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.