Sunday, October 5, 2014

'Thinking Outside the Box' as an Information Professional

I was honored to speak at a recent SLA (Special Libraries Association) meeting called “Thinking Outside the Box: Exploring Alternate Careers.” I spoke about the importance of being a writer, curator, and teacher as you pursue your career as a librarian or information professional. I also told the audience that librarians add value to their work and develop career satisfaction by analyzing and helping patrons make context of the information they present, rather than just handing over that information. On a practical level, I've been fortunate to develop my career in a few directions. This is important for the obvious reason that careers and companies change constantly. 

I also recommend contributing to a professional or nonprofit association early in your career and throughout your career. The meeting co-sponsors, the SLA's New Jersey and New Jersey - Greater Princeton/Trenton Chapters, are good choices for info pros in the Garden State. 

The other four speakers on the panel (Margaret Bennett, Joan Keegan, Amy Silvers, and Joanna Wojciechowski) presented interesting and inspiring messages about how they developed and redeveloped their careers. Read more about the event in Barbara Burton's blog entry.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

A Few 'Tipples' on In-Depth Business Research

I've written an article for the site listing a few important (and free) online resources in the compliance and regulatory field. The list focuses on "due diligence" or comprehensive background research of U.S. public companies, and it's geared toward researchers who may not have a business background. The list starts with two resources that report and summarize on issues related to bribery and corruption involving specific companies.

The article is part of the My Favourite Tipples series published by the UK-based FreePint, a website for corporate librarians and information professionals.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Suburban 1960s New Jersey Remembered Through the Eyes of an Elementary School Student

Todd Klein, an artist who specializes in lettering for comic books, has written a personal history of life in small-town suburban New Jersey in the 1960s, centered on his experiences at Bedminster Township School  in northwestern Somerset County. Klein attended the school from grades 3 through 8 in 1960 through 1965. His blog posts (parts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5) tell the history of the school, and by extension, the community and his life and relationships with friends, family, fellow students, teachers and school administrators. The Bedminster Township School traditionally has taught students in kindergarten through eighth grade, or K-8; it now also teaches pre-K.

Klein provides a history of the school buildings of Bedminster and surrounding areas that had been built by 1867, through the "new building" which opened in 1959 consolidating three elementary schools in the township. (A student essay from 1962 listed Bedminster’s K-8 population as 278.) The school population later fell then rose again in the 1980s, and in 1993 a new Bedminster Township School opened; it now has about 600 students. Factors in the 1980s growth of Bedminster, Klein writes, included: relaxed zoning laws that allowed massive housing developments and AT&T's expansion into Bedminster. Klein reports on the current status and preservation of various historical schools and other structures in Bedminster. He also provides some background on the development of the area from the 1700s to 2010, including the changes wrought by the 1890 development of a railway line, to the “plowing through” of two interstate highways into Bedminster 90 years later.

Klein chronicles lifelong friendships and the teachers and other personalities who influenced the lives of him and his fellow students. The blog posts touch on Klein’s own intellectual and artistic development, encouraged by the school’s support of a student newspaper and musical and theatrical performances. Along the way he mentions various popular songs and TV shows, and events that would have molded any American student at the time, such as the nascent U.S. space program, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the Beatles invasion.

Among the acknowledgments, Klein kindly mentions that he conducted much of his research at the Clarence Dillon Public Library, where I work as a part-time reference librarian.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Claire Ann Douglas Schwarz, 1949-2014

My mother was so strong, so full of joy and love and pride of her family. She cared for everybody she met and even those she had just read about. She left us much too soon. Friends and family are welcome to post memories at

Claire Ann (Douglas) Schwarz passed away Wednesday, January 29, 2014, at age 64. Born in Flushing, New York, she grew up in Long Beach, New York, and Brigantine, New Jersey. She lived and raised her family in Brigantine and most recently lived in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Claire was a graduate of Atlantic Community College and the Harris School of Business, where she earned a medical assistant certificate. Earlier in her career, she worked as a substitute teacher at the elementary and high school levels, and for several casinos as a pit clerk and slot attendant.

Claire was predeceased by her parents, Bernard Douglas and Elizabeth (Stiebel) Douglas. She is survived by her husband, Edward; her son Eric and his spouse Seth Bookey of South Plainfield, New Jersey; her son Frankie of Brigantine; and her friend Joseph McCourt of Atlantic City. She took great pride in her sons, who were the light of her life. She gained joy from caring for her birds, Charlie and Sam.

Claire had an amazing spirit and brought a smile and sense of optimism to all who knew her. She will be terribly missed by her family and friends.

Claire’s Life Celebration was held Tuesday, February 4, 2014, from 10 to 11 am at the Keates-Plum Funeral Home, 3112 Brigantine Ave, Brigantine, with a funeral service following. She is interred at Holy Cross Cemetery, Mays Landing, New Jersey.

(The first photo in this post was taken on Christmas 2013. Many more photos are included in Claire's online memorial.)