Sunday, January 31, 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 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 Singh
Visions of Heat by Nalini Singh
Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh
Nine Horses: Poems by Billy Collins
Must Love Hellhounds - Short stories
Storm Watcher by Lilith Saintcrow
Dark Watcher by Lilith Saintcrow

Monday, January 25, 2010

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 work email this weekend, which meant I had a bit of a backlog to deal with this morning. Also sifted through some paperwork on my desk to see what had floated to the top on Friday that I didn't get to. Scheduled some meetings for later in the week, made notes to follow up on some other things, cleared some patron accounts and contacted the patrons to let them know they were cleared.

10:00am-11:05am - ADS Management Meeting. The Head, Associate Head (me), Media Services Librarian and InterLibrary Loan/Doc Delivery Librarian meet to discuss departmental goings-on weekly. Got a heads-up on some projects coming our way, we decided to put in some IT and facilities tickets for needed changes, discussed upcoming collection shifts, some space issues and the imminent cramping of the behind-the-circ-desk area, various other stuffs. Sounds like everything is under control this week, for the most part, and got a heads-up on some projects for myself & the media services librarian.

11:05am-1:40pm - Various. Put in facilities and IT work requests, filled out key authorization forms, answered emails, sent some requests by email, dealt with some patron account issues, clarified some scheduling questions via email.Incredible how much time the details take.

1:40pm-1:55pm - Lunched while emailing. Scarfed some nuked ravioli.

2:00pm-3:00pm - Weekly Day Supers Meeting. This is the meeting where I get together with all of the day supervisors in circ and reserves and we go over what's happening, what needs to happen, and what is about to happen. Everything appears to be under control due to the kickassery of my supervisory team, and they're all prepped for the things coming down the pike regarding staff training, scheduling, summer projects, and more.

3:00pm-4:15pm - Various. Went through and updated a position description, put in some more tickets for IT assistance for adding folks to email lists and getting their machines set up, negotiated sharing of desks and office space in our crowded staff office. Noted some issues that are coming up with claims-returned items, sent some all-staff reminders, distributed some new "search for these items in the stacks" lists (which I received from the heads of Metadata & Cataloging and Finance & Business departments) to my supers, who will break up the work among staff. Noted what I didn't get to today, which must get done tomorrow - dealing with library fine petitions and appeals, putting in a ticket for the gate counter (which is supposed to allow me to FTP data out but doesn't actually), deal with burgeoning inbox (we moved to Groupwise last summer, but our folders haven't been ported yet, which means my inbox is a hot, hot mess). Organize notes and questions for tomorrow's 6am meeting, decide I will organize notes for tomorrow's 9am meeting after that earlier meeting. Set alarm on phone to remind me I have that 6am meeting with my third shift supervisor in the morning, which will require an even earlier wakeup than usual. I say "BLARGH: loudly enough for a staff ember to check on me and make sure I'm not dying in my office.

5:00pm-7:30pm - Homework and Library Writingstuffs. Got home early today! I'm taking two graduate classes this semester - Methods & Techniques of Training & Development, and The Adult Learner. Tonight I did my readings, required initial postings, and quizzes in Moodle. I also wrote the first paper required for the Adult Learner class, my adult learner autobiography (which isn't actually due until Saturday. I win!), and chose a topic for my annotated bibliography due for the other class on February 14. Feeling slightly ahead of the game. Also wishing that online instructors would refer to dates instead of "Saturday of Week 3," which I find disorienting and confusing. All of this done while also entertaining Otto the Crazy Basset Hound of Doom. I also revised a short book chapter on managing the merge of multiple service points, that one's good to go. Started shaping my rough notes on how the NCSU Libraries have started automated billing into article form in the hopes I can submit it to Journal of Access Services by end of March. That's the plan, at least - we'll see. And Otto the Basset Hound of Doom naps, steals my warm seat and naps, steals my warm seat and naps, rinse & repeat.

7:50pm - I am going to workshop a fellow poet's work, and read a trashy paranormal romance. That should take me to about 10:00pm, which is bedtime.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

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 getting sandbagged by a competitor? You be the judge.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

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 productive" thing. I bet Harvard doesn't sniff at stealing your money for another semester when you couldn't get into your classes ;)

"Centre College, founded in 1819, has 1,215 undergraduate students and over 100 faculty members, 98% of which hold the highest degrees in their fields."

There were no teaching assistants. There were no grad assistants, since it's an undergrad school. All the profs I took had the highest degree in their fields, did their own grading, held a ton of office hours, and often has us to their homes and answered their home phones at 10pm if we had personal crises. Most approachable faculty and staff I've ever experienced, and I've been both working and a student in higher ed since I graduated from Centre in 2001.

