Facebook At Work

Part of my new job is to manage and grow the library’s Facebook account.  I’ve run my employer’s blog before, so I thought this would be nothing new, but I’ve come up against some roadblocks.  I’m struggling with how to make a topic interesting and engaging to those outside the profession through social media.

The challenges I’m facing:

  • I’m working with people, one in particular, who while eager to utilize Facebook as a tool, aren’t quite getting what our target audience is.  She seems to be mixing information that our patrons could use or would find interesting with what she as a library professional finds interesting and could use.  I hate to play the generational card on this one, but she is older.  Perhaps I’m more in tune with what a student would want out of their research tools having been a student much, much more recently than she was.
  • I work with people (who happen to be the same as the above mentioned people) who can’t let go of control of the account.  I’m getting “ideas” for posts in my email almost daily for things that are irrelevant and frankly boring.  I don’t know how to either tweak those ideas into something engaging or politely tell these people to “step off my area, yo.”
  • I don’t know what we should be telling our followers.  Are we using Facebook as an outlet for a change in hours or computer policy?  Are we trying to promote history (since we’re a military history research library) and an interest in academic discovery in general?  Are we directing it toward our current students (who are only around for about six months), their project deadlines, and immediate research needs?  Are we showcasing our collection and abilities as a library for potential users?
  • The space isn’t engaging.  People rarely comment and the regulars are other librarians.

While I personally avoid Facebook like the plague in my personal life and don’t necessarily agree with the trend toward using it for everything in the known universe, I have embraced this task with abundant enthusiasm at work.  I love getting other people interested and familiar with libraries and their resources because I love these things too.  Plus it lets me be creative in a rigid, order-centric profession.

I was lucky enough to work with a great librarian at a previous job who is at the forefront of the technology movement in libraries.  Her name is Meredith Farkas, and she has written a book on the topic (Social Software in Libraries), spoken at numerous conferences, and keeps up a blog over at Information Wants to be Free.  Having worked with her before, I had been exposed to some of these issues previously although I hadn’t given them a lot of thought professionally.  I’ve picked up her book along with several others and have been thinking a lot.

This is what I’d like to accomplish and am trying to do:

  • I need to make our page more interactive.  I want to ask questions and pose odd or sensational but relevant topics that might jump start conversation and elicit feedback.
  • I have to get rid of the library professional development that keeps popping up on the page.
  • I’d like to create some sort of a monthly quiz/contest that draws people in by offering something as a prize but causes them to either come into the library or search our webpage to answer.  I want to be sneaky, sneaky and really get people to learn a bit about how to use library resources.
  • I’d like a byproduct of all this to be higher visitor numbers to the Facebook page since that’s how my success is being measured for monthly reports.

So now I’d like your thoughts.  Do any of you guys use Facebook regularly?  As humans who frequent business fan pages on Facebook, what do you like to see or how do you like to use their pages?  I know some of you work in education.  Any tips for making education topics more engaging?  For those who live via social media, any success tips that you can share?

New Job Minus Stupid People

I’ve been at the new job for just about a month now, and I wanted to put down some of my thoughts.

The job is nice.  Really nice.  It’s at the academic library on post and serves mostly captains going to school in a six month course.  I’m officially a contractor, which  means the government hired an outside, civilian company to provide manpower for certain jobs like mine.  It’s nice yet weird.  I have bosses in triplicate.  Some of my co-workers doing the same job are government employees, meaning they have different bosses, paydays, and dress codes.  I get great benefits and pay.  I’m treated like an important employee, valued for my knowledge and skill.  It’s all so foreign compared to MWR.  But when the company’s contract for this particular job runs out, I’m cut loose.  The company has to re-bid to the government to get the chance to provide manpower again.  Anyone can be the lowest bidder.  I’m ok with the situation because I probably won’t be living here when the contract runs out, but it’s still a weird position to be in.  I like my co-workers though.  They’re all sane and drama-free.  I’ve transitioned into working with the team really easily, and I’m loving it.

