Friday, December 21, 2007

Best Holiday Wishes

Best Holiday Wishes
Joyeux Noël à tous, Santé et prospérité en l'an 2008!

Originally uploaded by rambleonsylvie

Thursday, December 20, 2007

looking back

A nice year end meme (you know how I like them) thru Michael Stephens...
I traced it back as far as Marie Robinette Kowal, on live journal.

: Like Michael Stephens said:"I think we'll see this one RIPPLE across the Biblioblogosphere like crazy in the next few days.
February: Random thoughts (name dropping not so random):_Rachel Singer Gordon is really, really cool.
March: There has been a lot of talk about the latest announcement from Sirsidynix.
April: I've been slacking off, in the blogging department, lately. Big money worries here and everywhere.
May: Man, this is embarrassing. I start writing, save as draft, chicken out, repeat...
: OK, this is totally off topic, but I felt this insurmountable need to share the news... Today, I received a check from the state of Florida. Yippy!
: much talked about LIFESTYLE article in the NYT introduces us to a bunch of librarians that don't look like the ones we work with (not the ones I work with anyway...)
August: no post
September: Been busy here. You may already know how I think arranging physical space better can solve all kinds of issues in public areas.
October: read walkingpaper aaron says what I think
November: this will be my "outing" the AL post (''cause I am the AL after all, don't let imitators fool you...)
December: Yea! See, that is what we do after all... help people find their way, right?

no doubt I will be better (more insightful, more professional, more dedicated to blogging) next year

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

How appropriate!

Yea! See, that is what we do after all... help people find their way, right?

How about a GPS navigation system available for checkout?
Seems to me it makes perfect sense, whether people need it instead of an atlas for their next road trip, or to try it out before making a purchase. I love libraries that keep an open mind.
Bravo Darien.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

about refusal, and saying yes!

Last week, I read a Jenny Levine post quoting a YA librarian, who said: "I refuse to say NO". Brilliant!
Then, I read in HBR (the hard copy, still one of my favorite things at my public library) an article where psychologist John M. Gottman, a relationship specialist revealed the secret to great relationships was to "sprinkle yeses throughout your interactions" Brilliant2.
I say YES! I love this idea, "yes, I can help you", "yes we can try this", "yes it matters to us if it's important to you"...


One of the things I struggle with a lot is that I feel there continues to be a disconnect between great strides forward in library science and service, with staff being smart, innovative, fresh; and managing and funding bodies who tend to think their organizations should be "2.0" but their management and governance practices should not change.

It is the most important next step I see. Help them understand that innovation on their part is essential to innovation in the field. That "old fashion" management often brings the biggest barriers to true transformation. We have brilliant minds in the field who are producing some of the best technical improvements to library services, we have staff who keeps up. We have developed a culture of excellence in service that honors our roots and embraces new missions for us...

But we need management to PARTICIPATE in the transformation, not just watch it, applaud it and return to their office. Accept transparency as a way of life, decide that your user's participation will be worth your adjusting to the lack of control you have over it. Don't have a staff person WRITE YOUR BLOG! Be willing to defend myspace, gaming teens and food and drinks to your funding bodies. Be ready for imperfections, mistakes and great triumph. Resolve to say yes too.

ENTER YOUR BUILDINGS THRU THE FRONT DOOR, you may discover, understand and even become part of a great story.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007


genius is, after all, my favorite word.

found this thru a nice new blog form the UK. cute, 025.04...
(the geek flickrs too.)

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

my turn

this will be my "outing" the AL post (''cause I am the AL after all, don't let imitators fool you...) Here is the undeniable proof:

below find my dream sign, posted at the door of MPOW, it would be most appropriate and state my expectations of the 'patrons' unequivocally...

  • NO talking
  • NO drinking or eating
  • NO unattended children
  • NO cell phones
  • NO gaming
  • NO chatting
  • NO IM
  • NO flip flops
  • NO stupid questions

If you understand all these rules, are wearing appropriate footwear and are willing to give me the respect my education entitles me to, type your clear question on the available typewriter (NO whiteout) and leave it in the 'In Box' by the door. I may get back to you within the week if you gave appropriate references.

I mean it,
The AL.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


read walkingpaper
aaron says what I think

habitual disclaimer:
my library and I are not in sync...

