Books & a broken foot!

10356405_692602119053_5680938765810616575_nHey Everyone ~

I’m about halfway through my cataloging class! After this I need only one more class before I get my certification next year. This for me is very exciting. Next Tuesday I will be attending the Vermont Library Association Conference. This is a great way to meet other librarians around the state and pick their brains for new ideas to apply or adapt at the library. Now you are probably wondering about the broken foot… Two weeks ago I thought I had simply sprained my ankle after missing a step getting out of the two truck after my car broke down. While I did sprain my ankle, I also broke a bone in my foot. It’s what is called a dancer’s fracture… I call it annoying. For the next few weeks my foot and part of my leg is encased in a neon pink cast. I want to make sure people can see me walking, right?

Back to the part about books. The cataloging class is interesting. We are looking at different fields which make up a good record each day and writing by hand in those fields. While this may seem like tedious work to look at the records for the same 51 books for a total of five days. it is the idea of repetition will help it to sink in our minds. I have to admit when I was at work the other day, I did look at the records differently. This is a good thing because it means my mind is changing the way I assess what is a good record and what is a so so record.

So for the next few weeks I get to be a super librarian on crutches with a neon pink cast. Think the kids will find it funny?

Until next time.

 

 

Books, RDA, & overall craziness

homePosterBIGHey Everyone

I have not forgotten about the blog, but I do apologize for not posting lately. My life has been extremely crazy lately. I am finishing up the last of the credits (hopefully) that I need for my Vermont Library Certification. To me this is a pretty big deal because it is something I have been working towards for the last three years. My last class (fingers crossed) will be on Friday, May 16th! Outside of work and classes I am also busy planning my sister’s bridal shower and doing a lot of running around for that.

So as you can tell I have a lot on my plate right now. The class I am currently taking is all about basic cataloging. As a cataloger it’s great for me to be able to work with others to learn the new rules of RDA cataloging as opposed to AARC-21 cataloging. The class is a lot of hands on work mixed with lecture. This is great because of the repetition and breaking down the fields a little at a time to have it drilled in my mind what fields correspond with what type of information about the item in front of me that I am going to catalog. A lot of the cataloging that I do on a daily basis is called “copy cataloging” but there are the few rare occasions when I have to do original cataloging. In all honesty I try to avoid doing original cataloging like the plague. (Sorry listening to Dan Brown’s Inferno right now).

When I haven’t been in class, at work, or running around like crazy getting things done for the bridal shower, I have been able to spend a little time with friends. One friend in particular and I have been arguing about the roles of libraries in today’s economy. The reason for our argument is that we stand on different sides about our local library and a bond vote of three million dollars to redesign the current library. Being a librarian I do openly admit to being biased and also I know some of the people who work in the library we are arguing about so that adds additional bias to my side of the argument. I feel that libraries are important institutions in today’s economy because we offer so much more than just books. We provide technology to those who may not have access, programming, databases, technological help, classes, and so much more. We also see people of all ages come through our doors every day. Libraries are changing the way people see us and we are becoming more of a community center and the heart of towns.

Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the fact that my friend feels strongly enough to argue with me about this because it’s not often I get to argue about the importance of libraries to someone who does not work in the field. It’s also great that as one of my best friends he can see something that is important to me and makes a conscious effort to argue and agree with me about the importance of libraries and books.

OK that is enough rambling for today. Until next time!

Insights to this librarians world

ac68b4eb84fddc24159a527aca634e95I apologize to everyone for my lack of blogging lately, I had a serious case of writer’s block and an extreme lack of creativity. This week I attended a Tech Unconference with other librarians from around the state. The very fact that this was an “unconference” and not a normal conference was a great new experience for me. So you may be reading this going what is an “unconference”? It is similar to a conference, the only difference is we were able to vote on the topics we wished to discuss. The part that was great about this is there was not a single person or a panel of people at the front of the room talking to everyone. Instead we gathered around as a group and discussed things we do in our library and how we have tackled problems.         To be able to discuss what is going on in your library and to get inspiration for programs with others, who are not a part of your staff is a great experience.

