Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Almost a year later...

I'm still here. This full-time work thing has made blogging all but non-existent in my life - I have no idea how my fellow librarians do it. Most of you have lives fuller than mine in that you have children and work and blogging and a social life and conferences, while I only have a job and a husband and part-time children. By the time I get home most days, I am simply too burned out to devote further thought to library land (or, rather, I think about it plenty, but just do not have the motivation to put thoughts to posts). I have spent the better part of the past year trying to decide if I would continue this blog, with no real conclusion reached as yet.


My last post was about the teens in my Teen Advisory Group, and their seeming complacency with regard to college-level work, research, and the usefulness/role of libraries in their educational lives. I was frustrated by the failure of the school department to impart on these kids the importance of libraries, and disheartened by the blase attitudes of the kids themselves. None of that has changed.

So, I was not at all surprised by this Facebook status update, posted tonight by one of the kids (now in college) referenced in my last post:

"(I) had no idea that trying to navigate her way through bookstacks in a library would be so difficult! Who needs books when you have the internet? The 24 hour mission: write an 8 page research paper and study extensively for an exam. Time starts...NOW!"

I tried to warn her...

I wonder if she will be able to get through four years of college at a rather prestigious university without actually needing anything more than the internet. If she can, I don't know if I will regard it as a triumph of modern technology (which I love) or a failure of our educational system from start to finish.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Some Things I Have Learned about Teens

One of the things I have done at my library is develop a YA program - when I arrived there was small collection of YA books and ZERO YA programming (because when a library is under-funded, and in our case, under-staffed, this is the first area to be neglected). I am happy to say that 9 months later there is a nice collection, twice-monthly teen programs, and a Teen Advisory Group (TAG) with 10 pretty dedicated students. That's the good news.

I learned some of the "other news" at this morning's TAG meeting...

We were talking about advertising the next teen movie on Facebook - which works well for reaching the high school kids, but is not as effective at reaching the middle school kids - and I asked how I could get more kids to read the Teen page of the (new) library website. The answer: "We don't look at websites. Kids do Facebook, and that's about it. We'll Google if we have to for a school paper, and maybe check out Wikipedia, but, really, don't bother with the teen page."

Now, I'm not sure how surprised I was by that. One look at my stats tells me that no one looks at the teen page that I slaved away on for days - in spite of all the PR I have done - but I guess I was surprised to learn that high school students don't seem interested in surfing the web at all (gaming sites not withstanding). Oooookaaayyy....

Next up:
"So, I was thinking of having a workshop on blogging - would there be any interest in that?"
"Nah, we say everything we need to say on Facebook."
"Ok, what about Twitter?"
"Twitter is for old people. My mom is on Twitter. Which is cool, I guess, because I didn't know she even knew what Twitter is, but really, what's the point of Twitter?"
Well, I can't fault this question, since many people find no use for Twitter, and those that do are usually connected to a network of other like-minded adults. But again, I guess I was just surprised by the total lack of interest.

Moving on:
"I've noticed on some of your Facebook pages a lot of talk and excitemnet about college. Some of you are getting your acceptance letters back, the juniors are making the rounds visiting schools - what about a Get Ready For College workshop?"
"What do you mean? Like college work?"
"Well, yeah. Um, I noticed just now that you said that you use Google for your research papers. Uh, you can't really get away with that in college."
"What do you mean? How else do you find stuff?"

From here we discussed what, exactly, happens during their paper writing process: they use Google to find websites. They cite (if they are even required to have a works cited page) the websites. They are often required to have one or two "book" sources. They use Wikipedia. They cite Wikipedia (and sometimes get away with it). They LOVE SparkNotes and copy them profusely. NONE of them had ever heard of a "journal" or used a "database."

Back to reality:
"OK, so when you go to college in the fall, you will have to use databases and find journal articles and read books in order to do a paper properly. Wouldn't you like to learn some of that ahead of time? I can show you..."
"Nah. I mean, if we don't know about all that, we can't be the only ones - we'll figure it out when we get there."

Now, I feel I need to make something really clear, here - these kids, the kids in TAG, are the cream of the school's crop. Seriously. Top of the class. Members of band, theater, Student Council. One has been accepted to an Ivy. And not only do they not know what a database is, they have never been required to know.

At this point I must have looked stricken because one of the young men looked at me somewhat sadly and said, "This is why we're here - to tell you how it is and what we do. We're trying to help."

I feel really really old, and completely "uncool."

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

So, I guess I won't be staying late at work...

Tonight, one of the the reference librarians and I were chatting in the staff area before heading out, when we heard a door close out in the main part of the library. We were closed, and the rest of the staff had been gone for at least 30 minutes. We went out to take a look around, and aside from the motion-activated lights being on in the children's room, we found nothing and no one. We stood there looking at each other.