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Friday, September 14, 2007

"My Space"

Been busy here.
You may already know how I think arrranging physical space better can solve all kinds of issues in public areas. Here is another good (proud) example of us doing just that. New Teenzone in one of our branches:

more details on my flickr

gotta run.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Not that there's anything wrong with that...

much talked about LIFESTYLE article in the NYT introduces us to a bunch of librarians that don't look like the ones we work with (not the ones I work with anyway...)

much buzz in so many blogs, people don't like that this is "yet another stereotype." poo poo style articles, etc... well, it's all good if you want my opinion. what's wrong with some press that isn't about internet filters or porn? I like the hipsters, they are having fun and putting another face on a place that too many people don't think even exists or is needed anymore.

we are, after all, defenders of diversity and inclusiveness right?
who's afraid of a few tattoos? I'll have a HV5090.N7 L47 2007 (locally 363.4109 LER)
on the rocks.

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Monday, June 25, 2007

I love a meme

But this time, I'd like to mix things up a little by taking this one off the blogosphere into flickr. I have already tagged some of my contacts there. Feel free to jump in.
Thanks for the tag Michael.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

off topic, on prevailing

OK, this is totally off topic, but I felt this insurmountable need to share the news...
Today, I received a check from the state of Florida. Yippy!

After 2 full years of misery and perseverance I finally prevailed! The Department of Business and Professional Regulation finally cut me a check out of their "recovery fund". I had lost hope this would ever come true. I had never encountered so much red tape in my life (and I went thru the US immigration department procedure to become a legal alien!)

Here's the story highlights, for your entertainment:

-Fall 2004, the second hurricane in a row to land right in town does over $20 000 of damage to our home.
-Winter 2004, we found a licensed contractor willing to perform the work. I thoroughly check licenses, insurance policies, references, BBB state etc... We give him a fairly large deposit, which he promptly deposits into his company's bank account.
-Spring 2005, the wrong roofing materials are delivered in our driveway. Numerous phone calls are placed and many more stories are told about the reasons why no work is being performed.
-Summer 2005, after consulting a lawyer, we fire the contractor and ask for our deposit back. Follows may more phone calls and attempts to negotiate a refund. We file complaints with the BBB and the FL DBPR.
-Fall 2005, Another hurricane destroys the south office of said DBPR which delays our case again, but one of the state's investigators reports that contractor has agreed verbally to refund our deposit.
-Winter 2005, we receive a letter form the DBPR stating our case is being dropped due to the contractor being deceases. (!) (I have to say that then, I cried.)
-After much probing, someone at the Legal dept of the DBPR informs us that if we had a small court judgement, we could possibly be eligible for a refund from "the recovery fund".
-Spring 2006, we file in small claims (agreeing to the maximum for SCC instead of our full deposit.) Note: this required 2 separate appearances and the grieving widow appeared in tears on a Monday (after being mentioned in the Sunday paper for wining the local women's league bowling tournament) and her attorney states the corporation is being dissolved and will not even file for bankruptcy. All we can hope for is a judgment in our favor. Being that's what we need to continue with the state, we just wait and get that. Yea! We won in court.
-Summer 2006, we file a claim with the DBPR recovery fund and discover that is is just like we have never filed anything at this point. All new paperwork needs to be filled, contract, checks, phone records, copies etc, but also now, we have to prove we tried to collect our SCC judgement, (?!) and also demonstrate the repairs were completed on our house.
-Winter 2006 is spent meeting all these new obligation and learning much too much about asset searches and the corporate veil.
-Jan. 2007, our claims gets denied because of a roofing technicality (remember the wrong materials delivered, we never used it because it did not meet code, turns out he could not have installed it himself, wrong license... Thankfully, he had gotten a licensed roofer to pull a permit for it back then. Proving this got them to revise their original denial and recommend us for approval. We were granted an audience with the decision making board of recovery fund.
-Feb. 2007, we travel to Orlando for an 11 AM appointment with "the board". Turns out there are at least 20 other people with that same 11 AM appointment and that the board is running late, so please wait in this small hotel conference room where all your cases will be heard in numerical order as soon as the board arrives...
A litany of horror stories follow, guaranteeing I will never convince my husband to get me a pool, amongst other things and once our turn comes, we are promptly made aware that our case was a "best case scenario" since NONE of the work was done and NO ONE would challenge the ruling (TGFSF). The contractor lady that is head of the board asks why did i only ask for $5000 in small claims, I say, it's the max, she says, well now you're going to get the full amount back and bangs the gavel! Yea again!
-March 2007, we get more paperwork from the DBPR requesting we file a transfer of our SCC judgment to them and that our check should come within 4 to 6 MONTHS!
-May 2007, we get a registered letter for the state, I run to the post office with butterflies in my stomach. It's a letter stating our case was complete and we should get a check SOON...
-June 2007, another registered letter. Dare I dream? Yes, it is, a letter of congratulations (I kid you not,) and a check for the full amount of our original deposit.

