Friday, June 26, 2009

A Rant about how no one cares about what I say

Tee hee, silly title, right?

It really doesn't have to do with this blog, at least entirely.

I'm just trying to figure out why people decide to participate in certain online conversations and not others, in social media like Facebook and message boards.

I could post a link to the most amazing article that has pertinence to most of my Facebook friends, but it goes unremarked upon and unnoticed beneath all of the infantile and ridiculous quizzes. (Fortunately, I've discovered you can hide quizzes without hiding the friend). Because I really don't care what video game character you are, or what you just did in Mafia Wars.

Yet an acquaintance posts something about a nefarious bodily function, and she gets 10 replies... a genuine conversation.

It isn't unique to Facebook, either. This has always happened to me on various message boards, dating back to the mid-1990s. I've used dozens of screen names, so I don't think people see my name and ignore me...

Maybe I just don't have anything interesting to say? Why do some people's opinions mean more to others, especially in an online environment?

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Hangover/Random Stuff/Father's Day

So we went to see The Hangover yesterday -- my boss graciously watched the boys so we could get out and enjoy some time together. I think this was the first movie that we've attended together since last summer. We saw Dark Knight in Myrtle Beach last July or August. Yikes.

Anyway, it was a funny movie...full of infantile jokes and so on. My following rant has nothing to do with the movie itself, which I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to the sequel in a couple of years.

Shortly before the movie started, a group of giants sat in front of us in the non-stadium theater. I really hate this because the theater had probably 20-30 people and over 100 empty seats and this big goofball HAS to sit in front of me.

So we moved over to some empty seats across the theater, and while we were moving, Lisa noticed one of her former students (a rising 6th grader) and his eight year old brother, accompanied by their mother. The movie hadn't started yet, but we knew it was R-rated and from the trailers knew the content probably wasn't appropriate for children. In fact there were several groups of families with teenagers at this screening. As we watched the movie, I was even embarrassed by some of the content of the movie -- I couldn't imagine what the parents were thinking about some of that stuff. None of them got up and left either, but at least they didn't talk through the movie. I guess that is one consolation.

For being in a supposedly conservative area, where "church" means Southern Baptist and liquor can't be found for purchase between 12:01 am Sunday until 12:01 am Monday, I was shocked to see so many underage kids at this movie. I couldn't imagine my parents taking me to Porky's or Revenge of the Nerds back in the day (although I watched both on Cinemax well before I was 17). Unbelievable, but I guess the upside is that they were with their parents and not alone. If parents want to make that kind of choice, then they are free to do so.

Now some random stuff:

  • My eye is finally getting back to normal. I poked it with a garden stake last Sunday night while weeding the tomato beds. I nicked the cornea and caused "significant" damage to the eyeball. Nothing permanent (to my knowledge), but I was pretty miserable for most of last week. Two sets of eye drops and now down to just a steroid to get the inflammation and light sensitivity alleviated. Almost back to 20/20!
  • I had an enjoyable Father's Day. We went to our new church (more on that later), Owen made me a key holder at school, and both he and Wyatt "signed" my Father's Day card. Capped off with a movie and dinner, it was the perfect day. I can't believe it's been three father's days so far!
  • Work is quiet, even with summer school in session.
  • Our new president, Dr. Robert Wyatt, has been on campus even though he isn't "on the clock" until 1 July. This is an excellent sign, and it goes without saying that everyone on campus is excited about his arrival.
  • My panel session talk at the SCLA Summer workshop was very well regarded. I got a lot of compliments from people in high places. I even pulled out the "What do libraries and bakeries have in common?" joke. Answer: Neither ever has enough dough.
That's it for now.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

What's in a job title?

On Tuesday (June 9), I participated in a panel discussion at the SCLA college libraries summer program in Columbia. The panel discussed emerging roles in academic librarianship, and I was fortunate enough to be selected to discuss the small college perspective alongside two librarians from Clemson University.

Emerging roles was the theme of the workshop, and throughout the day I heard stories and anecdotes from larger school librarians about how much we all have to multi-task. I felt reassured that what we do at Coker in this regard isn't that much different than at other schools.

I feel that job titles in our field are mere starting points or "tips of the iceberg." Some are bound by HR/Personnel restrictions, while others of us can change our titles easily. Coker lies in the middle of these two points. I got to pick the favorite of my two main responsibilities to put first in my job title. I made this change recently (officially), and included it in my e-mail signature. Two days later, after sending out a staff and faculty-wide e-mail, I got a request to help someone with Microsoft Access! I guess "Electronic Resources" means something different for a non-librarian!

Here's an outline of my talk:

· Interviewed for Electronic Resources position (newly created) got the Bibliographic Instruction position, ended up having both jobs!

o Although resources were handled by other librarians, the sheer number (thank you PASCAL and DISCUS!) of new and future resources

· Unique background in a small family owned and operated business (bakery) helped facilitate transition to small college library job

o Multitasking is nothing new for me: I am also a reference librarian, collection development/liaison librarian, systems librarian…utility librarian!

· I view “electronic resources” to cover the broad spectrum of information delivery systems, not just periodical databases and other traditional resources

o Some of my tasks since coming to Coker:

§ Electronic Resources

· Virtual chat using Meebo & Facebook

· Kindle as a cost-effective replacement for subscription to New York Times

· Personal Response System (clickers) as an evaluation and assessment tool

§ Systems

· First major project was preparing to migrate from Voyager to III/Millennium

· EzProxy to provide off-campus access (moving from a homegrown solution)

§ Instruction

· Started a one-credit Intro to research skills course (LIB 101), assist with implementation of Advanced Research Skills Course (LIB 301)

· Assist with fundamental computer and research skills: first generation college students, non-traditional students, and students from “corridor of shame” school systems

§ Outreach

· Marketing the library

· Other roles: graduate school advising

o Graduate school forum

o Small school syndrome: more access to students, we know most of the juniors/seniors on a first name basis, this role has fallen through the cracks

Our discussion was well received, and I personally got several flattering comments. I tried to keep it light with humor -- I even made a horrendous pun about both libraries and bakeries not having enough dough.

Is it peculiar that I was more worried about driving and finding parking than I was about giving the actual panel discussion?

Friday, June 05, 2009

Tough Decisions

Yesterday afternoon was spent making decisions on what print periodicals to keep in our collection. It pains us to cut anything, especially from our very small print periodical section, but with the economic realities of this upcoming budget year, it is a necessary evil.

Our periodicals just don't see a lot of use, unfortunately. We've tried talking them up in courses and in faculty meetings, but these methods have not reaped any significant benefit.

The good news is that most of the periodicals are covered in full-text databases, which students and faculty prefer to digging through bound periodicals and back issues for articles. Our database usage is way up, of course.

We're planning to keep a large amount of popular periodicals for browsing purposes, and we'll end up keeping some journals that are tied to our most popular majors and minors.

We've shifted the subscriptions for the New York Times and Wall Street Journal to the Kindle, and I hope to promote and market the e-reader more next fall.

(Thanks to University of Arkansas at Fort Smith Library for the picture)