Friday, December 29, 2006

Officially on information overload

I think one could safely say that I'm overloaded on RSS feeds. I have 56 subscriptions as of this morning's glut of adds, I have tons of things marked as "to go back and read more carefully" and when I do sit down and wade through things, I'm intrigued only for the 15 seconds it takes me to get through things.

Then of course, there is the time spentlinking back to the full story that Discovery has posted that I just "have to read."

I wonder when I'm supposed to find more of this information useful other than giving me wierd trivia. I'm trying to pay attention to the news, the latest children's books (if I ever get a start date!!) , some professional information, the latest from Rachel Gordon and Tara and David Rothman , and keep up with a few favorite cartoonists and whatnot and it's incredibly overwhelming.

It's too much information and yet never enough. I still feel more informed on Miss Nebraska losing her crown than I do on Gerald Ford passing away and the legacy the former president will leave.

Add on top of it a severe quantity of frustration with twits that I design for who can't read a display to save themselves...and it's been a good morning!! When I tell you the field doesn't exist--believe me. I built the database.

Have to try and get a couple of things done while the boy is off at the gym. (Did I mention that having company takes up an obscene amount of time too??)

Friday, December 22, 2006

Age Assumption....

For my profession, if one reads all of the "graying statistics" that abound, I am young. Compared to the majority of my classmates in library school--I was extremely young. I recognize this, I've tried to capitalize on this in interviews (connected to the younger generation and all that.) However, I find myself more and more insulted when professionals that I meet blatantly refer to my age. It always begins with "'re fresh out of library school?"

I'm not.

I spent the first eight months out of library school looking for a professional position, went into publishing for a year, and have been doing database design for four months. I've been out of library school for two years and I find myself extremely annoyed at this automatic assumption.

It's not a question anyone would ask of the majority of my classmates. Most of them were beyond 35 and many were in their late forties. I don't hold this against them, I understand (and witnessed) many burnt out professionals seeking to do the part of their job that they actually enjoyed (information work). They could walk into the exact same situation, though, and not be given this question--merely because they have a few more years of maturity in their faces.

Age is a funny thing to guage any way around it. At the theater and at my publishing job I have had people assume I was much older than I am. (It's hard to be told you look nearly 10 years older than you are...). When discovering my age, everyone then stumbles about, apologizing with astonishment and mentioning something about my poise and maturity. It's amusing and painful to realize that a little common sense means I'm old. On the flip side, I'm four years younger than my boyfriend and we have siblings inbetween us (my older sister/his younger brother). Drives him bonkers. Doesn't bother me much.

It starts me out on the wrong foot though to have someone assume I'm incompetent because I'm young--and that's always implied with the fresh out of school assumption. How do you know what my background is? I might have worked in libraries all through high school and college and know what's going on in them nearly as well as any new professional. I might have been in another professional position but be relocating due to any number of family, personal or other reasons that aren't readily apparent.

Please don't make an assumption because I don't have a lot of gray hairs (there are a few floating around up there...). Please be professional and give me the opportunity to volunteer my background, rather than have to defend my background based on the wrinkles or lack thereof in my face.

Monday, December 18, 2006

If I'd known you were coming....

Today...I am a voiceless hedgehog. No, no censors involved---just a bout of laryngitis exacerbated by being around lots of cigarette smoke in two days. I'd forgotten how badly my throat feels when I'm in a smoky setting for a couple of hours. Though a number of my friends smoke, we don't allow it in the apartment and in a work setting--they're usually headed outside for a quick cigarette.

I went past my new assigned branch today. That was interesting. Generally, I was suprised and pleased. Apparently, so were they. It's a bigger, brighter building than I expected and was pleasant to walk into. That being said---I was a complete shock to them. I introduced myself to the person at the reference desk, assuming that at least when I said "I'm your new Children's Librarian" they would be able to pigeon hole me. No---they hadn't even been told that I was assigned to the branch/that they were getting a new Children's librarian. Still it was a nice opportunity to go in, meet people, see the space, figure out how long it will take if I drive (35 minutes) and see where the bus stop is if I decide to take public transportation.

