It’s Halloween, and much to my surprise, the Northernmost Library decided to let the staff wear costumes to work. Having just been to a great Halloween birthday party earlier in the week, I thought, “Awesome. I already have a costume. This will be fun.”

Not so much. I mean, I love my costume, and there are other people dressed up. But no one in my department. The worst thing is that no one really said anything when I came in. Their looks said, “Oh, so you’re dressed up like all those other people downstairs.” They said aloud, “Hello.” They looked uncomfortable, and that made me uncomfortable.

What’s weirder is that the patrons who’ve come up to the desk so far are also just pretending I’m not in costume. No “I like your costume?” or “Happy Halloween!” or anything. Just, “Where’s the Physician’s Desk Reference?” or “How do I log into a computer?”

I don’t know, I just want a moment of human connection. It’s Halloween! Be silly! Embrace the silliness of others!

So I guess I’m just going to make myself some coffee, and try and spend as much time as I can hiding behind my monitor, working on the electronic resources page, and daydreaming about being home.

You mean something happened these past two weeks other than baseball? I know I certainly devoted a whole lot more of my evening time and emotional energy to the amazing thing that was the Reds Sox winning the ALCS. I also did a lot of cleaning, baking, and laundry, because I simply can’t sit still while the games are on. I get so nervous!

Onto library news, though: new professional opportunities have presented themselves, and after some serious consideration and some laughing at my tendency immediately take something unexpected and turn it into something stressful, I took several deep breaths and applied for a full-time position that’s just opened up at one of my libraries on Monday.

I’m headed to the Digital Commonwealth conference tomorrow in Worcester, feeling like the shiny new librarian I am, all eager for her first day of school  professional development events. I am, predictably, most excited about the session on social software, but there’s a whole digitizing images theme running through the presentations that I hope will prove to be interesting. The big question: do I bring my laptop and hope they’ll have wireless? I think we know the answer to that.

The rest of today will likely be baseball, baseball, baseball thoughts. And helping people print to the central printer.

Advanced Copy

October 17, 2007

Today I have:

  •  Been advised, while helping a woman scan official documents to be emailed to the consulate in San Francisco and then forwarded on to Brazil, “Don’t marry a foreigner.”
  •  Helped a patron find two reference books on mushrooms. He said,”I don’t want to be poisoned when I go mushrooming on Thursday.” I was glad we found the books he needed!
  • Called another local library and been directed by their phone tree to dial an extension “if I had a touch tone phone.” I only barely stopped myself from asking, when I got a hold of the person I needed, how many of their patrons still had only rotary phones.
  • Completed my first from-scratch Dewey classification of a book.
  • And yesterday: We had the morning newspapers, which had been somehow locked in the book drop all day, finally become freed and delivered to the reference desk at 8:30 PM. I said, “Please tell me it’s not the morning all over again.” and my companion at the desk said, “Are we getting advanced copies of tomorrow’s news now?”

Things I love:

Things I am thinking of doing:

  • laundry Getting on Facebook. We’re thinking of getting the library on it, but I’ve never used it, so I thought I might be a guinea pig.
  • Ditto for LibraryThing. I’m on GoodReads, but I like that LibraryThing is searchable even if you don’t have an account, and often use it as a readers’ advisory tool, and ought to get to know it on the inside.
  • Getting a BlackBerry. Y/Y?

Two fun links:

Rick Speer Gets It Right

October 9, 2007

I was catching up reading the H20boro library blog  and I found an entry on the theft of two copies of the sex ed book It’s Perfectly Normal from the Lewiston Public Library in Maine. Here are two more links about the issues: in herzogbr.net blog and an article in the Portland Press Herald.

I was impressed with Rick Speer’s response to the patron who sent in a check covering the replacement costs of the book – he returned the check to her along with the library’s form for reconsideration of library materials. The Lewiston Public Library is my home town library, and I was an enthusiastic patron there for many years, especially during high school, when I sought refuge in the New Books section at least twice a week. It’s the library that first taught me what a public library was supposed to be and how it was supposed to serve its patrons, and Rick Speer is still doing just that, demonstrating how to resolve a conflict over contested materials even when the patron doesn’t recognize that their approach is wrong.

I haven’t yet handled an issue of contested materials at either of my libraries, but I hope that when I do, I’m able to follow Rick Speer’s model and represent my library as well as he did.

Yesterday, I walked into the brick wall that was the realization that many of the projects I want to work on at the Northern-most library I might not get to work on. It’s frustrating because I thought I would be able to get a lot of things off the ground and I got excited and invested in that, and then it turned out that the library’s promises of being interested in making themselves more 2.0 and integrating social networking services into their world was not on the level. They do seem to want to do those things, but they don’t trust me to guide them, and that’s the worst part, because that’s obviously the major reason they hired me. Right now, we’re working up to a committee, and I hate committees but that doesn’t mean they can’t still help us get things done. If it takes three months for everyone to talk to death the idea of a blog but then we still get a blog, that’s ok. We get the blog! I’m just afraid there will be lots of talking, and then lots of backing down.

Every Library 2.0 handbook and guide advises me on what to do when I’m met with reluctance, and honestly, it’s not like I expected to walk in the door here and have the whole staff on Twitter by the end of my first day, but the problem I’m facing is that no one seems to want to admit – or acknowledge – their reluctance. I can’t help them face their fears of social networking tools if we can’t talk about it.

So I’m proceeding slowly and with determination, but I can’t help feeling that I’m a digital librarian in a library that is a few years from being able to embrace digital culture, and maybe I’m here to help them move closer to that point, but in the meantime, frustration and I are going to get to know each other really well.

Repurpose Ability

October 3, 2007

Today I have:

  1. Miraculously boiled down all my notes from the NHLA Library 2.0 to a small list of projects I think my library should work on.
  2. Come to the conclusion that using social networking tools in a library setting is about repurposing them for use in a library much in the same way that Library 2.0 is about repurposing the library itself.
  3. Delighted in introducing a patron with a readers’ advisory question to BookSlut and Trashonista (the latter of which resulted in a huge smile.)
  4. Had a patron bring in her suction-cup soap holder, hand it to me, and ask me to help her find where to buy another one.
  5. Had the Circ. Desk call up and ask if I was fluent in Spanish. (I am not, but they eventually found someone on staff who was.)
  6. Tracked down the contact info for a library in Virginia with the same name as our library, and passed it on to the patron on the phone who thought she was calling Virginia in the first place.