The unLibrarian

I do not want people to be agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them. ~Jane Austen

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Location: Michigan, United States

Yes, that is a tattoo, and yes, it is on my person.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Seeing Life Clearly

Celia Barrett is the head librarian in Gulfport, Miss. — not that you'd find the library without the solid marble sign in front. Barrett says Hurricane Katrina checked out 30,000 books and every lick of furniture in the Gulfport library. It will take a mammoth effort to rebuild. But fortunately, as CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman reports, someone is leading the charge.

That someone is 11-year-old Kelsie Buckley, who raised more than $9,000 in pledges for Gulfport's library by riding her horse halfway across the state of Mississippi.

For the complete article, go to CBS.COM

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

MARC Creator Henriette Avram Dies

Henriette Avram, credited with the development and implementation of the MARC (Machine Readable Cataloging) format, died April 22 at age 86. The vehicle for the communication of bibliographic data was adopted as a national and international standard in 1971 and 1973, respectively.

For full article, check out American Libraries

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

It's been a long day

How many academic librarians does it take to change a light bulb?

Just five. One changes the light bulb while the other four form a committee and write a letter of protest to the Dean, because after all, changing light bulbs IS NOT professional work!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Synonyms for a "Not-So-Perfect" Day

awful, bad, bummer, daunting, dire, disheartening, dismaying, dreadful, ghastly, grim, grody, gross, harrowing, heavy, hideous, horrible, horrid, horrific, intimidating, mean, shocking, terrible, unnerving

arbitrary, bad, base, blameworthy, cruel, culpable, discreditable, discriminatory, foul, grievous, inequitable, inexcusable, , injurious, low, mean, petty, shameful, shameless, uncalled-for, undue, unjust, unprincipled, unreasonable, unrightful, unscrupulous, unsporting, unwarranted, vicious, vile, wicked, wrong, wrongful

afflictive, bad, cruel, cutting, damaging, deleterious, destructive, detrimental, disadvantageous, distressing, evil, harmful, hurting, malicious, mean, nasty, nocuous, ominous, pernicious, poisonous, prejudicial, spiteful, unkind, upsetting, wounding

It's amazing how many words there are to describe a single feeling. I've always had a love of thesauri. I randomly chose three words that describe my day today and looked them up in a thesaurus. While a majority of these words do not apply at all, some are accurate, though I never would have come up with them on my own. I think "deleterious" is by far my favorite. I like the way it tickles and teases your tongue when you say it with a superior air. "Iniquitous" is quite fun to say as well, though doesn't really apply.

I just used 185 words to say: I had a BAD day. I guess there is a librarian in me after all.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

A Step Away from the Library World

I never liked country music, for the reason that a lot of us share: My parents liked it. All of the sudden, there's this "Young Country" thing going on, and I still hated it. If anything, I hated it more. They were all the same to me, these young, apparently "hip" country singers. To me, it was the difference between my father and my sister, old Republicans and young Republicans. The highly conservative musical genre who were still singing about god and their dead dogs and their momma's. Not my thing.

When the Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks uttered the truth, that she was ashamed that the evil man was from Texas, I felt it was my patriotic duty to at least give them a listen, to see if it grew on me. Since this is a somewhat anonymous blog, I'll admit here and only here that it grew...a lot.

Their new single, Not Ready to Make Nice is in direct response to the backlash experienced by the Dixie Chicks after Natalie's comment. I'm going to buy the album (even though I NEVER buy albums) solely to show support for them. Hell, if I had the money, I'd buy every copy I coudl get my little hands on, and leave them in the mailboxes of every single redneck that stomped on their Dixie Chicks CD's and portrayed their ignorance for the world to see.

Take a look:

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Library Camp

So, yesterday I went to library camp at the AADL. This was my very first "unconference". A bunch of people got together with a broad topic to discuss. At the beginning of the unconference, every got together and created a schedule, including what topics they wanted to cover, then we all went on our merry way, choosing what session to go to, etc.

Theoretically, it was a discussion and not a lecture, but in some sessions, the moderator/discussion leader had to take a more active roll than other. Overall, although there were obviously people more knowledgeable of the given topic than others, it was still an environment of peers...everyone was given an opportunity to speak, and everyone's thoughts and ideas were discussed respectfully.

The topics chosen were:
A lot of times you couldn't tell when one session ended and another began. Because of this, I must admit that I'm not totally sure which sessions I ended up attending. Some room changes took place at times as well, adding to the confusion. I also didn't know what some of the session names meant. Low Hanging OPAC Fruit? I know the session was described at the morning meeting when the sessions were chosen, but by 2:30 in the afternoon, after a wonderful lunch at Raja Rani, I had NO idea what this session would cover.

