Ye Olde Archive Archived Posts: 2004-2009

31Jan/11Off

What’s Next

September 17, courtesy of flickr.com user -- Daffydil --After taking over the world, the next logical step is to learn French.

Obviously.

I mean, at least in a world according to the Violent Femmes.

In some ways I feel like I've taken over the world. After all, I've taken on my first job as a professional librarian, and I've succeeded. I am, in some small ways, a Master of Information. I have, in some small ways, taken over a very small portion of the world. Or at least influenced it. On to bigger and better things.

I already learned French (well before I took over any part of the world), so I've got to abandon the Violent Femmes game plan here, and try something else. So here's what I'm going to do.

On March 1 I will begin working at the Pierce County Library System as their Virtual Experience Manager. As far as job titles go, this seems slightly less ambiguous than the current title of Online Resources Consultant, so that's an improvement, and it also has the word "manager" in it, so that could be something too, I suppose.

It's been awhile since I read the job description, so anything I say from this point on could be tremendously wrong insofar as it may not match up at all with what I actually end up doing. That said, here are my plans to take over additional, and somewhat larger, portions of the world (after which I may learn Russian).

In broad strokes.

I talked about Virtual Reference quite a bit when I interviewed for the position. That's the background I was coming from, but it was also one obvious improvement (in my mind) that PCLS could take advantage of; the cooperative was there, waiting, and to me it was a no-brainer. Obviously it has been a yes-brainer for them up to this point, but I hope to overcome these barriers and get some 24/7 online reference magic happening up in there.

Live, online community events. We're going to have them. And by online I also mean mixed online/real-life events, as well as true online-only events. And classes. And book discussions. And things.

Community integration. The library has a website. Community businesses and organizations have websites too. Let's find ways for our websites to be friends. More important, let's get the library web presence onto these community sites in ways that are useful to everyone involved and that help increase the presence of the library in the overall online community.

There's a lot of UX (User Experience) stuff I'd like to look at. The PCLS website has a LOT of content, but I don't think it's making the best use of its space on the web. The catalog is a nifty new iteration of Polaris, and is shiny (as these things go), but I'm sure there are opportunities there as well for heightened interactivity and community involvement.

I have more ideas, I think, but we're not there quite yet, and my attention is split. And who knows, maybe things will go an entirely different direction. Maybe I'll be standing on the corner in a book costume with a big URL to the PCLS website on my chest.

Hey, it could happen.

Whatever happens, things will be bigger and better and I will learn and improve and grow and know more things than I did going into this and maybe, if I am very successful, I will positively impact the organization, too.

Filed under: libraries 3 Comments
28Jan/11Off

Three Years in the Life

Retro Poster - In the Library - courtesy of flickr.com user -- Enokson --My take on Library Day in the Life.

Three weeks from now I will leave this job and become something else.

For the past three years I've been the Online Resources Consultant for the Washington State Library. In that time I've run statewide database trials, designed and built websites, and developed a statewide virtual reference cooperative to become a national model.

It's the first job I got out of graduate school, the first job title of my professional career, and in just three weeks, on February 18th, I'm going to leave the job, drop the title, and move on.

The point of my saying this, I think, is to explain that while I could try and write a "life in the day" post about what my work is like on a daily basis, the fact is that these days are not like other days, that one day is not like the next and, in any case, no days have ever been much like the days before them. Not in this job, anyway.

So instead of a day in the life, I'd like to offer a brief retrospective of the past three years, with as much daily life in it as I can muster.

I started my career, as I believe most do, with a sense of wide-eyed wonder, or, at least, a smidgeon more hope and wonder than infuses most days. I think it took over a year before the cynicism snuck back in, and even then, it was manageable, maybe even productive.

I think the fact that every librarian has to go through two years of graduate school and is, at the end, called, in some variant, a Master of Information, creates a certain expectation about what the job entails. I learned a lot in graduate school and it helps me do my job every day, but I could have done this job without it, too. I'm not trying to disparage the degree, I support it, but I think that people are either librarians or they aren't - it's a secret code buried inside us, whether or not it ever becomes unlocked, and the degree supplements that, but it doesn't create it.

