Monday, March 30, 2009

Reference Desk LiveBlog 30 March 2009

It's time to LiveBlog. It's been far too long.

Time to go home!

A rush of activity!

I've been working on circulation stats, pulling them from our III server. Since we joined the statewide borrowing network (i.e. shared catalog), pulling circ stats has been a little cumbersome. Instead of listing just our locations, it also lists the locations of each school that we've borrowed books from. Interesting, but difficult to sort out the numbers. Once I got some reasonable numbers, I had to remember how to fix comma separated value text automatically. It finally worked!

I also had a citation question, my first real reference question tonight. It was a good question: how to form an in-text citation in MLA for an online encyclopedia. Essentially, the name of the entry, in quotes, then in parenthesis gets the job done.

About 15 minutes left.

A reference question of sorts, more of a homework help session. I get a lot of these sessions, particularly with older students with difficult assignments. This particular student has a paper due but needed clarification on part of the assignment. Unfortunately, the professor has been missing class so she couldn't get any help there. Enter reference librarian.

Well, I helped someone get a book on reserve. If I was designing this library all over again, I would make the reference desk separate. Most of the questions I do receive are directional or could be handled by a work study student. But it really doesn't bother me. Service is very important, at any level.

The reference desk has that quiet feel to it tonight. It's a shame, because it has been so busy lately.

No reference questions yet. I see a lot of LIB 101 alums in the library, though. Always a good sign.

We couldn't find a barcode for a juvenile board book. Turns out that the last pages were stuck together. Fun times.

5:12 PM
The library is busy, heading into the last month of the school year. It's amazing how fast this school year has passed. It seemed like yesterday I was helping the freshmen move into their dorms!

We are getting ready for our summer projects, so Alexa and I were discussing some possible areas to tackle during our quiet time.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Getting What You Pay For

One of the best things about having a blog that no one reads (or at least comments on the posts), is that I can have the occasional self-indulgent post that is totally irrelevant to almost everything. For instance:

I have always hated buying clothes. It has something to do with being overweight, because I always hated being reminded what sizes I was (especially waist size).

Back when I was single, I would buy nicer quality clothes -- and most of them I still own. For instance, I have two L.L. Bean shirts that I bought during my freshman year in college (1992-1993). Both were fairly expensive (especially the flannel lined canvas shirt), but are in really good shape. A little weathered, but they are just now getting broken in.

Flash forward to some clothes I bought a year or so ago from Old Navy. Half the price and they are already in much worse shape than the L.L. Bean shirts. The button placard (I think that's what it is called, the strip of cloth where the buttons are sewn on) is puckered and frayed and the color is already fading.

My favorite cheap clothing story has to do with Old Navy. After I lost 70 pounds, I had to go out and buy a lot of new clothes. There was one particular type of shirt I liked from ON, and I got a couple of different patterns/colors in the same style. Well, you would think that the identical style shirt (with just different colors) would fit the same, right? Guess again. The two shirts were made in different factories and thus had different quality control and tolerances. Ridiculous. So, I have two identical shirts with different sizes.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

ACRL 2009 Breakdown

I returned from the ACRL National conference in Seattle late Sunday night. I missed a little bit of the conference on Sunday, but I needed to get home and get back to work. Never mind that I came home to two sick kids and a very worn-out wife.

First of all, Seattle is a great city. Clean streets, friendly people, great food...all in all a great place to have a conference. Normally, I tire of the big city after three days or so -- but not with Seattle. Maybe it was because I haven't been out of South Carolina for any lengthy amount of time, but it was definitely somewhere I could live, work, and raise a family. It reminded me a little bit like Asheville, NC but on steroids: progressive thinking, artsy/folksy, and lots of Subarus!

The conference was very informative, to say the least. My brain runneth over with all of the ideas and innovations I would like to try here at Coker.

I was fortunate to win a scholarship to attend the conference. Looking at my professional development budget, I wouldn't have been able to attend without it. Should any of the ACRL people stumble across this blog post, thank you for awarding me the scholarship!

It goes without saying that I had a lot of preconceptions about the conference before I even set down in Seattle. Even though I had read through the conference schedule, I thought that a lot of the discussions might be above my head as a relatively new librarian. Definitely not the case. Also, librarians are all in the same boat regardless of size of school or budget. Our biggest challenges are financial shortcomings, competing with the open Internet, and dealing with faculty and administration (to name a very few).

LibGuides was the hot topic during the conference, with at least six separate discussions spread out through the four days. It felt good that Coker was (slightly) ahead of the curve with our subscription to this great resource. I hope to finish more of the guides when classes wind down later on this spring.
I felt reassured that I could add to the conversation next time around. Although it is difficult to earn a slot as a presenter at the ACRL national conference, I feel that I have the chops to produce something significant enough to share with my colleagues, perhaps as early as 2011 in Philadelphia.