I Am A Digital Librarian... I Am A Goof

Wow, I'm on LibraryStuff!

Of course, I'm making a goofy face... on my bedroom floor... without any makeup or grooming to speak of. But then, you were looking for the real me? Well, that's probably the ticket, then.

In real life, I don't have time to blog about how little time I have. Let's just say that thus far with Alex in Finland, I've spent two 14+ hour days at work and look like I'm in for more, if I'm to accomplish several major deadlines that are looming in front of me. I have six presentations (six!!) scheduled for October. And that's really in addition to what's been taking me 14+ hours.

Boundaries. I respect you people that have them.


Easy Come, Easy Go

Yesterday morning, I got a message from my husband just as I arrived at my desk. He's going to Finland this Sunday, and he has never had a passport.

My heart leapt for about two hours on the double-adrenaline-rush of acting as GovDocs librarian trying to help Alex get a passport, and also thinking Finnish thoughts and trying to figure out how to squeeze in my own trip with him.

Alas, it was not meant to be. Not only is the cheapest plane ticket I (and one of my info-maven friends) could find around $900, but my passport just expired three months ago, I can't find it or our marriage license, it would cost about $470 to get it renewed in time (assuming I found those documents), and during the six days that Alex will be gone, I have an important meeting with administration--along with my regularly-scheduled I'm-already-far-behind work.


But we did manage to get the passport documents and service taken care of this morning, and I've already created several wiki pages of helpful information for Alex's trip, along with plans to make several more. I am nothing if not a thoroughly librarian wife.


Happy Constitution Day!

Our GovDocs Department went out to Wooten Hall this morning, home of PoliSci majors, to hand out pocket constitutions. We had close to 300 constitutions at 8:30 this morning.

By 9am, we were nearly out.

That certainly beat our projected goal of handing out 300 by 10:30! I guess we'll have to buy more next year.

We printed labels with our department name, URL, and phone number, and placed them on the front of the Constitutions in the hopes that it sparks more traffic at our public service desk.

We've also got a lovely constitution-themed display on the first floor of Willis Library, where we stashed a few more constitutions.

For more Constitution Day fun and learning, check out NARA's Charters of Freedom Exhibit. It's got high-quality images and text transcripts of the Constitution and other founding documents.


The Glow of Promotion

The Glow of Promotion

Today, UNT's Women's Studies Program held a ceremony to honor all female faculty promoted at UNT this year. I took photos, because, well, I'm a big camera dork, five of our librarians were promoted, and also because I was one of them: promoted to Librarian II (a year early--woohoo!!). Our president, Dr. Gretchen Bataille, and our new Provost, Dr. Wendy Wilkins, also came and spoke at the ceremony--it was quite nice.

Favorite GovDoc of the Week

The United States Senate Catalogue of Graphic Arts

You can also access it online... but I highly recommend getting your hands on these gorgeous print reproductions.

After finding this randomly in a LexisNexis search, we couldn't locate our print copy in the catalog. Our amazing staff managed to locate it, update our catalog record, and it's sitting on my desk in all its large-format hardback full-color glossy-paged glory. Government + art + history + books... there is nothing I don't love in this equation.

It's got a whole section just on old political cartoons--with one that rings true today, featuring Uncle Sam riding a snail labeled "U.S. Congress." The cartoon is titled "The Lightning Speed of Honesty."

Ah, some things don't change, eh?


UNT's Rare Books Room Celebrates 25 Years


The UNT Libraries' Rare Books Room recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. To celebrate, they displayed a large exhibit of their "best of" from the past twenty-five years. Last Friday, I came up with my Nikon and took an hour to shoot the whole exhibit before they took it down. I haven't yet edited or weeded any of these photos, but they're on flickr for your enjoyment!


