Friday, December 18, 2009

What Exactly Do I Want from Social Networks?

I just finished reading Julie Powell's book, Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Some of my favorite lines were not about her cooking project itself but about Powell's experience as a new blogger. Her remarks included such gems as:
  • "Oh, and I also know that when you've gotten a night of sleep, no matter how tear-stained, and then some bolstering from people who love you - or 'love' you, or whatever - even if they're people you've never met, sometimes the end of the world doesn't seem like that anymore. Like the end, I mean."
  • "It is a comfort to have friends, maybe especially friends you will never meet."
  • "I don't mean this to be arrogance; in fact, I don't think it has a whole lot to do with me one way or the other. I think what it means is, people want to care about people. People look after one another, given the chance."
  • "And I figure, maybe just believing in goodness generates a tiny bit of the stuff, so that by being so foolish as to believe in our better natures, if just for a day, we actually contribute to the sum total of generosity in the universe."
Compare these thoughts to what Robert Scoble recently had to say about social site FriendFeed. He linked to a search for posts with five or more comments, followed by, "Just for anyone who is looking for a conversation. Me? I'm looking to get smarter. I wish there were a filter for smart conversations because most of these are, while entertaining, not making me smarter about anything."

He went on to say:
  • "...finding good conversations is very difficult. Most of the conversations on FriendFeed are pablum, sorry."
  • "I don't want to talk about everything in the world that's happening to everyone. Maybe you want to talk about Tiger Woods and his problems or how someone smashed their fingers, but I don't. I'm looking for something smarter."
  • " If you read that [world news from Twitter feeds] it's more focused and makes you smarter. Here? I don't find I'm getting smarter. I find I'm spending time having fun, maybe, but not getting smarter."
  • "I read books too (even have a Kindle so I can buy most anybook and read it immediately), but they make me smart about something that happened 12 months ago (or longer)."
  • "...the thing is the traffic here has NOT been going up and I'm trying to communicate why. Most people look at FriendFeed and don't see the conversations. Then, if they do find the conversations they see a bunch of noise. FriendFeed is fun for my brother, but not for people like me who are looking for something more specific."
  • "I tried for 18 months to get everyone to use FriendFeed. I failed and will continue to do so because most people don't want to have conversations with people they don't know. That's the secret sauce on Facebook. You know everyone you talk with (mostly)."
Well, Superstarchivist? What do you want from your social networking sites? Do you want to get smarter? Do you want a community of people who care about each other? Do you want something entirely different?

I decided to see what the Oxford English Dictionary had to say about the adjective "social." Various meanings were listed, including:
  • "Of a group of people, an organization, etc.: consisting or composed of people associated together for friendly interaction or companionship."
  • "Marked or characterized by friendliness, geniality, or companionship with others; enjoyed, taken, carried out, etc., in the company of others."
  • "Of a human being: living or disposed to live in groups or communities; naturally inclined to be in the company of others. Also of a person's nature: characterized by a need to live in groups or communities."
  • "Of an animal: living or tending to live in communities of individuals of the same species which cooperate with one another to their mutual or collective benefit; of or relating to such animals; esp. designating insects (such as ants and bees) or other animals which live in highly organized associations, often with adaptation of individuals to distinct roles or activities."
  • "Of an activity or policy: carried out to improve the condition of society or for the benefit of society as a whole."
I use different social sites in different ways. I don't find and follow "new" people on Facebook. If we connect there, it's because we've already "met" online or in person. I have found new people through Twitter, but I really don't use it all that often anymore. Most of my social interaction occurs through FriendFeed or the Library Society of the World chatroom. I've made new friends through seeing others' comments and likes in FriendFeed, and I've had the pleasure of meeting some of them in person.

I think I lean more toward using social sites for community (like Julie Powell) than for getting smarter (like Robert Scoble). Granted, if I have a professional question, I have a network of librarians/archivists I can ask, but that's not my primary purpose in online networking. That said, none of my online interactions are making me less smart. Maybe I don't get my world news through my Twitter feed, but I certainly get plenty of good ideas and food for thought from my "invisible friends in the computer."

Oh, and last weekend, I watched Robert Scoble's brother get married in Oregon via a livestream from a webcam. So, Robert, thank you for your thoughts, and I'll keep interacting with your brother on FriendFeed.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What I've Learned

Today's posting comes from 37 years on this crazy little planet. I cannot take credit for the ideas below, but I hope you'll find them helpful. They were shared with me throughout my life by teachers, friends, and family who made lasting impressions. Feel free to add your own thoughts in the comments.

