Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Cataloguing vs. Cat Stories

I finally got my ass in gear and got my "professional" blog moved over so that it is no longer titled "Hospital Librarian" but rather "Special Librarian". I'll leave out the long winded explanation of using Special over Music, suffice to say that I think I'm pretty damn special (and NO not in that short bus kind of way....although..).

So if you're interested in discussions of MARC coding, convoluted copyright violations and Canadian music reference sources (and who ISN'T?) then please visit me at Special Librarian.

If however you would rather see adorable pictures of my cat and hear me bitch about people that walk too slowly at chinese buffets, than read on my friend.

Procrastination Central

Last night I created a Facebook account. I know what you're thinking - shocking that it's taken me this long given that i'm such a social networking slut. I know, and I have no excuses - other than the fact that I assumed it was a place for students and thus considered myself disqualified.
So last night I signed up at 7:30.
At 7:45 Erin posted a message to my "wall" and welcomed me to Procrastination Central.
At 10:30 I realized what she meant.
Amazing how much of a time-suckage that thing can be. And how gratifiying it is for someone that is completely useless at keeping or making friends in real life to be able to just click a button and *bing* a visual confirmation that I do indeed have peeps in the world.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Molly will be starting his lessons tonight


I really, really want this shirt

and this one too...

Unto us a myspace is born

I am so very proud to announce that the Canadian Music Centre has now launched its very own MySpace! We've moved into a 2.0 world people, so watch out! And already our contacts are filling up with composers, performers and connosseurs alike. I think it'll be a great place to spread the word and share the music. Go check it out.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

March of the Librarians

I can't get enough of this. Poor librarians, like shootin' fish in a barrel.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

the bf pulls through

the valentines flowers finally arrived :)

Who's Got a Pink Nose?

The Clean Gene

when i was a little girl there was one event that always struck a note of terror in my mother - a visit from my grandmother. she was my father's mother and is the redheaded germanic influence in my genetic makeup.
she was notorious for the following reasons:
  • she never took her shoes off in the house - insisting that they were clean
  • she had a terrible habit of sniffing, as if her nose was always running
  • she was the master of all things passive aggressive - stress on the aggressive
  • upon arrival, she would immediately begin cleaning everything in sight - a clear judgment on my mother's housewifing skills.

and now, as i get long in the tooth i see that old germanic influence seeping it's way into my daily life. and lately its been getting worse. the kitchen sink, the shower, my sock drawer, my books...they've all been recently exposed to bleaching, scrubbing, tossing and weeding.

my new office is the latest victim. luckily, being the new girl has given me the ability to weed with a critical eye. this week i've been in the process of cleaning out the four bookcases and huge file drawers that have been crammed with all things library for the last fifteen years.

one day i may regret throwing out that office supplies receipt from 1992, but today i dropped it like it was hot.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Apartment Hunt Continues

I came across this amazing post on Craigslist today, I'd link to it but I'm sure it'll be removed any second now.

2 Bedroom Annex Location. Ground floor of 3 level heritage building. Hardwood through-out. All inclusive, heat and hydro. Must love loud music and all night partying.

Upper suite rented by two sleazy, bleach-blond exotic dancers and lower suite rented by aspiring death-core and called 'Rotted Remnants'. Super heavy riffs and double kick drums.

Some minor wall damage from previous tenants and the toilet backs up from time-to-time but you wont even notice because the tiles in the washroom are new.

There is a strange smell in the kitchen as a preivious tenants cat climbed into the wall and died. No worries though, the thick reefer smell from the Jamaican neighbours will mask it.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Sparkle Storms

Can you tell that I'm enchanted by everything that happens in my office. Two amazing things happened today.

1. the fattest squirrel with a huge beard of snow stopped outside to spy on me. i laughed out loud.

2. a storm of sparkley snow came rapping at the window.

Happy Day Old Balentimes

The best thing about the day after v-day is the discounted candy...and the fact that my bf made it home in time to celebrate :)

The lion, the witch and the wardrobe

Even though I have only been at my new job for four days now I'm already noticing many differences in the work environment.

Little things, like the fact that it's already noon and I've only received one email (I'm sure that will soon change). Or that I spent two hours chatting with my boss this morning and not once did she disrupt our discussion to answer an email, clean her office or make a phone call.

