Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Bob Ducket on Using Your Wits

I subscribe to a lot of blogs and websites, both within and outside of the library community. Some times it happens that a non-library resource leads me back to a topic that was covered in the program.

This is one of those times. Bob Duckett was a Reference Librarian of Bradford City Libraries in the United Kingdom. In the post entitled "Reference Desk: Tips on Using Your Wits" he writes about how do you effectively find information for library patrons, no matter when you started learning how to do so.

UK vs US Terminology

This is a guess on my part but when Bob talks about the Enquiry Desk I think that is the same as our Reference Desk. This is a sample:
I exaggerate, and lucky you if you know your clientele and know what their likely demands will be: the course that students will be doing perhaps, or the job descriptions of users of a firm's library. But on a public library counter the next enquirer is likely to be unknown to you. You are at the mercy of the World and his Significant Other.
Yes, my years of watching Dr. Who has come in handy. Which is another point in the article, you want a broad based of knowledge. It is not just the academics, it is the connection with the various worlds we occupy. Your hobbies, past careers and eccentricities are a bonus to be embraced. You will be surprised on how helpful they can be in a pinch.

Take Away Points

Much of what he has to same is common sense but since that is not so common you should be on the safe side and read this anyway. The three main take away point I got were:
  • Never talk down to a patron
  • Use the interview format to properly understand your patrons needs
  • Know your sources and resources. Not everything can be found on the Internet so be open to cracking a book open once in a while. If the microfilm/fiche reader is functional give it a go and discover the past.
This was a good article and I do recommend that those of you who may find themselves at the reference desk read and review the concepts.

Monday, July 20, 2009

BibliOdyssey - Time Travel for Book Lovers

I admit that I can be seduced by software, hardware and all manner of contraptions. I can't go near a camera store without coming out with something. By my true love is books. Old, new it does not matter to me. So when I found the BibliOdyssey blog that really demonstrates the craftsmanship of older books I was amazed at the artwork and typography being displayed.

Illustrations from BibliOdyssey

We forget that a book had to do many things at one time. Certainly it had to have content and text was the easiest and most affordable content to produce. But for those that could afford it, books with images were highly desirable. The woodcut and other techniques used to illustrate in ancient books can be breathtaking.

If you have an interest in typography, book art, illustration or need a dose of inspiration this is a great blog to visit.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

First Days - Part III

A friend told me that my second installment in this series was a woeful little tale which made me laugh but hey, it was all true! I will admit that I do actually miss my days at the elementary school. I was planning to go in this week to accomplish some work on my own time until a fellow co-worker told me I should just wait till September comes before going in. I have to agree with her that the work isn't going to go anywhere and I should just enjoy this time off.

With the very likely possibility of not having a position here at the circulation desk at PCC come this fall, I've been looking around some. I am not keen on job hunting once again. It seems it was just yesterday I was doing that. But alas, one must do what one must do. A co-worker/friend informed me of a full-time position at a high school library yesterday with the deadline to apply for earlier this afternoon. I decided to go ahead and apply. Who knows what will happen? So far, the last two applications I sent out, I got the "Thank you but no thank you response." Earlier this year, I interviewed for two positions and got the "Thank you but you're over-qualified." response. Can't win, can you sometimes?

That brings me pondering if I do find another job and have to quit the elementary school job. Yes, I will miss it in spite of the cons. Even though it's a very demanding job with minimal hours and pay, the rewards have been immense. It's been wonderful getting the experience of running this library primarily on my own and being able to make the majority of the decisions. I have loved the opportunity getting to know this collection well as it's not huge. I enjoy working with the wonderful teachers and staff as well as trying to encourage kids to enjoy reading different subjects. The smiles on those kids make my day as well. I have gotten reacquainted with old favorites and discovered new favorites. If you'd told me years ago, I'd be now always on the look-out for cool kids' books when I am out shopping, I'd never have believed it unless I had become a grandmother. Granted, if I were to get a full-time school library postion, there will be still a lot of the same advantages and similarities without the overwhelming demands of being the singular person there.

