What librarians do (according to the feds)

Another Monday, another 4-hour long stint in the tech center at the public. I have my cataloging cart to keep me company, and the general public using the computers seem to be well behaved and have all woken up on the right side of the bed (Hooray!). I hope I’m not jinxing myself here, but times like this that it’s not bad at all, just sitting in a computer lab, cataloging and blogging. As I was putting some notated books on the processing shelf in the back I noticed a giant copy of a reference book that was moving from reference to circulating, probably because we are getting an update. The book is called; The Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-2017. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, it’s a yearly publication complied by the US Department of Labor and Bureau of Labor Statistics that essentially gives a description of, and projected outcomes for specific occupations. The book is very large, so I’m pretty sure that it covers most traditional job roles and titles.


I had to see what is in store for me for the next couple of years. When I flipped to the first page of librarian I found the heading What Librarians Do. Hey! That’s the name of my blog, I had to read on, the US Dept. of Labor answers the question I’ve been trying to figure out the last 4 years in two sentences:

“Librarians help people find information and conduct research for personal and professional use. Their job duties may change based on the type of library they work in such as public, school, and medical libraries” (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016, p.373).

It’s a pretty vague description but I guess I’ll take it as a general entry point into what being a librarian encompasses. It goes on to describe the different kinds of librarians: user services, technical services, school librarian, public librarian, academic librarian, law, government, medical and corporate. The projected increase in jobs to 2024 is 2%, at least it’s a growth but it’s slow compared to other industries. The job prospects indicate strong competition since there are a limited number of jobs, but it’s supposed to turn towards the later part of the 20’s when more people start retiring.

I recently advised a friend who is applying to library school to do so, even if being a librarian isn’t the best “prospect” wise on paper and reports. I remember Forbes putting out an article for the WORST Master’s degrees listing the MLIS as #1 the exact month that I started grad school back in 2011. I don’t know as much as I may complain about the random patron here or there, and the politics that happen all over the place being a librarian really is a pretty sweet gig when you aren’t getting yelled at or having somebody attach themselves to you and suck the life out of you for all their needs of the day (both information and otherwise). Reading on I also found an answer to another question I get asked all the time, do you think we even need librarians? Well, the US Department of Labor sure does, they say:

“However, there will continue to be a need for librarians to manage libraries and help patrons find information. Parents value the learning opportunities that libraries present for children because libraries are able to provide children with information they often cannot access from home. In addition, the increased availability of electronic information is also expected to increase the demand for librarians in research and special libraries, where patrons will need help sorting through the large amount of digital information” (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016, p.374).

It’s hard to describe a thing in words. I know I try it all the time, but these over simplified descriptions offer a general overview of the world of librarianship and why it’s not going away any time soon. Since I’m bored, and stuck here with this book, I’m going to pick a random page and see what I should have been instead of a librarian….. drum roll please….

Paralegals and Legal Assistants?? Um, yeah I don’t think I would last in the legal world, but they do have an 8% growth outlook. Maybe in a couple years if I’m still stuck in part time limbo I’ll reconsider. Anyways, if you are looking for a new career, or just wondering what the prospects are for your occupation I’m sure your local library has a copy. And like most things, you can also find this information online HERE.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition.


Love in the Upside Down

So you know how I mentioned I started using some online dating apps?

I quit. It kind of looked like this.


I only lasted a week and a half and I just couldn’t do it anymore. If you watch stranger things you will understand this reference (If not, sorry and you should totally go watch it). I couldn’t help but feeling like I was in the “upside down” aka this odd version of reality that was kind of dark, confusing, and gave me nightmares. No really, it gave me nightmares.

So let me explain. It’s not that I make myself super accessible to the opposite sex but I’m out there in the world, and ringless. I work in two very public buildings full of all kinds of folks, I go out to bars with friends, or sometimes even solo. I attend weddings, and functions for both work and a vast network of friends from all walks of life and nobody even talks to me let alone asks me on dates. Every person who talks to me wants something, a book, an article, headphones, for me to help them edit their paper randomly at a Starbucks, you get the idea. Ok, I’m not counting the 2 or 3 weirdos that kissed my hand or slipped me their number at the public, sorry it just isn’t valid as being something worth pursuing on my end that could lead to anything.

You can imagine what it feels like to suddenly have people interested in you. Or, what they think you are or could be, or whatever. As I mentioned in my last post, is that the right kind of attention? Well, it may be the only kind we have immediate access to. I got asked a lot of questions, and the one that kept coming up was “What do you want?” I wasn’t trying to be snarky or anything but what I really wanted to say in my heart of all hearts was “To NOT meet a man online.” But that wasn’t going to get me anywhere, was it?

So I had some conversations with amazingly candid dudes that were looking for love. I appreciated the forwardness and truthfulness of it all, but at the end of the day it felt like more of a business transaction or interview, and it was not fun. Some people may have fun, I’m not knocking it for all but just saying for me there was nothing fun about it.

Let’s sift to my two actual (kind of) transactions. I talked with one guy for almost the whole time, and really it was good conversation. He seemed like a really great person, and had a good sense of humor and I kind of got all weird on him once about needing time before we met and he even talked to me after that, which was a major plus. But then, the meeting thing came up again, and I felt like maybe he didn’t really hear me the first time about needing time then said something kind weird that I thought might be one of those passive aggressive cryptic things so I just kind of cut it off there. I mean, I could have been wrong and maybe just jumped ship out of fear and my own personal issues, but I guess I’ll never know. That’s ok though I’m learning to trust my gut a bit more these days. We wished one another well and that was that.

