Category Archives: library love

porch song

Porch Song by Trailer Bride

yeah, a little obsessed with this song. and thinking back with nostalgia to how great Trailer Bride was — one of my favorite Bloodshot Records bands — and definitely my favorite Melissa Swingle project. so far.

ah my girl crush on Melissa Swingle really knows no bounds.

here she is (“Melissa Swingle talks about Hasil Adkins”):

good news

got some GREAT news today. my internship at CUNY Graduate Center Library processing the Activist Women’s Voices Oral History Project & Archive is winding down as of the end of this month (i.e., next Friday).

Ruth Draper

Ruth Draper, just because

i applied for a Community Facilitator position at CUNY Academic Commons. just found out today i got the position. i am so happy.

just realized it is my first paid position since being laid off from Credit Suisse. sort of verklempt now i am thinking on that. progress. baby steps but progress all the same.

it is a part-time position, not a lot of hours, but i have been so impressed with both the CUNY Academic Commons and the IT offerings at CUNY Graduate Center / CUNY Graduate Center Library that being a part of both, continuing this new-found love-affair for things CUNY just really makes me happy.

Scandinavian TV

new / current obsession: Annika Bengtzon: Crime Reporter, streaming on Netflix. what do they put in the water over there to make such great TV?!? wish there were more than six in this series.

Malin Crépin

Malin Crépin in Annika Bengtzon



CUNY Graduate Center Mina Rees Library internship

Mina Rees

Mina Rees, mathematician

The Graduate School Library has been named in honor of Mina Rees in tribute to her remarkable qualities as administrator, teacher, and colleague, and in recognition of her critical role in establishing doctoral work at The City University of New York.

Dr. Rees had a long and distinguished professional career. She received a B.A. degree from Hunter College and Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Chicago, and began her teaching career in 1926 as a member of the Hunter College Mathematics Department. In addition to her more than 35 years at the City University, she served with the U.S. Office of Scientific Research and Development during World War II.

A distinguished mathematician and educator, she was acclaimed for the important role she played in mobilizing the resources of modern mathematics for the national defense during World War II, for helping to direct the enormous growth and diversification of mathematical studies after the war, for her influence in initiating federal government support for the development of the earliest computers, for helping to shape national policy for all basic sciences and for graduate education.

Dr. Rees was appointed the City University’s first Dean of Graduate Studies in 1961, when the doctoral programs were established. In 1969, she became the first president of the CUNY Graduate School , serving until her retirement in September 1972. She died in 1997.

so i found out yesterday that i was offered the internship position at the CUNY (City University of New York)’s Graduate Center Library to work as a Special Collections Intern for the Spring 2013 semester, with a specific focus on the digital project: The Activist Women’s Voices Oral History Project and Archive.

i am BEYOND happy. so excited about the collection, the wonderful librarian who i will be working with, and the upcoming experience, where i already know i will be learning so much.

if i get the okay, i will either do a separate regular blog of the experience, like i did for my NYPL internship where i spent the majority of my time processing the Meredith Monk Collection. or i will do a periodic blog via official channels of CUNY. i think i would prefer my own blog, as i can do something more in depth and continuous. but i will find out more as this process continues.

The National Archives at New York City

i also go in today to interview for a volunteer position at the National Archives at New York. the New York offices have relocated to a new facility almost at the southern-most tip of Manhattan, at 1 Bowling Green. i hope to become involved in any digitization projects they may be undertaking.

brrr it’s cold outside


freezing temps here in NYC…. has me thinking of that cheer in the seminal cheerleading movie, Bring It On.

I said…


It’s cold in here

I said there must be some Toros

In the atmosphere

always a dicey proposition posting a clip like this in the blog. it will probably expire / get pulled from YouTube due to copyright. and i may or may not notice it and if i do i may try and find a new clip, which will have the same problem. again and again. sigh.

but at a certain point when a movie joins the zeitgeist — at least for me — and it is over 10 years later, the copyright issues and reuse issue get more and more hindersome and impractical. big sigh repeated.

i wish the movie studios would understand what a disservice they do to their own product by not letting anyone have fun with the material, by not capturing the possibilities that people would maybe pay a little bit of money if the usage was clever and smart enough. the MPAA and recording industries take no responsibility for their part in this problem. if the usage and deployment was more usable, their products would be even more popular, and they could actually monetize it more effectively.

aaagh, copyright is just a flipping nightmare.

