Archive for February 20th, 2009
Marc Fisher, of the Washington Post's Raw Fisher blog, asks "What if they built new libraries and couldn't afford to let folks use them?" in his post about D.C. Libraries' new 25 million dollar construction. Mr. Fisher is looking at how the DC libraries can afford to build a big new building, but they have to cut back hours and staff due to, you guessed it, lack of funds. Mr Fisher explains this apparent contradiction: "Welcome to the wonderful world of government spending, where capital budgets exist in a separate universe from operating dollars, meaning that you can build a building and then find yourself barely capable of using that building."
I was going to leave a small comment on his blog, but it is one of those blogs that require registration to comment, something I personally find annoying. And please, don't bother pointing out the irony of the fact Vox does the same registration b.s. for commenting. I did not make the rules on that one, and it does annoy me. Anyhow I am digressing.
What I was going to say is that Mr. Fisher may want to take a look at academia. My current workplace is a pretty good example of the same apparent contradiction he describes. My library is getting a very nice garden and water monument in front of the building. However, we lack funds for basics like buying books. And while we are hiring, we are only doing so because of accreditation issues. If it was up to us, we would not be hiring since the state system did put a hiring freeze in place. So, how come we are getting a million dollar or so aesthetic piece in front of our building when we can barely keep the inside? Welcome to the wonderful of world of university (and nonprofit) wealthy donors. In essence, the university got some anonymous donor. By the way, it seems most of the time these people do want to remain anonymous. Maybe a little shame they may be asked about their vanity? I mean, we could certainly use money for books, scholarships, etc. instead of a big fountain or a big phallic clock tower (yep, we got one of those too). So, that is how it works. And that is not just here. This is the second college I have worked at where some anonymous donor wanted to give money for a big phallic tower clock. Yes, they are pretty much phallic time pieces because they are designed to stand out straight and proud and to be seen from miles away. In academia, the hope often is that, if we sweet talk one of those donors to give money for something vain, like a fountain, they may be moved later to give money for something practical like books. To be honest, I would love to see some study done where we can find out if that glimmer of hope works or not. In the end, the situation in academia, especially in small colleges like mine, is a reflection of states basically abdicating their role to properly fund public higher education. We have to find the money any way we can. I am not saying it's right, but that's the way it is.
These are some links to items I have found recently that provide good advice for bloggers and writers.
- Here are "7 Reasons to Include Humor in Your Work" from the Write to Done blog.
- When it comes to things we may disagree with, sometimes you feel like ranting or just really putting out a rant. Sometimes you do need to rant. But often it is better to think things through a bit, then post something critical and thoughtful. Here are "10 Tips for Criticism Without Harming Your Reputation." This is basically a small primer on how to criticize. From The Blog Herald.
- Here are "Ten Free Resources Every Writer Needs." From the Write to Done blog.
- Maybe "You Need a Blog Strategy." From ProBlogger.
- ProBlogger also has "5 Lessons You Can Learn from Blogging."
- Additionally, Problogger offers some tips on "Updating Old Posts on Your Blog." That last is something I certainly need to be reviewing, some of the old posts on my blogs.
- Copyblogger offers "10 Surefire Steps to Beating Blogger's Block." I know I get the dreaded blogger's block once in a while, so I can use all the help I can get.
- Copyblogger also suggests that "Everything I Need to Know About Blogging I Learned in High School." An interesting notion. Personally, I am not fond of remembering high school, but this post is worth a look.
- Also from Copyblogger, "The Ultimate Blogger Writing Guide." I am not sure it is the "ultimate" given that so many people out there give good advice about blogging, but this post does give a nice basic list of things to keep in mind.
- Sometimes you have to take a stand. This is something I can learn and need to work on since in my professional blogging, I do tend to be a bit gun shy. I will say it's mostly because the last thing I want is to get dumped by certain libloggers big shots if I "don't get it" (their term). Anyhow, we can all benefit and learn "How to Strengthen Your Writing By Taking a Tough Stand." This item comes from Write To Done.
And finally a bonus item. It is not quite about writing, but it still deals with blogging. Here are "16 Essential PC Applications for Bloggers" by Ruchir Chawdhry.The post is presented at Problogger. If you go to the link, you can find a similar list for our friends who use Macs.