Thursday, October 30, 2008

Free Legal Help in Louisiana

You can send legal questions to the legal eagles at the Louisiana Supreme Court law library by phone at 1-800-820-3038 (toll-free in Louisiana only) or by e-mailing the library's reference desk.

The library's hours are 9am--9pm Monday through Thursday and 9am--5pm Friday & Saturday. The reference librarians are on duty 9am--5pm Monday through Friday.

This information was sent me by the very kind and intelligent librarian/lawyer super-hybrid Marie Erickson of the Law Library of Louisiana in New Orleans.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Where to Vote and Sample Ballot 11/4/2008

So you want to vote next Tuesday and you might not be sure where to go or what's going to be on the ballot here in Terrebonne Parish? Okay, let's take a look.

First, you'll need to find out what precinct you live in. The ballot will vary slightly in each. To find out exactly which precinct you live in and which polling place you should use, try going here: LOUISIANA SECRETARY OF STATE POLLING LOCATOR. Just type in your name or address, and it will tell you which precinct is yours. Be sure to follow the data entry instructions at the bottom of the form. A bit of a hassle, I know, but isn't democracy worth it?

After you have your precinct number, you can look at a sample ballot for your precinct in Terrebonne Parish here: TERREBONNE PARISH SAMPLE BALLOT PAGE. Click on your precinct number in the long list of numbers on the page. Voila'! You're an informed voter!

If you have any questions, call the Terrebonne Parish Library Information Service at 985-876-5158 ext. 201 or the Terrebonne Parish Registrar of voters at 985-873-6533.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Early Voting & The Louisiana Gumbo Project

Early Voting

I'm letting people know a day late, but a patron just let me know that early voting started yesterday in Louisiana. I confirmed it with WWL. It will run through October 28th, 8:30 am to 6:00 pm. No matter where you are, just contact your Parish registrar of voters and find out where to go--chances are it won't be your normal polling place. Early polls indicate turnout on November 4th will be heavy, so you might consider it. In Terrebonne Parish, the Registrar's office is on the first floor of the Terrebonne Parish Court House across from St. Francis. You can call them at (985) 873-6533 for more information.

The Louisiana Gumbo Project

Not long ago, Judy Smith with the Louisiana Section of the State Library came down to Terrebonne Parish to show us all the new grant-funded Louisiana Gumbo Project, which is basically a multi-subject, multimedia database of all-things Louisiana, including sound recordings, art, maps, recipes, photographs and lots of other nifty Louisiana-ania. It is all re-arrangeable, customizable, searchable, downloadable and save-able. A dream for a reference librarian with an eighth grade Louisiana history student (and her mom) standing in front of him. Even if you aren't a librarian or an eighth grader, browsing through it might make you smile. And if living here after Gustav is wearing a little thin on you, browsing through it might remind you of why it might not be so bad, after all.

The material for the Project was gleaned from a variety of places, including the Historic New Orleans Collection and the Louisiana State Museum.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Louisiana Constitutional Amendments & Genealogy Link Reminder

Part One

Every time the State of Louisiana has an election with its confusingly-worded constitutional amendments, the good folks at the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana, Inc. publish nifty voter guides that put it all in plain English so that we who didn't go to law school can figure out just what it is they're asking us to vote on.

Best of all, the guides are in handy PDF form so that you can download them, print them, and even hand them out if you want to. Take a look at the 2008 amendments. And VOTE!

Part Two

Even though the website seems to have sat fallow for a good while, there are still some great links featured on the website of the State Library of Louisiana. Especially useful to Louisiana genealogists is the page with "Online Genealogy Sources." As you look through them, you'll notice many are Louisiana-specific and that even those that aren't can be useful to Louisianians who know how to "work it."

If you're interested in your family history, be sure to visit the Reference and Genealogy Department on the second floor of the Main Library in Houma.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

IM Reference. You are, too.

The Terrebonne Parish Library System now has a nifty new gadget...Instant Message reference. We've installed Meebome! on our library homepage and so now patrons will be able to instantly communicate with reference staff online. For now, we've tentatively set the schedule for librarians waiting for messages at 10-11 am, 2-3 pm and 6:30-8 pm.

We'll be able to answer questions, suggest websites and even quote relevant text for information seekers. Best of all, patrons won't have to install anything. They just have to go to our library homepage and there, to the left, will be the chat box.

Of course our homepage can't be seen by the outside world right now because Gustave rearranged our E-face, but you can chat with us to the right of this very blog entry. See? ==>
Right there.

So if you want instant service and don't want to use your cell minutes, try our INSTANT LIBRARIAN IM Reference service. Keep us busy!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month! You have now been made aware.

Here at Terrebonne's Main Library, we have a display of breast cancer information on the second floor...

