Ways to become a better Librarian Product…

I received news on Friday, after a very positive annual review that I am NOT going to be moved forward as a candidate for an open position here at the U. *Insert sting here* And let me tell you it hurt, a lot. I am convinced that truly, there is nothing worse than being an internal candidate.  This time, it was the fact that I wasn’t a strong enough candidate, and that I didn’t really “sell” myself, and that my application materials weren’t the best. I get it, I mean I really do.

After the news broke, and I sat in my boss’s office holding back tears because nobody wants to be the one to cry at work,  I went through my stages of internal grief. Sadness, anger, denial, hopelessness, back to anger. All the things that happen to you when something you were really hoping for falls through, or an opportunity or person leaves your life. But finally, this morning, after sweating it out and finding my inner buoyancy in hot yoga, I have reached.. acceptance.

Another big part of finding this acceptance, was writing out a semi-sarcastic, slightly passive aggressive list of things that I need to do to make myself for marketable so that I may “sell” myself on this job market that seems to not take well to me in these last couple of years. I will post it here to remind myself of the things that I can control, and how I can have fun and still be myself while navigating the “system”.

Things to do so that you can become better Librarian product/package and make that sale

  1. In December or January when things calm down, meet with archivist and write the article about the Digital collections. Hope to god it is good and gets published somewhere so that you have something you can write down on paper under your “publications” heading.
  2. By March 15th– Apply for the SCELC first time conference grant. First you have to choose which one you want to attend. This is for 7/1-12/31 so find something that is somewhere you’ve always wanted to go and that has good beer, maybe Colorado? Pray that somebody has mercy on you and gives you the award.
  3. Re-do everything because your resume is not academic, use the CV format. Think of how you will fill in all the parts that say conferences or committees since you have not been on any because you are too busy working two jobs to even scrape by and barely have enough money to live let alone spend 500$ on a conference that people go to just so they can have something to complain about (see above #2 might be the solution). Think about signing up for an online committee just so you can get your name on one (CARL was suggested). Once there, be apathetic about what you discuss, however try to ACT interested. Maybe you can get this done by March 15th as well.
  4. Find some class for LCC numbers OR metadata. Maybe both. Get the U to send you. This could actually be enjoyable so take your time and find the right ones.
  5. Maybe read more of the 30 weekly emails you get from the CALIX listserv, remember to add co lib-1 and lita-1 google ALA or CLA listservs and see how many emails you can flood your inbox with. At least 1 or 2 of them might lead somewhere that can make you more marketable on paper.
  6. Focus on the “goals” you set for yourself on your performance review. But remember, even if you hit them, nobody really will care but you. Get it through your thick skull that hard work within an institution doesn’t make you a stronger candidate if any positions open up.
  7. Stop taking it all so seriously and/or personally, and be happy with the jobs that you DO have and the people you have formed relationships with and how you have grown and can continue to grow. Remember why you are here in the first place. To help people, to connect them with the information and resources that can help them better themselves. Although these items 1-5 may seem forced and part of some gigantic game and sales pitch that you hate, you may have to do them anyways because they will make a better you in the long run. So chin up, shut up, and get going.

With that being said, now I think I can enjoy the rest of my Sunday, and I hope you do too.

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One… is the loneliest number

Death cold has been going around at both the U and the public. What this means for somebody who is out there all day with these people who are sneezing, coughing and touching all the things that you touch it means, well. You are going to get sick. It’s inevitable. Just 10 minutes ago I had a kid cough directly into my La Croix, have to remember to NOT have them out on the desk when I’m on children’s.

With that being said, feeling that tired drag of the half sick working with demanding patrons is a drag. Then you are on hour 7 just thinking, I can’t wait to get home and just go to bed and eat soup and do nothing. Then you realized you have no soup because you’ve been too busy to shop. Then you realize you are too tired even now to do anything but go straight home, but dang, you really want some chicken soup. Then you realize there is absolutely nobody to call that will actually do this for you. Then you want your mommy. Then you realize you are an adult and your mom lives in a totally different state. Then you realize that wow, you actually ARE incredibly lonely even though you have been trying to fill that space with work, or self-improvement, or fictional characters in books and you think that if you just don’t do something about it now what if you look around and wake up and realize your 40 and nobody will even look at you anymore and your eggs have rotted out of your body and you’ll never have sex again and, and, well there it goes.