I absolutely love that fresh coffee is constantly brewing in the building - not only is the aroma keeping me alert but I'm also saving a ton of cash. And for the first time in five years I have actual library stacks to wander through!

I have to say though that one of the most noticeable changes for me is the wardrobe. At least four people in the building today are wearing jeans. Yesterday one of the guys here spent all day wearing a toque. Don't get me wrong though, the building definitely has its fashionista's and an artsy kind of style. So I feel myself needing to funk it up a little bit more. More of that "funky librarian" as opposed to "all-business-all-the-time manager".
It's gonna take me some time to ease into that one.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Overheard in the Library

An excellent post from Overheard yesterday. Please sweet Jesus don't let this patron come to my library.

Patron: Ummm, I'm looking for a book.
Librarian: Okay, well, do you know what it's called?
Patron: No.
Librarian: Do you know who wrote it?
Patron: No.
Librarian: Are you just hoping that we have some sort of book?
Patron: Yeah.
Librarian: You know you're in a fuckin' library, right?

-Austin Public Library
Austin, Texas

Monday, February 12, 2007

Still the honeymoon phase

Today was my first day on the job. And I have to say that it was pretty fantastic. It's a bit of a slow start because the directors are at a meeting out west right now, so I'm getting myself familiar with things and setting up my workstation. This morning I went through most of the files in my desk, cleaned out and organized my desk drawers, got my computer set up, listened to a bunch of music and pretty much figured out the lay of the land. I now know where the bathroom is, where to get the coffee, where the library assistants are and the sunniest point of the day in my office.
Tomorrow I'm going to tackle the huge backload of cataloguing in my office and start wrapping my head around what lies ahead.

*sigh* I love this job.

Take a look at my adorable office (facing out towards the library stacks).

Sunday, February 11, 2007

That girl's a running fool

For my bday my bf gave me one of those Nike+ gadgets that connect to my ipod and help to track my training info. I was skeptical at first, mostly because I was hoping he would give me his old Garmen gadget (the one that tracks your course, elevation and speed on a gmap mashup). But after using it only once I was convinced - it is truly a miracle. Sent from God. It speaks to me as a run, tells me how far I've gone and after the half-way point it speaks encouragingly about how close the end point is. Not only is a miracle on the road but it's got one of the prettiest online interfaces! Take a look at this.
This is what it shows me when I come back from a run - my distance, time, average pace, calories burned and a cute little squiggly line that indicates how fast I was running throughout.


This screen tracks my mileage, and if I hover it gives me more specifics on that run:

There's also a feature that brings out the competitor in me. The leaderboard allows you to see who's leading in distance, duration and speed across the world. Looks like I've got a ways to go before I bring down Jannag.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

It's my head on a cake

** to be sung to the tune of "Dick in a Box"
the cake was delicious by the way.

Does this make me sad?

they gave me a new right arm as my going away present :)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

This is the end, my friends

Since the announcement of my impending departure many accolades and sweet words have been tossed in my direction. People speak of the work that I've done here and how much progress I've been able to make blah blah blah. Despite the fact that I think at least half of these people are bullshitting me, it's still a nice thing to hear and believe about yourself.

Today was my last team meeting. And I went in all charged up and ready to inspire and awe with the words of wisdom that I gleaned from the many interesting sessions at OLA. I went in there with the goal of making them see just how powerful the library can be, how intriguing and multi-faceted librarians are, how our patrons can make use of all the technology and tools of the future.

And what did I get?

Yah buts.

I freaking hate "yah buts".
"Yah but our population isn't savvy enough to use that technology"
"Yah but does our librarian really have time to be answering IMs"
"Yah but I don't have time"

Jesus Christ.
The worst part of it all is that I have no time or rebuttals for yah buts. I find myself unable to defend my profession and lacking the words to inspire them to different way of thinking. It's not that I want them all to roll over and blindly follow, but I'd appreciate a little bit of enthusiasm! A little bit of innovation! At least a smidge of "hmmm that sounds interesting"!!

I was left sad, upset and deflated.

My work here is done. The question "do we even need a librarian?" was enough to make my head explode.

