Thursday, December 31, 2009

Nine Screens in My Daily Life

I just heard a commentary on "Morning Edition" about the number of screens people use in their daily life.  I have eight, wait nine.  Is that average??  Frankly I wish I could consolidate some. It's a pain when I travel and take my itouch, kindle, camera, cell phone, and laptop.

  1. itouch
  2. kindle
  3. t.v. 
  4. t.v.
  5. MacbBook at home
  6. laptop at work
  7. cell phone
  8. portable DVD player
  9. camera

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


When I first became a reference librarian, I spent a lot of time deciphering journal abbreviations. Once you had the title you could search the online catalog, which initially didn't have keyword searching! I just saw that CAS has come out with an abbreviation tool for free on the web. Helen and I have been arguing about whether anyone but librarians really use these kinds of things anymore. Certainly the number of questions coming to us has decreased dramatically. I've seen lots of students use google to figure out abbreviation.s You type in as much of the citation as you have and maybe a more complete citation will come up or even the full text of the article. Cool tool but that horse may have already left the stall.....

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Book a Week for 2009

I set a goal for myself last January to read a book a week and lo and behold I did it! Many were children's books and several were re-reads, but they still count!
  1. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie Alan Bradley 2009 KINDLE
  2. When You Reach Me Rebecca Stead 2009
  3. Un Lun Dun China Mieville 2008
  4. Cocktails for Three Madeleine Wickham 2001
  5. Fantastic Mr. Fox Roald Dahl 2007
  6. Diary of a Wimpy Kid #1 Diary of a Wimpy Kid Jeff Kinney 2007
  7. Anywhere but Here Mona Simpson 1992
  8. Seven Up (Stephanie Plum, No. 7) Janet Evanovich 2002
  9. The Tennis Partner - A Doctor's Story Of Friendship And Loss - Abraham Verghese 1998
  10. The Moorchild Eloise McGraw 1998
  11. Cutting for Stone: A novel Abraham Verghese 2009 Hands down the best book of 2009
  12. Room for One More Anna Perrott Rose 1950 Reread
  13. Finn Family Moomintroll. Tove. Jansson 1989
  14. Moominsummer Madness (Puffin Books) Tove Jansson 1973
  15. Light a Penny Candle Maeve Binchy 1983
  16. The Poisonwood Bible Barbara Kingsolver 2008 Reread, but still love this book
  17. Matters of Chance: A Novel Jeannette Haien 1998
  18. My Family and Other Animals Gerald Durrell 2004
  19. Certain Girls: A Novel Jennifer Weiner 2009
  20. Twilight (The Twilight Saga, Book 1) Stephenie Meyer 2006
  21. A Fatal Grace Louise Penny 2006 KINDLE This was a close second for "best"
  22. The Archivist: A Novel Martha Cooley 1999
  23. Elsewhere Gabrielle Zevin 2007
  24. Valley of the Dolls Jacqueline Susann 1997
  25. All-of-a-kind Family Sydney Taylor 1980 Reread
  26. The Witches of Worm Zilpha Keatley Snyder 1986
  27. The Year of Magical Thinking Joan Didion 2007
  28. Fearless Fourteen Janet Evanovich 2008
  29. The Whistling Season Ivan Doig 2007
  30. Talk Before Sleep A Novel Elizabeth Berg 1997
  31. Breath: Life in the Rhythm of an Iron Lung Martha Mason 2003
  32. Finding Betty Crocker Susan Marks 2005
  33. The Senator's Wife Sue Miller 2009
  34. Coraline Neil Gaiman 2006
  35. The Great Gilly Hopkins Katherine Paterson 1987
  36. Eat Cake Jeanne Ray 2004
  37. Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World Vicki Myron 2008
  38. The Time Traveler's Wife Audrey Niffenegger 2004
  39. Homeless Bird Gloria Whelan 2001
  40. The Addict: One Patient, One Doctor, One Year Michael Stein 2009
  41. Water for Elephants: A Novel Sara Gruen 2007
  42. Lucky Everyday Bapsy Jain 2009
  43. I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti: A Memoir Giulia Melucci 2009
  44. The Know-It-All A. J. Jacobs 2005
  45. The Wind in the Willows Kenneth Grahame 2006 Stanza
  46. Twelve Sharp Janet Evanovich 2006
  47. Hungry Monkey Matthew Amster-Burton Good enough to read twice in one year.
  48. The Laws of Harmony: A Novel Judith R. Hendricks
  49. Academy X: A Novel Andrew Trees 2007
  50. The Middle Kingdom Andrea Barrett 1992
  51. Identical Strangers: A Memoir of Twins Separated and Reunited Elyse Schein 2008
  52. Back When We Were Grownups Anne Tyler 2004

