NaNoCryMo

I’m participating in NaNoWriMo this year. I’m eight days in, one thousand words behind, and I kind of want to cry. I don’t really want to give up, but this challenge is no freaking joke. Even for somebody who likes to write and has a pretty regular journaling habit.

For those of you who haven’t heard of it NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month. Every November there is a semi-gimmicky writing program that urges aspiring writers to pledge to write 50,000 words in the month of November towards a novel draft. Check out the website here:

https://nanowrimo.org/

It’s totally free. You can sign up for a region, go to local meet ups and find inspiration and possibly some writing buddies. If you are doing it friend me…

LRyhs is my name, and please don’t judge me my title and synopsis are not the best, no picture either I’m basically just signed up to be buddies with the works peeps that are also writing this month.

50,000 words doesn’t sound so terrifying when you break it down its roughly 1600 words a day. Well, here’s my first word of advice…

Don’t get behind.

Just don’t please don’t it makes the whole thing too daunting. I took one day off yesterday while already 1,000 words behind. That meant today I was supposed to write 4,000 words. Which I didn’t do in fact, I only wrote about 3,000. It was easy to do though, as I had the day off and was able to hole up in a coffee shop for 3 hours mid-day, that helped. Tomorrow I’m still at the 1,000 lag plus my new 1600 for the day, and guess what, it’s almost tomorrow. Tomorrow just doesn’t stop coming in this challenge. There just comes a point in the day where your writing and attention turns to crap and you just should stop. I think I wrote a line to the effect of Lydia had large brown eyes, the gentlest eyes Nora had ever seen. This made me gag ever so slightly, and I made sure to highlight it and remind myself to go back and rework it later , and hung up my hat for the day.

That’s the thing, you can’t get in your own way here, and as much as you want to hit a number you should try at least, to not just be pumping out trite BS. I know what you are thinking, that’s not writing, that’s not creative, that’s encouraging people to just write garbage so they can hit an arbitrary number and convincing them that anybody can and should write.

Let’s look at it in a slightly less cynical light. NaNoWriMo is a great way to help people get started, to give people a glimpse into how much work the writing process is and to get them in a habit of writing daily, even when they don’t want to. Like starting a gym routine, it’s work, and unless you are some big name person, or a professional novelist this is work you are NOT getting paid for and there may be no external rewards for doing it, ever. But if you want to do it, do it, go for it. Do the work, don’t let anything stand in your way and find others who support you in this.

There are so many layers to writing a novel. The planning, research, mapping, outlining, then the actual writing. I mean the most I’ve ever written was in the 35,000-word range and not only did the writing of it take about four months, and the attempts at self-editing that followed the writing were just atrocious. There’s all kind of consistency issues, voice issues, syntax errors, jumbled grammar, notes to self I forgot to take out, so many things. Which direction was the store? What was that street name again? Do all the timelines match up and make sense? I think that I had like 3 different names for one character at some point and two different names for the same street. These are things that you don’t really think about if you’ve never done a long piece of fiction. I tried to get some pals to look at it for me, but that’s just asking way too much of somebody who already has way more important things to do than read your silly novella. But hey, you have to learn somewhere, and NaNoWriMo is a great way to do just that. To practice, to learn, and to DO something rather than just talking about it. There’s much respect in that.

The reason I committed to this one is that we are trying a pilot program at the U to see if the students are interested in something like this. We put everything together kind of last minute and it’s a bit all over the place but it hasn’t been shall we say “successful” as a program. There is a ridiculous amount of signage in the library, a display case, and a sign with upcoming events. A couple people came to the kickoff party, I wasn’t there to see it I had my job at the public that day, but so far, we have had 0 people show up to our drop-in events. I mean there’s myself, and my co-worker who showed up to write but we were staffing the events so does that count? I say yes, but only to beef up our numbers to 2. Sigh. I mean, it’s tougher in an academic library to do these kinds of programs. These students are already reading tons for their classes and working on midterms and projects and papers and all sorts of things. Maybe asking them to write in this crazy boot camp style just isn’t appealing to them. I thought that maybe we would have a taker or two, but not so far. Oh well, we learned and maybe there will be a next time, maybe not. I suppose the month is only about 1/3 over and anything can happen.

The struggle is real, but so are dreams and goals. There’s leg work, work and work, and more work. There’s mistakes, rejections, doubts, and breakthroughs. I think the trick here may be enjoying the journey, allowing yourself to be a beginner, and having fun while you are at it. I’ll keep you updated on the progress, god bless it if I finish I’m going to throw myself a party. Honestly, a party, even if it’s just me that shows up. I’ll invite the cat, who knows maybe he’ll wake up.

Wait, I just wrote my 1000 words. So what if it wasn’t part of the story, I’m giving myself the W for today.

image obtained from: http://andimjulie.blogspot.com/2012/06/camp-nanowrimo-laundry-popsicles.html

 

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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.

