Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Packrat Fever

It's been a while since my last move, and it seems I have a lot of crap I don't really need and most of it's heavy. My affinity for 1950s diner china means I have many heavy dishpacks in addition to the several large boxes of fun kitchen implements cluttering up the basement. Potato ricer? Check. Six different kinds of whisks? Check. Carmelizing torch? check. Asparagus pot? Check. Frying pan? Of course not.

Here's my really shocking librarian confession: I have too many books. I've boxed eight cartons so far and am only halfway done, not even counting oversized art books and mass market paperbacks. This is after selling a couple hundred recently. Don't get me started on fifteen or so years worth of CDs. You might think I don't need two copies of Black Celebration, but you'd be wrong. I wore out three tapes back in the day.

I'll be spending part of the long weekend sorting and packing, trying to weed out things I can live without. Other plans include Thanksgiving hosted by my brother and sister-in-law, waiting for friends to cross the finish line at the marathon, and preparing my interview presentation. Have an nice holiday, whatever your plans.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The M-word

All the recent talk about "millenials" is starting to work my nerves. Libraries, and higher ed in general, are buying into the idea that high school and (traditional) college aged students are really tech savvy and will demand the latest bleeding edge stuff. "Boomers, Gen-Xers, and Millennials: Understanding the "New Students," (Oblinger, 2003) seems to be the article a lot of people point to when generalizing about the so-called millenials. The article is interesting, and was an early description of changes in the culture of new college students. The problem I have is that it is often used as evidence to make sweeping generalizations that don't hold true, at least not yet.

My evidence is anecdotal and therefore suspect, of course. Working at an academic library that serves a nontraditional student body as well as a more traditional-age college student body, I can't say I agree that younger students are more comfortable with technology or have shorter attention spans than Gen-X or Boomer students. It's just so individual. Many middle-aged students have been using computers in the workplace for years and transfer their skills pretty easily. At the same time, I have plenty of late-teens/early twenties students admit to feeling overwhelmed and uncomfortable with computers. The way to help students at all levels of experience with college and technology is to assess their needs and abilities and help them at their individual level. The ability to make good analagies and use metaphor to explain the research process and context helps a ton, too.

I guess the point of this rant is that listening to librarians describe young people as if they are all one monolithic group just turns me off. It's essential to keep up with new trends and deliver services that meet the ever-changing needs of our users, but we can't forget that users are a diverse bunch and don't all want or need the same things. Besides, just because some users want MTV-style editing in their entertainment, doesn't mean they want it in a BI session. Okay, rant over.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Quick update

An offer has been tendered and accepted, so if the house passes inspection, we have a deal. My parents are scrambling to find a house to buy. Three bedroom ramblers with nice-sized yards and a family room that aren't giant crapheaps are pretty hard to find We're going to look at a promising place tomorrow, though. I'm sure something will work out. In any case, we're hiring movers. I wasn't looking forward to trying to carrying furniture around in December.

In other news, I have an on-campus interview in the Rockies in early December. I'm just waiting to get the particulars on the flights/hotel and guidelines for the presentation. I've also secured another part-time job for December and January. It's at the university where I currently work. I'll still work in academic services, but not in the library. I don't have all the details yet, but it is learning outcomes and assessment related, and that's one of my research and professional interests. So, things look good.

My new obsession

I'm a big nerd and can't stop configuring my browser. Meredith of Information Wants to be Free recently gave a rundown of new social software applications. Thanks to her, I've been trying them out. My favorite is blummy - The bookmarklet management bookmarklet. I had run out of room in my toolbar for bookmarklets and this solves my problem. Now I'll just keep adding more, of course.

Filed in:

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Blogging librarians map

If you are a librarian who blogs, you can add yourself to a new map called Frappr! It looks like the vast majority of participants are east of the Rockies. Let's PNW this thing (TM SJ, sorta).

Rushing around

It gets old to talk about how busy we all are, but that's what I'm about to do. It's been an especially crazy week, which has kept me away from the blog. My parents put their house on the market a week ago, and the whole thing has kept us all hopping. Between helping keep the place ready to show and wrangling the dogs, I haven't had a lot of time to think. The good news is that there are several offers on the table, so this won't last too much longer. The bad news is that we'll be packing up and moving over Christmas.

They're looking to buy a one-story house, so I will lose my little basement apartment. It doesn't make sense to get a place on my own for the short term while I'm applying for positions out of state, but it will be weird to completely share living space with my parents again. I sure have gotten used to having three rooms to myself and it will be hard to have my furniture and other stuff in storage and move into just a bedroom. Still, I have a good deal on rent and get to keep living with the dogs.

There are several things I'd like to have written about lately. Unfortunately, I think of them at work--which has also been really busy--and then don't have time or am too tired by the time I get home, eat dinner, and finish more housework. I owe my friends more attention than I've been giving them, which feels bad. I definitely need to call my friend Karen, but the evenings keep getting away from me. It sucks to feel like a bad friend.

One piece of good news is that it looks like I've secured my temporary position for winter quarter. I'll be working part-time reference at a local-ish community college. The commute isn't great, but I can do it for a while. So far, I only have one shift lined up for December, but I'll have three days a week starting in January. I'm also on the substitute list at a couple of other C.C.s, so that will do for now. It might be nice to have some time off next month, especially with the impending move and (cross your fingers) possible out of state on-campus interviews for a few university jobs I've already done phone interviews for. I have a bunch of letters for more applications just about ready to go, too. Whew.

I'm about to go half-time at my current position. Of that 20 hours a week, eight are on the reference desk and two to three are unit meetings. I'm working on three different bibliographies, two updates and one new one; a couple of web pages; a short presentation on blogs and RSS, which also needs a webliography; and helping with some collections budget calculations. There are a few more things I'm forgetting right now, like the reports I need to make on the bibs. I know I'll get it all done, but I don't know how. I've tried to avoid committing to more than I can deliver by the end of the month, but the small projects seem to be adding up to more work and time than a couple of bigger things. I'm not complaining--I'll miss doing these things when I'm mostly working reference for a while.

I better get to bed. This is the first time I've opened the laptop in the evening for a while, which is probably why I'm still up after midnight. Cutting down on connecting to the internets and watching television, as well as cutting out most caffiene has helped my insomnia a little. Being bone tired helps me get to bed around 10:00, too.