Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Dreaming of Springtime

What else would you do the day after Christmas? I'm keeping warm with thoughts of Web Design & Collection Development. Here's the official description of what my life will be like until April. (This semester has already wrecked one weekend, we'll see how extensive the damage will end up being.)

LIS 5937 Web Design for Libraries (3) This course will provide the student with an
introduction to Web Design basic including theory, concepts and techniques. Topics will
include best practices, structure, layout, style sheets, graphics, publishing, templates,
software, and other web applications. After this course the learner will be able to:

  • Research, evaluate and describe the considerations regarding usability, accessibility, navigability, cultural sensitivity, global issues, and good design practices for websites in an instructional and informational resource environment.
  • Create and modify web page elements using various web and graphic creation tools for appropriate layout and design objectives.
  • Research and analyze current web design issues, elements, and considerations.
  • Create a web site employing good design principles and using appropriate content for an instructional and information resource environment.
  • Understand the use of graphic representations.
approach to building library collections of both print and non-print materials. Emphasis
upon evaluation, selection, and acquisition of library materials as they uphold the
objectives of the institutions for which they are selected and acquired.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Under My Belt

This is where I'm placing Research Methods & Preparing Instructional Media--under my belt.

This Semester

...was the hump semester. Sometime during September I celebrated the half-way point of my Graduate career. But all that celebration would be worth nothing if I didn't follow through & pass my classes. So it was imperative that I complete the mission.

To be honest

I did not feel stressed about anything this semester. The concepts were familiar to me & I completed my readings in a timely manner. As a result, I have no doubt that I am capable of conducting research &/or preparing instructional media for a class.

The Result?

The final grades haven't posted to OASIS yet, but I expect my GPA for the semester to boost my overall GPA some. I've never been a strong mathematics guy, though. So I may be in for a surprise. But I doubt it.

Another semester is neatly tucked away under my belt.

By the way, if you want to check out some of my work for LIS 6303: Preparing Instructional Media you can find it at my class blog.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

No Other Way: A Book Review

Image Courtesy of B&N


Title: No Other Way
Author: Roger Real Drouin

Guess what, I know a real-life, bonafide, published author! His name is Roger Real Drouin & he has officially busted into the publishing world with this full-length novel. Sure, it came out in June. Yes, it took me six months to read it in between assignments & other things that clutter my life these days. But I got my hands on it & kept reading it & tweeting about it until I finished.

I actually talked to Roger last Sunday about the book a little bit. He was surprized at the awesome stuff he wrote and forgot about, but I will never forget it (mostly because I highlighted & took digital notes in my kindle & sent them to evernote after tweeting them). I look forward to broadcasting a full-length interview with him on my podcast (which has now been given it's own page on the blog, see the crossbar on top).

Technical Merit

Drouin was described in an Amazon review as Hemmingway-esque. By this, I assume the reviewer was referring to Roger's attention to detail. He describes some of the most mundane aspects of life--like getting a cup of coffee--with painstaking detail, reverence and awe. While reading, you may notice some of the nuances of life in a way you never considered them before. He holds true to this style throughout the book.

I had a little bit of trouble following some of the characters early on. After a few chapters, I got them straight & could focus more on what they were actually saying & feeling. For that reason, I give No Other Way a 3.5 on my 5-point scale for Technical Merit.


That being said, amid the detail and description, brilliance can also be found. When I read longer works, what I (personally) look for are lucid moments where either a character or an omniscient narrator makes an observation that transcends the novel & is applicable to life. This story, framed around a potential environmental catastrophe, has several of those moments. A few of my favorite quotes are as follows:

On Faith

Some people had faith in things they grew attached to, or could claim ownership over. That wasn't true faith, was it? Was faith the very thing that made us reckless?
On Points of View
Awe and solitude are the two most immense points of view, and here they were the same.
On Long Shots
Hell, everything worth anything is a long shot. 
On the Dangers of Ignorance
The ones who won't listen will be the ones to say why didn't someone warn us. Maybe then they'll realize: Hey, there was a warning, they were trying to warn us... 
I always assumed Roger was a South Florida boy like me. I know he attended Florida Atlantic University (I have forgiven him for that), but the following quote is For Us Floridians:

The northerners would say there are no seasons in South Florida... But Ryan could feel those seasonal changes, and he came to love those subtle variations. Now in early March, the breeze was almost the same, except you could feel how it had lost its coolness, and smell how everything was about to bloom.


