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Showing posts from January, 2010

January 2010: Books Read

I decided this year to keep track of my leisure reading (I don't count reading I do in the course of work or for the classes I take, since neither of those count as relaxation-time). I've been using amazon.com to find what I want to read, and then placing holds at my local public library. The damage for January 2010:

Hidden Fire by Jo Davis
Under Fire by Jo Davis
Trial by Fire by Jo Davis
Door into the Dark: Poems by Seamus Heaney
Blaze of Memory by Nalini Singh
Branded by Fire by Nalini Singh
Hostage to Pleasure by Nalini Singh
The Demon's Librarian by Lilith Saintcrow
To Desire a Devil by Elizabeth Hoyt
To Beguile a Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt
To Seduce a Sinner by Elizabeth Hoyt
To Taste Temptation by Elizabeth Hoyt
Blinking with Fists: Poems by Billy Corgan
Angels' Blood by Nalini Singh
The Darkest Whisper by Gena Showalter
The Darkest Pleasure by Gena Showalter
The Darkest Kiss by Gena Showalter
The Darkest Night by Gena Showalter
Mine to Possess by Nalini Singh
Caressed by Ice by Nalini…

A Day in the Library Life: Colleen S. Harris

A Library Day in the Life. Doing this sort of post never fails to remind me of how much of my day is spent wrangling details, trying desperately not to drop too many balls, and hoping I'll land on my feet, get my staff what they need to do their jobs to the best of their ability. And manage a meal or two in between (this figure requires upkeep!). Here is a day in my librarian life as the Associate Head of Access & Delivery Services at the NCSU Libraries:
5:00am - Hit the snooze button in a decidedly disgruntled way.
5:42am - Got up (still cranky), fed dog, chopped veggies to put in with marinating pork loin in crock pot. Various morning waking-up and getting-ready stuff. (which may or may not have included a small nap between 5:58 and 6:15am).
7:00am-7:15am - Briefly go over materials for morning meetings.
7:20am-7:45am - Snarl at traffic on my way in to campus.
8:00am-9:00am - Met with Campus Employee Relations.
9:30am-10:00am - Played Catch-Up. I was pretty good about not checking…

And the Claws Come Out: Gale Posts an Open Letter to Librarians About Ebsco Content Hoggery

Well, well, well. While I admit it's sort of fun to see vendors sniping at each other instead of getting together to pillage library budgets, this is interesting. Gale has posted an open letter to the library community about Ebsco's recent acquisition of a buttload of Major Magazine content. This acquisition will make Ebsco the sole online distributor of content of such mags as Time, People, U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, Fortune, Money, Harvard Business Review and more.
The rest of the letter details how Gale was okay with allowing others to sublicense content, but evil Ebsco is a greedy thing that wanted exclusive rights, which will drive costs up artificially and problematically in this time of awful library budgets. Oh, and that Ebsco does this ALL THE TIME because they are GREEDY BASTARDS. (That's a paraphrase. Read the letter.)
A feelgood moment for librarians and vendors, ganging up on a rogue vendor who broke the rules? or an instance of vendor backlash after …

Centre College of Kentucky: Best College in the South

Merry news from a friend this morning - Centre College, my alma mater, has been named the Best College in the South (note the caps, there) by Forbes.
Article clips, with my commentary:
"...boasts some of the most fiercely loyal alumni in the world...
It's true. You can tell by our giving statistics and by how we'll talk you ear off about the place if you give us half a chance.
"...guarantees graduation within four years--or it will pay for an additional year of tuition-free study."
No, you didn't read that wrong. College is intended to be a four year endeavor. And because of the small and intimate classes, there's no getting locked out of your graduation requirements. My largest class was my freshman humanities class - and I think there were 25 of us. And Centre is proud that it sends its students out to graduate and professional schools, the work force and volunteer efforts. It's less a "get the hell out" than a "please go forth and be pro…

Ebsco Scoops Subscriptions, Major Magazines Turn Up Noses at Libraries

Via The Distant Librarian: "EBSCO is about to be the exclusive full text content provider for a whole lot of popular magazines." Get thee over to the Distant Librarian's site and take a gander at the titles. Painful, I say, just painful. And so I imagine libraries will now pay through the nose (even more) for content they may have been getting before.
From the same post, the observation that "The Major Magazines felt that they were losing subscribers because public library patrons were able to access their content w/o paying directly for a subscription... " Well, I don't see libraries who didn't have Ebsco before running to get it yet, and given the library budget situation, I doubt it'll happen anytime soon. So, Major Magazines, I hope you can make that Ebsco cash last. And while I know you're not in the business out of the good of your hearts, that's not a real nice image: "Ugh! Homeless and poor people want to read our stuff!" (W…

Are You Pissing Off Your Patrons Before You Even Meet Them?

