Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Google - Uncle Sam?

I remember linking to Google Uncle Sam on my original libraryland website in 2003. This was also the year I took "Gov Pubs," in school, so the website came in handy at times.

Well, it seems that Google has decided to "rebrand" Google Uncle Sam as Google US Government Search. This new devolpment is discussed here (and I'm sure other places as well), but what I'm not seeing is, um, "why?" According to Resource Shelf, the the Uncle Sam search and the US Government search are the same. Had the "Uncle Sam" become too "cutesie" given today's political climate? Or was it just not specific enough a descriptor for the average searcher? I'd be interested in your thoughts on this, and/or let me know if you find an article that talks in more detail about the switch.

Oh, by the way, if you are not familiar with the WayBack Machine, check it out - it was just the thing I needed for this post.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Blogging the ALA Conference

Wow, that was quite the angst-ridden post, huh? I think I'm OK now...

I've never been much for the conference scene (perhaps it was overwhelmingly "kumbaya-ness" of the Americorps conferences I was forced to endure), but, I have to say, I have had a lot of fun at the two RILA cobferences I have attended. So, I'm actually a little bummed that ALA wasn't in the cards for me this year.

So, I will be keeping up with the goings on via blogs.PLA, YALSA, LITA, La-La-Librarian, and LibraryGrrrl will be blogging the conference, and I am sure Jessamyn at will clock in as well. Let me know if you (or someone you know/read) will be blogging the conference as well, and I will add you to the blogroll.

I'll be looking forward to all of the news!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Jobs? Anyone?

Sometimes I just cannot believe that I picked yet another career path that seems to lead directly to the poor house.

When I decided to go to library school, everyone was saying "There will be so many JOBS when you graduate! All the "old" librarians will be retiring, and/or refusing to get on board with the technology." HA!

When I left my job as a Program Director of an adult literacy program to go to library school full-time, I was bringing home $1300 a month. I couldn't pay my bills, I never had any "extra" money for fun, and the job was never going to pay more than it was. It was a dead-end, so, even though I loved my job, I left it in order to "improve" my financial situation.

I now bring home $900 a month...

Don't get me wrong - I love my job, and I love my library. It's frustrating at times, especially since I really didn't anticipate working with teens, but, for the most part, it's a breeze. I love doing reference, I get along with the people I work with, it's an easy commute, and, for the first time in my professional life, my boss treats me like I have a brain.

But, I can't live on $900 a month - not even close. And because I have to work every weekend, it has been impossible to find an additional part-time job - professional or otherwise. Part-time work always requires nights AND weekends - weekdays are reserved for full-time employees. Sigh. The stress of being this broke is starting to take a toll on my nerves - every time I have to ask my partner for money, I get a migraine.

I have thought about relocating, but I really don't want to - this is my home, and I love it here. I'm not fresh out of college with no strings to tie me down - there are strings when you are, um, not 20 anymore.

In the state of RI, I have seen LESS THAN 10 full-time REFERENCE positions advertised during the past two years. Just about evey job has been for children's librarianship or directorships. Working with teens is challenging enough for me - considering that my hope was to do academic reference, working with toddlers is NOT what I want to do (nor would I be good at it - I don't have kids for a reason). As a new librarian, I am not qualified to be a director - and again, I am a reference person, not an administrator.

There is a full-time YA position in the state, and I am applying for it - mostly because I feel like I have to. If I got the job, it would mean moving, as it is more than an hour's commute. I'm not sure what it would mean for my relationship, as my partner has no interest in moving to almost CT. It would mean completely branding myself as a YA librarian, which would probably be career suicide, if my goal is adult reference in either a public or academic library. Sigh.

The only thing that makes me feel better is knowing that I am not alone. I know of several people in my position, working part-time, struggling to make ends meet - and applying for the same two jobs that I am!

