Where's the Library?

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Archive for the ‘Libraries and librarians’ Category

September

Posted by Librarian/Information Professional on September 25, 2013

Wow–here it is the end of September! I’ve been doing a bit of reflection. It has been a journey these 18 years. Overall, a great journey. Met some wonderful students! Worked with some fine, and sometimes not so fine, people. Enjoyed the ride and don’t want it to end.

I truly love helping people find information.

I truly enjoy knowing that they appreciate my efforts.

I know they liked me showing them the paths so that they could replicate my efforts. They could “fine tune” what they found to work for their needs.

I have been blessed!

 

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Management

Posted by Librarian/Information Professional on June 27, 2013

Why would managers not want to point the way? Why won’t management include the staff into plans? Why wouldn’t management want to hear dialogue from “those in the trenches?”

The best managers I have known, and I have known quite a few, always patiently explained the new territory. They tried to get everyone on board with the new directions. They listened to concerns and issues. They were not afraid of questions, challenges, etc. They embraced them, knowing full well that once almost everybody got on board, the new direction would snowball into a new era.

What does this have to do with digital libraries? Really a lot! Managers are always part of the picture. They have various titles, but they control what is valued. If something is not valued it is is usually trashed! This applies to all resources. The most valuable resource are the people who do the work. Staff may seem to be expendable, but replacing people is never easy.

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End of June

Posted by Librarian/Information Professional on June 24, 2013

It is time to blog more, now that it is the End of June. June is a month of weddings and anniversaries. That is enough to make me want to write. Not because of the romance, but because I want to write from the heart.

How to preserve so much information? How to keep it in a viewable format? How to know what is important and what can be let go? These decisions are so arbitrary, yet they must be made. No one else wants to preserve anything unless there is money to be made. It’s all about the “bottom line.”

It makes me think about an aggregating database vendor. The publisher pulled their resources, so the vendor put a positive spin on it. They went out and collected obscure titles so that their “count of resources” would not drop. Yes, they were peer reviewed, but who were those peers? Misleading to say the least. So the decisions were made based on profit not quality.

Yes, I know peer reviewed, but they were not quality.

I disagree with that approach! I think that it is unfortunate that publishers, not those in the field are making those choices.

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Job interview

Posted by Librarian/Information Professional on June 22, 2013

Interviewed for another job yesterday. They wanted experience in an area I don’t have, I have experience in an area they don’t have. Not expecting much out of it, but it would be nice if they actually were serious about me for the job.

I think I could bring a lot to the job for them. Wonder if they see it that way!

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The state of the library?

Posted by Librarian/Information Professional on June 19, 2013

Libraries as a place.

Libraries are ubiquitous.

It’s all online.

We need to save things because everyone else is throwing things away.

All true!! All not true!! That is the problem with libraries. We don’t know what we are doing or where we are going. We have lots of good ideas, but does anybody really care? Oh maybe a few, but for now let’s all play on the Internet!!

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Where is the library going?

Posted by Librarian/Information Professional on October 11, 2012

I thought I knew the answer, or at least had an inkling about where the library of the future would be. Now, I am not so sure. There are too many administrators, (not just library admins) who do not truly value the library. They see it as something that costs the institution money. Since when did services become such a commodity. Does everything have to be based on a profit?

Libraries help an institution make a profit by providing timely access to information. Without background information, it is difficult to make a knowledgeable decision. Government resources can provide statistics and background studies. Databases provide the literature that has been published on a topic. Librarians are the link to finding the information that is sought. Without librarians and libraries, we are left to the mercy of the “big corporations” who will filter what they want us to find and only what they can charge us to receive.

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Reference

Posted by Librarian/Information Professional on September 23, 2012

Interestingly enough the reference questions have been about finding the reserves, checking out books, locating a book on the shelves. Yes, it is a new school year, and this group has not yet learned our system. They will soon and be “old hands” at it.

Since they closed a computer lab, we are busier than ever. Our computers are constantly busy in the evenings, with people waiting to use them. Yes, we have a good crop of “flash drives” left behind.

This afternoon, I have helped someone find a book in the “stacks.” No student knows that term! Also, helped several students find some books; directed some to the circulation desk; explained where reserves are; showed how to use the copy machine; filled up the printers with paper; and the evening is still very young.  Believe it or not, I enjoy reference most of the time. It is one of the more fulfilling jobs in the library, in my estimation. Getting instant feedback for your efforts is always gratifying.

