A Diploma Arrives

July 26, 2008
My diploma from SCSU
My diploma from SCSU

Look what I found in my front door this morning! I wasn’t expecting this for at least two more months, so I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the envelope. It is a bit funny that this envelope had been in my front door for several days. I remember seeing it several days ago when I got home from work, but kept forgetting to actually open the front door and get it. Fortunately, it survived two days of heavy, heavy downpours. Thank goodness that the mail person had put it in a bag!!

Anyway, I was very excited to actually have the piece of paper in hand. It definitely feels much more official now. Cool!

Library Day in the Life: Friday

July 26, 2008

8:30AM: I am taking today off as a vacation day. I still have so much to do to put things away from the our trip to Seattle. I call in and talk to someone in circulation. The person who works for me is also out today. I check to make sure things are going ok. There are no problems. I tell the person that I am available by cell phone. I also ask her to do the backup of our library system.

There were no incidents during the rest of the day. Yeah!!! ūüôā

Library Day in the Life: Thursday

July 26, 2008

8:45AM: Make it in to work. My sleep cycles may be finally getting back to normal. Read email, get ready for the day.

9:00AM: Started working on our website redesign project. I began entering content into a page built from our new library template in order to figure out how the new page behaves. I will work on this all day when not working on something else.

10:30AM: IT meeting. Although I am not technically part of the IT department, I do go to their weekly meetings. A majority of the work that I do relies upon (and affects) the IT department  Рenough that I need to have an extremely close relationship with the department. We discuss the external DNS entry that I need. Consensus seems to be that this is okto go ahead with. I need to speak to our network administrator later.

12:10PM: Return to the library from the IT meeting. Wade through email and listen to voice mail (which were all telemarketer type calls).

12:30PM: Go to lunch!

1:30PM: Return from lunch. Email waiting from government documents that there are several frozen records in our integrated library system. I free the records and email the requester. She had another record that needed to be freed. I freed this record also.

1:45PM: The acquisitions librarian emailed me that she could not get into her vacation log. The file is kept on a computer in my office. I realize that the computer is off. We had a power outage last night when several thunderstorms went through the area. I turned the computer on and emailed the requester. All seemed to work fine.

2:00PM: Left a message asking the network administrator to give me a call.

2:05PM: Read through performance management goals. I need to set goals for the person who works for me for this coming fiscal year. The goals are due by the end of July. I have started on the goals, but need to do more.

3:10PM: The network administrator calls. We go over what I need done. He will assign the server an external IP address and call our ISP in order to request that the external DNS entry is mapped to the IP address.

4:00PM: Work on adding 15 lists in Word document form to our website for our government document librarian. This task is rather time consuming and I haven’t been able to get to it this week so far. I had added these lists to our website in June, but they got overwritten when the college went live with its new website on June 30th. ARGH!!! I absolutely hate having to redo work, especially when I should have realized that these pages would have been overwritten.

5:00PM: Head home.

Pictures from Seattle

July 23, 2008

The Space Needle

Originally uploaded by ScruffyNerf.

My husband and I bought a new camera on the day that we flew to Seattle. As such, we were definitely a bit picture happy. In all, we (between the two of us) took 1242 pictures over a 7 day span. Wow!! I’m having a very nasty time trying to go through the all to choose the ones that I want printed out. It might take me a month to actually go through them all. But, I will say that this picture of the Space Needle that my husband took is my favorite picture. Very cool!

Library Day in the Life: Wednesday

July 23, 2008

Day 3 of what my daily work life as a systems librarian is like.

8:00AM: Waking up today is easier!

9:00AM: I arrive at work. I get everything settled and read my email. Fortunately, there isn’t much waiting for me.

9:20AM: I get an email from the person that works for me that someone in circulation cannot delete an item record from our library system. She is getting an error message that the item cannot be deleted because it is on reserve. I log into the system and check the item in question. The systems indicates that it is not on reserve. I cannot delete it either. I need to get the vendor to fix the error. The vendor is in California, and I generally try not to call before 10AM EST. I decide to open a call from their tech support website. I generally don’t like to do this because it seems that it takes much longer for them to respond. However, it has been a while, so I decide to try again. I fill out the form and get a confirmation.

10:10AM: While using the washroom in our staff room, I hear the phone ringing. I get a sense that someone might be looking for me, so I hurry to wrap things up and return to my office. There is indeed a message waiting for me. I call the person back. She has an error message when opening Outlook. She also says that her machine is running very slowly. The person in question has an old computer that is ready for replacement. I walk her through the error messages. Her email opens. I ask her to keep me apprised. I explain that I would prefer not to reinstall Office (or even her operating system) because she is in line for a new computer as soon as I can get my hands on one. I make a note to discuss new computers at the weekly IT meeting on Thursday.

