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MARCH 31, 2010
Who me a Librarian? Why not?
The title of this blog was a campaign used by the Connecticut Library Association several years ago. It appeared right around the time that I, myself, was undergoing a career change and entering Libraryland. The last two blogs of my wonderful colleagues have reminded me of this. So I have decided its only fitting that today’s ramblings continue on this path.
Personally, librarianship was the LAST thing I ever thought I’d do. Sure, I went to the public library as a kid. I stopped like most, when around age 9 or 10 it became ‘un-cool.’ Not that I stopped reading, but the weekly visits ceased. In high school, our town’s public library and school library were one and the same. So, my return to the public library was rather a by product of getting out of study halls. (As an aside: a public apology to my librarian of those by gone days: we had no idea what havoc we were creating for you.) Of course, I used my college libraries, but I must shamefully admit that in my conception, libraries were places to get a good nap, more than they held use value.
Graduate school did start to change that perception, if not about libraries, at least about librarians. As many of you know, for years before becoming a librarian I held an academic career: teaching, research, and publishing. Librarians found materials, held materials until one could come get them, and then found more materials. They were the best research assistants in the world. Plus, they always seemed as pleased as I was when something was useful and never as upset and disappointed when they had gone through the trouble of getting something that wasn’t.
Still, my world was research methods, crime, deviance, social complexities… not libraries. When for a large number of reasons I started to think I needed a career change, libraries were not front and center. I started looking at jobs that focused on statistical analysis and research; things I knew. Things I was good at and things I thought were marketable. When I considered going back to school, it was going to be for computer programming, my “hobby.” Though ironically my partner had worked in libraries for over 10 years at that point, libraries were not even on the radar.
So how did I get here?
Well… it began with a book (sadly not from the library), then more books. You know the types – the ones that have you list what you like, where your skills are, what kind of work you would be good at, etc. etc. It pointed to libraries. Libraries?
“You mean that’s actually a job? People pay you to DO that?” I remember questioning my partner who not infrequently wondered what rock I had been living under to have missed this. But wanting to make a good choice and being a researcher, I investigated.
So, when I entered graduate school (again) for Library Science, it wasn’t because I’d loved libraries all my life or because I recognized the importance of the library’s role in the community. It was because libraries offered me the chance to do the kinds of work I liked and was good at doing.
Over time I learned a lot. When I started, I had no idea how different types of libraries were, how unique each location was, and I certainly had no clue what or how much was involved in any type of library work. A giant, complex, almost secret world opened up for me.
I don’t know that I have learned to love libraries. I think most, in fact would say I do not.
I do love my job, the kind of work I do (both that which I had anticipated and that which came as a surprise) and the people I work with – but love the library?
As a new librarian, I was at a conference and heard noted author Esmeralda Santiago speak. As part of her address she said that the Public Library saved her life. It gave her a safe place to be and a direction for her skills to take. I thought, “wow, if I want to make a difference in the world – that’s the place to be.’ And though all the world thought that given my background I should work in an academic library, I’ve insisted on the public sector.
Over time, I’ve not only heard Ms. Santiago’s sentiments repeated by others, but I’ve seen it. I’ve seen it in small ways with a smile and unspoken company and I’ve seen it in large ways as people found life changing information. I’ve seen librarians offer assistance from threading a needle to facing down threatening and abusive people.
I admire the Public Library. It is the embodiment of the community. I may not love libraries, but I respect libraries and all who run and work in them. I’m proud to be a librarian.
Who me a librarian? You bet.
MARCH 28, 2010
Why are Libraries Essential?
While scrolling through the many blogs I read each week, this question put forth by Kathy Dempsey caught my eye...Why are Libraries Essential? Kathy is a strong believer that there are many reasons why, so much so that she has written a book and maintains a section of her blog to record the answer.
This past week Kathy attended the Public Library Association Conference where she heard an interview with PLA President Sari Feldman with KATU-2 Television.. Kathy believes Sari could have given a better answer to the the question of why we need libraries in this computer age. In our town I recently heard a similar statement. "We don't need libraries anymore. You can find everything on the Internet".
After my family, libraries are as important to me as the very air I breathe. I have always been a library user or so it seems. I cannot imagine my world without one nearby. Still, this does not really answer either question posed in the opening paragraphs of this blog.
A couple of my quick thoughts. The Internet is not free. Everyone does not have access to the Internet. Not everything you find on the Internet is true. Libraries are not entirely free either but considering the value, the cost is affordable. Our library is open fifty-one hours a week to anyone who wants to walk through our doors. We do not discriminate and loan our materials to all who visit us. Libraries have always provided more than books. Today we loan books, dvd's, audio books, music, magazines, newspapers and provide programming and social activities for our whole community. We provide reference materials and research help for students and adults alike. We provide Internet access to all and help people find reputable resources to fit their needs and answer their questions. I feel our library is a basic, vital service to our community.
