I have been offered (and have accepted) a project archivist position in Colorado!

I’m guessing that the next month will be taken up with the general business of relocating, especially since I will be at the SAA conference essentially right before my start date.

Anyway, my point is that I’m not sure if I’ll be posting between now and the middle of September, but I just wanted to make sure that it was clear that I hadn’t abandoned my little blog, I’m just on a hiatus until the dust settles.

Diverging from the archival theme, I noticed a post on one of my regular technology-related feeds that really struck me, and is related to the information profession…but definitely not specifically to archives, so bear with me.

Web Worker Daily posted a “What is Your Third Place?” open thread, primarily discussing where telecommuters/web workers go in order to counterract the feelings of isolation that working from home can sometimes cause, and I was a little sad (but not incredibly surprised) that no one in the comments section mentioned the library as their “third place.” 

 I’m having a bit of trouble with the concept of “third place,” (a term coined by Ray Oldenberg in his books “Celebrating the Third Place” and “The Great, Good Place“) as it seems to be tied closely to the terms “public” or “civic space,” (a place that is paid for by all, for all people), but the term “third space” doesn’t differentiate (at least from what I can tell) between commercial and non-commercial space…it’s just the place where you go that is not-work and not-home (as well as meeting Oldenburg’s “eight criteria,” which you can find in “The Great, Good Place”).

Increasingly, corporations (Starbucks, Panera, Borders) have co-opted many of the aspects associated with “third place,” (heck, Howard Schultz, the head of Starbucks, even markets Starbucks as a “third place”). Don’t get me wrong, I love coffee shops, bookstores, and restaurants, I think they are vital parts of a creative, connected community. However, due to their commercial nature, I can’t agree with Ray Oldenburg when he calls them “neutral public spaces.” Staring at that sentence, I realize how ridiculous it is that I’m disagreeing with the person who coined the term in the first place, but I don’t see how a place that exists primarily to get the people who enter it to spend their money could be seen as neutral.

So, what happens when, as is mentioned in the Chronicle of Higher Ed. article I’ve linked to below, libraries add on a Starbucks? Does this diminish their status as a third place? Does the digital environment of MMOGs constitute another legitimate third place? (P.S., David Lee King and the good folks at It’s All Good (four OCLC bloggers) have some interesting things to say on this topic)

I’m not entirely sure what the answers to those or many of the other questions that are swirling around in my mind when it comes to this idea. But, much like everything else on this blog, I’m sure I’ll re-visit it at some point with at least a slightly clearer idea of what I do actually think. 🙂

More articles on this subject. I’m being rebellious and not using APA format.

dx1007ex_91978.jpgContinuing the horror theme I began in the “Zombies + Libraries = Awesome!” post, I was browsing the “archivist” tag in del.icio.us today, and found that archivists are their own class in the Heroes of Horror, a supplement for D&D players who want to bring a bit of the horror genre into their gaming.

 I’m not super-familiar with D&D, but I found a couple of the tidbits of information about the “archivist class” especially fun:

This quote made me think immediately of the SAA Code of Ethics:

The most important characteristic for an archivist is a keen Intelligence. That intellect must also be tempered with a high degree of Wisdom, due to the fine line the archivist must walk in studying evil without being corrupted by it.

These next two quotes sound a heck of a lot more glamorous than my general daily activities during the small amount of professional experience I’ve had…but I don’t know that someone outside the profession would want to re-enact the creation of EAD finding aids just for fun:

The archivist’s class features all serve to further his overall purpose, which is to seek out mystical, divine lore from strange and forbidden sources, and to gain both understanding and mastery thereof.

  The archivist can use his dark knowledge to help his allies fight off the corrupting influence of other creatures.

This next quote I can see on a t-shirt…Archivists: Not as Stuffy As Wizards.

Something that also struck me was that, even in D&D, archives is viewed as a vocation, and one that won’t necessarily reward you with gratitude (or monetarily).

Generally speaking, you aren’t quite as stuffy as the average wizard, given your breadth of experience and high Wisdom score, but neither are you a chest-thumping champion of the gods. The secrets you uncover are their own reward, and your confidence in yourself and in the job you do is more rewarding than the empty gratitude of some group or hierarchy.

Here’s that vocation thing again:

It is often said that archivists are born, not made. Many who embrace this class do so out of a genuine thirst for learning, often accompanied by a reverence or admiration for divine power.

My favorite, saving the best for last:

 Many archivists are archivists for life; the more hidden lore they uncover, the more they feel they still have to learn.

Tim Gunn, the stylish voice of reason on Bravo’s Project Runway, is getting his own series on Bravo, “Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style,” (based on his book of the same name).

However, the truly exciting part of reading the article announcing his new series was that, when asked about his distinctive speaking style and wit, Gunn, who describes himself as a “big nerd,” said,

My vocabulary comes from years of teaching…My mother was a librarian, and I grew up with tons of books, and they are a blessing and a curse.

I knew there was a reason I felt such a kinship with him. 🙂

One of my friends pointed out these incredibly fun and funny time-wasters to me a few days ago, and I have to say, after having played with them for the last half an hour, they definitely live up to the hype. simpsons_katie.jpgSouth Park Informationatrix

These are the two that I created in my own image (see, funny AND you get to have a little bit of a God complex!). Each picture is an active link to the site on which they were created.

 Be forewarned, the game that allows you to create the Simpsons avatar is within the promotional website for the Simpsons movie, so you will have to look for it a bit; it’s along the top of the screen. It’s well worth it though, trust me.

 Enjoy!

Geranium, originally uploaded by librarykatja.

Gotta love that red. It’s a power color. 🙂