/rant & handwringing (for now)….

blog template

have been trying a different template for the blog in hopes that the load time of the graphics, etc. would be improved, but i haven’t found (a) a good solution and (b) a template i like as much as the Matala template i used for my old blog, so i’m going to stick with the initial one i think….

the things i am looking for in a blog template is a clean graphic, preferably a dark background, and social media icons. i think the social media icons should be available on all of these templates, but it seems to be a relatively new option.

wish i “clicked” with this one the same way i did with the Matala — and could figure out a quick fix to the slow loading of pictures, APIs, etc. that didn’t seem to be a problem with my other blogs. it could just be this buggy and slow Chrome browser. or my lazy approaches to making sure photos are small file sizes.

it might also be the distributed computing i am doing via Boinc that is slowing things down, but i am starting to use other browsers. Chrome performance issues are concerning. though i love so much about the browser. ugh, Google isn’t always better, it turns out. 🙂

i will figure it out eventually. hopefully.

current recalibration

color balance

color balance card
when i worked on movie sets, the Director of Photography (or their assistant) would always do a “white balance” for the cameras.
i always loved that technical side of being on set….

after spending time and energy on applying for jobs via USAJOBS and other job search websites — and at least blessedly hearing back from the USAJOBS folks on the status of my applications, that i haven’t even gotten through the initial filter because of lack of experience. so i have recalibrated my efforts.

i simply don’t have enough quantifiable, relevant, library and/or archival experience. i understand that. own it, as Stuart Smalley says. because i rushed through graduate school and didn’t maximize my internship opportunities, i am in a bit of a pickle. my own damn fault. but i am hopeful, as i have retrenched.

the new plan: i am going to temp for money and will volunteer like crazy, but only at places and/or on projects i feel passionate about.

the benefit of doing internships while matriculated in a degree-granting program is that most internships require there to be some formal structure and connection to your educational institution. i get that, there is protection in some sort of monitoring of the internship.

but now that i am “out the door” on my degree, this is a big problem. not matriculated = no internship. however, not matriculated = volunteering. yay!

potential opportunities

i have two excellent potential volunteer options.

one potential volunteer project is at CUNY. another potential volunteer opportunity is at the newly relocated National Archives at New York City.

until these options become finalized <knock wood> i don’t want to jinx them or go into much detail. yet.

but even if i have to find other options, the best part of this new approach is that i have had positive responses to my inquiries. responses! and i even had a phone interview. an interview! which in this market and with my relative inexperience in the field is just something i am so grateful for, even in the context of volunteering.

i hope to blog these projects if it is allowed. i kept a blog for my one official internship during grad school at the NYPL. i did a blog in lieu of the required paper that was the academic side of the internship. but i initially misunderstood and thought i needed to blog every day, not just once a week or periodically. which was actually a happy accident and got me into a disciplined habit.

so the blog really stretched me, and i was constantly thinking about the work i was doing at the library and how i could translate my learning experience into an interesting and engaging record of what i was doing in the internship. i started to think of the blog as it functioned as a “process blog,” or a “project blog.” the functionality really made sense to me, helped me to document the experience so effectively.

and really, i had such a good time, and i got positive feedback from the librarians, so a love for blogging began.


as far as temping for money while i do these internships, that has been more difficult than i anticipated as well. the temp scene in New York City has completely changed since I temped full time back in the late 1990s. it used to be that you could find a really good paying, interesting, plentiful temp job that was flexible with no problem. and your fellow temps would be other folks like yourself, chasing dreams to be opera singers, actors, directors, filmmakers, undergraduate and graduate students. the jobs were “money jobs” that funded your career, your vision, your life.

these jobs used to be everywhere in New York. in the financial sector, in the legal sector, in publishing, advertising. everywhere. and if you had good computer skills, could type and problem-solve, these opportunities were almost assumed.

post-globalization, post-outsourcing (domestic and international), and especially post-2008 these opportunities are few and far between. and the rates that we used to assume we could make are gone. you need more technical skills in a more diverse set of programs for a guaranteed lower hourly rate of compensation. and getting a temp-to-perm gig that was flexible, like i had, forget about it. and definitely no benefits.