As a child libraries were essential to me. Without a library I would have had a hard time graduating from school. My library provided books that my family could not afford. The books sparked my imagination and took me to places I could never have gone. Library time was special because it was the place that dad took me when we couldn't afford to go anywhere else. It was our entertainment as well as the place to learn. It was the place I met my friends after school. It was a safe place and I felt its warmth. Libraries were and are my encyclopedia; opening the door opens the world.
I hope you will think about what makes libraries important to you. Post your thoughts here and share them with Kathy through her site.
MARCH 22, 2010
Am I in Reality?
I’ve never considered myself a fan of the myriad of programs known as Reality TV. Survivor, Dancing with the Stars, Fear Factor, The Apprentice, Project Runway, and even the ever popular American Idol, leave me cold. It’s beyond me why some tv stations are actually devoted entirely to reality show. So how come I'm hooked on a hokey program recently being aired by ABC called Undercover Boss? Like many other American viewers, Sunday evenings find me glued to the next installment of this somewhat sappy look at CEO's of Corporate America who go undercover to see what's it's like to work and get paid like the little people in their companies. I love the concept. Imagine CEO's packing boxes, loading trucks, making the donuts, doing what it takes to do the job. The stories the bosses hear from real employees in this docudrama are heartwarming and personal and yes, bring a tear to my eyes at times. Most CEO’s are impressed by the dedication shown by their hard working employees and for me, this is what makes the show. Michael Rubin, CEO of billion dollar e-commerce giant, GSI, got more than he bargained for when he was actually fired for not being able to perform the job that many in his company do on a daily basis. Episodes either already aired or planned include Waste Management (Larry O'Donnell, President and C.O.O.), 7-Eleven (Joseph M. DePinto, President and C.E.O.), Hooters (Coby G. Brooks, President and C.E.O.), White Castle (Dave Rife, Owner/Executive Board Member) and Churchill Downs (William C. Carstanjen, C.O.O.).
Even CEO's who are not featured on Undercover Boss can learn a thing or two by getting down and dirty with their employees. Push those chairs back, get out from behind their desks, and walk in your employees shoes. Somehow though, I doubt many CEO's are home Sunday nights watching Undercover Boss. Too bad! It could be an eye opener.
If you’re in the market for a new job the library has lots of resources to help with your search. Books on resumes, interviews, changing careers, etc. can all be found on our shelves. Online help is just a click away at JobNow, live job assistance for Connecticut residents. Click on the link above or visit our home page at www.columbiactlibrary.org
Here are just a couple of books you’ll find on our shelves…
I want to do something else but I'm not sure what it is/ Ron and Caryl Krannich.
The 2009 what color is your parachute?: a practical manual for job-hunters and career-changers / by Richard Nelson Bolles.
Jobs People DoChristopher Maynard
and for inspiration, here’s a couple about real people in real jobs:
Norma Rae DVD
Emily ever after/ Anne Dayton
The Devil wears Prada/ Lauren Weisberger.
The Dead End Job Mysteries by Elaine Viets
MARCH 19, 2010
The great outdoors...
Anyone who follows this blog knows that I’m the proud owner of a badly-behaved monster of a dog named Frank. Well, Frank turned 2 years old in February, and his behavior has definitely improved with age. However, to maintain good behavior and to keep him calm, he requires exercise …every single day.
On freezing winter mornings I am less than thrilled to have to get up early, put on 50 layers of clothing, and take Frank out to drag me around the neighborhood. In spite of this I still think that one of the best things about being a dog owner is that it forces me to go outside, everyday, and walk. Over the past two years I have discovered forests, parks, and trails around Connecticut, that I probably would have never visited if it wasn’t for Frank.
I got to thinking about all the great places to hike in CT because tomorrow is the first day of spring! AND it’s going to be sunny with temps in the low 70’s, so I will most definitely be out and about with Frank by my side. Some of my favorite places are:
Wickaham Park: http://www.wickhampark.org/
Gay City: http://www.friendsctstateparks.org/parks/gay_city.htm
Devils Hopyard: http://www.stateparks.com/devils_hopyard.html
Air Line Rail Trail: http://pages.cthome.net/mbartel/ARRhome.htm
Case Mountian: http://recreation.townofmanchester.org/CaseMountain.cfm
If you are also planning on taking advantage of the beautiful weather stop by to check out one of our Connecticut Trail Books:
Let me know your favorite CT parks and trails!
MARCH 18, 2010
What Irish Eyes Are Reading
A day late but in honor of St. Patrick's Day and all that's Irish here's some good Irish reading...