Here’s a little insight into what it means to be a librarian, we don’t want to reinvent the wheel fifty million times. We LOVE to share ideas with others and share resources with each other. Yesterday I found a great article on Pintrest, another library had shared about things your librarian does that you may not be aware they do. The title of the article is “5 Things That People Don’t Realize Their Librarians Do”. I recommend looking up this article, it explains what it means to be a librarian. I agree with this article in so many ways. People think because I am a part of the younger generation that I intuitively know all about technology. Yes I’m not yet 30, I have another year to go, but that does not mean all of technology is intuitive to me. The only reason I am able to troubleshoot things is because I had a boss who believed in me and said I want you to learn this. Honestly it’s as simple as that.

When I first started college, I thought I wanted to be a teacher and I even took a few education classes. Once I decided that was not for me, I switched my focus to business classes but felt that was not for me either. It wasn’t until I was a junior that I found my niche in English. As I was going through the journey of finding where my interests lie, I had been working in the college library for two years. My Marms will joke the best thing about my college education is that I found a job I can be passionate about. I honestly think it’s because I was surrounded by people who were willing to teach me new skills and allowed me to take charge on projects.

Don’t worry I will get back to writing about different programs I use on a daily basis at work and in my personal life. I will even write a blog post about Pintrest another day.

TTFN!

P.S. How great is that Steampunk Librarian picture?

Why add this, but not that?: Exploring collection development

final-copy-of-pile-of-booksAs much as I would wish some days I had a magic wand to wave that would read all the book reviews out there for me and magically catalog and cover the books for me, alas there is not one. To some it may look like we have an odd way of deciding what books to add or not add to the collection. Insider secret…there is no secret formula and we don’t throw darts at book reviews. What we do often do is listen to our patrons and observe who is currently on the New York Times bestseller lists. That is the real secret, we simply talk to people and look at what books they may have heard reviewed on a local television show or radio show. We also do our best to try to keep our nonfiction collection as up-to-date as possible. Dinosaur books from the 70’s are extremely out of date with the information we have at our fingertips today.Which is why we try to weed out nonfiction more often or look at the copyright date of books before adding them, to make sure we are providing to the best of our ability, the most current information out there.

We are extremely fortunate to have a very generous community who donate books, DVDs, and audio books on a daily basis to either be added to the library collection or to be put towards our annual book sale. By going through donations we often are able to find copies of books we already own but may be in better condition than our own very well loved books. If you recall in the previous post “One way NOT to weed your collection” I talked about how Mother Nature took it upon herself to do a little weeding and redecorating at the the library. The good news is we have gotten the wall all fixed and new flooring in our conference room. We have also been able to slowly begin to replace the books through donations.

We also have a two person concept when it comes to what we decide to add to the library. To explain this concept is we have different staff members who either read a book review or have a book recommended to us, we will write a card out with the Title, Author, ISBN, price, release date, and a few notes as to why we think it would be good to add to the collection. We share these cards with the director who either has written out a card for the same book, always a good thing to have everyone thinking alike, or will further research the title and decide “yes order now” or “let’s hold off on this for the moment”. We take this same approach when it comes to donations. This is a system that we have found works for us as a staff and as a library to provide the best possible service to our community and patrons.

Possibly this has cleared up a few questions you may have had for how we decide what to add or subtract from our library collection.

Until next time, TTFN!wbd-stack-of-books

Inner thoughts of a librarian

prehistoric-googlingSo I was going to write a post about collection development and how we decide what to add to the library collection, until I realized how uninspired I was to talk about it today. So I’ll talk about that another day. My personal life lately has been absolutely crazy, which is possibly why I was feeling a case of writers block. So bear with me as I try to free myself from my creative block.

On Sunday I was driving around with two of my best friends from high school, its been over ten years since we have done anything like this, and we talked about books we read and how we remember the old card catalogs. One friend shared a story with me about some kids on her bus who were talking about something and she overhead one of them say “just Google it”. As I was listening to her tell the story and how she suggested to the kids they go to the library the next day to find a book to answer their question, it made me think of when we were children and our lack of Google and technology at our fingertips. I pondered this throughout the day as we drove around going from shop to shop, using our phones for GPS instead of a physical map. On our way to one store the GPS misdirected us and it struck me to go through my “passport” to see if there was anything for directions or landmarks to help us find our way. Thankfully there was and we were quickly able to locate the shop within a few minutes.