There were a few realities I hadn't thought about. The level of programming is low compared to what I have in my mind as "normal" (reference--I come from small Midwestern town where they do 20-40 storytimes a week) but for one person, I'm sure it's more than enough. There were school-aged children there in the middle of the day and one staff member spoke to me about trying to address 15 year olds still in junior high. It's a very different setting for me.

Designing might be slowing down. Sorta/kinda. We're at year end for one place (read---can you build me 24 reports by Monday?) and the other one is starting "Spring Semester" recruitment, which means I'll be spending more incredibly tedious hours punching in information. Oh well, at least I can listen to e-books while that occurs.

Attempting to not talk is difficult when people are visiting, going to a new branch and I need to be in shape to sing Christmas carols next weekend. maybe this year I won't drown other people out. It's not an attempt to be showy--I just love singing and I dislike the whole concept of "O teeny voice night..." It's a problem other singing friends of mine have also noted that they encounter---we're expected to not fully enjoy the music vocally because (I've been told this) "you'll make others feel like they can't live up to you..." I don't want them to--I just want to sing Christmas songs, sing the descant, and enjoy the music fully.

you can please some people some of the time.....particularly during the holiday season.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

E-Books From My Library

I might finally get through Moby Dick. Though any number of times I have picked up the tome, willing myself to become immersed in the sea story, I seem to have a mental block about actually reading it. I'll get into it a couple of chapters--and then happily revert to something more of my usual fare (ranging anywhere between histories of Europe to light hearted mysteries to comic collections and romance novels).

Tired of listening to the collection my significant other so kindly uploaded to my mp3 player--I started scouting about for something other to hear on the subways. (I know, I'm not supposed to call them that anymore but old habits die hard.)

I haven't had time nor inclination in the winter weather that has descended upon me to haul over to the local public. Nor do I really feel like illegally ripping CDs, putting them on my mp3 player, listening, returning the CDs and dumping the books immediately because heaven only knows I don't have the storage space. I do however, have access to the online catalog of e-books. Hmmmmm, I thought, why not check out something online that I don' t have to return or illegally change to a different format?

And so I am a new and vociferous proponent. I'm just starting another of Jane Austen's pieces (old favorites..I can half hear them and work at the same time, or be in transit) and happily having a change from all of the music that's been bombarding me recently.

I hope more libraries adopt this. I'm sure it is dependent on ILS service and loan periods but what a great use to this generation of ours that is so addicted to mp3 players? Everywhere that I go these days it seems that there are always headphones in someone's ears. When I do this myself I end up thinking everyone is functioning on the same soundtrack that I am. While this is just a personal inclination, I doubt the rest of the world really wants to know that we're all in the middle of Mozart Requim Lacrimosa or else with some heavily remixed house music going. (A visual of me...walking down the street and attempting not to dance...) it seems to me that more libraries should adopt this idea of providing AudioBooks online to their patrons if they have not already. I checked a few other libraries whose catalogs I have perused before and didn't see them. What better way for people to get through classics or other books of choice. No weight but what they already carry, no responsibility but to delete the files when completed.

Now then..I just need new earphones, for the ones I have don't block out the transient noise and it makes it a bit of a challenge on to hear when the train is coming without ruining my eardrums.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The inevitable time-waster: All Hands Meetings...

I had to attend a meeting that was a complete waste of my time and energy last night. Two and a half hours to go over information that could have been covered in 30 minutes or less. There were (in my opinion) utterly pointless "team building" exercises which did little except to make me frustrated with a coworker that I generally like. Forcing people who can't write to try and write haiku in groups, never a good option. There was middling-to-poor pizza that apparently didn't take into account that we have two vegans on staff. There was salad but it didn't even look appetizing and don't get me started on the cupcakes.

Mostly I sat staring blankly wondering why they were wasting my time this way. Considering I had also to add a two hour commute to this evening meeting on my day off and it was a day that I should have been at home designing--the meeting (for which I earned less than $20 dollars attending) cost me anywhere between $100-$200 of my time (depending on which of my clients I'm working for).

