Showing posts from 2008

Farewell 2008

A fare-the-well to 2008. The past week has been hectic. Along with the move (the movers came today and my mom is now sitting at home in an empty apartment), my wallet with my entire life in it (including social security card, credit cards and cash to tide me over to next payday) was snatched on the eve of Christmas Eve. I'm slowly getting my identification back, bit by bit. After the initial freakout and extraordinary display of righteous anger, my mother (who is the anti-crisis) reminded me that she has a birth certificate for me, cards and ID can be replaced, and money is just money. I'm still stinging from it, but mom's right. In the scheme of things, a small annoyance, really.
Tomorrow I'll be driving to Raleigh, and I start the new job on Monday. In effect, I'm leaving behind reference and instruction for a bit and starting the new year getting back to my access roots at NC State. I will show up on Monday ready to rock and loaded for bear. I'm really lookin…

The Guardienne's Voice

For those of you who haven't met me, spoken with me on the phone, or heard me on my occasional call-in (with Otto in the background) to Uncontrolled Vocabulary, I figured I'd link to an interview I did with a local radio station, WUTC. It was focused on my poetry-writing, so it's not actually very library-related since they edited out the parts where I waxed poetic about how creative writers should do research and use their libraries (curses!), but hey. The audiofile is here and you can either click it to play or right-click to download. Mondo thanks to one of my favorite library systems dudes, Infosciphi, who didn't laugh at me when I revealed that I have no way of hosting this and offered to both host it and send me the link when I revealed my inadequacy. He didn't even laugh, though there may have been snark to the effect that I should ask NEWLIB *wink*.

Sad State of Affairs in Higher Ed

These are rough times for everyone, and higher education is taking a huge blow right now. Decisions on cuts need to be made, and more and more institutions of higher ed are looking at cutting faculty, staff, removing certain degree programs, and even reducing the amount of scholarships and merit aid they offer. I figure this is as good a spot as any to air some of my issues about this, since I'll be losing my seat on the Faculty Senate here at UTC when I leave, and will have no greater body to pester for a bit with efficiency and annoying common sense.
You know, automaker management decided that if they needed to take the bailout for their companies, they would draw a single dollar a year in salary until the crisis was over (thought what they say and what they do may differ. Funny, I haven't heard anything about looking at former administrators who fell back to regular faculty with no more administrative duties, but are still drawing a six-figure salary while their colleagues a…

A Librarian's Take on "Freedom of Speech"

This may be quite the unpopular post, but since when have I worried about being unpopular? My last post (which discussed not being ass-ish on a public non-anonymous list) was taken by some on the NEWLIB-L email list as an attempt to muzzle new librarians posting to the list, and as an attempt to infringe upon freedom of speech, which is, of course, anathema to the entire idea of librarianship. I figured it would be useful for me - if no one else - if I worked through my thoughts on this here.
You can join the list and scour the archives (an unfriendly task if ever I saw one the way NEWLIB is set up - pitiful for librarians who are supposedly into the whole "access" thing), but comments were made to the effect that my chastisement of unprofessional behavior on the list was an attempt to "muzzle" the young librarians (of which I consider myself one, as I haven't quite hit 30 yet), stomping all over their right to free expression in the name of my own interpretatio…

More NEWLIB-L Drama-Llama Goodness

Le sigh. Le groan. I logged into my work email to cull it a bit near the end of the Thanksgiving weekend, and woo-hoo, NEWLIB flamey goodness. A soon-to-be MLS grad posts a question asking how to convert a Word file to PDF. Some make suggestions. Some make fun of that person for not googling the answer. Some flame the fun-makers. The fun-makers flame general idiocy. Delicious holiday goodness, including folks who decide it could be fun to post as different people (but, alas, from the same ISP and identified. D'oh!)
I swear I tried to keep my mouth shut and my typing fingers still. I did. And then people who expected to use the list as a professional resource started leaving the list. This happens occasionally when things get too Romper Room-esque, it's natural. This prompted yet others to snark at those who couldn't handle the capricious nature of internet commenting. And then, of course, I jumped into the fray. You knew I would, didn't you? You were hoping I would. One…

Open Letter to Haworth Press

Dear Haworth,
I am embarrassed for you. I am embarrassed on behalf of everyone who has ever published in Journal of Access Services and anyone who has ever had an article rejected by you. To publish an entire issue written by the Annoyed Librarian - an anonymous, acidic persona whose main intent is not to improve library and information science but to take glee in its struggles - is a slap in the face to those of us in the profession and those we serve. I will not be linking to the issue nor to the AL's blog. I will not reward you, though you might appreciate the publicity of this post. You have just admitted that you are not a scholarly journal to be taken seriously. And as someone moving back over to Access after a long stint away, I'll be certain to send my work to the Journal of Library Administration, the Journal of Academic Librarianship, or hell, even to that cute little kid 'zine Highlights before I let my professional work be associated with you. Nice stunt, hope i…

