Friday, June 30, 2006

In search of an emotionally healthy library

Wow, I could have used this last week during my interview. I always try to think of great interview questions to ask, but I never can come up with anything good.

On the really scary side, the article lists "Characteristics of Emotionally Unhealthy Libraries". I'll just list the ones that are particularly appropriate for my library:

  • Imposition of one person’s views on the rest of the library
  • Lack of communication between divisions, lack of mechanisms for communication
  • Lack of mission and vision articulated by the administration
  • Library lacks good communication with its stakeholder groups (i.e., community, faculty, students, etc.)
  • Culture is dominated by a few negative personalities that “act out” their own personal agendas or decrease staff morale.
  • Passive library administration that seeks no conflict or resolution to unhealthy situations
  • Complaints are ignored or are used against the staff member who complains.
  • Library administration not held responsible by stakeholders
  • Double standard for performance by library administrators and staff (i.e., staff may not arrive late but administrators can).
  • Hiding behind prestige of collections or “good old days” image
  • Lack of respect for the staff by the library administration
  • Lack of clear direction from library administration.

I think the writing is on the wall, though. The rumor mill has it that one of the board members finally blew their top a the budget meeting when they looked at how much money the library has been spending on consultants (space planning, building, architect, marketing) -- with nothing to show for it.

And that's the key isn't it? Results. In our case, it's not that we're trying all sorts of new and innovative ways to reach out, it's that we don't even try. And the only person to blame in our case is the director. She will ask staff for ideas on how to market the library, but then she will shoot down every single one of them.

My library is celebrating it's 40th year this year. It's the last day of June and we've done nothing to celebrate. Zip, ziltch, zero, nada. And supposedly we're going for a referendum in April to raise funds to double the size of the building. There's just no way in h-e-double-hockey-sticks that's ever going to happen. Sad, really.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Dodging bullets #2

My boss was back in today. I only saw her once in passing and in as cheery a voice as I could muster said "Hi! Welcome back!" She grumbled something in return, but I didn't care. All that mattered was that I sounded like I was happy to see her again.

The trash talk going around is that she chewed out the Assistant Library Director and her Administrative Assistant because they didn't open her mail while she was gone. Not that she asked them to open mail for her -- she didn't. And around here, you just don't do anything unless asked directly and even then you run the possibility that you will still get chewed out for actually doing something.

Dodging bullets #1

My husband has been working with his father to help his old grade school in Indiana get an updated computer lab. He had scheduled this weekend to go down and get everything finished up. He was also going to take the kids with him on the trip, leaving me with essentially 3 days of glorious solitude!

Then last night he got a call. There was a problem. My father in law couldn't get a PC connected to the server. He would contact tech support and see if they coudn't get it resolved. So the trip was now in jeopardy of being postponed until a time when I could actually go along.

But my husband spent two hours on the phone with his father this morning and they think they got everything resolved, so the trip is back on!! Hooray!

The last remaining glitch involves getting my own parents to leave town as well. They've been out all week helping run the kids to swimming lessons and will go home to Iowa tonight. I was hoping they would leave town when the rest of my family did (before I get home from work) but they want to stick around and have dinner with me and leave closer to 7:00 pm in an effort to avoid traffic.

Well, it's not like you can tell your parents that you want them to leave, so I guess that's all fine.

What am I planning on doing with my time? I am planning on stripping the last remaining original wallpaper in the house. Now, it may seem illogical that I would want my parents to leave, considering that they could help me out on the wallpaper, but I just work better alone. Plus this way I can always change my mind about the wallpaper project if I like. But I probably won't since the Gamecube is at my brother in law's house anyway.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Summer reading top prize

How do you like our top prize for the summer reading program? It goes right along with our "Voyage to book island" theme. Har.

Seriously, someone abandonded this boat in the library parking lot. Lovely, eh?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Looks like I picked the wrong week to give up chocolate

What a week! (and it's only Tuesday)

Last Thursday the floppy drive on a public PC failed. I told the staff (2 people) on duty that I was taking the PC "in the back" so that I could work on it. One of the staff working said that she would put an out of order sign on the monitor. I said that would be great.

Problem is, she never did it. And neither of the staff working informed the next shift that I had taken the PC, so when the next staff member came on duty -- without bothering to ask anyone what happened -- reported the PC stolen to the police. A flurry of calls ensued, and it was my husband who got ahold of me on my cell to tell me that the library had called our house. (I was out getting a massage -- heavenly!!)

Anyway, I quick called in and cleared everything up. Nothing more was said to me by anyone but the staff members' supervisor who told me that they were both being "written up". I didn't think it was necessary, after all, no harm was done, but that's not my call.

The good news is I got the replacement drive in just fine, installed it, everything is great. Dell tech support was simple to use, and provided extremely timely service to me. Kudos to Dell!

Then yesterday the display stopped working on one of our Gateway Profile public PC's. This seems fairly common with the Profiles. Unfortunately, the machine is out of warranty, so I really have to decide how to proceed. Is it worth getting it repaired? But wait, I brought the PC "in back" and turned it on and, lo and behold, it works! Great, I've never been more disappointed that something actually worked.