So for bad pizza and people avoiding the questions that really need to be asked...I lost at least $75 dollars. Hmmmm

So here are my questions:
Why is remuneration for our division of staff so poor? It leads to greater turnover.
Why do they retain shoddy staff members and cater to them?
Why wasn't the appropriate person promoted after her boss left?
Were you planning on replacing that boss or were we just supposed to "get by" indefinitely?
When you under staff, why do you talk about the desperation of the staff to get things done as quickly as possible so there is five minutes to breathe before the next onslaught?
Why isn't the dedication of staff members who have been there for years recognized and honored?
Why are people allowed to smoke in the "staff" jackets?

But alas, I am not in a position where I feel like I can ask these questions. Perhaps, when I start my library job, I will feel "empowered enough" to hand these questions to my immediate supervisor with my suggestions and thoughts. She, unfortunately, probably can't do much because they're making her life as miserable as they are everyone else's.

Staff treatment is obviously a priority...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

I Love My LibraryThing

I want three days to spend at home with my shelves and my LibraryThing. Tim Spaulding is a GENIUS.

I'm a late adopter--kind of like with blogging, but now that I've moved over I'm hooked. My sister has over the years vainly pleaded with me to put my books into some sort of catalog--for how else is she supposed to know which of the "Cat Who" mysteries already grace my shelves and how many Cathy Guisewite books I really own. Everything she would send me to try though was so clunky that I couldn't begin to wade through it.

Enter Tim and his fabulous, online, shareable, manageable product. Take a simple concept, give it to the geeks to break, and then bring it to the world at a reasonable price. It's only $25 for a lifetime subscription, as many books as I want. Who doesn't find that fantabulous!!

Once my library is a little more populated, I might be inclined to share--as long as it doesn't mean getting too much ribbing for my romance novel collection...

Filling out the new hire paperwork

As I got to the train this morning I thought--shouldn't I need more identification with me? Nah, they didn't tell me to bring anything. Silly me...should have gone back home. But in the artic temperatures we're having today, who wants to do something insane like go home? So I went down and of course, now I'll have to go back on Tuesday with my SS card.

But I filled out the paperwork and city hall has finger printed me!!! I am becoming a city employee and I couldn't be more thrilled!! It's exciting. The finger printing process took a little longer than I expected. I was among their first customer for the day (I got to City Hall around 9:15) but they had to take my prints twice...apparently not enough oil on my hands the first time to get a good print. At least it was a scanner and not ink and so my fingers aren't purple for the theater tonight!

The cat keeps trying to steal everthing around my laptop. Most recently--my keyfob that allows me to log in to my old job's database. That could have been a bit of a problem--meeting this afternoon. It has been located though.

Blogspot has now connected to my Gmail account so perhaps I'll be a little better about blogging. We shall see. This morning I started a new mystery series, courtesy of Miss Margaret. "Thursday Next" novels by Jasper Fforde. I know, I'm sure I'm way way behind (the first one appears to have come out in paperback in 2003) but I'm not a huge mystery reader and it takes Donna Andrews, Lilian Jackson Braun and now apparently, Fforde to get me into that side of literature. Oh...Emily Brightwell too.

I'm not reading much other than that...but I should write a comment on Librarything...

Monday, December 04, 2006

Designing until you bash your brains out

I will never fully understand MS just doesn't physically seem possible. I cannot comprehend a query that returns 131 records and then counts them to equal 141.... I fail to understand. And I've just spent the past 2 hours trying to remedy this little problem for a report that I'm doing for one of my database people.

It's been a long day--my roommate had a friend over with special needs (imagine two petite girls, strong but petite--lifting a young man in a wheelchair up and down icy concrete steps). We decorated for the holidays while he was here. This mostly involved her on a chair trying to thumbtack homemade garland (yarn) to the walls and me standing in our front window trying to thumbtack up lights. There was a good part to the latter--apparently I'd dropped my wallet outside and a nice man was walking up and down the street looking for the right number and saw me in the window. He returned it with everything intact!! Definitely put a little Christmas cheer into my heart!!

So now it's back in front of the computer trying to wrap everything up before I work on knitting, holiday stuff and cleaning the bedroom that I've lost under all of the garbage.

Oh yes--I also got a new job!! Don't have a start date yet, assuming Jan 1 ish...but HOORAY!!! I'll be a children's librarian.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Suffering a serious yarn addiction

It's approaching the holiday season--Christmas will be here long before I'm ready. I ordered my holiday yarn today though--and that is at least a start. My roommate is halfway through her Christmas yarn work already, so perhaps I'll ask her to give me a hand with a little bit of mine.