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

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.

Dentures

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

Chancriod

 

 

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

Listen and Sell

It’s summer time here at the U, so we have some time to breathe, and to enjoy the laid back atmosphere. This also means my schedule shifts, and no more Sundays until September.  I like having the Sundays off because it’s more aligned with normal people, but also because I get to brunch again with real humans at a place, not just making a large late breakfast and drinking champagne on a Wednesday by myself at home. I’ve been ignoring my roulette, and to some degree my self-appointed blogging duties for a while due to other projects (more on that coming soon). But that means I can just shift my roulette over to Friday and keep on it.

Today I chose a random book from our book sale here at the U. Sometimes professors or other people affiliated with the University will make large donations, and every now and then there are multiple copies of the same book. I looked over at the sale shelf and saw about 40 copies of a new book, so I had to go and see what it was all about.

The book for this week is called:

Masters of Sales: Secrets from Top Sales Professionals That Will Transform You into a World Class Salesperson by Ivan Misner and Don Morgan.

IMG_1392 - Copy

I flipped through the book and noticed that each little section is written by different folks from the profession sharing lessons and advice, etc. I opened up randomly to this excerpt:

Earning the Right to Be Heard by Stuart Mitchell

Two of the strongest criticisms about salespeople are:

  1. They are only interested in selling me something
  2. They don’t really care about me

By contrast, I listen to my prospects and clients and win national sales awards year after year, while consistently doubling my sales targets. My claim to fame is that I actively listen to my prospects and clients. “Active listening” is like a bank account. The more active listening deposits you make, the more sales withdrawals you get. It works this way. When you listen to your prospects – AND THEY KNOW IT- they will, in return, listen to what you have to say about your product. This leads to more sales.  (Misner & Morgan, 2007, p.103)

I’ve always had a tough relationship with sales people, I always assume they are up to no good. I often avoid them when I see them approaching me at a mall, or try my very best to never have to change phone plans, or bank accounts or whatever.  I usually tell them what I need, but they don’t really help me with that. Often times I end in programs or plans that are more likely to help them hit their “numbers” while putting me in a less than ideal situation. Maybe I’m too much of a pushover; maybe I just give everybody the benefit of the doubt when I shouldn’t. I don’t know but me and the idea of sales have just never mixed. This isn’t a blanket statement; there are good sales people out there. I worked in real estate forever ago, and in the many loan officers I met there were actually a couple of decent ones, they were good at what they did, and looked out for their clients. I don’t know if the field has changed much, but these good seeds were pretty few and far between.  But what makes a salesperson “good”?  In business they usually see your numbers, not your client satisfaction, which may be where the trouble comes about. I wonder how much the world would change if instead of money/revenue/numbers/ products sold companies actually paid attention to customer satisfaction as the rating for sales people and made this the gauge for if they kept their jobs or got bonuses. How well people were treated by salespeople and companies in general would definitely change, for the better.

There will also be times in your life when you have to “sell” yourself. As much as this makes me cringe it’s true, there’s job interviews, writing resumes and cover letters, online dating, even friendship s sometimes begin with trying to convince somebody that you are indeed cool enough to hang out with. So maybe let’s take deeper look into this “active listening” and see what it’s really about and how it can be used to benefit a situation.

 

Here is one definition of it:

 

Active Listening: An approach to interpersonal communication that requires sensitivity and open-mindedness on the part of the listener and a willingness to share information and opinions on the part of the speaker. Listening actively allows the one who is hearing to comprehend the underlying message beneath the content of the words voiced, to evaluate fairly the speaker, and to reconsider previously held attitudes. Being heard in a nonjudgmental manner gives the speaker the confidence for self-expression without fear of criticism or intimidation and a sense that what he or she has to say is of value. Active listening has been used successfully in the workplace and in other social settings, as well as in health and mental health practice, to bring about changes for the better in both the listener and the speaker. Learning the art of active listening takes practice. (Sullivan, 2009)

 

So basically, it’s allowing the person speaking to say what they need to say without judgment in an open minded setting. One of the interesting parts of this definition it says active listening allows the listener to find the underlying message in the words of the speaker.  When I hear underlying I think of reading between the lines, so it feels to me like a way to decipher something and get a meaning that may lie deeper than the surface.  Maybe somebody says “I want dessert, and I really haven’t had ice cream in so long” you could actively listen and get that person some ice cream. Even though they didn’t say, “hey I want ice cream, can you get me some?” This allows you to understand what they are trying to get across on a deeper level. That may be a really bad example, but I kind of want ice cream right now so, sorry, but you get the point. I could see how this could be useful in many aspects of life, business, friendships, and most definitely romantic relationships.