I called my doctor's office this afternoon to make an appointment for early February. Apparently the office closes from noon to 1pm daily so the staff and docs can get their lunch (which I have no issue with, everyone needs to eat). What I *did* take issue with is the fact that the answering machine message threatens (sternly) that if I leave a message that includes a question, I will be charged $25. If I contact the after-hours doctor, I will be charged $25. And they will autodelete any message I leave about refills of any kind, since those calls must now go directly to the pharmacy.
Have you thought lately about the tone of your voice message to incoming callers? Customers and patrons have tons of choices (hear that, doc?), and they don't have to put up with rude, condescending, or stern messages. (Ahem, nor should they.) And if they haven't even met you yet, you won't get to explain your (probably? maybe? not really) good reasons for taking such measures - you'll…

Full Up: Colleen's To-Dos for 2010

Having just sent out proposals for more book chapters (I'm a sucker for CFPs, you know, and they're *really* interesting collections), I have decided that I will hit the Pause button on volunteering for new stuff for the time being. The to-do list so far:
Any editing required of already-submitted “Low- and No-Cost Development Opportunities for Librarians.” Surviving and Thriving in the Recession: A How-to-Do-It Manual for Librarians. Ed. Carol Smallwood. New York: Neal-Schuman, expected 2010.
Any editing required of already-submitted (co-authored with Mary Chimato) “Managing Staff Stress During Budget Crises: Lessons for Library Managers.” Surviving and Thriving in the Recession: A How-to-Do-It Manual for Librarians. Ed. Carol Smallwood. New York: Neal-Schuman, expected 2010.
Book chapter due February 17: “Millenials, Gen-X, Gen-Y, and Boomers, Oh My! Managing Multiple Generations in the Library.” Library Management Tips That Work. Ed. Carol Smallwood. Washington, D.C.: American …

Open Letter to Writers on the Proper Treatment of Librarians

Dear Writers,
I send this letter out to writers everywhere. (Since I'm one of you, I feel I can do this.) Librarians are your friends. Librarians will let you (politely) ask them to add your book to their collection. Librarians will work with you to set up new-author programming, a book signing or reading, and ten million other things that can help you out when your book is born. Heck, librarians will even read your book and write reviews, both on their blogs and in the trade pubs librarians use to make purchasing decisions.
Librarians are very well connected - it's a microverse, really, and the librarians who don't know each other on Twitter, or Friendfeed, in person or by reputation is a pretty small number.
While we don't require that you bribe us - we're an ethical lot, really (we even have a Cod of Ethics) - most of us will try extra hard to help you if a rogue brownie or cookie (or cup of coffee) makes its way to our desk. We're easily kept contacts - we'…

The Importance of a Smile: A Thank You to my Staff

I spent the late hours of last night and the early hours of this morning cleaning. My Otto was sick last night. Violently and grossly ill in the way only a dog can be. (I now better understand the phrase "sick as a dog.") The result was that I was late to work, stench still in my nostrils despite a scalding shower, hands raw, eyes grainy. And of course, the person in front of me on the highway rode their brakes the entire way to work. AUUGGHH. I needed a do-over, and I wasn't getting one.
I usually try to "ohm" my way through this sort of thing. Or sing along to the radio. Neither worked this morning.
You know what made me smile this morning? I walked in to work from the parking garage chatting with another librarian. When we got to the building, my staff member working the desk at the entrance to the building smiled and said, "Good morning." That made me crack a smile as I greeted him in return, and when I got to the top of the stairs, the two folks at…

A Response to Seth Godin's Post on Libraries

Seth Godin's "The Future of the Library" post, short as it was, certainly threw out some broad generalities and judgments. It ruffled quite a few librarian feathers ("ORLY? Information is free? That's not what all my INVOICES say!"), and made us question ourselves. If Seth (if I may call him by his first name), who is all about info and a friend to many librarians, doesn't get what it is that we do, who will? Obviously the message is not getting out. It would help if we had scantily-clad bosomy girls like GoDaddy. (Actually, even boring commercials might do to raise awareness, but who has the budget for that?)
In any case, I thought I'd add my voice to those responding to Godin's post. (Why not, right?) I've excerpted and bolded a few of Seth's comments, and follow those with my commentary. I'll preface all of this with the statement that I think (this is me projecting, here) that Seth is very much for libraries and is challenging - a…

Big News: Head of Access at UTC in May 2010

After a bit of living, I am convinced that the hardest decisions in life aren't necessarily the awful ones. (I can say that, having had to choose between "frackin awful thing 1" and "pretty goddang terrible #2".) No, for me, the hardest decisions are when I have two wonderful choices. And recently, one of these hunted me down and made me choose.
In May 2010, I will be leaving the NCSU Libraries to take the position of Head of Access Services at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
It has been an incredible year for us here in Access & Delivery Services at NCSU. Mary Chimato (my boss and close friend) blogged about it here, so I won't rehash it. But I *will* say that it is incredible what people can accomplish when they are not only willing to accommodate change, but actually anticipate it, enjoy it, and are willing to work with, support, and train each other in the face of it. I continue to be impressed by what my staff - and that of the library at…

15 Things About Me & Books

I am ripping off Steve Lawson's post, "15 Things About Me & Books, his own riff off of John Scalzi's post of the same name, because I found it interesting and delightful. I hope nobody minds, and I hope a whole bunch of folks pick this meme up!

1. I became a librarian because I love books. Yes, I know this is the answer we are no longer supposed to give on why we became librarians. I do not give a hoot. It has worked out well.
2. My parents thought I was able to read at age 3. It turns out I had just memorized Dr. Seuss's One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. When they gave me another book, I continued to recite the Dr. Seuss book. To this day, I remember great chunks of it, and am still disturbed by the scary illustration of the Clark-creature the kids found in the park after dark.
3. I have always had a large personal library, and it stresses me out when people borrow my books. To the point that I used to keep an Excel file with names and "checkout" da…