  • Praise in public; criticize in private (and do so positively even then).
  • Don't bring up the problem until you can propose a solution.
  • Listen.
  • Make somebody else feel like the most important person in the room, but do it sincerely.
  • You have something in common with every person you meet. It may take some time to find it, but it's in there.
  • You matter. Would you treat others the way you treat yourself? Probably not.
  • Take the time to find out something about somebody else. Connect.
  • Hire good people. Trust them to do their jobs.
  • "Get it looking as good as you can as fast as you can." (from an archives workshop on donor relations)
  • Smile.
  • Say "please" and "thank you."
  • When in doubt, ask.
  • Let your passion shine through.
  • Sparkle!
  • "You know more than they do." (offered by a colleague when I was nervous about my first library instruction session)
  • Give it back, or pay it forward. If you share when you can, others will share with you in your time of need.
  • You never have to say something in an ugly or meanspirited way.
  • Help people.
  • Try not to turn someone away empty-handed. "Let me find out" or "let me show you" is better than "I don't know." (learned in the library world)
  • Lead the way. "Come with me!" is more helpful than trying to give directions. (learned in a customer service workshop)
  • You can be an administrator without being a leader.
  • Say "I'm sorry," and admit mistakes.
  • It's ok to be human.
  • You can't do it alone. That's ok. It doesn't make you weak to admit that!
  • Try to understand. If you can't empathize, sympathize. (And sometimes that's all you can do.)
  • You don't have to memorize it if you know where to look it up.
  • The right kind of humor helps most situations. Don't go for the laugh at someone else's expense, though.
  • Pray. Meditate. Center. Focus.
  • Be grateful.
  • Let people know you appreciate what they do for you.
  • Do something thoughtful and unexpected.
  • Be a mentor.
  • Get involved.
  • Encourage.
  • Keep your promises.
  • Read something in print every day.
  • Leave it better than you found it.
  • Ask how you can help, then do it.
The trouble with this kind of posting is knowing where and how to end it. So, in the immortal words of Daffy Duck (from "Robin Hood Daffy"), "Yoiks and away!"

Friday, October 30, 2009


  • why sometimes thoughts and words flow faster from ink to paper than from keyboard to screen? Am I giving myself permission to scribble a rough draft that I would fret over on screen? Is it just because I feel like I can write faster than I type? Does the skritch of the pen ("skritch" stolen from somebody on FriendFeed, but so true) just feel more conducive to the setting down of words than does the click of a keyboard? Is it because my notebook paper isn't trying to auto-correct words like "skritch"?
  • why sometimes you can go forever without a blog idea and then decide to tackle three at once?
  • why I'm hesitant to blog about myself? It's not that I don't want to share some piece of myself with the world - it's just that I feel vain writing about myself. Other people in the library & archives world have deep insights into the profession. They pose and answer difficult questions. Others share their posts, then, with colleagues or blog their own replies to these writers. I like to read those blogs, but I don't feel like I'm that kind of writer. (And please don't get me wrong, I love my job and my profession. I'm just not sure what I have to contribute professionally to the blogosphere at this point.) If you're supposed to "write what you know," well, this is it. I know me. (PS: I like the name of this blog but still feel kind of snobby about it. I really don't see myself as a superstar. I looked up words ending with "ar" one day that I could link with "archives" or "archivist," and "superstar" just happened to catch my eye.)
  • why FriendFeeders have such cute babbies? Grays, Moskovitzes, and Worthingtons, I'm looking at you.
  • why this is the end of blog steam for this post?

Friday, July 31, 2009

It's time for another "Library Day in the Life" update!

Yesterday I jotted down a few notes about what I must admit was a remarkably productive day.
  • Completed time sheets for my students and staff.
  • Talked to the carpet installers about their plan of attack for the archives. Helped move a few things out of their way and open doors.
  • Printed, sorted, and counted correspondence from June.
  • Processed an order for one of our for-sale books.
  • Delegated a couple of reference questions; answered a couple myself.
  • Updated the draft of a proposal for my boss.
  • Moved books out of an antique desk in preparation for carpeting in that area.
  • Received a request from a colleague who wanted to borrow a student assistant for a project.
  • Compiled statistics for an annual report.
  • Attended a lunch planning meeting.
  • Printed items for our vertical files (biographical and university).
  • Received a request for an obituary. Found, scanned, and emailed to happy (librarian) patron.
  • Worked more on proposal.
  • Took student assistant to meet colleague who needed help.
  • Met with boss.
  • Ended workday, and went to see the new Harry Potter movie.
If you will notice, even though I work in a library, I *did not* read all day!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Customer Service FAIL.

This week, I rented a car for the first time. Seriously. I've never needed to rent one before, but I was traveling for business, and renting was a cheaper option than a mileage reimbursement. My place of work uses Enterprise for all their car rental needs. I called the office on Riverside Drive in Macon, Georgia, and reserved a vehicle, requesting something compact. (I was nervous enough about being responsible for somebody else's car, and it was no time to have to maneuver a big vehicle!) The lady who helped with the booking was very nice, I must say.