Mr. Drouin wrote an excellent novel that transcends the basic story of a bird-photographer & park ranger versus a gas company. He delves into real issues like Faith, Awe, Wonder, Knowledge, Ethics & how those principles manifest themselves in real life.

This is a strong first novel for Roger Real Drouin & I heartily recommend it to anyone who appreciates nature & a good read. I am saddened by the fact that I probably would not have had the pleasure of reading this book if I did not know Roger on a personal level. I look forward to more material from desk of Mr. Drouin & hope my readers will also look into this excellent author.

More Reading

You can connect with Roger Real Drouin on the following channels!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Preparing Instructional Media

I know my avid readers are clamoring for my latest experiences in the world of Graduate Studies in Library and Information Science. So here's a bone.

Actually, it's a web-portfolio of my projects and reflections for LIS 6303: Preparing Instructional Media. It is my final project and should be completed by the end of this week. It has all the interesting things we learned to use in a pedagogical manner like blogging, podcasting, screencasting, presentation software, social bookmarking (which includes Pinterest) and Wikis.

So there, you can't tell me I don't show you something exciting every now and then.

Friday, November 23, 2012

It's Hard to Call it Quits

A slight exaggeration, but how I feel

When to hang it up

So. It turns out I was unable to write the next great American novel during the month of November in the year 2012. I got thrown off a week ago & have not been able to recover. I plan to continue plodding through it at my own pace & definitely learned a lot about the creative process--but it wasn't to be.

I was able to push myself to creative places that I had never been before. I explored dialog & music & tension between characters that I had only heard or read of, but never wrote before. I began chapters with an intention & ended with something totally different because my main character simply had a mind of his own & thought his own thoughts or did his own thing. I was telling a story that was formed in my mind about someone totally different. It was at once completely me, yet outside of me.

This may sound strange. That would be because it is strange. I don't know if this is the normal writing process. From what I hear, everyone has their own writing process. What I do know is that I will likely not finish 50,000 words by December 1. Not when I have to write 3,700+ words per day until the end of the month to finish on time.

Back to Grad School

I have been working on school projects in addition to this creative one. I've been putting together instructional media & a full-fledged research proposal. I am enjoying it a lot. I am also pleased to report that I have been doing well in these projects & expect to finish well academically this semester.

I am well past the middle of my Grad School career & have been casting a wandering eye at my spring/summer coarse load, Fall internship & potential job market in 2014. Ahh!! 2014?!? Can't we finish 2012 first?!? I wish we could. But that's not the world we live in.


But I am glad to pause & reflect on how far we've come. (I include my lovely wife with the we because I drag her through some interesting times with this whole graduate school thing.) I suppose that's another thing I can add to my Thanksgiving gratitude list.

So here's to life! Because it goes on.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

NaNoWriMo: A break from writing

National November Writing Month

Last year, at around Veterans Day I first heard of nanowrimo. I thought it was an awesome community of writers trying to scratch out their little novel in an action-packed, mondo-caffeinated, no-shuteye sort of way.

The idea is to write a 50,000 word story from Nov. 1 to Nov. 30. Just write the words to get the idea out. Don't change the words through any editing. Last year, I vowed that I would participate in 2012. So here I am, already some 3,000 words behind (but making a furious comeback). Come December 1, I hope to have a huge, 50,000 word piece of crap novel to call my own.

My working title is Lonely, As A Cloud. Yes, a shout out to William Wordsworth, OK? Here's the crappy beginning to my future best seller:

It was another one of those nights. 
He turned this way. He turned that way. He tucked his knees up to his chest. He stretched his toes out just beyond the blankets. But still, his eyes were crusted open as he stared at the familiar shadows of his bedroom and took note of the purple, swirling darkness.
It was not fear that gripped him, though he had felt the kind of fear which creates a racket in the chest--much like a Cuban 9-year-old girl’s birthday party which lasts until two AM and all you want to do is pretend you’re asleep so whatever it is you’re scared of won’t notice you but you know they can hear your heartbeat clear across town.
It also wasn't excitement. He had nothing special to look forward to in the morning. He had no special outing planned or a love-note he was going to send to a special girl or a gift that was sure to come to him at the crack of dawn.
Nor did he dread the next morning. There was no mid-term in geometry class or dog that needed to be put down ever so clinically.
No, it was none of that.
Taylor Van Embden was just too tired to rest.

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Christopher Jimenez Show

Listen to me, for real!

As you know, I posted a podcast which I had to do for LIS 6303: Preparing Instructional Media. I was my review of Visions of Gerard. Well, I enjoyed the experience so much that I decided to try my hand at podcasting for real. I created a profile on Spreaker which feeds into my profile on Sound Cloud which feeds into my YouTube page. So this thing is going to be everywhere, including right here when relevant and my Theology Blog when relevant.

What's it about?

Speaking of relevancy, I have decided to make this podcast as flexible & random as possible. The content is subject to my whims. Scary? Definitely. Entertaining? You be the judge. Some of the things you may find in this podcast includes:
  • Theology
  • Library & Information Science
  • Book Reviews
  • Stories about Dogs
  • Poetry
  • Essay readings
  • Interviews
  • Running recaps

If these topics are agreeable to you, follow me by clicking below

Follow in an RSS Application of your choice

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Visions of Gerard -- Podcasting, Baby!

Dive in there!

I have finally taken the plunge into the world of podcasting. We shall see how long this lasts. My first podcast has been prompted by my current class "Instructional Media-LIS 6303" & it was first posted there. I decided to refresh my previous review of Visions of Gerard for this podcast.


Visions of Gerard: Podcast

(FYI, if you like what you hear, go ahead & save the file because I am not sure how long I will be able to host the audio files.)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Are Libraries Like Achillobators?

My First Quora

This question popped up in my inbox, since it is a hot topic in Library Science, I have pondered this question & read research ad nausea, so I decided to contribute. If you like it, please consider going to Quora and voting me up! (I already have 2 votes from people I don't even know.) Enjoy!
Read Quote of Christopher Jimenez's answer to Will public libraries become extinct? Why or why not? on Quora

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Visions of Gerard: Book Review

The Book

Title: Visions of Gerard
Author: Jack Kerouac

I picked this title off a used bookstore shelf in Bryson City, North Carolina along with Dharma Bums. I have always been mildly interested in Kerouac's work since being introduced to him in the Eleventh grade. Dharma Bums was a good read, but for some reason I put off Visions of Gerard until this weekend. It took Tropical Storm Isaac & 72 hours inside my own home to make me read it.

Technical Merit

I have a personal affinity for the stream-of-consciousness style which Kerouac writes with. Therefore, I naturally give him high marks for technical merit. I was amazed that the man neglected to use any punctuation save the dash (--) until page 5 (practically). Yet, the effect of floating between thoughts seems fitting for the narrator of the story: himself at the age of 3--at least, that is what he would have you believe. Clearly, Kerouac writes with a measure of outside knowledge of the situation. Further, the mingling of his childhood Roman Catholicism with his later formulated Buddhist enlightenment--a clear revelation that Kerouac has infused his childhood with adult rationale.

I also love the way he weaves his home-grown French slang into the narrative. Granted, this probably means that I lost some of the substance of what was actually being retold, yet I gained a real feel for what life was like for the community as a whole. I tried using Google Translate, but gave up after the slang failed to translate for the fifth time. The real translation was not of importance anyways, the French was about setting the mood.

My Takeaway

I was struck by the recurrence of the phrase: It is what it is, or some re-wording thereof, throughout the text. Given the tragedy of losing a sickly child, what other explanation could possibly be offered? Life owes us neither apology nor explanation. What happens, simply happens--we must only pick up the pieces and move on. Clearly, this is a Buddhist interpretation of life's events, pinning earthly suffering not on the occurrence of spiritual deficiency (read: sin) but on pure chance. Consider the questions: How do you comfort the mother who has sacrificed her own health for a dying child? How do you console the father who detached himself from home life in order to deal with the pain?

