Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The agony of defeat

The library referendum was soundly defeated yesterday. Only 30% for and 70% against. Ouch! That's pretty desicive, if you ask me.

Now, there were some dirty tricks afoot, to be sure. With the local, local paper printing a huge last minute article that was nothing more than the text of a couple old memos where the staff was directed to utilize all of the shelving in the library to emphasize the size of the library collection. A couple of the "bigger" papers took the time to get comments from my boss first, but this one was a low blow.

Now, did it really influence the election? In reality, we'll never truly know 100%, but with this being the third failed referendum in four years, and a rather vocal opposition, the cards were stacked against us from the get go. I can't say I'm entirely surprised we lost.

The funny thing to me is that one staff member actually asked if this defeat meant that I was going to move on to another library. I've been making the joke: why, is Schaumburg hiring? Hm, it took me almost two years worth of interviewing to land this job, why would I leave? But maybe that's why my predecessor left. Who knows. Who cares?

Ultimately, my yesterday didn't end too badly. Two Leinies, a glass of chocolate raspberry wine, it all makes the pain go away. And after the board meeting tonight, I'm off for frosty cold margaritas!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A birth day in the life

Today is my birthday. I don't have much in the way of a celebration planned for myself, but that's okay, the day is full enough as it is.

When I came downstairs to the kitchen there were flowers and a card from my hubby and kids.

I got to work extra early because it's also National Library Worker's Day. I hung up a banner and passed out temporary tattoos to the staff. The HR person brought in Einstein Bros. bagels - mmm!

It's only 32 days until my next trip to Disneyworld -- and then it will be only 125 days until my next trip to Disneyworld.

It's also election day! The library is up for a referendum again. But I can't vote for it since I don't live in this town. But I can vote for library board members in my own town. (I just have to look up my polling place again. They changed it.)

So I will vote after I leave work -- at least I can take off early! Then it's bell choir, then Lou Malnati's for dinner, then off to watch the election results.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Happy Easter from the frozen wasteland

Brrrr, I can't remember an Easter that was this cold! Chilly, yes, but it's downright freaking cold!

Today I got a little taste of what it must be like to be an activist. My library's friends group sponsored a "rally" to show support for the library referendum. We met at the main library and walked en masse to the new site, carrying "Vote yes!" signs and occasionally chanting.

"What do we want?" "A new library!"
"What will we vote?" "Yes!"

It was a little hard for me as a Gen Xer to really see what good this did. The route we took was primarily residential so we didn't get much exposure, and we had basically no press coverage. That's why I was there -- to write a news release about the event and submit the story to the local papers.

A couple of people asked me what paper I worked for. I don't, I replied. I find it interesting that I'm actually writing stories for the newspapers in my new job. The last time I wrote a story for a paper was in grad school where I wrote, edited, printed and distributed the semi-official newspaper for the grad school.

I guess I gotta pull out those old journalism skills again, which is fine. I always liked working for the newspaper. In a way, I've come full circle. Now I'm writing again. It feels a little rusty, but it will come back to me, I'm sure.

You want a story for the papers, I'm your girl. But you want me to walk around carrying a sign to tell other people what to do? What is this, the 60's? Get over yourselves, baby boomers!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

If I ran the library

After four months, I'm feeling like the honeymoon is over. Well, not completely, but there are more and more of those moments where I feel like shaking my head.

I know I'm nervous about my review tomorrow. I'm definitely nervous that the election is 12 days away. I'm nervous about how the staff will react if the library building referendum fails again. And it might, though I hope it doesn't. But that leads me to the title of this post. If my library's building referendum fails, here's what I would do:

Eliminate what I consider to be obsolete media formats. Yes, we still have children's music on audio cassettes, we still have filmstrips. It's time to nail the coffin on these formats.

Eliminate print college catalogs and the travel file. People are right -- it is all online now.

VHS collection: Hard and fast rule - no duplication of any kind. If we own 2 copies of a VHS title, one goes. Then no duplication between DVD and VHS. If we own a title in both formats, the VHS one gets the axe. In addition, if a title hasn't circulated in one year, it gets the axe, no questions asked. And if the last "patron" was ILL, it doesn't count.

DVD collection: More copies of the big feature movies.

Books on cassette: Same rules as VHS collection.

Kits: We've got hundreds of these horribly packaged "kits". About half are in hang up bags and a fourth are in some kind of single box, and the rest are a mishmash of things rubber banded together. Rule #1 - if you have to rubber band it to keep it together, either you find appropriate packaging to circulate everything together or you pitch it.

CD-ROMS: We've got lots and lots of these. Does anyone really use them anymore?

Puppets: It's beyond me why in this day and age anyone would want to circulate a puppet that is just asking to be a carrier of contagion. Yes! I'd love to give my baby a toy that another baby has spit up on. Get real.

Puzzles: I actually don't have a problem with puzzles, but please, weed out the old crap. Keep the collection looking fresh and new.

Book collection: Since we're so tight on space, you've got to be cruel to be kind. People don't just love bookstores for the coffee, they like new stuff. Ergo, if it hasn't circ'ed in two years, it's outta here. What?!? I know, it's blasphemy, right? What the hell do I know about collection development? Well, I know that when I use my public library and I see grubby, damaged books on the shelves, I'm not going to touch them. Give the people nice looking items.

Well, that's what I would do with the collection at least. More ideas to follow. Stay tuned! Or not!

Hot Diggity Daffodil!

Only 43 days until my May Disneyworld trip.

Only 180 days until my October Disneyworld trip.

We can start making our dining reservations now!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

A million monkeys sitting at a million typewriters

Okay, am I missing something here?
"Authors have choices...it's no longer a small list of four publishers in the library world that we all have to choose from. This is a good thing, and I think will result in more being published, and what is published will be of a higher quality and closer to the author's original intentions."
So if more books are published they will be of higher quality? What's the rationale for that? I've personally done original cataloging on some of those lovely iUniverse published titles, and frankly, they suck. I remember one book that took great pains in the foreward to point out that the book had not been edited in any way from the author's original manuscript, as though somehow this made the book better. I'm telling you, some people just can't write!

I personally do not think that independent publishing produces higher quality books. I believe it produces more books. What about the author with real talent who can't afford to publish their own book? This movement seems to me to widen the gap between the haves and the have nots. It's like, if you have the money, you don't have to jump through all the other publishing hoops that everyone else does. And that doesn't seem right to me.