7 out of 9

It’s finals week….
And the University library is abuzz with students. Loud students. Doing papers, projects, reading, studying, all the like.  Getting ready for my summer schedule here, which is not so bad. I’m actually looking forward to this summer. Which I don’t really usually say, and I don’t know why it’s happening now. Curious optimism I suppose. Either way, things are about to slow down here. We will probably do some weeding, and I can continue to work on the digital stuff, which is time consuming and hopefully take more time out to write things.

I’ve been lazy on the blogging, and in every aspect of my life but there wasn’t much to miss. Same old same old. We got a new live one for the tech center at public, she is a mentally ill woman who harasses other patrons and accuses us of shooting laser beams at her with our computers. She had to be arrested last week, I’m sure she will be back. I only dealt with her once, which was more mild. Where she yelled at me her computer didn’t work, started repeatedly banging the mouse against the counter. When I was gone, she proceeded to yell at the guy next to her saying he hit her in the head with his mouse. My co-worker who took over for me dealt with the rest of that encounter, but I remember telling her to keep a look out for that lady as I was leaving. Things must have escalated for her, or maybe a change in medication? Lucky for me it’s Memorial Day and I took Tuesday off so I don’t have to be back there for 2 weeks. YEEESSSSS. And I’m not even going to Vegas anymore due to unforeseen circumstances but whatever.

On another note I’m going to go on a side rant advertising the book I’m currently reading:
As a single 30 something weddings and babies (other people’s babies) seem to be the theme and what take up a good portion of my time and money. And YES, there I am honored and happy to see those among me growing into wives, husbands, and parents, they are happy this is great. But today. OH today. Bitmoji has added a new “maternity” section where you can make your emoji pregnant. I guess this is nice for people who are sporting a bump, but I can see a lot of practical jokes played this way. Anyways, I feel like it’s kind of just thrown in a young woman’s face quite a lot, like a lot. It’s hard enough to have your internal clock basically screaming at you to fulfill your humanly duties and stick a baby inside of it you have to deal with the societal pressures as well. Or the people asking if you are married and when you say no, they will say something sweet like, you’re next, why not, insert well-meaning comment here. It actually almost kind of makes it worse. I guess the point of my story is being a woman today is much different than it was 50 years ago. My co-worker introduced me to this book, which I am not far enough into as I want to be, but it’s good, here’s a tidbit for you even if you don’t open up the link and look at the book. I’m not the only one, who is at the very least waiting, because now there is time…
Today, only twenty percent of Americans are wed by age twenty-nine, compared to nearly sixty percent in 1960. The Population Reference Bureau calls it a “dramatic reversal.”

http://books.simonandschuster.com/All-the-Single-Ladies/Rebecca-Traister/9781476716565

Also, you know I had to dig around for this:
http://www.prb.org/Publications/Articles/2010/usmarriagedecline.aspx

Either way. Maybe I’m on some feminist trip these days. But I have also picked up a new biography Zelda about F. Scott Fitzgerald’s wife who had mental issues, and eventually was committed to a hospital and died there in a fire. “Hysterical” women could be thrown into institutions by their husbands when they became too much of a nuisance and just get lost in the system never to see the light of day again. This is true for many more types of underrepresented people.  There is a very dark part of the human mind and where it can go, both for mentally ill AND “sane” folks. But those dark parts are worth acknowledging and exploring.

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Case of the Sundays

Some days…

Are better than others. For sure. Today we started our 24/7 period for finals for the spring semester. Which means sometimes I have to be the adult in the room when the Circulation supervisors don’t come in until later. It’s Sunday, so on top of kind of envying everybody who got to stay in bed with this gloom and have a Lazy Sunday, or seeing pics of everybody brunching on Instagram or snapchat I am here. Basically dealing with all the things. And I just can’t wait to go back to bed…

It’s inevitable that during this 24/7 period more people are needing access to our databases and resources, so I guess it’s inevitable that there will be more problems that may come up. But this morning there were quite a few that I couldn’t fix, I don’t have the access to create or update patron records so they basically have to wait until the supervisor comes in, which always makes me sad because I know people are basically in crunch time right now and those 5 hours of research could be vital to them, but I continue on.