Anyone without the means to research these options, pay for all these fillings, travel, take time off work etc. could never have got this to this happy ending. Anyone without the hard head not to take no for an answer or without the optimistic outlook that justice would matter could have not gotten thru this.

It wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all...

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

ramble on social news

Hey Now! great post at TechCrunch
announces the re-birth of as a social site. To quote them:
" is transitioning to a new hosting environment..."

so cool...
update: really, check it out, it's great!

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Monday, May 21, 2007


OK, enough repetitive, sorry posts about navel gazing pain. Thought I'd bring up a nice positive bit of progress resulting directly from my persistent use of an RSS aggregator. We have been buried (truly) in forms and spreadsheets lately and all of us are really getting burned out on paperwork. But today, we had to present a short regurgitation of statistical info to represent "A Day In The Life Of insert library here". Examples were provided to us that would bring us to present data looking like this:

Visitors: 3,585
Circulation: 4,986
Total Program Attendance: 242
PC Sign-ups: 764
Web page Hits: 697
Database Searches: 656

But after reading Jill's brilliant post on IBS, a few of us to a couple of minutes to repackage it for non-librarians, and this is what we submitted:

3,585 people connected with ideas, information and their community by visiting the library.
4,986 items went home with citizens to enrich their home and work lives.
242 patrons of all ages shared their community’s diverse cultural life by attending a library program.
764 library users connected with the world and their full potential through the use of a public computer.
697 people started their quest for trusted information by visiting the library web page.
656 queries of our research databases helped the citizens support their lifelong learning efforts.

I love Library Marketing - Thinking Outside the Book ... It's on my "every day" list.

It's just an up moment when a little reading has a good little effect on a little task at hand.
Tada! Our library is human!
Made us all really proud.

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Excusez la.

Man, this is embarrassing. I start writing, save as draft, chicken out, repeat...
I have never been one to censor myself, I swear, I don't know what's wrong with me these days. People are doing great stuff everywhere... What's up with me?

I have been wrestling with ideas of efficiency, cost cutting measures and human sensibilities. The emphasis here is on the wrestling. I always juggle thoughts of efficiencies and cost cuttings. I usually don't wrestle with these thoughts, they have been part of my work for over 10 years. Lately though, everything seems different and people are defensive, sectarian (yep, I said it) and can no longer think beyond one possibility or another for the sake of consistency and balance.

Perspective! It's always my focus in all the training I give. It's always my need when deploying systems and it's still what I seek when faced with hard decisions. Why is it that some can't look beyond their shoe tips? We need to make solid choices based on long term objectives, even when the goal is immediate result.

We cannot hope that if we stop serving some users who are not "prepared enough for us" or who "create the largest workload" or worst yet, who "come to us for just anything" ( I really heard that one once!) we will have succeeded in managing our services. Yes, staff will feel relief if there are shorter lines, but how will they feel as lines get shorter and shorter.

I am not trying to preserve the "perfect" library we had 2 or 3 years ago, I am trying to preserve the great one we can have 5 and 10 years form now.

See, this is the type of post I usually write and delete. Too many "I"s in it. Way too editorial and self indulging. Feels like I am chasing my tail. But here goes. Maybe now it will be out of my system. Excusez la.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

of natural selection

I've been slacking off, in the blogging department, lately. Big money worries here and everywhere. It's so tough to face cuts, how ever small they are. Then, when they are large and potentially larger, as we face here at MPOW , it down right ruins everything. Well, nearly. It sure ruins the ambiance, though. It seems like it always ends up creating a paranoid climate of sorts. "Don't even look at my services!" and then the terrible sequel: "Why don't you look over there?". Of course, we have been evaluating processes for a long time, on a continuous basis, what should we keep doing, stop doing, start doing, right? We know SWOT and all that...
So how do you squeeze blood for a turnip? What is left for us to sacrifice?

I was asked recently how does innovation survive in this kind of climate? Seems some feel we cant be expanding our horizons, adding new services and working on new projects if we also have to cut/delete/discontinue some others.
It dawned on me that this may not be the best question. What I want to know is, how do we survive in this kind of climate without innovation? The only way we can manage the crisis instead of the crisis managing us it to be REALLY INNOVATIVE. It's so corny to state but only the one that adapt will survive. Some of the choices should be really (listen to me?!) easy. Instead of (Believe me, I hear it often..) trying to impose limits the popular service, let's look at what does not support our most popular services 1st. We don't want to take our best, most appealing to the community offerings, and render them cumbersome and inconvenient, so we can continue to dedicate time and effort to sustain options that not many users even wish for.

