Category Archives: …Etc.

“Have We All Turned Into A Bunch of Wusses?” @ Ethos


I’ve got a new piece up at Ethos on the general wussification of our culture, why it’s maybe humanistic psychology’s fault, and how Carl Rogers can save us all.


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“Ok, Library” Now in C&RL News

As I have been cagily alluding to for the past few months, we’ve been piloting a Google Glass loan program at the Claremont Colleges Library since the early part of this year. Today, my terrific supervisor and colleague Char Booth and I published a piece in College & Research Libraries News about our project, the response to Glass from faculty and students, and implications for technological access via loaning programs like ours. Though we don’t always agree about the future and utility of Glass (I’ll let you guess who comes down on what side), it’s been an intriguing and fun several months, and writing the article with Char was a joy.

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Kevin Michael Klipfel Leaves Information Literacy Coordinator job for New, Better Position

Here at Rule Number One we know a thing or two about haters (hint: they’re gonna hate).

I am therefore extremely pleased to announce that, after much deliberation with my coaches, parents, and, most importantly, after watching this video sent to me by my friend Alex Carroll –

I’ve decided to leave my job as Information Literacy Coordinator to pursue my lifelong dream of hating on haters full time.  I’ve always hated haters, but due to some poor career counseling I received during high school and college, I never really knew that following my passion full time was really, truly possible.

Although I leave the library profession with a pang of regret, to be able to hate on haters Monday through Friday, 9-5 pm, let’s say … 50 weeks a year, is truly a dream come true. There are just so many haters out there that one simply cannot afford to waste one’s day helping students evaluate information, encouraging them to explore research they’re curious about, and (especially?) attending faculty meetings.  It is thus with enormous pride and excitement that I move into this new phase of my professional life, and commence hating on haters of all stripes with the all the resources at my disposal.

Unfortunately, since we live in a market driven, capitalistic society, I do feel compelled to report with sadness that, at this time in our country’s history, altruistic endeavors such as these must be entirely self-financed.  This being the case, Rule Number One Friends & Family (RN1 F&F) have begun the Kevin Michael Klipfel Hating on Haters Project Fund. For inquires about how to get involved, please contact the project fund manager, Kevin Michael Klipfel, at kevin dot michael dot klipfel at gmail dot com (Subject Line: “Haters”).

Your Most Humble and Obedient Servant,


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The Republican Attack on Federal Funding for Libraries (And What You Can Do to Stop It)

Well, according to this dismal piece of news, Wisconsin’s Ayn Rand obsessed supporter of privatization, Republican Congressman Paul Ryan, has decided to try out his very bad ideas on libraries:

In a new budget released today from Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI), the House Budget Committee Chairman denounces the critical role that the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) plays in supporting civic engagement, literacy and lifelong learning in more than 123,000 libraries nationwide. Rep. Ryan recommends that the federal government not have a role in libraries and that Congress shift the federal agency’s responsibilities to the private sector in his 2015 fiscal year budget resolution.

This is, obviously, morally reprehensible legislation, for reasons ALA President Barbara Stripling notes here.

That libraries remain, so far as possible, socialized forces immune to the demands of the capitalized market is central to the unique place libraries have in American society. As writer Zadie Smith puts it,

A library is a different kind of social reality … which by its very existence teaches a system beyond the fiscal.

ALA gives several reasonable suggestions for what you can do to stop legislation like this, which would harm lots of people for whom public libraries provide their only access to technology (one in five Americans do not have internet access) and is, as one commentator has noted, “a bad idea for American society:”

Moving forward, the American Library Association is asking library users, students, parents and teachers to contact their U.S. Senators and Representatives by going to the Legislative Action Center and urge them to support funding in the 2015 fiscal year for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL).

It is interesting to note that, according to a piece in Library Journal, President Stripling is “less worried about the proposal itself than she is about the sentiments that underlie it.”

Ryan on Rand

Perhaps worth keeping in mind the next time you recommend Atlas Shrugged!

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Filed under ...Etc., Education, On Being Human, Posts by Kevin Michael Klipfel, The Library Game

Infographic DIY

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending and presenting at LibTech 2014, a truly excellent conference at Macalaster that I cannot recommend highly enough. Even a horrible cough couldn’t ruin this conference! Great sessions, nice people, pretty snow-covered campus, and the closing reception features all foods-on-a-stick and (root) beer: You should go next year. And, in the meantime, I highly recommend watching the keynotes by Mita Williams and Barbara Fister–relevant to librarians who work directly with tech, and not.