Another beautiful anxiety spiral. As I’m descending down, down and down I try to catalog books, which is a mundane task that usually keeps my mind away from that chatter. Then I come across this book:

Can I tell you about loneliness? A guide for friends, family, and professionals. By Julian Stern.

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This is a book for our parenting section, for a parent to explain what loneliness is to a child who may be experiencing feelings of loneliness or separation from friends and family. I thought, hmm, why not read it? It was very helpful, and I could see how it could be excellent to read to a child who may feel like nobody gets it. I think the worst kind of loneliness is the one that we experience when surrounded by other people. The author explains it like this:

“Sometimes I feel lonely when there are lots of other people around. Then, it’s as everyone is happy except me, and none of them like me.” (Stern, 2001, p. 13)

It sounds so simple in the language of a child, but truly, I do believe that is how so many of us still feel today as adults. I guess the point of my story is, how do we help ourselves feel less lonely? The author suggest playing with a pet, going on a walk, or listening to music in a spot where you feel safe, like your room.

Another thing that loneliness drives us to today, more so as adults, is social media and dating apps. I will tell you that after 2 years I finally broke down and got on some dating apps last night. There is no more stigma to it anymore really, but what disappoints me is just in the 24 hours or so I have been on it I already have 80+ likes and have had some men with very suggestive screen names say ask me if I like to be adored. Well, I guess?

What it has done for me so far, other than to offer a bit of mild excitement, and the opportunity to be judged on a picture and a few short lines of a blurb is that there are so many people out there looking for something. Yes, yes, there are the creepos but I really feel a lot of these people on these sites but some are just normal everyday people that are looking for some kind of love or companionship or whatever. 80 something likes? Nobody even talks to me in real life, unless they want a book or an article, or help with some sort of tech stuff. Can we now only ever communicate to one another in an online platform where we can hide behind filters and quirky one line icebreakers? Maybe. I mean as I’m typing this I just got a message from some guy that just says one word… beauty. Should I be happy about this, I mean I guess it’s nice and all but it just feels like some sort of game, and in a way it feels sincere and in another, more believable way, it doesn’t. How many girls a day does this guy message, does that make a difference? Isn’t this what I wanted some attention, well brother here it is but is it the right attention? Right or wrong it may be the only kind of attention that dating millennials are able to get these days. Well, wish me luck, I’m sure you will be hearing more of it here.

Stern, J., & Lees, H. E. (2017). Can I tell you about loneliness?: a guide for friends, family and professionals. London: Jessica Kingsley .

I am strong, I am invincible, I am.. like a good cigar?

I don’t know if I have ever mentioned this before on my blog, but if you follow me on Instagram you would know that my latest obsession involves thumbing through periodicals from the late 60’s to mid-70’s and finding ads or news stories that stand out to me. Sometimes I take pictures and post them, sometimes I don’t, but mainly I do it because I find advertising so psychologically interesting. People who make ads literally get paid to get inside your head and make you want to buy things? How? Well, mainly sex, but there’s also hints of power, wealth, beauty, and excitement that are used to persuade. Most of the ads I find are for booze and cigarettes, which I find even more interesting as this kind of advertising I feel is much less prominent these days as we realized the health dangers associated with them.

Advertisements from popular magazines of this time period offer a peek into what America’s deepest desires were 50 years ago. Most of them seem similar to today, although I’m glad that in the last few decades we have moved a lot more towards equality and open mindedness. I’m not here to scrutinize these ads, or be mad about them and write scathing angry posts about the content. So if you get mad or fired up about the ad I am about to share, just know I am sharing this as an observer of today, 2017, who is indeed a strong independent female who does not condone sexism, racism, or any other kind of hate. When I see things like this, I try to see them from the perspective of knowing that even though we have a long way to go still, we have indeed come pretty far. You can’t change the past, but you can move forward from it and grow and that kind of progress can be inspiring.