John Blyberg smartly reminded us in a recent post:
I’m afraid to say that delayed gratification is not something we can sell.
Let's not work so hard at self preservation and think more globally about satisfying the needs of current customers. We need to go forward with new and exciting things that will meet their expectations, not ask them to measure up to ours. After all if they were perfect, they might not need a library.

I don't want to spend my time preserving the great library we had last year, I want to work at creating the great one we'll have next year.

I have been muling this over in my pea brain fro a good while now, then finally commited to spread it on the screen... Look what Steven Abram published today.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Parlons d'EPS

Continuing this belated superconference blogging, it is high time I talk about EPS, Sirsidynix's Entreprise Portal Solution. It was definitely the most talked about product, with many many sessions, by sales staff, libraries and software development alike. It was also the product that conjured the most passion, both on the "excited to have all these features" side and the "this is not what I want" side.
Je m'explique:
Great dissatisfaction was expressed from many academic (and other) sites that this portal solution was clearly the next generationopac and came with so much "other duties assigned" add-on features. Many customer, academics in particular, complained about the out of the box, cookie cutter, seemingly public library focus. On the other hand, EPS customers seemed very pleased with their experience implementing the product, excited about the 2.2 version that should deliver both most fixes to theoriginal implementation bugs AND add the features that were not delivered in the 1st version. SD SD (sirsidynix software development ;) staff sounded very roud of the product and its great improvements for 2.2. (note some of these may not impress you but were long time wished of a number of sirsi customers...)
RSS feeds, CGI forms, spellcheck, the use of Central Search for federated searching and of Fast Search for faceted searching were at the top of the bragging lists. Especially exciting to me was the ability to "assume the quotes" to facilitate keyword search (eliminate the use of Boolean in quick search.) and the ability for users to a-view their accounts and renew their materials in the same page (!) and b-to modify their own holds pick up branch. I will post more about this product as we will implement at MPOW as soon as 2.2 has been in the real world for a little while. (hey, we had webcat 1st, we were the 1st unix install of iBistro, I'd like to give someone else a chance at pioneering this time...)

THIS JUST IN (unrelated to EPS) :
from a SD press release: "...Peter Gethin, SirsiDynix managing director for Europe, Middle East & Africa, has decided to retire..." I guess Peter wouldn't mind me referring to him as part of the old guard (the good old guard). Hoping everyone will know he was not only famous for the traditional joke and the Gethin report at superconference, he was a force, a smart, original, free thinker. I hope to hear from him again.

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Friday, March 16, 2007

finally back...

Sirsidynix Superconference blogging, take II.

There has been a lot of talk about the latest announcement from Sirsidynix. I promise I will update and comment a little later, after getting caught up on the session blogging . Note the certain irony of any the "coming in GL3.2" announcements, keep in mind they all are very likely to still materialize, but that these days, I wouldn't swear to anything.

Superconference, day 1:

Opening night, Steven Abram boldly "flies without slides" which is pretty damn brave in a big dark conference room full of people whispering about the surprise announcement of SD's CEO leaving the company. Stephen continues to rightfully preach "Go where your users are!" and to point us all in the right direction to discover where that is. He saved a few minutes in the end to mention Pat Sommers and how much good he did at Sirsi. How much he would be missed and to point out that "He never told me not to say something." It was a heartfelt moment, touching.

The whole conference felt a little awkward to me, everyone was very positive, looking forward etc. etc. but you could tell most SD personnel was somewhat tired and tense. I got offended when some customer would ask SD staff it WE should be nervous about the change of ownership. It is obviously so much for them to deal with, and all the while they were all very focused on us as customers and how were doing and what we needed. I have known some of the Sirsi staff for many many years, they are a smart, classy, dedicated bunch.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I'm on!

Well, turns out it's a lot harder to blog what I learn than to blog what I think. (duh!)

I will end up reviewing my notes when I get home and posting what I hope will be a much more intelligent summary next week. Today my main concern is leading the circulation sharing session this morning, which always make me a little nervous. I really look forward to it though.
I hope the turn out is good.
While you patiently wait for educational content, here is a picture of Mack,

who really was working the registration desk.

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

superconference day 1 (updated)

Love it here. It was actually warmer in CO(46F) when I arrived, than it was in Orlando (37F) when I left. Now I know what the F stands for...

Got to talk to Mack about linking to respective blogs. Read his posts on Swem Review.

The federated searching session from today was most excellent. It was the best idea to have both sirsidynix present their products and efforts and 2 different users explain their selection and implementation process of 2 different products.
main 2 points in short:
XML matters most, and more and more everyday.
It's not about the searching, it's about the FINDING!

more to come.
mood: festive, smart, anticipatory.

