Tag Archives: A Day in the Life

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….

A Day in the Life #4

Today is a very unusual day for me.  My little Miss7, My Lila, is down with what appears to be a mild case of the flu.  I say mild, because she is pretty well normal when hopped up on tylenol or ibuprofin and triamenic cold.  Let that slip, however, and she is back to misery with a fever, aches, and minor congestion.

So, I am home today with her.

Being home, I am not embroiled in the heated battle of day-to-day librarianship, but I am poking a bit at projects and emails here and there as I have time.

The hottest topic for today is a discussion of our LibX Firefox browser plugin.  This magical beauty of a Firefox extension is just amazing!  I am tickled to peices over it, and I cannot wait to show it to faculty and students come fall.

Essentially, once you downlaod this brilliant little thing, which Alexandra Chappell, the librarian at CUC that created it says was easy peasy to make, it runs a toolbar across the top of your Firefox browser, above the tabs.  You can set all sorts of cool preferences, search by keyword, author, title, subject, or ISN, or drop copied text onto a ‘scholar’ button that will shoot off a Google Scholar search.

But wait, there’s more!  For only 19.95…  Ha, Ha, kidding

But wait, there is more!  The gem of this cool tool is that it inserts open url links into things.  Let me say that again – it inserts open ulr links into things, like LibraryThing, and Amazon, WorldCat, and Google search results.  That means, I can browse amazon and click on our Mr Blais image, and access our open url form to either search our opac or log into ILL.  No logging into the proxy server, no opening  a new tab or window.  Just a teensy click.  Whoa, that’s awesome!  I think faculty will love this, seeing if we own or need to buy things for upcoming semesters.  I think students will love it for hunting up required and recommended readings.  I love it because it’s DAMN COOL. It is a great step towards a better integration of outside the library and inside the library tools.

So in addition to us talking about the neato things this does via email, we also began to brainstorm how we can tweak our open url resolver window to include ‘request this item for purchase’ links, which then broke down to a workflow issue, which broke down into a discussion of other things that must be done first, which broke down into….

ah, work politics.  : )

A Day in the Life #3

11:38 AM

Well, good morning-ish.  : )

Today is teh tired – I spent umpteen hours last night migrating my bloggy stuffs from our MT server at work, which is about to be FUBAR’ed by work, to WordPress.  So far, I am… well, i’m like switzerland about it atm.  I miss my cool widgets, which I cant seem to figure out how to make happen.  Do I need to learn CSS to get them n their javascript into place?  Is there some other magicks I dont know yet?  Alas, at least there’s widgets for my most frequently used social networking sites that I can plug in, and I am happy about that.

I must say, the wordpress interface is MUCH improved over Movable Type’s interface.  It is sooo easy to drag and drop things around, upload media and images, and generally link things together.  And the tagging option is hella cool.  So it has its advantages, even if I cant have my moon calendar widget thingie or my flash flickr thingie, or del.icio.us tag cloud thingie.  I do miss my Library Thing list – hey, @wordpress, where’s the widget for that?

But I do like the text box adding options, so I can have that blurb up there at the upper left that says who I am and what I do.  and the URL is super short and sweet for easy remembering, over that athena.libraries.claremont.edu/tildename/othername/blah blah blah.

Change is inevitable, except from the vending machine, I say.

Today already has its ups and downs.  I am really tired and not as rested as I’d like, but hey.
Ups – I have a new wordpress, work free blog.
Downs – apparently the trash/recycling isnt going out lately.  So I’m tripping over all my cleaning (see days 1 and 2), and the Mothership has still to send their delivery emissaries for those 28 bins of giveaway books, also causing much tripping (see day 1).  Oh, and I have very concerned mathematicians about our moving project (see day one for link to frightening flickr pics).  We may not be able to easily interfile the stuff in boxes that are print only with stuff on shelves as we’re missing 2 key things – labor and data.  It may all go out of the building, and math is not so happy about that.  I’m hoping to catch up with one or two of them today to try and quell the fire.

For now, I’m starving, want cheese, bacon, and red meat, so I think I’ll try to find one of the aforementioned mathematicians and a 5$ buffet dining hall lunch.

L8rz, y’all

6:24 PM

Well, home now, resting in the quiet, well, quiet except for random gunfire and grenades from whatever game D is playing.  He ordered us pizza, so waiting on that, and I figured I’d round out my day.

This afternoon was spent in training for our new Institutional Repository at Claremont.  This is a pretty exciting addition to our digital library, and I’m really glad the library is taking a proactive, service-to-faculty approach with it. The CCDL is asking the librarians to beta it with selected faculty to outline the process and get enough things in there to encourage faculty buy-in.  Eventually they will have a staff member who will add materials to the IR on behalf of the faculty.

However…. I think they are going to have a struggle to get librarian buy-in.  Not because it’s a good idea, because it really is, but because the interface is really horrific.  And there’s a lot of steps to getting data in there.  And that’s a pain in the ass.  You log in, upload a CV (really, there should be a feed here from the faculty’s page, or this will get out of date FAST), have citations handy, look up the authority name in LoC (and this should somehow be searchable right from the IR interface, imho), make sure you have the right authority name, guess for co-authors you dont know, paste, paste some more, choose a publisher (or create a publisher record if none exists), paste the citation info into the ‘notes’ field because there’s no place for that in the interface (which stuns me to no end), and then upload a pdf of the paper.  Eventually, someone, I think in CCDL, will hunt up the publisher to verify copywright info.