Your answer to these questions will reveal a lot about your world-view.

Friday, August 24, 2012

I Read a Few Books

I have been busy during this intermediary period between Summer C & the beginning of Fall 2012. I have read & written several book reviews, all of which are on Religious topics so I will not be posting reviews here. However, if you're interested in a full review, feel free to click on my links!

Everything You Know About Evangelicals is Wrong by Steve Wilkens & Don Thorsen
A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis
The All-Sufficiency of Christ by C. H. Mackintosh
Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Why I Hate Summer

Semester C is a Bad Word

I'm not sure how this is possible

It's been quite the semester

I took the classes Organization of Information I (LIS 6711) & Information Management Systems (LIS 5937) during summer C. I found that I was able to keep up (& stay interested in) the pace for about 5 weeks (the length of Summer A) before I got complacent. The last half of the semester was a drag. And that's not good when you have a research paper & a presentation due in that half of the semester. I probably would have felt more accomplished with Summer A/B classes, but that's not an option so I need to move on from that & not get bitter.

It wasn't hard...

...I was just a tad bored. I learned stuff, plenty of stuff. But mostly it put things I already knew into a library context. I knew about Metadata, I just needed to get procedural things strait--which is critical. I already knew the value of MIS in today's society, & most of the elements thereof, but I still needed to get a systematic overview of it.

Looking ahead

Now I get the privilege of looking forward to a new semester & all the bills & new syllabi & life-planning that goes along with it. Woohoo!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

@stickyJesus: A Book Review

The Book

Title@stickyJesus: How to live out your faith online
Author(s): Toni Birdsong & Tami Heim

I came across this book as I was shopping for my week of camp (which just ended). Our (my wife & my) theme was @VOne2012 - I Like Camp Horizon. It was basically Social Media camp, where we took away their connection to the outside world and ran a program that played on some of the elements that go into social media--& some of the inherent responsibilities for the Christian who finds themselves in that world.

I came across the book about three weeks before our camp started & thought: Wow, I need to read...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Kind of a Big Deal

Serving the information needs of the patron: A discussion of metadata in librarianship

19/20 & 10/10
I got an "A." Maybe it's not that big of a deal in grad school, but don't burst my bubble!

Side-note: Librarians are the most sarcastic, pessimistic, patronizing group of people I have ever come to know. (Is that a stereotype? Yes, I believe it is.) Everyone complained about how boring class was & how boring cataloging was, but when it came time to present their words changed. Albeit, their tone did not. I started to get really tired of monotone This is very interesting statements.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Twilight: A Book Review

The Book

Title: Twilight
Author: Stephenie Meyer

I read this book a a challenge. One of the girls at youth group (High School) began raving about this book--mostly about this Edward guy--and insisted that I read it. I told her that I would read the entire saga if she would read one of my recommendations (a book on Christian living). She accepted the challenge and read my book (150 pages) three times over before I finished the first book of the saga (400+ pages). I am embarrassed that she beat me up in the reading category. There's no excuse, not even grad school. I have to read better.

Technical Merit

Meyer does a great job of getting into the head of her teenage girl. The angst is palpable and probably (obviously?) resonates well with a certain demographic. Unfortunately, I am not part of the teenage-girl-angst demographic, so I found it annoying personally (that was not an objective statement of fact, it was a personal evaluation). My only real technical gripe is that Meyer does not describe action very well. She prefers to tell you what happened rather than show you what is happening. There is a monumental difference between those two forms of storytelling. Generally, the more effective route is to show what is happening, so as to avoid sounding like a grocery list of activities.


I have heard that Vampires are an afterthought in the series, that they are not necessary to drive the story. I actually disagree with that assessment. I think that the idea of a thriving relationship between the living and the undead is fascinating. Sure, I can see how Vampire purists can get up in arms about what was done to the mythology of Dracula's people, but I still feel that it is a valid topic. And yes, Meyer does use the Vampire powers to drive the story. Sometimes, however, it comes across as forced (It's all good, we're vampires. That's how we roll!)