I drive 8 miles to work one way. In the summers, sometimes, I ride my bicycle. When I had a motorcycle for awhile I would ride that. Going to and from work, the time that takes, is important. That's when you realize, on the way to work, that you look forward to your job, that you have plans for the day. And that's when you realize, on the way home, that you're satisfied with what you do, even on those days when what you did was send a lot of emails and try and figure out schedules and quality control issues and your head hurts because you stared a computer screen for nearly 8 hours straight.

We launched a statewide downloadable audiobook project while I was here. I designed and built the website for it. In the meantime, though, I got hooked on downloadable audiobooks. It's one of those little job perks, getting to learn about books, getting to play with technology, getting to see where the two intersect. In the past year I've listened to maybe 20 downloadable audiobooks, I've read another 10 ebooks, and I haven't touched nearly that many physical books in the same amount of time.

I write a lot of email. I read a lot of email. There is a lot of email in the world. I've got folders in Outlook that have subfolders that have their own subfolders. It's organize or die. And you can joke that well, I'm a librarian so of course I'm organized, but really, email seems to defy organization, and I know many who struggle. I get by, though I'm not the most organized, and it's hard to approach email with the same sense of light-hearted wit that I employed when I first began here. Still, I try.

I examine processes and I try and improve them. This involves a lot of trial and error. Most things get worse before they get better. In trying to schedule what became more than 50 libraries and hundreds of librarians, I found Google Calendar to be the best tool. Sometimes solutions are surprising. I use Google Voice for my long distance calls to save the WSL a little money. It's also a lot easier than remembering and inputting my special long distance code for every call so I get charged appropriately.

At this point I think that Google pretty much owns my life.

Being a librarian, up to this point, has been a lot different, and a lot cooler, than I thought it would be. I've written articles for various blogs and journals (nothing big, but still fun), I've been to conferences in San Diego and Monterey and Chicago and Denver and Seattle, and I've even presented at some. The community college librarians in WA had me present as keynote at their conference, and one of our public library systems asked me to present for their all staff in-service day. Those were some great high points.

I've visited more libraries in the last 3 years than I did in the previous 27 years. From university and community college libraries to branches of library systems and buildings that were the library system, I've visited at least 50 libraries and met literally hundreds of library staff. And all of them have been amazing.

It's been an amazing 3 years - every day in the life of all 3 of them was different. Moving on to my next job, I expect that the only thing that will remain the same is that everything will be changing, all the time. And that's okay. At this point, I'm used to it.

I wouldn't have it any other way.

Filed under: libraries 3 Comments
13Jan/11Off

Photographic Evidence, Part 2

More proof of life from the home planet:

If you missed them before, go check out the first set of photos too.

Filed under: fatherhood 1 Comment
12Jan/11Off

Archive This: August 09, 2004

Rataplán! Courtesy of flickr.com user -- cuellar -- Easy As It Looks
Originally written on August 09, 2004

Rata-tat-tata-tata-rata-tata-ra-ta-tat:
heart drumbeats
simple beats
easy as it looks
rata-tat-tat-tat -
beguile me for awhile
i’m easy:
tell me your stories like lies
of flies on walls
i too saw it all;
tell me your truths & heartbreaks
rata-tata -
life’s easy
getting by is getting by
but life’s easy &
happiness is easy as a choice -
simple beats:
rata-tat-tat-tat -
easy as it looks.

Filed under: la poésie 2 Comments
11Jan/11Off

Archive This: July 21, 2004

Spinning Top, courtesy of flickr.com user -- Keith Barlow --Battle Without Honor or Humanity
Originally posted on July 21, 2004

She knows that all spinning tops
must fall. Nonetheless,
she snaps her fingers;
begins to fit the noose.

Had I the choice, I
would have mastered perpetual motion.

Filed under: la poésie 4 Comments