I'm still deciding what kind of library I want to work at once I become a librarian. Luckily for me, that won't be for another couple of years. Part of me is still debating becoming a school librarian as I'm already working in the system. But I have to come to love working in an academic library as well. I also wonder if special libraries are the way to go perhaps since there may not be the same funding problems as with public, school and community college libraries.

It may seem I'm off-track here but one of the things about volunteering and working in a school district that I experienced these past couple of years was seeing first- hand the reality of librarians and library technicians either being laid off or having their hours cut. For example, this last school year, a good friend went from being a 12 month to a 10 month position. I'm sure a lot of people didn't like this but he figured it was better than losing his position completely. I'd have to agree. In a time when people have been losing their jobs, I actually got an increase in my hours for the following school year. Whether that will still be the case come September remains to be seen and I'm prepared for anything. As they always say, it usually gets worse before getting better. And that's exactly what I'm seeing now.

No matter what happens though, I can say that going through the application and interview process (if I get to that point), is good practice for when I'm applying for a to-die-for position in the future.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

At Your Local Library

It's that time of year again, folks! If you're looking for a way to cool off and enjoy a baseball related event, come on down to the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at the Pasadena Central Library on Sunday, July 19, 2009. The doors will open at 1:30 pm, the festivities begin at 2:00 pm, and admission is open to the public and free of charge. The inductees will be Steve Dalkowski, Roger Maris, and Jim Eisenreich. Terry Cannon, founder and Executive Director of the Baseball Reliquary (and graduate of the PCC Library Technology program) said it's always a standing-room-only event. So it's my recommendation that one arrive early to get good seating and the chance to mingle. I went last year for my first time and I have to say it was quite a treat even for someone who is not quite a die-hard baseball fan.

In addition, one can view the Cardboard Fetish exhibit which consists of intriguing baseball card collections past and present all month long throughout Pasadena Central Library.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Cuesta College Online Library/Information Technology Certificate Program

Cuesta offers an Associate degree and Certificate in Library/Information Technology, and collaborates on a Certificate in Web Development Technologies.

All of the Library/Information Technology courses in the program are online, and can be completed from anywhere. (One Fall course requires an on-site orientation meeting in San Luis Obispo.) The cost--$20 per unit for California residents--is still one of the great bargains in higher education.

Registration is now open; Fall classes start August 17, 2009. Links to online application information and forms are included in the attachment.

For more program information please visit our program website or call Kathy DeCou (805)546-3190.

University of Arizona Digital Information Management Certificate Program

June 2009 - For immediate release

The University of Arizona Digital Information Management (DigIn) Certificate program is currently accepting applications for Fall '09. IMLS scholarships are available.


The University of Arizona School of Information Resources and Library Science is pleased to announce that openings are available in the school's graduate certificate program in Digital Information Management (DigIn), and that scholarships are available for students entering the program in Fall 2009.

DigIn combines intensive, hands-on technology learning and a strong grounding in the theoretical principles needed to manage large-scale digital collections in a fast-changing environment. The program supports a wide range of professional careers involving digital collections, including but not limited to libraries, archives, and museums.

Graduate certificates are increasingly being recognized as a means for information professionals with advanced degrees to enhance their knowledge and technology skills. DigIn is also open to professionals who are new to the field and who may be considering a masters-level education in the future.

The program is delivered 100% online and has no residency requirements.
Students generally complete the certificate in four or six semesters (15 months or 27 months).

DigIn now accepts applications before the start of the Summer, Fall, or Spring semesters. The application deadline for Fall '09 is July 1. Late applications will be accepted, although we cannot guarantee admission for the fall semester.

DigIn was developed in cooperation with the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records and the University of Arizona Outreach College. Major funding for the program comes from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), which has also provided scholarship funding.

Additional details on the program including course descriptions, admissions requirements and application forms may be found on the program website:

Applicants may also contact the DigIn staff at: