Friday, December 28, 2007

End of the Year Book List

I love end-of-the year lists -- top 10 books, movies, dvds, celebrities, news stories, etc. I love a list. I have been reading a lot of juvenile fiction this year. I initially started so I could give my mother recommendations of books to buy for my niece. But I found that the books were great and so I have continued. Here is my personal top 10 list.

  1. The Golden Compass
  2. James and the Giant Peach
  3. From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
  4. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
  5. The Westing Game
  6. Wide Window - A Series of Unfortunate Events
  7. Nancy and Plum
  8. Sarah, Plain and Tall
  9. The Egypt Game
  10. The Last Book in the Universe

Thursday, December 20, 2007

First semester in a foreign country?

This is a facebook message from a first year student who came to the UofR from China. I was so clueless at 18. I didn't know how to use a washing machine... I can't imagine myself moving to a foreign country and starting college. I would have floundered and probably failed. But this young woman certainly made it. Amazing.

I feel that my first semester in college perhaps taught me more than all I learned in high school. I came to this new country without even knowing the different names of cheese. Now, I know that there are provolone, swiss, and American. I made lots of great friends and I'm satisfied with all my courses=) See, I survive^_^ Thanks so much for all the kind encouragement and warm help. I'll see you again in the new year, lol Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Bat Did Not Attack Student

We had a bat in the library last night just before our study break. We called facilities to come remove it - bat poop near food and people and books, doesn't seem like a good match. We were told that facilities wouldn't (couldn't?) come remove the bat because it hadn't attacked a student. Hmmmm. And attaching staff still wouldn't have been grounds for removal? I wonder how that conversation was recorded on the dispatch log...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Innkeeper at the Roach Motel

I just read a great piece by Dorethea Salo about institutional repositories. The title is from her statement, " [The institutional repository} is like a roach motel. Data goes in, but it doesn't come out." It's a very interesting article and I'm very impressed that she has the guts to point out that the emperor is buck naked.

This is my favorite quote, "Simply put, the institutional repository and services associated with it must provide value to faculty on faculty terms before it will see more than scant, grudging use."

Check it out.

New Signs for the Bathrooms

Suzanne just walked by and commented on our new, visible bathroom sign. It has been a huge success. We have had virtually no "where is the bathroom?" questions since we put it up. Yeah! I won't tell you how long we lived with a handmade sign on green cardboard.....

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Another great idea from flickr!

I saw a picture on flickr of a fabulous Christmas tree made out of books by Plymouth Libraries. I loved it. Marylou and Alison immediately found some red and green (how lucky!!) volumes that had been withdrawn but not discarded and went to work. I love the final result!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Houston, We Have Self Check Out.

Finally, our self check our machine is ready for business. The security gate is installed and working. AND the Millennium bridge to the Goergen Building is open. Phew. Is it called the Millennium bridge because it took a millennium to finally open???...

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Only 12 Days to Exams

The students make me laugh. There are only twelve days left until exams. There seems to be a direct correlation between deadlines and work on our jigsaw puzzles. They have finished more puzzles in the last two weeks than they have all semester. Ah - procrastination!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Friday afternoons in the library

Friday afternoons are very festive in the library this semester. I don't seem to remember that they were always this way. The library is filled with students working in big groups, studying by themselves, writing papers on the computers, scrawling formulas on the white boards, etc. The place just buzzes with good energy. I have always had a theory that the circulation desk sets the tone for the entire library. This is a picture of two of our circ students happily cutting snow flakes together. Case closed.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Library in Gleason Library

The new Gleason Library is a huge success. Students love it. Though because there are no books and no desk, how to insert "library" into the space is an interesting challenge. Judi and the other reference librarians have made a point of meeting with students in the space. So every time they have an appointment, they go to Gleason Library. I think it's a great idea and a way to insert librarians into the space every day.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

We're Big on the Little Things

We're big on the little things in the Science Libraries. One of Pat's ideas that has been a resounding success,was to put out bottles of hand sanitizer. Frankly I thought it was kind of nutty, but I learned a long time ago that I'm not very good at predicting what will and won't work. Students love it. Pat even had a faculty member thank her for it last week. Who knew?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

It's Important to See and Be Seen

I was talking to some of our circ students last night who were RAVING about the new Gleason Library. The space is pretty much one big open room with floor to ceiling windows at one end. One of the reasons they like it so much (this is after less than one week of use!...) is that "people can see you" and "you can see your friends".

I had never thought of that as an important consideration.

They then
proceeded to tell that of course, that was part of the reason that people liked to study at Carlson library -- you can see your friends thought the glass windows as they come up and down the glass staircase. I knew the windows gave the library an open, airy feel. I had never considered that the reason it appealed to students was that they could see their friends through the windows.

It's important to see and be seen.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

You found *what* in the stacks?

I forwarded this very funny blog post entitled "amazing things found in the stacks" to my staff. And much to my amazement, it turns out that we too have found some pretty amazing things in OUR stacks over the years.
  1. one pair of boxer shorts
  2. on vodka bottle (empty)
  3. several small cartons of milk (spoiled)
Who knew??

Saturday, November 03, 2007

"This is the New Facebook"

After the dedication of the Gleason Library last night, Lorraine stayed around and watched what happened when the space was open to students. She typed up their comments which are just dreamy.

Some initial reactions:
  • "Sweet!" (An exclamation by a student as he reached the top of the stairs, followed immediately by a cell phone call to a friend.)
  • Students liked the colors, and the art. (Very excited to find out that art will rotate.)
  • Some girls tried out every type of furniture in the room, and liked it all. One girl's favorite was the padded stools.
  • Many students are enjoying the cup holders and writing tables on the chairs.
  • The TV's were of great interest (until someone interrupted the feed).
  • Students are moving the furniture already to suit themselves (eg: comfy chairs pulled up to the PC's)
  • Students are already using the studio rooms (the ones I spoke to were studying for the GRE's tomorrow)
  • An amateur film maker went nuts over the theatre room and declared his intention to "camp out" there.
  • Looking in the windows from the outside is already bringing people into the space.
  • Some students brought dinner in for themselves and ate at a table by the window.
  • 13 laptops and 5 PC workstations being used at 8:25 pm
  • Many, many, many questions about "how long this room will be open?" All are thrilled to find out that the space will not close when the IT Center does.
  • "Oh my god, this is a whiteboard?!" "This is so awesome!"
  • Don's student: "This is where we used to do the pasting? I'm actually excited to study!"
  • There are people using the benches in the landing.
  • There is already someone asleep on bench couches outside Studio B (which speak to the management of noise in here. There is a ton of activity right now, but there is only a gentle buzz in the room.)