On Monday, I went to pick up the car. I had finished earlier than I expected at the chiropractor, so I went on to Enterprise. I asked the gentleman at the counter if I could go ahead and get the car or if I should wait an hour for my original time. He assured me that it would be no problem to pick it up immediately. However, the car was still at the shop, about two miles away, getting an oil change. I would have to go to the shop and get the car. Ok, I could do that. My husband (Mr. B) was with me, and the two of us rode with the E'prise representative to the shop where the rented Toyota Corolla was waiting, then Mr. B and I drove back to E'prise to pick up my car from the lot. During this short trip, we noticed the "Maintenance Required" light was on.

Back at E'prise, I popped in and asked if they could tell me about the light. They assured me that the car was fine, having just had an oil change, and that it was safe to drive. I reminded them that I would be driving out of state for a week and asked if they could reset the light. I told them I wanted to make sure it would come on if I had a problem. They finally decided that wasn't a bad idea and reset it for me. I had also noticed there was 1/4 of a tank of gas available, and I asked if they were going to fill up the car. No, they said, because you only need to bring it back with 1/4 of a tank when you're done. Ok, whatever. (Edit: I have since learned that this is common practice now in the rental car world. I was just surprised because I had heard horror stories in the past about people being charged exorbitant fees for not filling the tank before returning the car.)

I headed on out of town, stopping for lunch and to fill up the gas tank. There were no further adventures; the car handled well on the interstate and was easy to drive.

The next day, Tuesday, I headed to my first meeting in Nashville, TN. I stopped to fill up the car and grab lunch. As I was planning to pull out of the Krystal parking lot, I noticed a little light on the dash that I hadn't seen before. It looked to me like an exclamation point inside a cauldron, rather like (_!_). Hmmm. I checked for an owner's manual in the glove compartment, but it was empty. I then called Mr. B to see if he had any ideas. No, he hadn't seen a light like that. I also called a friend who has rented cars before to see if he knew. Yes, he had seen that light before on a trip, but he couldn't recall exactly what it meant. Maybe something to do with tires, but whatever it was hadn't affected his trip. Ok.

I called the E'prise I had rented from to ask what to do. The person who answered the phone said, "Oh, that's a tire pressure light. It comes on in about 90% of the cars we rent. It's really sensitive, and if one tire is a pound lower than the others, that comes on. It's not a big deal. You'll be fine." Ok, at least I knew what it was now. Still in the Krystal parking lot, I got out of the car, eyeballed all four tires to make sure they looked ok, and headed back out to the interstate. (My first thought was, "If this comes on nine times out of ten when somebody drives off your lot, you might want to tell the renter about that little light."

The car still handled fine, and I made it to Nashville without difficulty. It rained a little on the outskirts of town, but I checked into the hotel, parked in the underground garage, and went on my merry way. I stopped by the site of the next day's meeting to chat with some friends, then met an online friend for dinner. After we ate and chatted, I went back to the hotel, where I ran into some fellow conference attendees with whom I talked, Mr. & Mrs. W. They're from Florida, and I had spoken at a meeting for them earlier in the spring. The Ws told me about their rental car adventures that day (they had run over a tire in the road and had some minor difficulties and delays), and I told them about mine. They knew what the little light meant, having had tire troubles with a previous rental car.

On Wednesday, I spent twelve hours in meetings. For real. I did not, however, have to use the car at all.

Thursday morning marked the end of that conference. I took a bag down to the car, secured it in the trunk, and went back into the hotel for breakfast. One last trip to my room for a toothbrushing and final packing, then I headed back to the garage with my other bag. I opened the front passenger door to put some items on the seat, and I happened to look down. What is this? Oh, that would be a flat tire. A COMPLETELY FLAT TIRE. Not a pound low. All the way down to the ground flat. Ugh.

I locked the car again and headed back up to the lobby. I asked the receptionist if there was someone who could help, and she gave me the name of a local shop they used for service. I thanked her and went to call Mr. B. He suggested calling the renting E'prise facility to find out what they suggested. I did so, reminding the person who answered that I had called on Tuesday about the mystery light. (I don't think I ever talked to the same E'prise person twice, by the way. That place must be swarming with employees.) He was sorry to hear about the flat and said that if I could find a can of Fix-A-Flat, I could just use that. I told him I was in downtown Nashville and was unable to drive the car, so that wouldn't be possible. He then suggested I try the nationwide road assistance number on the back of my rental contract.

I called that number and told the lady on the other end about my plight. She offered to send someone to change the tire. We were working our way through the service call, and she said, "And that will be sixty-one dollars applied to your rental when you return the car." Um, excuse me? What did you just say? I laughed at her, said there was no way my place of work would pay that, and promptly declined the service. I'm a AAA auto club member, so I then called the number on my card. The AAA lady was very helpful, making sure I had a safe place to wait (yes, I'm in a hotel, not by the side of the road) while she reported the problem. She got my cell number and told me someone should be there within 45 minutes. I asked her what the charge would be. "Oh, it's free. Just make sure you have a photo ID and your AAA card." Excellent.

