What Did I Get For My Birthday????

November 12, 2006

Roughly 250 SPAM comments on my blog. Today was a banner day for SPAM. At one point today, I received 67 new SPAM comments within 45 minutes. I’ve never really been popular before, but today I really got a sense of what I had been missing. A big thank you to SPAMmers everywhere for making my day special.

And yes, today is my birthday – a dubious distinction that I share with none other than Tonya Harding. Fortunately, a wonderful boiled dinner – compliments of Mom – a beautifully decorated card by my niece and nephew and some chocolate were bonuses on top of the onslaught of SPAM.


Cost Finding Exercise

November 12, 2006

The latest assignment for my ILS565-Library Management class was a cost finding exercise. The assignment was to pick one aspect or service that a library provides and determine its actual cost – including both direct costs and indirect costs. I decided to determine the cost of accessing a document via a library’s electronic course reserve management system. The direct costs were fairly straightforward to figure out. I determined the steps involved in putting materials on reserve, the amount of time that each step took and then figured out the cost of labor hours for this. I then calculated the cost for other direct costs including the server, the software, maintenance fees, system’s support, etc. The indirect costs were for more difficult to determine. The professor reminded us to include building costs (heat, hvac, cost of building, etc) and administrative overhead (cost of supervision, etc.). This was where much of the stress came into play. Also, every-time I thought I had determined all of the indirect costs, another one came to mind. However, I prepared early for this assignment, and finished most of it yesterday (This fact was really important because today is my birthday – and I don’t think anyone should have to do homework on their birthday).

Overall, this was a really fascinating assignment. Regardless of how I did, I learned quite a bit. I was really shocked that the major percentage of the cost is from the cost of labor – I think it was about 54% of the total. But even more important, I had fun doing this assignment – which I think was something that I really needed this semester. Learning can be fun, and I was beginning to forget that. I’m actually looking forward to the last couple of weeks of the semester. Yeah!!!!!

Friday Afternoon Fun

November 10, 2006

For Star Wars fans everywhere:

A co-worker found this pattern for a Princess Leia Hat – an accessory that every Star Wars fan should have. I may have to get one for the cold, air-conditioned summers at my place of employement. Now, I just need to find someone who can knit . . .

Blue Screen Of Death Screen Saver

November 9, 2006

Lifehacker’s Download of the Day for November 9th is the BlueScreen Screen Saver from Microsoft TechNet. This could be used to wreak havoc on unsuspecting co-workers (or even family members). Cool!!!!! You just don’t get to see the blue screen of death like you did with Windows NT. I might even miss it a little bit. Ah, the good old days.

The Librarian

November 8, 2006

As a fan of The Librarian: Quest for the Spear, I was very excited to see that there was a sequel. Bob Newhart and Jane Curtin were absolutely hilarious, and I have enjoyed watching them in the movie several times. I definitely plan to check out The Librarian: Return to King Solomon’s Mines when it airs in December.

Words To Work By

November 8, 2006

I’m not a fan of manifestos in general. This is primarily because I’m overly sensitive to words, their connotations and meanings. I generally don’t read something and take it at face value – I have to look for hidden meanings and analyze word choices to discover from where someone is coming. To me, manifestos can often seem like high-minded dictates from people who believe that their way is the “right” way (and only way) of doing things – and try to impose that will on others (I don’t like to be told what to do). Admittedly, this is my own bias – which has little to no relevance to anyone else. I also vehemently oppose statements beginning with always or never – life, to me, is all about compromise and shades of gray. Ultimately, I have to remember to somewhat ignore the word manifesto and concentrate on the message.

Fortunately, I was able to do this with Laura Cohen’s A Librarian 2.0’s Manifesto over at Library 2.0: An Academic’s Perspective. In this post, Laura makes 17 vows relating to Library 2.0. I really like how she worded this piece. All of the vows start with “I will . . .” rather than “You shall . . .” As such, the post is not at all dictatorial. It drew me in and made me think. Even more so, it made me want to jump on the bandwagon. This is the kind of librarian that I want to be.

My favorite vow from the post is “I will enjoy the excitement and fun of positive change and will convey this to colleagues and users.” Let’s face it change is difficult – and seems to be even more difficult within libraries. Yet, some of the new developments in the world of social software and technology are exciting. We can make this process fun if we approach it in the right way – and if we don’t figure out how to make these changes positive for our library colleagues, we may not be able to make them happen.

A big thanks to Laura Cohen’s whose words to work by made me more excited about my profession today!!!!!!

The Wacky World Of Electronic Resources & Library Systems

November 7, 2006

Jonathan Frater discusses the complex world of electronic resources in 10 Things About Electronic Resources That Librarians Need To Know. He writes of the way that librarians think of library systems: “But that lack of knowledge works both ways–there are some things our network just can’t do, or at least, can’t do without enormous additional resources (time, money and staff, but mostly time . . . and money).  Even our library’s director–for whom I have enormous respect as both an administrator and a librarian–sometimes thinks of the system as a magic box that works like any ship’s computer on Star Trek.”  I love this last part. It is true that library staff don’t really understand the systems that are in place in the library – and that this can make it difficult to troubleshoot problems simply from people’s descriptions. This gets frustrating when I’m not at work, but have to actually go into work to determine what the problem is. I personally haven’t found a great way to overcome this particular problem. I don’t think that we spend enough time training our staff on technical issues – and I mean this in a broader sense – it isn’t just a problem in libraries. While it is my job to deal with these things and to help people, librarians should definitely have a certain level of knowledge – and a certain familiarity with – library systems and how they work.