10:25AM: I go back to working on web page stuff. I remote desktop to the CMS server in order to copy the relevant XML, XSL and CSS files.

10:30AM: I get a call from another IT tech. He needs to get a data connection to a card swipe on a vending machine in the library hooked up. He doesn’t have his keys to the data closets nor does he have any patch cords. I tell him that I have both and will meet with him when he gets to the library. The new data jack for the vending machine was not patched in, so we took care of that issue.

11:30AM: I go through my email to find the URL for the admin site for one of our ebook databases. Our acquisitions librarian is interested in looking at usage statisics. I find the URL and log in to look at the stats for myself. I am surprised with the usage. I email the information to the acquisitions librarian.

11:55PM: I search for some books on XSLT and Xpath that may help me learn what I need to know to be able to work on coding new templates for the library in the new CMS. I find 4 books on Amazon and email the titles (with ISBNs) to our acquisitions librarian.

12:30PM: Lunch!

1:30PM: Back to work. I go back to working on web page stuff.

3:00PM: I start to work on adding several lists (in Word doc format) onto our website. Our government documents librarian puts the lists of needs and offers on our website. I put these lists up back in June, but am guessing that these lists got overwritten when we made substanative changes to our website to conform to the college’s new look and feel on July 1st. Yuck! I hate having to redo work, especially when I should have known this would happen. I don’t actually finish. There are 15 lists, and it is labor intensive to put these lists up.

3:30PM: The college archivist calls me to ask some questions about budget amounts for technology for a grant that she is writing. I mention to her how grateful I am to the person who works for her for his help with the digital imaging project. I tell her that I nominated him for the employee recognition program. We talk about website issues. I mention that I think we should meet to discuss her website needs. I need to include the archives site with the library site in any plans that I make for development. She agrees that we will talk next week.

3:45PM: Back to work on website stuff. I’m starting to suffer from code coma.

4:00PM: The head of HR sends out an email about a tornado warning that is in effect for our county. I look outside, and it is indeed getting dark and dangerous looking. I continue to work on website stuff, printing out the XML that our new home page template generates. I also print out the new XSL pages that control the page.

4:30PM: The head of HR sends out another email that the tornado warning has expired. We are, however, in the middle of a nasty thunderstorm. I decide that I don’t want to leave work until the storm abates. I work on cleaning off¬†my desk.

4:55PM: While the sky has lightened a bit, it is still pouring buckets out. I decide to leave anyway. I haven’t heard back from the vendor about the call that I opened this morning. I guess calls opened through the website are still given lower priority. If I don’t hear back by mid-afternoon tomorrow, I’m going to have to call. ARGH!

Library Day in the Life: Tuesday

July 23, 2008

Day 2 of what my daily life as a systems librarian is like. Note: times are approximations. I’m recreating much of this.

8:30AM: I’m having trouble waking up this morning. I finally drag myself out of bed.

9:15AM: I arrive at work. I boot up my computers. My main computer does not want to start. This isn’t a good omen. Finally, it boots up after a couple of hard boots. Everything seems fine. First bullet of the day dodged successfully. I begin my day.

9:30AM: I start to go through my email. While I had kept up with email while I was away, there are several things that I need to do, several people to whom I need to respond, etc. I make a list of things that I need to do. Due to the high volume of email, it takes me over an hour to get through everything and start actually doing some work.

10:45AM: I call one of the IT techs. He had emailed me about working out a strategy for recycling equipment. We chat about old equipment that he thought I had in the library. I told him that I believed that our facilities group had already taken the stuff away. He asks me to check for him.

10:50AM: I call one of the IT directors to check on a change management request that I had submitted before I had left for Seattle. I need to get an external DNS entry made in order for the college’s new photo digital library website to be publicly available. While I was away, the business owner of the software emailed the director to ok the change. I needed to follow up. The director would like to discuss the request at the weekly IT meeting.

11:00AM: I call a coworker in the Archives. He agreed to work with a temp who is digitizing art slides while I was away. Everything seems to be going fine. I nominate him for an employee recognition program that we have at our college to thank him for helping.

11:05AM: The college’s trainer calls. She had sent me an email pointing out some typos on a page in the library website and wanted to make sure I wasn’t offended. I wasn’t. I thanked her for pointing them out. After we got off the phone, I fixed the mistakes.

11:15AM: I start thinking about the library’s website. Last week, our web design firm (which redesigned the college’s site) delivered a new template for the library home page. I haven’t had too much time to look over the template and check to make sure everything is working correctly. I log into the CMS to take a look at the XML generated by the template. I need to get a handle on how the navigation of the site is being driven.

11:30AM: A colleague calls asking if I want to go to lunch. I have to think on it. I know I shouldn’t go, but am ready to get out of the library for a bit (the temperature in the library is freezing. I have my balcony door open, but my toes are definitely cold).