I saw some other people who were heading to my last conference session and told them about the problem. I figured at least that way somebody would know why I wasn't at the meeting! I then headed back down to the parking garage to begin waiting. I got my luggage out of the trunk and put it in the back seat, then headed to the garage entrance to keep an eye out for my knight in shining AAA armor. About 40 minutes later, I got a call. AAA was letting me know I was next on the list for service. Okey-doke, not a problem. I waited in a doorway out of the drizzle. The next call was the AAA repairman letting me know he was heading across Nashville to me and confirming my location. He called again when he arrived at the hotel, and I directed him to the parking garage.

He put the spare tire on for me and laughed when I told him about what E'prise wanted to charge. Well, he laughed after he got over his shock. First he said, "Really? $61? But they call *us* to change people's tires! It's no wonder people are going out of business. $61 in this economy," and then he shook his head. I thanked him for his help, got in the car, and drove around the corner to my conference. I snuck in toward the end of the session and mouthed "flat tire" to those who wondered where I was. Somebody I had talked to on the phone during all of the adventures told me I could travel up to 3,000 miles at no more than 55mph on the spare tire. I planned a slow trip to Huntsville.

After our business session, the conference attendees had lunch. I was updating my Florida friends on the tire situation when Mr. W said, "Why didn't they just tell you to find the closest Firestone? Enterprise has a service contract with them. You don't need to drive on that spare all the way to Huntsville and back to Georgia." He asked one of the meeting hosts where the nearest Firestone was, and it turned out there was one within just a few blocks. Mr. W said, "We'll go over there with you and see if they can't fix that tire. We've had to use Firestone before with some rental car troubles." I asked if there would be a charge, and he said he had never had to pay.

We finished lunch and went to Firestone. I explained to the man at the counter what I needed and told him it was an E'prise rental car. He looked at the contract, entered information in the computer, and pulled up the billing screen. They only listed a few E'prise locations in Georgia, all around the Atlanta area. My location wasn't listed, and he asked which of the others was the closest. He then decided to call a Nashville E'prise location, and the person there told the Firestone guy to send him the bill and said they would handle it from there. I sat with Mr. and Mrs. W for about half an hour or so while we waited for the tire to be patched. When it was done, I signed a work order for them, asked if I needed to do anything when I turned the car in, and was told that I didn't.

I drove down to Huntsville without any trouble at all. The tire pressure light was off and remained off through the trip. The car handled well in the intermittent rain and at interstate speeds.

Today, I turned in the car. (Edit: I decided to add a few more details here. I noticed on the contract that no notation had been made about my calling about the tire pressure light or the flat tire. Nothing was mentioned about seeing a note in the computer, either. I didn't say anything about the tire. However, I stupidly pointed out a chip/star in the windshield that I had just noticed on Monday. It may or may not have happened during my trip; I can't say for sure. However, if I hadn't mentioned it, the E'prise rep would not have noticed. And what did I get as thanks? A $40 "miscellaneous charge" on my rental contract and the assurance that if the windshield breaks after they try to repair it, my place of work will get the bill. Today's to-do list includes composing an email recounting all of these stories to various members of our administration.)

I was relieved to be done with that little adventure and hope I never have to rent from Enterprise again.

(Edit: I decided to specify that the renting office was on Riverside Drive in Macon, Georgia, after telling co-workers about my problems. Two of them told me they had stopped using that branch because of all the difficulties they had encountered. Apparently other branches in Macon are not as bad. Still, if I have the option, I will not use Enterprise at all in the future.)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Your Award-Winning Superstarchivist!

I can't believe I won! I am somebody! See my profile at to find out what I'm going on about.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The spring of our discontent*

*Well, not so much "discontent," really, as just a lot going on!

Here's my schedule for the next few months. Sadly, I can't really delegate any of it. I know this isn't terribly busy by some of your standards, but it is for me. I don't think I've ever had so many meetings to travel to so close together.

This week:
  • instruction session for first-year seminar students tomorrow in Special Collections. They'll be back as a class a few more times, and some of them may return on their own to work on projects. No idea yet what said projects will involve.
  • meeting of the Society of Georgia Archivists' Nominating Committee in Atlanta.
Next week:
  • Management meeting off-campus.
  • Meeting of the Georgia Baptist Historical Society in Special Collections (I get to host and give a paper).
  • Donor and person from alumni office coming to visit.
  • Fly to Wisconsin for a few days of vacation.
  • Travel to Florida (not near the beach; boo) for the meeting of the Florida Baptist Historical Society. Give same paper as at Georgia meeting. (At some point finish editing paper for publication.)
Early June:
  • Travel to Nashville for the meeting of the Association of Librarians and Archivists at Baptist Institutions (ALABI). Present on "user-centered archives" with one of our researchers.
  • Travel from Nashville to Huntsville for the Baptist History and Heritage Society meeting (no responsibilities . . . yet).
  • Springtime academic events - Honors Day, Baccalaureate, Commencement, etc.
It's nice to see all those things listed in one place. I suppose I can tackle them the same way one eats an elephant!

