Hello! I have a new job. I’ve had a new job since November. Eventually I will update people about it, my plans, and goals. I also intend to be around here this summer to blog my adventures at the ALA annual and my adventures in learning how to be a good instructional librarian!
I had a rather good summer at TPL. It came to a close with my promotion! While I have been doing the work of a librarian (as my boss has been telling me) I now have the title! And the raise, which is great. I am, however, still looking for another part-time job …or a fulltime one someplace else, as sad as I’d be to leave TPL!
With this new title, I’ve also taken on new collections that I order for. Weeding is on hold right now, due to a lack of staff members. As much as that bums me out, I don’t think I could tackle all my collections on my own right now! Here is the run-down of what I’m now ordering:
· Science Fiction and Fantasy
· Mass Market paperbacks
· Trade paperbacks
· EBOOKS!! (via Overdrive)
I am not overwhelmed, yet. The excitement is carrying me through. Also, all of the non-fiction is ordered through the end of October, saving for patron requests that I approve. Ebooks are ordered (roughly) twice a month. Since TPL is a part of the Midwest Collaborative for Library Services package I am only ordering extra titles, requests, and (thanks to a generous eBook budget) a few other titles. Particularly when it comes to teen related material.
I had fun with displays, which always prove enjoyable to me. I had an incredibly popular (and simple) romance display that I could not keep stocked! I also waged a quiet war against the notion that the genre of romance was a silly one. Psh, not on my watch! I also had several less successful displays; one on history and another with music CDs. While CDs remain a hot item at our library, I have a feeling people just weren’t that interested in what I put up there. I forgive them, I have strange taste in music. The history display, well, it should have been amazing. I think if I had done something more eye catching I could have at least gotten more traffic to it. The premade sign just wasn’t that interesting or visually attractive. Anyway, I’ve got a banned books week display on taps next, I hope it will prove to be more interesting to patrons.
I taught my first classes this summer, as a part of a two week “Job Seeking Skills” class. It was with a class of 16 adult job hunters, who had mid range to beginner computer skills. The courses covered everything from basic Word skills to writing a resume and cover letter. I taught specifically on how to job hunt using the internet. Monster, Indeed, ect, as well as how to create and maintain profiles on company and organization websites. It was a great experience for me, as I had an outline of what I needed to teach, but was allowed to do so as I pleased!
I am also planning my first adult programming! It’s all set up, save for the marketing. I am having a speaker come in and give a demo on how to make your own chocolate candies at home. I anticipate it being popular, as there will be prizes and you get to taste the candy we make!
I did a Blind Date with a Book display in April, it went over really well. I was pleased. The books were wrapped and had a few key words on the cover, to give a sense of the book, without giving too much away. 31 of the 47 books circulating in just over three weeks. The books were marked as “unavailable” in Polaris, so they needed to be checked in before they were checked out, but patrons and circ staff were fine with the slightly added check out time.
People I spoke with generally seemed to enjoy the idea, even if they did not check out a book off the display. Strictly in an observational sense, many people stopped and looked at the display.
Total time spent on the display from set up to take down was about 6 hours, so it was time consuming. Two quick things could make this faster; the first would be to pre-select the books (which I did not do, I just pulled shiny looking books and some of my favorites) and have a page pull them, and the second would be to enlist volunteers to wrap the materials.
For my Advanced Online Searching course, in conjunction with work, I created a pathfinder on self-teaching Microsoft Office. Our classes are currently at hold in my workplace, and this was in part to show our patrons we still care about their computer education. It was successful, and I found that patrons were pleased to have this information about our library services on hand. I hope to set up shorter pathfinders on setting up different social media and email accounts, for an upcoming technology program at work.
You can see the full handout at this link.
The hardest part about this project was simply time involved in formatting. The materials themselves were easy enough to put together.
The biggest project (beside graduating) that I’ve tackled this year was was the revamping of Troy’s Books on the Go book group kits. Of the previous twenty-odd kits, many had gone missing or were no longer circulating. The bags were in disarray, and it was generally an underused collection. When my boss asked me to select some new titles for consideration, it was simply exploratory; I did not expect it to turn out to be such a massive undertaking.
My first steps were to discover what local book clubs, and groups around the country, would be reading the coming year. I gathered my titles and narrowed it down to about 20 items, sending it off to my boss for her perusal. I was surprised when she told me she wasn’t going to make any changes, and even more surprised when I was informed to start ordering them!