11:50AM: I head downstairs to meet two coworkers. We go to Wendys for lunch.

12:20PM: Back at work. I continue mulling over web page issues and problems. I’m getting frustrated because there is way more work to do than I had anticipated. My mom had called while I was out to ask if I wanted to go for a walk. Since we were only gone for a 1/2 hour, I call mom back. She will meet me at the library at 1:00PM.

1:00PM: Mom and I walk for a 1/2 hour. I’m glad that I went because this totally perked me up.

1:30PM: I update a link on our website to one of our electronic resources/databases. We had switched vendors for the product and the URL needed to be updated. I changed it on 5 pages and emailed people in the reference department to ask them to check to see if I had missed any pages. The reference department generally maintains our subject pages and is therefore more familiar with the content.

1:45PM: Back to work on web page stuff. I learned a great deal at the web development training. However, I learned that we can’t really just implement the new template that the website redesign firm provided for us. There is a great deal of back end coding that needs to happen – and it is a great deal ow work. I’m a little worried. I’m not sure this can be done by the start of the fall semester, which is when I had hoped to actually be able to get our content into the new CMS. My boss (the library director) is out this week, so we won’t be able to discuss this until next week. I don’t think that we have a good overall strategy for our web presence. I think that we need one, but also believe this isn’t something that I can do alone. I need input from others. I worry some more about the amount of work required – and the coding needed. While I have had exposure to programming, I am not a programmer. I was worried that I might be lost in the web development training, but fortunately was not. I’m not sure that spending all of my time trying to write code to make the most of the new CMS is the best use of my time. I write some notes because my boss and I will need to discuss this at length.

3:00PM: I call the college’s web editor to discuss last week’s web development training. I need to check with her about my plans for the library website. It is important for me to make sure that I always try to work with the web people. I admit that this has been difficult for me at times, but I think that this is working well right now. It was a good conversation. I promise to keep the web editor (and the web producer who is on vacation) informed about what I am doing with the library’s website in the content management system. I create the foundation of a new folder in the CMS for the library website. I think it makes sense to try and separate the library site from the rest of the college’s site. This way, I can play around with the schemas, stylesheets and XML without impacting others.

4:30PM: I spend some time working on compiling year end statistics and framing out my annual report for the 2007-2008 fiscal year.

5:00PM: Time to go home. I have lots to do – grocery shopping, laundry, etc. Generally, it was a good first day back at work. Nothing much had gone wrong while I was away (YEAH!). I am incredibly tired. I haven’t adjusted to eastern standard time yet.

Library Day in the Life: Monday

July 23, 2008

I was quite intrigued by the idea of the people writing about what their daily life working in a library is like. I think it is a great idea. I have enjoyed reading the posts the others have written, and thought it might be fun to participate. So, here’s my contribution. I hope you enjoy the glimpse of what daily life is like for a systems librarian!

As I mentioned, I was away at web development training in Seattle last week. Given that I did not return home until Monday morning, I took Monday off as a vacation day. Even though I wasn’t at work, I thought I would include what my day was like.

7:10AM: The plane lands in Boston at Logan Airport after a 5 1/2 hour filled with nasty, nasty turbulence. A couple people actually had to use those little bags in the seat pockets. Yuck!!! I have never been so glad to be off a plane in my life. My dad is waiting at the airport to take my husband and I home.

8:15AM: My husband and I arrive home. I eat a chocolate donut before heading to bed. By this point, I have been up for almost 24 hours and am exhausted.

12:15PM: I get up and plop myself in front of my laptop. While I had my pda/phone with me in Seattle, I used it simply to check my work email. I was not online much, and was definitely feeling some online withdrawal. I organize my work email. There are several things waiting for me when I return to work. Fortunately, I had no voice mails waiting. It appeared as if returning to work would not be too painful. I spent much of the afternoon online while also watching all of the tv shows that we had DVR’d while we were away.

5:00P: I spent some time reviewing material from the web development training.

9:00PM: Went to bed

Back From Seattle

July 22, 2008

View from the Warwick Hotel
Originally uploaded by ScruffyNerf.

Today is my first day back to work after having been to web development training in Seattle last week. I’m beyond sluggish this morning as my body tries to adjust to the time difference. I’m hoping that it doesn’t take too long for everything to get back to normal!

Seattle was absolutely gorgeous. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit. I was terribly impressed by the view of the Space Needle from the hotel room (the Warwick Hotel).