And how about you? What's going on in your world?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tasty Cake Recipe

Since some of my FriendFeedlings asked for the recipe for the cake Mr. B and I made last week, here it is. Enjoy!

Tasty Cake

2 cups flour
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsps. baking powder
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 8 oz. Hershey Bar (more is better)
1 cup peanut butter (we used creamy)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9"x13" cake pan.

Mix flour, salt, and baking powder in a bowl; set aside. Cream eggs and sugar. Add milk and vanilla. Add flour mixture to egg mixture and incorporate.

Bake 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven, and spread peanut butter on hot cake. Let cool until peanut butter is firm; you can put it in the refrigerator or freezer for a few minutes. Melt Hershey Bar (microwave is fine). Spread chocolate over peanut butter. Let cool again. Serve and enjoy!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday Afternoon Grins & Giggles

This afternoon's highlight was listening to/chatting in "T Is for Training." If you haven't checked it out yet, you should!

Other than that, I've been answering some email reference questions and counting photocopies in order to bill a researcher. At present I'm doing some research into the possibility of uploading some of our photographs into Flickr. If your institution is doing that, please let me know. I'm sure I have questions for you.

Well, I think it's time to call it a week, at least as far as these postings are concerned. Thank you all for joining in the fun! Enjoy your weekend!

Friday at Last!

Welcome to the end of the "week in the life" postings. Aren't you glad it's Friday? (And orange you glad I didn't say, "banana"?)

Today is off to a rather slow start. So far I've chatted with a reference colleague about a history class we're teaching together next week (methods of historical research kind of thing) and with our systems guru about the best way to put some of our photos online. Time to do something productive! See you in a bit!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Even More Thursday Fun!

What have I been up to since lunch? I'm not exactly sure; this sinus thing has me in a bit of a fog. However, I do remember scanning and emailing some pictures for a researcher, helping a graduate student from another school with a church history project, answering questions for a student worker, talking to the 84-year-old about two boxes of material he's working on, and spending a good bit of time arranging photograph files on an external hard drive. Whee!

I can't imagine the next hour being much more exciting than that, so this may be the last post for today. :)

Thursday, continued

I have a few minutes before lunch, so I'll bring you up to speed.

The Homecoming meeting was run well. We have a vice president who has a real knack for problem-solving and keeping people on task. There was some debate over where to have the tailgate/lunch event before the basketball game, and he asked if we could come to consensus and "agree with enthusiasm" before dismissing. (In the end the discussion was referred to a new subcommittee, but I liked the way he put that.) It lasted about an hour and 15 minutes, which wasn't bad for a meeting like that.

I came back and tackled one more thank-you note I missed from yesterday's pile. I also responded to some email and prepared some documents for filing. I talked to the dean this morning, and we agreed we didn't have anything to talk about at our weekly meeting, so we eliminated it for the week. This afternoon I hope I have time to scan some yearbook photos for one researcher and email another a follow-up message about his request. I also need to formulate some questions about using Flickr to showcase archival collections to send to a virtual friend and colleague (thank goodness for social software!).

See you after lunch!

Fourth Day in the Life


This is Thursday, the fourth day in the "library day in the life" blog emphasis. Thus far today I have crawled into the office and read email. A glance at the calendar reminded me that I have a 10:00 Homecoming Committee meeting, so I don't want to start any big projects this morning. I'm importing some CDs into iTunes and going through some mail from my desk right now. I'm also planning to go to the break room and fix some cocoa - the sore throat and headache have been joined by congestion today, and chocolate makes everything better (right?).

It is also student timesheet day, so I'll pick up their time cards when I go downstairs.

Now working on timesheets. Researcher has arrived. Emailed admin. asst. and former student worker who wants to return about what we do next (find out if she qualifies for work study).

Timesheets are done but now need to be copied and delivered to the admin. asst. We only do this every two weeks, but somehow it seems like EVERY Thursday!

Off to the meeting! More later.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wonderful Wednesday, part two

After lunch and visits to the chiropractor and allergist, I'm back! I think it will be a pretty quiet afternoon. One student worker has come and gone, and another is working on the files of a women's college that merged with our university in the 1980s. I just highlighted terms in email and article printouts for other students to file if they appear.

I'm hoping to write some thank-you notes I've been putting off for no good reason. Baptist associations within the state often send us a copy of their meeting minutes to retain in the archives. These are invaluable for church historians, and it would be nice of me to thank them.