I have a problem with a few of the characters who were not developed as much as I'd like to have seen. Who is Charlie again? Why is he so important? Maybe I have to get into book 2 for that. Also, there's (comparatively) no action in this book. It's all about the girl's infatuation with the Edward the Vampire (He is like a Greek god chiseled out of marble after all). There are three action scenes; the car accident, getting lost while shopping & the ballet studio, they are mostly revealed in a convoluted after-the-fact manner (going back to technical merit). I don't even know what these guys look like when they bare their teeth other than really freaking scary (my paraphrase).

My Takeaway

Don't get me wrong, I kinda liked the storyline. Was it a perfectly written, timeless classic that needs to become summer reading for all 10th graders? No way. But given the right demographic, it can really resonate & open the floodgates of imagination. That's what fiction is all about, isn't it? I suppose I would give it 2.5 out of 5 stars based on the technical merit & my own personal engagement, but I can see why others might rate it higher.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Friday, June 8, 2012

Never Underestimate MS Word

The Challenge

I finally passed a Word & Excel test for a "Librarian" position that I applied for at Baptist Hospital. I failed both tests on Monday & studied my booty off all week to pass it today. (I ended up only getting one question wrong on each test.)

I was not surprised that I failed Excel. I never use Excel. Excel intimidates me. Given that, I was encouraged that if I'd gotten one more question right, I would have passed the exam. What surprised me was Word.

I performed miserably on the Intermediate Word skills test. Given that I spent 4(+) years in a University & hold a degree in English (which = many research/argumentative papers), never received a grade lower than an A in High School English & spent 3 years working in the IT department of the same University, I was baffled that I did that poorly on the MS Word portion of the exam. I wasn't even close to passing.

I guess my takeaway from this experience is to never underestimate any undertaking. It's always good to review & continue learning because there is always somewhere you can improve.

A Side Note

On a side note, there was someone else in the room which made things a bit awkward. She was in the same position that I was on Monday, a failure. Hopefully she studies & passes soon!

Monday, May 14, 2012

New Semester - First Summer

I am embarking on my first Summer C ever. I have avoided classes offered during this semester like the plague during my educational career. Yet, I find myself forced into this predicament by the fact that I do not want to post-pone my graduation. 

The classes I am taking are as follows:
  • LIS 5937 Information Management Systems
  • LIS 6711 Organization of Knowledge 1
My eyes will be scouring the following textbooks (freshly ordered from Amazon). No these are not listed in APA format. This is a blog for crying out loud!
  • Cataloging and Classification: An Introduction (Chan, Lois Mai)
  • The Organization of Information  (Taylor, Arlene G.)
  • Fundamentals of Information Systems (Stair, Ralph)
New semester, I shall conquer thee.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Lit Style Mother's Day

Let the Rumpus Begin!

Where the Wild Things Are

So I have been mourning Maurice Sendak's passing since I heard of it. My lovely wife bought me these Where the Wild Things Are cuff links for my birthday. (She bought them before Sendak passed)

I decided to wear them this Mother's Day because WtWTA is my favorite work of Children's Literature. It was the book my mommy used to read to me at night. So here's to literacy! Here's to reading to your children! Here's to wild rumpuses! Here's to moms that make sure you get hot soup before bed!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Book Review of Fall to Grace

The Book

I just finished reading another religious book for my "summer week off" from classes. I salvaged this book from a Borders liquidation sale. Sad to see Borders go down, happy to grab a cheap book.

You will find the full review of Fall to Grace, authored by Jay Bakker at my religious blog:

Link to the post is here.

Monday, May 7, 2012

hArsh with A cApitAl A

My last post was harsh. A little too harsh, actually. I ended up scoring 29 points out of a possible 30 on my research paper. That ticks me off because my prof. neglected to let me in on the error that cost me a perfect score.

So, despite what the title of this post may indicate, me writes good.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Monday, April 30, 2012

2 Semesters Over

I just submitted my case study for Library Admin. I put together a budget for a surplus of money! Wow! I wonder when I'll be able to put those skills to use in the real world! Probably never...