Highlights of the trip:

  1. The training was excellent. My head is spinning because I learned that I have way more work to do than I thought in order to get our library web site into the new content management system that the college purchased.
  2. Mount Rainier was my favorite sight. I definitely have a thing for natural phenonema, especially mountains (we only have piddly little hills in the southeastern Massachusetts area). My husband and I took over 1200 pictures on our trip and a good percentage are of Mount Rainier. We were lucky to have had beautiful (and very sunny) weather in Seattle. This meant that Mount Rainier was always visible.
  3. Vancouver, British Columbia was also a beautiful city. However, everything was incredibly expensive. The exchange rate was about 80 American cents to the Canadian dollar (a friend from Vancouver also explained that most retailers lag behind in keeping up with changes in the rate. The actual rate should have been about 93 American cents to the Canadian dollar. That is a HUGE difference. Fortunately, it dawned on my at this point that paying by credit card would be the best move).
  4. I was absolutely horrified by the fact that the family sitting in front of me on the flight to Seattle had a kitten with them. Jet Blue allows pets on board, so the family wasn’t breaking any rules. However, the kitten was in a duffel bag stored under a seat. It meowed for a good portion of the flight. The father would open the bag a bit to try and get the kitten to stop making noise. I will admit to not being an animal person – and that I would prefer not to have had a pet on board even in a proper storage container (although I have no clue what type of container that would be).¬†However, I thought it rather cruel that someone kept a kitten in¬†a duffel bag on a six hour flight. Seriously, this made me incredibly uncomfortable. I had to turn the volume up on the tv hookup in order to try and drown out the noise.

Blogging After School

July 10, 2008

Some people have asked (or commented) about my plans for this blog after finishing school. I will readily admit that my blogging frequency took a dramatic downward turn during the summer of 2007. Initially, I felt the need to cut back on blogging because I was incredibly unhappy in school. I had nothing positive to say and I was in danger of allowing the bad experiences to overshadow my entire school experience. Somewhere deep down, I¬†had lost my ability to give a fair assessment of the reality of graduate school – I and sensed that if I continued to allow myself to¬†give in to¬†bad attitude, it would overshadow my remaining time at SCSU. Overall, I think this was the right move for me to make at the time. Blogging continued to be a lower priority for me, even when my school experiences started to become more positive. Despite this lag, I’m not necessarily ready to give up on it.

To this day, I am still surprised by how much I have come to enjoy blogging. I do not believe that I can’t continue to blog in this venue now that I am done with school – even though library school was the original impetus for this blog. I’ve lost the desire to justify blogging as an activity – to justify a reason for blogging or for not blogging. I think that I will continue to blog about library topics that interest me, when they interest me. I’m pretty sure that I will continue to be interested in many library-related topics for some time. Beyond that, I do have a definite to start writing some wrap up posts about my educational experience in the near future. Overall, I’m playing it by ear. It will be what it will be . . .

Life After School

July 10, 2008

It has now been about 3 months since I finished up my school work and about 2 months since I felt as if I were “officially done” with my MLS program. Honestly, I’ve done very little outside of work (which has been horrendously busy) and am quite happy with this fact. Rest and relaxation is something that I seriously needed – maybe still need since work¬†has been¬†kicking my posterior a bit lately. I’d love to write about the fact that today a total network outage on the college campus where I work was caused¬†by the fact that a patron in the library plugged one data cable into two live network jacks, creating a loop and making my life miserable, but I am desperately trying to forget about this.

Going to school, even part time, while having a full-time job, is not something that I found easy. My job, which can be incredibly stressful, can often require a great deal of my time and energy. Admittedly, I make this worse because I am the type of person who probably gives my job too much of my time and energy. However, given that I actually love my job most of the time and am not in a position where my husband and I can exist on one salary, the job has always had to take precedence over school. I also had to make sure that I made my family life a priority. While my husband was supportive of my decision to return to school, there were many times when I had to sacrifice time for school work in favor of making sure that I had a happy marriage. All of my remaining time went to school. Now that I am finished, it seems to me that I put my life on hold during the last 2 and a half years, giving all of my energies to my job, my home life and school. Now, I am a bit at a loss as to how to settle into a post-school life. I figure it will come, but am in an interesting sort of limbo-y place right now.

As I read through the first part of this post, it sounds a bit depressing. Interestingly, I don’t intend the tone to actually be that way. I almost feel as if I am in the same spot where I was before I decided to return to school – a place where I’ve become rather passive,¬†allowing life to happen around me rather than being an active participant. Personally, I think this is a space that I sometimes need to be in, but don’t believe it is healthy for me to hang out here for too long. I’m taking the fact that I felt the need to write this post as a sign that I’m trying to break myself out of this limbo-y, passive¬†state – that I a ready to take a more active role in my life. Hope springs eternal ūüôā

While I may be done with school, I need to find new avenues of keeping myself interested and engaged in things that matter to me. I need to move beyond the school experience to that which will come next in my life (whatever that may be). I did think that I might be able to rest on my laurels for a bit longer, but know that I need to feel as if I have my life back. Hmm, I hope that isn’t as difficult as it sounds.