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Maybe June 16  stream of consciousness but who will care can never remember which day every year but the blogs and the radio are going on about Bloomsday not Joyce’s birthday no it’s the day when the story happens Ulysses with Leopold Bloom and his wife Molly yes yes the soliloquy everybody’s favorite part no doubt a part that got it banned and just learned right now this is hard not a genius no no like that Bad Hemingway contest ought to be a bad Joyce but just think of the entries good God who’d have to read it so let’s just stick with the original much better that way.    jmw


Happy February 2nd!

For answers to today’s pressing questions, try these sources:

groundhog-2009 Important and extremely reliable scientific data on American groundhog (excuse me: the ONLY true weather forecasting groundhog) Punxsutawney Phil.

willie In-depth info on Candian groundhog Wiarton Willie and his friends and ancestors, as reported in the Canadian news media.
candle Interesting history on February customs and traditions, including Candlemas day (Feb. 2), from the Woodlands Junior School in the UK.

real-groundhog1 What IS a groundhog? Try the Animal Diversity Web at the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology.


Happy Belated Inauguration Day! In recognition of the new presidential administration, the reference staff at Brooks would like to share some fun and fascinating facts about some of our nation’s presidents. Enjoy!

  • Since LBJ, presidents have been more likely to be the fathers of girls than of boys (LBJ – 2 daughters, no sons; Nixon – 2 daughters, no sons; Ford – 1 daughter, 3 sons; Reagan – 2 daughters, 2 sons; George H. W. Bush – 2 daughters, 4 sons; Clinton – 1 daughter, no sons; George W. Bush – 2 daughters, no sons; Obama – 2 daughters, no sons). That’s 14 daughters to 9 sons!
  • James Madison was our shortest and skinniest president (he was 5’4” and weighed in at 100 lbs)
  • Most of us know that twice in our nation’s history, the son of a former president has also served as president. But did you know that there is also one instance where the grandson of a former president became president? Benjamin Harrison, our 23rd president, was the grandson of our 9th president, William Henry Harrison
  • President Andrew Jackson was adept at sewing and made his much of his own clothing
  • Our first left-handed president was James Garfield
  • Harry Truman was the last U.S. President to not attend college
  • Millard Fillmore was the final president to serve from the Whig party
  • Theodore Roosevelt despised being called Teddy, and his family and friends avoided addressing him as such
  • The first president to select a woman to serve in his cabinet was Franklin Roosevelt, who made Frances Perkins his Secretary of Labor

Sources: WilsonWeb, The People’s Almanac, The Statesman’s Yearbook 2008, The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2008


Hello searchers…it’s Babbette here!

Forget the image of the cardigan wearing stiff searching for Sir BlahBlah Dingbat’s literary works: I search for fashion, gossip, and celebrity news.

Ever wish you could be the first to mention Britney Spear’s fabulous birthday bash details? Find out what makes J Lo tick? Or better yet what makes Brad Pitt tick (wink, wink)?


Or how about creating outrageous fashion statements of your own?

Here we go…hang onto your Gucci and get searching.

The other day I wanted to collect some tidbits on Britney Spears…I went to the libraries Resources page and clicked on General Onefile, under the list of databases. Don’t ask me how I know to do this…a girl has to use any means necessary to dig up the dirt.

I did a SUBJECT search for Britney Spears


…and look at all these categories of info that came up: clothing, performances, psychological, behavior, etc…Within each category were dozens of articles from mags like Entertainment Weekly, Hollywood Reporter, People, Cosmopolitan…

I decided to choose Clothing, being a bit of a fashion maven myself, and found this cool little orange button I wanted to tell you about.
This magic little button can send me ALERTS when a new article has been added to the Britney Spears Clothing section. I can choose whether to get the alerts by email on RSS feed. Talk about being on the pulse!
Well, that’s all for now. Next time I’ll tell you about how to CREATE your own fashion using the DIY database!
Write me if you need some search help…

The Brooks Memorial Library circulation desk schedule is confusing to the uninitiated, and when new people join the staff, one of their first tasks is to learn how to read it. We’ve tried to make it simpler, but in a busy library, it takes some work to make sure there is always enough coverage at the desk.

In the adult section, the day is broken into three-hour shifts, and for every shift there are at least two staff members (but usually three) assigned to the circulation desk. First is the anchor person, who stays very close to the desk at all times. Second and Third are her backups, who usually work on other tasks until they are needed out front. Part of the responsibility of being “on the schedule” is to keep constant watch on the front desk.

If you’re ever at the desk and a staff person seems to be rudely ignoring you, it’s probably because she isn’t isn’t on the schedule for that hour: she is neither First, Second, nor Third, and it is her responsibility to stay at her own desk to work on interlibrary loans, bookkeeping, periodicals, etc. Don’t worry, though: First, Second, or Third has probably already spotted you and is on her way to help.

Sometimes, for the amusement of our patrons, we arrive at the same time and bump into each other, but we are all trained stunt people, so do not try it at home.*

*But if you have the software, do try the stunt link; it’s a gem.

This, the first of my talky blog posts, is dedicated to Sybil Brigham McShane, State Librarian of Vermont, who is retiring at the end of June. I will miss her.

I first met Sybil in the early 1990’s when she was Assistant State Librarian and I was Director of the Dover Free Library. Through a grant administered by the Department of Libraries, we were able to purchase our first (woo-woo!) microcomputer, and she helped with every aspect of setting up and getting connected to the Vermont Automated Library System. I remember her patient support on the phone, how she told me not to worry when jagged lines suddenly flashed across my monitor; it had probably just come unplugged. If she was rolling her eyes as she spoke, she never let on.

Another memory is a workshop with Sybil at the dawn of the World Wide Web. Librarians were gathered around computer screens watching as an image arrived, so…sl…o…w…ly, but then there it was: a whale! Or was it an elephant? I can’t remember, but it was a miracle! Some say that Al Gore took credit for inventing the Web, but I knew he had no such claim — it was Sybil.

We have Sybil to thank for the Vermont Online Library, a valuable collection of high-quality electronic resources that are made available to Vermonters through their public, school, and academic libraries. Many of the resources I plan to highlight in this blog are part of the VOL. During my brief time on the committee to choose the VOL vendor, I learned a bit about what it takes to pull a project like that together, including negotiation skills, goodwill, technical & library know-how, and an ability to work with complicated budgets and legal requirements. All in a day’s work for the State Librarian, I guess.

Thank you, Sybil, and I hope you have a wonderful retirement.

About this blog



Brooks Memorial Library Reference Department:

Jeanne Walsh, Therese Marcy, Sharon Reidt, Jess Weitz, and sometimes Jerry