"In the last decade alone, Centre produced 17 Fulbright Scholars, five Goldwater Scholars, a Rhodes Scholar and a Truman Scholar. Its alumni include two U.S. vice presidents, a chief justice of the United States, 13 U.S. senators, and 43 U.S. representatives."

Heck, even our ordinary grads are doctors, lawyers, librarians. An obscene percentage of Centre College grads get advanced degrees. While I don't know any of the politicos, I can name a number of well-placed Centre folk from my class alone - and we were a class of only 300. Pretty nifty for a teensy weensy school.

Yup, I'm very proud, and happy Centre can add this to its long history of good press! Go Colonels!

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!" (Which, I will remind you, those libraries paid for access to.)

Prediction: ILL will go nuts. Libraries will frown at Ebsco. (This includes academics, since not everyone is on the Ebsco wagon.) Not many more will pay to switch from whatever they've got now to Ebsco due to hefty initial costs, and since they're already cutting database access to get within their budgets. Those mags will be used and cited less. Sad pandas all around.

Dear Major Magazines: raping libraries for subscription costs is not going to undo the fact that you're not selling as many paper copies in the age of the intarwebz.

Edit: Entry on Reference Staff Blog referring to Gale losses confirms this.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

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 just lose their business, and gain a whole lot of bad referrals.

Call your library's main line when it's closed, and go ahead and call your own number - how does the message leave you feeling? Do you feel welcomed?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

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 Library Association, expected 2010.

  • Book chapter due February 17: “Management Tips for Merging Multiple Service Points.” Library Management Tips That Work. Ed. Carol Smallwood. Washington, D.C.: American Library Association, expected 2010.

  • Book chapter due March 1: “Library Management: Capitalizing on Gen-X Leadership and Work Styles.” for Library Management: Capitalizing on Gen-X Leadership. Eds. Erik Estep, Martin Wallace and Rebecca Tolley-Stokes. Duluth: Library Juice Press, expected 2010.

  • Presentation with Mary Chimato at Computers in Libraries, April 15: "“Soft Skills, Firm Results: Managing Staff Skill Development.”

  • May 7: Last day of work at NCSU Libraries

  • May 17: First day of work at UTC's Lupton Library

  • Book chapter due June 1: “Quilting Your Workforce: Managing the Multi-generational Library.” Middle Management in Academic and Public Libraries. Ed. Thomas Diamond. Libraries Unlimited, expected 2010.

  • July 2010 (tentative/unlikely): I've been invited to present my paper “Revisionist Mythmaking: Poets Recording and Rewriting History” at the Recycling Myths, Inventing Nations Conference at Aberystwyth University in Wales (United kingdom). very much want to, am looking askance at finances, though. We'll see. it'd be nice to see that MFA critical thesis earn its keep, though.

  • Book (yes, entire book) due September 1: Development on a Budget: A How-To Manual for Librarians. Cambridge: Chandos Publishing, expected 2010.

I won't be hitting ALA Annual this year given the timing of my move, but I'm holding out hope for a late fall conference (IL2010!) if I get lucky. Unless something else *really* fabbalous comes a-calling, I'll probably call it a year with this list, plus maybe the two articles that have been simmering that I really want to write before summer. There are projects I want to finish at NCSU while I'm still here, and foundations I want to lay for others before I leave. The folks at UTC's library are planning their new library, and I expect to be hip-deep in that as well as other "omg new job lots o' stuff to do" things, and want to give myself the time I'll need for that.

So, yeah. *Blows bangs off forehead* Looks like 2010's full up, doesn't it?

Oh, and I'm also taking two graduate level classes at NCSU this semester, and got into an MA program at UTC for the summer semester.

*rolls up sleeves*

Thursday, January 14, 2010

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're online at all hours and up on the latest fun tech. We're plugged in, and most of us - or those of us who control the library's web content as well as our own web presence - have a guaranteed audience.

Given all of this, please do not annoy your librarian. Do not lie about who you are (we can hunt you down by ISP if you're sloppy abou tit), troll the comments in our blogs, make outrageous accusations, and especially don't threaten librarians. Please see the strange case of Sergio Rivera-Ayala as told by our dear Pegasus Librarian. Not only does all of this look ridiculous, but I now know a TON of librarians both domestically and internationally who wouldn't touch this book with a fifteen foot pole. Very unfortunate for both the writer and his publisher, who I'm sure would prefer this not have happened.

Be ye both encouraged and warned. Librarians travel in packs, are happy to help, and we're notorious gossips. If you show your behind, good or bad, be assured we'll all be chatting about it.



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 the main circ desk greeted me with a sprightly "Good morning!" It was almost as if they had choreographed it. But then they did the same merry act for the next person up the stairs.

