alexiscartwheel: (Default)
At the request of [personal profile] ceitfianna: "Talk to me about what being a librarian means for you and your journey to become one."

(If you'd like to suggest a topic to make me write about, comment on this post. Right now it's all Fi.)


I got my first job at my local public library when I turned 16. (I actually asked the circulation manager about jobs about half a year before that, but 16 is their minimum age.) I worked there as a shelver for the rest of high school and came back for most of my summer breaks during college, but for most of that time I didn't actually know what kind of career I wanted after graduation. At the time, what I really knew was that I didn't want to teach high school, which is what many of my fellow English majors were preparing to do. I think I only took one creative writing class, not because it didn't interest me, but because by college I was pretty convinced I had no realistic chance of success there. At some point it finally occurred to me that I could just keep working at the library, and if I got a Masters, I could do that professionally. I really don't know why it took so long to put that together.

It wasn't all smooth sailing from there, though. I applied to, I think, five different graduate programs. I ended up picking McGill because the university is well-respected, I liked the idea of living in Montreal, and the tuition was super cheap compared to American universities. (I'm a Canadian citizen, so I didn't have to pay international fees.) After a few months, I was feeling pretty disenchanted with the whole thing, so I withdrew, spent a month in Columbus, then moved to Kansas City where a worked in, you guessed it, a library, this time at a community college. I went back to grad school at Maryland in the fall, where I discovered that LIS programs just suck universally, but you have to jump through the hoops in order to get the professional qualification.

Between bogus LIS programs and the terrible job market, I've developed quite a bit of library related cynicism, but that's mostly concerning structural problems, not library-work itself. Because that? I still really enjoy. Almost all my jobs in the past decade plus have been in libraries, almost exclusively in public institutions, and at this point I really balk at the idea of working in the corporate world, presuming they'd even have me. I like providing a service that enriches people's lives, whether that translates as suggesting good books to read or teaching technology
skills.

Obviously right now, I'm open to a lot of things, but I would love to get back into a public library position. My ideal would be either working with teens or working with local history materials. (I took a lot of archives classes and worked in archives digitization for three years before I took the high school job.) Columbus is a smaller city, so there aren't as many openings, but there also aren't two competing grad programs in the city, so hopefully the market won't be as oversaturated as it was in D.C. Fingers crossed, you know.
alexiscartwheel: (reading)
I kind of love this video.

Summer

Jun. 22nd, 2010 10:13 pm
alexiscartwheel: (30 Rock - Liz on the beach)
Why helloooo. I have not, in fact, fallen off a cliff. I have simply been neglecting LJ due to being busy with things. Things being mainly working and hanging out with my boyfriend.

So what's new in the last month, you ask? Well, it's really freaking hot. I still don't have a job. I went to C-bus for a whirlwind weekend, during which my mom introduced me to petfinder.com, leading to many wasted hours looking at cute kittens. I drank some grog with [livejournal.com profile] bookwench31 and [livejournal.com profile] jumperkid and checked out Eastern Market with [livejournal.com profile] sagacious_c.

Right now I'm making blueberry buckle. I can smell it already... it's going to be soooo delicious. :)

This weekend is the big ALA conference. Basically a gajillion librarians will descend on DC. And I'm going for free! (Thank you, work!) The thing is big enough that it takes up the whole convention center, plus a whole bunch of other hotels. The conference program is over 300 pages long. Yeah. It's a little daunting. I really have no idea how I'm going to attack the conference. A few of my fellow grads are planning a strategy session at our fave Burmese restaurant... hopefully I can make myself an awesome schedule. Or at least one that won't leave me absolutely exhausted on Tuesday.
alexiscartwheel: (bsg - roslin)
Summer term started on Monday, so I'm back to school. I'm taking History of the Book, which is awesome so far. The professor told us it's a not a research class, it's a "look at the pretty books and see what they mean class," and that we'd have to try very hard to get a grade lower than A-.

For the next six weeks we're reading about books, playing with books in class, going on field trips to see really old books (next week we're headed to the rare books department at the National Library of Medicine!), and writing about books. Tonight we watched a video teaching us How to Operate a Book (hint: it's easier if the binding is "docile," or if you are wearing an ugly 80s sport coat) before finishing off with a discussion of typography and why comic sans sucks.

