I took the day off yesterday in order to celebrate my Bookman’s birthday. We had a great day, went out to a delicious breakfast, I gave some bookish presents, we went and saw a movie and ate some killer cake (made by me).

Today I was planning on writing about an interesting article I found referenced in one of my school reading assignments, but I’ve got some good bits and bobs that will be old news fast if I don’t mention them now so the article will have to wait until tomorrow.

I’ve told you all some stories about volunteering at the downtown Minneapolis library, well, here is one reason why even the occasional fecal explosion or bad librarian doesn’t ruin it for me. Have I ever mentioned how fantastic the guards are? If not, they are. And here is proof. Willie is frequently there when I am and I have to say he is one of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet. So are the other guards. They care about the library and the people who frequent it. They help make the library the great place that it is.

The e-book industry just got a little more interesting. Sony just announced that it will support the International Digital Publishing Forum’s epub e-book standards. This is a big step in my opinion toward standardization of e-books across platforms, something that I think will need to happen before e-books can become remotely popular. Of course it is also a marketing ploy to one-up Amazon’s Kindle. Sony will now have a significant number of e-books available for its e-reader. However good this may be, I’m still not ready to make the leap.

A complete medieval manuscript of Tale of Genji was found. The Osawa Book is believed to be the closet version we now have to the original 11th-century text. Current versions of the book were derived from texts from later periods. Scholars are wetting themselves from the excitement.

Back to library-related stuff. This is an old news item but I haven’t seen anyone mention it yet so I’m going to toss it out. A collection agency called Unique Management Services is working with about 900 libraries mostly across the US but also in Canada, Britain and Australia to provide a gentle nudge in getting library patrons to return borrowed materials. The gentle nudge comes from the fact that its collection agents are seminarians from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Apparently they are quite good and most libraries who use the company have seen a great return rate. Their success, says a company spokesperson, comes from the seminarians’ empathetic listening skills and their ability to be persuasive, appealing to people on the grounds of “doing the right thing.” No mention if they threaten the worst offenders with hellfire and brimstone. I guess that wouldn’t count as gentle.

In library school news, I have now answered three IPL reference questions. I chickened out on taking on the challenge of what are the evils of science and instead sent someone information on degrees in archive and records management in Papua New Guinea and another person I sent information on internet directories. Though it just now occurs to me I may not have answered the internet directory question the way the person wanted. He mentioned being new to the internet and having found a UK directory that had information on search engines and what not and wanted to know about United States directories. Even though the UK directory was a business directory because he mentioned information on search engines and being new to the internet I assumed he was looking for the kind of directory that would help him find stuff on the web. But now doubt is sinking in and I am wondering if he wanted business directories instead? It’s sort of too late now. But at least what I did send him will help him find business directories if that is what he really wants. The pitfalls of not being able to ask clarifying questions.