Archive for November, 2011

Ashaway Free to Woonsocket Harris

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

Another state done (OK, so it’s only 47 libraries, but still…)

Rhode Island crossed off. Next up: Virginia, also a reasonably small set of libraries (91 of them).

Nothing more to say: A short progress report for a small state.

Ohio complete: Good luck with the voting

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

The Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County serves around 238,000 people and has a bunch of social icons on its clearly-organized homepage, including a Facebook page with nearly 2,000 likes and a Twitter account with…well, with 157 followers.

And, given that this library appears as “YOUNGSTOWN AND MAHONING COUNTY, PL OF” in the spreadsheet, that’s the last Ohio library–a few days after Ada Public School District Library started it out.

Ohio went a little faster than expected because most (but certainly not all!) Ohio libraries have websites and most (but certainly not all!) of the libraries with social network accounts (which might or might not be a majority of the libraries–not doing that sort just yet) have icons on the homepages that link to those accounts. That makes it faster, and “encouraging” searches (those that yield results) keep me going longer between breaks.

Good luck with the levies

It’s abundantly clear, doing this sweep between November 5 and 8, that a fair number of Ohio libraries are going out for tax levies. I’ll assume (and hope!) that these libraries have engaged their communities and been strong enough contributors that they’ve made the case for financial support. Good luck to all of you in passing the levies.

Next up, Rhode Island, and with only 47 libraries to check, I should finish that today and move on to Virginia. Interleaving that with continued work on the first 2/3 of the manuscript, based on the first 25-state survey, to be sure. And maybe, just maybe, an entirely different post.

Meanwhile, if you’re in Ohio, go vote. Or, for that matter, if you have local elections (not everybody does, as some offyears in some places don’t have any contested positions), go vote–if you have an opinion and know what or who you’re voting for [or in some cases against]. I certainly will.

New Hampshire done; Ohio next

Friday, November 4th, 2011

I didn’t find evidence of a Facebook page or Twitter account for the Woodsville Free Public Library in New Hampshire–and that’s the last of a scan that began with Aaron Cutler Memorial Library on Tuesday. (Aaron Cutler does have a Facebook account with 125 likes, the most recent update on the day I checked, the fifth most recent within the last quarter but not the last month, and clear community engagement. But no Twitter account.)

Since I was looking at New Hampshire public libraries this week–following a major weather situation–I was reminded once again that most public libraries, even (or especially) the smallest, really do serve as centers of their communities.

Now on to Ohio–just one more library/library agency than New Hampshire, but roughly nine times as many people, so I’m guessing the patterns will be different once more.

When, in the first part of the manuscript (devoted to the initial 25 states), I discuss possible regional bias, I noted that–at the time–the Northeast wasn’t very well represented (including New England). Now that I’ve added Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, and will definitely add Rhode Island and Vermont (and probably Pennsylvania), that won’t be true for the larger set of results.

Hmm. I also turned around the fifth revision of The Librarian’s Guide to Micropublishing (to take into account proofreader’s notes and another round of copyediting). So I guess it hasn’t been a wasted week. (By the way, the people in Information Today, Inc.’s book division are not only a pleasure to work with but excellent at what they do. The fifth revision of the book is significantly better than the first submitted version, as I anticipated it would be.)

As for C&I…still no writing, still no urgency. I should do the second part of the Relevance and Reward series of posts..maybe soon.

Update Sunday, November 6, 2011: Partway through Ohio, I’m realizing that I really would like it to be the case that nearly all PLs have FB pages and Twitter accounts–it’s faster for me (than attempting to be satisfied that they don’t), and it’s a lot more fun to look at how PLs use social networks than whether they use them.

(The first 16 Ohio PLs–alphabetically–all have Facebook accounts. The string runs out there, although I continue to see a healthy percentage. Even there, only half of those 16 have obvious working links to their Facebook pages on their homepages.)

And I’ve gone far enough to see that, while Multnomah has the most Likes of any public library in the first 25 states surveyed, it’s definitely not the most of any PL in the nation (nor, as far as I know, does it claim that distinction). Columbus Metropolitan has more than half again as many Likes. But then I checked a library that won’t be in the expanded survey–New York just doesn’t have the downloadable spreadsheet of library names and LSAs–and there it is: NYPL’s primary Facebook page has more than 42,000 Likes. Is that the highest? If not, I’m sure someone will let me know what library has even more.

Mystery Collection, Disc 27

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

OK, so I don’t spend all my time on the two overlapping book projects—that would drive me nuts. I’m also reading books from the library and magazines (although I’m way behind on those), I’m playing video poker (not for money—and maybe the topic of another post at some point), I’m going for the usual Wednesday hikes and, on Wednesday afternoon when I’m not much good for serious writing or research, I usually watch an old movie. That’s down from the two a week I was watching… meanwhile, here’s a foursome from the 60-disc 250-movie Mystery Collection.

The King Murder, 1932, b&w. Richard Thorpe (dir.), Conway Tearle, Natalie Moorhead, Marceline Day, Dorothy Revier, Don Alvarado, Huntley Gordon. 1:07.

Right off the bat, you get this feeling that you’ve been dropped into the middle of a longer movie—a classy woman’s standing next to a counter, a cop walks by, seems to sneer at her, and walks out of what’s labeled a Homicide Bureau. Things don’t get better.