And then, I agreed to meet up with somebody because something about them piqued my interest. Weird thing about this profile is there were 6 pictures that all seemed to look different. I actually on first instinct thought it was somebody that goes to my hot yoga on Sundays based upon one of the pictures and his description. But, who can be sure right? We made plans to meet for coffee on a Wednesday and guess who never showed? Yes, yes, my first actual step out of the box and I got stood the f* up. Ugh.

I waited 15 minutes, then took my coffee on a walk and actually was a bit relieved. I went home and thought, eh, I’ll give the app another night see if this guy actually says something about the no show. Crickets. I deleted that app, and the other one I had and have since been able to resume a semi normal but still rather lonely life. Well almost normal. After the great stand up I couldn’t shake the feeling that this guy is the same person that, two weeks ago, was half naked next to me in a room that was 105 degrees struggling through eagle, camel and locust pose right along with me. Maybe I’m just being paranoid, but it was distracting and it threw off my practice. I told some people about my suspicion, and they said to check the sign in list and see if his name is on there. (From our very brief exchanges I do know his first name). I never got around to this, and honestly it seemed a bit weird to do. But this morning…

My regular yoga teacher is amazing, and she knows everybody by name, and will often talk to us in class. So when she was welcoming a certain suspiciously tall 30 something who came in late by first name I almost fell over laughing. Yep, I was right!! It’s the dude that didn’t show, unless by the biggest coincidence in the world this other guy just happens to have the same name. She said his name a couple more times during class and each time I wanted to laugh so hard I just had to hold it all in. I have no clue if he recognizes me, my bangs are back, and I have workout glasses on and horrible outfits and am covered in sweat, but he may…

I’m not mad. In fact this is one of the most hilarious and eye opening things to me about online dating and the “upside down” world. I don’t even have the idea of how I can communicate with this person and perhaps share a laugh about the whole thing. I wanted to but didn’t, what am I scared of? What if he just pretends it all never happened and I’m some crazy lady? What if I make him feel horrible? What if he tried later to hit me up and I was gone? AH! Who knows, we don’t really know one another and we don’t owe each other anything but it’s just so darn ODD. In the alternate universe of the “upside down” where neither of us ever really existed we could complement one another, make plans to meet up with the possibility and intent of seeing if we could actually have a friendly, and/or physically intimate relationship. While here in person, in flesh and the vulnerability of our sweaty yoga practice we are complete strangers. The plane we connected on disintegrated with the push of a delete button.

Online dating is a reality for so many people, and I’m sure there’s many more stories such as this one. I found some interesting stats on online dating in an article that cited a source called Statistic Brain. I’m a bit weary of the site, seeing as it has ads throughout but, the article that used it IS published in an academic journal so… anyways here’s some numbers…

According to this site, there are 54 million single people in the US. The total number of people who have tried online dating is almost 50 million. That is incredible. The online dating companies are becoming quite the lucrative business profiting about 2 billion per year collectively.

71% of the people surveyed believe in love at first sight (yes!), blonde is the most desired hair color for females at 32% followed by brown and black both at 16% (I’ll call that a half and half since those add up to 32) and guess what, 38% of women prefer “nice guys” and the top kind of preferred lady is the “modern career girl” at 42%.

(Statistic Brain, 2017)

For the full site and more info click here

Statistic Brain Research Institute. (2017, May 12 Published). Online dating. Retrieved from http://www.statisticbrain.com/online-dating-statistics/


Crush like it’s 1999

It’s Tuesday evening, and tonight in the tech center we are visited by the haunting drums of ancient Mexico. Yes, it’s the mall’s summer outdoor concert series featuring world music that takes place right outside the center’s thin windows. There’s chanting, a strong solid drum beat, and dancers with headdresses. The whole thing is quite hypnotizing and beautiful. I don’t know how the tech patrons really feel about it, but at least it’s drowning out the sound of RATT’s greatest hits, which the newest drifter addition to the tech center patronage is listening to loudly on cheap earphones in the front row. He does this really great thing where it takes him several minutes to settle into his computer, including banging the keyboard around, turning it upside down, lifting and lowering it on the base of the computer multiple times, shifting around his personal belongings in the small space, hanging his hat on different corners of the monitor. He’s actually listening to Iron Maiden right now while searching for telemarketing jobs on craigslist… Maybe he’s not as off as he seems….

Anyhow, I’ve been spinning my wheels so much on this job hunting spiel that I forgot to keep doing what I love to be doing, which is of course finding strange library books and talking about them. I was early to the public today so I went undercover as a patron with headphones on and cruised the stacks. Why have I never done this before in my four years here? I went up and down the adult fiction and non-fiction aisles just browsing like I had nowhere that I needed to be. Here at the public we have end caps where we turn some books cover facing out to “merchandise” or advertise them so that patrons may be more apt to check them out. We are told to put books with catchy covers, or relevant topics. So I was surprised to see this one from “The Need to Know Library” entitled: Everything You Need to Know about Dating and Relationships. It has a wonderful romantic stock photo from what looks like the early 90’s on the cover, and so many fun headings and pictures throughout, I had to pick it up and read it for myself.

book cover

I’m no Casanova myself, so why not take in the ancient wisdom of this dating book while dating was still a real world thing and didn’t exist solely in some swiping app, or perverse supermarket of catchy profile names, bad pick-up lines, over flattering angles and cropped profile pics.

The first picture in the book says “Dating can be confusing and unsettling” (Hovanec, 2000).

book pic

Well you got that right sister. Also, please note the amazing corded 90’s phone/answering machine. The one thing I have noted in non-fiction books is that the stock photos used are usually about a decade behind the release date, although there are many 90’s features, the book was actually released in 2000. Come to find though, 17 years later this caption is more relevant than ever.