Today I was thumbing through Newsweek, October 9, 1967. Now, at first I thought this was an article, but the look on the guys face is what really drew me in and made me want to read it. As I started reading, I realized that this is kind of a hybrid between and ad and a PSA from the Cigar Institute of America, which from a quick google either doesn’t exist anymore or has changed its name to “The Cigar Association of America” which is entirely possible. I also found that somebody on eBay is selling this exact ad that I am going to share with you for $4.99. I wonder if anybody will ever buy it, god I hope not.

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I don’t know if you can read the wording… So I will transcribe the ad here:

The facts of life for new cigar smokers

Finding the cigar meant for you is no different than finding the girl meant for you. It pays to shop around a little before you settle down.

After all, there are 15 million cigar smokers in this country. Do you think all of them hit it off with the first cigar they tried?

Cigars, like women, come in all shapes, sizes, and blends.

Try a slim cigar for a while. Then try a more curvaceous one. You and the cigar should look good together.

Then try different priced cigars. As with love, money won’t necessarily buy happiness. A truly satisfying cigar doesn’t have to be a costly cigar.

Go forth then, play the field.

The cigar you carry close to your heart is right around the corner.

A boon companion that will make the small search more than worthwhile.

A smoke that will comfort you when you’re feeling low, relax you when you are tense.

Cigars never argue with you. Never lose their shape. Do not pack up and go home to mother. And are not economically ruinous.

Of course, finding the right cigar isn’t quite as rewarding as finding the right woman.

But then again, what is?

(Cigar Institute of America, 1967)

Oh man. So many things wrong with that, first of all a curvaceous cigar? Is that even a thing? I suppose there are some positive aspects here if you dig for them. First of all women ARE NOT, repeat, NOT like cigars. Women are not rolled up tobacco that you smoke as a symbol of your manhood or riches, or to calm your nerves, or whatever. Anytime you compare a person to an object it immediately De-humanizes it, so there’s that. But, then it reminds you that money isn’t everything when it comes to love, OK that’s fine. THEN, wait what? A cigar will never lose its shape or run home to mother OR wait for it…. Be economically ruinous? Jesus, really? Yeah and a cigar will never be your intellectual, emotional, or sexual companion or teammate so there’s that. A cigar will never better you as a person or global citizen by adding a sense of emotional intimacy, connection, and love to your life. Have you tried talking with a cigar? They are rather boring and uneducated, and their taste in music sucks. I suppose you could stick one up your … and derive some pleasure from that. You can be a lonely sad weirdo with rectal cancer from years of shoving cigars in places you shouldn’t, but hey you will still have your MONEY. Finally, the ad closes with saying: but hey, women aren’t cigars, and finding a great one is really the best reward there is. But wait, even that is slightly backhanded isn’t it? Sigh, just another ad sitting away in an old magazine on a quiet and dusty fourth floor periodical shelf, but something to think about on this slow Sunday.

Dr. Seuss and the perils of age

I was talking with one of my fellow librarians here at the U about the state of health care, and all the woes and headaches and billing and whatever we had both had issues with in the last couple of years as part time workers that have no employer provided health insurance. I won’t get into it here, the rant would be boring and painful to listen to, and nobody needs that today. However, there was one really good thing that came out of this conversation. She pointed me in the direction of a Dr. Seuss book that troubled her that it was shelved in children’s because she always felt it was really more for adults.

The book is called: You’re Only Old Once by Dr. Seuss and it’s hilarious. I see how she may think that it’s geared more towards adults as it takes you through a wild and unnecessary journey through a doctor’s visit including impossible tests, billing confusions, and a barrage of pills and prescriptions. Dr. Seuss was always one of my childhood favorites, and he’s just so good at disguising the fact that he’s addressing some pretty dark stuff with his use of silly phrases such as “Bus Driver’s Blight” or “Chimney Sweep’s Stupor”.  We don’t have the cover on it, but here’s a picture of one of my favorite scenes:

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I would recommend reading this to anybody who has ever been confused or angered by Doctor’s practices, insurance and/or medical billing. Which I can only assume is everybody. I did notice that the front inner page appears to have been signed by the author, which would be rad if it was true. I don’t have a way to authenticate it, but a google search comparison makes it look like it’s possible. Similar copies that are signed are listed online for $350 and up, maybe we can move this one to the archives.

