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Friend has weblog

Simon, the lyrical and vocal half of the highly influential band Territorial Mercenaries and his wife Alex have started a weblog: A Travers Adventure.

CILIP silent on public library problems

Following a continued attack by Tim Coates on the management and policies surrounding public libraries in the UK, Chris Armstrong criticises CILIP for failing to wade in. He makes a few points:

  • That CILIP should respond in a reasoned and robust way to the charges made. The response should be published widely and be highly visible. (my emphasis)
  • That CILIP – which rightly makes much of its advocacy role – should advise the Minister, the MLA, and government in general on an appropriate policy to rescue public libraries.
  • This is the reason that CILIP members pay their subscriptions – to hear their professional body speak on their behalf. (my emphasis)

I am no expert on the actual situation of public library administration, management, or finance, so I will omit commenting on that, but what interests me here is the lack of leadership, and public advocacy by CILIP itself. The last point indeed highlights one of the reasons why I don’t pay a CILIP membership subscription, something I (and Librarywebbie) have pointed out before. Ian Snowley, president elect of CILIP, said when I raised this on his weblog, I do agree that CILIP must do all it can to make an impact in the wider media on libray issues, and plans are in hand to improve its media presence. Here’s one chance.

The above quotations from Chris Armstrong are only a selection from what he says. Do read the full arcticle.

Men’s books

I recently went on an innocent trip to a Sandy charity shop the other week with my three year old son. After I had idly scanned the bookshelves for a short while, the mildly scary lady serving behind the counter asked if I was looking for men’s books.

“Er…not really”, I replied, “I’m not really sure what you mean by men’s books anyway. Ha ha…”

“I’ve got a load out the back I can show you” she said. I think it was at this point I got worried. Only the presence of the aformentioned toddler reassured me that she might not be wishing to expose me to her special stash of second-hand charity shop mank.

Obediently, my son and I ventured into the back to be confronted with the predictable box of Michael Crichton and Tom Clancy clones*. “Men’s books I call them”. Some relief, I can tell you.

I always thought the back of the charity shop would be filled with untold delights that are kept back from the common herd. Unfortunately, I now know that I merely have to wait for the box of men’s books to clear before anything good appears. Sue Ryder is much better anyway.

* Not that I mind such things, being a keen Frederick Forsyth fan myself when he’s not being pants. I’ve also just read She by H. Ryder Haggard (bought from a charity shop) which is hardly pitched at the female market**.
** And is not, in my opinion, as good as Allan Quartermain, which is also better than King Solomon’s Mines***.
*** Which, I would agree with Mr Haggard himself, is much better than Treasure Island.

Cow Solitaire on the radio

Cow Solitaire has been mentioned on national radio! I think. In any case, it appears on the website for Miles Mendoza’s Website of the Day, which is part of Steve Wright in the Afternoon’s no doubt excellent show on BBC Radio 2. It was apparently mentioned on Friday A.D. XVII KAL. OCT. MMVI, quote:

Thanks to Emma Mason for her email challenging me to find “a good cattle or livestock-related game for the weekend”.
Cow Solitaire does what it says on the tin – It’s Solitaire with cows instead of marbles. Milk the Cow challenges you to click on as many cows as possible in order to fill your virtual bucket with milk.

If anyone can confirm this 10 seconds of fame I would be most grateful.

I tried to comment on Mr Mendoza’s site to suggest that Cowthello might have been a more satisfying and interactive example, although he is no doubt too busy searching the web for similar gems to have time to approve my comment. Moreover, a link to would have provided Ms Mason with far more choice. Anyway, it explains why this weblog started getting quite a few referrals from the Cow Solitaire page.

The research for the this article also threw up a more disturbing development. The rather unobvious idea of a cow-themed solitaire has now surfaced in physical format with the Haba Cow Solitaire board game, retailing at $12.39. Don’t pay that kind of money: play for free!


I don’t wish to pass comment on Mr Benedict’s remarks except to say that The Sun‘s headline Pope on the ropes is ace.

Bigger library in Sandy?

The Biggleswade Chronicle reports that Bedfordshire County Council, or rather their agents (presumably men in dark glasses and a local goverment pension scheme) are investigating the idea of spending £450,000 on developing Sandy Library. It probably won’t happen anyway, but hopefully, they’ll move Bedfordshire’s cataloguing division to the new site.

I urge you to look at the picture accompanying the article. I’m sure that beardy man doesn’t work in Sandy. It doesn’t look like Sandy library. Heavens, it even looks like a manual issue system which they don’t use anymore. Cripes, &c.

Although the picture is a stock one representing a vague subject, a practice even the BBC uses, do take note of the headline, which has been carefully thought out, and represents a fantastic addition to the corpus of library humour:

Hopes for new library volume

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, &c.