The maintenance guy just came to look at our remote door latch; of course it's working fine now that he's here! He thinks there's just interference with the radio frequency our remotes use. It's as good an explanation as any, I suppose.

Now back to my thank-you notes... (time passes). Yay! They're finally done! Copies made for filing; letters taken to mailroom. Ahhhh. It's nice to finish a task you've been putting off!

And with only 15 minutes left in my workday, I think I'll go change into my workout clothes. See you tomorrow, I hope!

Wonderful Wednesday, part one

Good morning, faithful readers! Thank you for joining me for today's escapades in the archives. Today is day 3 of the "day in the life" series of postings. It is almost 8:30am, and my day is off to a slow start. I have a raging sore throat, but I'm at the office. I feel fine other than that, so I don't know what's going on. (Update - I now have a headache, too.)

Today is Wednesday, which means Special Collections is closed to the public, and my two assistants are both off. I may have some student workers appear later in the day, however. So far today I have dropped off two bags of trash at our local recycling center, made it to work, caught up with Twitter and FriendFeed, and started plowing through work email. I think it's time for some caffeine of the fizzy variety! (I'm not a coffee drinker.)

Rather than yesterday's play-by-play, I think I'll just summarize today's achievements, such as they are.

The only email I have to act on is one inviting me to write an article for the newsletter of the Archivists of Religious Collections Section for the Society of American Archivists. Apparently I volunteered to do that on last year's membership survey. I'm sure it seemed like a good idea at the time! I only need to write a paragraph or so according to the email. But what shall I say? Just looked over some back issues of the newsletter, Archival Spirit. Looks like most folks submit information on new collections or projects they are undertaking. I'll have to think about something regarding our Baptist collections to share; most of our recent acquisitions have related more to our university side.

Yesterday's pile-sorting and inbox-cleaning yielded a couple of checks and a book order for the Georgia Baptist Historical Society. I've prepared a deposit slip, copied the checks, updated our membership list, mailed the books, and sent the checks/deposit slip to the bank. While I was in the mailroom, I discovered that my recent Gaylord supply order has arrived, so I brought the boxes upstairs. I'll let a student unpack them later and make sure everything is accounted for. I also chatted with some folks from Technical Services while I was downstairs. Special Collections can be pretty quiet, so it's nice to visit other departments when I can.

Weather check: 64F and rainy. I need to go out for an allergy shot, but I'm also going out at lunchtime and again to the chiropractor this afternoon. I think I'll wait and get the shot after I go to the chiro. Just spent some time reading other people's "day in the life" postings. Librarians and archivists do a lot of neat things! And I'm always relieved to see that other folks procrastinate (like I do) and struggle to find projects for their student assistants (like I do). It's nice to know you aren't alone in this business.

Our dean mentioned an Educause e-book in our library management group meeting the other day. I thought the title sounded familiar, so I looked it up. Yes, I recalled correctly - my former office-mate and I cited it in our article for the 2006 issue of Provenance, the journal of the Society of Georgia Archivists. Maybe I'll check out the print version instead of trying to skim the online copy again. I haven't read it in several years.

Ok. I have an hour until lunch. I think I'll work on a paper I have to write and present this spring. I'll go ahead and post this much now; hopefully I can add more this afternoon. Enjoy your day!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tuesday in the Archives

Week in the Life, day 2

Here are today's antics. Enjoy! (And pardon my tense-switching.)

6:25am - Alarm goes off. Ignore until 6:45, then get up. Dress for work and pack clothes for workout, eat some oatmeal, and head out the door about 7:20. It's very foggy today.

8:00-8:30 - Arrive at work. Find parking spot. Put lunch (egg salad sandwiches-to-be) in fridge. Haul self and stuff to third floor. Open department and boot computer (this happens in stages). Turn on space heater. Check voice mail - one message from yesterday afternoon that I missed. Good - I can delete that one. Check email - about 15 new messages, but that includes ads and spam notifications. Respond to one message; print out newsletter draft for assistant to check. Scroll through Chronicle of Higher Ed email; nothing I want to click through today. Quick romp through Twitter and FriendFeed.

8:30-9:00 - Make lunch plans for tomorrow. IM friend. Email former student who created newsletter draft to thank him. Proofread document for colleague. Delete canceled meeting from online calendars. Boot up iTunes. Chat with building steward about recycling program in library.

9:00-9:30 - Let researcher and student assistant from other department in. Show student where books go that she is delivering. Continue proofreading. Take document downstairs.

9:30-10:30 - Chat with reference staff about various topics. Pop ibuprofen for sinus headache. IM another friend. Look up address to send a book order. Pack box of books.

10:30-11:00 - Check email. Forward scholarship info to my student assistants in case they have an interest. Take box of books to mailroom; pick up mail. Only one envelope at present - travel forms my dean has approved. Yay! Back to Special Collections - researcher has a question. Look up book for her; no luck. Phone call - does library have a laptop that can be used in a presentation for the Faculty-Staff Christian Fellowship today? I have no idea; please call our administrative assistant.

