Monthly Archives: November 2011

just a ramble–the end of the semester is coming

I don’t know where the semester has gone.  I looked at my calendar this morning and we have 2.5 weeks of class and finals!!!  I’m not ready.

Here’s the list of things I planned to accomplish this semester and how successful I have been:

We’re doing a little shake up involving staff duties, but it’s not quite ready to get off the ground yet. Upcoming action item. Hopefully success.

The biggie was merging the Biology library with the ACES collection as part of creating a Life Science’s hub.  Even though we overspent a little we came in before the deadline for getting the Biology materials integrated.  This success was because I had a kick-butt staff working very hard on the project. [A good staff is worth their weight in chocolate.] Success

As part of the merger we spent time on cleaning up the current periodicals file.  That is mostly done.  There are still some bugs, but I am hopeful that we will have an accurate and up-to-date serials list for the Life Sciences portal page. [As an aside: I am not a fan of the publishers of journals.  Serials catalogers have a special place in the great reading room in the sky because they have a combination of attention to detail and patience that is beyond me.} Ongoing

Working on training materials and updating library procedures and policy and making sure everyone knows where materials are located and what all current policies are. This is an ongoing project, and it has been an ongoing project for ever. I’m getting files in order and I keep going back and forth between wanting the stuff organized and on line so anyone can find it and wanting to have a 3 ring binder with dividers and a table of contents. Ongoing

I have also gotten involved in committee work again.  Staff support committe, staff training and development committee, circulation committee.  I think it is vital for staff and librarians to work together to optimize resources and keep the library running smoothly. Ongoing / Successful


prelude to a help page

One of the assignments for the Technology training subcommittee of the Staff Development & Training Committee  Circ Team Technology Training sub-Committee* is to check out the Library IT page and talk about a tool listed on it.  Before that, I’d like to do a pre-assignment and talk about the library staff page, which has gone from being barely navigable, to being one of my favorite productivity tools for work. It was recently tweaked by a colleague (yay, Chris!!!) in the Administration office and proves, once again, that web designers need to be artists and well as coders.

The first thing to notice is that there is a lot of white space and it is arranged in two columns plus the sidebar. The two columns contain five groups and each group has several links, but the text is clear and to the point.  The placement of each group on the page is logical (if I have any suggestion at all  it would be to put “navigating the library” and “library tools” in the right hand column and move “outside the library information and resources” to the left under directories.

One of my biggest complaints about the library web page collection is that there is no TOC but the new library staff page comes close.  There are links to the IT help desk, Circulation Help, LibGuides…lots of things that were either not on the page before or were not placed in a logical spot on the page. It’s almost enough to make me want to make it my home page on my work computer.

I’ve been going through the links and it’s obvious that some of the web pages need to be updated when you click through but that is a problem with the web in general. That is also the subject of another post.


*edited to correct

Digital Public (and University) Libraries

The Digital Libraries Now blog provided a link to this post from the Public Library Association blog of the ALA about a recent meeting of the National Digital Public Library initiative that I found interesting. It deals with public libraries, but I think that any library that deals with the public, be it public, school, university or special, should be interested in creating an accessible digital library (and making sure the Internet Archive has a preservable hard copy of any material in it).

I found one of the comments especially thought provoking.

Olga K.:

The longer I sit at the reference desk in my public library the more I realize that a trained paraprofessional could, for the most part, do this as well as I could.  [Hey!  I resemble that remark.  I”M a trained (para) professional] Blasphemy!

In fact, I think my time would be better spent providing targeted research assistance to citizens and scholars on a drop-in basis. Likewise, as you say, perhaps too, it would be better spent fact-checking the City Council, supporting local non-profits, and working on mash-ups of our collections and the collections of the people in my community.

Instead of helping people find where S is in the fiction, I can direct the digitization, indexing, and proliferation of our local history collection, and maybe, just maybe, write some local history myself. Librarians need to be creators, not just stewards. It’s all about how to use our time to maximize impact on the community.

Let’s see librarians create content, work with library patrons, and advertize that they can provide “targeted research assistance” to the public, whatever that public may be. Let staff be a conduit between patrons and librarians and provide a base for this interaction between librarians and the public. Take your ideas where you find them, whether from the 11 year old who wants interactive charts of the family of Warrior Cats from her favorite series to the Master Gardener who is interested in working to make a virtual garden available. Keep libraries relevant in the 21st century.

Vacation Brain, I has it

So I am at work and it is very quiet. Three staff, no librarians, no grad students and no students until 11am (somebody has to shelve and clean the white boards, and it’s not going to be me!!!)

Unclutterer has a very appropriate post on vacation brain and how to be productive even when your brain has already taken off for the holidays, including suggestions like filing and cleaning…makes sense to me.  I would imagine that in the library you can include things like reviewing meeting minutes and (my favorite) catching up on professional blogs, posts and tweets.

Another thought. Maybe make a list of all of the good things about your job and what you are grateful for this season.

How are you spending the days before Thanksgiving??


Trying Circulating Zen again

I’ve done this blog before, but I am doing it again, specifically to link to Growing People which is the staff development and learning blog at the University of Illinois.  This is going to be a professional library blog, as opposed to my personal blog or my radio blog.

My old library blog was also called Circulating Zen.