Pay the library staff well

Thus, money rules the world. It determines the status of men as well as the value of the services rendered by them. Unfortunately, people are prepared to benefit by a service only in proportion to the value set on it by money. Thus, a famished staff will render the efforts of the First Law as futile as paucity of books or paucity of readers. In the trinity of the library–books, staff, and readers–the richness of the staff in worldly goods appears to be as necessary as the richness of the other two in number and variety, if the law ‘Books Are for Use’ is to be translated into practice. It will have to be so, so long as men’s status is left to the capricious and arbitrary rule of Mammon. 'Therefore, pay the library staff well,’ says the First Law.

S. R. Ranganathan, The Five Laws of Library Science

Thinking in Systems

Hunger, poverty, environmental degradation, economic instability, unemployment, chronic disease, drug addiction, and war, for example, persist in spite of the analytical ability and technical brilliance that have been directed toward eradicating them. No one deliberately creates those problems, no one wants them to persist, but they persist nonetheless. That is because they are intrinsically systems problems–undesirable behaviors characteristic of the system structures that produce them. They will yield only as we reclaim our intuition, stop casting blame, see the system as the source of its own problems, and find the courage and wisdom to restructure it.

Thinking in Systems: A Primer by Donella H. Meadows

Because otherwise I'll forget how to do this before I have to again.

Pandoc with the --self-contained option will convert your images into Base64 and embed them as data: URIs. For example:

pandoc -o blogpost.html --self-contained --metadata pagetitle="My Blog Post" .\blogpost.md

Note that this generates a complete web page instead of a fragment. If you don’t want that, you can use a custom template. A file with nothing in it but $body$ should work fine.

(NB: Use this sparingly–it’s an inefficient way of encoding binary data.)

Raised by Wolves

Older article (2006) that uses an analogy I love:

Academic libraries now hire an increasing number of individuals to fill professional librarian positions who do not have the master’s degree in library science….

Historically, the shared graduate educational experience has provided a standard preparation and socialization into the library profession. The new professional groups have been ‘raised’ in other environments and bring to the academic library a ‘feral’ set of values, outlooks, styles, and expectations.

The Brown University Library hires a fair number of “feral professionals”–it was interesting to find out this isn’t a relatively-new issue.

Stanley Wilder, writing in The Chronicle of Higher Education also elaborated on this, mentioning the relative youth and high salaries of the “ferals”:

For example, people in nontraditional positions accounted for 23 percent of the professionals at research libraries in 2005, compared to just 7 percent in 1985.

But the most compelling aspect of the nontraditional population is its youth: 39 percent of library professionals under 35 work in such nontraditional jobs, compared with only 21 percent of those 35 and older….

Within the under-35 population, 24 percent of nontraditional library employees earn $54,000 or more, compared to just 7 percent of those in traditional positions. Our profession has no precedent for the existence of so large a cohort of young employees who begin their careers at salaries approaching those of established middle managers.

Wilder’s closing describes the issue I’m currently looking at:

The libraries that thrive in the coming years will be those that apply the full range of nontraditional expertise in the service of those timeless values, and not the other way around.

A chart

A chart describing book properties

"A chart showing the percentage of excellence in the physical properties of books published since 1910."

Does Economics Make Politicians Corrupt?

All these findings correspond with a substantial body of research in the economic literature, which, with the help of surveys, laboratory experiments, as well as field experiments showed that those who learn about markets (economists) or act in markets (businessmen) are lacking in … ‘pro-social behavior’ … I also use corruption as a proxy to show whether there are any differences in pro-social behavior between economists and non-economists, but unlike them, I observe behavior outside the artificial situation of a laboratory. By analyzing real world data of the U.S. Congress, I found that politicians holding a degree in economics are significantly more prone to engage in corrupt practices.

René Ruske, “Does Economics Make Politicians Corrupt? Empirical Evidence from the United States Congress”

About Me

Developer at Brown University Library specializing in instructional design and technology, Python-based data science, and XML-driven web development.

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