You know what? That was all it took to change my mood from Grumpymuffin to Things Are Looking Up. By the time I applied my key to the lock on my office door, I was smiling, too. A big thank you to my staff who do this for all our patrons and coworkers every morning. It's not easy to make mornings look friendly and to engage busy folks with worries on their minds, and you all do a great job of it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

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 - and encouraging - us to remain relevant. So the kerfluffle is really from those librarians who are taking on this challenge, and feel their efforts aren't recognized, avalanched and buried instead under misconceptions and benign ignorance of how libraries work and what libraries do.

"They can't survive as community-funded repositories for books that individuals don't want to own (or for reference books we can't afford to own.)" Well, to be quite honest, this is what the library has been for a long time. Particularly in economic times like these, when folks can't afford to buy what they put in their cart, the library does come in handy as a repository of materials (not just books). In fact, my public library (the Eva Perry branch of the Wake County Public Libraries) actually advertises how their circulation translates to taxpayers savings compared to the cost if taxpayers had bought all the copies that folks were checking out of the library, and it comes in way under what the taxpayer contribution is. It's not a matter of not *wanting* to own the books in the library. Librarians don't buy books for the collection that are expected to never circulate (unless you're at an ARL *grin*). In fact, a lot of the public librarians I speak with lament that their collections budget is far outstripped by the requests they receive from patrons. And no, it's not just books. It's ebooks, audio books, DVDs, CDs, other media formats, database subscriptions and even devices like e-readers, cameras, and voice recorders that are circulated.

Aside from the materials the library provides, have you thought about the programming? Libraries are community-funded community centers. I imagine you would be hard pressed to find a similar community-funded venue that provides programming for groups of all ages (including infants, young children, teens, young adults, senior citizens) and all interests (technology, reading, arts and crafts, writing), mostly for free (aside from occasionally the cost of materials).

(I suppose my short answer could have been "If your library is buying books you don't want, and that's ALL they're offering, yes, you're right, they're doing it wrong. They should look at the 95% of other public libraries in the country and take a lesson.")

"More librarians are telling me (unhappily) that the number one thing they deliver to their patrons is free DVD rentals. That's not a long-term strategy, nor is it particularly an uplifting use of our tax dollars." Erm, Seth? Maybe you should make some new librarian friends. Are these same librarians also telling you that print circ is up along with DVDs, audiobooks, ebooks and everything else? (That's the case in my library here in NC. And my home library back in NY where I grew up. And the Kentucky library that kept me in trashy romances for nearly 10 years while I schooled and worked there.) Well, probably not, if they're complainers. Sounds like these folks are unhappy with being public librarians and serving the wants of the, um, public. And if their "number one thing" they're delivering is DVDs, and they're not telling you about the programming they're doing to help people update their resumes, learn or update technology skills, or various other workshops that interest folks (like genealogy, bringing in local authors for booktalks or writing workshops, and more), then I would ask you to please tell the librarians you're talking to to get the hell out of the library, because they're exactly what we don't need.

"Here's my proposal: train people to take intellectual initiative. Seth, here I agree with you wholeheartedly. Your proposal was (and is) accepted by the majority of librarians doing an excellent job with shite for a budget. Agree with you here, and call for any librarian who doesn't see this as part of the library's mission anyway to step down and make room. The library has long been the poor man's university, the librarian the one who can enhance that experience. Most of the librarians I know hold this near and dear to their hearts.

"Once again, the net turns things upside down. The information is free now. No need to pool tax money to buy reference books." Hrm. Given that I read Seth's blog, and that he seems to be more in touch with the info world than most, I was surprised by this statement. I think Sarah Glassmeyer's response is the best for this one, but I'll add my incredulity to the mix. Libraries are going to be THRILLED to find out all info is free. Imagine how much more they could spend on programming and technology if they didn't have those pesky collections budgets to worry about! And the vendors will be happy to quit wasting their time and resources printing invoices. All around win!

"What we need to spend the money on are leaders, sherpas and teachers who will push everyone from kids to seniors to get very aggressive in finding and using information and in connecting with and leading others." Totally agreed, here, Seth. I would, of course, qualify that by saying "to get very aggressive in finding, *evaluating*, and using information", but I imagine we could agree on that. After all, librarians (the good ones that we should be keeping, anyway) *are* teachers. I don't know if we could get funding for sherpa lines, though ;) This is largely a matter of focusing on programming - and marketing. We can offer this sort of learning experience all day every day, but unless we get asses in the building (or tuned in to the webcast), it doesn't help much. That's the challenge most librarians are facing - how to effectively market their offerings and get people interested enough to show up after a long day of work, between errands, amid family obligations.