What do you think, real or fake?

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Medieval thoughts…

Today I was doing some prep for a history instruction next Thursday and part of the instruction includes a library tour where I would show the class, generally, where to find the history books in the stacks as well as the reference section (for LCC that’s D-E-F) so easy enough. As I’m walking through trying to get a grasp of the natural progression I came across two very different but equally interesting books.

The first book I pulled is a true History style book called:  Life in Medieval Times by Majorie Rowling. I grabbed it partially because I was curious, and partially to make myself feel better about my own life as it is right now.

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The second book I grabbed is called: Put Your Best Foot Forward USA: A fearless guide to Understanding the United States of America by Mary Murray Bosrock. I couldn’t resist the dorky looking 90’s cartoon cover, and the urge to know how to better understand “basic” American Culture 20 years ago, written to inform people who may be visiting the USA.

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I had no idea what I was going to do with these. I did the flip open and try to find a passage, but nothing really worked. I flipped through the table of contents to see where and if there were any similar subjects and ended up with … Women. How different was it to be an American Woman in the late 90’s vs. a Woman in Medieval Europe? Let’s see…

Chapter 4 in Life in Medieval Times is entitled “Women and Wives”. Here are a few excerpts I found especially fun:

In the 14th century Goodman of Paris told his wife to “ copy the behavior of a dog who always has his eye and his heart upon his master; even if his master whip him and throw stones at him, the dog follows, wagging his tail…” (Rowling, 1979, p.72).

Doesn’t beating a dog eventually make him mean? I’m not sure, but I’m pretty happy that we aren’t being equated to dogs anymore.

In customary law in the 13th century a clause in the statues of a town in Glascony states: “All inhabitants of Villefranche have the right to beat their wives, provided they do not kill them thereby” (Rowling, 1979, p.72)

So there’s that….

As the chapter goes on let’s just say it doesn’t get much better. There are some sources in poetry and other writings that seem sympathetic to the causes of women, but overall it’s safe to say that women were just basically tools used by the men for their own gain at their own discretion. Which seems pretty dismal when you think about it. Most marriages were for monetary purposes and were arranged, but there were many accounts of happy ones as well. Marriage in the US today (even though mainly NOT arranged) probably fares no better than most unhappy some happy, but hey at least we get to make our own mistakes.

I’ve always wished that there was some sort of historical theme park like Westworld, not where you go to bang robots, but where you can go and actually experience what life was like back then down to what everybody smelled like. I wonder if this could be a thing for VR one day, but I digress.

Let’s take a peek at that USA “guide” book and see what it has to say about women in Chapter 21 named “Especially for Women” . It talks about how women make up half the workforce, the suffrage movements and other important events in women’s history. What I find the most interesting are the “tips” for working with women.

“Never call a woman dear or sweetie, or any similar terms in a business situation”

Well, that seems fair.

“The terms broad, dame, bird and chick are inappropriate in any situation”

Especially since it’s not 1950-something.

“Do not misinterpret American friendliness as a sexual invitation”

How friendly do some people get?

“Women do not consider it a compliment to be whistled at” (Bosrock, 1999, p. 244-5)

Yes, yes this is all pretty sound today. So what IS OK for men to do to women? The next section is called “chivalry” and lists these things as OK: Holding the door open, allowing women to enter or exit before you, walking ahead of a woman down stairs, walk next to a woman on the curb side of the street, remove your hat in their presence, rise when she leaves the room or a table, follow behind when walking down an aisle. (Bosrock, 1999)