The chapters include: To date or not to date? Crushes, flirts, and other scary things. Getting Started: making a date. What is a relationship, anyway? Dating smarts and safety. Getting serious: beyond dating. And finally, When it’s over: breaking up. So this book runs the gamut from dating start to finish.

Reading through it is the normal kinds of stuff, no means no, don’t get drunk or high on dates, communicate, and feel free to kiss on the first date if you feel comfortable with it. There are no rules! One of my favorite parts is when the author describes that moment, you know that moment when you undeniable have…. A CRUSH.

It always happens when you least expect it. There you are minding your own business, and you look up and see Him. Or maybe you’re hanging out with your friends and suddenly She walks by. Time stops, and the world around you fades away. That’s it—you have a crush. (Hovanec, 2000)

This book was for sure meant for a teenager about 20 years ago, the dramatic nature of the description of a crush says it all. Time stops, literally stops, the 14 year old girl in me is definitely enjoying this. I love finds like this, it allows you to take a peek into how much our culture and customs have changed in such a short period of time. If the people in this book only knew about bumble or tinder…..

Hovanec, E. (2000). Everything you need to know about: dating and relationships. New York: Rosen Publishing.

The Discomfort Zone

It’s Sunday, my summer day off, and instead of blogging from the library as I usually do I am blogging from the comfort of my own couch while I re-watch season six of Game of Thrones and have a series of mini heart attacks. Life has been quite chaotic lately, and I feel like I’ve been neglecting my self-imposed duties as a z list blogger. Well If I don’t give myself the job, nobody will, so I should keep it up.

What’s been keeping me so busy you ask? Well that Skype interview I had about a month moved me on to second round, which in the world of academic librarianship is a big to do. So what, a second interview, what’s the big deal? I already work at an academic library, but I’m only part time, I’m staff not faculty, and the hiring process for part time people is nowhere near as intensive as the hiring process for a full-time librarian.

Most Universities will do a national search, meaning they look at the best applicants from all over the country, and will usually select a pool for a first video chat or phone interview. After the first round (some may have more this is just my experience so far) they will invite a few to the campus for a second all day interview process. This is my first time doing the big all day one, although I have a couple of friends who have done it multiple times. There are even some horror stories of being picked up from the airport by other library staff and whisked immediately to dinner with everybody, no downtime to clean yourself up or take a rest. It seems intense, but I guess it’s what you make of it.

The interview itself involves meeting basically everybody in the library, campus tours, library tours, a workshop or presentation that the applicant gives, a sit down with the dean and the associate dean (the higher ups), a short talk with HR and what I can only assume is a whole lot of repeating yourself, smiling, and just hoping that the day would end. There is an actual interview schedule which I got emailed a couple of weeks ago, times, places to be. Think of how nervous you are in a job interview (most last an hour or so) then stretch that out to 8 hours, then add to the mix that you are in a strange place, a city far from home and probably sleeping in a hotel with no knowledge of the city. At least here it’s in my very own home town, so I feel like I have a bit of an advantage. Not in the sense that I think I stand a better chance of getting it simply because I live close by, but in the sense that I know the turf, I know the city and the campuses like the back of my hand because I’ve lived here my whole life, so that aspect of the nerves gets to fall away. It’s a smart process because if you are going to choose somebody to join your team you really need to get to know them, especially for distance candidates, you only get one chance to hang out with them, so you should cover all bases.

So I guess long story short, I’ve been a nervous wreck, prepping my workshop, practicing my workshop. Fine tuning my workshop, researching the library vision plan, yearly report, the staff they recently hired and pretty much just freaking the heck out about the whole thing. It has disrupted my world completely, but mainly only because I have let it. From experience, the best way I know to combat nerves is preparation, so it has been getting all my energy. It all goes down tomorrow so at the very least, it will be over and done with and I can return to my regularly scheduled program, at least for a bit. There is a welcome dinner tonight, which shouldn’t be too bad, I think it’s just with 2 ladies from the search committee.

In the meantime, lots has been going on at the U as well, there is a summer lull with the students, but an influx of donations I’ve been copy cataloging and a surprising number of reference questions through the email and chat functions. Over in the public it’s the same old song. So many patrons, not enough staff, a million passports and carts and carts of cataloging for children’s. Busy, busy and more busy.

On the writing front, I’ve obviously NOT been blogging. But I have been trying to submit to more lit mags, so far 2 more rejections, one was a short story and one creative non-fiction, I have one other poetry submit out, so just waiting on that rejection to come through shortly. Had an interesting talk with a friend who is an artist (in sense that he draws, went to art school and has recognizable, measurable talent) and he really said what I did wasn’t poetry but more of a “writing”. Instead of saying I wrote a poem I should just say I wrote something.  It was well intention-ed and a way to change perspective of what it is that comes out of me and lands on paper, but it discouraged me quite a bit. I think I’m seeking validation from others, but I don’t think I will ever get it. Not in the sense that would ever make me feel comfortable anyways. Maybe really putting out your “art” should make you feel uncomfortable, maybe it should make others feel uncomfortable. Discomfort could be an indicator that you are on the right track.

Seeing as how I try to make these entries part life experience/part research I threw a quick google scholar search using “comfort zone” +personal growth to see what was out there. Most of the stuff talks about social justice, and cross-cultural immersion which is very interesting, but what I’m thinking of for my situation focuses more on individual experiences we seek out that can push us into new realms of existing that are less governed by fear. I came across an article Musings on Adventure Therapy by Alvarez & Stauffer which caught my eye. I’ve never heard of adventure therapy, sounds amusing. Reading the article doesn’t give me much so I thought I’d get a background on it.

