *before* they do any research. Then, they research and review the important articles and learn what the experts have to say; they write this up as a lit review. Then, they write a third piece explaining how their thoughts have evolved or changed given what they’ve read. So they write about their own perspective, but bolstered and informed by research. (And, as a former writing instructor, I would probably toss in a fourth piece where they reflect on the whole process, reading their original essay and final essay and comparing them.)"

I wholeheartedly agree.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Birds & flowers

Today was very exciting at Blandford Nature Center. Along with the blooming wildflowers previously mentioned -- cut-leaved toothwort, spring beauties, Dutchman's breeches, the last of the bloodroot -- were also trout lilies and false rue anemone. And along with the usual birds -- downy woodpeckers, white-throated sparrows, red-bellied woodpeckers, etc., -- were both a ruby-crowned kinglet and a yellow-crowned kinglet! There was also a very small bird creeping up a tree with a brown back (more or less solid, not like the pics of the brown creeper in my books), light belly/throat, and a black stripe through its eye. Any suggestions for what I should look up, birders? Also, do thrushes ever stick close to the ground, snatching up dead leaves with their beaks, and poking at whatever they uncovered? Didn't have any field glasses, but it definitely wasn't a young robin. Or is it more likely a thrasher?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

April 16 wildflowers

I attended the meeting for our community garden at Blandford Nature Center. Afterward, I walked home through the damp woods, and spotted the following flowers: Bloodroot, spring beauties, skunk cabbage just finishing flowering, cut-leaved toothwort, Dutch breeches, lots of violets of all colors. The may apple leaves are whorling, and trillium buds are showing white. At home, our goldfish survived the winter in the little pond, and hyacinth and mini-daffies are blooming.

Of course, it has snowed since then, but everything seems to be just fine. I hope the community garden farmer plowed the snow into the acreage for the nitrogen!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Civil War Reenactments

Wouldn't it be better to reenact war from the field hospitals instead of battles, to give people a real idea about what war is like? To lie on a dirty tarp in a tent open to the air so as not to choke on the stench, listening to moaning and screaming, watching your friends and neighbors die all around you? Suffocating from pneumonia, dying from bacterial infections or viruses, having limbs hacked off to prevent gangrene and then dying anyway? Instead of cooking over an open fire, to go for days without fresh food or clean water and experiencing all of the awful diseases which result?

I understand trying to make history real to kids, but I don't understand the sanitizing and celebration of war.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

10 Greatest Poets & more

Dean Rader's "The 10 Greatest Poets: My List" from City Brights Blog, posted March 03 2011, is a must-read for anyone interested in poetry.

Closer to home, MLive - Kalamazoo Gazette has this:
Former Poet Laureate Kay Ryan to talk about public role, private pursuit at KVCC Published: Sunday, March 20, 2011, by Mark Wedel. In it, she says,
“I’m a person who lives a quiet life. I ride my bicycle a lot. I stay in my county a lot. I live simply. I don’t run around with poets. I read, I write. And I seek a — what shall I say — a limited sensory input.” ... On a long bike excursion in 1976, Ryan said she had an epiphany to write poetry. “It’s exactly the story of a calling,” she said. “I simply couldn’t avoid it. It was the thing that profoundly and endlessly occupied me.”
And finally,
“The next really deeply interesting poet is going to come from a farm outside of Kalamazoo,” she said.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

From Dictatorship to Democracy, by Gene Sharp

Interesting reading: 4th ed. in pdf.
Related story: Gene Sharp: Author of the nonviolent revolution rulebook
  • Albert Einstein wrote the foreword to his first book - Gandhi Wields the Weapon of Moral Power: Three Case Histories - published in 1960
  • His 1968 Oxford University D Phil, The Politics of Nonviolent Action, formed the basis of a book with the same title, published in 1973
  • Founded the Albert Einstein Institution in 1983, a non-profit organisation advancing the use of non-violent action in conflict around the world
Ruaridh Arrow's film, Gene Sharp: How to Start a Revolution, will be released in spring 2011 - keep an eye out for it!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Tourism in Philadelphia

Yesterday I turned the wrong direction when exiting the Reading Terminal Market after lunch (12th Street Cantina - a cold salad of spicy chicken chunks with plaintain & red bell peppers) & ended up at the Quaker Books/FGC/Friends Journal building at Arch St. & 13th. I had been asked to get a copy of Faith & Practice from the Philly Meeting, so I went in--took advantage of the 10% off sale, which covered sales tax, & got it for under $10. Outwardly, I was calm & friendly. Inwardly I felt awed & giggly--look--real Quakers who do Friendly work for a living!

