Monthly Archives: July 2008

Reciprocal Love

There is no reciprocity. Men love women, women love children, children love hamsters.
Alice Thomas Ellis

aint that the truth!


A Day in the Life # somethingiforget…

So I know that technically the A Day in the Life project concluded on Friday, but I think I’ll try to continue the trend.  I realized over the last week that I am pretty down about my job right now.  That sucks, because I’ve liked it in the past.  But… change is inevitable.  I’m sure I’ll go back to liking it at some point.  And even if not, well, it’s still not the end all be all of my existence and I’ll make do because it does have its benefits.  Like a paycheck.

Anyways, I digress. I hope that maybe I can emphasize positive highlights in my A Day in the Life entries from here on out. I dont want my place of work to look like a horror movie for y’all or for me.

So…. what did I do today….

First, I stopped in on the Mothership and killed a half dozen Rats (Rats, for those of you havent heard me use that phrase before, are those things that rapidly pile up, breed like, well, Rats, if not tended to, and vary in degrees of importance.  I typically have an inbox full of them).  I needed to talk to some coworkers about the charity ventures that Ruth’s fiber friends are coordinating, so that the library’s donations in Ruth’s name can go towards those events.  I also needed to pop into BAS, AKA Bibliographic Access Services, and follow up about that CS linguistic database purchase.  We’d send in the licensing agreement last week, already!  Sure enough, they’d received it and had even charged our credit card, but failed to email us the download info.  Anyways, after negotiating with them on the phone I was up to IT to arrange for that being downloaded and hosted on the network, and proxied appropriately and all that.  Took a bit of time, but that Rat is killed.  Well, I still have to have it cataloged, so let’s say it’s in its death throes.

A quick lunch, then back to Sprague to negotiate with another science librarian, and the third via IM, about everybody’s favorite moving project.  After much heated discussion, I think we have an idea about how to go about putting the library back in order (at least, I *think* I got my way).  I then spent the rest of the afternoon moving books cubbyholed in the journals out of the way and to their new, permanent home.

Tomorrow I am taking my daughter to the beach.  I am leaving my phone in the car and my laptop at home.  We’re bringing sunscreen, towels, water, and a couple of pb&js. And that’s it.

Dont call me, I’ll call you.  : )

A Day in the Life #8

Oh…. lemme tellya.  This was one of the worse-er days I’ve had in a wee bit.

On the bright side, my trash was finally taken out.  Because I made a huge pile of it in the middle of the hallway in the library.

Now, back to our day.  So today I met with Math about the move in the library. The meeting was exhausting, with me as the target.  It went on for about 2 hours, and I felt rather pummeled within about 5 minutes into the discussion.  Math is angry about the lack of communication.  Lesson learned for me – dont trust other people when they say they’ll communicate things.  But when is the right time to trust someone that they’ll follow through with what they say they’ll do?

Math is angry that we live in this weird limbo.  See, we rent the building we use to house my library, and there’s always this tug of war game between the college that owns the building and the library regarding who is responsible for what goes on there.  Math is angry that no one entity, be it the library, the college, the council of presidents, or whoever, is stepping up to make a decision one way or the other about what is going on.  Math, like me, also feels out of the communication loop, and I tried to explain that in many ways I’ve been blocked from the Adminisphere, and in some cases, told out right “that I do not belong at that meeting.”  The last 4 years has been so frustrating for me because I have no power over the building in which my collections and services live, and no support for any decisions I make.  I’ve been a pawn.  And I was totally sandbagged at that meeting.  I am frustrated with the lack of leadership I have.  I’m frustrated with the level of responsibility yet lack of authority to do my job.

What’s the resolution?  I’m not sure.  Hopefully my Math peeps will resurrect the former math library committee that was dissolved before I was hired 6 years ago.  Hopefully I’ll get more face time at their department meetings.  Maybe I’ll even get some clout with their administration (and maybe even my own) that I know what I’m doing, and that I can put together a good library.

As it is right now, I’m disgusted with my job.

So, when that disaster was done, and I still havent talked to my Director about it, and how I may or may not have screwed things up and made things worse, I had a cup of coffee and tried to do something fun.

Yesterday, I obligated the library to create brief intro videos about Sakai for the colleges.  I’m happy to do this, as my Sakai cohort has Camtasia on her computer, and I’m down for finding something that will work on my Mac.  Thanks to the Twitterverse, I tried Jing, and immediately wanted to scream.  I cant get it to do anything longer than a minute, max, as it crashes rather unexpectedly.  If the damn thing would work, I think it would be pretty cool.

So, today was a total bucket of FAIL.  I think I’ll go play some solitare.

A Day in the Life #7

Boy, this day flew by.  I had to be there bright and early to open the library as everyone else is off.  I spent the first hour of my day having a few conversations with various staff members about Ruth’s passing, and how shocked we all are.  She and I were friends, so it is natural people would reach out to me.  Around 10:30 I settled in and began my presentation for the math faculty tomorrow.  I need to bring them up to speed on our giant moving project, what we’ve done so far and what our intended next steps should be.  See, there are a lot of faculty that are totally in the dark about what is going on.  The initial project began with the former department chair, who is on sabbatical, taken over by the current chair, who is also now on sabbatical, and currently headed up by the interim department chair.  Thus, there’s been a lot of, “uh, what’s going on?” going on.

I am totally Microsoft free, so I started my preso using NeoOffice, which I love, for non-Microsoft.  (I do have to give mad props to MS 2007; that handy ribbon bar and annoying mini menu pop up are most handy, actually, and I must say I miss that simplicity after using it for 4 months when I argue with NeoOffice about  doing something I think it should do.)  Based on a conversation I had with cool librarian Colleen Harris at ALA, I peppered my preso with LoLCatz. You know, to lighten the mood as I tell Math the library has been hit by a tornado of boxes and the likelihood of your print only titles coming back are slim.   My director loved it, so we are Go For Launch.  I’ll, of course, post about it tomorrow.