In the meantime, one of my own staff members reports a problem with the typewriter, a messed up spreadsheet and problems with labels. Okay, this staff member is the thorn in my flesh. She's sooooo close to retirement that she just doesn't care anymore. She only does the bare minimum of what's required of her. Even as I've added responsibilities, somehow she still has plenty of time for web surfing. Plus, she just doesn't get along well with technology of any kind. I feel like I'm constantly helping her out of jams. (Why, oh why won't she just retire?)

The one good thing: my boss is down at the ALA conference and won't be back until Thursday. (Black Thursday as we like to call it.) Here's hoping she got all her crazy liberal left wing rantings out of her system for a while.

But then Thursday my husband and kids are leaving town for almost 4 days -- oh the glory! 4 days to myself??!! Oh, it will be glorious!!

Thursday, June 22, 2006


Tuesday afternoon I had a job interview. I'm getting sick of interviewing with no job offers, so I wasn't really looking forward to it all that much. During the interview, a very strange thing happened that I was not expecting.

I don't remember the question, but I gave my answer the best that I could. I was afraid of getting off track, so I asked "does that answer the question?" The director replied "What I hear you saying is...." and he proceeded to nicely summarize everything that I had just said. I said "Yes, that's it exactly."

For a second I thought, wow, am I not making myself clear, but then I realized, the director was actually using active listening on me.

It was as if a light bulb went on in my head. Wow, this person is actually interested in demonstrating that he understands what I am saying. You have to understand, dear reader, that this does not ever happen to me. EVER.

If I was only mildly interested in the job when I went in for the interview, I was enthusiastic about the job when I left.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Summertime and the livin is easy...

... or so.

The kids are off at camp this week. We dropped them off this past Sunday night. I thought I would be more emotional about it, but I'm holding up okay, though I keep checking the website to see if there are pictures posted!

I feel bad because we forgot a couple of things, but nothing major. I feel worse because I didn't send any mail in advance, so yesterday I scrambled to send the kids letters so they would get some mail.

I'm soooo bad at mailing things (not bills, thank goodness!). But personal things, like birthday cards, Father's Day cards, I just can't seem to get it done. How lame is that? When my kids go off to college, they'll be lucky to get a postcard from me.

Then again, when they go off to college, I'll probably just email them anyway. That works for me!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Topless sandals

I've been watching "I want that" on HGTV lately. I think these look pretty cool.

If amazon sucked like our old opac

I've never had the "pleasure" of working at a library that used Innovative, but I can still chuckle at this.

Monday, June 12, 2006

100 days!!

Today we are officially at 100 days until Disneyworld!

Here's a short list of things I'm looking forward to on this trip:
Expedition Everest Brand new!!
Mickey's Philharmagic Classic!
Soarin' Invigorating!
Fantasmic Last time Fantasmic got rained out! It's such a great show -- not to be missed!!

Since we got the dining plan for free again, we're going to the Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue. It's going to take 2 of the table service meals for each of us, but last time we didn't use all of our counter service meals, so we figure it will all even out in the end. We also had plenty of snacks left on our last day, so that will help to stretch the plan further.

I'm also looking forward to using my new camera for this trip. (I think that link is my camera -- close enough.) I love this new camera. It's much smaller that our last digital camera, and the battery is rechargeable.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Disney's Cars

Saturday night we went to see Cars -- at the drive in! Woo-hoo!

My brother and sister in law have a giant RV, so we all went in that. We parked sideways and set up chairs and blankets in front. So we could all kind of come and go as we pleased. It was cool.

I mean cold. Really, it was a little too chilly to really enjoy the evening. No, that's not fair, we all had a good time, it just would have been nicer if it had been warmer.

I thought it was also a little hard to see and hear the movie, too. We had a portable radio that we could tune in to listen, but it wasn't a great radio.

Overall, I thought the movie was cute, sweet even, and very funny. Seems like everything Pixar touches is gold!

Friday, June 09, 2006

From the "eeewwwww" department...

Today I installed a new printer for our publicity person. It was a little bit bigger than her old one, so I had to clear off a little more space on her shelf.

When I moved her paper file I found more dried up coffee than I care to ever encounter in my life. Ew. So I dutifully cleaned that up, since I think it's disgusting to put new computer equipment on top of old dirt.

But that's not the gross part. The gross part is that as I sat waiting for the software to install I noticed two old Burger King burger wrappers on the shelf below the printer. Not nice, new wrappers, like she was actually going to do something publicity related with them, but used burger wrappers, like she had eaten her lunch in front of her computer and was too lazy to throw the dirty wrappers in the garbage can that was located two feet behind her.

Now, come on. How lazy and disgusting do you have to be not to throw away burger wrappers with ketchup and cheese still on them??

Thursday, June 01, 2006


Okay, so I decided I want to join the ALA after all.

I'm pretty sure that I'm just annoyed, not bitter, but who knows....