Monday, December 14, 2009

This Reference Librarian Made a Difference

Frankly I live vicariously through my reference librarians. I push papers all day. I guess I do make sure my advisees remember to register for classes, but what I do seems very far removed from real students most days. Here is an email (with personal information removed) from a student to one of my reference librarians. Wow. This made my day and the praise isn't even for me!

"Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with me! Your help was just what I needed to finally get my paper right. It hasn't been graded yet, but the TA really liked it when he reviewed my rough draft! It was a really fun paper to research and write, and I honestly would not have written a paper as good as this one without all the sources and database know-how you taught me. I am very grateful and I hope you have a great holiday!"

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Bad Bathroom Can Ruin a Trip

Am I overstating my case? No! A bad bathroom can ruin an entire trip. I went to a conference in Philadelphia in January 2008 and arrived late afternoon. The hotel was overbooked and the only room that was available was a handicapped room. It was dark. It was January. It was a big city. What else could I do but grab the room? It never even crossed my mind that it would be a nightmare. I didn't understand that handicapped bathrooms do not have tubs or even show stalls. There is a shower (with a curtain for what that's worth) in the corner of the bathroom with a drain in the middle of the floor. The theory being that you can just roll your wheelchair under the shower head and away you go. The theory is good, in practice, not so good. Apparently my bathroom floor was not leveled correctly because instead of water going into the drain, it covered the floor. I don't mean a little dampness on the floor, I mean an inch of standing water all over the entire bathroom floor. I had to use every towel I had to blot up the water after every shower. I was afraid if I dried my hair standing in an inch of water, I would electrocute myself! No matter how briefly I showered, all the water pooled onto the floor and I had to go through the towel blotting exercise. After four mornings of this, I could not wait to come home to a functional shower. Other people come back from Philadelphia with memories of Reading Market. I will never forget the standing water covering my bathroom floor every morning.

I was recently at a conference in Chicago. The hotel front desk asked me whether I would accept a handicapped room. Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Follow Bathroom Blogfest on Twitter at #ladiesroom09 or check out the website

You can visit the participating bloggers for Bathroom Blogfest ’09:

Susan Abbott at Customer Experience Crossroads

Reshma Anand at Qualitative Research Blog Bilby at From the Floors Up

Shannon Bilby and Brad Millner at My Big Bob’s Blog

Laurence Borel at Blog Till You Drop

Jeanne Byington at The Importance of Earnest Service

Becky Carroll at Customers Rock!

Leslie Clagett at KB Culture

Iris Shreve Garrott at Checking In and Checking Out

Julie at Julie’s Cleaning Secrets Blog

Marianna Hayes at Results Revolution

Maria Palma at People To People Service

Professor Toilet at Professor Toilet’s Blog

David Reich at My 2 Cents

Bethany Richmond at The Carpet and Rug Institute Blog

Carolyn Townes at Becoming a Woman of Purpose

Stephanie Weaver at Experienceology

C.B. Whittemore at Flooring The Consumer and Simple Marketing Blog

Linda Wright at Build Better Business with Better Bathrooms

Friday, October 16, 2009

Photo Contest in Gleason Library

Someone (Vicki? Nora?) had the great idea of inviting students to submit pictures of Gleason for our new homepage. We assume that there is the library is quite a different place after all the staff have gone home. Only one photo submitted so far. I am going to write something on the white boards and also personally invite my advisees to send me pictures.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

To Follow Or Not To Follow

I've received criticism in the past few months for making some unpopular decisions. On the one hand I've been criticized for just following what other libraries are doing. I have also been criticized for not following what all the other libraries are doing.

Hmmm. To follow or not to follow? I guess the answer is neither and both. I am a strong advocate of paying attention to what other libraries are doing. And I don't just mean other ARL libraries. I look at what public librarians are doing. I look at what school librarians are doing. I don't have all the answers or all the ideas. I think it would be foolish NOT to occasionally follow. The league of librarians cards weren't our idea; we followed Carlton College library.