I'm also excited because now I have a completely legitimate reason to go to the Library of Congress. We have to compare a modern edition and a pre-1850 edition of the same book, and I want to use something already on my bookshelf. I found a copy of Evelina on campus, but it has icky library bindings, so it's off to LOC for a better one! I can go sit in the reading room and feel super smart. :)

Speaking of books and feeling smart, I've currently got a book check out from the Widener Library at Harvard. If I went there, they probably wouldn't let me in, but I can still borrow their books through ILL. Muahahaha!
alexiscartwheel: (dw - billie on set)
Ah, summer vacation. I love it. Finally, I can do whatever I want, whenever I want, with no guilt. Not that I didn't still have an agenda for my day, it just doesn't involve school things!
  • I went on a bike ride this afternoon, and when I got into town I discovered there's some sort of festival going on this weekend. Now that's fun and all, but it also meant that part of the bike trail was blocked, and the rest was very crowded with families and young children. My last big bike crash was caused by little kids veering left of center on a bike trail, so this was worrisome for me. There was one near miss when a kid swerved out in front of me, but I made it home okay. (And for once, I wasn't totally drained because I actually followed my own advice not to push myself past my limits.)

  • We now have an official chore sheet at home, not that it makes much of a difference. Derelict housemate selected cleaning the bathroom from the list, but apparently his idea of "cleaning" means wiping down the countertop two days after making a mess cutting his hair. I decided I've had enough, so I spent some quality time scrubbing the floor, and basically anything else in sight, with bleach. It was a bit labor intensive, but there really is something satisfying about accomplishing a physical task.

  • I need to stop watching Fringe while I'm eating, cause it grosses me out. Also, in the department of "Eeewwww," I am very lucky that I don't have a particularly sensitive stomach. Yesterday I decided to risk the sour smelling milk cause I was in a hurry and had already poured the Cheerios in the bowl... today I dumped out the rest and it was kinda chunky. Blech. I discovered earlier this week that the temperature in the fridge wasn't low enough, so at least now I know why everything has been going bad.

  • I have time to read again! I went to the library (I had to hurry to get there before they closed for the weekend!) and checked out a stack of books, including a couple recs from friends before we got shooed out by some John Philip Sousa (there's some holiday spirit for ya!). I had my usual reaction of "Hey, I've played this!" And on more than one instrument, no less.

  • There's an article about zambonis in the New York Times! :D
alexiscartwheel: (hp - ginny weasley)
I am finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Today I had my very last class of the semester (yay!), and our final exam was handed out. I was expecting the worst, so I ended up quite pleased. There's only one question, and it's actually interesting. But that best part? Maximum five pages. Those words just about made my day.

Other awesome news: I checked my grade on my special topics project, and thought I failed, which was very WTF, especially since the comments said my paper was well written and made good use of the literature. Turns out she made a typo when she entered the grade, so I didn't fail! Yay!

I spent another night at the City of Fairfax Library. They play music at closing to coerce people to leave, which I thought was a kinda cool strategy. This whole going to the library to work thing seems to be working out all right so far. I'm down to one two-page question on one exam, and two three-page questions for the other. Last Tuesday I wrote more than that in less than ideal conditions, so we'll see what I can do camped out in the library tomorrow.

Also, I am contractually required to point out that Fairfax has the failiest traffic circle I have ever encountered.

What's the point of building a traffic circle at all if half the traffic goes right through the middle? Now they just have two sets of traffic lights instead of one. That's not more efficient, it's just more confusing!
alexiscartwheel: (hp - hermione)
I'm trying to write my digital preservation exam, and I've got Britney Spears' "If U Seek Amy" stuck in my head. It is not helping!

ETA: Also not helpful is the seemingly endless stream of high school students tromping around up here, none of whom seem to understand that you can't have food or drinks in special collections. Why are you having a party in a library conference room? And didn't anybody tell you that cupcake-cakes are ugly?
alexiscartwheel: (hp - hermione)
I've been giving a lot of thought to what I want to do when I grow up when I finally graduate from library school. As usual, I can't seem to make up my mind, but lately I've been leaning back toward my original plan to work in an urban public library. I think this is partly influenced by my academic library seminar, which has reminded me that I don't really want to be a part of the "publish or perish" tenure system or spend my entire life in committee meetings. It's also partly influenced by [livejournal.com profile] kit_the_brave's posts about her library, which remind me how much fun it is working in a public library.