Turns out that “Adventure Therapy” is a technique to explore both group and individual outcomes after being given challenging tasks in which the outcomes are based on the choices made by the person or group of people making them. Adventure therapy often takes place outdoors, in nature, and consists of games and challenges that are meant to be metaphoric for things we may encounter in everyday life.  According to the Encyclopedia of Counseling most of the evidence to support adventure therapy is anecdotal and there is no well-defined or widely accepted method to implement adventure therapy. (Martin & Ashby, 2008)

I would do it, it sounds interesting. Although I’m more attracted to individual kinds of therapy it may just be because group stuff is new to me. But getting in touch with nature, problem solving, challenging yourself, all sounds good to me. I also found another new concept called ecotherapy in my digging which is equally interesting, but that’s for another day.

It kind of reminds me of that Simpsons episode where Homer tries to teach Ned how to “live” and they end up marrying cocktail waitresses in Vegas. Reason number 1,432 why I think Homer Simpson is one of the best characters in the history of characters.



Martin, J. & Ashby, J. (2008). Adventure therapy. In F. T. Leong (Ed.), Encyclopedia of counseling (Vol. 4, pp. 13-14). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications Ltd. doi: 10.4135/9781412963978.n4


Misery? We got an index for that…

After having a particularly trying couple of weeks, I decided that I needed to brush up on my data searching skills. Lame? Maybe…But insightful? Always… I never fail to learn something new and random when browsing data and statistics. Not everything in this world is collected and measured by an institution that can be considered “reliable”, but there is some pretty strange stuff out there that is collected. Institutions collect data that they feel is important to them in some ways, and many of the big places like the CDC, DLS and Census can provide a pretty interesting picture of our history in many different aspects of the human realm. Seeing as I’m grumpy and all, I came across something that caught my eye. Something called, ironically enough, The Misery Index.

Misery index pic

Data Planet provided information about the United States Misery Index number from 1947-2017, and surprisingly it looks like “misery” peaked sometime near 1981. I wasn’t sure what these numbers even mean though. What does a misery index score of 5 mean? Where did they get this information from?

Here’s the background from Data Planet:

Reports the Misery Index, a calculated measure of economic health based on the inflation rate and the unemployment rate. The Misery Index was created originally by economist Arthur Okun in the 1960s as the Economic Discomfort Index. Ronald Reagan is attributed to its renaming. The index is a calculated measure of economic health of a nation that sums the inflation rate and the unemployment rate. Data-Planet utilizes Bureau of Labor Statistics data to calculate the statistics presented here. (Data-Planet, 2017).

Basically you add the unemployment rate to the inflation rate and there is your index number. When I look at the numbers, I’m kind of surprised that the recession of 2007 didn’t match the misery index numbers of the early 80’s. Looks like that one was worse than the one that I had experienced. I hear a lot about these things being cyclical, markets, money, inflation, etc. I’m not very well studied in the area of economics, but it’s important historically to understand the basic premise for why these things happen, so we have a better chance of avoiding or preparing for it.I guess the Misery Index only deals with “financial” misery, which I suppose IS the overall cause of misery for many of us out there, even though we try to remember that money isn’t everything most people I know struggle with it, myself included.

Now that I’ve depressed you with talk of the financial struggles, recession, and overall misery, here’s a fun fact… 55-64 year olds in the US appear to be taking better care of their natural teeth in in recent years. In 2001 the % of 55-64 year olds wearing dentures was 15.8%, by 2010 that percentage decreased to 10.5 %. That’s more than a 5% decrease! What great news, and what a time to be alive with all this modern dentistry.


In other things that are awesome in the US it appears that we have done a good job in nearly eradicating the Sexually Transmitted Disease Chancroid, which peaked at 5,000 cases a year in 1987 then shrank substantially sometime in the early 2000’s clocking only 25 cases in 2008. I don’t even think we learned about this one in school, I’ve never heard of it. (Not that I’m an expert in STD’s or anything but…)  This may be another one for another day, but if you are interested in what the hell Chancroid is take a peek here:

Chancroid Fast Facts- CDC




Data-Planet (2017-05-06). Misery Index: Misery Index, 01/1948 – 04/2017.Data-Planet™ Statistical Datasets by Conquest Systems, Inc. [Data-file]. Dataset-ID:077-003-001

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2013-01-15). Dentures: Currently Wearing Dentures | Age: 55-64 years | Race/Ethnicity: All | Gender: All Genders, 2001 – 2010. Data-Planet™ Statistical Datasets by Conquest Systems, Inc. [Data-file]. Dataset-ID: 005-044-001

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2008-10-18). Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Rates: STD Count | Gender: All Genders | Standard Name*: Chancroid, 1984  – 2008.Data-Planet™ Statistical Datasets by Conquest Systems, Inc. [Data-file]. Dataset-ID:005-020-001

The sense to be uncommon

I came into work and the circulation supervisor tells me he has something to show me (this is always good). Earlier in the week an unknown person delivered a book to the library saying that it was from a certain higher up in the University and they requested us to put it in the collection on their behalf. I guess this is complicated, nobody knew who this person was, and what, if any, connection they had to the University. Based on the actual premise of the book, it seems more likely that it was just a random person off the street, but I guess that is to be determined.

