National Poetry Month

In honor of National Poetry Month, I’d like to share some poems I receive that cause me to react in some way. This one focuses on Spring, a season much of this country is looking forward to after such a long winter this year.

Spring

To what purpose, April, do you return again?
Beauty is not enough.
You can no longer quiet me with the redness
Of little leaves opening stickily.
I know what I know.
The sun is hot on my neck as I observe
The spikes of the crocus.
The smell of the earth is good.
It is apparent that there is no death.
But what does that signify?
Not only under ground are the brains of men
Eaten by maggots.
Life in itself
Is nothing,
An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.
It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,
April
Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

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Poem: Valentine for Ernest Mann

Here is another wonderful poem I received in my email.

Valentine for Ernest Mann

 

You can’t order a poem like you order a taco.
Walk up to the counter, say, “I’ll take two”
and expect it to be handed back to you
on a shiny plate.

Still, I like your spirit.
Anyone who says, “Here’s my address,
write me a poem,” deserves something in reply.
So I’ll tell you a secret instead:
poems hide. In the bottoms of our shoes,
they are sleeping. They are the shadows
drifting across our ceilings the moment
before we wake up. What we have to do
is live in a way that lets us find them.

Once I knew a man who gave his wife
two skunks for a valentine.
He couldn’t understand why she was crying.
“I thought they had such beautiful eyes.”
And he was serious. He was a serious man
who lived in a serious way. Nothing was ugly
just because the world said so. He really
liked those skunks. So, he reinvented them
as valentines and they became beautiful.
At least, to him. And the poems that had been hiding
in the eyes of the skunks for centuries
crawled out and curled up at his feet.

Maybe if we reinvent whatever our lives give us
we find poems. Check your garage, the odd sock
in your drawer, the person you almost like, but not quite.
And let me know.

Naomi Shihab Nye

National Poetry Month

Here’s a gem I received in my email this morning: Touch of the Master’s Hand by Myra Brooks Welsh.

Touch of the Master’s Hand

T’was battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
Thought it scarcely worth his while
To waste much time on the old violin,
But held it up with a smile.

“What am I bidden, good folks,” he cried,
“Who’ll start the bidding for me?”
“A dollar, a dollar,” then, two! Only two?
“Two dollars, and who’ll make it three?

“Three dollars, once; three dollars, twice;
Going for three . . . “But no,
From the room, far back, a grey haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow;

Then, wiping the dust from the old violin,
And tightening the loose strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet
As a caroling angel sings.

The music ceased, and the auctioneer,
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said: “What am I bid for the old violin?”
And he held it up with the bow.

“A thousand dollars, and who’ll make it two?
Two thousand! And who’ll make it three?
Three thousand, once; three thousand, twice;
And going and gone,” said he.

The people cheered, but some of them cried,
“We do not quite understand
What changed its worth?” Swift came the reply:
“The touch of a master’s hand.”

And many a man with life out of tune,
And battered and scarred with sin,
Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd,
Much like the old violin.

A “mess of potage,” a glass of wine;
A game, and he travels on.
He is “going” once, and “going” twice,
He’s “going” and almost “gone.”

But the Master comes and the foolish crowd
Never can quite understand
The worth of a soul and the change that’s wrought
By the touch of the Master’s hand.

Myra Brooks Welsh

 

 

National Poetry Month

I’ve been receiving poetry in my email every day in celebration of National Poetry month. This morning I received Invictus by William Ernest Henley. I liked this reminder that we control our own destiny.

Invictus

-William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Week 13 – Mobile Services in Libraries

If a library were only able to offer one mobile based service, I believe it should be to offer text-messaging services because texting is one of the primary modes of communication for a large percentage of the population. Opening the door to allow users to contact the library via their preferred method of communication makes the library more accessible and places the users in an environment where they are more comfortable. For example, the reasons why students in academic libraries do not approach the reference desk can range from not wanting to interrupt the librarians’ work to feeling uncomfortable with the whole fact-to-face reference interaction. By offering an option for receiving reference services through text-messaging, the user does not see the librarian at the desk and should dispel the feeling of interrupting the librarian’s work. In addition, reference services through text-messaging can help eliminate many of the factors that make people uncomfortable with approaching the reference desk, or any other service point within the library. Perhaps they do not want to be seen asking for help, again using students as an example, this could be an issue. Perhaps they speak English with a heavy accent and have difficulty making themselves understood verbally and are better at written communication in English. Perhaps they are dealing with a disability that makes visiting the librarian through text messaging a better option. This list of potential scenarios could go on and on.

Houghton, S. (2012). Mobile services for broke libraries: 10 steps to mobile success. Reference Librarian, 53(3), 313-321.
Luo, L. , & Bell, L. (2010). Text 4 answers: A collaborative service model. Reference Services Review, 38(2), 274-283.

Week 12 – Crowdsourcing

What is crowdsourcing? Simply stated, crowdsourcing involves tapping into the wisdom of crowds for tasks normally assigned to employees. By tapping into the knowledge of its patrons, libraries could solicit users to identify errors in the catalogue, add user created content to collections, rating and tagging reviewed books, and many other similar tasks. Through crowdsourcing, libraries could extend their resources for Reader’s Advisory Services by allowing patrons to post reviews about library materials they have read. Not only does this help match readers with books, it also has the potential to supply libraries with insight into preferences of the readers in the community and could be used for collection development purposes. In libraries with a diverse patron base, crowdsourcing could be used to translate materials, or to create blogs in languages other than English. Some disadvantages to crowdsourcing are that it could be difficult to get started, there could be difficulties managing the volunteers, and information gleaned could be skewed if a few of the volunteers provided feedback more than once in order to sway the results to reflect their views.

In spite of all the advantages, not all user-generated content projects succeed. This may be due to several different factors such as failure to have a clear goal established, the size of the volunteer base, and keeping the volunteers interested and up to date on the progress.

 

Grifantini, K. (2009). “Can you Trust Crowd Wisdom?” Technology Review.

Holley, R. (2010). Crowdsourcing: How and why should libraries do it?. D-Lib Magazine, 16(3/4), 5.

Tay, A. (2009). “Libraries and Crowdsourcing – 6 Examples.” Musings about Librarianship.