Since Mack really puts me to shame with his coverage of the Federated search session, I will refer you back to his post and add a few more comments from the "how will/would this work at MPOW?" stand point.
Biggest discovery point ('reality bites'): I will have to implement (read: find time, funds and acquire expertise) proxy authentication for our users to our databases before fedsearch can be done. There s a way to use the sirsidynix portal login to attempt it but not all db vendors are apt to accept it as secure. Plus, fedsearch is not going to replace native search so authentication will best be managed with one solution instead of trying to make it work separately in each.

Biggest remaining pondering point: The fed search product can be used as an entry point to all your resources, including your own catalog, so IT could be the portal also... hummmm...

Most valuable "freebie": once you set up fedsearch, you can, should, will, have the ability to add resources that are available for free. Think image seach including flickr, yahoo and google images and picassa etc...

BACK TO: It's about the finding. Think DELIVERY OF THE RESOURCES DISCOVERED, always.

Blogging conference content is hard! see you soon.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

to Colorado!

I'm off! Looking forward to hearing Steven, finding out about RSS feeds from my OPAC, ditto for federated searching. Will be presenting the results of the 2007 user enhancement request forum for the circulation module in a sharing session. Most of all, I will be getting my batteries charged. After all, it's not so often there is more than one library systems administrator in the room.
I will be blogging here as time allows, more likely posting to flickr.

Excited to see Colorado, to meet again with Kathi and Janet and to get together with many smart people that have been helping, mentoring and setting a good example for me for many years.

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

YouTube goodness

I know it's already everywhere, but I am in LOVE with this video
Take 5 minutes to watch it, please.
Then comment here! I'd love to hear what you thought.

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Friday, January 26, 2007


Lookey here:

Apparently, when I was little, I already wanted to be like John Blyberg.

More recently, not so secretly, I had been wanting to meet John Blyberg

Of course this week, I have just found myself desperately wanting to have a John Blyberg on my team. ...And don't get me wrong, in a way, I feel like I have, thanks to his generosity with his words and with his code. But man, wouldn't it be great if every library could have a programmer. Someone interested in what we want to achieve locally, someone responsive to our need for rapid change. Someone that can help us discover and unlock the potential of all the systems we have acquiredthru the years, but are not necessarily using quite as effectively as we could.

I can't code, (I have been know to type "who's your daddy" at the Unix prompt...) but I can, everyday, reach out across the gap between what computers can do, and what people expect from computers.

I am actually working half my days in public service these days, using the systems that I manage. It's really cool to get a true feel for how these actually perform.

I'll have lots to say about this soon.

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Rowdy teens continued.

Read an update here.
Ha, Ha! ...although this quote: "... the library had already indicated that a plan for guards was not enough to rescind its vote on the closing." somewhat shoots my 1st theory down? Maybe...

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Teens are too much, Library Closes. Oh No!

OK, this is probably one of my many posts on this topic.

Like Michael Stephens said:"I think we'll see this one RIPPLE across the Biblioblogosphere like crazy in the next few days." I (as always) also agree so much with Michael Casey's post that this article:"...depicts a problem that many libraries face; large numbers of teens congregating after school hours. Maplewood is not unique in having this "problem"."

I just can't help but suspect that they are going tot his extreme as a means to an end that is not clearly stated right now. Maybe they have been denied funding for a security guard and this can get the community to react and help them get one?

In staff training I constantly remind them of this:
1-Being in public service, you will have to deal with a certain amount of rudeness everyday, from a variety of customers. You have to respond to rudeness with kindness. Be nice to people having a bad day (or bad manners) and you may just turn them around.

2-There is a clear line between rudeness and threat, vandalism, etc..Those should not be tolerated. You have to respond to abuse with solid determination. Protect yourself, your customers and the space we share. Excluding abusers thru privilege suspension or law enforcement involvement will result in a better environment for everyone.

I have said it before
, some of it has to do with our expectations, and our willingness to explore ALL our options when faced with SUCCESS issues like this. At MPOW we have had to review policies, provide staff with additional training, and we have had much success with addressing SPACE to create an environment where diverse users can see divers needs met without too much interference. Yea, I'm really proud of that because it HAS WORKED for us. You'd be surprised to hear how many older patrons have appreciated just seeing and HEARING US SAY we value and want to preserve some quiet space for them. You should know that for every one teen that urinates on a bathroom floor, there are 10 that become very pleasant when told they will not be allowed to use public PCs if they don't "respect themselves, others, the space" and 100 that were bright and funny and well behaved to begin with.


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