Monday, October 31, 2005

Ten Steps to Insure Staff Buy-In for the Technology Projects

Everyone loves a list of 10 items. I like this gem over at Tame the web: libraries and technology.

My problem isn't getting staff to buy in to new technology (well, in some cases that's true) but I can't get the library director to buy in to anything new. And yet somehow our business office manager (who isn't a librarian by any stretch of the imagination) seems to get whatever the h-e-double hockey sticks she wants!

I know how things are run at my library. When one patron complains loudly enough (actually they don't even have to complain that loudly) the administration backs right down on any current policy and changes it without bothering to go before the board.

But I digress. I also like this summary of the 2005 Internet Librarian's Conference. I'm slightly frightened by point #2. It's still a struggle for some folks. That would be my library director. Technology is a HUGE struggle for her. Consequently, I feel like I'm trapped on a slowly sinking ship. And I just don't have the people skills to get her to see things differently.

Yes, I'm real down on my job right now. Well, it's not so much my job that I'm down on, it's that I'm not allowed to try anything new. Ugh.

How much do you make??

Here's an interesting article from Library Dust about librarians' salaries. I gotta read it over a little more carefully....

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Monday, October 17, 2005

Magical Express Service coming home

As promised, here's my report on using the "Magical Express Service" for our trip home. In a nutshell, it worked just great, I would not hesitate to take advantage of this service on a future trip to Disneyworld.

But here are the specifics on how it worked for us.

We had an 8:30 pm flight out of Orlando. The evening before our scheduled departure, we got a note left on our room door saying that we should be at the customs house to catch the bus to the airport at 5:45 pm.

The day of departure, we got up at the crack of dawn (6:00 am, which is only a little earlier than our usual rising time on a school day) and even though we supposedly scheduled the bell service to pick us up, we had to call them a the same morning. They arrived pretty quickly after that and took us to the customs house to check out of our room.

Since we were flying United (or Ted), we were able to check our luggage for the flight right at the hotel. We also were able to obtain our boarding passes. All this took maybe 20 minutes. We never saw our luggage again until we went to baggage claim back home in Chicago.

We had plenty of time to catch the bus to the Animal Kingdom and we even arrived before the park opened. Quite a bit before, actually. We were almost the first ones on the Kilamajaro Safari.

Anyway, I did feel a little nervous carrying around our boarding passes all day. In theory, I wouldn't have to. I could have packed a carry on bag for the airport and left it with bell services at the resort, but I felt better knowing that I had the passes on me.

We enjoyed a nice, though wet day at the park and made it back to the resort in plenty of time to catch the bus. We still had plenty of snacks left over from our dining plan, so we stocked up on snacks for the flight home.

The bus back to the airport was really nice. It even had TVs so we watched the beginning of Aladdin on the way to the airport. The flight was practically deserted, so the kids both stretched out in empty seats and slept all the way home.

Was the "Magical Express Service" really magical? Well, it sure was convenient and we did not encounter any problems at all really. By the time you're done with a Disney vacation, you do feel like you've spent a lot of time waiting in lines, but I think it's worth it. The entertainment, the attractions, the atmosphere at Disneyworld is top notch. We're already planning next year's trip!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Disney's Magical Express Service

Here's something new from our Disney files. Since we stayed at a Disney Resort, we were able to take advantage of Disney's "Magical Express Service". A couple of weeks before our departure date, we received a booklet in the mail with special bright yellow tags to attach to any luggage that we would be checking for our flight to Orlando.

When we landed at Orlando, we did not go to baggage claim, but went to the "Magical Express Service" counter and checked in there. Okay, my husband did, so I'm not sure what he had to tell them. The line for that counter looked daunting, but it didn't take very long at all.

So then we got into a line for the busses. Disney employees asked what resort we were going to and then showed us where to wait. Now, we did have to wait probably a good 20 minutes here. Fortunately, our kids are good at entertaining themselves. (They played a lot of "Concentration 64" during this trip.)

Finally we were told which bus to board. Ours was the first resort on the list of stops. I was glad that we weren't the last stop! Our flight landed around 2:30 pm and we were at the resort by about 3:30 pm.

We checked in and got to our room about 4:00 pm. Everything really did go smoothly. We were always treated courteously and were given prompt, accurate answers to any questions.

So it's about 4:00 pm and we're in our room with only our carry on luggage. It was about 40 degrees (Fahrenheit) when we left Chicago and it was about 90 degrees in Orlando. So we had packed swimsuits thinking we'd hit the pool until our luggage showed up.

I reality, we had priority seating arrangements at Planet Hollywood in Downtown Disney so we scrapped swimming. In retrospect, I would have packed both shorts and swimsuits in our carry on bags so that we would have some options.

We had a fantastic dinner at Planet Hollywood (more about Disney dining in a future post) and got back to our hotel room around 8:30 pm or so. While we were out our luggage with the special tags "magically" had been delivered to our room!!

So that worked out very nicely in my opinion. If you are staying on Disney property and don't plan on leaving the property, you definately want to use this service. Look for my report on using the Magical Express Service for the trip home!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

It's a small world after all...

I never imagined that I'd ever know as much about Disneyworld as I do now.

Amongst my friends and colleagues I'm becoming something of a Disney expert. We have now visited Disneyworld three times in the last four years. Every trip has been a little different, but every trip has been completely spectacular!

Before we go to Disneyworld I always consult and The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World. Both are packed with good advice about how to make sense out of the chaos that Disneyworld can be.

This time we stayed at the Caribbean Beach. I was not expecting a whole lot of the room, but it was very nice. Perfect for the four of us. We requested a room with a garden view which meant we looked out into a little courtyard.

We were in the "Aruba" section of the resort and were just a few steps from both the beach and the "quiet" pool. We did visit the main pool one day but I didn't feel that it offered much more than the pool that was closer to our room. Plus the main pool was a lot more crowded than ours.

For the most part, I liked the design of the resort. It's very spread out and divided into different "islands" of rooms. Each building is only 2 stories high so it felt more "resort-y" as opposed to a massive high rise hotel where you're just a number on a floor.

The part I didn't like was that since everything is so spread out, you pretty much have to take the internal busses if you want to go back to the main "customs house". But then again, we only had to go to the customs house to check in and then out again. Also, when the busses came through our resort, they stopped at all the stops before going to whatever destination you were going to, so sometimes it felt as though you had a long ride.

I shouldn't complain about the transportation, though. It really is fantastic. We never had to wait more than 10 minutes for a bus and all the drivers were extremely helpful, courteous, and friendly.

More about transportation later, I'm hosting Bunco this Friday and I've got to finish up my Halloween decorations before then!!

Friday, October 07, 2005

I've decided that I must be pretty well liked at work

When I got back from vacation I had a couple of people say that they needed to see me right away. In both cases, they just wanted to "give me a heads up" regarding events that took place while I was on vacation.

I find as a rule, staff here like to "give me the heads up" on things. I may not know the lunchroom gossip, but I'm usually privvy to any library-related goings on. I think this means that people care that I'm not caught off guard when I get called on for explanations and things. And since people do go out of their way to tell me things, I figure it must mean that they like me. If they hated me, they wouldn't bother making sure I was in the loop!

So that's nice. Plus I had someone tell me that I had made a very astute observation regarding our search for a new library ILS, so I'm pretty much walking on clouds right now.

Plus it's Friday. Ah! 2:30! Slacking time!!