Basically, every area of the room is being used in some way.

Some notes left on the white boards:
  • This is awesome! I think I may live here
  • I love Gleason. Love. Really love. (<--she's serious)
  • All it needs is coffee. Nevermind. (The "nevermind" was added when I told her that there would be coffee on level G)
  • I love the colors.
  • This is really awesome! The new hotspot on campus
  • This is so cool!
  • This is the new facebook

Thursday, November 01, 2007

I think a man designed this

This is the sink in the women's bathroom of the new Gleason Library. At first I thought "yeah". The gunky pink soap will go directly into the sink rather than on the counter like it does in all the other bathrooms. Then I thought, "wait a minute". Where am I going to put my purse when I'm washing my hands? Or my toothbrush? Or my book (this is a library after all). Hmmmm. No counter, only sink. I have a feeling that a man designed this sink.

A Day to Just be Silly

I dressed up for Halloween as a piece of candy corn. It was handmade and dorky. Students laughed and gave me the thumbs up. One of my class of 2011 friends (I've never met her) saw me in the stacks and we had a little exchange on facebook about it. (How can you miss a woman in a bun dressed as a candy corn?...) The mail guy and the janitor were nearly speechless when they saw me at the reference desk. It was a huge success. I had fun. They had fun. I think we all need more fun.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Just say NO to hand dryers

When it comes to women's bathrooms, I do know more than my boss, who is a man. Interestingly I rarely disagree with him about facilities - because he's usually right and I'm usually wrong. But when it comes to women's bathrooms - I am the expert.

He is excited about the hand dryers he put in the women's bathroom in the new Gleason Library. I know, it's open 24 hours and accumulation of paper trash will be a problem, BUT....

What is wrong with hand dryers?:

  1. It takes way longer to dry your hands using a dryer than it does using paper towels, even those cheap, non-absorbent brown towels that we use.

  2. If and when your hands are ever do DRY, they are also chapped from the heat.

  3. Need to brush your teeth? Need to splash water on your face after a plane ride? How does the hand dryer work with that?? Not. No amount of toilet paper, folded or crumpled, can dry you.

Just say NO to hand dryers in women's bathrooms.

Monday, October 29, 2007

My Greatest Accomplishment Last Year

I know I should probably have on my list of accomplishments for last year things like - established a wiki for class, answered reference questions via facebook, revolutionized the way graduate students are tracking new research by demonstrating RSS feeds.
But no.

Really, my greatest accomplishment (with most of the credit to Isabel) was getting shelves installed on the back of stall doors in the women's bathroom. I do not have to provide one more word of explanation to any women reading this blog. Purse hanging around your neck? Bookbag on the icky bathroom floor? Sound all too familiar?

Why is it an "accomplishment"? Because it took many, many conversations to explain why I needed a shelf in the women's stalls. And once I had convinced someone to order them - we had to show them where to install them. The facilities guy was completely baffled as to what the shelves were for.....

It really is a mars and venus thing.... Next, can we do anything about the super-tight toilet rolls? I am NOT a gerbil.
To see more posts about bathrooms, check out Bathroom Blogfest!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Things You Can Check Out

We check out a lot of things at our circulation desk in addition to books. Some have been suggested by students -- earplugs and headphones. Staff have suggested the others in response to complaints from students -- laptop locks, study lamps, extension cords, and power strips. The lamps were our solution to not great lighting. The extension cords are our interim solution to not enough outlets for laptops. Overall it's been a good way to be responsive to student comments.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Office in the Stacks?

Diane just asked about creating an office in the stacks for herself. Wow. What an amazing idea. Wouldn't that be the ultimate in outreach for faculty and students looking for Math books??? Students always come up to her and ask her for help when she's in the stacks weeding, etc. I wonder if she is actually sitting at a DESK, would they still feel comfortable asking her for help? Hmmmm.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


I just had a woman come by the desk asking how she can send a note to library administration. We chatted and it turned out that she had been studying by a man who scared her. Of course, I told her to always let us know immediately, we will always call security immediately, etc. etc. But afterwards I mostly felt terribly discouraged. Her original solution was to send me an email hours or even days afterward the incident? How afraid do women have to be before they feel justified in saying something?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Once You've Been to the City, You Can Never Go Back

We briefly had to put notebooks with old chemistry exams on reserve yesterday. (The chemistry server went down the day before a big test.) The "solution" lasted about 2 hours. The students had to wait for the notebooks. It took too long. They were not happy. Mid afternoon, one the students in the class who had saved an electronic version, simply emailed the file to the entire class. And that was the end of revisiting the era of paper reserves.

It has always been my humble opinion that the same thing would happen if we ever lost access to an electronic journal and had to use the print version. I don't think people would bother at ALL with the print, but would simply wait, for as long as it took, for the electronic version to return.

You can't go back.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sometimes Wikipedia Rocks

I just had a student come to the desk with a whole page of citations she wanted to find. Sigh. I thought this is going to take forever. It turned out that each citation had a DOI and PMID number - both of which are super easy to resolve. And where did she get such a lovely list of relevant references? WIKIPEDIA of course....

Friday, October 12, 2007

I will NOT give you my social security number

Just got off the phone with a lovely woman in university health services. (I am going to get registered for a respirator so I can clean mold off of books, but that's another story.). Her first question - "what is your social security number?" She was shocked when I refused to give it to her - their system "requires" it. Wait a minute. We still have systems that require social security numbers???? I DO NOT GIVE OUT MY SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER. Geez.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Exam Tomorrow

Q. How do you know for SURE that there is a major exam tomorrow?

A. There is a big bag of chips on every study table.

Not just food. Not just a regular bag of chips. There has to be an enormous, family-size bag of chips.

Curious. I have never, ever seen students coming into the library with one of these bags. Where do they come from??

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Things Change

When we had students take pictures of the things they carried with them everyday - none of them included a laptop. But almost two years have passed and I think things have changed. I am seeing more and more students with laptops in the library, even during the day. Yesterday at 2:30, I did a quick check and there were 14 students with laptops. And yes, all the public computers were in use too....