Also, while we should certainly spend our money on good teachers and leaders, I hope you'll allow us to keep some money aside for bodice rippers and trashy vampire romance novels. At the rate I'm going with my public library goodies, I'm reading about a book a day. And the library doesn't judge me for reading those books. They bought them for people like me. And the books are dog-eared, so they've been through more than one set of hands, and I'm sure each of us has praised the library for owning whatever book it is, so that we didn't have to buy it ourselves.

In their response, schoolingdotus points out that the library is the last truly democratic place, and highlights the importance of the library as community space. I imagine other folks (and perhaps Seth) would argue that the internet is the most truly democratic place - but then I'd have to point out the access discrepancies based on income, race, rural vs. urban location, etc. Public libraries don't require you pay a subscription. Even the local Y can't really compete, since there's a monthly fee there too. At your public library, most times, you don't even have to have a card to access the collection in-house. Everyone is free to come in off the street, grab a book, and make themselves comfortable.

I sincerely hope that Seth's post reflects his experience with his own local public library, and that he doesn't purport to think that experience with lackluster librarianship is generalizable. On the upside, he does seem to be interested in libraries (if not their materials), and that's always a good thing. It's up to the rest of us to show him - and everyone else - that libraries remain relevant and are working in areas other than book collection.

For those interested, other responses to read include those by Jill Hurst-Wahl, Dr. Joyce Valenza, Jenny Luca, and Scott McLeod.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

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 large - has been able to accomplish in terms of positive morale and increased work. I am proud to call this department mine.

Working in the NCSU Libraries has been an incredible journey. I have learned a lot about project and personnel management, about working across library departments, and about grace and style under pressure. I've had the incredible opportunity to be a small part of some large projects like straightening out student billing to better serve our patrons, and by leaving, I'll be missing out on some cutting edge ways to serve users. The NCSU Libraries prides itself on being a frontrunner for libraries everywhere, and having worked here, I can say without a doubt that it's true.

At the same time that I am sad to be leaving a library system that has taught me so much and a staff that has really opened my eyes to what motivated people can accomplish, I am thrilled to join Lupton Library at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. The dedication to serving the student body, the enthusiasm of the librarians and staff for the work they do to serve their community, and the synergy of the librarians is an environment I'm looking forward to adding my energy to.

Those of you who know me might find UTC familiar. I previously worked there as a reference and instruction librarian. I credit it my great good fortune and the wonderful taste of Lupton's hiring committee that I have the opportunity to return to my library home. This very much feels like a homecoming for me, and I am excited to be part of the next exciting chapter of Lupton Library's development.

It is humbling and a blessing to have the opportunity to choose between Wonderful Opportunity 1 and Wonderful Opportunity 2. A heartfelt thank you to both library systems and their staff for believing in my skills. NCSU, I will miss your bold strategic vision, groundbreaking initiatives and lionhearted staff. And to UTC, I look forward to giving you my all in May!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

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" dates so I could remind friends to bring me back my books.

4. I abhor the idea of writing in books, but sometimes they're so good, I can't help it. When this happens, I find I have to buy multiple copies in order to always assure I have one "clean" copy. In the case of Machiavelli's Prince, I own a clean copy, a copy filled with my personal notes, and a copy filled with class notes.

5. I threatened to burn my microeconomics textbook in college, but I couldn't bring myself to toss it on the grill with everyone else's. I finally sold the hateful thing to a used bookstore - 7 years after I had taken the class.

6. I collect books on poetry and (as a holdover from my polisci nerd days) war, game theory and battle strategy. I think "Von Clausewitz" sounds sexy if you say it out loud.

7. I loved it so much that I re-read Stephen King's The Stand every year at least once. The unabridged version. And I like it :)

8. I am a sucker for well written urban fantasy books. Yes, the vampire romance ones.

9. It pains me to no end that libraries allow food and drink in the building and stacks. Yes, I know I'm a regressive. But coffee rings and crumbs make me shudder for the books. THINK OF THE BOOKS, PEOPLE!

10. I have always believed that getting your own ISBN is probably the closest humans will ever get to immortality.

11. In college, after buying textbooks for my classes, I would roam the aisles and then buy the ones from other classes that looked interesting.

12. At my first full-time library job at the University of Kentucky, I used to take all the "discards" on the Free Book Truck home with me (including old law books). They looked like orphans. I couldn't help myself. Weeding - while necessary - still makes me feel guilty.

13. Until this year, I had a personal policy that if I started a book, I finished it. No exceptions. (I've only just come to the realization that there are too many books and too little time for this to be useful.)

14. I have a tendency to buy books that I love as gifts for other people, even if our tastes differ. My apologies!

15. Whenever I travel by air, I pack at least four books - two for the trip there, two for the trip back. It has happened that this has not been enough reading material.