I had an experience here at the U where I held a door open for a 18ish year old student that had his head down and his eyes glued on his phone. As he walked through the door that I held open for him he didn’t so much as look up to acknowledge my presence, or say thanks or anything at all. I yelled sarcastically at him like the sourpuss old lady that I am: “You’re welcome” but it’s not like he heard me since his ears were stuffed with earbuds. This was a bit shocking to me, as I found it to be so very rude that as I lady I held the door open for HIM and he didn’t even say thanks??? Some males of the generation right below me just don’t think about things like holding the door open for ladies or walking next to a curb to block a woman from traffic, they just weren’t taught these things. I only know this from casual observation I don’t mean to generalize but I do notice it walking around campus. Actually, it was kind of a show of equality that he didn’t think anything of a woman holding the door for him (still rude not to say thanks whatever gender you are) and today it is in no way thought of as weird for a woman to hold a door open for a dude, so really this lack of “chivalry” could be interpreted as a good thing. Chivalry may seem dead, but I’m even happier to report, so is the age of being treated like a dog or being beat (almost) to death by your husband and having it be totally legal.

 

Bosrock, M. (1999). USA: A Fearless Guide to Understanding the United States of America. St. Paul, MN: IES.

Rowling, M. (1979). Life in Medieval Times. New York: Perigee Books.

A poet from down under…

Here we are in the first week of the new semester, which means I’m back on Sundays. Which also means it’s slow as heck today and I’ve already finished prepping for my two classes I have next week for instruction. The one I was just working on is a Business Comm class where I was pre-researching Disneyland (Tokyo and Paris), McDonald’s in China, and Starbucks use of social media. After all of that I have a sudden strong urge to eat awful cheeseburgers, drink a vast amount of liquid sugar in the form of a Frappuccino, and haul tail over to the Magic Kingdom for a spin on Pirates. Of course I won’t be doing any of those things, but I am certainly NOT impervious to advertising and have been known to do things rather impulsively and regret them later so I had to stop.

So now, with my last hour here on my first Sunday back, I will resume the Sunday roulette. Today I decided to get crazy (watch out) and use the reference stacks, which I have never done before. After getting my random numbers I actually found myself in a section that I think I can work with. Today I Pulled Modern Women Writers: Volume 2 Falcon to Lynch from the library of literacy criticism. It’s big and boring looking since it’s a reference book, but here’s the spine for proof of my pick.

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The volume is, essentially, a list of modern women writers which has a short page or so entry for each person. The entries start with a general introduction of the writer, followed by a short description and criticism of some of their popular works. Today I opened up to an Australian poet named Gwen Harwood. Here’s her intro:

Those who study Australian poetry don’t agree on much, but they would all agree that Gwen Harwood is exceptionally adept at masking. Even those who have only read one or two of her poems know, of course, that she has written acrostics adroit enough not be recognized as such by the fragile skills of editors. A little more acquaintance teaches us that she has written under pen names such as “Miriam Stone” and “Francis Geyer,” poems that have excited many a talent spotter with the convictions that they have just discovered a coruscating new Austpoet (Robinson, 1996, pg. 277).

A couple things here. First, I feel like I am not familiar with any kind of Australian poets so this is exciting to be introduced to. Second, I don’t know some of these words so… acrostics= a poem or word puzzle / adroit= clever or skillful/ coruscating= flashing, sparkling or brilliant. There, now I know about a new market of poets I’ve never read, as well as some new vocab words. I like the fact that she uses pen names, and changes it up. Let me see if I can find some of her work to share.

Three of the poems mentioned in her bio are “The New Music”, “To A.D. Hope”, and something called an Eisenbart and Krote group, which I’m not quite totally sure of. We don’t have any of her books here at the U, but she is mentioned as a chapter in a larger book Nine Lives- “ch. Six Gwen Harwood takes on the poetry pundit”. I couldn’t find the poems they mentioned in Modern Women Writers but there are a couple found here at a site called poemhunter. “In the park” is written about often as one of her more well known poems, demonstrating Harwood’s interpretation of the struggle imposed upon some women in motherhood.

Well that’s it for today, I went ahead an ordered a copy of her collected works to catch up on this week. If you are into poetry, check Gwen Harwood (or Miriam Stone, or Francis Geyer) out at your local book depository. I performed a meme check and just so you know, there are memes out there about Gwen Harwood, probably made by somebody who wasn’t so excited about reading her in class.