I worked on that steady till it was time to go to the Mothership, where I attend the IACC and chair the SAT meetings.  IACC is Inter-Academic Computing Committee and SAT is the Sakai Administration Team.  I love SAT; it is the epitome of what a productive team should be.  Imagine… things get done.  People say they’ll do something, and they do it.  That appointment is the high point of my work responsibilities.

After the meeting, where we talked about rolling out version 2.5, version 2.5 testing, and the tech and policy issues of photos in the Roster and Membership tools, I stayed to finish the minutes, post the action items, and take care of all that errata.  I prefer to do it right away instead of procrastinating and then forgetting all about it.

After that, I took a quick jaunt up to IT, where I had a conversation about MT/Wordpress.  I figured out last night that although WordPress imported all my exported posts and comments, all my pictures are still on the MT server at work, and WordPress is pointing to them.  FAIL.  After looking at tools, we decided that the best/only course of action was for me to go through my 200 posts and change the links to Flickr pics or upload them to WordPress itself.  Oh, funness.

So now I am home, spinach and cheese quiche is in the oven, and it’s time to find some pjs and a thing of yarn.

A Day in the Life #6 – Ruth Schooley, Librarian, Knitter, and Kind Hearted Soul

Boy, this day was a shocking reminder to just how short life is.

Today, we learned we lost a beloved librarian, Ruth Schooley.  Ruth was our poly sci/California gov docs librarian.  She worked on our collections team, gathering use stats every year for databases and tools.  She loved to staff the reference desk, and she would drop everything to help a student or a faculty member.  She networked successfully with our government and poly sci seniors, meeting with many of them individually, helping them gather the materials they needed for their senior thesis.  She was dedicated, above all else, to the library user.  There was many a Friday I would go to relieve her on the ref desk, where I would loiter uselessly as she worked diligently to finish out the reference transaction she began before I came on shift.  Never would she say, “This is what I did and this is where I am.”  No, not Ruth – she’d see it through to the end, she was that dedicated.  The user always mattered most, and they always came first.

Beyond her academic endeavors, she was our knitter and spinner on staff.  Every friday she would bring her spinning wheel and we would sit together at a local dining hall talking to students about fiber, arts, crocheting and knitting, and what the library can do to help them.  Her enthusiasm for outreach and her kind, happy demeanor brought a down to earth perspective to the library.  She was always so happy and willing to help, to do what needed to be done.  Her obligation and level of responsibility to the library and its users set a high bar for all of us.

Ruth and I would go to local crafting events, and she was so kind hearted, always surprising me with neat crochet gems she’d find during her travels through LA.  It was she that gave me that awesome Japanese motif book that I now use to create awesome motif doilies, bookmarks, edgings, and more.

Ruth, I’ll miss you.  We’ll all miss you.

A Day in the Life #5

12:24 PM

Well, back at work today.  My little one is on the mend, but I’m starting to feel a bit crappy.  Ah, well, such is parenting.

So here I am, sitting in my office, making a list of all that needs to be done today.  I have to put out a call for department mathematicians to meet this friday over lunch to discuss our plans for how we are going to attempt to put the library back together after removing and boxing half a floor of materials.  All the boxed content lives on the 5th floor in this giant, chaotic mess.  I need to try to explain to Math what this means, and how difficult it will be to try to make sense of it all in limited time (we are what, six weeks away from people coming back to campus?) and simultaneously preparing for fall and spring semesters.  It is not pretty at present.  I also need to draft together exactly what we’ve done, and possible options for what we will do.

Let’s see… I have a few ref questions that surfaced that need to be answered, and two book purchase requests.  One is tricky in that it is an ebook with no readily apparent licensing agreement, and I am wondering how we’d make that available to the 6000+ users of Claremont.  The other is an obscure, out of print German math book.  That promises to be a rather fun hunt.

Oh, and my trash STILL has not gone out.  I STILL have that huge pile of boxes in my office from Day One of this epic librarianship journey.  Today, I plan to leave my office door unlocked and wide open in an attempt to see if the trash will mysteriously manage to move itself out of my office.

Oh, and I have to go find 11 books that a staff member cannot find.

3:50 PM

Ugh, I am SO annoyed!  I spent oh, dunno, about an hour digging around for those 11 books, binned them, and routed them to the Mothership (our main library), only to receive an email from them stating that they no longer needed the books and we should not have looked for them in the first place.  So, it was a mistake that I was asked to deviate from more important issues to hunt for books that are no longer needed.  SIGH.  That was a major time waste that I just didnt need, on top of all the other things I am trying to work on.

Another annoyance is this constant problem of things boxed on the 5th floor.  People use the library, come to find out (golly, gee wiz, ma! Ya think?), and users expect us to somehow be able to scan things out of those boxes in a timely fashion.  That aint happenin’.  They have to be ILL’ed.  I know these are minor annoyances, but it would appear that my coworkers are delegating these things to me instead of handling the issues themselves, only for me to delegate them right back because I have enough issues I’ve got to take care of.

I am just generally irritated with all this stuff.  Moving library collections is stressful, even more so when you have insufficient data and labor.  I feel like I’m being cheated out of my summer – certainly no time off for me, and not adequate time to prepare for the cooler and more fun things I’d like to do come fall.  I got some great ideas for outreach and instruction at ALA, but I am not sure if I’ll be able to put things together in time.  And the same goes for all my Sakai things, too.  I’m way behind on my 2.5 testing, as well as updating and adding to my very successful Sakai site and subsequent librarian involvement project.  And the list of Things To Do just keep getting longer and longer….