Saturday, October 29, 2005

Today in reference

I worked the desk today. The librarians here use a sign-up sheet to divvy up the weekends; each of us usually ends up with two per quarter--not bad. During the week, we each work about four two-hour shifts and spend the rest of our time on the million other things we do. Working on the desk for eight hours is such a change of pace and is kind of refreshing. I have a lot of respect for public librarians, many of whom work eight hours of public service every day and do all their collection development and programming prep between patrons. And they have to be ready to answer just about any kind of question imaginable and be able to do reader's advisory. That's pretty impressive, both in terms of skills and stamina. Reference is physically and mentally exhausting and I don't know that I could do it all day, every day. I like the mix of public service, collaborating with colleagues, and working on my own. That's not to say that helping people isn't fun when I'm doing it, though. Here's a little taste of what people wanted to do today:

find statistics on which countries have highest number of scientists and engineers
crop and resize images
create PowerPoint presenation
find morbidity rates for children with severe illnesses and disabilities
format APA citations
double space text in MS Word
find origin of American folktales
find image of Barry Diller
distinguish between newspaper and journal articles
figure out what a database is
scan a photo
find copier/ATM/bathroom/printer/nearest coffee/etc
see when a file was created
find books on religion
read an LC call number
read online news in spanish
check out laptops
put a book on hold/renew books
make and publish a webpage
attach a document to an email message
find salary info on business executives
which nearby libraries own the print journal Columbia,
find course e-reserves
save documents to CD-R
empty (computer) recycle bin
make a hanging indent
find info on healthcare and ethnolinguistic communities
make a graph in Excel
find opposing viewpoints on United Nations peacekeeping missions

There were plenty of other requests, but I won't bore you with the details. It was a busy day that just flew by. Saturdays tend to be slower than Sundays, when we're open a little later in the evening. Midterms seem to have increased demand.

In work-related news, it looks like I'll start a new temporary job right as my current one ends. I'm in the middle of interviews and more applications for permanent position, so this should fill the gap nicely. More details when I have them.

ACRL WA/OR Conference recap

Blogging didn't happen during the conference. I brought my laptop, but decided not to bring it to the sessions when I realized that nobody else was using one and that the tight schedule wouldn't really give me time to upload anything.

The conference was great! We stayed at Pack Forest, so it was like going to librarian camp. Yes, I mean that in a good way. My idea of professional dress is fairly casual, but I don't usually wear jeans and sneakers to conferences. I was in a cabin, so we had to walk a short distance to the bathrooms. Luckily, one of the sponsors provided mini-flashlights, which was helpful because I didn't think to bring one.

I enjoyed ACRL National this year, but the local meeting was centered on topics that I found more immediately useful and relevant to my interests and the work we do at MPOW. I found it difficult to choose between the sessions because all of them sounded good. Sessions I attended:

1.Mine, Yours, Ours: Collaborating in a Combined Library/Computing Lab
Kathleen Collins and Damien Koemans
University of Washington, Seattle

It was hard to choose between the two programs in this time slot. I wanted to go to the other session in this time slot because it was on information literacy instruction and articulation between two and four-year colleges, and because my supervisor was on the panel. I'm glad I chose to come to this one though, because it gave me the chance to learn more about another library in my own larger system. In a three-campus university with a 21 branch library, it's really hard to get a handle on what's going on in other units, especially when, like me, you work outside the "main" campus.

The presentation described the way the undergraduate library hosts a huge computing lab run by a separate campus department and how the two units cooperate to serve the students. The most interesting part for me was the discussion about the differences in the cultures of the library staff and the Catalyst staff, who are mostly students. The presenters gave tips on managing communication between departments to facilitate understanding of the differing perspectives on either side, and most importantly, emphasized that the students don't care about departmental differences and don't see the difference between library help and computing help. The best point Kathleen made was that we have to remember that we are all serving the same students and that we need to meet them at the point of need. The library moved the reference desk up to the second floor computing commons because that's where the students work. It was a good reminder that we can have the best resources and services, but students will only use them if it's visible and convenient.

2. Tale of Two Classes: Taking Different Paths to a Common Goal
Theresa Mudrock
University of Washington, Seattle
Heather Ward
University of Oregon

This session gets my vote for the best of the conference. My primary interest is instruction, so I'm biased, but I really like hearing about innovative assignments. Both presenters are history liaisons and each described really cool research courses they've taught. They both made me wish I was a student in their classes. What made these courses fun for students and helped them learn was that the assignments were meaningful. They showed students the value of researching and gave the experience problem-solving and understanding the context behind the research process. Both courses used primary documents, which can be so much more interesting and even fun for students than dry, scholarly articles. Both Theresa and Heather linked artifacts and information to the people who created and were documented by those resources. Very cool.

3. Building for the First Two Years – What Are Hallmarks of Collections for First and Second Year College Students?
Natalie Delker Beach
University of Washington Bothell & Cascadia Community College
Jennifer Sundheim
University of Washington, Tacoma

Because this conference is attended by librarians from both two-year and four-year colleges and universities, it is a great place to come together to talk about the first two years of college and how all of us work to support the learning that happens during this time. First, the presenters gave an overview of collections literature centered on undergraduate libraries, because that's where most of the work is coming from. They pointed out that there is a great potential for community college librarians to contribute their expertise by writing about their collections philosophies and practices. What the existing lit shows is that while a few core lists have been created and maintained, libraries aren't adhering to these in practice. In my opinion, this is a good thing. We should be building the best collection for the local population, rather than trying to use a one-size-fits-all approach. It seems that librarians are doing this very thing: building collections to meet local need.