Also, I got this great e-mail, complete with links:

-----Original Message-----
From: []

Subject: llageneral Breast Cancer
All the pink ribbons, and other pink things, popping up around the country may have made you aware that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Here are some web sites from the government I'd like to make you aware of to help you improve your awareness:

What You Need to Know About Breast Cancer (National Cancer Institute)

Breast Cancer (National Cancer Institute)

Breast Cancer (Centers for Disease Control)

MedLinePlus: Breast Cancer (National Library of Medicine)

Frequently Asked Questions - Breast Cancer (Dept. of Health and Human

Breast Cancer (National Institutes of Health - Senior Health)


P.S. Today's blog is dedicated to the memory of my friend A*** Fr****. If A*** were still with us, she would want me to tell you "Get regular mammograms!!!"


Groups for Librarians

There are some pretty good online groups and list-servs out there, some of them even for librarians. Here's a great list of a few that librarians, reference and otherwise, might want to look into:

These lists cover everything from the complex world of library administration to the straightforward world of interlibrary loan. Some of the links, like the vaunted STUMPERS list-serv, are dead. But you may be able to find something useful in the mix.

Also, don't forget to take a look at ; it's usually kind of quiet, but a handy tidbit wil come along now and then.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Google and Your Reputation

Anyone who's ever been involved with unpopular causes or who's gotten into a little trouble now and then might learn the hard way one of the perils of the information age: getting Googled.

These days, a common practice by those doing background checks on prospective employees is to type the name of the person into Google to see what comes back. Many people are surprised at how long potentially awkward information stays online.

Type your own name in some time and take a look: did you, in a fit of outrage, declare some years ago in an online petition that America's drug laws were unjust? Did you ever post a comment on a website that you might have trouble explaining to a boss doing an interview? Declaring your love of lingerie football after a beer or two might not have been the smartest thing to sign your real name to, huh?

Well, there are strategies for managing your online reputation, even if you have made some mistakes.

This blog entry clues you in on what you might do to keep the picture people have of you accurate and fair.

But one piece of advice: what you type today might still be there ten years hence. And mind who your friends are.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Bandwidth and Us

Ever since Gustav blew through town and proved once again that man is but a feeble worm compared to the might of Mother Nature, our normal, super-fast 20 meg satellite network has been down. We've been using a temporary 3 meg network that has really. Slowed. Us. Down. "From a ten-inch sewer pipe to a drinking straw," is how one patron put it. Yes, data in and out is down to a veritable trickle.

In order to make sure that everyone gets as fair and fast an experience as possible, we've been asking patrons to avoid applications that use a lot of bandwidth. Applications like Youtube, MySpace and iTunes just try to cram too much data through our storm-narrowed information arteries and make it next to impossible to get real research and work done.

So if you come by to visit and use our computers, do us a favor and wait a few weeks until our network is back to normal to view that YouTube video of a dancing cat falling into a punchbowl. It will still be there, I promise.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Monster Movie Madness 2008

Every October, the Reference Department gets to let its hair down a little and share its taste for lame B-movies with the public. Of course, the best B-movies are monster/horror/sci-fi films from the 1950s and 1960s (and maybe the 70s now and then), so we show those. This year is no different.

Starting October 13th at 6:30pm, MONSTER MOVIE MADNESS 2008 begins with the obscure non-hit 1962 film This is Not a Test. It's the paranoid, Cold War era story of some folks stuck out in the open when a nuclear war is about to begin and their having to figure out what to do. Now, you may be thinking, "Hey! That's not a monster movie!" And, technically, you're right. This year, we've expanded our horizons a bit to include more science fiction and "suspense" films, provided they still stink. But I argue that the monster in This Is Not A Test is multi-faceted: paranoia, panic and human stupidity. And, of course, stiff delivery and bad acting.

And, being a reference nerd, I couldn't help myself. This movie is a tie-in to the 46th anniversary of The Cuban Missile Crisis. Between October 8th and October 14th of the same year this movie came out, we found out that the big, bad Soviets were putting big, bad missiles is crazy little Cuba, and we had a collective national experience very similar to the one in This Is Not a Test. So there is an element of education, maybe. Maybe.

Also being shown this year will be Killers From Space, a movie so bad descriptions don't do it justice. This is a rival to Plan 9 From Outer Space, our traditional final film, considered the worst ever made by many critics. They both stink so bad that we'll call it a tie.

Anyway, the movie schedule is like this:

OCTOBER 13, 2008, 6:30-8PM--This Is Not A Test
OCTOBER 20, 2008, 6:30-8PM--Killers From Space
OCTOBER 27, 2008, 6:30-8PM--Plan 9 From Outer Space

All films will be shown in the Distance Education classroom of the second floor of the Main Library at 151 Civic Center Blvd.

To bribe those with otherwise good taste in films, we offer free drinks and fresh popcorn.

Call me, Darryl, at 985-876-1733 with any questions.