I aced my Reference class. In fact, my Pathfinder project co-earned top score with some other classmate. I ended tops in my class. Does anyone else like the sound of me tooting my own horn? No? Oh well. That's the news!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Final Paper - Leadership Librarians

I am currently writing my paper on leadership in library administration. Well, currently I am blogging about writing about leadership in library administration. I'm about halfway through and hating most of my words. Things should look up eventually.

Ever wonder how much crap people go through when they try to lead a group of people? I do, and it seems if you don't really believe in the thing you are working for, then you will probably give in to the pressures of people who avoid change. The crap tends to pile up and become too much.

Back to my writing! I plan to finish my rough draft today and start the arduous editing process tomorrow.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Pathfinder Project = Finished

I just submitted the most practical & informative assignment I have been tasked with in my Graduate career up to this point. I created a pathfinder on the topic of my choosing. In the process, I learned how to use the HTML 4.01 markup language to create a webpage. I also learned how to use FTP to upload the assignment to my web page. It's pretty sweet.

A pathfinder is a resource that librarians put together in order to help patrons get familiar with a topic. It's a tool for Bibliographic Instruction. That's a big term for "teaching people how to get the information they need on a given subject."

My subject was "Origins & Distinctives of the Plymouth Brethren." I found a bunch of informative sources and organized them in the pathfinder with a few short annotations to aid in the research process. The pathfinder is really only supposed to get people started on their research.

You can find the finished product here:

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Mere Christianity: A Must-Read For the Thinking Man

Mere Christianity 

(C.S. Lewis Signature Classics) [Kindle Edition]

A must-read for the thinking man

This blog post is a carbon copy from my religious blog entitled: We Talk of Holy Things.

I just finished teaching Mere Christianity to my Sunday School class. Actually, to be completely accurate, @mrskylarkk & I just finished teaching Mere Christianity to the High School Sunday School class. It was a phenomenal experience.

It is one thing to read a book & enjoy it yourself, it is another thing entirely to use a book as a text for pedagogy. One must know the material better than their students. One must know the chapters and how they relate to other arguments. One must be prepared for everything. As a result, One learns more than he has in previous readings of the same book. That happened to me.

C. S. Lewis, the author of this classic work, begins with a natural argument for morality--not Christianity, not even Deity. Slowly, the argument for an outside entity is built. Notice also that Christianity is in the majority throughout the first chapter. Christianity agrees with every religion (which well outnumbers atheists). In fact, Christians agree that there is one monotheistic God, and is still in the majority with Judaism & Islam. These things do not distinguish Christianity, these are things that are common to mankind.

What distinguishes Christianity is the relationship that Mankind can have with their Creator. Since the Creator is outside of the Creation, He has an ultimate goal. That ultimate goal is reanimation--to make Mankind back into a perfect image of Himself. That is the mere goal of Christianity; the point, if you will. By looking at the human experience in this way, it makes sense that Man has no meaning as long as he strives against God's will. If the painting ran away from the artist, would it ever be a masterpiece? The answer is no, and the same applies to Man's spiritual state.

Another thing to keep in mind with this piece of literature--& it should be treated as such, this is no self-help book--is its original presentation. Remember that Mere Christianity was originally conceived as a series of radio segments aired after World War II while Lewis was at Oxford. Hence, the chapters are short and succinct. In addition, the chapters build and never get too heavy. Further, note that Lewis is struggling to keep a fair & balanced view of humanity in a time when absolute devils were seen in positions of power. How many people must have thought they were in the presence of the Antichrist? While Hitler & Mussolini were antichrists, they certainly were not the apocalyptic Antichrist of Dispensationalism. But that is another topic for another time. What is to be remembered is the state of the world at the time of these discussions.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Library Student, FTW!

In our discussion board, we were talking about continuing education after school. Most of my classmates sided against continuing education. Here are my comments followed by my professor's comments.