so this is scary and stressful. but not impossible.

i was grateful to have a chance to test at one agency this week, though i am not sure if i passed the very difficult test, sad to say. there were some native tricks that my 15+ years of dependance upon macros meant i was slow and had to dig around for solutions. as well as battle Office 2010, which is always a barrier.

however, the folks at the agency have been sympathetic and amazing and full of really valuable advice. they are familiar with my skills and the market and they will do what they can to use my talents. but the whole setup has changed.

if i can skill up and get some deliverable projects i hope to leverage myself to either a better “money job” and/or start to freelance maybe. the last resort will be a 9-to-5 job doing secretarial work. but i suspect the competition for a job like that — and a good fit for me for a job like that — will also be something i will need to either luck upon or will need to do a lot of legwork to land.

Licensed nurturer Stuart Smalley

Licensed nurturer Stuart Smalley

as Stuart says, “Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt….” trying NOT to do that. and taking comfort from places where i can (like Stuart Smalley’s Daily Affirmations).

filing systems

cataloging the stylin’ people

so this is my friend — and former co-worker in the ibank trenches — Jafe Campbell.

the "real" Jafe, at a great restaurant called Piccolo (this is the upper west side location -- but there's one on Jafe's block downtown)

Jafe, at a great restaurant called Piccolo (this is the upper west side location — but there’s one on Jafe’s block downtown)
their coffee is major (highly addictive and smooth!) — and their food is a delight

Jafe is very stylin’….

i have some ongoing projects documenting Jafe’s extreme style.

it began with Jafe Shooz

and continued with Jafe Patternz

gonzo Jafe!

the Jafesteras Hunter S. Thompson for Halloween

the Jafester
as Hunter S. Thompson for Halloween

witnessth! the original icon:

Portrait of Gonzo Journalist, Hunter S. Thompson. [Rendez Padgett] [d]id this with charcoal, chalk, acrylic paint, collaged paper, and photoshop.

Portrait of Gonzo Journalist, Hunter S. Thompson
[Rendez Padgett] [d]id this with charcoal, chalk, acrylic paint, collaged paper, and photoshop.

such great imagery of Hunter S. Thompson online.

hunter s thompson by ~curtlivingston Digital Art / Drawings / Portraits©2009-2012 ~curtlivingston

hunter s thompson by ~curtlivingston
Digital Art / Drawings / Portraits ©2009-2012 ~curtlivingston

the gonzo man hisself in one of his shirtz…

the screenwriting lady

so anyway, my awesome friend Jafe has been working for an NYU professor in screenwriting (aka “the screenwriting lady”) for a long time now, helping her out with word processing on an ad hoc basis. he is starting to help her more regularly. and asked me to help him with some file organization tips.

this is Marilyn Horowitz (aka “the screenwriting lady”).

Marilyn Horowitz aka "the screenwriting lady"

Marilyn Horowitz aka “the screenwriting lady”

Marilyn Horowitz (logo from her book)

Marilyn Horowitz
(cool logo from some of her books)

organized dirt

Jafe knows my skillsets pretty intimately after our 15+ years in the trenches together. i like organizing things. a lot. it’s like in my being, part of the essence of who i am as a person. part compulsion, part desire to organize information, part of why i enjoy content and the gathering of information, a voracious need to absorb and enjoy information in all of its myriad forms….

so i am a good “ringer” to come in and help. and have more confidence and structural concepts in my arsenal after getting my Library & Information Science master’s degree.

stuff like this totally excites me.


Museum of Art & Design exhibit
Swept Away: Dust, Ashes, and Dirt in Contemporary Art and Design
February 7 – August 5, 2012
Dirt collected from the five boroughs of New York

great exhibit. great library. wonderful time hanging with my nieces this summer….