It’s a lot of steps, involving a lot of different windows, and takes a lot of time.  In the hour and a half session, I got 2 citations in.  I am skeptical the librarians are going to take the time to do this regularly, because of the elaborate steps and time required.  I eagerly look forward to the delegation of this work to a permanent person.

In the mean time, it is a GREAT idea and I support the initiative, so I will plan to do one citation a day, first thing in the AM.  I’ll put it in my calendar so I have an annoying pop up to remind me.  : )

A Day in the Life #2

Well, this day was a big bucket of aggravating… It started off right away – See, we’ve been living in the 17th century at home the last handful of days as someone trashed the transformer to our area. They got it fixed last night, and for the first time, my little girl was getting a good night’s sleep (the pitch dark just freaked her out). I was letting her sleep in, until I get an email from one of the desk students. Our circ desk/student manager person called out, and had a desk student email me this news claiming his ’email was out.’ Irritated, was I.

I get in, and resumed the cleaning spree I started yesterday, now focusing on a storage room full of boxes and bags of journals donated a year ago by a widow of a mathematician. Since we are removing journals from the building and emphasizing electronic access, I no longer have to store them to see if we own them or not. They all can go. And they did. There’s a huge, giant mountain of stuff, boxes and bags, and I sure hope housecleaning comes by to pick up the recyclables today.

Right around lunch, my cleaning spree derailed when I got a chat from our NSA (Network System Administrator) that we need to move our blog server and make some fixes. So…. that means that all my templates currently used will break, and I will have to rebuild and reconstruct everything after the move. SIGH. So in the process of talking to said NSA, I asked if I could administer the new blog server and Movable Type. Nope, apparently that job is going to a publications coordinator. Yes, I am really disappointed. Lately, it seems our IT department is shutting out the librarians and restricting the development and exploration of new things. Ugh!

We used to have a really awesome director of IT, but she had to run off and go work somewhere else, and now we’ve got this herd that shuts innovation down and blackballs the librarians from exploring and trying new things. Although, they do play favorites, which also annoys me. I honestly think that if you have capable, curious people who want to try new things, you should enable them to do so. But, that no longer appears to be our culture at work.

So, this day was a big thorn. I’m glad it’s over, and that I can work on an afghan or something. Or read about hosting your own blog, since that seems like something I should learn up on.  : )

A Day in the Life #1

A Day in the Life #1, Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

So this morning on Twitter Lauren Pressley posted about a challenge by Bobbi L. Newman called “A day in the life.” This challenge is for librarians to post about their day in order to share their world with incoming librarians, those interested in librarianship, and, of course, other colleagues. Sounds fascinating, and hey, it will give the granny squares that typically lurk around here a run for their money.

So count me in. : )

8:00 AM

Oh, good morning, email.

Oh, Hai, odd licensing agreement from across the country. Let’s read you. Boy, you havent been updated since 1997, oh fair licensing agreement. We should ask some questions as to what UPenn expects the library to do once we get our 500$ downloaded linguistic data. See, yesterday afternoon I had a computer science faculty member email about a linguistic database she wants to use this summer with a student. She stated the tool was 250$, which is a lot, but manageable for their budget, and it is an area they’re researching in. So I inquire about it. This AM I get an interesting licensing agreement that doesnt exactly state what a library is to do with managing the data, AND the price has jumped from 250$ (a “reduced licensing fee”) to 500$. Hm. I need to find out if the thing can only be downloaded to a single machine or a library network drive or DVD. The last such database I bought for CS was on DVD. If it can only go on one machine, the prof is going to have to suck it up and buy it with department money. We’ll see.

9:19 AM

YES. Coworker just emailed about a free book giveaway. Score! See, engineering is renovating their office this summer and I have bins and bins and bins of books the professors donated to the library. At present, I’m a little overwhelmed with another book moving project, check out my flickr stream of that mess, here – http://flickr.com/photos/jezmynne/sets/72157605814311981/
so I dont really have much time to sort through this stuff. Being able to route them directly out of my office (yes, office. it’s an obstacle course in here at the moment) to the main library is a huge bonus. Time to settle in, count the damn things, and send off for donation acknowledgment letters.

12:34 PM

Well, ~250 gift books processed and binned for the giveaway, and I’m interrupted to go cover the circ desk. Our student has been here a half hour after his shift and has to leave for an appt, and the next student is MIA. So is our student/circ desk manager, who apparently knew of this problem. SIGH.

Well, this means that I can get caught up on other administrative things I find necessary for my job. Like, my monthly summary. One of the things I learned from my father, an independent business owner, is to meticulously log my daily activities. I keep a notebook and a page for each day of work, where I mark what I’m working on, what I’ve accomplished, my To Dos, and any relevant stats, like Reference interactions, Instruction sessions, time spent on projects, or Outreach events. At the end of each month I consolidate this stuff into a monthly summary, which makes for super easy annual reporting and portfolio building. I highly recommend to EVERYONE that you keep a daily and monthly log. It is so very helpful, and, it captures all the work I really do on a day to day basis.

5:14 PM

Done for the day, thankfully! Processed a total of 28 bins of books, omg, I forgot I had enough space for a place for visitors to sit in my office! LOL