Friday, December 30, 2005

Ciao 2005!

Happy New Year from a Jew Darling Readers, it is once again time to reflect back on what made 2005 such a nice little year.

For starters, I became a librarian in May. No more Library School TM, only pleasant memories to reflect on. Things I can convey to librarians in training:

a)Group Projects are only a cruel invention of graduate school. In real life if someone screws up, you can tell the boss about it. And the weakest link doesn't define your worth.

b)Unlike Library School TM, if you need a book, you can inter library loan it instead of shelling out $98 dollars for Chan's "Cataloging and Classification". I used it 4 times. That means each viewing cost me $24.50.

c)The people I went to school with taught me more about the profession than anything else. Some were neurotic. Some were uber-organized. Some were always late. Some were control freaks, and need to steer the ship. Most are type A personalities. Most could be diagnosed with OCD. Most of them were women. Welcome to libraries.

d)Don't despair about jobs. They are out there. You might have to move to get one, but its worth it.

e)Power Point presentations can be to long. Be brief, be concise.

f)Being smartly dressed and well groomed can set you leagues apart from other librarians. At a conference I attended this fall, I was told that I was the "best dressed librarian" that the coordinator had ever seen. *dabbing eyes* What a proud moment. In the classroom, the professors pay attention to you.

g)If you think you can do it better than someone else, prove it. Saying it won't get you anywhere.

h)Look for scholarships, or see if your employer offers tuition reimbursement. I was too lazy. There were tons of scholarships I never applied for. I found out WHEN I graduated my super deluxe library would have paid for one class per year if I had gotten "A's".

i)Network and join organizations while you can get the cheap student rate. Attend conferences. Be a part of the library world. Be knowledgeable about who you are playing with.

j)Know that if you keep a blog, people will find out about it. You can be "googled". I make a serious effort not to chat work on the page - only to convey general, groomed, library wisdom to other library darlings. I'm not sure if my employers like knowing they have a homo, self-styled Miss Manners onboard, but here I am!

l)Participate in class. Its good practice for the real world. If you are one of those quiet people that sits back and lets everyone else do the work... silently you are hated. We do all the work, while you get some of the glory? Think again butterpants.

m)No future employer looks at your grades. Its OK to get a "B". You can still become the AV Media specialist you've dreamed of becoming. As long as you get a diploma, its all good.

n)Don't make your professors hate you. They may be your best references for PhD work, or your first job. Unless you go to school part time, and you are getting your MLS so that you can keep your job. And have no intention of applying anywhere else.

o)If you decide to blog about your life, have an original voice. We are all different, and so it follows that in print, we should set ourselves apart as well. Nobody likes a copy cat.

p)Never USE PUBLIC BATHROOMS. OK, that has nothing to do with Library School. Its just good advice.

q)Don't abuse extensions. I'm not talking about weave. Ask for them only if they are necessary. It holds up the rest of the group...you get yours back when we get ours back. In real life, you don't get them. Deadlines are deadlines, learn to work by them, or pack your bag.

r)"Mature Learners" can be a challenge for bright young things in the classroom. As much as we cringe, we will be working with "Mature" management. Get used to it.

s)Keep an address book, so you can keep in touch with classmates you enjoyed working with. Perhaps later in life, you can join forces again on a publication, or exhibit, or library program! I can't wait to work with S&I someday again.

t)Professional development!! Learning doesn't stop when you graduate. Attend seminars, in house workshops, and KEEP READING THE LITERATURE!

u)The MLS is a special degree. Only 47 institutions offer it in the US and Canada combined. Always remember that.

v)Don't be afraid to throw away the papers you've written in class. They are all saved on your hard drive.

w)Always tell people "YES Librarians need a Masters degree". It stresses the importance and education underlying they conveyance of information. No novices need apply.

x)Remind people that not everyone that works in a library is a librarian

y)Desk Set with Katherine Hepburn is a wonderful movie, and a source of inspiration when you are down and out. We can all be that mega librarian.

z)I am the cutest gay Jewish librarian I ever met.

