Tuesday, June 21, 2016

ALA Orlando 2016

In 24 hours I will be touching down in Orlando and on my way to attending my first ALA annual conference. I am excited beyond words and a trifle nervous as I have no idea what to expect.

I will be attending as one of the 40 students selected to be a Student-to-Staff participant. I will be representing TWU SLIS and am very proud to have been chosen. In return for my free registration and lodging, I have been assigned to work 4 hours a day as a reporter for CogNotes, the conference newspaper. This assignment is an opportunity of a lifetime to hone my skills as a writer. I will be attending sessions and writing articles about what was said.

In my free time, I plan on attending sessions of my choosing, visiting with my vendors, and eating as much free food as possible. To kick off my trip, I will be visiting Universal Studios on Thursday to see Harry Potter World!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

A Book Sale

One of my responsibilities is running our library online bookstore. I receive all discarded books as well as those donations not entering the collection and then place them in our online bookstore. Each book before it is listed must be graded, researched for pricing and demand, and then uploaded.

We have had a bumper crop of discards and donations this past year and my office is swamped with discards. There were so many carts in my office that I had trouble maneuvering around them. What to do? Have a book sale of course.

Today was the sale and I hauled out to our foyer, six carts loaded on both sides. I priced everything to go at either 25 cents each of 5 for  a $1.00. The sale ends in 15 minutes and I am glad to report that I have had a steady stream of customers browsing and buying all day. It was so successful, I plan on having another sale in October when the students are back on campus.

What do you do with your discards and unwanted donations? Are you under any restrictions as to selling them?

Monday, May 16, 2016

Graduation at Last!

I graduated May 14, 2016, with my MLS from Texas Woman's University. It was both a long and a short two years and I could not have done it without the support of my husband and co-workers.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Shelving Books...chaos or systematic

I was one of the last holdouts against tablets for my reading pleasure. I was a purist. Electronic will never replace the sensation of turning a page or breathing in the musty perfume of old paper! Then, as a student, I found that I could get my textbooks quite a bit cheaper electronically so I became a convert. At first, I told myself I would only use it for classwork readings because true book lovers only read print. However, ever so slowly I began downloading free novels and somehow I now have over 300 titles waiting to be read. Although I have come to enjoy reading my tablet, I still enjoy print books. The two can coexist and I don’t feel like a traitor reading my tablet.
Enough about electronic books, I’m curious about how you shelve your print collection. As everyone knows, except for special libraries, books are usually shelved either by Dewey or LOC. Our academic library obviously uses LOC and I don’t even remember how to shelve Dewey. When I do go to my local public library, I just instinctively know where the fiction I’m interested in is shelved. The books must sense whenI have entered the building and send out gentle subliminal messages, “this way”, “you’ll like me”, and “pick me, pick me.”
But what about your personal library, is it organized in one place or shelved here and there? I’m one of the ones who shelves in what may look like a disorganized method but I know where each and every one of my books is. I keep all my antique collector books on one shelf filed by topic. My religion and theology books are all together on another shelf and have somehow organized themselves by subject matter. The fiction is sprinkled here and there throughout my house but I usually know which room. My husband can lay his hand on any of his Chesterton books and keeps them on another shelf in a different room from the rest of the books. My bedside table holds my precious Austen works and any books I’m currently reading or intend on reading.
What about you? Where do you stash your books and are they organized in an arcane system only discernible to you or are they neatly filed by LOC, subject, or author? Do you have them separated by fiction and non-fiction and never shall the two be intershelved? Do you hoard extra copies in case you can never find that exact edition again or do you have just one well-loved tattered copy?

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Speed Mentoring and Getting More Out of Networking Events - Session Reviews

Hello from Houston! The conference has been great. There are so many sessions to attend and with the little free time I have had, I have been frantically trying to complete one of my last papers due before graduation. I attended both the Speed Mentoring and the Getting More Out of Networking Events as I felt both of those were areas I needed to work on.

Mentoring is such an important part of our profession and we should all do as much as possible to encourage each other to grow and share our knowledge. The Speed Mentoring session was a fun way to get career advice. It worked like speed dating, in that us "mentees" had 8 minutes with each mentor to ask career advice before they rang the bell to move on. Each of the mentors were experienced librarians from public, school, or academic libraries and were all Tall Texans so they had plenty of tips and advice to share. One of the most important idea I came away with was how important it is to create a brain trust. What is a brain trust? It's finding a group of like minded librarians who are doing the same thing you are. Email librarians who work at the same position you do and ask to meet over coffee and then share experiences and tips. Having a support network is very important. What else? Get involved at the district and state level. Volunteering helps to get you noticed, builds your brain trust, and helps to grow your network.

