Monday, April 26, 2010

The One About Immigration

From my other blog

A few weeks ago, a man came into the library where I work and asked a simple question; he said, “how does someone become a citizen?” I wish I could have answered the way someone would have answered my Canadian ancestors, and said, “Simply cross the line and prosper well—welcome to the land of dreams and prosperity!” That America closed its border a long  time ago.

The person who wanted to become a citizen was illegal—a common story in California. She had been in the country with her husband (also here illegally) for over ten years, and had children who had been born in this country; her youngest son barely spoke a word of Spanish, and is as American as they come.  So what is the answer to her question? It’s easy—pack up and move back to her country (Mexico), because you cannot become a citizen of the United States if you are here illegally. Her youngest son would be able to sponsor her in about six years also.

Why am I writing this? If you hadn’t heard by now, Arizona’s governor has passed new legislation to make anyone in Arizona who is in the states illegally, a criminal—which means prison time, a fine, and a one way ticket back to Mexico. It also means my wife, a born and raised United States citizen, can be questioned on suspicion of being in the United States illegally because she looks Mexican—most states call that racial profiling of the worst kind, but Arizona believes that questioning American citizens is not only socially responsible, but their right.

So back to the family above—if they lived in Arizona, they would be charged as criminals, fined, and returned to Mexico. And their ten year old, who is American and barely speaks Spanish? 

Why are they doing this?  Because they are criminals! Because they broke the law and now they must pay! Because they are wasting American tax dollars!  And because they are a bunch of arrogant, racist, white dicks who don’t want dirty Mexicans contaminating their land.

Here’s one fact people don’t talk about. It is a documented fact that immigrants actually do not hurt the economics of America—in many respects they help it. America loves taxing, so don’t think for a second that just because you are here illegally you don’t pay taxes—the federal government has absolutely no problem collecting money from these so-called criminals. You want to know how badly immigrants hurt the economics of this country? Read this article.

The fact is if you are a wealthy Mexican, you’ll have no problem getting into this country; if you are a smart Mexican and the country can benefit from your brain, you’ll have no problem getting into this country. The problem is those two types of Mexicans are not the ones who make good Americans. The ones who make good Americans are the one who come here with the dreams of a better life—who want nothing more to contribute to the diversity that makes this country so great—the ones who will be happy with living as middle-class citizens. And those are exactly the ones who don’t stand a chance of ever getting her the legal way.

Does it make you a criminal to want a better life for your children? Arizona thinks it does. And if you think it does then why don’t you get yourself out too? It’s easy to forget that Americans forcefully planted themselves on this soil, and continued to illegally revolt against the English government to steal this country away from the king (who had stole it from the Indians). But I guess you have some justifiable excuse for why that was okay. The fact is people shouldn’t be here illegally—in ideal world the government would grow a pair and figure out how to make it possible for our neighbors South of us to immigrate to this country—and how to make it possible to grant citizenship to the ones who are already here.

What does this have to do with Christianity? Arizona citizens are largely in favor of this bill, and there’s bound to be just a few Christians in that state. If any of you are reading this post, then consider what your state is doing. These people aren’t criminals! You don’t need a green card to be American—you just need a dream of something greater. Don’t fear them—embrace them! If you want to protest the fact that they are here illegally, then give them a chance to become legal. Consider the fact that they are here illegally because they don’t have any other options—they are not stealing from your state! They are contributing to it. Are there people who cheat the system? Of course! But there’s American’s who cheat the system too. There are always going to be cheaters, but deporting them won’t stop that.

Social responsibility isn’t a naughty word; it’s a Christian word—it means as Christians we are supposed to care for everyone—American or non. It means if there’s someone who wants to come to this country and dream, then we should help them build—not put up barriers to stop them.

I’ve heard a lot of Christians get upset because we don’t want prayer in schools or the Ten Commandments in courthouse. I get upset when I see Christians turning their back on people who want nothing more than freedom.

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Journey Through Literary American: A Review

Who would have Steinbeck been without Salinas? Faulkner without Oxford? Hawthorne without Salem? Langston Hughes without Harlem? Many things shape a writer, but the one so often cited is that city or town that rose around them.

Most writers ultimately will move away from the city of their birth, and yet so often is it the one thing that they come back to as they write.

A few weeks ago, I was given a copy of the coffee table book “A Journey Through Literary America” by Thomas R. Hummel (photos by Tamra L. Dempsey), and I couldn’t wait to read it. More often than not, I am more fascinated by the lives of writers then the works they write—there’s something about seeing what influenced a writers writing that I find inspiring.

The book, which features 26  different American writers (I’ll list them below if you are interested), shows modern pictures of the town and talks about what it was like when the author was living, and what it is like today.

If you are a literary history buff, it’s a worthy companion to your bookshelf.
Featured in the Book: Washington Irving, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Robert Frost, Willa Cather, Wallace Stegner, John Steinbeck, Robinson Jeffers, William Faulkner, Thomas Wolfe, Sinclair Lewis, Sherwood Anderson, Langston Hughes, Toni Morrison, Rita Dove, Henry Miller, Ernest Hemingway, Flannery O’Connor, John Updike, Philip Roth, Raymond Carver, E. Annie Proulx, and Richard Ford.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Virtually Yours: Online Tools Your Library Needs Now & Why

Nearly eight years ago this month, I submitted my graduate term paper on virtual reference. The paper concluded that every major library needed to have a new branch: The Digital Branch. While a few libraries have implemented what could be considered a digital branch, the majority have not.

Below are five very basic online reference tools that every major library should have now--they're cheap, popular, and, with the exception of iPhone Apps, easy to setup. I know there are dozens of other tools out there (tools libraries need), but these are what I considered the easiest to setup and/or most important to patrons.