The day goes something like this:

Wake up tired

Rain and gloom with purring furball make me want to stay in bed FOREVER.

Window left open in car means a soaking passenger seat and door that kind of smells funky.

Student worker late, then calls off.

Multiple patrons with access issues, must break news you cannot help them and they have to wait.

Many chat questions, Coca-Cola and technology, child abuse effects, strategic marketing in healthcare, annual 10-K report for Harley.

Therapy dog comes to chill out and relax us! YAY!

Therapy dog has diarrhea in the library while handler tries to get him outside. Very pungent.

More phone calls and questions about poster printing and other things.

Look at clock and want to cry. Imagine self on Tropical Island.

That’s pretty much the gist of it today. Sigh. And back to Rancho tomorrow I have to try to find some silver lining here. I think that may be Game of Thrones tonight, although as mentioned before I think I may only be able to muster enough might to get back into PJs and get back into bed.

Snap me academics

Today the circulation supervisor asked me if I was interested in developing a library Snapchat with her. Um, YES!

I find myself on the edge of the millennial generation here at the University. I still feel that I have some old school methods about me, but my attention span is next to nothing and my insatiable need for instant gratification is apparent in many aspects of my personal and professional life. I like to think that I’m close enough age wise to the students that I haven’t quite lost touch with what’s trending in social media, I may not be so hip on the music these days, but you know they say that happens.

Somebody even told me the other day “I gotta snapchat this” should be the tagline on my tombstone, since I say it so often. Although slightly offended by this, I quickly recovered and thought well, at least it would be funny. I’m what you would call a social media jumper. After a break up I prefer to switch my main social media channel. I quit Facebook 5 years ago, then was strictly Instagram. Earlier this year I ditched Instagram for Snapchat. It’s my safe place. No trace of ex’s… No why did you delete me…No pictures of them and girlfriend version whatever. Snapchat is quick, funny, and those face swap options were really groundbreaking. As an app it really caters to the short attention span of the younger generation. Which, according to this article from time magazine article from 2015 is now official shorter than that of a goldfish:

http://time.com/3858309/attention-spans-goldfish/

So what can using Snapchat do for an academic library? We already have a Twitter, Facebook, YouTube channel and Instagram account. But do students really use these? I don’t really think so. How can we market this to the students? Sometimes I think we just overthink things. Here’s how I see it. Step 1, get the student workers to add us. Step 2, maybe a bit of advertising, throw out some snap challenges and contests, nothing pulls them in like free stuff. Step 3, just have fun with it. That’s how I really feel anyways, it’s free, we are here anyways, what do we have to lose with it really? Just one more account to snap for. Looking at the library through the lens of a reference librarian in her natural habitat.

What is a regular monkey?

Today one of our patrons approached me looking for a book about “regular” monkeys. My face went blank, wheels spinning. What is a “regular monkey”? There is no book called Monkeys of course only specific species. Well, I can see it in my head. What it looks like this regular monkey, but really are they chimpanzees? I don’t really know.

I think many people would get a kick of out librarian’s google searches. I get to the web: “what is a regular monkey”? OK this gets me nowhere, according to Wikipedia Monkeys are dry nosed primates of which there are 260 species. OK think, like Curious George monkey. “what kind of monkey is curious George”. The first hit describes him as looking like a juvenile chimp. Bingo. Back to the OPAC and chimpanzee pulls the book with the picture of exactly what I was looking for.

One of the joys of working a reference desk is following the stream of your thoughts that leads you to the final conclusion. It’s like a chase. I used to get scared each day, not knowing how to answer the wide breadth of questions that you may get in a day. But honestly I’ve found I just say… Well what would I do if I were looking for this information? And I just kind of act like a friend that is helping somebody find something. I lend out my brain. And I think sometimes this is the extent of being a reference librarian. I enjoy the questions that formulate, and sometimes, think my google search history would make an interesting coffee table book.