With all that being said, I hope you all have a Happy New Year, and that you all behave and don't embarrass yourself at work related holiday parties, if you are insane enough to go to one. Happy 2006 Gentle Readers.

Moral of this blog: I returned all the ties I got for Chanukah and exchanged them for a red stainless steel blender.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Dear WDL

my slot It is that time again, when I dig into my mail bag, impart advice, ideas, and respond to my gentle readers.

Dear WDL,

I'm not sure what brought me to your blog, but as a librarian, don't you feel obliged to provide information? Other blogs created by librarians are, well, more "scholarly" and provide "how to", or reviews of products or information services. It seems you of all people would keep up with the Jones'

Sandy


Dear Sandy,

Every blog has a flavor. Librarians (as you seem to know already) don't fit neatly into a single line. Art Librarians, Corporate, Archivists (academic, religiously affiliated), AV Media specialists, Tech-Geeks, etc. The one thing we have in common is a MLS. That is probably about it. Blogs, like newspapers or magazines, appeal to a broad range of people - but within that context specialty journals or trade publications crop up. My "flavor" is more Op-Ed than anything else. Reflections of a new librarian, facing the same thing that generations before me have.

And the Jones' have nothing on me.

WDL


Dear WDL,

This winter weather is wrecking my skin. Dry at home, dry at work, and I am constantly touching paper - which is resulting in some nasty little cuts. This is not to mention static, and my hair has taken on a life of its own. Suggestions ?

Thanks,

Dry as a bone


Dear Daab,

Winter weather can plague a librarian, or any library employee with dry skin and more. A few suggestions: start at home. Switch to a liquid fabric softener, and be sure to use it with each load of laundry you do.

Use a conditioner in the shower, and use a body lotion as soon as you dry off. Application on warm, slightly damp skin traps moisture in your epidermis. Additionally, moisturize before going to bed at night - especially your face, and hands. This will not give you oily skin. Promise.

Pomade is the answer for winter hair. Stay away from products with alcohol in them - all they do is dry out your hair. If you must use hairspray, use a non aerosol, pump type. Have a little fun, try something new. Just remember - perms died with the 80's.

At work, keep a good hand lotion on your desk. And drink lots of water. Just keep a bottle on your desk, and carry a small one in your purse.

Thanks,
WDL


Dear WDL,

Suggestions for work related holiday parties?

Jenny, Eastern Wisconsin


Dear JEW,

I am a strong advocate for keeping work and personal VERY separate. Its awkward for me to watch co-workers drink and mingle.

But, if you must, I suggest wearing a snowflake lapel pin, or wearing colors that express your concept of the holidays. No holiday sweaters - express your sentiment throughout the "holidays" by acknowledging them in your wardrobe. Too many ideas about what is "holiday cheer" and how people expect you to agree with them. Plus, not everyone has a holiday right now.

Save the holiday parties for home. Unless of course, you run a family owned business. But you are a librarian, so that's not the case.

Thanks,
WDL


Dear WDL,

Your blog is dull.

Someone with a recognizable ISP


Dear SWARISP,

I am not here to entertain, merely to inform. And at that, I mostly inform about how much I adore this profession. And how gorgeous I am. In the future, feel free to stop me in the hall.

Thanks,
WDL


Sadly, that is all I feel like responding too all I have time for. Keep sending your letters, suggestions, and thoughts.

Moral of this blog: We all admire the wisdom of people who come to us for advice.

(Jack Herbert)

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Google This



The Most Gorgeous Librarian.

Moral of this blog: Gotta love those google kids.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Well Dressed Nephew

thats my boy! Yesterday, while going through my inbox, amongst the fan mail and whatnot, I noticed an e-mail from my Dad's girlfriend (faithful readers will remember that my parents divorced many years ago). My darling nephew had his picture in the local paper, he was shoveling his Great-Grandma's driveway - my dearest Grandma that I talk to each morning at 7:00 A.M.