Fourteen hours, six meetings, one goodbye lunch, one goodbye tea and approximately 200 emails away from the end.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Moving On Up?

So approximately two months ago a fabulous job was posted on my local university alum site that looked like it was written specifically for me. Like how Hitchcock would write for Tippie or Halston would design for Diana - this organization was clearly trying to lure me. It was a long shot (much like comparing myself with Tippie and Diana) but I went for it anyway. I figured that I was turning 30, I was reaching my five year mark with my current employer and that it was kind of a now or never situation. The kind of moment where the music would swell in the movie and the next scene would be me strutting down the street with all my office possessions in a box (Very 9-5).
I digress.

My very talented new friend Richard helped me to rewrite my resume and then snazzed it up to look like a piece of artwork - I now owe him my soul. Here's a little sample of how pretty the header font was. So pretty, so simple, so lovely, so mac.

And so it was that I applied for this job. I went for a panel interview. I went in for a follow-up chat. And I was offered the position. All within approximately a three week period. I was gobsmacked and clearly accepted the offer.
Since that time it's been a bit of a downward spiral trying to wrap-up all of my projects, let all of my colleagues know of my departure and clean up my state of an office. This is no easy task given that my office houses approximately 10 pairs of shoes; a pharmacy full of drugs and vitamins; a cosmetics counter of moisturizers, glosses, brushes and deodorant; enough snack food to survive a nuclear fallout and books, books and more books. Clearly I'll be renting truck this weekend to pack it all in.
At this point I have approximately 22 hours of work left in this building. There are still 7 large tasks on my to-do list and I have 11 gigs of data to transfer over.
By this time next week, it'll all be worth it :)

Monday, February 05, 2007

January Book Notes

As part of my new and improved Life List I've been trying to lessen the grips that the cable tv execs have on my brain and get through some of the books gathering dust on my bedside table.

In January I read the following:

This book scared the hell of me and I couldn't look away. It was one of those stories that had me up until 2am and got me through a 72 hour cold at the beginning of the year.
Comparitively the movie sucked. Sure Clive Owen could be covered in feces and still hot as stank, but I spent half the movie looking away from the screen and sick to my stomach because of the violence. Maybe I'm too sensitive.

Took me awhile to get in to this one but in the end I really did enjoy it. Usually when I read a book I can instantly picture the characters in my mind. I can understand what motivates them or at least empathize with their lot in life. Not in this case. I still can picture the main character and I was pretty much annoyed by her reactions to the things that happened to her. That being said, Douglas Coupland could rewrite the phone book and I would read it.

After my roommate got a Jane Austen compendium for her bday (and I finished seething with envy) I found this book at the hospital book sale. Given that it was only $2 I thought I'd give it a whirl and that afternoon while I was waiting for updates to load on my computer I started reading it. Forty pages later I got back to work. Not exactly a spectacular work of fiction but I really enjoyed all of the stories. It follows the lives of five women and one men and explains their relationship to Austen and how each story has impacted upon their lives. Would make a good movie.

When I think of economics I remember being an undergrad and hearing all the eco students whine and complain that they were failing their exams which made me even happier about being a music student. So despite my initial thought that this was going to be a dumb math book (sorry BF) I shot through this book like wildfire. Sure, some of the chapters could pass for Psychology Today features but I found them riveting nonetheless. Topics such as how your given name affects your future socioeconomic outlook and why crack dealers still live with their moms. Good times.

The 3-Oh Bday!

Saturday night we celebrated my birthday with a quasi-surprise party! What better way to celebrate than with old/new friends and greasy/sugary food. My mother also graciously provided several photo's from my cute childhood and my not-so-cute adolescence.

With the assistance of Doctor Tim I have nearly 200 photo's from the event which helps to supplement any part of my memory which may have been blacked out.

I only wish that the night could have gone on longer. Alas, the karaoke ran dry and being 30 years old means getting to bed by 4am. Thanks to my Bf and Todie for their excellent party planning skills :)

And to all my friends for showing up and subjecting themselves to my mad karaoke skills. I hope you're all still speaking to me. More pics on Flickr if you're interested.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

OLA Superconference 2007 Day Three

Ugh, another early start. It should be illegal to get up this early on a Saturday. That being said, the morning's plenary was worth the extra latte.

