Monday, December 17, 2012

Shoulder D's

Art by Alicia Martin
It the time of year when people are cleaning out their living spaces and consequently returning more books. If you've seen an uptick in returns, remember to take a stretch break from checkin and shelving regularly!

There are a lot of stretches you can do to relax your shoulders, but the simplest - shoulder rolls - for a long time were a mystery to me. They usually made me more tense and sore.  They provided no relief.  Fortunately, a physical therapist told me to try much smaller rolls, like a tiny, lower case "o" as opposed to the Indy 500 laps I was trying to do. Et, voilà! Shoulder relaxation.

And a further refinement of the shoulder roll - if you do most of your reaching forward, which I think most shelvers do (I haven't seen anyone talented enough they can shelve behind themselves without looking), try shoulder "D"s instead. That is where you roll your shoulders straight up and around to the back, with no forward movement as your shoulders have already gotten enough motion in that direction... from shelving!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Six degrees of separation

When I started teaching a blogging class at my library I became fascinated with this concept.  (Not as enchanted as I was with WYSIWYG – I mean how can you not be charmed by an apparently random group of letters that actually means something  and is super fun to say out loud?)
Nevertheless “six degrees of separation” is a fascinating idea and I used it in the class to demonstrate the potential impact of the students’ blogs as well as the interconnectedness of humans – something that has perhaps grown exponentially since the advent of the world wide web.

You’ve probably heard of it, right?  According to Wikipedia, six degrees of separation  is the idea that everyone is approximately six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world, so that a chain of “a friend of a friend” statements can be made, on average, to connect any two people in six steps.” It was championed by Frigyes Karinthy in his 1929 short story, Chains and popularized by a play written in 1990 by John Guare, later turned into a film.
Various experiments have been conducted to try to prove the theory, both mathematically and socially, and while no definitive proof is there, the results tend to support it.  And there is Network Theory, which looks at how networks form and work in society, not just in people’s social lives, but also in disease transmission, job searching, how the web works and so on.

Six degrees of separation seems to go along with the phrase “small world”, something we say a lot as in, “Man, it’s a small world!” and “What a small world, isn’t it?”  So it’s not surprising that Columbia University embarked on a project they named “Small World” in order to test the six degrees of separation theory in cyberspace using email to send information to a friend, to pass to another friend, and so on in order to reach a specific targeted person in as few contacts as possible.  This was similar to the snail mail experiment run by a psychologist in the sixties to test the theory.  Although both experiments were flawed the results seem to support the six degrees idea.
As far as networks of any kind or many kinds go, we may be intimately connected to people around the world without knowing it, especially since we don’t know them!   But when we talk about blogs the world is very, very big.  Statistics show that the average blog is read by perhaps two dozen people - after all, there are billions of blogs on the world wide web.  Hmmm, wonder if we could do an experiment with connecting people through the blogs they read?  Would the six degrees of separation theory still hold or not?

If you want to read more, check out these websites: The oracle of bacon at Virginia  Kevin Bacon Primetime TV tests the six degrees theory  Small World

Monday, December 10, 2012

LSSC Free Webinar Today and Tomorrow

The American Library Association-Allied Professional Association’s Library Support Staff Certification (LSSC) Program will be offering two free webinars in December. Anyone interested in the programs are welcome to sign up by clicking the links below.
December 10th, 2pm Central Time – An Introduction to the LSSC Program
On Monday, December 10th at 2:00 pm (Central), LSSC will offer an hour-long webinar on the program and how it works.  The presentation will explain the value of this certification to Library Support Staff, employers, and library users. You will also have the opportunity to have all of your questions answered by program staff members. This webinar is open to all interested candidates. Register to attend at
December 11th, 3pm Central Time – Preparing a Portfolio
Many LSSC candidates want to prepare portfolios to meet LSSC requirements.  On Tuesday, December 11 at 2:00 pm (Central), LSSC will offer an hour-long webinar explaining what the LSSC Program requires in a portfolio. The presentation will also give you the chance to see examples of successful submissions and learn how your portfolio will be evaluated. This webinar is open to all interested candidates. Register to attend at:
Ian Lashbrook -
Research Associate
American Library Association-Allied Professional Association
50 E Huron St
Chicago IL 60611-2795

Monday, December 3, 2012

The 4 (and 1/2) steps to Library Support Staff Certification

Let’s Talk about Library Support Staff Certification

Currently there are 312 active candidates in the LSSC program and 22 graduates ”The Library Support Staff Certification Program is for Library Support Staff who have a high-school degree or its equivalent and worked (paid or unpaid) in libraries for at least one year (or its equivalent of 1820 hours) in the last 5 years and want to:
  • Achieve recognition for your work 
  • Enhance your service 
  • Increase your skills & knowledge”

For the most up-to-date information about the program you will want to read the October 2012 issue of Breaking News ( “Breaking News”, which I believe is published quarterly, will also provide you with information about course subsidies to help pay costs, any changes in the program, as well as new classes that have become available. This is sent by email to all program participants.

It is true that through the classes I have taken, I have “enhanced my customer service skills and I have increased my skills and knowledge.” I was doing fine in my job, but knew I could do better if I added library-specific skills (reference, readers advisory) and knowledge (classification systems, ils systems) to my career toolbox.