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

We're Making Progress

These are the days when I really miss Isabel. She was great at coordinating all these facilities things. We're making progress towards getting two new security gates and a self check machine installed. Every day, one more step forward. Today one of the gates and the self check equipment was delivered and taken up to the third floor. I can't wait until it's all installed and we can finally open the gate to the new BME/Optics Building! I feel like this has been on my "to do" list forever!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Housing Reservations for ALA Midwinter

opened today.

At 10:20, two of the hotels were already gone.

My credit card hung for 15 minutes. Amy's has hung for an hour.

It's not 11:40 and the site seems to be completely down.

It's days like these that make me wonder why I still pay my dues!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Facebook and a reference question

Good grief. I just used facebook to help me answer a chemistry reference question! I remembered that Sue's status yesterday was, " Susan Cardinal is learning about the element astatine".

So when I had a couple of freshman come to the desk and ask for information about astatine, I knew right away to go ask Sue.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. Astatine wasn't even an element when I took freshman chemistry!!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Finding Journals Really is Loopy

I had yet another conversation with the first year graduate student who has been trying to figure out how to find journal articles all summer. Today we had a conversation about journals starting with "the". I'm not at all sure she believed me when I told her you had to leave out those initial articles... And of course it sounds loopy even to me. Amazon forgives the initial article, what kind of wacky system wouldn't? Sigh. We all know the answer to that question.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Sunday Afternoon at the Reference Desk

What can I conclude from my afternoon at the reference desk?

  1. I really, really need better signs for the bathrooms.
  2. Students expect the reserve desk and the reference desk to offer the same services. (i.e. laptop locks, markers, reserve books)
  3. Why oh why are there problems with the copiers every, single day? If this was a car, I'd demand my money back.

Questions between 1 and 5 p.m.

  • Where is the bathroom?
  • Can I borrow a pen?
  • Do you have a scanner?
  • Do you have laptop locks?
  • Apparently she can't wait... Can you watch my computer while I run to the bathroom?
  • Beep. Beep. (no money on copy card). (I give student the departmental card to use.)
  • Copier is out of paper. (No, really just a meaningless error message. Student is amazed I get the copier to work.)
  • Where is the bathroom?
  • Are there markers for the white boards?
  • Do you have the solutions manual for (the genetics textbook)?
  • *** no, reference questions ***

Friday, September 21, 2007

Three "no's" to yes

What a day.What a week. At least I can remind myself that we have turned three "no's" into yes's. (Thanks to Don Barlow for talking about this idea at ALA Annual.)

No, we only have *Styrofoam* cups for the coffee.
Yes, we have paper cups for coffee.

No, we don't have a scanner. You have to walk back across campus.
Yes, the scanner is on order and it will be installed soon.

No, you can't return a book at the reference desk.
Yes, we can take that book for you.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Right back where we started from?

We were totally focused on Faculty when I started in academic libraries twenty years ago. Then we all changed course and turned to Graduate Students. Now it seems we're in the era of The Undergraduate Student.

It was clear from interviews we did as part of the Undergraduate Research Project that students think of their professors as "the experts", the experts in everything. They don't even think of librarians as the experts for what database to use, their professors are. We pretty quickly concluded that we're going to have to work with faculty if we want to promote library resources to undergraduates.

We started to review some of the graduate student interviews this week. What a suprise. Not. Again, the graduate students view their professors as the experts. They model their behavior after their professors, they seek their advice, they are the center of their world.

Wouldn't it be ironic that I am going to end my career right back where I started, by focusing primarily on faculty? Only this time, I'm older than a lot of them....

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Google Scholar and Email Address

It happened again.
1. I found the full text of an article that we don't subscribe to and that shouldn't be available full text for free but was, on Google Scholar.
2. And once again I let the patron leave without getting their email address. Sigh. Literally two minutes after he left, I had the full text of the article he wanted. RATS.

Monday, September 17, 2007

More Insight from Twitter

I am following a couple of the librarians who are regular speakers at conferences. Interesting to follow their twitter postings. These people (women) work all the time - nights and weekends. Fame definitely has a price.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sunday afternoon on the desk

Gave a student a new box of kleenex for his table.

Live time - twitter and flickr with friends at RIT.

One of my circ students is knitting. And no, I don't have a fit about that kind of thing any more. Age has mellowed me.

Student is working on the periodic table puzzle.

Group of four students came in together and are working together at a table on something school-related.

Lots of students at the computers - some school work, some not.

Girl sitting on the stairs in the atrium laughing so hard on her cell phone that at first I thought she was sobbing. Phew.

I covered ugly bulletin board on the third floor with children's posters brought back from ALA's of years past. Anything has to be better than nothing.

Reading Susan's "The Academic Library and the Net Gen Student". Wow. She is a very good writer.

No reference questions. This is telling me something.

Questions about Facebook

I talked to a group of humanities faculty about facebook on Friday afternoon. It was very interesting and I came away thinking I probably wasn't qualified to talk on the topic at all! Geez. They asked me a bunch of questions, I couldn't answer.

Do many faculty have profiles on facebook?
I don't think so, but I have never systematically looked.

If I (faculty) get a facebook account, will my students think it's creepy?
I live in two separate spheres on facebook - my student circle of friends and my librarian circle of friends. I rarely comment on my student's activities except to say "happy birthday" and congratulations when they get into graduate school. Faculty have a very different relationship with students than I do. I can see how they would have to be even more careful about those boundaries.

Can I use facebook to publicize a new course?
This one really stumped me. I thought it might be best if a student (major or one who was taking the course) either posted something to *their* page or created a new group. Hmmm. I feel like I'm missing something here.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Interlibrary Loan is an Amazing Service

and concept. I love working with first year, international graduate students. They remind me of the amazing riches an academic library in the United States has to offer. I absolutely just made a chemistry graduate student's day by showing him interlibrary loan. He was thrilled.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Use for Twitter?

Well I'm not sure this qualifies as an important use for Twitter, but it certainly keeps me following it. I used to work at the University the of Houston and I follow a librarian who works there now. Twice in the past two months they have been sent home (or maybe one time they were NOT allowed to go home) because of tropical storms. For some reason these single sentence Twitter postings really transport me back to Houston and the scariest weather I have ever experienced.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The book is out and so is the podcast

Today, the free online version of the book, "Studying Students: The Undergraduate Research Project at the University of Rochester," came out! Yeah.

