Ex Libris: an E-Zine for Librarians sponsored by my bulk
mail provider,


#297, February 16, 2007

SUBJECT INDEX to Past Issues

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Neat New Stuff I Found This Week

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My resume
Or why you might want to hire me for speaking engagements or workshops. To see outlines for previous presentations I've done, click on Handouts

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My Writings
A bibliography of my published articles and columns, with links to those available online.

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Order My Books

Net Effects: How Librarians Can Manage the Unintended Consequences of the Internet, and The Quintessential Searcher: the Wit and Wisdom of Barbara Quint.

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What IS Ex Libris?

The purpose and intended scope of this e-zine

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E-Mail Subscription?

For a combined subscription to Neat New Stuff and ExLibris, please click HERE, complete the form, and click on "subscribe." To unsubscribe, use the same form but click on "unsubscribe." To change addresses for an existing subscription, unsubscribe from that form and return to the page to enter the new address.

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Highlights from Previous Issues:

My Rules of Information

  1. Go where it is
  2. Corollary: Who Cares?
  3. The answer depends on the question
  4. Research is a multi-stage process
  5. Ask a Librarian
  6. Information is meaningless until queried by human intelligence
  7. Information can be true and still wrong
  8. Pay attention to the jokes

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Guru Interviews

  1. Tara Calishain
  2. Jenny Levine, part I
  3. Jenny Levine, Part II
  4. Reva Basch
  5. Sue Feldman
  6. Jessamyn West
  7. Debbie Abilock
  8. Kathy Schrock
  9. Greg Notess
  10. William Hann
  11. Chris Sherman
  12. Gary Price
  13. Barbara Quint
  14. Rory Litwin
  15. John Guscott
  16. Brian Smith
  17. Darlene Fichter
  18. Brenda Bailey-Hainer
  19. Walt Crawford
  20. Molly Williams
  21. Genie Tyburski
  22. Patrice McDermott
  23. Carrie Bickner
  24. Karen G. Schneider
  25. Roddy MacLeod, Part I
  26. Roddy MacLeod, Part II
  27. John Hubbard
  28. Micki McIntyre
  29. Péter Jacsó
  30. the "It's All Good" bloggers
  31. the "It's All Good" bloggers, part 2

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Cool Quotes

The collected quotes from all previous issues are at

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When and How To Search the Net

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Wanna See Your Name in Lights?

Or at least on this page, anyway? I'd like to print here your contributions as well as mine. As you've noticed, articles are brief, somewhere between 750 and 1000 words -- something to jog people's minds and get their own good ideas flowing. I'd also be happy to run other people's contributions to the regular features like Favorite Sites on _____. I'll pay you the same rate I pay me: nothing.

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Drop me a Line

Want to comment, ask questions, submit articles, or invite me to speak or do some training? Write me at: marylaine at

Visit My Other Sites

My page on all things book-related.

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How To Find Out of Print Books
Suggested strategies, resources, and finding tools.

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Best Information on the Net
bestinfo/default.htmThe directory I built for O'Keefe Library, St. Ambrose University, still my favorite pit stop on the information highway.

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My Word's Worth
an occasional column on books, words, libraries, American culture, and whatever happens to interest me.

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Book Proposal

Land of Why Not: an Appreciation of America. Proposal for an anthology of some of my best writing. An outline and sample columns are available here.

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My personal page


by Marylaine Block

I take it as a given that a public library is not only a prime repository of local information, but also a collator of other sources of local information. That's why I think public libraries should become involved with place blogging.

To begin with, you may very well already be "place blogging," whether or not you think of it that way. Whenever you post information on your blogs about local events or news, library or community events and exhibits, your own digital collections and those of other local agencies, you are adding to a searchable body of online information about your local community.

If you haven't tagged it as a place blog, though, or gotten your blog linked to geographical blog directories, that information is not necessarily retrievable by anyone seeking information about your community.

That's why your first step should be to go to blog directories and submit a link to your blog, tagged by its location as well as by its title and subject. There are several directories that specifically catalog and retrieve sites by geographic area, including: Globe of Blogs <>, Blogwise <>, Placeblogger <>, Outside In <>, and others.

The next step would be to use these directories to identify other blogs within your own community. While you're at it, check your local newspaper and broadcast media web sites as well, to see if they maintain blogs. (FYI, journalism professor Jay Rosen and his students have compiled a list of the best blogging newspapers in the U.S., <>.)

Then put those local blogs on your regular reading list. When issues come up on those blogs that would interest your patrons, you can link to their entries from your own blog. You can also put links to local blogs on your blogroll and on your local information web page.

When a blog raises questions or issues that your library's resources or services can assist with, you have a great opportunity to spread the word about them by adding a comment to the post, or e-mailing the blogger with the information. When one of your upcoming library events would clearly be of interest to another local blogger's audience - a "one city, one book" event, for example - you could send the information to the bloggers, suggesting that they post it, and, better yet, even participate in the event.

Another thing public libraries are about is building a sense of community. It seems to me that place blogging has a strong potential for building a virtual community that can spill over into the real world. If you want your library to be at the heart of your community, shouldn't you make sure it's at the heart of your virtual community as well?

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One of the things I learned in library school is that when people have an information need, they'll always ask people they know before they ask a librarian. The trick is making sure that librarians are some of the people they know.

Jessamyn West. "Metafilter: Going Your Way." Library Journal, Oct. 15, 2006,

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Ex Libris: an E-Zine for Librarians and Other Information Junkies.
Copyright, Marylaine Block, 1999-2007.

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