What Are You reading? Rick Stroup Tells All

By , May 25, 2010 3:36 pm

by Kerry Fitz-Gerald

For this month’s post, Rick Stroup at the King County Law Library (KCLL) graciously agreed to share what he‘s reading. His print professional reading includes the major law librarianship journals—Law Library Journal and Legal Reference Services Quarterly (LRSQ)—as well as Library Journal. He finds the latter particularly useful because public librarianship is such a big part of KCLL’s mission and because it provides a window into other types of libraries’ developments. Lately, he’s been reading about new technology programs, such as libraries loaning Kindles and laptops, and is always interested to read user study information. While the general tenor, he said, is that user studies are time and labor intensive, most libraries report that the studies are ultimately useful.

Rick also reads a variety of law blogs and technology blogs, though none of them regularly. Law blogs such as Law Dawg Blawg and Blawg.com, he finds useful for understanding issues lawyers are talking about and staying tuned in to what their lawyer patrons are likely to need. Technology-wise, he peruses information sent by Microsoft about Steady State software. This helps him monitor new releases, fixes and other issues related to the software.

In the “monitoring useful information” category, Rick also follows information from the State Library. Not only is this another source of ideas for patron services, he finds it useful for identifying free or low cost professional training options. These options are fewer and farther between than they used to be, but he gave a shout out to the webinar options that don’t disappear after you watch them once. This way you can return to useful segments (or revisit those that may have been tricky to watch because of technical difficulties), and you can pass the links on to others if the training is worthwhile.

For fun, Rick reads both history and biography. Two recent reads he particularly recommends are The Big Burn, by Timothy Egan, and Matterhorn, by Karl Marlantes. Having finished high school in the Gifford Pinchot forest, Rick was particularly interested to read The Big Burn and learn about Pinchot, the first director of the Forest Service, and how the largest forest fire in American history created a wave of support for Roosevelt’s controversial attempt to create a legacy of public lands. Matterhorn, Rick reports, is a sad read but one that resonates both with his memories of the Vietnam war era and with the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Though the work is a novel, the author is a local Vietnam vet who writes with accuracy and authority about the life of a young grunt in an impossible war.

And lastly, Rick mentioned that he’s recently been exploring the world of audio books and has discovered that he can’t absorb audio books in the way he can print. This means he’s had a great excuse to develop a new guilty pleasure and dip into such pulpy delights as Stephen King.

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