Thursday, January 11, 2007

Webjunction Webinar - Wild about Wireless 

Webjunction will be hosting this free webinar on Tuesday, January 30 (9:30-10:30 AM PST/12:30-1:30 PM EST) on wireless access in libraries. Specifically, participants will "[h]ear from rural libraries that have successfully implemented wireless access for the public." This will be a useful addition to the numerous resources on wireless internet access already available at Webjunction.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

One to watch - Bookswim 

Bookswim is a new commercial service that the library community should probably keep a somewhat wary eye on. Basically, they are offering a books by mail service. While the concept is not new, by adopting what is being called the "Netflix model," Bookswim will be able to provide a level of service that will far surpass what most small libraries are able to deliver. While my "librarian self" is dismayed, I must admit that my "patron self" is glad. This is especially so after I received an email today telling me the books I had requested on interlibrary loan had arrived at my local library and were ready to pick up. However, my excitement quickly evaporated when I discovered I couldn't get them because the library was closed. It turns out a books by mail service is preferable for me because my local post office keeps better hours than the library does.

I expect there will be quite a bit of discussion and maybe some hand-wringing as Bookswap gets up and running in the next few months. Now is the time for librarians and library boards to consider: How do you think this kind of new service will impact your small/rural library?

[found via]

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

New TV series - "Little Mosque on the Prairie" 

This new CBC comedy, which premieres tonight, has been getting a lot of press. The basic premise: a humorous look at Muslims living in small-town Saskatchewan. The idea is actually not so far-fetched; rural communities are not as homogeneous as people tend to believe. In Alberta, the small town (pop. 2700) of Lac La Biche has a significant Muslim community (about 11% of the population), the first of whom began arriving in the area over 100 years ago.

I'm looking forward to seeing the show (alas, I don't have tv so I have to wait for my friend to tape it for me). Canadians have a quirky sense of humour. If the show is as funny as Corner Gas, it will definitely be a winner.

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Saturday, January 06, 2007

Stuff that found me - 01/06/07 

For those planning their next vacation, the New York Times has a great online travel section. Simply select your desired destination from the provided pull-down menus, and you can gain access to a cornucopia of free Times articles, select information from Frommer's travel guides, multimedia features, as well as other readers' suggestions on the best of your chosen location. You can also conduct a quick Expedia search, and, when you've returned from your fabulous trip, you can submit your own suggestions for things to do and places to visit.

A great supplement to the travel guides you undoubtedly have in the 900 section of your collection.

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Cabinet shuffle 

As most Canadians are by now well aware, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced changes to his cabinet today. The big news, of course, was Rona Ambrose being shuffled out of the Environment portfolio. However, it is usually a good idea to "look at the fine print," so to speak and see what other changes have been made that have been overshadowed by the Big Story.

It may turn out to be a very minor change, but I still think it is worth noting that Christian Paradis, MP for Mégantic—L'Érable in Quebec has been appointed Secretary of State (Agriculture). So, what does a Secretary of State do, you ask? Here's what the press release from the PMO tells us:

Each of the Secretaries of State has been given a specific area of responsibility, in order to assist one or more Ministers consistent with previous Canadian practice and the practice in other Westminster governments. Secretaries of State will discharge this role in a number of ways, including:

• representing their Minister, or the Government, at events;

• meeting with stakeholders and other groups;

• demonstrating policy leadership on one or more specific initiatives relating to their assignment, and at the direction of the responsible Minister; and

• appearing on behalf of their Minister in Parliament and before its committees as may be required.

So, even though Secretaries of State are not members of Cabinet, Mr. Paradis is not without influence with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the ministry responsible for Rural Development.

In addition to the Secretary of State, there are also two Parliamentary Secretaries for AAFC: David Anderson and Jacques Gourde. We all know Chuck Strahl is the Minister, but it is also good to be aware of some of the other less prominent but still influential leaders in our government.

I'm afraid I know very little about how the U.S. government works, but I did note that with the opening of the 110th Congress today, two new members were officially added to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry.

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