I am fairly certain that most, if not all professional-class careers continue their education. Teachers must be re-certified. Medical professionals must take classes. I believe lawyers must keep their credentials updated. It would only strengthen the argument that Librarians are professionals if some kind of continuing education was required. - ME
I think that this is a crucial point.  Would you want to be treated by a doctor who graduated from medical school 20 years ago and never tried to keep up with anything new since that time?  Any professional worth his or her salt MUST keep up with the changes in the workplace, whether it is by taking courses or by other means.  The profession of librarianship is completely different now compared to what it was when I was in library school.  If I had not been keeping up with the changes, I would now be utterly unqualified to do anything in this field.  Our profession, more than many others, is changing constantly and rapidly.  [By the way, this follows a period of I would say 100 years when it didn't change too much at all, i.e. from the 1860s to the early 1960s.]  When you graduate from this program, there is no way you will still be qualified to do your job 5 years later if you do not make serious efforts to keep up with the changes that will undoubtedly continue to occur. - HE
To that is say, Boo-jackashaw!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Important Stuff

I haven't posted much lately, mostly because I have been pissed with my professor who does not know how to communicate effectively.

I just read a chapter in my book for Library Administration. It was about the human resource frame of management. Basically it talks about how a lot of companies screw their employees over for the sake of short-term profits, then they lose out in the long run because their company has gone to hell in a hand-basket. Think outsourcing to a foreign country where you can pay little to less people, give them a couple crappy resources and then in a few years realize that your customer satisfaction levels are scraping the bottom of the barrel. That's an example of poor human resource investment.

The flip-side of that are examples of good human resource investment. This is when companies give their employees the tools to do their job efficiently. They are compensated for their work. They receive a certain psychological fulfillment in the workplace. This investment brings a return that is much greater than the chop-house method. In fact, when employees feel that the company backs them, they tend to respond by working harder and innovating more. This is what we saw in the post-war boom. What we are seeing now results from the late-90s / early-2000s.

The crux of what I read relied on the psychological fulfillment of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. This theory basically states that man is always trying to find satisfaction of some kind. The quest begins with basic needs--like food--and gradually the needs become more aesthetic and ephemeral, until they self-actualize. The workplace can, and should, be a place where some of these needs are met. Certainly, food and shelter are met via salary, but a sense of purpose is also closely tied to work. Do you really think that what you are doing is important?

Maybe yes, maybe no...

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Values Are Always Applied

Question: In management, does one size fit all? Can you come up with a set of principles and apply them uniformly in all circumstances, or do you have to adjust your principles to the people and circumstances involved?

The evidence is overwhelming that there is no single-size solution for successful management. It is clear that managers must assess their situation and respond accordingly in order to motivate and innovate in the workplace.

However, one can argue for the fact that a manager may base their decisions on certain values that remain constant from situation to situation. The RO book touches on this topic while discussing Gladwell's "blink" process. The non-conscious, split second decisions result in what is called "affective judgments" which allow the manager to feel confident in their decisions.

I have read that these gut feelings are not at the mercy of a person's whim, but are tied into deep-seated values. These values are always present and part of a person's make up. This is from the Harvard Business Review Blog Network:

Granted, these core values do not exclude a manager from changing their approach when circumstances warrant it, but it does influence their decisions. While the article deals with CEOs, I feel that all people make decisions based on their values, this includes the choice that managers have in the style they choose.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: How I Learned to Live a Better Story [Paperback]

Donald Miller (Author) 
My wife gave me this book as a birthday present in May. I started reading it right after Thanksgiving. I give it a 5 star rating and recommend that everyone find time to read it. This is Don Miller's best work since his breakthrough Blue Like Jazz.
Technical Merit
This book is a collection of essays that build on one another. These essays are heavily influenced by Miller's personal experiences. His stream of consciousness style takes a little getting used to, but once it is grasped it becomes poetry in prose.
Subject Matter
While writing the screenplay for a movie version of Blue Like Jazz, Donald Miller realizes that the elements that make a good story also contribute to a good life. He realizes that his approach to life was not conducive to success. As a result, his life transforms from an overweight couch-potato bum to a cyclist who makes a cross-country trek for a good cause. 
More importantly, Miller stresses that the components of a good life revolve around the relationships you build. In order to build and maintain relationships, one must take risks and face conflict. Remember, "We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment." (Romans 5:3-5a)
Remember, if you would not want to watch your life on the silver screen, then maybe something's gotta give.
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