If your library doesn't have it and you want it, but still don't know how to get it, send me an email.

Text a Librarian

Facts About Text Messages

  • 74% of all cell phone users use the text message feature; 100% of all teens text; 85% of all college students text
  • Last year, over 1 Trillion text messages were sent
  • On average, Americans text twice as much as they call
Libraries with Text a Librarian Services

  • Seattle PL, New York PL, Newark PL, and hundreds of others
How the Library Benefits from Texting

  • Many people now prefer texting for simple questions that don’t need immediate answers (i.e. do you have a book, what time do you close, where can I get tax forms)
  • Texting allows librarians to manage their time more efficiently; patrons are more patient waiting for replies then they would be on the phone.

  • The cheapest solution would be to subscribe to an unlimited “Qwert” plan for $19.99 a month (plus one time setup fee of $9.99). There is no contract, and plan can be cancelled at anytime. Library needs to provide cell phone (preferably one with a QWERTY keypad, which can be bought secondhand for $50 dollars); Qwert works on any phone that takes a SIM card.
  • Most large libraries use a service by Mosio; this service sends a text to software on a computer. Plans start at $65 a month and go to $100.


Facts about Facebook

  • In March 2010, more people visited Facebook then Google—making it the most visited site in the United States
  • Over 400 million people use Facebook
  • On any given day 200 million people login to Facebook
  • 3 billion photos are uploaded to Facebook each month
  • 1.5 million businesses now have Facebook pages.
Libraries on Facebook

  • Kansas City Public Library (1,400 Fans)
  • San Francisco Public Library (3,700 Fans)
  • New York Public Library (14,000 Fans)
  • Los Angeles Public Library (1,400 Fans)
  • Hundreds of others…
How Libraries Benefit from Facebook

  • It puts a friendly face on the library and encourages patrons to stop by and see more
  • It exposes programs regular patrons don’t know about
  • It keeps patrons connected
  • Easy (and free) way to share event photos and videos
  • Let patrons easily share information about upcoming library events with family and friends who might also be interested.
  • Facebook fan pages are visited more often than regular homepages
  • Facebook is easier to build and manage than a regular homepage.
Time Needed to Maintain

  • 1 to 2 hours a week

Facts About YouTube

  • YouTube is the third most visited site on the Internet (behind only Google and Facebook
  • 70% of YouTube users are from the U.S.
  • The average teen spends over 2hours a week on YouTube
Libraries with YouTube channels

  • Toronto PL, New York PL, Flint PL, Kalamazoo PL, Prescott PL, Topeka PL, and dozens of others
How the Library Benefits from YouTube

  • Easy and free way to show storytimes and computer classes, so patrons can see what they are missing out
  • Provide instructional videos on getting email, hunting for jobs, creating a resume, etc.
  • Videos can be watched on a wide array of devices (not just computers)
Time Needed to Maintain

  • 30 minutes to edit each video

What is Podcasting?

  • Podcasting is audio feeds of different topics that users listen to on their MP3 player
How the Library Benefits from Podcating

  • Library can provide informative information that patrons can listen to while they drive or exercise.
  • Public libraries who have successfully implemented podcasting regularly publish book talks, book readings, storytimes, and monthly book news/book recommendation
Time Needed to Maintain

  • 1 hour to record and publish podcast—plus the time to prepare what will be recorded.
iPhone App

What is an
iPhone App?

iPhone apps, are mobile applications that users with an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad can download. The applications are meant to mobilize the Internet and provide them with easy access to their favorite content.

Facts About the
iPhone / iPod Touch / iPad

  • Over 30 million people own an iPhone in the United States
  • Over 25 million people own an iPod Touch
  • iPad completely sold out before its April release
  • 3 Billion apps have been downloaded
  • Most public libraries have not invested in developing apps because they can be costly and time consuming; new developments, however, have almost eliminated time and cost factors from the picture.
Libraries with
iPhone Apps

  • Washington DC Public Library is the Only public library with an iPhone

How the Library
Benefits from Mobile Apps

  • Mobile apps are one of the largest growth sectors
  • It’s an opportunity to do something few libraries have ever did and be cutting edge
  • It is one of the best ways to promote other virtual reference the library will offer
    (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
  • It literally puts the library at patrons fingertips, and gives them the convenience of
    finding out about the library anywhere they are at.

Time Needed to

  • 15 to 20 hours are need to develop the initial application
  • 1 to 2 hours weekly is needed to keep the page updated
  • 5 hours of additional time invested would be enough to develop the same application on the
    Google Android phone
Other Tools

What It Can Do:
It combines every instant messenger into one (AIM, Yahoo, etc.), and let’s patrons send instant messages to the reference desk.

Why We Need It:
It’s a simple (and free) solution that could be easily implemented to provide basic reference services virtually.

What It Can Do:
A blog with the latest library news, book reviews, and upcoming events can be fed directly to the libraries webpage.

Why We Need It:
Gives a little more to patrons who want substance, and not short wall updates.

What It Can Do:
As the library uploads more and more photos, this is an easy way to manage those photos.

Why We Need It:
Unlike Facebook, Flickr photos can be indexed and searched.

What It Can Do:
Patrons with twitter accounts, can send messages to the libraries Twitter account directly from their cell phones.

Why We Need It:
The website is growing more popular every year (especially with college students).

Friday, April 2, 2010

LibFind: Version 1.1

The latest version of  "LibFind" is now available on the App store. Six new states were added. I'm hoping to roll out another version this month that includes, amongst others, New York.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Happy April Fools! This Is No Joke!

I've posted a new book on Feedbooks. It's been on Kindle for quite sometime, but it's new to the free category. If you read it, tell me what you think of it.