Hours of time later, I realized that not all 20 items would be possible to get in an affordable fashion. A decision was made to get things available in paperback only. I made a few substitutions and ended up with 16 titles from the original twenty, with two titles that we would source from copies we already held.
My boss suggested new bags, which I was more than happy to track down, as the small tote bags from past kits were dingy and looking pretty bad. By the end of the day I had sent her a list of options, and within a week or two, we had approval to order them We ended up with these great zipped canvas tote bags that are really going to hold up to a bag of 12 or more books!
The hardest thing about this project was putting everything together. The display needed to be set up with a binder of book summaries and discussion questions, processing needed to happen both in Tech Services, and then more on my end. Barcodes needed to be added to the bags, discussion questions needed to be laminated and added, displays needed setting up. It took at least two shifts for everything to come together. Much to my surprise, 7 of the kits already had holds on them!
For those curious, here is a link to the list of the books/binder cover.
I’m really looking forward to getting feedback on this project from patrons, and I hope these kits will hold up over the next few years.
Citation for the text: Knoer, Susan. The Reference Interview Today. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Libraries Unlimited, 2011.
I felt the need to explain some of the criticism I am leveling at this chapter. First, I’d like to address the issue of “empathy training.” No person without a disability can accurately talk about the issues and troubles a person of that community faces. My experiences will be nothing like what a person who is blind experiences. To appropriate their experiences is problematic, because it leads to a very shallow understanding of the issues at hand and can lead people to underestimate actual challenges and issues people face on a daily basis.
While this kind of training may be well suited for children, to help them understand the need for empathy for those who are different; an adult who will be making policy decisions based on this training, has the potential to harm those they are trying to help.
As I’ve stated in other blog posts, as information professionals,
We need to educate ourselves on our library population, including the aged and disabled. We cannot expect them to be our sole educators, it is not their responsibility. A culture, be it an ethnic or social culture, should not be held responsible for the ignorance of outsiders. They should not suffer due to the ignorance of outsiders. I cannot presume to know what a person with disabilities faces on a daily basis that prevents them from accessing a library or information agency. However, I can speak with those who are disabled, and have.
From, “Reaching Out to Disability Culture.”
Secondly, I take great issue with the suggestion that we lie to our patrons, if they do not speak in a way that we can understand them. This can go for people who speak differently due to a disability, or someone with a heavy accent To blame the background noise, in what is generally a quiet library, is offensive.
A situation like this is more complicated to explain why it is a flawed suggestion. However, I feel that you would be doing the patron a great disservice to lie. Instead, ask them to write it down, or yes, repeat themselves.
As we close on the semester, I’ve focused a lot on education, community, and social justice within my studies of universal access and library services to people who are disabled and older adults. I’ve realized that there are many different things that librarians can do to help these populations, but the biggest one is to educate ourselves.
We must educate without belittling or lessening the experiences that others face in their day to day life. It is important to understand and support, without ever assuming that we truly understand what populations different to us goes through. We must actively work to change the cultural idea of what “normal” is to include a wider range of people than it currently does, in all levels of society.
This means being aware of what micro-aggression is, and how to avoid behaving in similar ways. It means having some idea that books written about people who are disabled may not be accurate representations, and therefore perpetuate painful stereotypes. Educating ourselves also involves and understanding of the resources people have in our communities, and how the library can reach out and harness these resources, to provide a full and engaging experience. While also keeping aware of the fact that sometimes, the services we provide are not accessible. However, our education will help us make these services more open.
When I started this class I was asked to write out a handful of assumptions, an assignment I balked at, because I know assumptions are often unsafe to make. I came up with the following:
1) Disabilities manifest differently for every person. Two people may have the same disability, but it will manifest with its own unique challenges and issues.
2) Aging presents its own set of issues and challenges that cannot always be addressed in a blanket fashion.
3) Being old, or being a person with a disability does not have to affect your quality of life.
4) There is just as much diversity in aging and disabilities as there is in other identities.
All of my assumptions have remained the same throughout the course of this class. If anything, the readings, course material, and other assignments of this class has only served to propel these assumptions into firm truths. I have been made aware of a wider range of issues, challenges through this class than I was before. I am also well on my way to a better understanding of how to counter these issues, and to create a library environment that is welcoming to a wide range of people of varied abilities