I want to begin a series of posts detailing the many, many skills and knowledge sets that I have learned since entering the LIS field. I loved getting my degree, and I learned SO MUCH doing it, but the biggest reason that I chose Library Science for my degree is that the job field allows me to keep learning new things every day for pretty much the rest of my life. Before I had a job outside of school, I mistakenly believed this learning would mainly come from researching reference questions for patrons. Oh, how wrong I was…
Think back to the last time you walked into a grocery store, convenience station, bookstore, or any other retail or service location. There were computers at each register, perhaps searching stations for you to look for your own materials, or a touch screen for you to create your own order for submission. Have you ever thought about who maintains those computers, and ensures that they are always working? There never seems to be a person assigned that job, but they are usually fixed pretty quickly. However, in the public library setting, especially smaller libraries without the budget to support full tech staff, this job falls to someone in the library field.
I was hired in my current position as the Adult Services Librarian, with the basic expectation of being responsible for collection development and management, programming, and advertising. However, the very first project I was assigned involved making use of the 20 or so odd computers that were littered around the back room of the main library. Scarily enough, I had never even opened a computer casing before then; I managed to combine the memory from multiple machines and make them usable as public access computers at each of our branches.
From there, I was the project manager ad general IT contact for electricians in three library building moves. I think I made some electricians REALLY nervous when they asked me if they should put the RJ45 ends on the Cat5 cable, and I looked at them with wide, panicked eyes. (As I found out, these are just what the plug ends on ethernet cabling are called. I know how to terminate ethernet cabling now!)
I’ve worked with a team of technology assistants, and learned so much about networking, programming, general computer maintenance, and many other technology elements. I often felt panicked and overworked, but looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing. If I hadn’t said, “Yes!” every time someone asked if I knew how to do something, then I never would have learned the technology skill set that I have today, and it was FUN even when it was terrifying. My job has morphed into a much different position than it was when I first began, and I know that my own learning experiences have heavily shaped this trend. I am glad that by exploiting my own interests in order to learn more about the job, I am able to help predict where both my library and myself will move toward in the future.
So, my advice to you? Always try to keep learning, you will love it and it will only add to your excitement about your profession! Bring emerging technologies to future libraries!
PS – as a bonus, here is my favorite model for tech support:
(image from http://xkcd.com/627/)
I’ve been meaning to post for a few days, but the I haven’t been able to motivate myself lately. My dog, who was not yet 5 years old, died suddenly. We don’t know why, but he was not sick, overweight, or had any chronic health problems, so it was a shock to everyone. He was probably the best, and most gentle dog that I have ever had the privilege of getting to know, and it is going to take me a long, long time to come to terms with his loss.
RIP Thor, you will be missed and loved forever.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice cream.
A tussle with a snowbank last week paired with carrying boxes of wiring three blocks to the library has left me on muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatories.
On the plus side, I haven’t slept this much in forever, and I’ve had some time to laze around and read! I’ve been working my way through “The Passage” by Justin Cronin. It’s very good so far, though I have yet to really latch on to a character. Reading this book is making me realize that I normally go through a story using a character’s point of view, rather than looking at the general plot line going on through the story. So far, I really like it, but it took me a bit to get used to.
Starting out the year with a goal of reading again has been working, albeit more slowly than I had hoped. I’ve managed to make a pretty big pile of books on my bedside table, but I haven’t yet finished one. (I have started several, so maybe I will finish in big groups as well?)
Knitting is on hiatus till I am off muscle relaxants, though I did finish a slouchy beret for my little bro’s girlfriend. No pictures though, I am terrible at photographic evidence of my knittery! Next project to finish will hopefully be my Knitty OpArt blanket, though I have several other projects on my needles that will take less work to finish. The pattern is really cool and makes me think of Coraline or Doctor Who.
I’ve been thinking about New Year’s resolutions. I have never put much credit in them, since everyone I know has set completely unrealistic goals for themselves in areas that they won’t really enjoy anyway, but along with this postaweek thing, I think I will give it a shot.
The past year was a sort of black hole for my reading habits. I didn’t count (or keep up with my Goodreads account), so I have no idea how much I actually read, but I would guess it was less than 20 books. For me, this was atrocious! Reading was always my go-to activity for any time, any place. I signed up for the Goodreads 2011 reading challenge in the hopes that I can get back into my favorite habit, and I listed a goal for 80 books this year. Probably a bit ambitious since I am out of the habit, but hey, it’s good to have goals right?
My other goal for myself is to spend the year actually completing some knitting projects. During the holidays last year I decided to knit all of my gifts for people, and I think I overdosed or something, because I could hardly stand to even look at my needles for months. However, I have a couple of really exciting projects that I am in the middle of, and hopefully this year I can finish a few and work on that overflowing yarn stash I have accumulated. (Maybe part of this goal will even include updating my sad, sad little ravelry account!)
Wish me luck in my goals, and good luck in all of yours!
PS – does anyone know if WordPress will allow widgets for goodreads or anything else on their blogs?
I am signing up for WordPress’s Post a Week 2011.
Today’s post is hopefully going to be the shortest ever, since I have all kinds of ideas for what to write but I am doing this on my dinner break from work!
The new season of Doctor Who has started.
This is exciting news! Or, it should be. However, I am finding myself ever more disappointed in the way the show is written. Granted, Doctor Who has always had its hokey, campy elements, but they were always something to love about it before. So far, I think I like Matt Smith as the new doctor. I am not a fan of Karen Gillian’s Amy Pond character, but I’ll give her a little bit more time to figure out the role before I decide to dislike her for real. But the writing…
Take this last episode, Victory of the Daleks. I can buy the strange unexplained reappearance of the Daleks. The show is hinting at something more to come (hopefully an explanation that makes sense), so I will let it slide (despite the fact that the Daleks are apparently Power Rangers now). However, the solution for beating the Daleks in the episode started out with World War II era planes fighting a space battle. Now, I can accept that a Dalek-created android might have been able to create blueprints to equip planes for space travel. However, I refuse to believe that the planes can be modified in MINUTES (this is not Star Trek, there are no replicators, and even if it were, it is the wrong century…). AND THEN. These newly magicked planes can fly to the Dalek mothership, which is orbiting THE MOON, in minutes, and use their atmosphere-dependent weapons to shoot out the crazy-advanced Dalek weaponry (didn’t they ever watch that episode of Firefly where Jayne had to put his gun in a space suit so he could shoot it in a place with no atmosphere?). AND THEN there was fiery explosions in space, and that is just breaking some cardinal rule of scifi, cause all of us geeks know this is just wrong.
I could probably overlook all of this, if the episode came with the Doctor Who patented emo-character-development. But getting the android to not explode his Dalek Controlled mini black hole chest bomb by talking to him about the girl he has a crush on does not do it for me. Especially when the speech comes from Amy Pond, who I have yet to bond with, and whom all I know is that she is running away from a marriage and made lotsa crazy dolls as a kid and went to counseling.
The Doctor trying to scare off the Daleks with a jammy dodger was nice though. Guess I will stick it out and see if it gets better, after all, most of my favorite episodes were written by Steven Moffat, so I don’t THINK he will destroy one of my favorite shows.