At first glance the book is thin, and has a pretty basic cover. It’s called Uncommon Sense by Seth B. Moorhead.  Let’s get a background from the blurb on the back. Moorhead is a retired Aeronautical Engineer with an MBA. He worked mainly for the government on military project for the Navy. This book is a manuscript of “17 concise, researched, and well thought out essays which offer thought-provoking solutions to problems” (Moorhead, 2016).

IMG_1306 - Copy

The essays are broken up into categories, Science, Government, Finances, Faith and Life. These essays are super short, about 3 pages each and straight to the point.

He has some out there opinions: He talks about the fact that many US cities are located next to big bodies of water so amphibious cars or hovercrafts may be a solution to our congested freeways. He also doesn’t believe in global warming, but that the volcanic activity is solely responsible for all of the surface level climate changes. There’s other kinds of theories about gravity,  but I won’t even get into those here.

He has some opinions that a little more down to earth: He believes that we should have more requirements for the office of president like a certain amount of previous experience in the executive branch of government ,and also that congress could not make laws that invade personal liberties such as what people eat or drink or who they marry.  He talks about ICBM attacks and some strategies to try to stop them. He then talks about school shooters and how they are male loners who have psychiatric problems and are not loved enough, which is, in a strange way kind of insightful.

I do have a big time problem with this reference page though, it’s about 85% Wikipedia, I wouldn’t call that well researched, and it doesn’t hold weight here in academia. Here’s page one of that:

IMG_1308 - Copy

The last part is about life, and this is where is gets the most random. He believes that football helmets are ineffective, and should be redesigned to remove the hard parts and turn them into soft leather like pillow material that will absorb a hit like a boxing glove would. He also has decided that he will always, from now on, buy new cars, despite the economic advantages of buying used.

I guess what I can say at the end of reading this short little collection is that I thought everything in here would just be crackpot theories or religious ramblings. But, it feels more like talking to a dear old grandfather that you haven’t seen in years at the Thanksgiving table. Sometimes you are like OH my god please stop talking about this it’s weird, and other times you are like WOW, even though you aren’t really backing up your theories with facts they seem well thought out and you have some life experience and so much time on your hands to think about them that they could actually be right in some ways.

I guess there is no right or wrong when you are dealing with opinions, and that’s life. At the end he even offers up for you to write him if you have other solutions or counter arguments. In a way it’s just kind of the equivalent of his own little blog, all published in pamphlet form. Who knows, maybe we will be seeing these new soft helmets in the NFL soon, don’t say I didn’t tell you about it first.

Moorhead, S. (2016) Uncommon Sense. United States: Cadillac Press.

Time..is..on my side

Today is day 8 on the current work streak, I feel like I’m losing it a bit. We are closed here at the U for Easter Weekend (Good Friday) included, and I am going on vacay for the next 10 days. I’m super stoked. I’m super excited, but excitement for me, leads to nervous energy, leads to bouts of anxiety.

I suffered a big one last night, and have a major emotional hangover today. Anxiety like this, to me, feels like going down a long staircase. You miss a step, and fumble a bit, grab the railing and gain your bearings. You think to yourself, good job self that was a close one. In congratulating yourself you miss another step, but this time, despite your best efforts grabbing out at the railing and thin air, you find nothing. You fail to regain your footing and start to tumble down and down and down, until finally you hit a hard numb floor which is the root of all your fears and obsessions. The top of the staircase is just the normal everyday things, like not being able to find rain boots. This is where it starts. Each step below the seemingly small problem goes deeper and deeper down into your psyche where all these demons live. I’m pressured, I have no time, I’m tired, this never ends, I grind my teeth in my sleep, I’m going to die alone, loans, bills, shitty job market, rejection, toil, my car windows don’t roll down anymore, will anybody ever love me, is the cat going to die, and finally, the best one:  What the fuck is wrong with me and how do I stop it? It escalates pretty quickly.

Well, I don’t know the answer to all of these questions, or how to stop worrying over everything. I think it all boils down, for me, to a couple of things; the need to have control over situations, and the lack of feeling safe. It’s not a panic attack, more like an anxious spell. Where, when presented with a small problem, that I am very capable of fixing, I become useless and freak out.  A big part of me sees that I am blowing things WAY out of proportion, but another part of me just isn’t able to stop it.

I found some stats on anxiety from the National Institute of Mental Health. It’s a big problem, and for anybody that has experienced it knows that it can be rather debilitating. The thing I found the most interesting was that the average age of onset was 31.

Here is the Fact Sheet if you are interested.

Here’s what I did to console myself last night. I ate dinner with a tiny fork and spoon that I stole from various brunches, binge watched friends, ate half a box of almond cookies that my bestie let me take from her house, put on a lavender face mask, and listened to Enya. Yes. Enya.

I’m a good meditator, and like to do it. But it just wasn’t happening last night. I just kept thinking who is this lady? So I started researching Enya and her life. She’s sold over 60 million records, never toured once, and takes around 7 years to make each album and lives in a castle in Ireland. She’s super private with her personal life and never married and never had kids. She’s one of the best-selling artists ever from Ireland, and the most popular artist in the new age genre. What an enigma of a lady. You know you’ve heard her songs before, in commercials, movies, just around. I put on her greatest hits and the first one was Only Time. I think I listened to it 4 or 5 times. It’s simple; time is the only thing that knows what’s going to happen. That’s it. Not you, human. Anxiety is a lot like living in all kinds of doomed predictions and frantic what ifs. All I’ve learned from life is that I have no idea what is going to happen next, I can take a guess every now and then, but usually I never see what is coming.  I’m trying to remember this Enya soaked lesson when I have my spells, the subject of time. I always thought it was my enemy but really, I think it might be a pretty good friend.