Phoebe CummingsFlora, 2010Unfired clay13 x 18 x 11 ft. (3.7 x 5.5 x 3.4 m)

Phoebe Cummings
Flora, 2010
Unfired clay
13 x 18 x 11 ft. (3.7 x 5.5 x 3.4 m)

a formal introduction to the exhibit.

organized dirt! what could be better?!?

growing up in an office

continuing the thread of organization…. there’s a real thread of workaholism in my family. good or bad it’s just sort of how we are. we are a diligent, hard-working people. my Padre, my father, has been a constant example for me over the years.

and strange as it may seem, from the time i was about 4 years old through high school and beyond, i grew up in my dad’s various offices. after our parents got divorced and we moved to Lincoln my brother and sister and i would take the bus from Lincoln to Omaha (and back) every weekend to see our dad in Omaha. we did this for about 10 years, from when i was 4 years old to when we moved back to Omax and i started junior high in 1981.

every Saturday morning, Da would pick us up from the Greyhound bus depot in downtown Omaha. we would trek on over to the now closed Bishop’s Buffet (an old school cafeteria restaurant) for breakfast, then we would go with him to his office, usually until dinnertime. it sounds a bit child abuse-y looking back on it but there was always a TV there — and we had a pinball machine at one point thanks to Linda aka Wife #2’s dad, the beloved Zede (who with his brothers ran a coin operation business for cigarette and pinball machines in Omaha). we got to spend a lot more time with our dad than i think we probably would have if it wasn’t like that. and i sort of liked it. really, i didn’t know any other way to spend Saturdays back then.

one of my formative memories was of Bob Fromkin. a legendary and loving presence from my childhood.

Bob Fromkin, one of my dad's partners, at work in the office

Bob Fromkin
one of my dad’s partners, at work in the office

an old office sign: Fromkin, Fromkin & Herzog

an old office sign:
Fromkin, Fromkin & Herzog
my dad was originally in the firm with Bob Fromkin and Bob’s father….

this is a picture of my dad and Grandma Pearl….

Grandma Pearl and my dad

Grandma Pearl, at Rose Blumkin Jewish Home, and my dad

my da and Auntie Ruthie, Grandma Pearl's sister

my da and Auntie Ruthie, Grandma Pearl’s youngest sister
(apologies for the shot of Ruthie with her eyes closed — Herzog and Segall family tradition! i just love the fierce look on Da’s face)

this is very typical of my Da — picking weeds and clearing dirt (dirt theme!) off the graves at the cemetery where his mom, dad, and younger brother are buried….

Da pulling weeds at Beth El Cemetery in Omaha

Da pulling weeds and clearing dirt at Beth El Cemetery in Omaha

these are from when Da visited me in New York a while ago….

Da at Katz's Delicatessen in New York City

Da at Katz’s Delicatessen in New York City

it was a good time.



instilled by Da

so growing up in an office, it’s like all this filing and organizing is in my blood. i would “work” for my dad as a kid, sitting at the receptionist desk and letting my dad know when clients would come in to see him on Saturdays. i would do fun stuff like photocopy money and play with the carbon paper…. oy veyshmere, the joys of youth!

i went to Omaha Central High School a few blocks away. so in addition to hitching a ride with my Da in the mornings and accompanying Da and his alter cocker friends to Bishop’s Buffet in the mornings, during my senior year i actually worked a regular job every day after school as a runner and file clerk at the office. i would file documents, pick up files, drop off things to the judges at the courthouses downtown.

i remember going back and forth to the Douglas County District Courthouse at lot — one of the prettiest building downtown. there were other courthouses and city buildings i went to but this one is my favorite.

Douglas County District Courthouse in Omaha, NE (a closeup)

Douglas County District Courthouse in Omaha, NE (a closer view)

in addition to the work as a runner and other various office jobs like photocopying, putting postage on mail, etc., Da had me organize his filing system and cull files to be sent to storage. words like Pendaflex, lateral files, photocopy, third-cut manilla folders were just part of my world growing up.

so while i job search, i am going in for a few hours at a time and helping Jafe improve Marilyn’s office, specifically her filing system.

it has been really great. the work ties together my background in the movie business as a production assistant and then fledgling script supervisor, etc. — along with an ongoing and perpetual movie love (thanks to early influences of family movie nights and Pauline Kael‘s New Yorker reviews) — with an early, ingrained affinity for filing and organization.

yeah, i’m a Paulette! darned tooting!

look what i stumbled upon. love this woman…. cool!

why i like libraries

as i embark on this very fledgling career search into the world of libraries, i have been thinking about libraries, and why i like them so much.