GH

Robinson, L. S. (1996). Modern Women Writers: Falcón to Lynch (Vol. 2). New York: Continuum.

Sheridan, S. (2011). Nine lives: postwar women writers making their mark. Retrieved from http://0-ebookcentral.proquest.com.leopac.ulv.edu

Librarians gone wild

Summer is over. It came and went faster than any summer before it, and I have no idea why. Maybe it was the prep and stress for the job interviews that I endured that ended up ultimately going nowhere, the vacation to Oregon, or just the fact that the older you get the faster time slips by you. Whatever the cause, it’s a fact that the kids went back to school for the public last week, and at the U, move in day is tomorrow for the new freshmen.

I won’t get too nostalgic on you, even though fall IS my favorite season (if you can call them that here in So. Cal).  It’s a new beginning, leaves fall from trees and shed their skin, and all that poetic jazz. There are new students to teach, and new books to read. It’s all so furiously paced and you can see it in the stress on the parent’s faces of both the young ones and older ones alike.

Not much has been going on, just letting go of the summer feels and getting ready to do instruction for subjects that I have never taught before. History and Anthropology are the 2 so far to prep for this week at the U, and here at the public answering 1,236 calls about the stupid study rooms, or fishing out the oh so sought after “Battle of the Books” titles.

I had been struggling lately to think of a topic to come back and blog about, when I remembered a run in I had with a friend’s father the other day. I’ve known this friend and her father for over half my life, and I ran into him while having lunch one day with my bestie who also knows them well and she’s way friendlier than me so we stopped to say hello. It was the normal small talk pattern. How are you? Fine. What have you been doing? Working. You seeing anybody? No. After we got all that out of the way, he said something that I can’t remember exactly, but it went something like this:

You know, librarians are all supposed to be quiet and mild mannered, but from what I hear you are actually the loudest most wild of the bunch. Is that true?

I thought for a moment. Well, I am pretty loud. I love to talk, and I have been shushed by patrons before, multiple times. But wild? Am I wild? What kind of weird fetish-y style comment is that? What did he mean by wild??  Does this mean I am promiscuous and impulsive, that I stay up all night taking tequila shots, dance on tables, and don’t pay my electric bill? I don’t think he meant it in any harm by the comment, but it definitely made me think for moment. I ended up telling him, yeah, I think I found my people. As I walked away I wasn’t even sure what I meant by that.

What does “wild” mean, Webster’s has quite a few definitions that pertain to forest life, or playing cards, but the ones I will take into consideration here are:

b:  marked by turbulent agitation :  stormy a wild night

c:  going beyond normal or conventional bounds :  fantastic wild ideasalso :  sensational

d:  indicative of strong passion, desire, or emotion

(Webster’s, n.d.)

It made me think even further about this stereotype and where it came from. For those of you that don’t know, which is probably anybody NOT in the field that may read this, is that the American Library Association (ALA) has a bill of rights that most librarians use as pillars to the profession:

This Library Bill of rights from the ALA can be found here:

So where does the idea of the wild librarian stem from? Could it be found in the pillars of our profession? Is it the fact that we challenge censorship and believe in upholding the first amendment? Or is it because we believe in equal access to information and resources despite race, origin, sex, or socioeconomic status? Maybe it’s the promotion of free idea sharing, free resource sharing, and advancement of everybody in society as equals? Is that such a wild concept?

I can see how these ideals could be considered wild, but only in some sad skewed way to those who feel threatened by it. Access to information and resources coupled with literacy skills will always be important tools for the advancement of equality in society. We have come so far from the days when a large amount of the population was illiterate and only the wealthy had access to and control of books and other types of information. I am so thankful for that and the fact that this profession, and these ideals exist.

So, if that means I’m wild. Then yeah, I guess I am one of the wild ones.

 

Wild [Def. 3b-d]. (n.d.). Merriam-Webster Online. In Merriam-Webster. Retrieved August 22, 2017, from: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wild

Librarian Friend OR Librarian Liability?