Solutions for a New Generation
Max Valiquette from Youthopia lead this talk and waxed poetically about today's youth culture. Talking about "kids today" makes me want to throw up and slit my wrists (in that order). Don't get me wrong, I find it fascinating to hear about the various forms of technology that kids are throwing themselves at, and the ways and reasons why they are growing up so damn fast and causing adults to hang on to their every word and trend. It's the thought of one day employing these tiny monsters that puts the dread in my soul. Max spoke about their sense of entitlement, expectations of grandeur of lack of respect for all forms of authority. Awesome. He explained that occassionally these tendencies lead to great things. ie Craig Killborn - a young man who was so completely convinced that he could affect child poverty and labour...that he in fact has. He's done far more than any form of government or any agency led by old white guys.
It didn't hurt that Max is totally adorable and the audience was putty in his hands.

Tech Trends
I live for this session. I sit front and centre and madly scribble notes as each of the panel members speak. I've attended this session ever since I was a library student and back then I was so green that I didn't understand a single word coming out of the speakers. Nowadays I'm a tiny bit more savvy and my rabid blog consumption has kept me closer to the trends they were discussing. A brilliant edition to this years blog panel was John Blyberg from the infamous Ann Arbour Library! Mecca itself. Here's my summary from each speaker:

Amanda Etches-Johnson:
1. RSS - recognizable iconography making leaps and bounds in adoption
2. Library web sites - no longer possible to sit back and leave it for one person to work on once a week.
3. Mindful application of social software - be available in spaces that are useful to our users.

John Blyberg:
1. What is success in the age of 2.0?
2. Cooperate!

Michael Stephens:
1. Conversation - people want to talk, use social tools to encourage this!
2. Convergence - old and new media are converging and so are devices
3. Content - librarians have opportunities to facilitate creation of content.
4. Redefining LIS jobs - new positions at Mac and Kingston leading the way
5. Citizen journalism
6. Openness and sharing - open source LIS (Koha)
7. Participation
8. Experience and Play

One of the audience members asked "If we're supposed to be adding these elements what should we be dropping?" John Blyberg had a fabulous response that I'd like to frame or tattoo somewhere visible:
"You are getting paid! Your job is to do these things and learn! There are no more excuses for complacency."
I love it.

We had the standard lunch of chicken and veg and the welcome surprise of carrot cake for dessert. Sean Cullen had a family emergency so our last minute replacement was the chick from Royal Canadian Air Farce. We left when our cake was done.

Another excellent OLA Superconference. I'm always a little sad when it's all done. But now it's time to clean up my conference bag and sort through my goodies.

Friday, February 02, 2007

OLA Superconference 2007 Day Two

The early mornings got the best of us today and we decide to skip the opening plenary for blueberry pancakes at Fran's (memorable start to my 30s :)

A Culture of Perpetual Innovation
On the theme of food my opening session was lead by a VP at Loblaw's. I assumed based on the title and abstract that the focus would be on encouraging and facilitating a culture that supports innovation at all levels of staff. I was hoping for some tips on how to level the management/admin structures and get everyone to share their bright ideas without feeling intimidated. Alas, this was not to be. The focus was on how Loblaw's surveyed the landscape and the schedule they used to pitch new products and ideas. He spoke about the different products launched by President's Choice and the new fabulous Blue Line and demo'd some of their recent marketing endeavors. All of this was fascinating, even though it didn't have alot to do with the library.

Sense of Community in our Changing Landscape
This plenary was lead by Glen Murray, former mayor of Winnipeg. It was fantastic. He spoke about libraries being a major part of the cultural centres of cities and how they encouraged not only the creative culture but also economic growth.
"Culture as a place is dwindling due to the corporate global revolution of blanding, dumbing and taking away from the cultural focus of cities."
"If you plan and map the creative culture of burgeoning centre in advance you will kickstart the economic base of the neighborhood."
The entire talk was riveting and was made even more so when just before concluding Glen recounted the story of being a young, gay man living in an extremely hostile environment. He spoke about not understanding what was happening to him and how he thought being gay was an illness. He went to his local librarian, told her that he was sick and needed a book about his illness. The librarian discreetly took him to the stacks and gave him a well thumbed book that helped him not only to understand the normalcy of his situation but gave him hope for a future that he had not been able to foresee.
I had goosebumps.