I'm freelancing--so I owe a few more gifts to people--and I'm not the "gift basket from XYZ company" type. I can do a lot more meaningful gifts that people will actually use if I can just get myself in front of my needles. So that's the goal--after I get through this weeks' deluge of "can you get this done" emails.

Anyway... so $200 later I think I have most of the yarn I'll need for Christmas. Granted I've not bought anything for my immediate family as yet--but I still have to get through their birthday gifts first.

Did I mention that I have a TON of yarn in my room? A case of the stuff--so I ordered another 75-80 skeins tonight...

I'll never be with dull hands again...

back to the warm pumpkin colored hat I'm making !!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Pre-Interview Nerves

I have an interview on Thursday!!! Yay!! It's always a pick me up to be invited to an interview. It's so much like dating--putting yourself in an online dating service and hoping that your wierd quirks fit someone else's wierd quirks out there. Hoping you're not totally un-dateable. Then comes the silence...the checking of your email and phone on the hour hoping someone other than the roommate or mother has called.

Lots of practice at this one ;)

An interview is a huge pick me up though--it's proof that perhaps there is a perfect fit and to that's time to find the "look."

For this interview, I've the great advantage that a friend of mine works for the system. I've been able to pick her brain on all kind of topics before I go in to meet with them. This not only gives me inside info on the system, it also allows me to ask questions that might not be correct for an interview. Over my two years of recent interviews and numerous online discussions, I've learned that there are a number of areas that are "fuzzy" when going into an interview. Sometimes you can ask and it's fine...other times not so much.

I'm nervous, of course, and I'll change my mind on my outfit six times. And of course, it's going to be a high of 40 that day. It's October people!! 40 should be my low...not my HIGH. I'm not in the upper peninsula of Michigan!! I'll be freezing in a skirt, but I should wear a skirt.

Alright...enough library stuff for the evening...I'm going to do another post on my knitting obsession and then get back to the hat I'm working on right now.


Friday, September 15, 2006

Be specific in your job ad

The job hunt continues and the rejection letters occasionally trickle from my old address in the Big Apple. There's a hope that now that I'm a local candidate the trickle will become a drip or shut off entirely.

One request I have to employers: please be specific in what you are looking for when you post a job ad. If you want years of experience or specific experience in a certain kind of library, be up front about those requirements. It is unfair and unkind of you to not put it in the job ad and then site it in my rejection letter.

I received one note which stated that I was not selected for an interview because I didn't have experience in that kind of library. I opened up the saved copy of the job description on my computer and carefully read through it. Had they asked for experience? They had not. No mention of preferred background or experience was mentioned anywhere in the ad. This made me mad. I had applied for a job where I met all of the posted requirements and where I believed I could be successful. No, I don't have years of experience in that particular type of library. I only got my degree a year and a half ago...

I don't want to rant about the lack of entry level library jobs (though it's true) but I do ask that if you're looking for something specific...tell me. Let me know if I could meet the needs you're looking for in a candidate. If I'm not, why make me waste my time pouring myself into a cover letter, sending it with the trepidation of a teenager asking someone out for the first time, and then be crushed when I'm told that I'm being rejected because of a scale I didn't know existed. I'd rather read the ad, be mildly frustrated that I don't meet your requirements, and move on to something where I could be their ideal candidate.

For those employers who do put detail--believe me, it's greatly appreciated!!!!!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Lurking in Limbo

I ended my employment at my full time job on Wednesday. That was weird and incredibly unreal. My brain hasn't fully kicked in yet that this isn't just some odd "weekend" and I have a Monday to go back to in a day or so. This after cleaning out my desk, wandering around for hugs, and all that jazz.

Now I'm in between jobs, in between apartments, in between cities and just ran out of reading material. Okay...time for temporary insanity. I'm not REALLY out of reading material but in the last week I've bought four books (none of which were purchased as "quality" reading material--voluntary disclosure) and i just finished the last one this morning. Now all I have is Neal Stephenson. More on him another time.

