Archive for the ‘personal’ Category

Yes, I have been missing in action here since I started my new job. The last six months gave me a great opportunity to settle in slowly and take things on bit by bit. I spent a lot of time getting to know our system, and starting to clean up some of what I’ve begun to call The Grand Mess. We implemented some more streamlined, sensible library Locations (the bits in the catalog that tell users where particular items can be found in the library), and I’ve started to clean up the data in our bloated bib records, taking out useless local call numbers and dated, unnecessary local notes. I’ve been down to our ILS vendor’s office twice for training, the most recent of which was last week. The funny thing about our ILS (we use Innovative’s Millennium) is that the more I learn about it, the more I realize I still don’t know. Seriously, the documentation is like a rabbit hole: You can just keep falling deeper and deeper into it without really getting any sense that you are finding complete answers. I can’t help but wonder if ILSes really need to be as complex as they are (or at least as complex as Millennium is).

So now that I’ve been deeply immersed in our system, and in the various things that my colleagues do using our system, it’s time to turn to the Really Big Project: redesigning our catalog and starting to redesign our website. Am I being foolish for taking on both of these things at once? Possibly. Have I given myself a ridiculously short deadline? Probably. Am I nervous? Definitely. I will be putting my web design and application programming skills to the test, without the training wheels that being a Library Assistant (and having a partner who is a programmer) provided in my previous job. I will be trying to figure out some complicated and confusing things pretty much on my own. Yeah, I’m nervous.

Some of the things we are looking at are fairly basic: The design itself needs a serious update, and the information architecture of the library website is a bit structurally unsound. Most of what I’m doing as far as the website goes is basic re-organization and some CSS magic. But the website lives on a ColdFusion server, so I’ll be trying to learn the basics of that to add some dynamic action (including a blog). I’m looking at implementing an open source federated search tool, which could be a real treat in the programming skills arena. We want to add book covers, the ability to send a call number to your cell phone via SMS, and some more robust linking to WorldCat, Summit (our consortial borrowing system), and possibly Amazon for unfound items. We have a nice, long laundry list of things to add, and I’m pretty much on my own for all of it. It is a little daunting, but I’m sure it’ll turn out a-ok in the end.

I’m hoping to document this process here, though of course, I always promise myself I’ll write more and rarely find the time to do so. However, if all goes well, you’ll soon be treated to many stories of me pulling my hair out over PHP and SQL statements! What a joy! Come back to find out more, if you dare.

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It’s hard to believe that the last two years went by so fast, but yes, I’m now an official, bona fide librarian. Not only have I graduated and received my MSLIS (yes, I’m a master of science), but I got a real librarian job, to boot. I will be the new Systems/Metadata Librarian at Whitman College, in Walla Walla, WA. It’s an exciting opportunity to do a lot of forward-looking things, and I’ll be working with a small staff of very supportive, intelligent, creative people, in an excellent educational environment. I can hardly believe it all happened so fast, but I can’t even express the relief I feel that I’m gainfully employed, and the excitement I feel about all the things I will get to learn and do in this new phase of my professional life.

Of course, now that a job has been secured and I know where I’m going when I leave Boston, the fact of leaving Boston is very real and very sad and very…sudden. I still have about five weeks here, but five weeks just doesn’t seem like enough time. I was always planning to leave June 29, but June 29 was just an abstract date to me. Now, it’s a solid and quickly approaching date. And I’m in awe at how life can push you into places and situations you never saw coming. When I moved to Boston, I never in my life would have through I would eventually move to a small, isolated town in the Pacific Northwest. Two years ago, when I enrolled in library school, it was with the certain knowledge I’d be returning to the Bay Area in 2009. And as it turns out, the Bay Area is once again eluding me. All I can tell myself is that it’s just not time for me to be there yet, and I have to wait a little while longer.

I don’t know what the next five weeks will bring, as I prepare to pack up my life of the last six years and say good bye to people I love and to a city that, while sometimes frustrating, has also given me many great experiences and introduced me to many wonderful people. I can just hope that the place I’m heading will be as good to me.

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Oooh, surveys are fun

I just saw this one on Alison’s awesome blog, Spinstah. No, I wasn’t tagged, but I don’t even care. I’m going to answer it because I have a weird fondness for survey questions and these are good. And I would tag Miss Crystal with this one, but I highly suspect her blog won’t be updated anytime soon. (Ahem, if you do decide to update little lady, go ahead and answer some questions.)

1. Ten years ago I was… settling in for my first summer away from home, living with my aunt and uncle in San Francisco. I had probably just started my temp job for Blue Cross, and I was trying to figure out whether I should double major. I actually have a web site from lo those many years ago, and apparently, I was going to see Sean Lennon play an in-store at Amoeba. (Please forgive all the Tripod pop up ads. I was young and didn’t know any better.)

2. Five things on today’s To Do list: Updating the new webpages for interlibrary loan, finding out how to bake sourdough with my newly born starter, working a reference shift, testing ArtStor on Mac Leopard and Vista, and taking a nice, long walk. Everything but the reference shift and the bread baking = done!

3. Things I’d do if I were a billionaire: My real estate lust is out of control: I would definitely buy a place in San Francisco. Pay my parents’ mortgage. Pay off my student loans. Hire an accountant or personal finance advisor to help me invest wisely. Stock up on cava.

4. Three bad habits: Proclivity to laziness, impatience, shyness.

5. Six places I’ve lived: San Diego, CA, Santa Cruz, CA, San Francisco, CA, Boston, MA, Somerville, MA. Yeah, that’s it, I have not lived in six places. UPDATE:I HAVE lived in more than six places: I have also lived in Madison, SD and Brookings, SD. Completely forgot about that, because I was a baby and have no memories of actually living in these places. Doh.

6. Six jobs I’ve had in my life: Editorial assistant, Assistant Librarian, Marketing Associate (what does that even mean?), Student Services Coordinator for an online high school program, barista, waitress.

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New new job

Life really has been changing drastically, and quickly, since I started library school, and now there is more big change on the horizon: I just got a new job. The opportunity came about so suddenly; I really expected to be at the Schlesinger for at least a year but passing up this job would have been the biggest mistake of my library school experience. And what is the awesome, not-to-be-turned-down job? I’m going to be the assistant to the Systems Librarian in my college’s library. I’m going to learn to do everything he does to maintain the library’s technology stuff. Technology stuff? Yeah, I have brief moments of feeling like I’m in a little over my head, but I’m fairly confident, and everyone else’s confidence in me doesn’t hurt, either.

My first project involves learning Ruby on Rails. I had to spend the last three days just figuring out exactly what that is, and I’ll likely spend a large part of my winter break at home in San Diego teaching myself the Ruby programming language (or at least as much of it as possible) and playing around with Rails before I officially start the job, on January 8th. I’m going to get to learn MySQL. I’m going to get better at the whole web development/XHTML thing. I’m going to get to work extensively with the ILS. I am going to be able to get a kick ass job when I graduate and I am so excited.

I do feel bad about leaving the Schlesinger after only one semester, but seriously. Would you pass this up?

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