 

I meet with a group of women each month, where we practice active listening with one another, and the way she describes it is like the speaker is a rock being dropped into the water. Her words are like ripples in the pond. Let her say her truth, and sit silently, absorb it, don’t respond to it or say, “yes I agree” or “me too” because that lessens the value of the words being said, also, if you are busy trying to formulate a response then you aren’t really listening. You lose what the person is saying because you are somewhere else in your own head formulating a comment. Once the ripples are gone, a few moments of silence, and another woman can start in. I don’t practice this enough to say that its life changing, but I should more often. As the definition says it takes practice. As much as I don’t like sales people I’ve also never liked to listen to others so this post is all about those hard things. I do feel the excerpt is pitchy and  sounds like it’s written by a salesperson, there is much value to what is being said there. I don’t think I’ll be reading the rest of this book, but if you are interested, consult your local library. Or, just come here we have like 40 copies for .50 cents each.

 

 

Misner, I. & Morgan, D. (2007). Masters of Sales: secrets from top sales professionals that will transform you into a world class sales person. New York; Entrepreneur Press.

 

Sullivan, L. E. (2009). Active listening. In The SAGE glossary of the social and behavioral sciences (Vol. 3, pp. 6-6). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications Ltd. doi: 10.4135/9781412972024.n33

 

Sorry, not sorry…

I have had two co-workers in the last week tell me that they are thinking of going to grad school to get an MLIS (Master of Library and Information Science) degree so they can pursue librarianship. Many people are surprised this degree even exists, but if you want to be a librarian pretty much anywhere in the United States you eventually will end up needing to get this degree. It’s one of the standard minimum requirements for a lot of places, but not all, especially the more private or special interest libraries or museums.

My two co-workers are very different people with very different interests, but the degree seems to fit well for both of them. One works at the public library, she focuses on children’s services, and the other works at the University mainly focusing on tech services. My advice to both of them… GO for it.

When I first decided to go to grad school about 7 years ago, it was a big decision. I didn’t know anybody who had been to grad school before; I had never even so much as volunteered in a library, so I wasn’t sure if it was a good investment. I didn’t get in my first year, since I applied late, but got in the next year for fall 2011. It seemed to start out well; I felt a bit underachiever-y compared to my classmates, some of which already had successful careers in libraries, with blogs and volunteer projects. All I had done up until then was work in a totally unrelated field of real estate investment and stone shipping. In 2012, after my first full year of the program Forbes magazine released their annual list of the worst master’s degrees. Guess what #1 was??  Yep, the MLIS. In fact, even last year in 2016 Forbes still thinks that it’s in the top 5, rounding out at #4. So, am I sorry I chose this route? Nope, not one bit, not at all. If I were to listen to Forbes I would be somewhere getting a degree in statistics and being miserable. It’s just not me even if it appears to be profitable.

2012 Forbes list here

2016 Forbes list here

It seems that the things that I love in life most won’t make me any money (according to these list and most people I talk to). The MLIS rounds out at 4 and creative writing at 12. But you know ,even though it can seem bleak at times; I wouldn’t trade pursuing my interests and the things I love for a bigger paycheck, or for something that seems more “secure”. Everybody is different, some people don’t find fulfillment through their careers, and they choose to just work to get money and support families, and find joy other places in life. Which also works, but when I hear that a student here is pursuing a particular degree just so they can make money, it just makes me a little sad.

So where am I going with all this? Well, number one; always follow your dreams people!  Two, as I’m having this conversation with my co-worker at the public I look up at the new bookshelf directly in front of me and find a book titled: This is What a Librarian Looks Like: A Celebration of Libraries and Access to Information by Kyle Cassidy.

IMG_1336 - Copy

It’s a collection of pictures of actual librarians from all walks of life across the United States talking about why they got into librarianship and why they love it. It also includes excerpts about libraries by authors such as Neil Gaiman and George R.R. Martin. Obviously, as somebody who shares a passion for libraries it was great to read what like-minded professionals like myself had to say in defense of our libraries and how they affect the communities that they serve, so I get it, but if you are one of those people who doesn’t understand why libraries exist then maybe it could shine some light on it for you.

A while back I applied with the California Department of Corrections with the thought that maybe I would like to be a librarian in a correctional facility. After talking with some people in my life and researching online I don’t know if it’s a path I am interested in any longer, but something about being a librarian makes you want to help out those that need it most. There’s a Correctional Facility Librarian from Colorado named Sam Leif that put it into words that really touched me the most, he said:

“Libraries can help stop a generational cycle of abuse, victimization, or anger. They can rehabilitate, help people grow and change in life.” (p. 112)

One thing that I’ve noticed in this profession is since we don’t generate revenue we are constantly keeping stats on how many questions we answer. We need to generate reports that remind people that we are still relevant and to fund us (pleeeassseeeee??). As much as we have proof on paper in the form of tick marks or computer generated data from online sheets I think that our biggest success stories can be in the form of the lives we change and opportunities that we can provide for people who otherwise might not have had a chance.