It's available at:

The print version is in route to the distributors and will "hit the streets" next week. $28...

There is also a podcast about the book featuring me, Judi and Ann.

Gawk. My voice is very high and I have that horrible Rochester accent. Sigh. I also made a factual error in the first sentence. Rats. David worked at *Xerox* not Kodak...

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

I placed my first online order

How ridiculous is this?? I THRILLED that I actually placed my first online book order today. (Thanks Sue!) The last time I had collection development responsibilities was in the dark ages - pre Gobi, pre online ordering.

Though while I'm giddy with success, I'm thinking this whole collection development stuff might just tip me right over the edge.

Apparently to get a list of my current (online and print) journal subscriptions and how much I paid for them this year (if we paid at all) and last year I will have to use:

  1. Voyager acquisitions
  2. Ebsconet
  3. Some serials report run once a year that is stored on the network
  4. Desk top reporter that is on my work computer

Note to self: find out what the difference is between all these systems and why I need to go to four different places to create one list!

And oh yeah - I guess I better beef up my excel skills if I actually want to be able to manipulate any of this data.


Saturday, September 01, 2007

The Last Orientation Activity - Ice Cream Give Away

The Libraries and the Writing Center gave ice cream to freshman as they came off the buses from Wilson Day (a day when they volunteer in the community). The weather was beautiful. Who doesn't like ice cream? But drat - next year we have to get t-shirts! Pictures posted on our flickr site.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Slide Show of Parent's Breakfast

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Parent's Breakfast at Freshman Orientation

was a huge success yesterday. We saw over and over again in the undergraduate research project that students went to their *parents* for help with their papers -everything for picking a topic to writing drafts. A light bulb went off for us - we needed to talk to the parents not just the students. Duh.

Pretty much all the subject librarians came and talked with parents over breakfast. We had a very simple theme "every class has a librarian", but really the conversations ranged wildly. We talked to parents about: balancing sports with academics, finding food late at night, file storage space, advisors, taking courses outside of the major, faculty writing of books, and yes (!) parental involvement with school work.

This year was even better than last. We had some orientation staff posted at the doors so the parents didn't get lost between the library entrance and the room where we served breakfast. We also stole (back) an idea from Auburn and did a short, though formal, welcome speech with explanation of what the breakfast was all about. Susan was terrific and it seemed to give some needed definition to the event.

We already have an idea to make next year's breakfast bigger and better - tower tours at sunrise! It's going to be fabulous.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

My Favorite Day of the Year

I love freshman move in day. Everyone is so excited and happy and optimistic. It's a day when anything seems possible.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Looking Forward to This Week

I don't usually wake up on Sunday morning *looking forward* to the work week, but this week is different. The freshman are coming! The freshman are coming! Tuesday is move-in day. I can't wait. Wednesday is breakfast with the parents. That was super fun last year, I'm hoping it will be even better this year.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

365 Library Days Project

I love the 365 Library Days Project on flickr. Libraryman (aka Michael Porter) invited libraries to post 365 photographs, or one picture a day, of their library to this flickr group. It so much fun to look at the pictures. I thought between tons of reading (blogs, listservs, actual articles) and attending conferences, I was "in the loop". But I always get new ideas when I look at these photos. Maybe there is something about looking at a picture instead of listening to a talk? Or do the pictures illustrate the real, day to day activities of the library that we don't think are worth of writing up in an article to talking about in a presentation? I have seen pictures of really clever signage, screen savers, and programming ideas. I guess the reason I look at them several times a week is because there is so much enthusiasm. How can you look at all those Harry Potter celebrations and not smile? How can you look at all the summer reading programs and not be happy that you're a librarian?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Shall we bet?

I keep a list of bets on my bulletin board. I bet X will happen in 12 months; Susan bets X will happen in 30 days. I'm always the pessimistic one. However, I'm pleased to note that I have an excellent track record and am more often correct!

So Diane and I had a very interesting conversation the other day. She thinks that we'll cancel bibliographic databases in a big way within the next two years.

I wish we would. I think we could. I think we need to. I bet it will take 10 years.

I'll add it to my bet list!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

One Hundred Librarians to Lunch

I'm a sucker for these kinds of quotes. This is from the Fashion and Style section of the New York Times in an interview with Brooke Astor.

"For her 100th birthday luncheon, when she was asked whom she wanted as guests, she replied without hesitation: “One hundred librarians.”"

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Cool Off @ Carlson

We had our annual social event for library staff this week, "Cool Off @ Carlson". We rented a snow cone machine and made our own snow cones. It was very fun! Pictures are posted on flickr. The blog "checking out and checking in" saw them and expanded on the idea of having a cool off event for patrons. Better idea! We'll have to try that next year.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Dimensional Barriers?

I describe some of our users as crazy.
Kenn says they are "working across dimensional barriers".
Isn't that a much nicer way to describe it?!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Article in the Chronicle

It's finally out - the article about the undergraduate research project is in today's (online) Chronicle of Higher Education. Yeah. He (Scott Carlson) did a nice job of bringing together a project that spanned two years. Our observations seem obvious to me now -I wonder if others will be surprised or if we're behind the curve? We'll see what the response is.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Thank god for fall semester

I often wonder if library vendors or publishers would ever release new products if it wasn't for the relentless calendar of midwinter and annual meetings. I feel the same way about Fall Semester. Suddenly I have kicked into high gear. Stuff HAS to get done, and no fooling around. I must get new pictures hung on the wall. I must get new signage installed. There must be a new display in the case. I must get photos taken for my Read Posters. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

Count down to freshman move in day - 20 days!

Friday, August 03, 2007

August is slow in the library....

I can remember when I first became a librarian, I had a fit about student workers wearing baseball caps at the desk. And now here is one my students knitting at the desk and I don't even blink an eye. I have definitely mellowed and it's probably a good thing!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

More Facebook and Flickr

I'm equally obsessed with facebook and flickr.

Yesterday was the first time someone I didn't know commented on my flickr pictures. I had posted pictures of the dorm I stayed in when I went back for my 30th reunion (!!!) at Mount Holyoke. (It was a dump.) Some incoming freshman found my picture and went into a panic about what dorm she should choose next year. I felt kind of bad and tried to steer her to current students on, of course, facebook.