And on the other hand, we can't be paralyzed and only do things if everyone else is doing them. Sometimes we do have good ideas and good solutions. We never would have hired an anthropologist to do user research if we had waited for everyone else to do it!

So I guess the answer is, it depends.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Excuses to Email my Advisees

Rereading the title of this entry, makes me think that maybe I have created my own problem... I feel weird/creepy/over protective emailing my advisees very often. Probably they would just ignore my email if I sent too many.... Instead I'm come up with a "reason" to send them an email. At the beginning of every semester, I look up the syllabus of the big, survey classes - bio, chem, econ, etc - and put the exam dates on my calendar. Then I have a justified excuse (at least in my mind) to send them an email before/after the exam. I also know when to expect a flurry of correspondence, i.e. after the first bio and chem exams of fall semester.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

News of League of Librarians Cards Spreads!

I posted the set of League of Librarians cards to both my personal facebook page, the libraries flickr site, and to several flickr groups (Libraries and Librarians and 265 Library Days Project) on August 19.

Nothing much happened. There was a little flurry of activity on my facebook page when my friends saw the cards but not much else.

Wednesday, September 2, there is a mention of the cards on
PAMNET with a link to the flickr set. Thursday, September 3, there is a short paragraph with a link to the flickr set in American Libraries Direct.

Stand back! When I left work on Thursday there were more than 10,000 views on the flickr set.

By Friday morning, there are another 5,000 views.

There was also a flurry of activity on twitter.
bckaemper from Germany (!!!) read the PAMNET post and twitters. Wow. At the end of the day, there were 49 tweets on "league of librarian(s)" These were the twitter comments: fantastic, awesome, too cool, adorable, we need some, funny, love this, wow.

Of course I've pretty much died and gone to social networking heaven. Now let's see if our STUDENTS think they're as cool as librarians. ;)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Don't Judge a Book by It's Cover or

a freshman by their facebook page. I looked at the facebook pages of my six freshman advisees; all but one of them was completely open. I had a very strong and very wrong impression of them after looking at their profiles. The student with the "come hither" profile picture turned out to be a shy, sweet pea. The frat boy turned out to be smart, articulate, and one of the sunniest people I've ever met. The student with the slightly creepy, goth-like profile turned out to be super smart, shy, and totally on top of it. The cocky athlete turned out to be eager, enthusiastic, and excited to be at college. I thought their profiles created a negative impression, but of course they probably want to look hot and confident. I guess I've just never had any experience with such large disconnects between the online and actual person. Once again my advisees are opening my eyes!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

League of Librarians Trading Cards

Credit goes to the librarians from Carleton College who created the "original" librarian trading cards. We just took their idea and expanded on it. Our amazing Marc Bollman came up with the league of librarians concept, took the photographs, and then made magic happen. We're going to roll them out at the technology expo today and Parent's breakfast tomorrow. I'll be interested to see if they're silly enough to be popular... Check out the whole set on  flickr. 

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Messinger Library Staff of the Year Award 2009

Susan announced the winner of the Messigner Library Staff Award at yesterday's general staff meeting.  It was super cool because Ann was surprised! It was definitely the highlight of my day.

"In her 7 years at the River Campus Libraries she has blossomed into an exemplar subject librarian.  She has built an ideal and enviable relationship with her academic department.  She is heavily involved with the curriculum of the undergraduates, graduates and faculty of the department to such an extent that they have provided her with space within the department to hold regular office hours.

 She was one of the first volunteers to become a writing tutor and was so talented in that role that she was asked to teach one of the WRT 105 courses.

She has been a very active and creative colleague; very involved in the undergraduate and graduate research projects; experiences which she has both written and presented on numerous times.  She is also one of the ECO coordinators.  She took it upon herself to learn Cold Fusion so that she could create a database-drive subject guide; which has become the model for the subject guides that will be launched with the new website.

She is very active at a national level as well.  She served as the Vice Chair of the Law and Political Science Section of the ACRL, wherein she worked hard to raise the visibility of librarians within the American Political Science Association.  Under her leadership the LPSS held its first ever virtual meeting so that librarians unable to attend ALA could still participate.  This virtual meeting has now become a model for other committees within the ACRL.

If you have not guess already, this year’s Messinger Library Staff of the Year award goes to Ann Marshall."