The sessions that I think I attended were:
  • Bridging the Gap - Staff
  • Bridging the Gap - Patrons
  • Current Awareness on the Web
  • Web/Library 2.0 Tools
  • What Next?
The session I learned the most at were What Next?/Web/Library 2.0 Tools. This is an example of the transitionless sessions. I'm not sure where one ended and the other began, or if the other began at all! Part of this could have to do with the wonderful lunch, or sitting on the hardest chair in the world for several hours, but my coworker couldn't figure out the end/beginning either.

Some Cool Things Discussed:
I'm glad I went. The group was not made up of your normal librarian scarf wearing crowd. There were a lot of techies in jeans and whatnot. Was it fun? I wouldn't say fun... but as my coworker said, "This was the least boring conference I've ever been to".

I agree.

In the Bridging the Gap - Staff session, there were several individuals that worked for the systems department of an institution that I spend several (almost 10) years enslaved to. These people had started working there after I had left, so had no idea who I was. They were talking about how the staff at their library hate the Systems department, don't trust them, etc. I found myself getting very...defensive, even though I hadn't worked their for 1.5 years! It was funny. I didn't know that they knew that the staff didn't trust them...I guess they're more observant than I thought...

Monday, April 10, 2006

Library 2.0

Well, on Friday I'm going to: Library Camp, a Library 2.0 Unconference. I came to the realization this morning that I'm not quite sure what Library 2.0 is...I knew it was another one of those trendy librarian catch phrases. "Librarian Trendy" is a very...unique idea...kind of like tying silk scarves around their necks, THAT is "Librarian Trendy". It doesn't take a brain surgeon, or maybe I should say: a Systems Librarian to figure out that it is related to technology, hence the 2.0, duh!

So, being a highly trained librarian, I of course bypassed scholarly journals and went straight to Google, not Google Scholar, just Google.

I didn't find anything.

Next, I went to one of my favorite spots: There, I found the only thing that can be loosely defined as a definition. According to Wikipedia, "

Library 2.0 is a model for library service that reflects a transition within the library world in the way that services are delivered to library users. This redirection will be especially evident in electronic offerings such as OPAC configuration, online library services, and an increased flow of information from the user back to the library. With Library 2.0 library services are constantly updated and reevaluated to best serve library users. Library 2.0 also attempts to harness the library user in the design and implementation of library services by encouraging feedback and participation.

The concept of Library 2.0 borrows from that of Web 2.0, and follows some of the same philosophies underpinning that concept. Proponents of this concept expect that ultimately the Library 2.0 model for service will replace outdated, one-directional service offerings that have characterized libraries for centuries."

Not only is it vague and unhelpful, now I have to research Web 2.0 as well! So, back to Wikipedia...

"Web 2.0 generally refers to a second generation of services available on the World Wide Web that let people collaborate, and share information online. In contrast to the first generation, Web 2.0 gives users an experience closer to desktop applications than the traditional static Web pages... ...The term may include blogs and wikis. To some extent Web 2.0 is a buzzword, incorporating whatever is newly popular on the Web (such as tags and podcasts), and its meaning is still in flux."

It is SO much more clear now...if Web 2.0 is "a buzzword, incorporating whatever is newly popular on the Web", the Library2.0 could be whatever is newly popular libraries, right?

Library 2.0 could maybe include:
  • Digital books
  • Institutional repositories (?)
  • Digital Reference
Am I on the right track here? Ten years ago, could DVD rentals be considered worthy of Library 2.0? What about barcoded library card instead of hand-written ones? What about Cyber Cafes and wireless internet? Or even the internet in general?

There is mention of information flowing both ways: from librarian to patron and vise versa... Would a suggestion box be considered worthy, or would it have to be a digital suggestion box?

Maybe if I had a better definition of "buzzword" that would help...back to Wiki, I guess...

A buzzword (also known as a fashion word or vogue word) is an idiom, often a neologism, commonly used in managerial, technical, administrative, and sometimes political environments. Buzzwords appear ubiquitously but their actual meanings often remain unclear.

Clear as crystal...but the fact that "their actual meanings often remain unclear" does help ease my anxiety a's normal that "Library 2.0" confuses me...possibly because its inventors don't even know what they mean...

So, I'm off on Friday. I'm sure I'll enjoy myself and learn a ton...but I'm not having: Learn what Library 2.0 means" at the top of my list...

