Tombrarian’s Handy Guide to PLA

Although I will not be attending Public Library Association’s Annual Conference, I am excited that it is being held in my reclaimed hometown. After a four year absence, I have returned and have fallen in love with Philadelphia all over again.

The PLA site has a great list of restaurant recommendations, which includes plenty of places to keep people well-fed during the conference, but I am so enthusiastic about the restaurant scene in Philly that I can’t help but supplement the list with some of my local favorites (listed in distance from the Convention Center).

One note about the PLA list: a couple of the restaurants have since closed, including Ted’s Montana Grill and Le Bec Fin. Horizons also is closed and the owners have opened Vedge, which I haven’t been to, but it is a vegan restaurant getting rave reviews.

In Reading Terminal Market (.1 mi):

Within a mile:

Within 1 to 2 miles:

I hope this helps and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask either in the comments or via email.

Library Week in the Life

The Library Day in the Life Project has come around and at a very fortunate time for me. I changed jobs back in August, moving from Las Vegas back to my hometown Philadelphia. I’ve been wanting to write something about the new position but have been too busy learning the new position to have much to say about it. But now I’ve been the Liaison Librarian to the Westphal College of Media Arts and Design at Drexel University Libraries for five months now and have, trial by fire, gotten a better understanding of what I am doing.

It is also good timing for me because I have just finished my tenure on American Library Association’s Notable Videos for Adults Committee. I have devoted most of my blog posts to reviews of films that I screened for that group and have been thinking I need to reinvigorate Tombrarian and get back to posting other things as well and feel like the Library Day in the Life Project is a great opportunity to jump start some new ideas for this blog.

For those who don’t know, the Library Day in the Life Project was started by my friend and professional colleague, Bobbi Newman, back in 2008 in response to discovering that someone had found her blog, Librarian by Day, by searching for “What’s a librarian’s day like?” She started this project to let the library community answer that question, providing library students, patrons, other librarians and whomever a resource for understanding what it is librarians do. Library Day in the Life has become a valuable, high profile project that really enhances the profession. Bobbi explains the project:

People participate by sharing a day or week by writing blog posts, tweeting, creating videos and taking pictures. Last round there were just under 250 people signed up on the wiki. There were over 800 people participating via Twitter.  It has grown to be an international project with participants from the USA, Canada, Great Britain, Scotland, Ireland, Denmark, Netherlands, Finland, France, New Zealand, Australia, Taiwan and Singapore. Participants are from academic, public, college, special, school libraries, professional organizations and library vendors.

I have participated twice in the past, in the first two years: 2008 and 2009. You can find out more and see who all is participating at this year’s project page.

As you can tell from the title of this post, I have opted to not do a daily update but write a post highlighting some things I’ve worked on for the week. I’m far too busy and/or lazy to chronicle things day-by-day.

So, some highlights:

  • I have recently returned from the American Library Association’s Midwinter Conference which was held in Dallas, TX. Mainly, I was there to perform some committee work. I am the Chair of the Video Round Table and, as I mentioned above, serve on the Notable Videos for Adults Committee. This week, I had to follow-up with some of that committee work, contacting a couple of people who volunteered to serve on the round table, submitted requests for meeting rooms for the annual conference in Anaheim in June, and worked with our web committee to post the results of the Notable Videos Committee, which screens nominated documentary films throughout the year and then meets to compile a short list of recommended films.
  • Dove into a project for revising the resource guides associated with the college I serve. Since there was no one in my position for several months, the guides were overdue for some maintenance. I need to make some changes, fix broken links, and clean up the code (those who know me know that I’m ALL about clean code).
  • Set-up a blog and twitter account for communicating with the college.
  • Assmebled a slide show of pictures of libraries I have visited and shared them at a space planning meeting.
  • Met with co-worker to discuss possibly collaborating on an article.
  • Met with a student contemplating library school.
  • Met with representative to analyze the book approval plan that had been established prior to my hire. Suggested some refinements but also need to take a close look to ensure that the plan is meeting current needs.
  • Attended a meeting to provide feedback on a video search interface that would allow more convenient online browsing of our VHS and DVD holdings.
  • Began testing library services and resources on the iPad.
  • Worked 4 hours on the reference desk and 3 hours of reference chat.


4 Year Notables Wrap-Up

Now that my four year run on the Notables Committee is at an end, I decided to put together a list of my favorite documentaries from those years. This is a totally subjective and personal list. Some of these didn’t even make the list the committee put together, but are films that I found particularly interesting or inspiring.

The year listed is the year the films were nominated, not the release year.


2012 Notables List

Last weekend, I met with the Notable Videos for Adults Committee at the American Library Association’s Midwinter Conference in Dallas. Unlike last year when I was still viewing movies while at the conference, I finished my screenings about a week early, which was quite a feat considering we had 62 nominations, the most of any of the four years I’ve served on the committee.

As usual, I’m pretty happy with the list. There are always one or two films that don’t make the cut that I wish had, but that’s the nature of such lists.

So, in alphabetical order, the list:

A Film Unfinished

A Film Unfinished is an absolutely fascinating documentary about the discovery of an incomplete film created by the Nazis that documented life in the Warsaw Ghetto. At first, this footage seemed as if it could have been a historically valuable primary resource until a second reel was discovered that showed alternate takes of many of the scenes proving that many of the details were staged. In addition, the journal of the Jewish manager for the ghetto was discovered giving even more details about the process. A transcript of the testimony of one of the camerman is dramatized to provide even greater insights. However, the purpose of the original footage remains a mystery.

Many of the staged scenes creates a portrait of life that hid much of the deprevation of the ghetto. The Jewish captives were shown to be better dressed, better fed, and more content than was the case. They were also forced to appear uncaring and cold toward the poorer population. These staged scenes could have served as propeganda to make the camps seem not as cruel to the outside world and to cast the character of the Jews in an unflattering light. However, much of the raw footage did indeed capture the true deprevation of the ghetto raising the question as to why the Nazis would want the true nature of the camps to be exposed.

A Film Unfinsihed presents much of the raw footage and the alternate takes as it creates a mesmerizing narrative about the discovery of the films and of the process of the filmmaking.