Of Effigies and Insults at UK

I try to keep politics off of this blog. Mostly because I consider myself a moderate and can fall to either side depending on what the issue is, which tends to confuse, unnerve, and annoy people. But this is different. At the University of Kentucky, an effigy of Barack Obama was found hanging in a tree, startling students, staff and faculty on their way to classes and work this morning.
This hits me personally - I worked at UK for years, got my MLS there, and consider Kentucky (where I also did my undergrad work at Centre College) my true home. Given Kentucky's deep and problematic history with race relations, I was always very proud to point out the strides the state, and especially the University made towards the goal of respecting and appreciating diversity. University President Lee Todd sent the following email to the entire campus:

From: President Lee T. Todd, Jr.
Sent: Wednesday, October 29, 2008 12:15 PM
To: (all of campus)
Subject: Campus Incident on October 29, 2008


Colleen Has a New Job

Well, ladies and gentlemen, it's official. As of January 5, 2009, I will leave my position as reference & instruction librarian here at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and take up my new position as Assistant Head of Access & Delivery Services at North Carolina State University.
Give me a moment as I say Woo!
Setting aside the unfortunate - but funny - moniker of AssHead, this is a great opportunity. NCSU Libraries are known for not just treating their employees well, but for implementing cutting-edge services, and I'm looking forward to being a part of that. The Head of ADS is Mary Carmen Chimato, who is generally recognized as a big bucket of awesomesauce in library services, and I'm excited to get to work with her. Susan Nutter has made great strides in making the NCSU Libraries a priority for the university. I'll get great management experience and be able to work with a team of active, engaged library folks. I also hear that Raleigh and NC in gene…

Internet Librarian Preliminary Report

Yes, I know, IL08 is over, but I haven't blogged it at all. Mostly because it wasn't worth fighting over the one cord in the hotel room (really, Monterey Marriott? No wireless for customers? And charging for the 'net? Fail) and the wireless at the conference was patchy, and I rarely carry my laptop with me.
Initial report? Huge success. Our preconference workshop went over pretty well to the 10-12 participants, though they were sort of quiet (as opposed to us raucous presenters. Put Kenley Neufeld, Courtney Stephens, myself, Laura Carscaddon and Jezmynne Westcott on the same panel and you get so much energy it makes the rest few the planet look like they're on Valium). The presentation Rudy Leon and I gave on bridging the gap between the 1.8 user and the 2.0 world got good reviews (at least from the folks I met), and some lovely observer left me a note full of nice feedback that I now have tacked up on my office wall. Given that these were my very first actual speaking …

Kill an Avatar, Get Jail Time?

I'll report on IL08 here shortly (it was a great conference!), but for tonight, before I mosey on over to bed with Otto in tow, I wanted to post a link to this story out of CNN (via AP): "Woman Arrested for Killing Virtual Reality Husband." Apparently a Japanese woman, upon finding her Avatar in the game "Maple Story" suddenly divorced, hacked into her ex-faux-husband's account and murdalized his avatar. He complained to police, and she was arrested and transported 620 miles to be detained for the crime.
Tonight I will likely be dreaming of all the World of Warcraft Horde suing the pants off of my former roommates, who ganked them whenever possible (though sans hacking). I wonder what a Tauren would like like in a suit, or a Night Elf in cuffs...

Off to Internet Librarian

Okay, all, I'm off to Internet Librarian in the wee hours tomorrow. (Oops, that reminds me: must print flight schedule.) I am currently in scatterbrain mode and trying to remember everything from the office that I need to take with me. I'll likely go mostly dark while I'm there, since my cell only does regular old texting and no web shenanegans, and I don't like hauling my laptop around unless I have to. If you want to get ahold of me, you can call/text me.
Things have been crazy around here lately, what with a packed-full instruction schedule, various other librarywork goodness, some publication proposals that were accepted and need to be fully written, and coursework. happily, the MFA is between semesters until next Residency in November, so it's just the MA classes hounding me to death right now. (This may put me in danger of losing my academic-elitist, intellectual label, but I do so despise Heidegger, with all of my Being.) My desk looks like a library exploded…