So, if you need some background information on Olympic Games or Beowulf, or need an article about II Chronicles, etc., stop by the reference desk or contact us online!

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Where is the Library?

Posted by Librarian/Information Professional on September 19, 2012

It’s a question that is asked from time to time, yet the library is not just a building. The library can be found online, too. We are accessible. I’m sure you knew that, but people forget that libraries can be used remotely.

As long as you have “privileges” you can use the library from a remote location. That is a ‘life saver” for students and can actually be a “life saver” if the information is critical to your well being. Let’s hope that it is more metaphorically used than actually being out of necessity. See you at the library? Or maybe, you are seeing me at the library now. Maybe not physically, but we are connecting.

The building will close, but the library will stay open for research 24/7.

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September

Posted by Librarian/Information Professional on September 19, 2012

The library “As Place.” Yes, it is true this year, so far. Lots of students. Some just want to print a paper. Some assigned to the library to “study.” Some just “need a book.” (Oh yes, the typical question to approach a librarian and they do really need some help).

Encouraging signs of this new year are some of the assignments. What does this passage of scripture mean? Find a book and some articles. Another assignment, create a list of 20 controversial topics for possible research. The next step? Narrow it down to a topic to write about. These assignments expect the students to find information to support their topic. Then must ask for a book in another library (Interlibrary Loan) They may start with the broad searches, and then narrow down to a specific databases. They get to expand their horizons and to see what can be found. They are learning resources are available and then using them. How about that!!

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Reference and the New Library

Posted by Librarian/Information Professional on September 23, 2011

You know some say reference is dead. They should come sit at the reference desk with me. Not that every second is busy, but people still need to discover resources. That is my job when I sit at the desk!

I show them ways to find what they are hunting. Sometimes I show them the library databases and the library catalog. I show them how to search to find “on topic” information. I show them subject searching in the library catalog. For example, if someone needs a book about William Shakespeare, they need to use the name as a subject, otherwise they will get all the books that contain his writings. If we use his name as a subject, then they get what other people had to say about his writing.

How is this related to digital resources? Some of the methods that I use to teach people lead them to digital resources. Databases contain digital resources. Library catalogs do, too.

I think we over-estimate people’s abilities to locate what they need. Most of the time, they do a quick look at Google and then think that is all there is. Google works for its purpose, but not to find specific information for a topic.

Oh yes, Wikipedia! It is a great starting point for many topics. Besides the encyclopedic materials, there are citations that can get people started toward the “right stuff.”

Reference is not dead, but those who want to kill it don’t appreciate what reference is all about! They do not understand or want to understand the “information needs” of the people who come into the library.

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2011 It’s a new school year!!

Posted by Librarian/Information Professional on September 3, 2011

Hooray, the new school year has begun. We marched in our regalia for Convocation and watched as new faculty and staff were introduced. Looking at the faces filled with anticipation and hope is always uplifting.
Working in the library right now is more about helping people log on to the network, finding “the stacks”, and dispensing general information.
I am still without an assistant. I have been using student workers to help fill the gap until the status of my assistant can be determined. It is difficult to plan when you don’t know for sure the resources that will be available. Yet, I think I will proceed along the lines that all will work out.
My task, that I have assigned to me, is ERM. Electronic Resource Management. I hope to get our resources whipped into shape so that I can get on with other projects in the library.

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Digital projects

Posted by Librarian/Information Professional on June 8, 2011

Since I started this blog, I have been adding digital records to our library catalog (OPAC for all you librarians out there). When I was a library assistant, or technical worker, I added batches of e-documents that I got from Dataminer. I would filter records that were created in a previous month and then process them into our OPAC.

In our department, we tried several methods to upload them. Student workers checked to see if they were already cataloged and adding 856 fields with URLs. We tried dumping in the entire batch filtered for our library. We tried variations on the same idea. We still weren’t satisfied.

When I got to be in charge of the department, I experimented some more and now have a different variation. I filter the records at Dataminer by our depository number and then download the batch. Since some of the links include records to the GPO catalog, but not to the digital item, I don’t want to include those records. I use MarcEdit to make batch changes to the entire bunch and then upload them into our OPAC. It is not quite that simple, but it is not that difficult either. It takes some tweeking of the records and of the holdings codes, and I am done.