I have a lot of problems with things, rules, structures, hierarchies, authorities, etc. It’s not that I’m an anarchist or anything, there needs to be some sort of organizing factor to people, some baseline stuff so we don’t just rape plunder and pillage like the days of the pirates. But sometimes in libraries or more generally in life these rules/policies/structures don’t make sense to me, so I step around them. Why? Because I can, and because I think that helping people connect with the information they need to better themselves is my first priority here at the library. Connecting with people and helping them better themselves, in general, seems like an awfully sound purpose in life overall. The city government I work for may not think so, they have bigger interest in mind, themselves and their liabilities, etc. The eternal clashing of humanity vs. law suits vs. government vs. corporate interest, I feel this SO MUCH these days.

Today a very polite young man approached me rather shyly at the ref desk and asked if we give all kinds of information, not just about books. I said, sure, try me. He asked me if emancipated minors were able to get their Driver’s License. I said it was a good question, and we found the info on the DMV website on what he needed to have in order to get a license under 18 w/o the parental consent.

I dug a little deeper here to make sure everything was OK, like the stuff at home wasn’t getting too dark. He opened up a little bit, about his parents not allowing him certain freedoms, him paying them for things and not getting them, etc. Another case of teenage angst, so familiar.

Either way this boy was in a pickle. He needed to go online to search for and apply to jobs. Something that would be able to move him forward in life, problem is, he had a juvenile card that didn’t have internet access and the only way to add it would be through his parents, who he currently wasn’t getting along with. I thought for him, can you go to your schools library? YES, but its summer and he isn’t back until end of August. Sometimes academic libraries have free internet access, but he doesn’t have a car or a way to get around easily. Dang.

So, for today, I logged him into the computer using my card and let him search for jobs online. Was this against “policy”? Yes. Could I get fired for this? Um, maybe? (More likely a good write up, gee I hope my bosses don’t read this blog)  But do I stand by my choice? Yes. We make judgment calls every day here at the public, it’s all very situational to me. This kid had nobody to talk to about what he was going through and no way to access the tools he needed. I told him that I wasn’t supposed to be doing it, and that others would probably not let him, but he should try to make friends and see if they would too. I told him that life is all about having friends, and these friends will get you through the hard times when you feel like you are struggling and feel blocked in or trapped. I wanted to be a friend to him. I suppose I did give him some advice as well, about the fact that he was 16, so two years wasn’t too far away and that he was almost there anyways, and then some tips on where to look for jobs.

I was able to help him out today, at least in a very minor way. He left me a copy of his resume, and I’ll see if there is any place I could think of that may be good for him to apply. What really got me at the end was the note he left me. It reminded me why I stick my neck out to help people help themselves when they are in honest need of it, and why I will never stop doing so.

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Now, I do think that he has a lot to learn and some of that may come the hard way if he does go the emancipation route. I don’t think we will be roommates (that was adorbs), BUT sometimes it really can feel like you can’t find a friend, and man is that a feeling I know all too well. It’s a big world out there full of no and can’t and won’t and sorry I’d like to… but. It can make you feel really small.

How is this relevant to my life this week? Well, I ran into an instance where I asked my supervisor at the city for a reference for a job application. She denied it, saying she had to forward the request to HR and they would give a letter only stating that I was employed there and my dates of employment, nothing to the effect of my character. Basically, meaning that now my app would be incomplete, so I’ll have to explain myself on that one and find another reference. I’m very naive about these kind of things, I thought the point WAS to get references from your supervisors, but “city policy” won’t allow it? What if this were my only job, how else would I be able to get references to apply anywhere else? Well, it’s also up to the individual, she could have answered the email and nobody would have known, but I guess it just wasn’t worth it to her and I suppose. Which, again is fine, some people are policy followers and these kinds of things make sense to them.

I talk with my trusted friends here, and they tell me they have all been there before, it’s not news to them. I just wish we could change from a culture of being so afraid of one another and being so worried about covering our own behinds, to one that goes out of our way to help one another and not always assumes the worst. It just feels like butting up against a rock and a hard place in terms of change, but maybe slowly it will happen.

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.

Las_Vegas

 

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

http://simpsons.wikia.com/wiki/Las_Vegas