I can’t even begin to summarize the players and the plot, partly because I found little to differentiate them; I’m not even sure I know how many characters there were. I know there’s a society type, his (wife? fiancée?), his (girlfriend? mistress? blackmailer?), a second-story man, a thug involved with the mistress/blackmailing her, and apparently lots more, most of them with motives… It may be indicative that the seemingly most important character is eighth in the IMDB list.

This one’s just a mess: Lots of odd plots that seem tossed in at random and don’t cohere very well, with a murder weapon that seems absurd and a denouement that’s equally silly. Either this was just poorly written and filmed on no budget and with no directorial skill, or it’s a badly-edited selection from a longer movie or a serial. In any case, I can’t give it more than $0.75.

The Lady in Scarlet, 1935, b&w. Charles Lamont (dir.), Reginald Denny, Patricia Farr, Jameson Thomas, Dorothy Revier, James Bush, Lew Kelly. 1:05.

A wise-cracking detective and his sidekick/secretary/girlfriend/wife?, who he refers to as “Ignorant” or “Stupid” as seeming cute names, and who seems to have his office in a bar, finds himself investigating the murder of an art dealer because he’s friends of the dealer’s wife (who used to be in musicals and who the dealer correctly thought was cheating on him with a doctor). That’s part of a complicated plot involving another murder (the doctor), suspects galore, a stolid and seemingly stupid police detective who consistently lets the private eye run the show—and a final Everyone In The Same Room bit.

But it’s cute, the plot’s not bad, and it moves right along. Not great, but maybe worth $1.25.

Sinister Hands, 1932, b&w. Armand Schaefer (dir.), Jack Mulhall, Phyllis Barrington, Cranford Kent, Mischa Auer, Louis Natheaux, Gertrude Messinger, and James P Burtis as Detective “Don’t Call Me Watson” Watkins. 1:05.

We begin with a lady consulting a swami and his crystal ball. We continue with an odd set of scenes involving people around a swimming pool, apparent hanky-panky between residents of two adjacent mansions, a known gangster who’s trying to marry the daughter of a rich man man and more. Oh, and the rich man’s dictating letters to his secretary (on a Dictaphone, wax cylinder and all) and, in the process, recording what could be the argument that proves who killed him…or not. That evening, all and sundry are gathered at the man’s estate with his wife (the lady consulting the swami) and the swami. Turn off the lights for a proper reading and, shazam…the man’s been stabbed to death.

After that (and it’s actually much slower than the summary might suggest—this is a slow-paced movie), we get the police detective conducting pretty cursory interviews with each of the apparent suspects, with a judge (who’s among the guests) in on the interviews. The judge writes down a list of all the suspects, at the end of which the detective makes a joke about whether the judge should add his own name. At this point, we know how it’s going to turn out, don’t we?

In the interim, we have a “heavily-guarded house” (where all the suspects are sleeping over) where it’s easy to sneak around, remove the knife from one body, stab someone else, go in and out of bedrooms past sleeping police…and a running joke about a stolid policeman’s last name. Followed by the time-honored traditional closing: The Big Scene with Everybody in One Room, where the detective points out each suspect and then says why he or she didn’t do it. (The extreme case: The suspect was not only the only one who was loyal to the first victim, he was the second victim.) Although it’s a little on the slow side, it’s good enough; I’ll give it $1.25.

The Lady Confesses, 1945, b&w. Sam Newfield (dir.), Mary Beth Hughes, Hugh Beaumont, Edmund MacDonald, Claudia Drake, Emmet Vogan, Barbara Slater. 1:04.

A young woman answers a knock on her apartment door, to be confronted by her fiancé’s wife—who disappeared seven years earlier and was presumed dead. The wife says she’ll make sure he never marries the young woman or anyone else, and storms off.

Meanwhile, the man—Larry—shows up at a nightclub several sheets to the wind, downs two more double Scotches rapidly, and winds up sleeping it off in the singer’s dressing room, after first making sure he confronts the club’s owner. A few hours later, the singer wakes him up to answer a phone call from the young woman; he picks her up and drives her to his wife’s place (he says she showed up a couple of weeks earlier but intends to divorce him)…and when they get there, a bunch of police are present along with the wife, strangled with a cord.

He has a perfect alibi, clearly. Her alibi isn’t as good. The club owner also knew the wife (she’d loaned him serious money to start the club). As things progress, with the young woman doing her own detective work, we wind up with another murder along the same lines—the singer this time—and almost a third.

It’s pretty well done, but I think there’s one serious flaw: We learn the murder’s identity about halfway in, and it would have been a much better movie if we were in the dark. (Oh, and the Beaver’s dad had a darker side in his earlier movie career…) Given that (and, frankly, that portions of the motivation just don’t make sense), I can’t give it more than $1.25.

From Agnes Robinson Waterloo to Yutan

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

One more state done, six (or eight) left to go,,,

I just finished the Nebraska scan.

Now, after a break, I’ll start in on New Hampshire. Slightly fewer libraries. (But also, it looks like, a lot fewer tiny libraries…)

Nothing interesting to say at this point…that is, that isn’t going into the book.