The Beginning.

A friend of mind wanted to be a librarian when she grew up, and now she is. That's amazing to me. The fact that she is now what she wanted to be is more amazing than the fact that she wanted to be a librarian.

Me, I wanted to be a psychiatrist, then a social worker, then a musician, then a music teacher, then an enthnomusicologist. How did I end up a librarian? It was as easy as the fact that I don't like humidity.

I was a senior in high school, getting ready for the next great adventure: college. I knew that I had to find a job...I was broke. One day, a group of friends who were all going to MSU got together and were talking about our excitement about moving out of the house, being on our own for the first time.

Stephanie, the goody-goody (why are all goody-goody's named Stephanie?) said that her sister (who was a senior in college and MSU and scored a 34 or some insane score on her ACT's and therefore knew everything) said that the best place to work on campus was the Library because it was air conditioned. I couldn't imagine any place as prestigious as a university NOT having air conditioning! I was about to meet a rude awakening.

I remember applying to a job at the library the summer before my freshman year of college. I had my interview during welcome week, and started work the first Monday of my college career in something called ILL. I was 18, wet behind the ears, had visited my hometown library less than a dozen times throughout my childhood, and knew that this library job was just another thing to make money for a while...much better than McDonalds because I didn't have to take a shower when I got home from work.

It was just a job, but I stayed...I got threatened with firing and offered a promotion in the same month...I chose the promotion. Then I switched departments, got promoted again, and then came to the horrible conclusion that I had maxed out on student loans and had no degree. There was only thing I could do...I was a student employee...staff employees got to take classes for free. So, after much work, I managed to get a staff job at the MSU library. It was a horrible half-time midnight securtity job, which caused me to lose 20 lbs and nearly destroy myself. After a year, I managed to be offered a full-time daytime position. Six months later, I qualified for free credits, 14/year! I was only going to keep the job until I graduated, and then I was going to be an orchestra teacher!!!

With one semester of classes left, I came to the horrible realization that I did NOT want to be an orchestra teacher. I was in deep shit. So, I changed my major, picked up a minor, and decided just to get a degree so that I could go to grad school. I had been in college for almost eight years. I worked in a library, MSU would pay for the degree, so why not? I applied to the WSU LIS program, and got in. I was well on my way.

I knew what I wanted to be...I wanted to be a bibliographer...then I wanted to be a conservateur, then a serial cataloger. I still wanted to be a conservateur, but that took more school.

I managed to get the MLIS in two years, and started applying for serial cataloging positions throughout the state. I was well on my way. One day, a former coworker who now worked at MLC told me that they had a position open. I read the description and thought, "I could do this." It wasn't a serial cataloging position, or a conservateur position, or even a bibliographer position. In all honesty, I didn't have a clue what kind of position it was. So, I said, "What the heck," and applied.

I got the job. Here I am, 29 years old, working at MLC. Do I regret it? Not in the least. I enjoy my current position and at times find it very rewarding. I get to do a lot of the things I love to do, and am constantly learning new things. Sometimes, I just wish they had a few books...

Friday, April 07, 2006


So, I must admit that I have blogs wandering out there in cyberland...anonymous blogs filling with the soulful longings and moanings of your average dark, self-analyzing-half-asian-liberal- vegetarian-unLibrarian. Now, however is the time for a blog that I can open to those I know, a somewhat professional illusion of maturity that the world is allowed to see.

I suppose the first question to be answered is why "the unLibrarian". There are librarians, frightenting as it may be, whom embrace their librarianship with fierce pride and dedication to their fields. There are librarians out there who were born with their index fingers in front of their lips, ready to shush when needed.

I am not one of those. I love my job, I do my best, and I would like to think that I do more than is required. This morning I received a beautiful vase of flowers from the AD in appreciation of the program that I and another one of our people put together that was a great success. I'm not knocking the field, but bookmarks and LC do not make me quiver. New subject headings do no inspire rage. My treck into the world of librarianship began with a less than inspired longing, but that is for another post.

I'm not knocking them. In some miniscule way, I envy their passion, their dedication and beliefs. They're my friends, my collegues, people I respect.

They are no "unLibrarian".

Another disturbing quality to my librarianship is that, frighteningly enough, I have no books. I sit in an office with no windows, answering phone calls, teaching librarians how the latest new OCLC program works, and I travel out to their libraries, teaching workshops and attending meetings. I plan programs on Institutional Repositories and Digital Books for their benefit, but alas, I have no books. I have no library.

The unLibrarian