I have struck up a number of conversations with incoming freshman on facebook (thank you Brian Matthews). I have been asked to be their friends, but I'm not kidding myself. I know it's a blanket invitation. In fact one student asked me to be her "top friend", which I'm POSITIVE was a mistake! I alerted the dean of freshman to the Class of 2011 group, which she had never checked out. You certainly get an excellent feel for what they're worried about by reading the posts. I also told one of the IT guys that there seemed to be a lot of confusion about vista. He joined the group, supplied some information and also updated the website. That made me feel good and like I'm not TOTALLY wasting my time here...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Using for a class website

Sue made a web page this morning for a group of summer school students using only tags. (The idea came from Carrie Newsom at at U of Florida.) It's not perfect -- she can't figure out how to change to order of the links. But it was very quick to put together. And now as students send her more links, she can add them.. Kind of a fun experiment.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Schools They Turned Down

There is a fascinating discussion going on the Class of 2011 facebook group. The question -- What schools did you decline offers to go to UR?

They turned down Cornell, Penn State, Brown, Bowdin, USC, George Washington, U Washington, Scripps, Bucknell, Carnegie Mellon, Gettysburg, Virginia Tech, Skidmore, Duke, UNC, NC State, Ohio State, UMichigan, Tufts, Emory, U Illinois, Colgate, Brandeis, Indiana, Wesleyan, Brown, Rice, Wash U, Amherst, U Minnesota, Northeastern, Northwestern, UCLA, Tulane, Harvard, Stanford, MIT, Dartmouth, U Virginia, American, Georgetown, Oberlin, Lehigh, RIT, Syracuse, Purdue, Penn, Johns Hopkins, etc....

Reasons they chose UR

financial aid (lots mentioned this)

"so much better"


seemed friendlier

early decision

UR is a "new ivy"

it's about getting an education

brilliant professors who are actually good at teaching

loved my visit (several mentioned this)

got accepted to the 8 year medical program

Reasons they turned down other schools

too big (more than one mentioned this)
they did turn down some full rides. In fact one student wouldn't consider a school until there was a full tuition package

curriculum not as flexible as UR

knew friends who couldn't switch majors because their GPAs weren't high enough

high suicide rates

professors not actually doing the teaching

big names colleges have a lot of ego

ivy league schools don't allow graduates to do research


too close to home

I love to cruise facebook!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Web Page for Future Students

Quite by accident, I was looking at the Colorado State University Libraries homepage. They have a very cool page for "future students". I especially like the quotes from current students in the box "how we use the library". Very nice page. I'd like to do the same thing.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

New Picture

We finally took a new picture of the reference staff. It takes a lot of shots to get one where everyone has their eyes open and doesn't "look funny".

Mission Accomplished

I have to confess -- I set the bar quite low with these classes we do for freshman (actually pre-freshman) that don't have a library assignment. Sigh. But I am declaring Tuesday's class a complete success. One of the students said she wasn't planning to use the library but now that she had seen it, she probably will. That's a home run as far as I'm concerned.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Too Much Information?

We were having one of our summer technology show and tells today and Sue came up with an interesting idea. Should we add links to our flickr pictures, our librarything accounts, our facebook pages from our staff pages? We're always looking for ways to break down barriers. Would more personal information help or would it be too much??

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Where to start?

We did a class for freshman yesterday. Well, they're not even technically freshman yet; they're on campus for a special three week program. We showed them the library homepage. That was excellent. How do you find the library homepage? What is the url? Can you find it in google? Can you get there from the university homepage? We thought we were showing them the course reserves pages.... But I was sitting in the back of the room watching and listening to them, and I realized they didn't know WHAT a reserve book was. Sigh. Go back a step or two. We had them find a book in the stacks. That was useful. They were awed by the size of the library. We ended by showing them the DVD collection. That caught their attention more than anything else. I'm always of mixed mind about these classes. At best they learn their way around the library and come away knowing that there are people to answer their questions. But at worst, they think the library is really lame and a total waste of time. I'm not sure if we can ever undo that impression.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

LibraryThing and the OPAC

Heard a very cool talk by Tim Spalding, found of LibraryThing at ALA. The Danbury Public library has purchased their tags and added them to their catalog. Wow. How cool is that?

I'm looking at the record for an indian cookbook. The LCSH are Cookery, Indian and Cookery, Asian. Cookery??? Who has ever used the word cookery? Asian? Huh?

While the LibraryThing tags include cooking, indian, indian cooking.

We need help and user added tags might be the answer!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Freshman and Facebook

I read an interesting post by Brian Matthews about reaching freshman through Facebook

So I went and checked out the group of the entering UR freshman class, "University of Rochester Class of 2011". It's interesting to see what they're talking about - vista vs. xp, room assignment, what to bring for a dorm room, freshman writing classes, etc. They are also lots of pictures, including some of the library. I joined so I could answer their questions about the pictures and I added a few pictures of Carlson Library. Within minutes someone had commented on my comments and on my pictures! I don't know if it will lead to much, but the response was immediate.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The "no list"

The best talk I heard at ALA was by Don Barlow, Executive Director of the Westerville Public Library. He and his staff keep a running list of all the occasions during the week when they say "no" to a patron. At their staff meetings they review the list and talk about ways to turn the "no" into a "yes. Oh my gosh. This is such a great idea! I turned two "no's" into "yes" before I even got back to work. And they have a cool homepage and even cooler catalog.