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Reading on the Kindle

I finally borrowed my mother's Kindle for a trip and actually *read*  several books.  I want to capture my impressions before I read this week's New Yorker article by Nicholson Baker...

The Kindle is fantastic for a trip.  There was none of my usual agony about choosing which books to take.  I didn't run out of books to read, which is deadly.  The device itself is tiny and easy to tuck in the outside pocket of my bag.  I recharged the battery once, but I don't think I needed to.  

I love the wireless Amazon bookstore. I was in Oak Park and decided I wanted to read a book about Frank Lloyd Wright.  Presto. I bought one and read it.  I *love* that feature.

I quickly got into the reading experience and got caught up in the book rather than the device.

The book cover and reviews on the back of the book influence my choice much more than I thought.  I actually had a hard time browsing Amazon online.  The awkward keyboard was also a contributing factor because it was a pain to use the "if you like this book..." feature.  Next time I will bring the Kindle to the bookstore with me and buy Kindle books after looking at the physical book.

Initially I struggled with my itouch because of the touch screen.  Apparently I've acclimated because I was very frustrated that the kindle did not use a touch screen.  

I don't know why I missed this, but I found it disorienting to not know how much of the book I had read or had left to read.  The kindle shows me what percentage of the book I've read, but it wasn't quite the same.

Someone needs to invent a single,  universal recharging cord!!! I had a cord for my phone, my camera, my itouch AND the kindle.  Enough is enough.

Overall the Kindle is definitely a good reading experience and it is ideal for travel.  I must like it because I checked out a book from the library yesterday and instead found myself reading the title on the Kindle!  Which reminds me of my last wish for the next generation Kindle - a light. I would love to be able to read in bed or on a dark plane.  

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Wilder Winter Wonderland

We had a fun going away party for Stanley on Friday. The them was a "Wilder Winter Wonderland". We all wore scarves and ate snow cones. (I thought it was hilarious.) Each department gave him a funny gift to remember the UR. The Access Services department each made a "flat Stanley"; I also thought that was hilarious. Nora made a movie, which was amazing. And oh yeah, we all wore Wisconsin tattoos (temporary).

I will miss Stanley most at budget time. He has the best budget gestalt of anyone I have ever worked with. He knew when it was the numbers just didn't seem right. He knew when we were overspending. He could tell when we were "where we expect to be". It was both years and years of working with budgets and a natural ability. It is going to be rough without him.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Rotated and Condensed?

I feel like I'm the only one who is shocked to learn that the American Chemical Society (ACS) will be "publishing the print editions of most of its journals in a "rotated and condensed" format that will fit two pages of content on one printed page." In other words, we won't really be able to actually READ the print. And the price for the print is increasing significantly at the same time. At least in my library, the chemists have been one of the most vocal defenders of keeping print. This feels like a sea change to me. Of course, I didn't think email was any big deal the first time I used it, so what do I know about predicting the future....

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Not Quite Ready For Adult Books

Lois and Margaret organized a "not quite ready for adult books" reading group at work. We are reading children's books. To date we have read "The Wind in the Willows", "The Borrowers", and "All Of A Kind Family".  It has turned out to be fun and informative.  Some people have read the books as kids, some are reading the books for the first time.  Some people do research (!) about the author, book setting, and vocabulary terms.  And it brings together people from all parts of the library, who rarely work together.  It's been just terrific. Next we are reading "Mary Poppins".  I think it is going to be a shock for people who only know the story from the movie.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

We Should Do This

I was reading an article from this morning and noticed that I could send it to my phone and to facebook. When did that happen? I predict they'll add twitter soon too. We should do that for the catalog. Grrrr.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

We were inspirational????

Wow. How cool is this? Our book was inspirational to Char Booth!

Chatting with Char Booth ALA TechSourceBy Daniel A. Freeman Char Booth is a Library Journal Mover and Shaker and one of ALA's Emerging Leaders, and is a voice of growing prominence in the Library Technology community. As the E-Learning Librarian at UC Berkeley, Char works at a unique .... The Foster and Gibbons Studying Students report from the University of Rochester was inspirational in that it illustrated the value of detailing the results of local research project in order to provide insight and motivation for similar studies ...

Friday, June 05, 2009

Only electronic

I had a interesting dinner conversation last night with a science faculty member. He admitted that rather than coming to the library to copy an article only available in print, he would simply request it through ILL.  Why? Because the ILL article is delivered to him electronically as a pdf.  He didn't want a paper copy. He wanted the article in electronic form.  

