Farewell Bergerac is the second in UK neurosurgeon Frederik Nath’s World War II trilogy that began with The Cyclist. Yet it stands on its own. It’s not necessary to have read The Cyclist beforehand. The book takes place in the Dordogne in France. As the narrative opens the protagonist, François Dufy, has submerged himself in grief and alcoholism due to the loss of both his wife and his only son. When the war comes to France, it alters his life in ways that are wonderful and terrible. Readers will come to care about François, and the remarkable individuals with which he surrounds himself. Due to the struggle of the French people against the German occupation, there is a strong thriller component to this book that involves a great deal of action and suspense. The plot is well-paced with a generous dollop of bittersweet character interaction and a surprising soupçon of humor that appears when you least expect it. Continue reading
See discussion by Stephen Abrams and commenters on the relevance of the 23 Things campaign five years later. We can distill from this exchange the necessity for librarians of lifelong learning, learning by doing, and keeping up with what’s current on the Web.
Collections do not just “happen.” Sure, they evolve, require maintenance, weeding, updating. But how, exactly? The library director and branch managers delegate selection to the librarians. But every librarian has his/her own passions, knowledge, prejudices, and agendas. What should such flawed and very human selectors keep in the upper tier of their minds when selecting? We hope they choose according to: relevancy, currency, balance, and authoritativeness. Continue reading
What didn’t work the last time a patron walked away unsatisfied? Did you analyze the transaction according to these five facets: Approachability, Interest, Listening/Inquiring, Searching, and Follow Up? The RUSA-approved guidelines reflect decades of experience and knowledge passed down through generations of librarians, and they have been adapted for the digital age. Any one of these facets will affect the outcome, and satisfaction of the patron, although failures on one of these doesn’t mean the patron didn’t get what he or she came for. Standards are something to be striven for, but there are so many unpredictable elements at a public library (especially) that affect these. Giving patrons undivided attention and expressing great interest in what they are saying, while being interrupted by phone calls, other people waiting, patrons calling from across the room from a computer station, and patrons nervous about their parking meters–all these things affect your effectiveness. And, of course, if you look busy, that affects your approachability.