I suppose that this picture was such a great and wonderful thing to me because I have only actually seen him in person three times in my whole life. He is funny, silly, and a typical 4 year old in many ways. More often then not he gets on the phone with me when I call my Grandma. He gets up early because he goes to Nursery School. He is at my Grandma's house because he lives with her. In the 21st century (and not that it hasn't happened in other times)we are afforded with the notion of the "non-traditional family structure", and here we have a living, breathing, functional portrait of just such a thing.

The picture was snapped by a local newspaper photographer who was driving back to the newspaper, and happened to see my brother and his son shoveling. Warm fuzzy human interest story just waiting to happen. So, this showed up in the paper the next day. And in true form, he has told almost everyone he has met in department stores, restaurants, and the grocery that he "is in the paper".

My Grandma tells me everyday how much he reminds her of me. Sometimes she accidentally calls him Matthew when she's talking. I don't mind, I like it when Grandma gets into "reminisce mode".

You see, Grandma actually lived with my family until I was in the first grade.

My Grandma and Grandpa owned the big country house that I grew up in. When my parents married, my Dad bought the house from his parents. Grandpa moved into the city when I was a baby to start his business, a large automotive repair & maitenance chain. Grandma stayed on. She had a big bedroom on the second floor. My brother and I shared a bedroom on the second floor next to grandma's, divided by a big walk in closet, and a hall way. We were not supposed to bother Grandma.

One of the things that I have been my whole life, besides a nancy boy, is a morning person. Grandma was too. The only two in the house in fact. No body knew that I used to sneak into grandma's room. Who else was up at 5 A.M.? I'll tell you. No one.

She would read me the newspaper, and we would work on crossword puzzles. We only used red pen. We would drink coffee. Why not? We ate caramel and chocolate covered peanut clusters from the local chocolate shop. We fed the stray cats outside, putting their food in my mothers good mixing bowls. Then I would get ready for school, and I'd pitch a fit if she wouldn't walk me down the driveway to the bus.

Then the summer following 1st grade, Grandma moved to the city with Grandpa. So, I did too. But only for summer break. This became a standing tradition. Last day of school, pack my suitcases, and go to Grandma and Grandpa's.

We went to the beach almost every day. When we didn't, we went to the duck pond, shopping, to visit cousins who were also out of school, and lots and lots of restaurants. My last summer was after my Junior year of high school. Senior year, I had to get ready for college.

Then Grandma and Grandpa would come visit me. On Saturdays. Most people thought they were my parents. Grandpa was very tall and thin, and handsome. He had an Errol Flynn moustache. He had jet black hair, and always wore dress shirts with a cardigan. We'd go out to lunch, go to the park, and somehow when hugging our goodbyes, Grandpa could always get a few $50 bills tucked into my palm.

Then I moved to England. Grandma and Grandpa wrote to me. Grandma wrote weekly, Grandpa wired money into my account to make sure I could travel while living there. This was very important to both of them.

When I moved back. I graduated. I moved to Chicago.

In 2000, Grandpa was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I flew home a few days after he found out. I am glad I did. He died 5 weeks later.

Now Grandma lived by herself in a 3 story home. I was 663 miles from home. But we still called each other everyday. At 7 A.M. This has been going on now for 24 years.

My nephew is 4. He grasps irony. He likes to make Grandma laugh. She reads the paper to him in the morning now. He sneaks her coffee, as she now realizes that a 4 year old shouldn't have his own cup. He's a morning person. He feeds the stray cat that he introduced to me this summer. He named her Edda. She drives him to nursery school - no busses for the city kids. Plus he's too young. He got his picture in the paper when he was 4. I was 5 when I had mine in the paper for the first time.

I sent Ronald Reagan a get well card when he was shot by John W. Hinckley, Jr. (I know I know...just shut up.)

The WDL tends to relate everything in some way, shape, or form to being a librarian - or the field of librarianship. I grew up going to the library. My Mom made sure that this happened. I still remember getting my first library card. I actually got to print my own name on the card. I carried it in my own baby murse. (a red canvas tote that I carried at all times. It said "RED BAG" on the side, and had a pocket for chapstick. super).