I used a similar process to batch load e-journals and ERIC records. I may write about them another day. Hope this jogs someone into thinking about a better way than I am now using and that they let me know. Until then, it is the best that I have come up with.

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It’s June and what to do??

Posted by Librarian/Information Professional on June 7, 2011

Every summer it seems there are so many things that I would like to accomplish, like emptying 2 file cabinets full of old unused materials. Yet it is so hard to get to my projects. It is not for lack of trying. Sometimes it is the lack of time and resources, i.e. available workers, and sometimes it is other people’s priorities. You know the type, they dream up stuff for me to do because I have all this available time. They often are my peers, who convince the right people that this is something that “we” should do. Funny, the “we” is usually me, and my projects get to take a back seat. So far I am waiting on that to happen as it always does, every summer.

So back to the other issue, having the resources to get to my projects. I came back after Memorial Day and my week vacation to discover that I had virtually no workers at all. One worker who had agreed to work found the opportunity to more hours in her home department. That left me with one worker who wanted to work one hour a day! So I dug through the very few applications. Most of the applicants had another campus job and only wanted another hour or so, here or there. No real help for me there! I did see one promising applicant, who informed me that she had just decided to take a job at a summer camp. Lucky me, I now had one worker could give me one hour per day. Since my assistant is out having major surgery, not enough workers!

Fortunately, things have a way of turning out OK. The original worker didn’t get the expected hours, after all, so I now have some excellent help. Wish I could steal her, but that’s not likely.

As I said, things have a way of righting themselves, today one of my academic school year workers walked in wanting to have some hours to work! YEA!! A trained worker!! So now we can, at least, climb out from under the never ending mail! I actually started thinking about emptying those 2 file cabinets again!

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Break time is over!!

Posted by Librarian/Information Professional on May 22, 2011

Hi everyone–I decided to re-awaken my blog. I have been enjoying too much of a respite since I finished “library school.”
I have some thoughts that have been smoldering about libraries, processes, technology & more. So I think it’s time!!

I have been on vacation and tomorrow is back to work again. The Spring semester is over and Graduation is finished. My assistant is off due to surgery and I am not sure if I will have a student helper when I get back. (It was up in the air last week–student was trying for a better paying job! Can’t say that I blame her, but we do have some unofficial perks that the “private sector” does not, like understanding when there are exams to be taken or that a visit home is past due.)
Why am I writing about all this? Because it is a good time to review procedures and to identify what needs to be done and how it should be done. One of those steps we forget about as we slog along every day and don’t consider there might be better, or more efficient ways to accomplish our tasks. Also, maybe some of the tasks we are doing, don’t need to be done. Hmmmm….

I think more of the work flow can be accomplished by student workers and I intend to point more of the work their direction. We have bright students and they are capable of doing more than we sometimes expect them to do. So, tomorrow, I intend to begin rewriting the procedures!

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A new school year–a new time!

Posted by Librarian/Information Professional on September 16, 2009

It’s been forever since I have written to this blog, or so it seems. It was another world when I was a student and a library worker (soon to be a “real librarian”). Now, I am one and it is funny how it looks from the other side. I thought I knew, but it is not quite the same. I enjoy helping students find resources. Thank you, Dr. Van Fleet for the reference class. It should be mandatory for all future librarians.

It’s funny how each SLIS class has impacted me. It truly was a growth experience. I don’t intend to stop growing! Right now, I am experimenting with Twitter for library promotion. This summer, I worked on our library web page. I made some progress. It is good to have access again to the materials that are posted. I wish that I could upload the finished pages to the website, instead of having to edit them through the CMS (Content Management System). It is tedious to recreate html links and to have to explain to non-librarians where changes need to be made, and why. If your library allows more access to the finished product, you are lucky indeed. Unfortunately, those who are in control, do not realize that libraries have changed and “are not their father’s libraries.” Digital management is so important to library success!

I am back playing with Facebook, but it is more a personal project, much like my genealogy work. Yet nothing is a stand alone product. We are all products of all our efforts and insights. We don’t always realize it, but it is better when we do.

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