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Because you can’t sleep in the library every night

I was invited to a facebook event,  "Residence Halls Open for New Students", subtitle."Because you can’t sleep in the library every night ".  I'm of the philosophy that any publicity is good publicity.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Reasons for Choosing the UofR

According to their facebook posts, here are some of the reasons students (class of 2013) chose UR over other schools. Campus atmosphere and people they met during their visit, flexible curriculum, , and financial aid seemed to be the factors most mentioned.

  • just love Rochester
  • had everything
  • traditional campus
  • atmosphere is "me"
  • scholarship
  • portable research grant (4)
  • people less intimidating
  • almost no one offers a microbiology major
  • fits my personality
  • feel most at home at UofR
  • has everything I want - engineering, great location, beautiful campus, amazing resources
  • feel more comfortable
  • better financial aid (yet several turned down full rides at other schools)
  • money was a huge issue
  • open curriculum
  • sciences
  • research situation always trumps an arts and science college
  • from rochester
  • cool program - I can study art and be premed
  • homey feeling
  • most money
  • people extremely nice
  • campus is gorgeous
  • incredibly nice people - left with such a happy feeling
  • people were great
  • gave off the right vibe - great place, awesome people, awesome campus
  • aid
  • balance between social and academic life
  • curriculum would easily allow you to study art and still fulfill all your premed reqs
  • opportunity for someone interested in both music and sciences
  • campus gorgeous
  • people were nice as could be
  • after visiting the Rochester campus allowed me to easily discard the other 7

Some students (posted in April) were still deciding. Financial aid was certainly a big factor as well as pressure from parents. Reasons given for NOT choosing the "other" school --- heard that the bio program is not as great as the UofR. Afraid of big class size at X.

What Did YOu Choose Rochester Over?

I was reading discussion board at (one of) the University of Rochester Class of 2013 facebook group this morning.  "Rochester is clearly the best, but what did you choose Rochester over?"  I'm always fascinated by this list.  Why does the some kid who applies to Purdue also apply to the University of Rochester?  Why did they turn down Yale for University of Rochester?  Hmmmm.

Naval Academy
Washington University
University of Vermont
Franklin and Marshall
Connecticut College
University of Delaware
SUNY Binghamton
Carnegie Mellon
University of Iowa
University of South Carolina
Ole Miss
Appalachian State
George Mason
Michigan State
University of Scranton
Penn State
Sarah Lawrence
Seton Hall

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Time to Remember

Disney World vacationer
QVC fan
gift giver
cat lover
pony owner
t.v. watcher
my friend

Friday, May 29, 2009

Clean and Go Green Week

Wow. It's been a long time since I've posted to my blog.  Time definitely gets away from me.  We had a clean up WEEK at work. I wasn't sure if anyone would bother to participate. What was I thinking??? We're all drowning in paper.  Suzanne (whose office is spotless) spent two days cleaning out her file drawers.  Even she threw away a huge pile of papers, literally.  Interesting how we all needed permission (?) to take the time to clean, sort, and throw away.  

Friday, January 30, 2009

Mentioned in the student newspaper

I love to find the library mentioned in the student newspaper. We were listed 5 times in an article, "Almost 30 reasons to love UR".

  • You dress up to go to Gleason [library], considering you will probably run into more people there than you will anywhere else on campus.
  • You have a straight face when you tell your friends back home that a library is the social hub of the campus.
  • You realize that the graffiti in the stacks is better than PostSecret's could ever be.
  • One of the things on your to-do list before you graduate is doing some promiscuous acts in the stacks.
  • There is always one person in the Gleason cubicle with a bathrobe on, and, yes, he probably lives there.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Student Grades

More on freshman advising. I was able to see first semester grades for my advisees.

  • mostly B's with a few A's. Hmmmm. I guess I also shared the impression of my advisees that most students got A's in most classes. If my six are representative, that is not a true assumption.
  • one student made the dean's list. I have much greater appreciation for a what a big deal this is now that I have seen every one's grades.

  • a student who nearly withdrew from a class, buckled down and pulled off a good final grade. Impressive. First semester was a shock for all of them. Some were shocked on the first day of classes. It took some of them until the first exam...

  • one student did quite poorly in a key class and yet had been totally confident the entire semester. I'm not sure what to make of that one.