I liked that this session was all about asking questions, rather than offering an answer. Jennifer and Natalie were really interested in stimilating discussion and getting feedback on what others think about collecting for lower-division. The discussion that followed the presentation was just starting to get good when we ran out of time. I noticed a nice mix of university and community college librarians in the crowd. This would be a great topic to come back to and revisit on a variety of forums.

4.The Collaborative Environment: Successful Librarian-Faculty Partnership at Western Washington University Library
Cecilia Siu-Wah Poon
Margaret Fast
Dr. Keith Hyatt
Western Washington University

This session was up against another on Millenials. Since I've done a lot of reading on the subject and because most of my coworkers were going to that session, I thought I'd hit this one so we can compare notes later. Besides, as a newer librarian I've learned that it takes time and a lot of effort to develop strong professional relationships with faculty.

The presentation highlighted a wide variety of ways librarians at the Woodring library work with the faculty in their departments. It was nice to see that many of the strategies presented--serving on campus-wide or departmental committees, offering faculty workshops, attending faculty social events--are some of the things we do on our campus. Woodring also has a pool of collections money for special projects. It's a competitive pool; librarians submit proposals to improve specific parts of the collection and they get faculty imput and support for the purchases. This is just one of the ways their librarians have worked with faculty and it's a creative incentive for faculty to get involved in collection development.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

ACRL WA/OR conference

I'll be at the conference today and tomorrow and will blog it if I can.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Near miss

As I walked to my car this morning, something didn't feel right. Looking down, I realized that each of my feet was shod in a different shoe! I guess I didn't notice because both pairs are black Dansko clogs that sit side by side on my closet floor. The problem is that one is a sandal and the other is a shoe. I'm a nerd.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Lunch and Lush

I went to the outrageous yuppie mall yesterday with my friend SJ and her two daughters. I was going to bust her with a funny story, but she totally beat me to the punch, AS USUAL.

Anyway, I had a nice time shopping at the new Lush (my score: Mirror Mirror, Angels on Bare Skin, Veganese, Hybrid, and 17 Cherry Tree Lane--all great). It's kind of weird to be able to shop there so close to home. Lush used to be a destination on trips--I made a point to stop there in Vancouver, San Francisco, Stockholm--but the loss of specialness is more than made up for by the convenience of a semi-local store. Now I can get the fresh stuff, too.

One of the highlights of the afternoon was our lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. Now, I know that portions there are huge, but I was shocked when my chicken pot pie arrived at the table. The lovely and talented SJ is holding a fork to show the scale here. I finished a quarter of this pie and was stuffed. Mmmm, pot pie.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Art on a Monday evening

A Calder, just for you. Why? Well, why not?

6 of one...

On one hand, I feel like death warmed over--Fall is lousy with germs. On the other hand, I have two phone interviews scheduled this week, both for positions I'm very interested in. So my life could be worse.

I'm going to bed early so I can get some work done before the ACRL blogging webcast tomorrow morning. I didn't see this the first time around, so I'm looking forward to it. In fact, I think I'm more interested in what people blog about it afterwards. Who knows, maybe MPOW will decide to launch a blog.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

I yearn to travel

Another post to make up for my recent silence. I try to resist jumping on the bandwagon with these quiz/name or lyric generator/map things, but sometimes I give in.

I'm not as well-travelled as I could be, unfortunately. I don't count places I've only been to because of an airport layover, like Colorado, Texas, Utah, Illinois, and the Netherlands. I'd definitely like to see more of my own country. I have the west coast covered, have visited the southeast and parts of the midwest, but the northeast and mid-atlantic get no love. It's not on purpose, dudes.

create your own visited states map

create your own visited countries map

Also, I've been fiddling with my template to make the page look less crowded. If anything goes haywire, let me know. It looks fine to me in IE and Firefox.

My city

The Emerald City

Welcome to Scandiland

I went to the Scandinavian Heritage Festival last weekend with my parents, my SIL, and a family friend. Like many Scandinavian-American events I've been to, the whole thing had a distinctly church basement aesthetic. In other words, I loved it. Check out my lunch:

After my köttbullar and pannkakor, we wandered through the vendors. I managed to avoid buying the beautiful Danish jewellery and the little wooden tomte, but this sweatshirt came home with me. Oktoberfest was also happening on the fairgrounds, so I leave you with some mechanical polka dancers.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Tante Kaijsa

Hey, I'm going to be an aunt! My brother called a couple of days ago with the news. My parents always say they aren't ready to be grandparents yet, but they've changed their tune. They're already Farmor and Farfar, and the baby isn't due until spring. It's sweet. I'm sure I'll be knitting plenty of tiny things this winter. Maybe I'll try that owl sweater I've been thinking about. I promise this won't turn into a knitting blog, but I might post some pictures of projects. Hey, little clothes are cute.