St. Patrick's Day Murder by Leslie Meier
Dead Irish by John Lescroart
Bold Sons of Erin by Owen Parry
The Mammy by Brendan O'Carroll
The Molly Murphy Mysteries by Rhys Bowen
and one of my personal favorites
Haunted Ground by Erin Hart
Irish Authors Writing
George Bernard Shaw
to name just a few!
Do you have a favorite book taking place in Ireland or a favorite Irish Author? Let's us know.
MARCH 15, 2010
The Cup that Traveled the East Coast
We were off on vacation, heading south, trying to catch some warm weather, which we never happened, but that's another story. If you've ever traveled with my husband you know you've got to build in time for what he calls pit stops but are really coffee stops. Normally the first stop would be somewhere after The George Washington Bridge, at one of the highway rest stops but having gotten a late start (hey, I'm on vacation) and being a work day, we ran into our first hiccup in traffic somewhere well before New York. Waiting for the rest stop was not an option. We pulled off in New Rochelle and pulled in at one of the national fast food chains that offers senior coffee. Two cups to go and we were once more on our way. I honestly can't remember the next stop but several hours later our car was parked in another of said chain's parking lots. Not wanting to be wasteful I brought the first cup in. Before I could even ask for another cup, the cheery clerk grabbed the cup and said "refill?". She filled my cup, no charge. Well, this was something new to me. I had never gotten a free refill before. The thought of a free refill intrigued me and believe it or not gave me such a chuckle that a plan was born. Our eventual destination was Florida, with Charleston as a layover. Could I make it all the way to Charleston on one cup and free refills? Well, not only did we make it to Charleston, we made it all the way down the east coast, through central Florida, along the panhandle, up into Georgia, and on to Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and then home, over 3000 miles. All on that original cup! We had 2 to 3 cups of coffee a day and not one employee in any of the restaurants blinked an eye. Filled the cup up to the brim and sent us on our way; thank you, you're welcome!
Alright, before you call us cheap; I prefer the word frugal, we did buy a few cups of coffee at varying places along the way. But we didn't have too. Up until we tried to get that last refill right here in Willimantic. The girl at the register gave us a dubious look when we handed her the cups and said "Two refills please". "Where'd you get these cups", she said, and then without missing a beat, "these aren't ours, that'll be $1.67!" The founder of The Hole in the Wall Gang did us in...
I'm a big fan of Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel and thoroughly enjoy the column 20 Tips. Over the years I've gained some sage advise from intrepid travelers by reading this column. Some of the tips are down right funny but others are right on. You can find Budget Travel on our magazine shelves along with National Geographic Traveler and International Travel News. These three publications should give any would be traveler a head start on that next destination.
MARCH 12, 2010
Captain Underpants = LAFFS!
If you happened to be in the library last night you may have been a little distracted by the sounds of whoopee cushions filling the air. Or by the flying underwear….
Last night we had a Captain Underpants Party, based on the popular series by Dave Pilkey. First kids used the Professor Poopypants Name Change-o-Chart 2000 to find out their new name. My new name was Pinky Toadbrains, but my personal favorite name from last night was Buttercup Pizzabuns. Now, I know you’re going to want to try it too, so here is the link to the online game:
Kid could also play the Underpants Toss game, Pin the Underpants on Captain Underpants, make a Captain Underpants paper airplane (link below), and make Super Villain Masks.
Here are some pictures from the party:
Anyways, everyone seemed to be having fun playing the games, AND using their newly won whoopee cushions to showcase (and I quote) their “fart power.”
For some more gross-out reading try:
MARCH 10, 2010
If Sam, I am had a computer....
For those who may have thought they’ve seen it all, I offer the following web site:
Is this considered medium or small? Large or extra large?
Well, wonder no more… Courtesy of what was likely some very bored programmers at the wacky world of POKE. There is now a web site, where you can size your egg, chose your parameters and not only find out exactly how long to keep your egg in the hot tub, but watch a timer tick down. Almost as egg-citing as watching water boil!
MARCH 3, 2010
You've Come Along Way, Baby
March is women’s history month. I know most people know this and I have to admit, women have come a long way. Still, I am some times struck when I hear things about the past and though 20, 30, 40 or even 50 years ago and yet how close and recent it can feel.
Is this a sign of getting old?
Listening to a book the other day, an off hand reference was made that in the early 1970’s a female attorney would need written permission from her husband to take place in a homicide case and banks required doctor certified sterilization papers before giving a woman a mortgage. I was momentarily stunned. I had no idea of this at the time.
While on the one hand, that was a long forty years ago, and times have certainly changed. On the other hand, this was in my life time! The thought was sobering.
So in the spirit of women’s history month, I ask these questions of you. The answers may surprise you:
Who said “failure is impossible?”
Come in and well tell you the answers!