ASSOCIATES (vol. 9, no. 3, March 2003) -

*The Internet Guru*


Kent Slade
Logan Library
Logan, Utah

First--some preliminaries. I am not an "Internet Guru." Brad Eden, the *real* Internet Guru has graciously allowed me to use the title, which I will do until I can come up with something original and just as clever. If you have any suggestions, please e-mail them to me at

I wonít predict the future or how the Internet will make our lives even more complicated. If you want that kind of information, _Popular Science_ ( is a great magazine for that (I am still waiting for the hovercraft car).

I will not be providing you a list of Internet sites about a particular subject. Itís not that I canít do it (I do it all day long for our patrons) but that others are already doing a great job at it.

This column will be more of an informational nature about a particular segment of the Internet. We might talk about TCP/IP versus DHCP, how the Internet has changed various professions, or how the Internet has effected the number of reference questions being answered (a problem my library is experiencing). We might talk about how Internet filtering works, what amazing things libraries are doing with the Internet, how libraries manage sign-in processes, or what new technologies are being developed that might change the way we do things. We might review some interesting databases, and examine how individuals are working to make the Internet more accessible or equitable.

Over the last few months I have attended several training classes sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation ( for our new public access computers. Iíll share with you some of the information I gathered as a result. You might not have those computers, but some of the information they shared with us in incredibly valuable. You can see we have a lot we can focus on.

I donít pretend to know everything about all the topics I will write about, but I will promise to do plenty of research. You may disagree with some of the conclusions I come up with, but I hope you wonít be able to argue with the facts behind my conclusions. If you do, thatís fine too!

A little about me. I am currently the Electronic Services Librarian for the Logan Library in Logan, Utah ( Itís in beautiful Cache Valley in northern Utah, about 20 minutes from the Idaho border. Logan has about 45,000 residents and home to Utah State University (, which has about 20,000 students. The entire valley has about 100,000 residents. There are a number of public libraries in the valley ranging from a few hundred volumes to our 151,000. USU libraries have around a million volumes.

I started working in libraries as a page at the Weber County Library in Ogden, Utah ( I was actually employed as a work-study student so I was able to work and go to college at the time. I was eventually hired as a clerk. I worked in the AV department cleaning LPs and filmstrips. I was transferred to work in the law library when the county library system took control of it. I was later transferred to an acquisitions position that I thoroughly enjoyed. But I could see the writing on the wall. I could not advance much further without a MLS, so I began to work on that through the program at Emporia State University (, eventually earning my MLS. About 2/3rds the way through the program, I took a position of Acquisitions Librarian in Arizona, leaving Weber County Library after 15 years. But that job just didnít work out. I quickly found a position in the Logan Library in Interlibrary Loan. I eventually took my current position.

My responsibilities include managing the electronic resources for the library. This includes reference databases, most of the home page, and all of the public computers (all the catalogs and public access workstations). I have the luxury of having others to worry about design and operations of the home page and catalog, while I only have to worry about the content. I oversee collection assessment for our collection and am responsible for the collection development of the Science Fiction/Fantasy section of the library. I work the reference desk 3 days a week, plus alternating Saturdays.

One day a week for a couple of hours I become a cataloger for the North Logan Library ('s%20Web%20Page/library.htm). My assignment mainly consists of original cataloging and classification.

I am active in my state library association where I currently serve as chair of the Library Paraprofessional and Support Staff Round Table ( I serve on a couple of committees within ULA, including the Certificate of Achievement Review Board. I have been a Region Director, Vice President, President and Past President of COLT, the Council on Library/Media Technicians ( I still maintain both their Board and member mailing lists. I am currently a member of the Steering Committee of the American Library Association Library Support Staff Interests Round Table ( Iím even running for a couple of offices, one as a member-at-large for the Utah Library Association, and for ALA Council as a representative of the small round tables. Iíve been selected as a delegate to COPE3 and will be attending that in May.

My computer skills are mostly self-taught. I started my journey with computers on a Texas Instruments TI 99/4A ( followed by work on a variety of computers. My Internet experience goes back to being member 8,191 of Prodigy (my first Internet provider). Yes, I learned how to FTP, to Gopher and all the other fun stuff. I have to admit that I like the way the Internet is maturing and making life navigating so much easier.

In my spare time I volunteer for the Open Directory Project ( where I edit Utah categories. I volunteer for their sister directory, ChefMoz ( where I edit restaurants and reviews. I occasionally volunteer as an usher for the Eccles Theater ( here in Logan, a beautiful theater with a wonderful summer opera season, plus other great events the rest of the year. I was a volunteer for the 2002 Winter Olympics in which I was a team leader for event services (public, athlete and VIP services such as ticketing, ushering, and security) at the curling events in Ogden (picture at the bottom of the page at Iím on the right. Iím sorry about all the pop-up ads. And before you get too excited, itís not a spaceship at top of the photoóitís a pinhole.).

Okay, so thatís where we'll be going and a little about me. Please feel free to send me some articles about the Internet you would like to read. Iíll give you the credit for the idea, unless you want to remain anonymous.

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