So, if you know of anyone getting ready to retire from a RI or SE Mass library, let me know - I need all the help I can get.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Web Work

I have spent the better part of my free time this week FINALLY tying together all of my blogs and my "professional" site - the result is The Home of the Cool Librarian.

Today was challenging. First, we lost power for a few hours to a nasty coastal storm system. Then, Blogger was down just about all day. But, I managed to get just about everything tied up - my personal blog, jessica, while functional, will be in better shape by next week (I am going on a camping trip this weekend, and will be offline for a few days - eegads).

If you are reading this, or any of my blogs, I thank you. If you have a blog, I'd love to list it in my blogroll, and would love a link on yours as well. Maybe it's just me, but the hours spent doing this stuff seems much more worth it if I think people are actually reading. I'm finding that it takes a long time for a blog to catch on if you aren't yet in the "inner library blog sanctum," but I'm going to hang in there.

On a technical note: I have used a number of tools to create my various blogs and webpages, and that was not an accident (though it may look like one). This, and my new jessica blog are managed in Blogger. I find Blogger to be the "easiest" of the blog tools in terms of initial set-up, especially if you are interested in screwing with the template code for a personalized look. My librayland blog is powered by WordPress, which was the perfect tool for a multi-page setup like that - though I find WP to take MUCH longer to get going initially, and the templates a bit more difficult to personalize (OK, a lot more difficult). Hats off to the WP theme creators - I don't know how you do it.

My business page was hand coded with HTML and CSS. A bit of a process, but so easy to maintain once it is together, and completely "controllable." It also produced the professional look I was going for. My undying gratitude to Auntie Weasel for letting me rip off some of her code. The logo was designed by a commercial art student.

Lastly, my home page was created in, get this, Publisher of all things. This was a total lark/experiment. I have been using Publisher for years, and I actually use Publisher to design any graphics I may need (because I am too lazy to learn Illustrator/Photoshop). Yes, laugh all you want - I know I'm a hack. But, for all the drawbacks, and there are many, Publisher was a QUICK fix for me, and produced a somewhat hazy-looking page that goes perfectly with the color pallette I used and the mood I was trying to create.

Oh, yeah, the color scheme I used for the homepage and the jessica blog is called yinyang green, and I found it on the wonderful Colour Lovers site. If you are a color freak, check it out.

Aren't you glad I told you all this?

RILA Conference

Yes, it was almost a week ago now, but I will still chime in and mention how much I enjoyed it.

One of the highlights was getting to meet Jessamyn West. I was really bummed to have missed her presentation last year, so I made sure that I was able to attend this time. Her talk was great, and then we got to hang out, eat cheese, drink wine, and watch the "other" librarians learn to bellydance. Looked like fun, but, believe me, no one wants to see me bellydance.

An unexpected treat was the featured speaker, Michael Sullivan. I just have to gush for a moment: I absolutely LOVED his talk! His "radical" ideas for public libraries were, in my opinion, right on the money - though I don't think my view was shared by all. It was actually almost as much fun to watch the faces of the people in the audience - they pretty much ranged from "Right on!" to "Shut the Hell up, you nut case." Heh.

I, personally, plan to implement his "no collection development plan," to a degree, in the YA department. Basically, Sullivan advocates the use of a book list, which is distributed to patrons, and he buys according to patron requests. While I don't think I can get away with that system completely, at least not right away, I will be developing lists from now on and basing more of my buying on YA requests, rather than just relying on School Library Journal (and a handful of YA review blogs) for reviews. I can't wait to see how it works. I plan to use YALit a lot in this venture.

Oh, yeah, just because I feel I should keep my readers slightly entertained, I'll tell you this slightly embarrassing factoid: I pretty much professed my burgeoning love for Mr. Sullivan, um, yes, directly to him, after his talk. In front of other people. I think the exact quote was, "I think I love you." Thankfully he responded with a great big laugh and said, "Well then, it was all worth it!" Yes, yes indeed.