Monday, July 02, 2007

You know you work in a geeky library when

students have taken all the free Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) time line posters. Wow. Imagine those in a dorm room!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Trusted Network of Friends

I was looking at a presentation about a photo diary study they did at MIT from Computers in Libraries. Really cool project and very well written. One of the observations they made was that students ask questions first of people in their trusted network. Libraries and librarians are not part of that trusted network. One of my colleagues was telling me a story about a friend of her son's. She (the friend) is a grad student at a big research university and needed an article. She emailed her undergraduate friends, one of whom is the son of a library staff member. Her son forwarded the email to his mother, who is my colleague in the library. So of course my staff member answered her reference question. Did the friend ever go to the Big Research University Library. Nope. Did the friend ever go ask anyone at the Big Research University Library? Nope. "I didn't even think of going there". Wow. We are so not part of their circle.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Less is Sometimes More?
I got a really interesting email yesterday from someone setting up a group study room in their science library. When I worked at Texas A&M (TAMU) we used to reserve rooms for students and it was a living nightmare. Students would want us to settle arguments about who was supposed to have the room reserved when. At one point we limited the number of hours a day students could reserve the room, so then they would make up names. It was horrible. I vowed when I created two group study rooms here in Carlson that I would NOT go down that path again.
We don't make reservations for students. Period. The room is first come, first serve. The room cannot be locked from the inside and they have big windows. There are blinds, but even when they are closed, we can see in the room.
We do reserve the room for faculty who have weekly "workshops" associated with their classes. In fact our rooms are so popular for these classes that they're pretty much booked solid every afternoon and most evenings until 9 p.m.
So why are we having such a good experience and my experience at TAMU was so dreadful?
Fewer rules?
Maybe because we have lots of big tables where students can study and work in groups even if they can't use the rooms?
All I know is that our group study room policies work like a charm.
Knock on wood.

Monday, June 04, 2007

It's a very small world

How weird was this??? I went to my THIRTIETH college reunion this weekend. I meet a women who was also a biology major, so I at least vaguely remembered her. She casually mentions that her daughter goes to the University of Rochester. But wait, not only does her daughter go to the UR, I have met her!! She won the Carlson Art Purchase prize and we are going to hang her painting in the library. How weird is that??

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Facebook Status

Cynthia has informally gotten a whole bunch of us (me, Sue, Brenda, Eileen) to start using facebook more. We're posting pictures and changing our status. Wow. It's really interesting. Two people commented to me today about my status. I feel like people know more about me, in a good way. I could get addicted to this!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Anniversary Exhibit

Marylou and Sue did a fabulous exhibit in honor of the 100 year anniversary of Chemical Abstracts Service. Yes, we are a geeky science library!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Reading Student Blogs

I read about a dozen student blogs. I learn about their lives; I get a good picture of when the semester is crazy and they are feeling swamped. They write about their love lives, which seem to have changed little in the past 30 years...And quite by accident, one of the blogs is written a student who works in the library. It feels a little bit voyeuristic and I'm not entirely comfortable doing it. BUT... I can't stop myself. She wrote the *sweetest* post when she promoted to circulation supervisor -- honestly, it made my day. I guess that's justification enough.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Why is so hard to just find Nature???

I've helped the same graduate student twice this week find the journal Nature. Of course finding it in the OPAC is a well documented, living nightmare. I'd forgotten that it's even hard to find in the list of electronic journals. I know it's Nature (London) - but she sure didn't! Who would know to look under that title except someone who works in the library? Sigh.

Carlson Art Purchase Prize 2007

I chose a painting this year for our art prize. It's titled, Lab Rabbits, and was done by Sheila Tripathy '09. She's coming by next week to find a good place to hang it. I love it. But I love all our student art.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

What are we most proud of

It's spring and academic librarians are writing annual evaluations. Sigh. I would hate to think how many of these I have written over the years - TOO MANY. At our department meeting we each named the one thing we were most proud of last year. I'm always fascinated by this exercise. Sometimes, I know exactly what people are going to say and other times, it's a total surprise. People's major accomplishments were wide ranging, including:

Four major shifting projects

Two presentations

Two new instruction sessions

Review of and improvement of signage

Hiring and training new students

Extensive reference work that led to acknowledgment in a faculty paper

Working with faculty to purchase new serial titles

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Sharing pictures on Facebook and Flickr

1. I had one of our circ students, Sarah, take pictures at our study break.

2. I posted them on flickr for staff. It was much easier than putting them in a power point slide.

3. I posted them with 365 libraries group.

4. Then I posted all the pictures with students to my facebook account as well as to the Carlson Library group.

5. Sarah tagged all the student pictures for me.

6. I got a facebook message from at least one of the students tagged in the picture.


Monday, May 14, 2007

Lots of laptops during exam week

When we interviewed students a year ago, we found that very few of them brought their laptops to the library. It's exam period now, and almost every table of students has at least one laptop. In fact, I walked by a table with four students, and four laptops. They have even started to plug in their laptops at the same table with the library computers. I think I understand what's different - they bring their laptops to the library during *exam* week, because they don't have classes all day. Ah so!

Friday, May 11, 2007

If it's free, they'll take it

I honestly think students will take anything we put out if it's free.

empty boxes (yes, just empty boxes) - gone

discarded books - gone

superseded maps - gone (they even ASK when we're going to put out more...)

boxes of miscellaneous cables and wires - gone

old posters - gone

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Update: White Boards on Wheels

No one used them initially, but now the white boards on wheels have taken off. Not only are groups of students writing the *white* boards, they are using the boards themselves to create a little private spaces. Phew. We were right after all!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Extension cords?

O.k. We are now officially a full, service library. We have Kleenex, we hand sanitizer, we have white boards on wheels, we have laptop locks, we have coffee, and now, we have extension cords!

All 4 of the cords were loaned out on Sunday, and at this moment, all of the cords are currently loaned.
The cords were put on reserve 3/6/07 and the loan stats are as follows:
Cord 1: 23
Cord 2: 35
Cord 3: 7
Cord 4: 3

Monday, May 07, 2007

Carlson Library Study Break May 2007

10:30 p.m. the night before exams
150 students
soda, cookies, candy, doughnuts
20 minutes
all gone

Friday, May 04, 2007

Two books by my cousins

I just found out that both of my "little" cousins have written books. I am so impressed. I bet I can get a personal autograph!

Margaret (left) co-edited the latest volume of the Adams Family Correspondence published by Harvard University Press. Yikes! And Mary Kate who writes for Good Housekeeping just came out with 37 Houseplants Even You Can't Kill.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

I'm technostressed

I signed up for Library Thing, Twitter, and Delicious yesterday. This morning I created a facebook event. I'm suffering from technostress!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The best part of my day - Wegmans

What a horrible day I had yesterday. I should have predicted it -whenever I have big blocks of unscheduled time AND have big plans to finish a project, the day falls all to hell. I spent several hours editing two separate documents, only to discover that in both cases, I was not working off of the latest version. Grrrrrrr. The phone rang off the hook with - well I guess I probably shouldn't go there. But suffice it to say, many issues were brought to me that did NOT need immediate attention.... Oh yeah and I accidentally submitted a correction form and marked it **urgent**, when it wasn't at all. And even worse, I have a bad feeling that I got the problem wrong all together sigh. The only redeeming thing about the day was that I went to Wegmans after work and got to eat a bunch of free food. Though even there, I managed to knock down a display of ttravel cups not just once, but twice! Hopefully today will be a better day.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Checking Out Laptop Locks

Circulation so far this year for laptop locks. This is a lot for a science library on the "other side" of campus.