Also, if you have a minute, here’s that video (over 60 million views I guess people have caught on before me), it just might be impossible to not have it calm you down just a little:


Vacation pics to follow. HOORAY!

National Institute of Mental Health. (2017). Generalized Anxiety Disorder Among Adults. Retrieved from: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/generalized-anxiety-disorder-among-adults.shtml

Westward HO!

This year the U received a rather large donation of California History books that I have been cataloging over the last couple months, and the other day I came across one that wasn’t already In the OCLC system, meaning that it’s rather obscure.

It’s a book yes, but more of a self-published kind of book. Like let’s type something up with raw sketches and go down to Kinko’s or some small printing press to have it photocopied and bound with one of those annoying plastic spine things. I love this though. Today we have blogs, such as this one, and Kindle Direct Publishing where you just simply upload a book to the interwebs and it’s done and out there. Thirty years ago it took a little more work than that, but it didn’t stop people. Which goes to show you if you think that what you are putting out is important enough you will do it.

This particular “book” is called: An Authentic Wagon Trail Journal of 1853: From Indiana to California which is essentially the diary of William Richard Brown that was typed up (including grammatical and spelling errors for authenticity) and published in 1985 by his granddaughter Barbara Wills, who also signed the cover page WOOT!



The best thing on earth to do with these kinds of things is read them out loud with your partners at the ref desk in old tyme voices which I did a little bit yesterday, and ended up becoming the inspiration for this post. The entries are wonderfully short and to the point. I gathered some excerpts from my favorite passages:

March 28, 1853

…Towards evening we came in contact with four drunken Irishmen. They wanted to fight. We got out of our waggon’s and made them take water. We were met by Capt. Meek about six miles from the railroad city who had come out a horse back to meet us. We put up for the night at Ryneld’s Hotel, 3 miles from Indianapolis. Ham and eggs for supper. Weather cool and cloudy. Distance traveled 18 miles.

May 4, 1853

…Still raining hard, half soaked and our whiskey nearly out. Crossed the river without much trouble and encamped on its banks in company with 6 other wagons…

May 12, 1853

Left at 9 oc, traveled over more rolling prairie wagons behind and before us. Weather clear and warm. Had a fine dance after night. Made a distance of 14 miles.

May 29, 1853

It rained very hard all night and give us a complete ducking. We rose and it was still raining. Took a cold bite for breakfast…

And in the end, it really doesn’t say much about if he got to where he was going. So, it’s kind of anticlimactic. There is another random entry that was written on the back of the diary, assumedly after the fact:

We all look dirty and sun burnt and really feel ashamed of our appearances.

When dealing with History primary sources like diaries are so interesting to me. First of all the way they talk. The things they think are important. Obviously a good stock of whiskey was especially important to this waggoneer. He also talks a lot about suppers, mainly ham and eggs, or cakes of some sort. There is a lot of violin music and dancing after dark. Actually, despite the Indians and the lack of running water this whole thing doesn’t really sound so bad.

I think a lot about the Gold Rush, and western expansion in the United States when I do the cataloging because many of the books are about this time in our history. Could you imagine it? Tomorrow your best friend is like… Hey, there’s this whole other side of the country that we just found out about, and if we can get there slowly, with all our possessions and families in wagons then we can be rich by digging stuff out of the earth. But, I forgot to mention the road is barely charted, and there’s a bunch of indigenous people that may be friendly or murderous, and all sorts of terrain and livestock challenges. There is no cell service there, and no turning back once we start, you will have to sell your home and anything else you don’t need, but hey it will be one heck of a ride and maybe we will get rich. Are you in? These people were brave as hell and I salute them.

Another thing it also reminds me of is my favorite computer lab game in elementary school. Oregon Trail….


It was so realistic, it gave you and/or your family members some rough outcomes. I always broke a leg or ended up with dysentery or whatever.

Either way, throughout history we have relied on brave people, “trailblazers” and such to lead us into the next stage in humanity. It’s interesting to get a peek inside the heads of these people only to see that they liked whiskey, dancing, and food just as much as the rest of us. We may think we are so much more advanced than people from the past, but are we really? We are probably more similar than we think.


Brown, W. (1985). An Authentic Wagon Trail Journal: from Indiana to California. Mokelumne Hill, CA; Horseshoe Printing.

Picture credit: http://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/oregon-trail/screenshots/gameShotId,3587/


Super bowl Sundaaaaaayyyy!!! And here I am at the U doing some pre-research on generations X Y and Z. I must say I find this kind of stuff far more intriguing than the football machine, but to each their own. It’s a day to hang out with friends, crack open some beers, fire up a grill or dig around in some databases and encyclopedias!  Whatever floats your boat right? Whatever makes your hot dog stand?

I have a Business Comm class that comes in every semester for their library presentation, it goes pretty well, it’s a small group of adult learners. Usually we go over quickly the broad range of services in the library, then I address the different group topics to get them started on their projects. The instructor will let me know beforehand what they are doing, so I can dig around a bit before and know what I expect to find so it’s not a surprise or me struggling to find info in front of about 20 people. But here’s the good part again, I learn something! So now you will too.

Generations. What is a generation? Why do we have labels on generations? What is the purpose of this?

Well let’s see, what we can find. What is the definition of a generation?