Prescott Elementary School (Lincoln, NE)

Prescott Elementary School (Lincoln, NE)

it began when i was very young

i remember my elementary school library, those tingly moments when our classes would visit the library and you could check books out and take them home.

i was drawn to what seemed like a very long inside wall of library shelves, full of books — not sure if i found it myself or if a librarian helped me. i can still see the books lining the shelves. it was where all of the fiction books were. it was like a wall of comfort. a well that i could go back to and draw upon endlessly….

one moment stands out: the excitement of seeing a series of books by Beverly Cleary about a girl i loved named Ramona.



Ramona always seemed to be getting into trouble, but i just loved her. and there were a whole bunch of books about Ramona and her adventures. the pictures were vivid and funny, and i could relate to a dark haired girl with a passion for life.

it wasn’t just the words or the story. it was the actual book — which looked a lot like the old yellow book above. it was something about the library bindings of many of the books in the series. how tough they were, with thick colorful designs. how they smelled, how the pages felt when i turned the pages.

and then it was the worlds that opened up to me. the library became a place where i could escape into my own personal visions of these stories in my head. i felt so connected to those worlds, these people, and those flickering images inside my brain.

but it may have started even earlier

but now i look back, i think it may have started even earlier, when i was in kindergarden. my brother and sister and i went to a Montessori school that was in a church in what we then thought of as West Omaha. laughable now because it was only at 72nd and Dodge Streets, and Omaha has quadrupled in size since then.

i was only 4 or 5 years old when i was at Montessori, around 1971 i think, but i remember the workbooks — and the nuns in their habits walking with purpose down the halls.

the school is no longer there but i remember the workbooks i raced through like they were candy, gobbling up words and images. it was so much fun to go as slowly or as quickly as i wanted through each workbook as i learned the alphabet and words. as i browsed through the shelves of workbooks, as i progressed, the world flowered, opening up. it was the BEST kind of fun. such fun!

Me at Montessori pre-school in Omaha

Me at Montessori pre-school in Omaha

an example of “Such Fun!” and another great character who is always getting into scrapes, Miranda, played by Miranda Hart, who makes me laugh, and who i love for being just who she is: brilliant and herself. SUCH FUN!

$5 a book

when we were growing up my brother and sister and i were lucky enough to get an allowance from our father. our dad wanted to encourage us to read, so he would take us to Kieser’s Bookstore in downtown Omaha near his office, or W. Dale Clark Library, also downtown. we could read one book and get an extra $5. it was a pretty big deal.

i remember those $5 books vividly, because i always wanted to try an ambitious book. one of my favorite books was My Ántonia by Willa Cather.

My Ántonia by Willa CatherThis was the edition that i read

My Ántonia by Willa Cather
This was the edition that i read

My Ántonia was set in Nebraska, so although i lived in big cities (Lincoln and Omaha), i knew it was my home state. the girl, Ántonia, lived in a sod house on the prairie with her family. that was always fascinating to me, that you could live underground like that. it seemed so fantastical.

Willa Cather as a little girl

Willa Cather as a little girl
images from the wonderful The Willa Cather Archive at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

but really, for me, My Ántonia was another story about a young girl grappling with the world and forces around her that were often outside of her control. which was another reason that it was so important to me.

checking library books out

but even as a young kid i never wanted to own every book i read. i only wanted to own my favorite books. but i wanted to READ just about everything i could get my hands on.

i liked the idea of reading every book in a series, like the Nancy Drew books, exhaustively. but going to the library and checking them out, then bringing them back and getting more — that was bliss. and i could only do that at this magical place, the library.

The Secret in the Old Attic
(Nancy Drew Mystery Stories)

The Scarlet Slipper Mystery
(Nancy Drew Mystery Stories)

The Secret of the Old Clock
(Nancy Drew Mystery Stories)

just a beginning…

this is early days yet. a beginning of me thinking about why i love libraries, how they have enriched my life and made me the person i am today.

i am going to keep thinking about why i love libraries so much. there’s so much more there. i am pretty sure one of the reasons why i love movies so much is that they are like books that have come to life. and most library people i know love movies too. that is for another discussion. 🙂