Yesterday was an adventure. K, a friend working for a rental company, hooked me up with a 16' truck and a car dolly--but I had to go to NJ to get it. New experience--Port Authority Bus Terminal. I'd picked someone up there once, but I've never had to navigate NJ Transit. Fortunately, their "itinerary planner" works very nicely and the lady at the ticket counter was most helpful.

K picked me up at the bus stop--rather, as that was just a side of the road sign post, he picked me up at the donut shop across the street. Got the truck and was out the door! I drove back to Queens (visual image courtesy of my boyfriend: small hedgehog at the wheel of a LARGE truck). I parked first on the corner a block from my apt...then about 20 feet from my apt (backed into that spot!) and then finally, paralell parked it in FRONT of my apt. It was creative at best, a headache at worst, and something I'll be bragging about all week.

The Blonde came over to help me load the truck. I think I'd packed more to her liking this time--the last two moves were very haphazard. This time I had boxes ready to go and almost everything packed (about 5% still kind of just hanging around). Two hours and the truck was set. I attached the lock--courtesy of the hardware store that stayed open late just for me and crawled into bed.

Scheduled an interview today. It wouldn't be the "perfect job" but it's in my field--sort of--and it would be interesting. I'm more hopeful for the public library. Prayers on that appreciated.

In search of lunch--and something else to read

Friday, August 18, 2006

Experts-Exchange... a designer's lifejacket

Introduced to me by a friend from library school, I'm a solid proponent of the site as an amazing way to get help when I'm designing. With only minimal training under my belt, I've had a lot of design requirements put on my plate for the projects I have to create. When I was given a very restricted budget for "consultant help"--I asked if we could get access to Experts-Exchange for a few months while I was in most need of it.

Wish granted--and it's bailed me out a number of times--including this morning. I opened the database and, suddenly, none of my reports were working. A look in the main table revealed a wierd "deleted" record that just wouldn't go away. After my usual try at tricks (and some hyperventilating when I thought someone had deleted all of my reports) I threw a panicked "Help" to e-e. Within five minutes I had a suggestion that I had never heard worked, and everything is fine.

They're great for much more complicated questions too and are very willing to try and hammer things out with you. Plus, a search of old questions may reveal a response before you actually have to ask a question. It, too, can help you frame your question in a more manageable fashion so as to get the answer that you need.

Very much worth the membership fee.

Back to Friday...

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The slow trickle of saying goodbye

The email finally went out mid-late last week--notifying the company as a whole that I'm leaving. It's probably a good thing too, as in just over a week from now I will hand over my badge, desk keys and a few other things and head out to pack a ten foot truck. Not much in the way of worldly possessions, but then, my piano is still at my mom's house.

My coworkers have been pretty good throughout all of this. There have been some of the expected complaints, which is nice but at the same time annoying. Yes, I know I'm painfully organized and keep you on point, but you can't always count on me being here. They'll adapt--in my company, adaptation to change is a necessity. My tenure of a year has seen many people I knew leave. Now if I could just sneak off to Hawaii or Atlanta on the company dime to see one of my editors. I did find someone to adopt the spider plants though, so I just have to bring home the rose.

I've started seeing people for those "last time for a while" visits. I hate those, and I'm going to have a lot of them. It's awkward because you want to hold on to all of the friends you have and yet, you already know that some will fade into the background and will slip away through no one's fault. It's just harder when you're moving. Next weekend will be insane. I have a wedding, my volunteer work at NYPL to finish and a friend is home (he's a purser--he's never home) and wants to hang out. I see, very little sleep and copius amounts of beverage consumption. I know a great place that has martini's half price during happy hour....

Cancelled one of my cell phone plans today. They tried to make sure I was aware that if I changed my mind I could reinstate my plan. Sorry, but when you buy a company and inherit all of their customers and then treat those customers like garbage---it doesn't win loyalty. Besides, I already have a better plan with someone else...

Alright...bedtime for this hedgehog, I have to be lucid in the morning.

Friday, July 28, 2006

If you want your work load doubled

If you want your workload doubled--tell your job that you're moving. During my midyear review, the question came up of what I'd like to see for the future. As I knew it would be nearly impossible to get the two women I was with together in the same room again without serious acrobatics--I told them, I'm relocating.