I found myself a hypothetical job! )

Slightly related: I've looked at a lot of other current job postings, and I really think I need to brush up on Spanish. I love Italian but it is not useful/marketable like Spanish is. I'm not sure where to start with that because a) I'm too super busy with my regular classes to take Spanish and b) I'm crap at language learning on my own. Anyone got any tips?

Several of my friends have started library blogs, so I'm wondering if that's something that I should do. There don't seem to be many students here at Maryland who are involved in the "biblioblogosphere," but I hear it's a good way to make connections with other professionals and share new ideas. I just don't know that I have anything all that amazing or original to contribute. *shrug* We'll see about that one.
alexiscartwheel: (hp - hermione)
First off, we have this gem from last week's Washington Post on how today's college students aren't reading the beat poets, and are therefore idiots. Basically. I think it's just yet another round of "kids these days" BS. Today's young adults aren't less involved in radical politics because they like the Twilight books; there are loads of other societal factors effecting that.
What you see at the next revolution is far more likely to be a well-designed Web site than a radical novel or a poem. Not to be a drag, but that's so uncool. For those of us who care about literature and think it still has a lot to offer, it's time to start chanting, "Hell, no! We won't go!"

Well, yes, literature does have plenty to author. But just cause I don't really care for Kerouac doesn't make me dumb. You have your classics, we have ours. Okay?

In better news, the New York Times reports that book sales are up in Europe thanks to the recession. Books make for inexpensive but high quality entertainment. (Even French translations of Twilight. If you couldn't tell, I don't like being judgey about what people read. Even if Twilight is kinda lulzy.)

And in the Guardian, "Librarians are necessarily heroes and warriors - albeit in disguise." I would so love to work at the British Library, even if they have misplaced some of their books. And can I just say that the Guardian has a much better books section than most U.S. papers? (Actually, many U.S. papers are ditching books all together. Sad.)

***

This has nothing to do with books, but the SciFi Channel rebrand? EPIC FAIL. SyFy? Seriously? I like io9's assement: "I mean, it's the same name! Just spelled stupidly!" Do they think people won't notice? For current science fiction fans, it's insulting. And for non-fans, well, what exactly has changed? I like some of the alternate options on io9, like "The Why Isn't Battlestar Galactica On Anymore Channel" or "The Look, Just Fuck Off Geeks, We Don't Want Your Kind Round Here Network."

grrrrr

Feb. 24th, 2009 03:13 pm
alexiscartwheel: (bones - brennan and booth)
"The Schedule of Classes will be available on the web February 23rd."

HEY UNIVERSITY REGISTRAR, YOU PROMISED ME A SCHEDULE! GIMME!

This actually matters a lot, beyond my normal obsession with timetables. (My college roommate and I were kind of insane about drawing up potential schedules.) The course selection for fall will determine (in part) whether I'll graduate in December 2009 or June 2010. That's a whole six months! (Which as we all know is plenty of time to relocate halfway across the country.) Of course, registration isn't for a month, so I've got time to think, and of course money is a factor, but I'm still impatient.

In other news, I was walking out of Gelman Library today and say a girl dressed in a polar bear costume walking out of Starbucks.

Yeah, okay, fine... I'll go back to reading about appraisal now.
alexiscartwheel: (hp - hermione)
Did anyone else catch this morning's NY Times article about the Biblioburro? The Biblioburro is like a bookmobile, only with donkeys. The service is run by Luis Soriano, a teacher in La Gloria, Colombia, who carries books to readers in nearby towns. I don't necessarily agree with the writer that the Biblioburro is "whimsical", because I think that downplays the fact that Soriano is providing an amazing service in an underprivileged area.

Anyway, check it out! I think it wins the coolest library of the day award.
alexiscartwheel: (hp - hermione)
In honor of banned books week, I bring you an anime series about librarians who fight censorship. With machine guns.



Yes, really. I couldn't make this up. )
alexiscartwheel: (narnia - lucy)
*is spammy*

So I got this e-mail from the library this afternoon. My copy of Breaking Dawn came in today, and is now on hold at the library. In Columbus. As of today, I live in Virginia.

*facepalm*

I was hoping it would come in while I was in Columbus, but had pretty much given up. The same thing happened right after I left Kansas: all the books I reserved months before finally came in, all in the same week.