From there, I hiked to the Free Quaker Meeting House Museum ("them are fighting words" - they were Quakers who were "read out of" meeting (dismembershipped) for fighting in the Revolution; also Betsy Ross joined them after being "read out" for "marrying out"). Passed by the Christ Church Burial Ground, wherein lies Benjamin Franklin, & went into the Arch Street Friends Meeting House. I was surprised by how large it is. I sat in silence for a few minutes before viewing the exhibits, which are miniature-diorama like. Visited the Betsy Ross house, Elfreth's Alley, and viewed the Liberty Bell (ordered by the Pennsylvania Assembly in 1751 to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of William Penn's 1701 Charter of Privileges, Pennsylvania's original Constitution) from outside its building. There is Security. I had my backpack.

More on eating at Reading Market--my favorite bakery is Beiler's, from which I've eaten cherry & blueberry pies & a cinnamon roll for breakfast, & took away an apple pie for tomorrow's brekkie. Next door to them is the Dutch Eating Place, where I consumed a large & utterly delicious hot apple dumping this morning. Around the corner is Miller's Twist, which features hot, soft, buttery pretzels--okay, I ate these for lunch every day except yesterday's Mexican. The Pennsylvania General Store includes Hope's cookies & Hank's rootbeer. There are lots of other stalls but these are the ones I patronized.

I enjoyed seeing & hearing Peter Richard Conte at the Wanamaker Organ in the Grand Court at Macy's last night. I went with an organist, who patiently answered my questions about the 6 keyboards, hundreds of color-coded stops, bizillions of pipes, etc.

This morning I visited the National Constitution Center to satisfy my former gov-docs-librarian self. Yes, I studied the Constitution & Bill of Rights, etc., in high school, but the exhibits also delineated the many struggles for rights of those who, oddly enough, were not included in "We the People," in The Centuries of Citizenship: A Constitutional Timeline. The full-size bronze statues of the signers of the Constitution are also impressive.

Tonight is the MLA Big Band concert at the reception prior to the banquet. Tomorrow I'll attend meeting for worship at Arch Street, then fly home. Homesickness has been a constant pressure here.

Music Library Association conference 2

In Plenary II on Licensing, we heard from a couple of copyright lawyers, Corynne McSherry & Kevin L. Smith, who believe that more often we will be licensees, not owners, of informational materials, & thus, that first-sale doctrine doesn't apply. Corynne advocated for librarians to follow the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) blog. Kevin explained that there are 3 relevant issues:
  1. digital-only release (e.g., Dudamel + LA Philharmonic's recordings) prevents (re)sale, (archival) back-up, ownership, etc.
  2. physical release with license restrictions on first-sale
  3. digital bundles (e.g., Naxos) prevents us from exercising professional quality control on collection development.
We need a music digital archiving system like LOCKSS or electronic archiving service like Portico. Because contract law (which governs licenses) is state law, & copyright is federal law, we also need to ask for special library contracts & advocate for federal copyright law to trump non-negotiable end-user licenses. The Uniform Commercial Code governs the sale of goods & should apply to music.

What we librarians can do: work with our music faculty who are composers and performers to emphasize that if music is released only in digital format, it cannot be collected by libraries for use by their students or be used in their own teaching.