The flood dam officially opened this morning, as I had known it would. When you're here, and you'll be here, there's an understanding of "well, you'll be here so things will get done eventually." Now that they have a "timeline" for me, there's an assumption that I can complete X, Y, Z, Q, R, M, W, Red, White, and Blue before Labor Day.

I shouldn't complain too much--both of my supervisors are trying VERY VERY hard to help me wrap things up and makes this as smooth a transition as possible, especially considering we haven't informed the rest of the company as yet. We're passing off a lot of this new focus on deadlines as my needing to focus on one of my major side projects rather than the responsibilities that are actually in my job description. Those usual responsibilities are being farmed (as much as possible) to the new girl who's on her second week.

It means the next six weeks are going to see a lot of late nights, a lot of taking my databases home with me, and maybe a few days where I work from home and just design until I'm blue in the face. We shall see.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy my job. My coworkers rock. But the apartment in Chicago with one of my best friends is available in September.

Monday, July 24, 2006

A New Group and a New Wiki

Due to a lot of chatter and verbal abuse over the past two weeks, a group of colleagues have moved to a new google group for Next Generation Librarians. I'm pleased to see familiar names reintroducing themselves and I think (I hope) this will be a better group. I'll probably stay subscribed to the old list a while longer just to see if it totally dies off, but I expect that many people will migrate to the new group--especially once word gets out. Planning on dragging some library school friends in on this.

Relating to that--there also has been a new wiki started and I'm really excited about that. I'm not very wiki-proficient and I'm hoping that this will be an opportunity for me to actually really participate. The wiki is available at

Wiki and Blogging all in one week! Look at me taking on technology. You have to stay current though or you run the risk of becoming totally unfocused and obsolete. I just added a bunch of links to the Wiki---I feel so proud. Ask for career hunt links and I shall provide...

Now if I can just beat the insomnia that seems to be really hitting me this week.

Feeding on RSS Nectar...

I just joined another RSS feed. These things are becoming so dangerously addictive. All the news and stories that you could ever possibly want at your fingertips--sorted, filtered and dished onto your desktop every day--or as often as I can squeeze in a half hour to filter through things.

It was a slow process of becoming a devotee--and there are times that I'll go a week or two without checking in on my Google-hosted RSS. I've found a neat trick to keep me returning though. I'm job hunting. This is never a fun process, as anyone in the industry will tell you. I have searches emailed to me from four different job boards on a daily basis and about 10 sites I usually try to remember to check on a weekly basis. Then it hit me--there was an RSS feed on one of the sites! Fantastic!

So now the job hunting process has been cut down to only around 5 sites that I need to check. This is much easier to remember, as one can imagine. It's also helped me become a better RSS reader. Now I have a specific mission that reminds me to log in and see what's new not only in the job hunt world, but also in Discovery News (so so addictive) and from Gary Price and the ResourceShelf gang.

I wonder, however, if it will extend to once I've completed the job hunt and am successfully relocated in my new city. Hopefully the job hunt will end first--the move is scheduled for September 2... off to the Windy City

Alright...this hedgehog is off to attempt to locate my bed (too much paperwork spread out on top of it at the moment) and try to get some sleep.

Being nocturnal isn't always convenient.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

A vain attempt at catching up with the rest of the world

I'm probably not going to do this as much as others think I should but in an attempt to catch up with the rest of world, here I am, trying yet again to start blogging.

Mostly I blame this on Rachel Singer Gordon--too many times I want to log on and make a comment to her, but I can only do so anonymously.

I came to librarianship for a number of reasons--love of books and information, an English degree and no desire to teach, and many many fond memories of librarians who saw me through everything from early elementary story times to final high school projects. In college I drifted away from those librarians, scared that they would think I was dumb to be asking questions. Even in library school I was afraid to go to the reference desk. I was a library student and should be able to answer my own questions based on what I was learning in class, right? Instead I learned from my peers and own personal wanderings.

So here I am now, a fully degreed librarian, not currently working in a library but still in the information field and I'm looking at relocation.

Chances are good I'll never be more than sporadic--I can't hardly even keep a journal going these days--but this will be an interesting forum...


P.S. Hedgehog? Well, I'm nocturnal, rather prickly sometimes...and I think hedgehogs are cute.