11:00-11:30 - Show man from facilities where our recycling bins are. Find other resources for researcher, who squeals with glee. Chat with her about her dissertation topic and all the good stuff she's finding here. Chug away on my first liter of water for the day. Print weekly meeting minutes for filing. Photocopy check for book sale. Realize it's time for a deposit. Prepare deposit slip and envelope for admin. asst. Finish that first bottle of water at last!

11:30-12:00 - Took deposit to admin. asst. Chatted with her for a few minutes. Checked catalog for a book I've never read but need to (To Kill a Mockingbird, never read it or seen the movie). Our copy is out. Checked shelves anyway for something I thought might be another copy, but it was just a study guide. Back to Special Collections. Watch a video recommended by a friend before heading downstairs for lunch.

12:00-1:00 - Lunch and weekly meeting of Faculty-Staff Christian Fellowship. Terrific presentation today by one of our professors on his trip to Senegal last summer with a group of students.

1:00-2:00 - Back to Special Collections. Greet student assistants and find projects for them. Chat with assistant. Receive box in the mail - hooray! It's the roller-brush for my vacuum cleaner at home! Find agenda for Thursday's Homecoming Committee meeting and put it in my calendar. Look over Cooperative Baptist Fellowship newsletter from mail. Check email. Find a project (and boxes) for third student assistant. Find project for 84-year-old. Finish reading CBF newsletter and put it on giveaway table. Proofread Georgia Baptist Historical Society newsletter that will be mailed soon. Respond to offsite patron who wants images from yearbooks (photocopies or scans?).

2:00-2:30 - Talk to student assistant about filing; mark some documents for her to put away. Receive final changes for GBHS newsletter; make changes in Publisher. Email former student who worked on this issue; sent him corrected file. Email assistants my upcoming travel dates. Help student who comes in to Special Collections but doesn't really need us; she needs to know how to find books using LC call numbers. Give her a quick lesson in the stacks; find two books with her. Email her a "cheat sheet" for finding things in LC.

2:30-3:00 - (Could today be any more exciting? I can't believe you're still reading!) Finally open yesterday's mail. Turn iTunes back on; it's been off since I went to lunch. Erg - want to shake off-site researcher who wants waaaaaay too much stuff from us. Refreshing Twitter/FriendFeed and catching up.

3:00-4:00 - File some paperwork that has been on my desk. Clean up pile of stuff to left of computer monitor. Make notes based on notes I want to recycle. Look up Robert Oppenheimer's death date. Create new to-do list. Answer reference question. Recycle pieces of paper I no longer need. Check bank balance in moment of terror (after finding dues renewal notice). Handle phone call about our hours for the rest of the week.

4:00-4:30 - Help student assistant look for double-sided tape (find some in closet). Continue cleaning up pile on desk. Find Access report I have no memory of printing last September. Keep it? Toss it? Hmmm. (Put it with the items it was related to in compact shelving.) Oh, good - mystery items. Did I answer these? Should I answer these? (Oh, dear. The autosave feature in Blogger isn't happy. I have 30 minutes to go here, but I'm going to try to post before I lose this.)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Monday, Monday: A Day in the Life

"Woke up, got out of bed, dragged a comb across my head..."

Well, sort of. Woke up about 6:30am. Dressed, breakfasted, and left house about 7:40. Started the day with a visit to the chiropractor, and got to the office about 9:00. Turned in Watchmen at circulation desk.

As I do on most workdays, I booted up my computer and checked work email and Gmail. Only 46 new emails on the work account today; not bad for a weekend. Deleted a number of those that were Facebook announcements. Also checked the answering machine - no messages were left over the weekend. Scrolled through Twitter and FriendFeed feeds quickly to see if there were any I wanted to respond to. Selected starting track for iTunes; I need music!

Doctoral student researcher arrived this morning. Because she was in last week, we already had her materials pulled and ready to go.

Worked on reference question from a phone call I received after 5pm last Friday - when was our softball field given its current name? Oddly enough, we did not have a university subject file on the softball field or a biographical file on its namesake. Spent some time looking through campus newspapers and advancement office publications. Talked to athletics director to see what he knew. Returned call to patron from sports information office who was seeking info; gave him our best guesses.

Faculty member stopped by to chat; we talked about university matters and his daughter, one of my former student assistants.

Talked to dean about a letter I needed to send out and upcoming travel arrangements.

Noon: lunch break! (Saw former student assistant on way to lunch; she's interested in coming back.)

After lunch: responded to a reference question about interlibrary loan of microfilm reels. Sent letter to group that wants their collection back (no dice, according to our university attorney). Made copies for attorney and dean.