New Drop-Deadlines

With Internet Librarian coming up, I've been running around like a chicken with my head cut off a bit. I have finally resorted to making another drop-deadline list that carries me through the end of this semester, and my stomach sank a bit in the realization that no, I will not be going to Lexington for Thanksgiving, since I have far too much to get done. (Happily, an awesome librarian pal I have who has roots here in Chattanooga has invited me to partake in her family's holiday, so I won't spend it solo.)
For those of you who don't keep up with me in various other places online, the 3rd shift job at the gym lasted a whopping 5 weeks before I admitted my failure and need for sleep. However, I've also come to the conclusion that taking a full load for the MFA (16 hours), as well as two classes for the MA in Lit (in addition to my full time librarian-chasing-tenure gig) is too much. I took one MA class last semester, and that was a level of stress I could manage - thi…

On Luck and Effort

Driving into work this morning, I found myself ridiculously annoyed at a radio commercial marketing a packet on study skills. The ad said, "Do you wish you were one of those lucky parents whose child gets good grades?" Sitting in traffic, I mulled this over, and came to the conclusion that my good grades (and my sister's, and my brother's) had nothing to do with mom and dad's "luck." It had to do with - - brace yourself - - good old fashioned hard work. (Okay, and the threat of an ass-whupping if we didn't make the grade.)
Now, naturally, some children are better at school than others. I was one of the lucky ones - I'm simply a good test taker. My sister was not so lucky - she had to work her ass off for her good grades. My brother fell somewhere in between. But it was still not a matter of my parents being "lucky." My parents worked their asses off - we were mid-to-lower middle class on Long Island. We never went on family vacations, b…

My NewLib-L Recent Post

(email sent by Colleen to newlib-l after long discussions by folks about how there are no jobs, adn how dare MLS programs not inform students of their bleak prospects, etc etc ad nauseam ad infinitum)

I think it would be best to qualify what people mean when they talk about lack of entry-level jobs. Do you mean lack of entry-level jobs you'd be willing to take? Probably. I got my current job a year ago after 4 months of searching. In that time, while I sent out a ton of applications, they were all written to that specific job opportunity (which took a lot of time), and I made sure to highlight how I met the required and the preferred qualifications. While I understand not everyone has the ability to go cross-country for a job, I think it behooves people to understand that the MLS is not likely to get you a job close to home, especially if you live near an MLS-granting institution.

Just recently, I decided to toss out 2 applications to dream jobs, though I'm perfectly happy and …

Top 100 Meme: 1997

The meme (as taken from Rudy's Ramblings: the top 100 songs the year you graduated high school. Go to Per Rudy's instructions, type the year of your high school graduation [or first year, if still in high school] into the search function. Retrieve the Top 100 songs from that year. Strike through the songs you hate(d). Underline the songs you like(d). Bold the songs you love(d). Leave blank those you don’t care about or don’t remember. Annotate at will.
Here goes, the list for my high school graduation year of 1997 *cringe* - I found that some of them I just didn't remember. Honorable mentions from other years below 1997:

1. Candle In The Wind 1997, Elton John

2. Foolish Games/You Were Meant For Me, Jewel Played to death

3. I'll Be Missing You, Puff Daddy and Faith Evans If they liked him that much, they'd've written a new song instead of ripping off an old classic. Just saying.

4. Un-Break My Heart, Toni Braxton I heart me some Toni.

9/11: How Terrorists Turned me into a Librarian

A post to remember 9/11.
I'm a native New Yorker, born and raised on Long Island. On 9/11/01, I was at Emory University, working on a PhD in Political Science. My classmate Keisha came in as we were waiting for Professor Giles' class to start, asking why we weren't watching tv, saying the World Trade Center had been hit by a plane - I thought it was a sick and tasteless joke until we turned on the tv in the classroom in time to watch the second plane hit the tower. All of the phone lines were down - you couldn't reach the city or the Island if you wanted to. I figured my mom and siblings were safe, unless there had been a school trip planned to the city. My father and all of my uncles are union electricians, and IBEW Local #3 is the city local - later, I heard that one of my uncles came out of the subways where he was working covered in the debris from the building fall.
Not too long after that I started asking myself what my priorities were, and how exactly my research …

