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And the day is over

So much for trying to update periodically throughout the day for this Library Life in the Day project. And so much for getting through my To Do list. I call it a To Do Wishlist for a reason. I did manage to edit the PR document on my desk, and that was an easy start to the day: I have a copyediting and copywriting background, so those kinds of projects are right up my alley. I also managed to slog through our contracts with our ILS vendor, which gave me a helpful timeline for putting together a report on the future of the ILS at my Place of Employ. And then I started trying to find out about load tables for a Serials Solutions upload project I have to complete and got stuck in the quicksand of III documentation for the rest of the day.

This is one of those annoying projects that should be easy, but isn’t because I don’t really know enough about how our system is set up yet. And boy howdy, are these systems complicated. It would be swell if I could run some test loads of records, but I don’t think we can do things like load records without them effecting the actual, live system. Thankfully, there is a large community of III users out there who are kindly enough to offer their help. I have my fingers crossed that tomorrow I can actually make some headway on this stinking project.

And a very important aspect of a life in the day of this librarian: I discovered that there are very good burritos in Walla Walla. Burritos, FTW!

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Today is the second annual Library Day in the Life web event: Librarians all over the world chronicle their work day on their blogs and other web sites, and all these postings are pulled together in one place. Now, I’m a new librarian: I graduated from Simmons GSLIS in May and just started my first professional position, as the Systems/Metadata Librarian at Whitman College. I’ve only been a librarian for two weeks, so most of my work days have been centered around trying to figure out what’s going on around here. At first I debated whether it would be worth contributing my notes and thoughts to the Library Day in the Life, but then I thought this could be kind of interesting for other new librarians, so why not?

I usually start my day a little earlier than today, but I was up late last night putting together new furniture from Ikea, and arrived at 8.30 instead of 8.15. I always start my day by checking email and skimming my RSS feed. I mark the food-related articles to read later, and read the interesting library-related articles. And because I’m a perpetual organizer, I always have to sit down with my planner and calendar and start making the list of what I want to accomplish today. I have a weekly project list, and on Monday, I usually try to tackle the easiest stuff on list.

Today’s wish list of accomplishments: Edit a library PR document and send it to the Director, read over our contracts with our ILS vendor, send some questions I have about patron loads and Serials Solutions records to the Innovative Users Group listserv, and find out everything I can about load tables. And hopefully there will be a trip to the Walla Walla taco trucks with a co-worker for lunch.

We’ll see what I actually manage to get done today…

Personal Librarians

I have been toying with the idea of assigning college students a personal librarian for a few months now. And then I read that Yale already does this. I think this is a terrific idea and I’m happy to find that it wasn’t impossible to implement at all. This is an idea well worth sharing.

Convincing faculty of the benefits of publishing through open access sources, or contributing to an institutional repository, is one of the many new challenges facing academic librarians. Faculty outreach has always been a bit of a struggle, but now we’re trying to change a long-standing tradition of scholarly communication, and insert ourselves more visibly into a process where we tended, in the past, to be nothing more than silent collectors (at least, as far as faculty were concerned).

The librarians at UT Arlington have come up with a light-hearted, to-the-point way to convey their message, through video:

Sure, it’s slightly dorky, but I suspect also effective: short, funny, familiar, and straightforward. Definitely an idea to emulate.

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.

Today is my last day of graduate school. As of May 11, I will be an official, bona fide librarian! The perfect time to read an excellent bit of advice from the blog Info Career Trends: Ask Permission Later. Rachel gives some excellent advice for new librarians, encouraging us not to be fearful in our newness to the field, but to get out there and start implementing our ideas. Well worth reading, both for all my fellow newly minted librarians, and for those of you who’ve been in the field for awhile.

My Tweets

Sean came up with a way to output your Tweet stream and input it into Wordle.

My Tweets, Wordle-ized

It’s pretty fun. I love visualizations.