LOCK 1: 144

LOCK 2: 109
LOCK 3: 133
LOCK 4: 119
Who would have ever thought that students would check out LOCKS for their laptops??? I even had an email from a graduate student asking that we buy MORE because they were all checked out the other night. Sometimes it is the little things.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Retirement Party

We had a retirement party last week for a colleague who has worked in the library for 25 years. I hope when I retire I have her energy and enthusiasm for the job. I certainly have worked with people who have coasted for their last few years, their last ten years.... I also hope that seventy five people come to my party.

Friday, April 27, 2007

It's nice working in a small library

at a small school. (University of Rochester only has about 7,000 undergraduates.) This morning I have been asked for tape, a ruler, a paper clip and a pair of scissors. I have them and I can give them out. They're rarely demanding about their requests; they often are almost apologetic about their requests.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Roy Tennant is leaving CDL

and going to OCLC?? Wow this is huge! I had dinner with him once and asked him how he stayed in touch with users when he clearly had a high level, administrative position. "I'm practical", he said. Ah so! I guess if someone as brilliant as Roy is practical, I too can embrace my own practicality!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Three cell phone conversations

are going on at once in the atrium across from me. (I can see them through the glass wall). One young woman is standing. One woman is sitting on the stairs. A third is sitting on the bench. They are all about four steps away from each other having separate conversations. Fascinating.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Referring Students to the Library

Barbara was arguing this afternoon that it's important for us to connect (reconnect?) with the faculty because they refer students to the library. I'm not sure I'm too worried about this generation of faculty. Most of them are my age and did their graduate work in a library and have fond memories of the physical space, the books, the journals. It's the next generation of faculty and students that I'm thinking about. Today's graduate students (at least in the sciences) rarely use the physical library. In fact I suspect if we asked them they would say they didn't use the library at all, even though they use library resources in the form of electronic journals, every day. Will they refer their students to the library? Will they be interested in library instruction? Hmmm. Maybe I should have been an acquisitions librarian.

Friday, April 20, 2007

It's been a good week

Some weeks it's one step forward and two steps back, but this week I think there has been a net gain of a step.

We're going to be open 24 hours the night before exams. I know lots of libraries are open 24 hours all year, but this is a huge deal for us. And we're the first library on campus to do this, which appeals greatly to my competitive side!

Sue put a sweet meebo widget on her subject pages so students can easily IM with her. It can't hurt and I love it when we just DO something rather than talk and talk and talk about it....

And after 8 years, my staff have all (well at least a majority) agreed to use the online calendaring system. Frankly I never thought I'd see the day. I give Marylou total credit for calling the question again. Yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I've never seen these people before

I went to a biology seminar last week. The room was packed. The room was packed with people I had never laid eyes on before. Well, I recognized one faculty who is retired and maybe some faces that I had seen on the web.But otherwise, they were complete strangers. Just in case I needed any reminder that graduate students and faculty (at least in Biology) aren't coming to the library building any longer.... Interesting, they do use library resources. The speaker cited lots of articles and books in his presentation. At some point, they came from a library subscription.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Wrong about the white boards

Rats. I guessed wrong about the white boards. I thought there was an insatiable demand for them so we bought two more white boards on wheels. We put them out on Thursday and no one has written on them or moved them since. Rats. When they like the furniture or the space, they start to use it immediately. Publicity is not necessary.

Friday, April 13, 2007

"Do you have the organic chemistry book?"

You have to love their confidence!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Maybe DSpace is just too hard for everyone

I don't think anyone would disagree that the majority of faculty find depositing documents into DSpace to be just too darn hard. So our library long ago offered to take care of all the work associated with depositing. It turns out that it's pretty hard for us too. Good grief. Technically it's not straight forward. The whole "can I legally put it up" issue is just as confusing for us as it is for faculty. And it turns out that figuring out who the publisher is, what keywords to assign, etc. aren't trivial decisions either. Sigh.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I should have thrown it away

and started over. Sigh. Over the years I've heard dozens of authors describe how they sometimes just have to throw away pages and pages of writing and start over again. Easier said than done. I've been working on a book chapter with some colleagues. It's been painful. The words are awkward. The thoughts don't flow. I knew I should have just chucked the whole thing and started over again. I didn't. I thought it was good enough. I wanted to meet the deadline. I wanted to get it off my desk. Hopefully a little humiliation (deserved) will help me remember this lesson next time.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Second Life and the Berkman Center

Sarada's daughter, Erica came and demonstrated the Berkman Island in Second Life last week. Very interesting. The extension students found it very valuable to have a forum to talk to teach other and to their professors. It made the online experience feel more like a "real" class.

I also felt better when Erica admitted that manipulating the avatar was not intuitive nor was finding your way around. I've tried second life a couple of times, but wow, the learning curve is steep.

This made me laugh -- this virtual class was the first time that law school lectures were made available to the public. It turns out making that happen was as big a challenge as setting up the class in Second Life!

Monday, April 09, 2007

My brother uses the public library

I knew that my brother used the public library for books. There are always tons of library books at his house. He was awestruck to discover that the public library also had CD's. Apparently he has been taking out dozens of them and uploading them to his ipod. And not only does he use his "local" library, he has been exploring the holdings of other public libraries in the county. He was astonished to discover that each library owns "different stuff". He was thrilled. It's funny what we, librarians, take for granted.

Of course, it's probably illegal to copy library cds onto his computer and then his ipod....

Did I mention that he's an attorney?


Friday, April 06, 2007

April Fools Prank

Well there is no denying that I brought it on myself. I forwarded this funny blog post about office pranks to a couple of my colleagues (Alison and Marylou, this means you!). I came into MY office on April 2 to find it filled with boxes labels "National Geographic", "Scientific American", and "Playboy". I fell for it hook, line and sinker! All I could think was -- "Who was dumb enough to accept dozens of boxes of old National Geographics??"-- the nemesis of every science librarian in the world!