Another Librarian's Book Banning Rant

There has been quite a bit of brouhaha over Sarah Palin's alleged book banning attempts. (You can read about it at The LA Times, Time, and just about anywhere else you care to trip over it on the 'net, not to mention the various librarian listservs, twitter, and friendfeed.) Let's take a moment and discuss this, shall we?
Librarians - I'm taking the liberty of speaking for all of us here, though we may differ on minor details - generally believe it is their duty to provide information. To everyone (unless the library is a special library that only serves certain people - like a law firm library). But generally, your public and academic librarians are there to give you what you need, with that "you" defined as broadly as possible.
To book-banner wannabes: for every book like And Tango Makes Three and the Harry Potter series that you'd like to ban for gay penguins and heathen magic, I have others clamoring to ban Ann Coulter and *gasp* the Bible. (Lots of war…

Let's Shoot for Mediocrity, Says the World

I sat through a Faculty Senate meeting yesterday where the Math department presented a proposal to develop a math master's program. A good idea on the face of it, I have to question developing a graduate program in a field where we graduate less then 15 majors a calendar year. I also questioned the wisdom of allowing folks with a BA to teach the university's developmental (read: remedial) math classes. The gist of the reply (not a direct quote, since I didn't write it down, but this is pretty close) was, "Well, these folks would hold bachelors degrees in math, or the equivalent. Which meets the SACS accreditation standards."
Well, color me thrilled that we'll strive to meet minimum standards. Also color me highly uncomfortable with the thought of folks - since the plan is to draw community members, not undergraduates - whose BAs and classroom experience are 20 years old to teach the most struggling kids. Le sigh. Many people disagreed with my take on that, ot…

This Crazy Librarian Life

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind both personally and at work. Otto ze wunderhund is recovering well from surgery, I'm totally wiped from 3rd shift and a wickedly busy start to the semester, and classes. I just mailed out packet 4 of 5 for the 2nd semester of the MFA, the workshop I'm taking at UTC with Earl Braggs is going well so far, and the Lit Theory class I'm taking is warping my brain.
I've finally given in to the fact that working the third shift is not going to work for my life as it stands right now. The weekend of the 13th is my last working those godawful hours (though I got to meet some really great people). I'm looking forward to having my weekend time back to actually accomplish things instead of getting half-sleep in a personal twilight zone while the dog stomps angrily around the bed, tired of being ignored. (I am also pretty sure I went ahead and walked the dog without pants on the other day when he woke me up to go out, I was so wiped. Sinc…

Food Meme

Courtesy of Allison, your meme of the day is: Food.
This is a list of 100 foods that every omnivore should eat sometime in their life. The idea is to bold the ones you've eaten.
Happily, I like to eat (though I avoid heavy spices), so i expect to do well on this one...

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare (I was raised on raw beef. OMG yum)
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart In New York, we called these "dirty water hot dogs," because the flavor was best when the water hadn't been changed in awhile. And omg they're awesome.
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes Cue Deana carter singign "Strawberry Wine"
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream Gross. Dad liked it. Well, he ate it. Pretty sure he only ate it because it was the only ice cream we kids wouldn't t…

Otto Recuperation

Otto is recuperating, sitting quietly for his eyedrops before tearing around the house in his Elizabethan collar, making it very clear he does not believe that accessorizing is something doglets should be involved in. But he has so far been good humored about the giant increase in his turning radius, if a little frustrated that he can't deal with his itches very well on his own.
This blog will be returning to issues of librarydom and librarianation, but for those of you interested in watching Otto recover, I have a Flickr set dedicated for those photos here.
Thank you again to one and all who decided to help. I wish you could all meet him up close for snooterkisses!

I Get By With a Little Help From My Friend(feeder)s

Dear Wonderful People,
Last night immediately after posting the plea for folks to help out for Otto's surgery to help with his bilateral entropion, you all seriously blew my socks off. I have never, ever seen such an outpouring of generosity, and I can hardly believe that you would do it for my pup & I. Most of you who have donated, I've never met in person, but I affectionately refer to you as my "invisible internet friends." You made yourself extremely visible.
The donation total are at $900 and counting.
Nine hundred dollars.
Please forgive the epithet, but I am reduced to my father's blue collar way of showing affection, reduced to tears and repeating "You fuckin' people" over and over. (Note that this was the highest form of "thank you" in my house, when "thank you" just wouldn't do.) I spent last night bawling my eyes out because of your generosity, and because my two-year old bassetboy will not be going blind anytime …

Helping Otto (and I) Out

Hey, all. Those of you on Friendfeed have likely heard that while I was away interviewing at NC State, my Otto my basset hound was boarding at the animal hospital, and somehow his mild entropion (a turning in of the eyelids) got severe practically overnight. I just picked him up from the vet, and his eyes are ulcerated. They've scheduled the surgery for tomorrow which was, to say the least, horrifying and unexpected. Someone on FF (Kaia?) suggested CareCredit, which offers financing for medical type stuff, including vets - and happily, they have offered me a small credit line to use on the Ottopuss. Unhappily, it is nowhere near $1500. (Which is less than I thought the surgery for both his poor eyes would be, but is still beyond me by quite a bit).
So another bunch of awesome friendfeeders mentioned I could use tipjar or Paypal from the blog and let the beneficence of the webworld get showered on Otto's snooter. Thanks to Bobbi, there is now a PayPal button on the top left of t…