Dictionary.com has many definitions


  1. The entire body of individuals born and living at about the same time
  2. The term of years, roughly 30 among human beings, accepted as the average period between the birth of parents and the birth of their offspring.
  3. A group of individuals, most of whom are the same approximate age, having similar ideas, problems, attitudes, etc.
  4. A group of individuals belonging to a specific category at the same time.
  5. A single step in natural descent, as of human beings, animals, or plants.
  6. A form, type, class, etc., of objects existing at the same time and having many similarities or developed from a common model or ancestor (often used in combination): a new generation of anticancer drugs.
  7. The offspring of a certain parent or couple, considered as a step in natural descent.

I kind of like #3 the best when speaking of generations in relation to a group of humans, which I am doing here.

What good is putting people into these groups? Well, it can help you define patterns, see natural progression of attitudes, views, social structures, wardrobes, music, art, economic trends, and the list could go on and on. For some people being a part of a generation could help them better understand their identity, why they have certain views, or what generally defines their age group as a whole. Where do these ideas come from? Do they clash?  YES. With each generation there are gaps and instances where they don’t see eye to eye. This has been happening ever since there has been people. You know the children are our future and all that jazz. Well they are, and where do the children get their beliefs and values from, partially from the generation before them. But really, think about the views your grandparents have (this would be two generations between), are yours similar? Maybe in some aspects, but I’m sure they can be radically different in others. Technology alone in the last couple of decades has been enough to re-wire our minds including our thought processes. So we could think of generations as being partially molded by their predecessors, partially by their environment and peers, but also determined by who people are as individuals and how they view and see the world around them.

Just by initial diggings I can see that there is some differences in opinion on when each generation begins and ends. Some places do it by a year count, but others do it by an approximation that include certain major events. I like the idea of it being a more fluid thing, an approximation based on events and changes in society. Let me see if I can put together something that has approximate years:

What are the primary generations today?

Currently, five generations make up our society. Each of those five generations has an active role in the marketplace. Depending on the specific workplace, the workforce includes four to five generations. Here are the birth years for each generation:

  • iGen, Gen Z or Centennials: Born 1996 and later
  • Millennials or Gen Y: Born 1977 to 1995
  • Generation X: Born 1965 to 1976
  • Baby Boomers: Born 1946 to 1964
  • Traditionalists or Silent Generation: Born 1945 and before

(Center for Generational Kinetics, 2017)

*From the Center for Generational Kinetics, which actually happens to be a pretty interesting site to check out if you have the time, it explains things pretty well. BUT they are more of a marketing firm that helps corporations understand generations and advertise to them more efficiently, which kind of makes me nervous source wise, but since this isn’t an actual paper I’ll allow it. They may have underlying agenda, something to keep in mind.*

Since I was semi-wary of that source I found another eBook in our collections entitled: Consumer Series: American Generations and How they Live. This seems to also be targeted towards business and marketing, but it’s a book, so I guess I feel a bit better about it. They listed the generations pretty similar to above expect they added a new one:

Recession Generation- After years of stability in the annual number of births, the Great Recession hit. The economic turmoil of the Great Recession caused young adults to postpone marriage and childbearing. The annual number of births fell below 4 million in 2010 as a new baby bust— the Recession Generation— began (Consumer Series, 2013).

They also split the Silent generation into two, the swing and the WWII generations, but we will just keep it as is for now.

What is weird about the year cut-offs is that my parents had me later in life, so we actually skip a generation in my family. Both of my parents are the beginning of the Baby Boomer generation (47) and my Brother and I are towards the start of Gen Y (81 and 84 respectively). Nobody in our family represents Gen X, but this seems to be a rather short generation anyways comparatively. Think about your relationships that cross generations; friends, lovers, family, etc. Do these differences seem apparent, or less so when you get closer in age? I see this a lot with the students that I work with, many of them were born in the late 90’s and at best they don’t get a LOT of the references I pull out sometimes. Then again, they are always teaching me the new slang like 10/10 and lit and showing me the latest memes, so we may just have common ground after all. I introduce them to things like Wayne’s World and Super Nintendo, probably not as impressive, but you know it’s what I got. I actually had a discussion about the Northridge earthquake today which was the last big one I remember and my co-worker was -4 at the time, so it was not a shared experience.

I like what that site says about what makes generations similar:

“Generations exhibit similar characteristics—such as communication, shopping, and motivation preferences—because they experienced similar trends at approximately the same life stage and through similar channels (e.g., online, TV, mobile, etc.)” (Center for Generational Kinetics, 2017).

I often think about that in terms of similarities in senses of humor, eating habits, media consumption and how I relate to my friends. But you really do have to take this into consideration with a grain of salt, you can’t just put people into boxes completely, that’s impossible. But, generational outlines are just that, outlines. Sociology is present because as humans we feel the need to organize and identify groups. That’s all it really is, a study of people in groups, and there will always be exceptions.

The rabbit hole on this one runs pretty deep, so I’ll just end it with an examination of the last two generations, since they are the ones I hang around mostly in so therefore the ones I care about most (Self-centered, I know).

Here are some of Generation Y’s (Millennial) Characteristics:

Beyond their intimate relationship with all things technological, members of Generation Y are characterized by their sense of optimism, pragmatism, and altruism. Trained since grade school to work collaboratively and creatively, this generation enjoys hands-on experiences, networking, community (human and virtual), consensus building, and praise (Jackson & Hogg, 2010).

A sample of generation Z’s (Centennial) Characteristics:

Early indications are that they are increasingly self-aware, self-reliant, innovative and goal-oriented. They also appear to be more pragmatic than their millennial predecessors… One key difference from Millennials: Most members of iGen or Gen Z don’t remember a time before social media. As a result, they tend to live much more of their entire lives—from interacting with friends and family to making major purchases—online and via their smartphones. This could have profound implications for everything from their relationships and how they learn to virtual reality training and problem-solving (Center for Generational Kinetics, 2017).