April Fools!!!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Yes, I Do Look Like a Librarian

Well, there is no denying I do look like people's stereotype of a librarian - middle age woman with thick glasses, hair in a bun, AND flat shoes. I seemed the obvious choice to create this facebook group, "Yes I Do Look Like a Librarian".

Two Different Views of Interlibrary Loan

I helped two undergraduates yesterday afternoon place their first ever, interlibrary loan requests. They were astonished. They were amazed. Someone was actually going to send a copy of the article to THEM via EMAIL?? They couldn't believe it. Who was on the other end sending the article? Did we do the same thing for other people? And suddenly I remember - interlibrary loan is an amazing service.

On the same day, there were many complaints from a very unhappy faculty member who felt that Interlibrary Loan service was unacceptably slow.

Different points of view I guess. Why do I spend so much more of my time looking at the world from the second point of view instead of the first?!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Should we talk to faculty during their office hours?

I had an interesting conversation with a friend who worked for many years as an academic librarian and now teaches Information Technology at RIT. She is unique in that she has both the librarian point of view and the faculty point of view. She thinks that librarians should come by and talk to her during her posted office hours. That's when she goes and talks to colleagues. It makes perfect sense to her. On the other hand, one of my librarians, thinks it's a terrible idea and totally violates the faculty - student privilege. Hmmmm. I suspect my first friend probably has a useful insight that we should pay attention to.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Registering in order to give a presentation

I've been reading with fascination Michelle Boule's posts about give a full day preconference at TLA. Not only is she not getting paid for the preconference, they are REQUIRING that she register for the conference in order to give her presentation. I'm impressed that she is throwing a fit and such a public one. Now it turns out that she misunderstood the letter from TLA, but I know from personal experience, that this situation is not out of the realm of possibility. It happened to me last fall at the USAIN meeting. I was being a sport and filling in for a speaker who cancelled at the last minute. I had to drive two hours down to Ithaca. And when I got there, they demanded that I pay the registration fee. I argued briefly, and then just gave up. I won't do that again!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Taking a break from signage

I've decided that we had gone over board with the signage. We had signs about recalling books, extension cords, wireless printing, saving to flash drives, and printing clusters. It was just becoming a big clutter of information that no one paid any attention to. I went out this morning and just picked up every single sign holder on every single table and put it away. We are officially taking a break from signage!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A sweet story about two of my librarians

This is a sweet story. Katherine O'Clair, a life sciences librarian at Arizona State, is one of the 2007 Library Journal's "Movers and Shakers". She is a graduate of Nazareth College which is in Rochester. She became a librarian in part because of her positive interactions with Isabel and Kenn, who helped her when she was working on her biology papers and using our collections! How often do we actually know that we've had an impact on someone's life? Not very often!

Living the Life Sciences

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Back ups

When we interviewed faculty as part of our IMLS grant two years ago, we were struck by what a big problem it was for them to keep backups of important texts and files. Now we're interviewing graduate students, and again, they go through all kinds of hoops to backup their data. They back up their files to laptops, lab computers, flash drives, ipods, gmail, and finally print. I was feeling kind of superior until we lost access to our library network drive for 48 hours. Yikes!!! Suddenly sending myself an attachment on gmail didn't seem so silly after all.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Finding an article in a print journal

Twenty years of helping students find articles in print journals, and it's still just as hard as it always was and is still completely non-intuitive. I just helped a woman find a journal title. She had dutifully looked up the call number in the OPAC. And that's all she had. No author, no title, no year, no page. She understood the problem when I showed her shelves and shelves of bound journals. Who could blame her for being ticked off at having to go back and redo her work? Sigh. No wonder everyone (me included) chooses the online article whenever possible.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Google Personalized Home

Oh my gosh, we're having so much fun playing around with the google personalized homepage. It's probably been available for months, but we just noticed it. And we LOVE the different themes. The tea house theme goes dark at night. The little fox is asleep in the bed at night. When it's raining outside, the tea house is dark. At noon, a picnic table appears. It's too clever!!!

Friday, March 23, 2007

The Hole Punch has been set free!!!

I had the illuminating experience this morning of being a patron. I tried to the use the three hole punch that we've put by the printers. Hmmmm. It turned out to be almost impossible to actually use because we have it secured with a cable and lock. It doesn't seem to make much sense to put out a hole punch if it can't actually be used to punch holes.... I set it free and we'll just take our chances with theft. Somehow I think people are more interested in stealing laptops and ipods than a hole punch.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Self Check out Machines

I shouldn't have done this, but I squashed concerns yesterday about installing a self check out machine. But good grief. I saw a woman with a SEEING EYE DOG use one at Seattle Public Library!!! I'm pretty sure our geeky UR students can figure out this technology....

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Extension Cords

We're checking out something new at the circulation desk - extension cords! We now have laptop locks, desk lamps, and extension cords. Students are moving tables and chairs all over the place in order to plug in their laptops. We looked into the cost of adding new outlets, but it was prohibitive. Just buying a half dozen extension cords and checking them out seemed to solve the problem without breaking the bank!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Why do we make everything so hard????

I've been thinking a lot lately about book delivery. Why aren't we delivering books right to faculty offices??? Good lord, Netflix can deliver a DVD to your house and we can't take books to the building next door? And I think the librarians should do the book delivery, not student workers. What a fabulous opportunity for those casual conversations that are so important in developing a relationship. This started me to think about just getting books pulled and held at the circulation desk. Wow. I forget, we already do this!! Unfortunately the service (I use the term loosely) is so buried and non-intuitive that even I forgot about it. Librarian Avengers wrote a very timely post about book delivery at Cornell. It made me laugh out loud. How ridiculous is this??? It takes thirteen steps, thirteen hard steps, to get a book recalled and held at a circulation desk. And this is acceptable????

Monday, February 05, 2007

Waiting in line for computers

I think this is a first for us. Every single computer (except the
Mac...) in the library is being used and I just saw a student sitting
on a chair waiting for one to open up. Very interesting.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Are graduate students doing puzzles?

It's semester break. There is NO one here. But someone has done two more puzzles. Graduate students? Cleaning staff? Gremlins?