Best Practices for Social Software
Michael Stephens lead this talk discussing the social tools that our users are experiencing and the important aspects we needed to know about each of them. He spoke of blogs, RSS, Instant Messaging reference, Wikis and gaming.
*He encouraged librarians to consider giving all real time services a virtual space.
*Be mindful of technolust - remember that we are just talking about tools and not to forget the importance of the users.
*Throw out the culture of perfect. Don't be afraid of comments, typos or making mistakes. It's all about being human and allowing users to see that.
*Get admin buy in , it's priceless. But staff buy in makes it happen.
*Adopt a 2.0 philosophy - communication should flow up and down, not one way.
Michael also showed us his Second Life profile and the characters and spaces that he's visited there. He encourages us all to create a character and try it out - not necessarily to live our lives there but just to understand where our users are going and what they do there.
I love Michael Stephens talks. He's brilliant and isn't afraid to get to the meat of the matter.

The night ended with a conference reception. It was made better by the fact that a fellow attendee gave us four extra drink tickets - we downed them in 20 minutes, ate some springrolls and hit the road.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Time is Nigh

Here I sit...for the next 30 minutes I'll still be able to check the 25-29 box...after that it'll be a lie. That box will be closed.

But I'm alright with that. I'm not going to pull a hissy fit and start moaning about my crows feet and dwindling libido (I've said too much). Instead I'm going to remember back ten years, to when I was 19. And a complete idiot.

I think I've done alot in the last ten years.

I've loved, lost, loved, lost, loved, lost and loved again.
I've travelled like a big girl, all by myself.
I've successfully lived for years below the poverty line (Hello Mr. Gouda).
I've maintained at least two friends that still listen to me whine.

And I've tried to become less of an idiot.

Isn't the trying the most important part?
Here's to another decade of trying my guts out.

OLA Superconference 2007 Day One

An excellent first day at OLA - jam packed from start to finish.
I went to the following sessions:

*some pretty cool examples of new tools being built with the google maps api - including mashing with Flickr to add geographic tags to photo's.
*another cool site that mapped out addresses of places mentioned in books. the example cited was manhattan, it was pretty amazing to see the number of flagpoints.
*for the first time ever i heard about the Grey Album created by DJ Danger Mouse. sounds fantastic and i'm embarrased to be learning about it two years later.

I've looked at life from both sides now:
*dumb name - good presentation
*three sub-twenties led the panel discussing the youngsters view of MySpace, Facebook and some other site.
*the room was packed and the panel looked like it was pretty entertaining
*totally cool idea on OLAs part to include the very audience that we're always trying to figure out
*also thought it was pretty cool that Stephen Abrams son was on the panel - how advantageous to have Super Librarian as your dad.

Plenary: Future of Search
*overall i liked this presentation by Tomi from Yahoo, i thought he had alot of fun toys to show and a few good quotes to prove his points
*HOWEVER i start to feel a bit defensive when the speaker fails to realize how many librarians are already using the toys that he's pitching
ie. "How many of you use delicious for your bookmarks? .... really?.....THAT many?....wow....you guys are great!"
*well, yah. duh.

Digital Collection Management
*fantastic presentation, i was only planning to stay for half but ended up staying and asking questions (that almost never happens)
*shocking to discover the resources that were put into a national image archiving project and then completely dismantled and abandoned three months ago. good work ottawa.
*some really cool projects happening at MUN (which is now apparently just MU, they dropped the N) and at Simon Fraser that make me excited to be embarking upon this whole digital journey.

Most of the day consisted of running into many old friends and colleagues that I only get to see once a year, along with dodging others that I dread seeing once a year. Thankfully the former outweigh the latter. I found myself in the very surreal experience of drinking with my former associate dean at the faculty reunion event. Before this day the most I had ever spoken with this woman was at my exit interview right before graduation. Very, very strange situation. But at least I got a free cosmo and a few chicken wings out of the deal - pure class.

Let's hope that the haze of gin martini's and hardcover books continues into tomorrow...