My session was “Infographic DIY: Online Tools for Teaching and Library Advocacy,” an interactive workshop that presented a brief intro to infographics, how we might use them in library contexts, and a whirlwind tour of six freemium, online infographic creators. You can walk through the session in the accompanying LibGuide, which also includes a handy comparison chart of the six online tools. My introductory slide deck is also there, and below.

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Dani @ LibTech

In just a few hours, I’ll be heading out to LibTech 2014 in Minneapolis/St. Paul. I’ll be giving a presentation on infographics on Thursday afternoon, and I will post my materials here after. If you’ll be at LibTech too, I hope you will say “hi”!

Things I’m looking forward to at LibTech: Barbara Fister’s keynote, a root beer reception, and learning about all the cool technology projects that librarians across the country are working on!


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Librarian Wardrobe @ ALA-Midwinter

After I led my discussion forum this past Sunday in Philadelphia, I was approached by a librarian photographer from the website Librarian Wardrobe. I thought, initially, that he wanted to discuss issues about librarianship that came up during my talk. Instead he asked to take my picture for the site. As a friend from library school who viewed the event remarked, “Kevin is ten times more excited to be on a fashion blog than he was about his talk going well.”

Here’s the photo of me (first one at the top) that was posted on the blog. And check out the rest of Librarian Wardrobe for lots more photos of library fashionistas in attendance at ALA.

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Bookshelf Photos

This is a really cool site.

(Thanks to my friend Susan Ivey for passing this along).

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Donna Tartt on the Value of Art: Nietzschean Aestheticism and the Strange Ending of The Goldfinch

The purpose of art is not the release of a momentary ejection of adrenaline but, rather,  the gradual, lifelong construction of a state of wonder and serenity.

–Glenn Gould

Since it’s Friday, I figured I’d move away from talking about libraries , and touch on something I’ve been obsessing about over the last 24 hour or so, the ending of Donna Tartt’s new novel, The Goldfinch.


Photo Credit: The Daily Beast

Tartt spends the first oh, 750 pages of the book documenting, unrelentingly, the existential anguish of her Turnbull & Asser clad narrator, Theo Decker.  From the death of Theo’s mother in a freak terrorist attack when he’s a boy, the less dramatic but no less sudden death of his abusive, alcoholic,  gambling addict father, his  own drug addiction and drug overdoses, the betrayal of his friends, and his unrequited love for the only person who could truly begin to understand his pain – plus a few stubbed toes I’m sure she forgot to mention –  Tartt concretely demonstrates again and again the fact that the existential truths of life – the loss of loved one’s, one’s own morality, the lack of an objective and pre-defined meaning  – are pretty damn terrible.  She does this brilliantly. The book was so heavy and long I dropped it while falling asleep one night and it woke up my girlfriend yet, still, I read it as slowly as I could because I didn’t want it to end.

But then, somewhere about twenty-pages before the ending, Tartt decides to abandon her gift for storytelling and just go ahead an tell us all what it all means. I don’t think I’d be spoiling anything to let you in on Tartt’s little secret, that human life is more or less terrible; you’d be insane to want to do it all over again; but if you happen to be born into this, and are an existential grown up who realizes you can’t rely on God to supply meaning, it’s art – making it and appreciating it – that ultimately makes life worth living.

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Filed under ...Etc., On Being Human, Posts by Kevin Michael Klipfel

“Libraries Are About Freedom”

From the man who inspired the name of this blog:

They were good librarians. They liked books and they liked the books being read. They taught me how to order books from other libraries on inter-library loans. They had no snobbery about anything I read. They just seemed to like that there was this wide-eyed little boy who loved to read, and would talk to me about the books I was reading, they would find me other books in a series, they would help. They treated me as another reader – nothing less or more – which meant they treated me with respect. I was not used to being treated with respect as an eight-year-old.


In the last few years, we’ve moved from an information-scarce economy to one driven by an information glut. According to Eric Schmidt of Google, every two days now the human race creates as much information as we did from the dawn of civilisation until 2003. That’s about five exobytes of data a day, for those of you keeping score. The challenge becomes, not finding that scarce plant growing in the desert, but finding a specific plant growing in a jungle. We are going to need help navigating that information to find the thing we actually need…Librarians can help these people navigate that world.

A heart-felt lecture from a great author, making excellent points about how librarians can encourage learners through supporting their interest and that the new role of librarianship is about navigating the information landscape, or what we call “information literacy.”

Click here to read the whole amazing essay.

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Filed under ...Etc., Education, On Being Human, Posts by Dani Brecher