Grandma kept me in books. She bought them for me. I had a whole wall of them as a child - especially my beloved glossy, yellow covered Nancy Drew books. I remember when I gave them all to my cousin Kirstin, she was so proud of me. She went out and bought me my first Agatha Christie book. I had graduated into "mature reading". That first book turned into 100's - which comprise to this day a large part of my personal library.

I think my nephew is in good hands. Grandma is sure he'll turn out just like me - but I think he's going to like the ladies. How much would I love to have another librarian in the family?

Moral of this blog: I'm late calling my Grandmother.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Up 10,000 in 2 months




My blog is worth $24,275.22.
How much is your blog worth?



Moral of this blog: My blog is just like good wine.

Friday, December 02, 2005

I hated Math so I became a Librarian

how much in the bank? I am not going to sit here in my office and lie to you. One of the driving factors behind becoming a librarian was the fact that I did not need to take any graduate level math classes. Or have any pre-requisite experience with math.

I took one math class as an undergraduate, this was how I explained to potential grad schools why I did not have a 4.0 as an undergrad. That one math class knocked me down a few pegs. Painful memories.

At any rate, in library school they neglect to tell you something. At least mine did. You will have numbers thrown at you like panties at a Tom Jones concert. These numbers control a little thing called your budget. Which brings me to my point. Finally. But you loved getting here.

It's the most wonderful time of the year.

Just when I thought that budgeting season had passed, it came back.

Oh, please don't misunderstand gentle reader. The 2006 is buttoned up, pressed, and put on the shelve until January 1st, 2006 graces us all.

It is the final month, of the last quarter that I'm talking about.

Because scholarly library blogs TM always mention things that push them into print, I find it my duty to once again compile facts and figures for librarians across this vast world to share.

I would not be doing my duty as an information scientist, unless I was sharing scientifically proven points with you dear, gentle librarians. A few definitions and scenarios to help you follow along:

BUDGETS


These are meant to provide guidelines when spending.

TEXT BOOK: You have $100.00 in the branch account for say, furniture. This means you can spend upto $100.00 on furniture.
REAL WORLD: You have $100.00 in the branch account for say, furniture. This means you spend $298.00.

ACCOUNTING SOFTWARE


This is meant to aid you when you are looking to see how much is left in your account. You can type in account codes, and it magically tells you the balance. You can even print the results!

TEXT BOOK:You wonder how much money you have left in your account. You log into the software, provide your username and password, enter the account code, and find out where funds should be shifted, how much is left for the year, and even allows you to bookmark frequently checked accounts.
REAL WORLD:You wonder how much money is in your account, log in, but while you wait for the little hour glass to stop spinning, you check your e-mail, you remember to send Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, via Amazon.com to your nephew in Buffalo, NY, notice you need a breath mint, get up, rummage through your bag, remember you were doing something with budgets which reminds you to go shopping at Target for supplies for the branch Christmas Party.

THE ENTIRE ACCOUNTING TEAM


These people are here to help you if you have questions. They get paid real money to work with numbers and figures, and accounting software. This is the same department that generates your pay cheque!!

TEXT BOOK: "Hello, Patty - this is Letitia. I'm trying to transfer some money into my conference and travel budget, from my mileage account. I know I have too much left to spend this month, but we are going to a conference in Boise."

"No problem Letitia, let me talk you through this. Its really simple....."

REAL WORLD: We have an accounting department?

I remind people of these valuable resources, because as librarians, well, that's what we are supposed to know about. Resources. Especially readily available resources. If you didn't know how to use the phonebook, people would kinda get nervous working with you.

I also remind people of these valuable resources, because as librarians, we look for answers when we don't have them. Naivety only goes so far. A great example: Little kids pee in their pants. OOps! Grown ups don't. (well some do, some even pee on the floor over near the audio-visual department...)Once its been explained to you, its OK to ask for help - but if you know how... well, then, Bobs your Uncle. (he really is mine!)

Now, the nitty gritty is, some librarians do like numbers. Some librarians actually balance their own cheque books! The goal here is to find a happy balance between asking questions, finding those number loving librarians, and a bit of learning.

Moral of this blog: Library Journal is sooo going to print this.