Thursday, May 12, 2005


I came home from the OCLC CAPCON meeting yesterday evening, flying out of Reagan National airport in Washington, DC. Even though we were meeting in a central city hotel, we had no indications of the airspace violation that resulted in all sorts of excitement. Security was slow--but it often is.

Most puzzling to me was the requirement that umbrellas be removed from bags and suitcases and placed into the same bins computers, shoes and jackets have to go in. Clearly this was new because all my fellow travellers were rummaging madly to find their umbrellas of mass destruction. My leopard-print umbrella made it through the x-ray machine without further scrutiny, but the somber blue number owned by the fellow behind me was yanked off the belt, examined closely and then opened. Whatever the TSA person thought might be in there, wasn't and the blue umbrella was reunited with its owner.

So, I did what most of us do: I googled "umbrellas TSA" today and found that umbrellas and walking canes are supposed to be inspected to make sure prohibited items aren't hidden inside. Oh. And the TSA list is date 2002. That means I've carried potentially dangerous umbrellas on about 50 flights without them being inspected.

Seeing I am on the topic of mass destruction....

As I have no doubt said before in this space, I really get a lot out of my subscriptions to Fast Company and Business 2.0. Several notable articles from the May issues of both magazines. From Fast Company, "Change or Die" and "Learning from the Jurassic Office Park." And from Business 2.0, "Stuck in the Spin Cycle", "Breaking Through Excuses" and "How to Beat Wal*Mart". I read all these through the lens of libraries and suggest that you do them all as if they were all about us.
Another good read, "Mass-media meltdown" article from the New York Post about the sharp--perhaps even precipitous--decline in consumption of the products of the mainstream media: movies, newspapers, TV, radio and the recording industry. Yes, I read that too through my library lens.

Change or die, indeed. Here's how our blogging pal Karen Schneider put it in a posting yesterday on LITA-L, adding to a robust and long thread on whether libraries expect too much from users trying to navigate physical and virtual library spaces (my mega-synthesis of the topic).

I can riff on the evils of Google all day, but I admire their secret sauce. Is it our business? You bet your sweet brink-of-extinction bippy it's our business. At least it's my business. Y'all who wish to, feel free to exit the bus in the Mesozoic Era.

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