Tag Archives: internet

The Cool Table

More self promotion, but I’m also promoting Canvas of the Minds, which is so very cool. And I’m proud to be their newest author. Go take a look. You’ll be glad you did.


I have bad time management skills.  Since I am a librarian and veteran student, I have decided to use books to help me get better habits.  In the past, I’ve read books that would help me better organize (currently some of those books are, ironically, providing more clutter in my house).  I’ve read books to help me parent by doctor husbands who worked all day long away from the kids.  I’ve read books to help me save money (hint #1: don’t buy this book).  So why not read something on time management?
Since my time management is so poor, I have little time to go check out a book on this, despite working inside a library.  Self-help books are easier to find in public libraries, and I work in an academic library where the books are more scholarly and thus significantly dustier.  So the easiest thing to do is turn to the Internet and Google “time management” where, it turns out, there are a lot of sites dedicated to helping you become more efficient.  Here are some tips.
#1. Don’t spend so much time on the Internet.
                Whew.  What a lifesaver that was.  It kind of reminds me of those children’s shows that advise kids to quit watching so much T.V.  They do realize that if we were to follow their advice, their websites and programs would cease to exist, right?  They must know something we don’t.
#2. Don’t Procrastinate
                I meant to read this article in its entirety, but I got distracted.  There is a very handy quiz you can take to see if you procrastinate too much.  Hint: If you are taking the quiz, you’re procrastinating.
#3. Multi-task
                Instead of being ineffective at just one thing, when you multi-task you can be ineffective at several things at once.  Real time saver, that.
#4. Take more breaks
                This way you can “recharge” and be more effective when you’re working.  I’m pretty good at this.  Sometimes my breaks last for entire days.
#5. Keep a To-Do list
                I’m great at making lists.  Wait – I’m supposed to do what’s on the list?
#6. Don’t take on too much work
                Better not do the dishes.  And sorry, kids, you’re going to have to go.
#7. Set goals
                Surviving is apparently not a worthwhile goal to these people.

#8. Prioritize your tasks
                Do what’s most important first.  Is laundry more important than computer games?  Nah.
#9. Manage distractions
                Other people can be distracting.  Avoid all people.
#10. Be organized
                No problem.  Where’d I put that book on that?
                After about an hour of dedicated research on this topic, I’ve decided that learning how to better manage my time takes way too much time.  It’s also very tiring.  So my goal today is to lock up the kids and take a break from all this work I took on by taking a nap (I can prioritize tasks while I sleep!).  It will be on the to-do list I’m going to write later, first thing, once I find the paper and a pen.

Libraries are for Porn?

Come on, Anne, lighten up!
Since we’re still in Banned Books Week, I’m going to continue to gripe about censorship.  I won’t expand on book censorship.  Well, maybe just a little.  Here’s a list from the ALA website of some of the most ridiculous reasons given for banning books.
    1. “Encourages children to break dishes so they won’t have to dry them.” ( A Light in the Attic, by Shel Silverstien)
    2. “It caused a wave of rapes.” ( Arabian Nights, or Thousand and One Nights, anonymous)
    3. “If there is a possibility that something might be controversial, then why not eliminate it?” ( Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, by Dee Brown)
    4. “Tarzan was ‘living in sin’ with Jane.” ( Tarzan, by Edgar Rice Burroughs)
    5. “It is a real ‘downer.’” ( Diary of Anne Frank, by Anne Frank)
    6. “The basket carried by Little Red Riding Hood contained a bottle of wine, which condones the use of alcohol.” ( Little Red Riding Hood, by Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm K. Grimm)
    7. “One bunny is white and the other is black and this ‘brainwashes’ readers into accepting miscegenation.” ( The Rabbit’s Wedding, by Garth Williams)
    8. “A female dog is called a bitch.” ( My Friend Flicka, by Mary O’Hara)
    9. “An unofficial version of the story of Noah’s Ark will confuse children.” ( Many Waters, by Madeleine C. L’Engle)

If you think no one would really suggest banning a book for such a stupid reason, you clearly have too much faith in the human race.


Demon Worship 101 is HARD


But as I said, there’s more to censorship in libraries than just books.  Now libraries, in keeping with the times, have computers with Internet access.  For those on the quest for naughty stuff – to protect others from, of course – the Internet is a real treasure trove of opportunity.  It’s also a heck of a lot faster than trying to go through line after line of Harry Potter looking for the part where Harry, Ron, and Hermione perform that Satanic devil worshipping ritual for a school project.  Those little scamps!



But back to the Internet.  Many people are  understandably concerned about what their children might find on an average Internet search.  I mean, it should be safe to look up, say, bears (don’t).  Or possibly kittens (again, don’t).  Or maybe plushies (for the love of God, do not do this.)  Since even these seemingly innocent words could lead to all sorts of nightmares for years to come, clearly someone needs to sanitize this Internet thing.  But what can we do?  Maybe some sort of a filter, that lets only the pure and wholesome stuff out, but keeps the bad stuff in – you know, like bloodletting in the Middle Ages.


THAT’s the White House???

As it turns out, filtering is just as effective as bleeding out the “bad” blood in medieval patients.  Sure, kids are protected from seeing a woman’s bare breasts.  They are also prevented from seeing information on breast cancer, breast feeding, the breast stroke, and chicken breasts.  Yes, you can change up programs to specifically allow these terms, but after a while, this becomes a full time job.  People on the Internet may be scummy, but they’re clever.  A good way to get more traffic to their sites is to name it something totally innocuous, like say the White House (well, okay, maybe not totally innocuous).  Be sure to look up whitehouse.gov, or else you are NOT going to see the Oval Office.  At least not the one you’d like to see.

Not only are there problems with specifically keeping children from seeing the wrong thing (if you think using teddy bears as search query instead of just bears is gonna solve things, think again), these filters are usually set up on all library computers.  That means that adults must also be filtered from looking at information that, as adults, they ought to be able to access.  No, they shouldn’t be looking at porn in a public place, but there are plenty of things that are not obscene that they could be blocked from.  Taking the filters off for certain people doesn’t solve anything, because if you are researching, you don’t know what’s out there.  Therefore, you don’t know if you need the filter removed or not.  And if you do ask for it to be removed, will people assume you’re a pervert?  Many patrons would probably prefer not to take that chance.

Why would librarians use filters?  Many are forced to, thanks to CIPA, the Child Internet Protection Act, designed by our government with the best of intentions (which if you remember paves the road to hell).  If they want government funds to help pay for a computer lab, and many poorer libraries have no other way to fund one, then they have to agree to filter.  So then even those who would not want to use them otherwise are faced with a difficult choice – deny their patrons or deny their patron’s first amendment rights?  Not an easy choice.


This child has been online a bit too long . . .

What’s the answer?  I think it’s rather obvious myself.  Libraries do not act in loco parentis (in place of parents).  Parents should monitor their children’s Internet use, in my opinion, just as they should monitor what their children read.  They have every right to keep their children from certain books or websites, but they do NOT have the right to keep MY children or me from these same books and websites.  We all want to protect our kids, but this should not come at the expense of the rights of others.  It is, ultimately, our responsibility to parent our own kids in the best way we know how.  If filtering your computer is your choice, that’s fine.  But just remember – our kids have grown up with computers.  So filtering, in many cases, is about as effective on kids as your average child proof container.  I wish everyone good luck.

And hey – didn’t I WARN you not to look those words up?