Can you think of any ways that a library has changed your life, influenced you positively, or just gave you a place to hang out for a little away from it all?

 

Cassidy, K. (2017). This is what a librarian looks like: a celebration of libraries, communities, and access to information. New York:  Black Dog.

this party is to fire!

Being a weekend lady here at the U I miss most of the action of the week. Sure, there’s still students here on the weekends, but it’s busiest Monday Through Wednesday, tapers off Thursday, Friday is dead, Saturday is hit or miss being either super slow or super busy, and we pick back up Sunday for all those trying to get their homework ready for the week. I usually come in Thursday morning, make my rounds and ask people what I missed.

This morning I was in for a treat. The daytime circulation supervisor had a story for me. He was sitting at his desk, which is behind windows and a sliding door that is usually open, meaning that it’s pretty out of the way and most people don’t go back there unless they are an employee or affiliated with the library in some way. He’s sitting at his desk, when a student approaches him and introduces himself. Then, the student who looks like he may or may not belong to a fraternity hands him a flyer for a party. I guess you may be wondering, well what the hell is so funny about this? 1) If you knew library people you would know that we probably don’t look like we want to party, especially when we are like 10 years older than the students so the fact that he purposely singled out my co-worker and went out of his way to give him this flyer is just weird 2) You have to wait until you hear the hype written on the front of the flyer, It’s so good that I couldn’t make it up if I wanted to.

Here is the flyer itself, it appears to be a concert show:

IMG_1197 - Copy

The first band is named Victor Hugo (library points for that one ONLY). Right below the info is this blurb, I will write it here exactly as it is on the flyer:

Your gonna party so hard

your dancing and your mind

will explode on fire you’l try to call

200 firefighters to extinguish the flames

but no can will be able to

extinguish the heat because this party is to fire!

 

200 firefighters can’t even put out the flames after your dancing and mind explode from the party? Wow. That’s amazing. I think I may have to go and check this one out! I just want to kind of see dancing exploding all over the place, I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed that before. Just have to be careful because no can will be able to put out those flames, maybe if you called 300 firefighters?

OH College. I’m going to be laughing about this one alllll week.

Sunday before spring break

Working at the University today, it’s the Sunday before spring break and it’s dead. One of those lovely days when I just get to sit here and read, and wait, for somebody to ask me something, anything.. anyone?

So, end of shift updates. I have helped via chat 3 people. I can’t remember the first one. But I told somebody our hours, and helped another student find facts about the cultural climate and economy of Pakistan. Here’s a tidbit I found especially grim:

“Pakistan is a patriarchal Islamic society where men dominate in all areas of public and private life. Pakistani women and girls are particularly prone to acts to violence from men. Such acts can include beatings, mutilation, having acid thrown on their faces, murder, custodial beatings, rape, and the practice of “honor killings,” where a woman who deviates from established social and cultural norms is killed, ostensibly to protect the family’s honor.”

-Global Road Warrior database, Pakistan: Women in Culture

Makes you think about how scary of a place this world can be. I feel for the oppressed and hope that one day women in Pakistan can be seen as equals, at the very least not murdered for being different or progressive. OK, rant over, sorry for the bring down. Sunday funday once again.

 

Ok, not all Librarians.. Just me

So why am I doing this? Every time I tell somebody what I do, they ask me, do people still go to libraries? Do you think we need libraries, can’t people just Google it? What exactly do you do tell people to be quiet all day long? Do people actually still read books, won’t everything be digital in another couple of years? Why? AH! It’s annoying. Even at both of my jobs I have to keep stats, questions answered, instruction sessions taught. It’s like I am constantly justifying my existence as a librarian, and as to WHY and how libraries serve their patron base. So this is mainly for me, to remind myself. What DO I do on a daily basis?  Is my existence really justified?  I’ll start with a background…

I’m 32, and just starting out really in the field. Like every other good librarian I dragged my butt through a grad program, came out on the other end with a mountain of debt and shiny happy hopes and dreams for the future of information services. I have been a reference assistant for 2 1/2 years at a public library, and a reference and instruction librarian at a private college for a little over 1 year now. So, I run into a great mix of people, and questions that range from.. “what is my email password?” to “I am researching the use of pornographic materials in married couples”. I mean, each day I learn something new, which is great. But some days, especially on the public side, I have all but lost faith in humanity all together. So this is just kind of a journey. And it’s not just about a profession, it’s about a lot of things, people, manners, technology, public spaces, education, etc. Hopefully by logging this all I can determine if I really made the right choice here, and if librarians really do make a difference.