Showing posts from August, 2008

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'…

Of Alphabet Soups

Today the topic is: the pretentiousness of advertising your degrees. Discuss.
One of the hotter topics on Friendfeed lately, sparked by Christa Burns, was the discussion of whether or not to include the MLS in your signature line or on business cards. I found this very interesting, for a number of reasons. Working in academia, there is a certain overwhelming snobbery that happens when academics get together and discuss themselves (as they inevitably do). People toss out their pedigrees and are measured and judged to be found wanting (or not) depending on those academic family ties. it's the way the world works, and from what I've seen, many librarians simply don't engage when other faculty do this, or they join good-naturedly into the fray. Most librarians I've seen in these scenarios do the former. Because I firmly believe in the value of having librarians as full faculty (okay, and because despite my lack of a PhD, I likely have far more hours of graduate school unde…

Do You Have A Schedule, or a Life?

Talking to my good friend Allison (humorette of last post), we were discussing being exhausted. As in, tired beyond to-the-bone, and no end in sight unless we drop something which, as overachieving twenty-somethings, we are loathe to do because tv and magazines and our own fickle brains tell us we must do it all. Allison, for instance, not only works full time as a higher education PR pro, she is also a member of the Junior League and helps run their Horse Show in Lexington, which is a BFD, has graduate classes two days a week, goes to a knitting group, has a book group, just hit her 17-month anniversary with her man (congrats, by the way), has family commitments (her fam lives semi-locally) and is generally on-call for work as well. (I am sure there is more, but you get the idea.) And just where, may I ask, is she supposed to fit in fixing nutritious (or even semi-nutritious) meals, grocerying, general errands (like yarn-purchasing!), general cleaning of her living space, blowing off…

Quote of the Day

I have to share this as quote-slash-conversation-piece of the day, because it made me snort my water. Chatting with my good pal PinkandChocolateBrown, she came out with this gem (which is one of the many many reasons I love her):
"so first day of public school here"
"kids are back where they belong, locked up"
Bwahahahaha. Yes, this is what years of service in academia do to a person. There are also mitigating factors, like getting older and crochetier as we watch parents not discipline their own crotchfruit, and remembering the good old days of beating misbehaving children and telling them to get jobs in mines. But school is an okay alternative, I guess.
Thank God for all of the teachers out there willing to put up with little kids. I, dear, underappreciated friends, salute you.
But please do not go about letting them out early, mkay?.

Fuck Yeah! Um, Hooray for Funding. With Decorum.

On random occasions, I feel the need to check my Outlook's junk mail folder. Mostly because everything that ends up in there is, indeed, not junk. Only I rarely check it because most important things make it through, and it's usually the odd listserv junk that gets in there. I've been meaning to check it for a couple of days, and I'm very glad the bug bit me today to actually do it. What did I find in there, you ask? Oh, nothing much. Just an email note that I won another faculty development grant. Like the one that saved my financial bacon for ALA. The gist:
Congratulations! The Faculty Development Committee has approved a grant of $1000 to provide funds for travel expenses related to your presentation of "Dance, Dance, Library Evolution" in Monterey, CA, October 18-22, 2008. An official award letter will arrive in a few weeks, but I wanted to let you know as quickly as possible that your proposal had been funded.
So, yes, I would have received an actual paper…

LibraryThing Most Unread Meme

Courtesy of Rudy, this is my version of Library Thing’s most unread books. The key is below, and like Rudy, I’ve asterisked the titles that are sitting on my shelves, but I haven’t ever started.
This is a list of the top 106 books most often marked “unread” by LibraryThing users. The rules: bold the ones you’ve read, underline the ones you read for school, italicize the ones you started but didn’t finish. Give me a link in the comments if you've done this one. I don't think I've done too poorly, and I have to go ahead and admit my complete and utter loathing for all things written by the Brontes, so those books will never get finished. I also hate Dickens, so I'm not likely to read David Copperfield in this lifetime, either.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
*Anna Karenina
*Crime and Punishment
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Wuthering Heights
*The Silmarillion
Life of Pi : a novel
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
Moby Dick
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey
*Pride and Prejudice


As I was driving him to the airport this morning, a colleague of mine from the history department asked me what my day looked like. I told him that (per department agreement about the disgusting status of the computers) I'd be scrubbing some grody computer stations, working on a proceedings paper, planning an instruction session for a graduate English class, working a 2-hour refdesk shift, and fitting in some odds and ends before I had to leave at 3 to take care of some personal business. And then, of course, after that, I spend my Friday evenings nowadays with my personal trainer and sweat buckets of icky goodness in my pursuit of an Angeline Jolie-like body, followed by a shower and limp-bodied exhaustion splayed on the couch with the dog at my feet.
Now, to me, other than the whole leaving-early thing, which isn't usual, that sounds like a perfectly respectable Friday. I mean, I've got both research and bona fide librarian work at the refdesk listed! Plus teaching prep! …

A Family Shout-Out

If you know me at all, you likely know that my sister and I don't see eye to eye on a great many things, and so we don't speak much. Other than our appearance, which is totally different (she is a tall, thin, gorgeous cross country runner, whereas I am a rather short chunky on-my-butt-with-a-book type), I usually can't decide if we're too much alike, or too different. It makes me sad, but that's the way our cookie crumbled.
But talking to my mother on the phone the other night, she reported that my sister finished her master's degree. (She is a high school math teacher back home in New York.) I am just about busting with pride, despite the fact that I had zero to do with it. I'm proud of her for pursuing a career I could never imagine. (Really? Teaching calculus to high schoolers?) I'm proud of her for deciding to stay in New York (I often think that I took the easy way out, running away to someplace new and starting over fresh). I'm proud of her for…

One Year Anni-librarian-versary

Today marks my one year anniversary an an official professional librarian. I started working here at UTC on August 6th of 2007, and it has been quite the whirlwind of a year. I am surprised at the "year" marker - mostly because it both feels like I haven't been here that long, and that I've been here forever.
Let's do a mini-catalog of what I've accomplished since getting here:

Had small article published in InfoCareerTrends;
Had over 14 book reviews published;
Peer-reviewed two book chapters;
Peer-reviewed three articles;
Elected to 2-year term on the University's Faculty Senate;
Joined 2 ALA RUSA committees;
Won a $1000 professional development grant from the University;
Had poster session at ALA Annual;
Wrote 3 book chapters (all still pending publication);
Scheduled to co-speak at a preconference and a regular session at Internet Librarian in October;
Expecting to have co-written conference proceedings paper published for IL08;
Completed 2 semesters (32 hours) of …