The sense to be uncommon

I came into work and the circulation supervisor tells me he has something to show me (this is always good). Earlier in the week an unknown person delivered a book to the library saying that it was from a certain higher up in the University and they requested us to put it in the collection on their behalf. I guess this is complicated, nobody knew who this person was, and what, if any, connection they had to the University. Based on the actual premise of the book, it seems more likely that it was just a random person off the street, but I guess that is to be determined.

At first glance the book is thin, and has a pretty basic cover. It’s called Uncommon Sense by Seth B. Moorhead.  Let’s get a background from the blurb on the back. Moorhead is a retired Aeronautical Engineer with an MBA. He worked mainly for the government on military project for the Navy. This book is a manuscript of “17 concise, researched, and well thought out essays which offer thought-provoking solutions to problems” (Moorhead, 2016).

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The essays are broken up into categories, Science, Government, Finances, Faith and Life. These essays are super short, about 3 pages each and straight to the point.

He has some out there opinions: He talks about the fact that many US cities are located next to big bodies of water so amphibious cars or hovercrafts may be a solution to our congested freeways. He also doesn’t believe in global warming, but that the volcanic activity is solely responsible for all of the surface level climate changes. There’s other kinds of theories about gravity,  but I won’t even get into those here.

He has some opinions that a little more down to earth: He believes that we should have more requirements for the office of president like a certain amount of previous experience in the executive branch of government ,and also that congress could not make laws that invade personal liberties such as what people eat or drink or who they marry.  He talks about ICBM attacks and some strategies to try to stop them. He then talks about school shooters and how they are male loners who have psychiatric problems and are not loved enough, which is, in a strange way kind of insightful.

I do have a big time problem with this reference page though, it’s about 85% Wikipedia, I wouldn’t call that well researched, and it doesn’t hold weight here in academia. Here’s page one of that:

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The last part is about life, and this is where is gets the most random. He believes that football helmets are ineffective, and should be redesigned to remove the hard parts and turn them into soft leather like pillow material that will absorb a hit like a boxing glove would. He also has decided that he will always, from now on, buy new cars, despite the economic advantages of buying used.

I guess what I can say at the end of reading this short little collection is that I thought everything in here would just be crackpot theories or religious ramblings. But, it feels more like talking to a dear old grandfather that you haven’t seen in years at the Thanksgiving table. Sometimes you are like OH my god please stop talking about this it’s weird, and other times you are like WOW, even though you aren’t really backing up your theories with facts they seem well thought out and you have some life experience and so much time on your hands to think about them that they could actually be right in some ways.

I guess there is no right or wrong when you are dealing with opinions, and that’s life. At the end he even offers up for you to write him if you have other solutions or counter arguments. In a way it’s just kind of the equivalent of his own little blog, all published in pamphlet form. Who knows, maybe we will be seeing these new soft helmets in the NFL soon, don’t say I didn’t tell you about it first.

Moorhead, S. (2016) Uncommon Sense. United States: Cadillac Press.

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Snap me academics

Today the circulation supervisor asked me if I was interested in developing a library Snapchat with her. Um, YES!

I find myself on the edge of the millennial generation here at the University. I still feel that I have some old school methods about me, but my attention span is next to nothing and my insatiable need for instant gratification is apparent in many aspects of my personal and professional life. I like to think that I’m close enough age wise to the students that I haven’t quite lost touch with what’s trending in social media, I may not be so hip on the music these days, but you know they say that happens.

Somebody even told me the other day “I gotta snapchat this” should be the tagline on my tombstone, since I say it so often. Although slightly offended by this, I quickly recovered and thought well, at least it would be funny. I’m what you would call a social media jumper. After a break up I prefer to switch my main social media channel. I quit Facebook 5 years ago, then was strictly Instagram. Earlier this year I ditched Instagram for Snapchat. It’s my safe place. No trace of ex’s… No why did you delete me…No pictures of them and girlfriend version whatever. Snapchat is quick, funny, and those face swap options were really groundbreaking. As an app it really caters to the short attention span of the younger generation. Which, according to this article from time magazine article from 2015 is now official shorter than that of a goldfish:

http://time.com/3858309/attention-spans-goldfish/

So what can using Snapchat do for an academic library? We already have a Twitter, Facebook, YouTube channel and Instagram account. But do students really use these? I don’t really think so. How can we market this to the students? Sometimes I think we just overthink things. Here’s how I see it. Step 1, get the student workers to add us. Step 2, maybe a bit of advertising, throw out some snap challenges and contests, nothing pulls them in like free stuff. Step 3, just have fun with it. That’s how I really feel anyways, it’s free, we are here anyways, what do we have to lose with it really? Just one more account to snap for. Looking at the library through the lens of a reference librarian in her natural habitat.