I said, "You heard that, right?"
"And it sounded like a door closing, right?"
"It sounded exactly like a door closing, yes."
"And there's no one here, and no sign of anyone outside, correct?"
"Yep." He got a huge smile on his face, raised his fist in the air, and said, "Cool! Library ghost!"

Um, no, not cool. OK, maybe it is cool, but I am there alone several times a week, so I am, quite frankly, creeped out. And I don't know if I would be more or less creeped out if the building were old and historic rather than brand new with an open floor plan.

Yes, I guess it's possible that someone was in the building and we didn't know it and they took the opportunity to leave, but the weird thing is that the door we heard did NOT sound like the exterior doors - it sounded like one of the office doors. There are only two offices - mine, which we were sitting within view of, and the genealogy office, out in the main part of the building. We did find that office door unlocked - and it shouldn't have been - but there is no way we wouldn't have seen someone leaving the building from that area. And the exterior doors - which we never heard - were closed and locked, and someone sneaking out would not have been able to do that without making more noise. To make matters more creepy, something or someone had to have tripped the children's room lights, but I was the last one in there, the room is wide open (no places to hide), and the last patron in there had kids with them, and I saw them leave.


We checked the whole building (just one floor) and found no one. And if anyone tried to leave after we did, they would have tripped the security alarm motion sensors, and apparently that never happened, as I would have gotten a security call.


Guess I'll be re-thinking any after dark, all alone work I might have been planning....

Friday, December 19, 2008

Happy Holidays!

No, I haven't died.

Well, the past 6 months have been crazy. I moved and started my new job, and, oh yeah, I got married! When I make a "life change" I really make a life change.

Dan and I spent the summer getting used to our new jobs and new surroundings. It seems like the days just fly by, and as a result, blogging just hasn't been at the top of the priority list. But I hope that with the new year, I will be able to get back to posting here on a somewhat regular basis. I need to do a total re-vamp on this site, and since I am about to embark on designing a new website for the library, I am hoping to be inspired.

Happy Holidays to all my friends in Library Land - see you next year!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

In which I beg for help....

I am swallowing any pride I may have had, and sending up an S.O.S. flare.

Long story short - the joy of my new, up-coming job is being overshadowed by the fact that living on $16,000 a year for the past 4 years has left me with no savings and not-so-great credit (student loans). I am having a tough time finding a place to live without adequate first, last, and security funds. An old car and gas prices make commuting almost two hours each way nearly impossible. I'm running out of time to find a place, and I'm starting to panic.

Anyway, you get the picture.

Needless to say, after a few weeks of work, I will be on my feet. At that point, I will re-donate the total (with your names attached) to the Prison Books Project.

If you think you'd like to help a cool librarian out, click the button below.


Click here to lend your support to: Help the Cool Librarian Move! and make a donation at www.pledgie.com !

Friday, May 02, 2008

I Can Haz a Job?

Yez! I haz a job!

In five weeks I will be the new Director of a gorgeous public library on Cape Cod!

The relief I feel is overwhelming - it's been one long, hard road here in terms of employment. Naturally, I'm also excited and scared to death. This is a brand new gig - and life - for me.

My regular readers and internet library friends know that this blog's been quiet for a while. Quite frankly, I was tired of complaining about the abysmal employment situation here, and tired of saying, "That would have been the perfect job for me, but I am underqualified/overqualified/the job didn't actually exist anymore/etc." And my current job has been a nightmare - the kind of nightmare that you can't wake up from, and no one believes. Since I've been so good about keeping my yap shut on that (a feat, I tell you!), I'll simply sum up by saying that when I gave my notice, the Director said, "Good. We won't be replacing you, because reference is a non-essential service." I know, right!? Um, buh-bye.

My personal life has been chaos as well. Since the beginning of December, I've met the man of my dreams, ended a difficult four-year relationship, and moved in with said man of my dreams (Dan). Now we are uprooting our lives, relocating together to the Cape, and if all goes as we plan, I will be the eventual "step-mom" to FOUR children (two young teens, and a set of toddler TWINS - good God). And oh, I also turned 40. I need to lie down....

So, directors, former directors, managers - please - direct me to all the helpful goods! Books, articles, sage words of advice - I need it all. HALP!

I'm so excited! (As if all of the silly !!!!! points weren't clue enough.)

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Interview with a Librarian

Yep, I'm still on "break," dealing with my chaotic personal life. I'm not dead.

And, apparently, someone noticed that I'm not dead and asked me for an interview! Nancy Matson writes Workin' It, a blog about the world of work. She contacted me and asked if I'd answer some questions about being a librarian, and I said, "sure!" You can check out the Q&A here - and take a look around, there's some interesting stories there.

Thanks, Nancy!