"Music Librarians & Emerging Technologies"
Jing allows you to show someone how to do a task online, record it with voice, & email the screencast. Although apparently you have to create an account at too to edit & share the videocast or embed it in a website. It uses Flash as the output type. There is a limit of 5 minutes per screencast. You can add arrows, text, & save as a .png. Yahoo Pipes is another interesting mash-up creation tool but complicated. To ask Matthew: Is there an app like foursquare to use for mapping the exact shelf location of items by using their rfid tag?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Music Library Association conference

While this is a small conference, with about 500 attendees plus about 100 vendors, I am still at somewhat of a loss because I don't know anyone at anything more than an acquaintance level. However, that said, I am meeting a lot of people & learning quite a bit, so the conference comes at a "just in time" place of need. Here are some tidbits:
  • InstantEncore is a repository for live classical music & recordings of concerts & recitals. Note: added to Music LibGuide.
  • In the session "Born & Reincarnated Digital: One Course Management System-based Solution to Providing Copyright Compliant Streaming Audio Reserves," I learned that they use a CMS like Blackboard by creating a "Media.Reserves" instructor (who may add content but not access grades), & the librarian/CR staff use this to add listening modules to courses. They use mp3 files which are uploaded. They also use 2 different software programs to edit the metadata (PA Software ID3) and make it searchable (GEMM). Seems unnecessarily complicated, if ARES is working well enough for GVSU.
  • In "Educating Music Librarians in the Digital Age," I realized that what I most need right now is:
  1. instruction & exercises in using Grove via Oxford Music online to find music in our collected works,
  2. help with acquisitions of non-book materials--when to use which vendor and why
  3. what is a uniform title: tutorial from Indiana University
  4. Why doesn't Naxos index the titles on their CD covers (I have to go downstairs & ask them)
  5. to download Jing to use for screenshots
  6. get a mentor to guide me in the above quests.
I also learned about:
I toured the Free Library of Philadelphia's reading room in the Music Department, the Edwin A. Fleisher Collection of Orchestral Music (the world's largest lending library of orchestral performance material), and the Rare Book department (saw treasures like 5000-year-old cuneiform and cuneiform seal, the first hymnals printed in this country, Beatrix Potter original paintings, illuminated medieval manuscripts). I've been all over Reading (pronounced "redding") Market (oh those soft, buttery, hot pretzels!), and saw City Hall (with the statue of William Penn atop it) and many sculptures & murals on the way to the Free Library. And I've successfully ridden the SEPTA train. It is sunny & very windy, but warmer than Michigan.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Silence in worship

Silence is a difficult discipline--the most difficult for me, anyway. There are various ways to approach "centering down" as Quakers say. I borrow from other traditions as needed.

One is to think of a saying, in "lectio divina" style: an example is the verse, "Be still and know that I am God." ... wait with it for a few moments. "Be still and know that I am." Wait.... "Be still and know." Wait.... "Be still." Wait.... "Be." Wait.... "Be still and know that I am God."

Or use a single word, whatever you feel you need most at the time.

Another is to observe your breathing--just pay attention to it.

Or hold people in the Light (a.k.a. praying for them, in whatever fashion works for you). Sometimes I start with the people in the circle, then expand it. When I get to the whole world, that's as centered as I get! If I get that far, and "come back to myself" that often seems to correspond to others' sense of a "gathered" or "covered" meeting -- when we are communally filled with the Spirit.

There are many books, pamphlets, & blog posts for those who want to read more.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Love as a discipline

These passages seem particularly relevant to me lately, speaking to my heart, especially in view of recent events.

"Love must be a kind of discipline. If we love only with our feelings, we're sunk--we may feel love one day and something quite other the next. ... I realized I must learn to love with my will, not my feelings. ... And so I enjoyed the warm feelings, the stuff of the heart, when it was present between us, as it sometimes was, ... And when it wasn't, there was the will to love, something like...a generator kicking in, a backup. ... Wounded people use a lot of smoke and mirrors, they thrust the bitterness and rage out there like a shield. Then it becomes their banner, and finally, their weapon. But I stopped falling for the bitterness and rage. I didn't stop knowing it was there--and there for a very good reason--but I stopped taking the bullet for it. With God's help, I was able to start seeing through the smoke. ... It's all in increments.... Healing came as little drops of water, and never the mighty ocean when you need it.... There's no way to deal with their suffering, except through love. ... Trust that, believe that, as hard as it is to believe right now. Act as if it were true, it can change things. ... Go in where there's common ground. Do whatever you can to find common ground, and if you do nothing more, forgive...and pray.... Whenever she [substitute the other pronoun if needed] lashes out, whenever she draws away, pray and forgive, forgive and pray."

Karon, Jan. In the Company of Others. NY: Viking, 2010. 239-241.