Full time librarian to short term stay at home mom

books2-400-tweakedThere have been a lot of changes in my life in the past few months. I moved, celebrated the holidays, gave birth to my son and stopped working. That’s a lot of change for this librarian. In order to prepare for maternity leave I wrote a manual for a majority of the things that I do at work for my co-workers to reference while I am away. Thankfully I was able to finish it before I had my son, since he decided to arrive on what was supposed to be my last day at work. It also happened to be his fathers and great uncles birthday. I have to admit he may be the greatest adventure of my life. It’s funny to be typing this with one hand as I hold him, until my awesome boyfriend came to take him to change a possible dirty diaper. So incredibly grateful for all of our friends and family members who have stopped in to check in on us and to help out with even the most mundane chores so I can spend some time with my little man. Yes the mom part of me is starting to take over a lot of my life, in the best possible way.

The librarian in me is still very present. One of my best guy friends is giving me six weeks before I am chomping at the bit to go back to work. Yes I am stubbornly convinced I can prove him wrong. Let’s see shall we? Don’t get me wrong, there are some parts of me that miss going to work everyday and feeling a sense of accomplishment and having adult conversations. On the other hand I am slowly starting to get a routine down with taking care of the little one and balancing a relationship. I can’t wait until I can start to take my little guy to the library.

Random musings

10474682_10152689196677332_4715918815497276825_nRecently a friend of mine made a list of things not to say to a school bus driver.  It got me thinking about all of the things people tell me when they hear what I do for work.It’s funny the preconceived notions people have about certain professions when they hear about what you do for a living. I understand librarians and books go hand in hang to a degree, but I don’t actually get to spend my entire day reading books. A lot of the reading I do on the job is trying to figure out the solution to a technology question or MARC records. Why is it when people hear you are a librarian they automatically think your job involves very little work? Have other librarians encountered this before? Don’t get me wrong I love the work I do and I do like to read books but that is not the whole of my existence. These days I don’t read as much as I would like too and in a few months a lot of the reading I will be doing will involve lots of pictures as I read to my little one. Sometimes I debate about writing up a list of things not to say to your local librarian. Maybe one of these days I will write a list and post it here on the blog. So many thoughts going through my mind these days.

 

Until next time!

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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.

 

 

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

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.

 

How I loose my desk on a daily basis

deskAs many of my friends know from asking me about how my day at work is, I can forget they are not librarians and half the technical jargon I rattle off makes no sense to them. On the other hand when I’m at work it’s so easy to talk with my boss about the differences in MARC records compared to RDA records and electronic book vs. physical book records. Sometimes it can be hard to find a middle ground between two very big aspects of my life. One thing though that everyone in my work life and regular life can agree on is that I frequently loose my desk under stacks of books. I am often in the middle of either entering in new books or changing the sub-location of existing books in the collection in hopes of boosting circulation or to create a new genre section, i.e. graphic novels. Here is an example of how frequently loose my desk. Back to work on Monday to find my desk for five minutes as I move stacks of books from my desk to the work room to cover before going out to the public. New lesson post coming soon!