To my amusement, across the street from the store was the local library. Throughout our drive we either saw signs for the local library or drove past the library which greatly amused me. All in all the day was a lot of fun and it was great to spend some time with friends who I do not get to see very often. Lets hope I can overcome my writer’s block soon.

TTFN!

P.S. It might come as a shock to some people but librarians don’t actually live at the library. Try to let others down gently if you choose to share this surprising fact.

Books in series: how to keep track

bookshelfHave you ever picked up a book, started reading it and realized it is the third book in the series? Believe me I have done this several times. Today there are many authors for adults, young adults, and children who create a character(s) and continue to run with them for a number of books. So how do you keep track of what books are in which series and in which specific order do they go in. You could check the most recent title in the series and hope all the books are listed in order in the front of the book or you could keep endless lists of the different series. This can get overwhelming, I know from personal experience.

There are many ways to look up where a book is in a series. There is always the handy use of Google and Wikipedia which you can easily access from anywhere. There are also websites with the books broken down by author and their possibly numerous book series. Yes I am talking about authors like James Patterson, Erin Hunter, Charlaine Harris, Nora Roberts, Janet Evanovich, etc.

One website I use on a daily basis at work is: http://ww2.kdl.org/libcat/whatsnext.asp  This is a great site as it breaks it down by author, series, book title, category, and genre. This is especially great when you are trying to figure out the placement of a kids book such as 39 clues which have several different authors writing for the series. Another website I have found to be helpful with children’s book series is www.kidsbookseries.com You can use Amazon and Goodreads, if you use both sites on a regular basis. I will say if you a series you have enjoyed has ended Amazon and Goodreads are great resources for looking at books which are similar to the one you may have just put down.

One thing I have sslloowwllyy started to do at the library where I work at, is to label the series and placement of a book directly on the spine label and in the record. So far I have gotten positive feedback from other staff members, volunteers, and patrons who appreciate seeing the series and number in a visible spot while perusing the shelves for a new book to read. This is very slow work given the fact I am re-cataloging the books in my free time when I am not processing new library materials, answering the phone, helping patrons, or you know just running up and down the stairs for a wide variety of reasons.

Until next time!

P.S. As I am writing this blog post I am actually sitting at my work computer eating lunch and working on other projects. Multitasking at its best.

 

Google docs and you

GoogleSo if you haven’t yet noticed in my other posts my darling little sister is going to get married in a few short months. Not only do I get to continue to do my job as her older sister, I am also her maid of honor. I am excited and also nervous about taking on this new role in our relationship, don’t get me wrong like most siblings with an age difference we have had our share of fights, but at the end of the day she is my little sister. One of the challenges in this endeavor is we both work full time and we live forty-five minutes apart from each other, so getting together when we are both free is a difficult thing for us. One way we have found around this is to use e-mail, text messages, and Facebook to communicate with each other and other members of the bridal party.

Now you are probably wondering why I am going on about my sister’s wedding when the title of this post is “Google docs and you”. Google has a number of great features which is proving to be a very useful resource for me at the moment in both my professional life and my personal life. In my personal life, I am able to type up to do lists of everything I want to remember and create spreadsheets for all of the different guest lists to see who is going to be able to come or not to different events we have planned for the wedding. The benefit of creating these documents using Google is I can share the documents with other members of the wedding party where ever I am, the reason for this is because the documents are saved in the cloud and are not restricted to a single computer.

Google documents are similar in the layout and shortcuts to to the same ones I use in Microsoft works. Its user friendly and I find it is easier to manage than Open Office. It has the added benefit of not having to purchase and update software for your computer. An additional bonus to using Google docs is you can share documents with others to edit and add. This is great to use with co-workers to collaborate on a project or within an organization. You can easily download an app for your smartphone but there are some limitations of what you can do with the app.

Until next time everyone!

Lesson # 12

P.S. Don’t worry not all of my blog posts will talk about my sister’s upcoming nuptials. This is a very big day for us as a family and she is my Smurfs. Not to mention in the upcoming months I have a lot of birthdays to celebrate in the Spring and Summer months. smurfette-clipart-2