Former student assistant stopped by to see if I would be a reference; he's applying for an internship. (Of course I will.) Talked to him about his senior history paper due this fall. Suggested a collection he might find interesting.

Contacted our building steward about problems with our remote-controlled door lock. We either need new batteries for the remotes, or something is wrong with the lock. She has informed the appropriate person in facilities maintenance.

Moved boxes of personal papers for my 84-year-old part-time assistant. He has organized the material and prepared inventories, but I needed to do the shelving. No problem.

Emailed HR office about whether I need to do an annual evaluation for my new part-time person who just started work in November (no).

Attended weekly library management group meeting. No weekly Tuesday meeting this week, so that's good news.

Found folders for a processing project our technical services staff is helping with. Talked to returning student assistant about her schedule for the semester.

(Two other students came in to work today. They filed everything from the biographical and university "to be filed" boxes and then worked on boxes of papers from the administration building attic.)

And now it's 4:48. I think I've covered all the highlights (and most of the lowlights) from today's work experience. In a few minutes I will attend a fitness class at our gym and then head home. See you tomorrow!


Monday, January 19, 2009

25 Things You Didn't Care If You Knew about Me

I've really enjoyed seeing the "25 things you didn't know about me" meme making the rounds, so I thought I would chime in. Some of you may know some of these things, depending on how long you've been around me. However, I still thought it would be fun to see what I could come up with for my list. Here goes nothing!

1. I was an extra in Driving Miss Daisy. "Uncle Walter's birthday party" (the reason Hoke and Daisy go to Alabama) was filmed at my grandmother's house in Griffin, Georgia. My mom delivers the birthday cake and says, "Happy birthday, Uncle Walter!" If you know exactly where to look, you can see my grandmother seated at the table. And I am in front of the French doors talking to a guy from Georgia Tech and holding a root beer. (Picture of me with Morgan Freeman.)

2. I was born with a hole in my heart (atrial septal defect) that wasn't discovered until I was in graduate school. I had surgery to fix it in 1995. Afterward, the doctor told me I could play sports again, which made me laugh.

3. Speaking of sports, I enjoy watching college football. I got my master's at Florida State and went to the Sugar Bowl game (FSU/UF) in 1995. FSU won. :)

4. I met my husband online in 1997. My parents couldn't object too much - my brother and his wife met online and married in 1996.

5. I'm a huge Beatles fan and saw Paul McCartney in concert twice in Atlanta (1990 and 1993).

6. My initials are LAMB, and I collect sheep (but not real ones).

7. My favorite number is 7.

8. I had my wisdom teeth removed when I was in high school.

9. I worked in London, England, for four months in 1996. I was the computer lab supervisor for Florida State's study abroad program there.

10. I'm also a huge Monty Python fan and met Michael Palin at a book signing when I was in London.

11. While I was in London, I heard a sound one night that I assumed was thunder. It turned out it was an IRA bomb exploding in the other end of the city.

12. I once took Kate Pierson of the B-52's shopping for antiques in Macon, Georgia.

13. I won a statewide poetry contest in high school for a poem I wrote about a chocolate rabbit.

14. I own a pair of gold Disneyland "mouse ears," but I have never been to Disneyland. I have, however, been to Walt Disney World, and I have another day left on my ticket when I'm ready to go back.

15. I love cartoons, but only the good ones (Looney Tunes, Ren and Stimpy, the Smurfs, the Powerpuff Girls, and others are considered "good.").

16. I have kissed the Blarney Stone. Someday I will find the picture of that event and post it.

17. When I was about four, I overfed a fish that belonged to my brother. The fish died.

18. I taught myself to play the flute and played in high school band. Somewhere I have a band letter as well as an academic letter.

19. I was "STAR Student" (top SAT score) for my high school. I have recently reconnected with my "STAR Teacher" on Facebook.

20. I own a Chia Pet.

21. I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the Communist Party. In fact, I'm not a member of any party.

22. My husband used to teach martial arts, and I decided to take lessons from him. I made it to green-purple belt, and I loved breaking boards!

23. I cannot stand sauerkraut, but I will eat boiled okra like it's goin' out of style.

24. The first records I ever bought were 45rpms of "Stars on 45" and Juice Newton's "Queen of Hearts." I think I still have them.

25. I was president of the drama support group in college. We coordinated cast parties, found ushers for the plays, helped backstage, and did service projects. I dressed up as "Octopuff," an anti-smoking octopus, for the American Lung Association on more than one occasion.

And if knowing is half the battle, you should be in pretty good shape! Want to play along? Consider yourself tagged, and feel free to post your own list!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Another "Library Day in the Life" emphasis coming soon!

Bobbi at Librarian by Day reminds us that it has been six months since the first round of our "Day in the Life" postings. Do it again! And if you missed it last time, there's no time like the present!

Just post what you do in a "typical" (ha, ha) day in your library or archives. If you're like most of us, you aren't sitting around reading books!