The second session, Getting More Out of Networking Events led by Maureen Sullivan, was also an interactive session. Networking events mean you have to actually talk to people. As an academic librarian, I will be attending faculty events and will always need to be a champion for the library. This may take a lot of us out of our comfort zone and this session gave us tips and practice developing our skills. We learned how to break the ice and also how to gracefully exit the conversation. It's important at these events to not hug the sidelines are just talk to the one person you recognize. Get out and mingle, that's what networking events are. So how to break the ice? Talk about what book they are reading or what was their favorite childhood book. Pets are always a safe topic. Most everyone likes animals and talking about pets is a great icebreaker. What do you do if they say they're allergic? Commiserate and ask if they have ever had an aquarium. What do you like to do in your spare time? You get the picture, don't you? After we discussed these ice breaking strategies, we were given a handout and had to practice what we learned. Maureen knew we were all apprehensive but said we had 15 minutes to meet 8 new people, get their names and contact information, and learn something about them before moving on. When she said time's up, to our surprise 30 minutes had passed and we all were talking and moving without any problem. Surprisingly, I found I had a lot more in common than I thought. I found people who had lived in my home state, liked bassets (who doesn't), and loved baseball. It wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be. If this is something you feel is out of your comfort zone, try it out at your next gathering and I think you too will be surprised at how easy it actually is to talk to strangers.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

#TXLA16 Hello from Houston

In case you haven't heard, Houston has received a record amount of rain and is flooding. I drove down to Houston yesterday for the Texas Library Association Annual Conference and about 8 miles from the downtown exit I needed off I-45, I ran into a "Houston we have a problem" problem that my GPS said was an obstruction hazard.

The floodwaters had swept over the highway leaving tons of debris and the water had reduced our four lanes to one. You can imagine the mess. While sitting in line I had time to snap these pictures of the access road across from us. Eventually we made it through but when we reached our exit just a few miles farther down, the highway was closed due to flooding and everyone was being forced off. Rosie (you name your GPS, don't you?) worked hard but managed to find a new route through some rough looking neighborhoods and then PRESTO, we were in downtown and at our hotel.

Today it is sunshine but more rain and flooding is expected later this afternoon. TXLA16 is still happening, you can't keep a (future...almost) librarian down!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

All Things Irish

Ahhh St. Patrick’s Day, one of my favorite holidays. Today most of the world is Irish, at least for the day, and it’s a perfect time to introduce Ireland and Irish writers to our patrons. Ireland has produced some of the greatest writers in literature, including renowned authors and poets James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, W.B. Yeats, and Seamus Heaney. Some of the authors you may not have known were Irish are Jonathan Swift and Bram Stoker. While they all have varying and different styles, each has written about society, culture, and family relationships. What are some of your favorite Irish authors? Here’s a few of mine.
1.     W.B. Yeats
2.   Seamus Heaney
3.   C.S. Lewis “Narnia series
4.   Tan French “In the Woods
5.   Frank McCourt “Angela’s Ashes
6.   John McGahern “Amongst Women
7.   Eoin Colfer “Artemis Fowl
8.   Joseph O’Connor “Star of the Sea
9.   Thomas Flanagan “The Year of the French
10.  John Boyne “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

 The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap
Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge
Through living roots awaken in my head.
But I've no spade to follow men like them.
Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I'll dig with it.
- Seamus Heaney

Friday, March 11, 2016

What's in Your Book?

      You never know what you will find in library books or books donated to the library. As the acquisitions supervisor, I receive all the books donated to our library or those that are being weeded from the collection. In discarded library books I usually only find mundane items such as bookmarks are slips of paper, however, the fun begins with donated books.

      I have found dried pressed flowers, shamrocks, prayer cards, napkins, notes, postcards, receipts, and much more. The above photo is just a sampling from one side of the book truck. My favorite is the letter that came in a returned book. Apparently the book was checked out decades ago as an undergraduate and found during a move. They politely mailed it back with a nice apologetic note. 

      What do I do with these accumulated treasures? I toss everything in a large envelope, except insects and dirty Kleenex, and someday will make a bulletin display of found items. Recognize this? Is it yours? Come and get it. I’ve heard that others have found slices of bacon in returned books. Really, what a waste of bacon! I mean what on earth happened that you grabbed the last slice and used it as a bookmark? What unusual items have you found?