The "How I Became a Librarian" Meme

I didn't get tagged for it, but there's a "how'd'ja becoem a librarian?" meme running around the blogosphere. Figured I'd toss my hat in the ring. If you haven't already done this one, consider yourself tagged and tell us your story.
I wasn't going to be a librarian, despite my early and obvious love of books. I worked at the Brentwood Public Library on Long Island when I was in high school. In college, I worked at the Centre College Grace Doherty Library for my first two years, adn spent my second two years as a research assistant to my favorite professor of all time, Nayef Samhat. I wanted to be a diplomat...until I realized (after receiving death threats for an opinion article I wrote in the college paper) that I likely wasn't diplomatic enough to avert war. Scratch that career.
Professor Samhat encouraged me to stay in academia, and helped me get into Emory's PhD program in Political Science, where I spent two years completely submerged …

Of Personal Failures and Health

As I got home tonight and was thinking about how run-down I feel, how busy we're going to be this semester with an (at least) 15% increase in instruction schedules already scheduled, and the work that'll be involved in my critical theory class (not to mention the MFA), Allison posted this piece about food an issues. The reason I bring this topic onto my 'professional' - or at least my library - blog is that the spheres of my life intersect. I'm a librarian, but I'm also a student. And a woman. And a mom to a dog. A daughter. And myriad other personalities. I came home and Allison's post was in my gmail inbox, and it hit me pretty hard, for a number of reasons. (Go read it, she's a very good writer.)
Allison talks about unhealthy food issues, and how we convince ourselves - if society doesn't give us a few nice shoves - how we should look, act, eat, and physically *be.* I'm particularly sensitive about talking about this issue for a number of reas…

New Meme: Unofficial Librarian Bios

During a friendfeed-slash-Twitter discussion started by Iris, I commented that we should start the Unofficial Librarian Bio meme - a brief bio of yourself that you sort of wish you could send out, but you know the official venues really prefer the stuffy, boring version of you - stripped of all personality, dressed up in your Sunday best, and trying very hard not to be caught picking your nose or smacking your little brother.
Bah to that, I say. Time to let our awesomeness shine. I dare you to write up your unofficial bio. I've actually done this before, in this post, where I said:
"Colleen is a chunky library sort who stays at home and writes with her bossy dog on her feet when she's not teaching ungrateful ghetto kids how not to plagiarize their shit or use Wikipedia & Google as scholarly sources. When in doubt of her prowess, she distracts onlookers with her fierce bosoms."
I feel like I should rewrite it a bit, since re-using is cheating, so, here goes with a ne…

First Impressions & Customer Service Failures

We all know how important first impressions are, right? It's sort of like how Anne McCaffrey's dragons "impress" on new dragonriders-to-be. (Yes, I'm feeling nostalgic with a new herd of freshmen on campus.) First impressions are essential, particularly when you're talking about freshmen, wet behind the ears, completely disoriented and overwhelmed by being at a state school for their first college experience, and stressed out by trying to find their classrooms and last-minute add/drops on their schedule.
I usually don't think of them this way, because I'm not a fundraiser or in the alumni office, but the University at large should also think about the fact that these are the kids we hope will call this university 'home' even after they leave. (That could be my small liberal arts college experience shining through, though.) If nothing else, due to UTC's abysmal retention rates, you'd think the entire university would be bending over back…

A Great Big Dose of Completely Inappropriate

I would like to report a great big fat FAIL on the part of's so-called "career coach." If you read the story "Grad School Juggling," here, you'll note a desperate single mom wondering about how to deal with her newfound singledom and her grad schooling while dealing with a three year old child. The advice from the so-called 'career coach' Tedra Osell includes such snippets as allowing a child to run around the classroom and throw confetti while she lectures and leaving her toddler in the hallway to run up and down to burn off his energy, and calling professors who don't like you bringing your tot to class on a regular basis "assholes." No mention of fellow grad students who might be miffed at this set-up.
Um. Yeah. Seriously, read it.
It's really fantastic in a way. I mean, who ever thought you could fit *so much* bad advice into a single post? Since apparently they're vetting comments on the actual post, I'…