ALIA Access 2010

For those not going to ALIA Access 2010, the largest gathering of librarians in Australia, you can still follow the events virtually at:

and at:

and via Twitter at #aliaaccess


Library seeds

The library is less a government public funded service, as it is a living breathing biological organism, that has feelings, emotions, and desires- the most prominent of these desires being the need to mate and reproduce. So prominent is the burning libido of the library that it takes the world’s sexiest people to keep the library in check – to stop it from doing naughty things. Librarians are well regarded as the sexiest people in the world. Librarians are often required to wear protective clothing such as heavy glasses and frumpy cardigans to work. These protective items are less for the safety of the librarian, and more for the safety of the general public, who would otherwise be powerless to resist their sexy supremacy.
Through a carefully cultivated process, the sexy librarians allow the general public to take books, or ‘library seeds’, out of the building. The public then act as a honey bee would, leaving the books on bus seats and at the back of cupboards, thereby fertilizing other buildings and growing new libraries.

– Vera Bermuda in The Vine – go read it all.

Public space

The enemies of public service broadcasting always want to atomise it, to split so-called market failure genres which may deserve public funds from so-called commercial ones which definitely don’t. They say it’s all about the programmes. Yes and no. The clue actually is in the title – public service broadcasting. It’s about services as well as individual programmes. At its best – and, of course, we don’t always succeed in delivering at its best – public service broadcasting is woven of whole cloth.

And, just like the wicked old British Library, it’s founded on the idea of public space – in other words, on the belief that there is room for a place which is neither part of government or the state nor purely governed by commercial transactions, which everyone is free to enter and within which they can encounter culture, education, debate, where they can share and swap experiences.

– BBC director general Mark Thompson giving the James MacTaggart memorial lecture on public broadcasting (and libraries). Full text at:

Questia online library

Looking at the Questia online library for iPhones ( it looks quite good, 99 US cents for access to 5000 books, and for a further ongoing fee access to more current information sources – selected by librarians they say.

But in their advertising they have this below which is a bit unfair.

Questia library advertising

Unbelievable, I can’t think of any major library that doesn’t have a change machine!

Colour coded bookshelves

There is a generic urban-myth type story that every librarian has heard, about the patron who is looking for a book, and who knows nothing of the author or title but knows that the cover was a certain colour.

Well, in a library that used this type of classification system, no problem.

On the spine label I would suggest instead of the Dewey or LC number that we could use the Hex Colors system used for the web. So that for instance if I wanted a book in a particularly nice pink I would look under #FF 69 B4

color coded bookshelves

BTW, did you know you can search Google images on a particular colour (see below) but as yet you cannot search Google books for colours, this no doubt will come.

pink images in ff 69 b6