I had a hard time finding out a good source for characteristics on Z. Something to keep in mind for class next week. Anyways. I hope you enjoyed this edition of random thoughts about things in the world from a reference librarian. Maybe you can discuss generational differences more confidently at your next dinner party, or with your next tinder date, or whoever.




Center for Generational Kinetics. (2017, February). Generational Breakdown: Info About all of the Generations. Retrieved from: http://genhq.com/faq-info-about-generations/

Center for Generational Kinetics. (2017, February). Top 10 Gen Z Questions Answered. Retrieved from: http://genhq.com/igen-gen-z-generation-z-centennials-info/

Consumer Series: American Generations: Who They Are and How They Live (8). (2013). Amityville, US: New Strategist Press, LLC. Retrieved from http://0-www.ebrary.com.leopac.ulv.edu

Jackson, R. L. & Hogg, M. A. (2010). Generation x and generation y. In Encyclopedia of identity (Vol. 1, pp. 308-311). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications Ltd. doi: 10.4135/9781412979306.n99

The Kids Aren’t? All Right

Sunday, once again. Why does it feel like it’s always Sunday and I’m always at work? Anyhow, it’s weekly roulette time…  Today I am moved to the third floor, very back shelf. Nobody is here to give me numbers so I just took a random walk. Today I have pulled:

Handbook of Serious Emotional Disturbances in Children and Adolescents. Edited by Diane T. Marsh and Mary A Fristad. This is a handbook, so it’s pretty boring to read, and each section is written like a very long journal article.


This is another not so pleasant subject. Let’s open it up to a random passage and see where this takes us:

Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)

Next to cognitive-behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy (IPT) is the best supported psycho-social treatment for adolescent depression. Two groups of investigators are currently studying the efficacy of IPT in depressed adolescents, and initial results have been very promising. Further controlled studies are needed to replicate the findings and to allow generalization to non-Hispanic populations (Marsh & Fristad, 2002).

I don’t even know what that just said. I have no idea. In another life I would have like to have been a psychologist or put more time into studying human behavior and psychological disturbances. I mean I guess it’s not too late to learn something now. What is IPT? How can it help our young ones?

Interpersonal psychotherapy

Interpersonal therapies help patients understand their symptoms in terms of the impact they have on others (and, in turn, on themselves); they also help patients develop interpersonal styles and communication behaviors that are more direct and effective. In this regard, interpersonal therapies are quite behavioral in focus, even though they do not rely as explicitly on learning theory as the behavioral therapies do. The treatment series, which usually lasts less than one year, begins with the identification of interpersonal problems that are likely to be related to a patient’s current experience of depression. Problems are typically categorized as stemming from grief, conflicts, major life transitions, or personality problems relating to social skills. Once these areas are identified, treatments focus on therapeutic interventions (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2017).

So basically what this is saying is that this helps a person who is experiencing depression to identify certain problems in their lives that may be related to events that have occurred to them (transitions, life changing events) or things that may be happening within them (problems with social skills). Then shows the impact that their behaviors have on themselves and others around them and helps them to develop healthier and more direct communication methods and ways to relate to others. I can see how this would be especially helpful for a teenager or child, as they are developing how they interact with the world around them and inside of themselves. Offering a child or adolescent that is experiencing depression this type of therapy could allow them to develop new skills earlier in life that could keep them from experiencing further depressive episodes into adulthood.

Depression sucks, and it’s a pretty prevalent part of our landscape these days. As an adult looking back adolescence was one of the hardest times of my life. (OK it’s actually JUST getting better now that I’m in my 30’s.) I can’t imagine how things have changed for these children now with the flood of constant media through smartphones. I searched for some statistics, and came across this one that was rather troubling.


These numbers were pulled by the CDC to reflect how many students reported feeling sad or hopeless almost every day for two or more weeks in a row so that they stopped doing some usual activities.

This sucks. 46.7% of all Hispanic female high school students reported having symptoms of depression? That’s almost half of the student base. For a total of 29.9% of all high school students in the US feeling this way. Schools are full of politics. This is one of the reasons that I decided to NOT go into teaching back in my heyday, but I think that we may need to direct more attention towards the mental health of our adolescents. After all, they become the next generation to shape our world. I’ve heard something recently about wise decisions being made and that the wisest ones are made to consider how what we do will affect us seven generations out. If we decide now to help our youth today with these problems, how will it affect them, and us, and their children and grandchildren and so on? Teaching children young about these problems, and how to seek help, and that they are not alone can be a very powerful thing that could cause a ripple effect of overall better life conditions for many generations. A little could go a long way.

So yep, here we go again with a bit of a downer. But life (like libraries) are full of all sorts of things both light and heavy. But I think that the more light is shed on an issue, and the more that we know about it, the more we can cast off the darkness. Do you know a teenager, is there an adolescent or young person in your life going through a rough time right now? Reach out, buy them some ice cream, or send them some puppy memes. Let them know that you are there for them, and if they are feeling this low, how they can get help and why it’s important.


CDC. (n.d.). Percentage of U.S. high school students who felt sad or hopeless* in 2015, by gender and ethnicity. In Statista – The Statistics Portal. Retrieved January 15, 2017, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/222124/us-students-with-depression-by-gender-and-ethnicity/.

Marsh, D. & Fristad, M. (Eds.). (2002). Handbook of Serious Emotional Disturbances. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Mental disorder. (2017). In Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved from http://0-academic.eb.com.leopac.ulv.edu/levels/collegiate/article/109830#259966.toc