LIBRARIES ARE MY JOB! WHY DO THEY SMITE ME??

Now I will have to put Breaking Dawn on hold again, which means I first must get a new library card (one more for the collection... I think that'll make it six), which requires that I first receive a piece of mail. For once I'll be thankful for my bank statement!
alexiscartwheel: (reading)
(It's funny cause it's true.)

Good reminder that I should probably pack my AACR2, just in case.
alexiscartwheel: (tw - ianto hello?)
This morning at work we were imagining an Extreme Library Makeover and decided to go poking around in one of the (nearly) empty file cabinets behind the circ desk, and we found...

DOS!





It came with two sets of floppy disks, 5.25 inches and 3.5 inches, for the people who have really hi tech systems. Yeah. 1988.

Why do we have this when not one of our computers can load it? I have no idea... It's just further proof that no one there ever gets rid of anything.
alexiscartwheel: (kaylee)
My internet connection at home is very sketchy this week, which causes me much frustration. I am a whiny baby without internet access, especially on days when my short attention span gets the better of me. (There's only so many times I can stand to reread a paragraph about Coronado before I start going crazy!) Hopefully it will come back, or I will have muchas problemas watching Doctor Who on Saturday. And now, five completely unconnected thoughts:

I'm rambling today. )
alexiscartwheel: (sc smart is sexy!)
I meant to post this yesterday, but I forgot. (I was busy falling asleep reading If on a winter's night a traveler.)

The New York Times published an article in yesterday's science section about Belgian librarian Paul Otlet, who envisioned a global network of electric telescopes to connect people all over the world with information. Today we call that the internet. But in 1934, Otlet was trying to classify everything ever published. With index cards. (Which reminds me of my cataloging class in 2007... but that was just a bit of a time warp.)

From the article by Alex Wright:
Although Otlet’s proto-Web relied on a patchwork of analog technologies like index cards and telegraph machines, it nonetheless anticipated the hyperlinked structure of today’s Web. “This was a Steampunk version of hypertext,” said Kevin Kelly, former editor of Wired, who is writing a book about the future of technology.
Wright also likens Otlet's project to the Semantic Web, in the sense that it's quite possibly overcomplicated and doomed.

It all boils down to this: Librarians are smarter than you. We know the future.
alexiscartwheel: (kaylee)
Our library tech genius is in the process of setting the student computers back up. (Maybe, finally, I won't be bombarded each day with the question "What happened to the computers?") She suggested that we needed a radio up here, and though we don't have that, we do have computers! :D

We discovered that all the audio drivers seem to have been removed from my machine, but we were able to turn the volume up on one of the others. So now we can sit here and listen to The Current at the circ desk. Perhaps the noise will drive away the killer shadows that are lurking in the stacks.

I am really, really bored today. And I have only been here for two hours. I'm getting a leeetle bit punchy.

Of course, any morning that starts out with a power outage during your shower is destined for epic failure.
alexiscartwheel: (kaylee)
I did lots of errands this morning: gas, library, pet store, post office, Target... I've been stocking them up so I can make one big loop instead of a bunch of separate trips. It saves gas! I'm quite proud of myself for have lasted on the same tank of gas since May 2. I've started setting my cruise control about 10 mph slower than I'd normal drive on my way home from work, and it seems to have made a difference. :D

And we had Indian food for lunch. I am now completely stuffed on yummy veggie samosas and chicken tikka masala and naan. I also had some aloo zucchini, which was pretty damn tasty, though I'm not sure whether zucchini actually grow in India.

Later, I'm going to upload my pictures from my trip to Columbus, including pictures of my super adorable puppy! Okay, Murray is almost three and over 70 pounds--basically so not a puppy anymore--but I call him that anyway.

And now, a meme courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] tsukara:

1. Leave me a comment saying anything random, like your favorite lyric to your current favorite song. Or your favorite kind of sandwich. Something random. Whatever you like.
2. I respond by asking you five personal questions so I can get to know you better.
3. You WILL update your LJ with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and offer to ask someone else in the post.
5. When others comment asking to be asked, you will ask them five questions.


tsukara's questions and my answers below the cut )

It's hot and humid, and I've got time to kill before I can watch Doctor Who... the pool is calling!
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