Loving LexisNexis (Database Training)

Since LexisNexis recently updated their "Academic" database--oh the joy of full Shepardizing citations!--we invited our lovely LN representative, Priscilla, to come train our Docs and Reference librarians in it. I took notes on my wiki, primarily because I can't remember anything longer than five minutes unless it's written--but the other librarians expressed an interest in them, so I posted them to our library wiki, as well.

Which got me to thinking... maybe there are other librarians who'd like them, too! So, just in case you're wondering about the amazing depths hidden within the LexisNexis databases, here's a place to start:
I have to say, I learned a bunch during this two-hour session, and I'm amazed at the wealth of information. I could have been using Congressional and Statistical a lot more, had I realized the treasures within.

My Beef with the Press

Ah, the great love/hate relationship of... any organization, I'll bet... with the press. They promote us, they're necessary--and yet often they misquote, misconstrue, or as in this example, completely twist the headline to not match the story, but purely for the shock value (and therefore snagging themselves more readers).

The title of this article, which I found on the front page of Yahoo News?
"Despite demand, libraries won't add PCs."

Yes, the article goes on to explain that many public libraries don't have the facilities (either the room, the outlets, or the power grid) or the budget to support additional computers. But is that what the headline connotes to you? Doesn't it rather sound like libraries are uncaring, irrelevant institutions? Wouldn't that make you, as a potential patron, mad?

Well, it made me mad just to read it, as a librarian. I'm really steamed that this is the instant message that the Associated Press is sending out to our patrons. Thanks, AP, thanks.


On the Meaning of "Fall"

...With the crazy pace of work at the moment, my thoughts are that "Fall" doesn't designate the autumnal season when leaves fall off of trees, as much as it describes a quick, dangerous plunge. Ah, another school year begun.

It really is enjoyable to have students on the campus again, and to get more real action at our reference desk. But my mounting "to do" and "should have been done five months ago" lists are becoming precariously long. I could use a couple of 60-hour work weeks to catch up... only 1) I've got a husband I'd like to see more than occasionally, 2) I've also got my classwork to contend with, and 3) I, um, just don't want to. Ah, well.

On the bright side, although October will be filled with travel and presentations... it will be filled with travel and presentations! So it means more of being busy (and less time to catch up on it), but it will be fun and rewarding. I'm particularly excited to get to present in my hometown of San Antonio--it's nice to have such a great reason to go back. Plus, I get to talk about Library 2.0--and what's not to like about that? Spreading the word about blogs, wikis, and the greatness in general of the social internet... now that's more like it.

Today was UNT's Fall Convocation, which is a ceremony for faculty and staff at which our president gives a sort of "state of the university" address. It's not required, but it's quite informative (and features free breakfast), and I was pleased even more than last year with President Bataille's address. She mentioned the UNT Libraries' NEH/LC grant for digitizing newspapers, for one, but also she's an incredibly interesting and sincere speaker. Even when she's citing statistics, she makes them relevant and relatable, not sleep-inducing.

And--this was the really fantastic part--I got to speak to her in person. I stayed afterward awhile talking to a colleague, and when I turned to leave the Union, I saw Dr. Bataille standing with just one other person. When they finished talking, I walked over to introduce myself and tell her how honored and glad we were that she came to the Libraries' annual New Faculty Reception last week. It was nice to speak with her, even if briefly!

Then I was invited by Melody Kelly, our Associate Dean, to sit in on a library Strategic Planning meeting. It was a kind of follow-up activity to the interview I did with her yesterday, which is for the SLIS course I'm taking, Advanced Management of Information Agencies. It was interesting sitting in on a real meeting after having discussed the history of the plan--now that I'm actually full-time, I get more out of courses like these by seeing the theories implemented in my daily work.

Which reminds me... I've got lots more e-mail to get to. Ciao!


Plugging Away...

I hope to return to more regular blogging soon. I'm currently knee-deep in things to finish, so I'm going to try and push through in the next two days to see if I can have some room to breathe next week.

I say this, but there's a proof of the library calendar that I need to edit as soon as possible. And we all know how quickly graphic design problems are to solve, right? Right...