It’s still a library.  I do a lot of shelving and checking out books and cataloging new items just like the other job.  Libraries, regardless of who they serve, are fairly similar.  I’m still finding it much slower to adjust than I thought however.  These customers don’t ask me pens or directions.  They don’t continually jam the copier.  They are wonderful, courteous, intelligent human beings.  It’s lovely.  It’s refreshing.  And it really highlights how jaded and cynical I’ve become working with the scourge of the Earth at the regular public library.  I expect and anticipate stupidity, and that makes me a little sad.

My favorite part is that this library has a large archive, and I’m getting to do original research again.  I’m helping students find primary sources for their projects.  I’m creating finding aids to help them use the archive better.  I love doing this, and I’m really, really good at it.  I was hired for my education (!!) to do exactly this.  Someone looked at my resume and transcripts and said, “damn, this girl’s brilliant and we can’t pass up her skills,” and that still boggles my mind.  I’ve been working at shitty, underpaid jobs way too long.

Anyway, the library’s been moving to a new building the last two weeks, so I haven’t even gotten a chance to do my real job very much yet.  I feel giddy that I love it this much already, and I’ve only gotten a small taste of what it’s really going to be like.  It couldn’t have come at a better time.

Taking Care Of Business

When it rains, it pours apparently.  But it’s a good thing for once!

I suddenly got hired at the academic library on post!  I say suddenly because I interviewed and was hired all over about four days.  I got a call asking if I was interested in the position because it might come open in the near future.  That was in August, and I’d kept it in the back of my mind but the beebs has taken over most of my planning lately.  Then I got a call Friday asking if I could interview for it an hour later!  Of course I said yes, but talk about panic attack.  I had no time to prepare.  I barely even showered.

But it obviously went well, and in less than two weeks I’m going to see a huge increase in my paycheck!!  I’m so incredibly excited.  I get benefits!  I get maternity leave!  I get weekends and evenings off!  I get to be surrounded by dusty, old military history books and students who are studying them!  It’s like the mothership is calling me home.  Le sigh…

The only bum thing is they have a tattoo policy.  Ugh.  Seriously?  It’s hard enough to find clothes that fit right now.  I spent this morning shopping, and again, it poured because I got a total haul.  I was dreading maternity clothes shopping.  Clothes are so expensive, and I’m still wearing stuff from almost a decade ago because I’m way too cheap to invest in my professional image.  I cannot justify spending so much money on something so temporary.  I researched and found a thrift maternity store in town, and it’s a complete gem.  I got three pairs of dress pants and five nice business shirts for $25!  It was glorious.  I was so happy with how well it turned out I splurged and bought a pair of boots at Ross (which were more expensive than all my clothes, even at Ross) so I can still wear my stretch skirts to work.  It was such a great, productive day shopping.  How often does that happen?

I don’t know if you’ve heard on the news, but next year a lot of banks are implementing monthly fees to use your debit card.  You can still use the card at ATMs for free, but if you want to avoid debt and actually spend only what you have in your bank account at any one time by relying on a debit card for purchases, you will be charged a monthly fee.  A few banks are trying this already, one actually charging a fee per transaction, but several more are moving to this in the New Year.  The government is enacting new laws that limit (by almost half) how much banks can collect from retails who accept cards, so the banks are passing it on to their customers.  I was ticked.  It’s hard enough to stay out of debt, especially as a young person.  So I did a bunch of research and changed my bank today too.  I was being so productive.  It’s a pain to change over all those direct deposits, online bill pay, and linked accounts.  I feel better having stuck it to the man though.

Oh, and I got the beebs on the wait list for daycare.  You know you have to do that months in advance?  It’s crazy.  That, a business meeting for work this morning, this blog post, and a stop at Bed, Bath, and Beyond for bed raisers, and I’m having the most productive day all before 3:00 that I think I’ve ever had.

Check Your DVDs!

Someone turned in a DVD today at work missing a disc.  It happens all the time.  Patrons forget to check their DVD player before returning the case.  But this one had the patron’s porn in it.


The new employee freaked out.  It was priceless.  I can’t wait until he comes back to return the missing disc.  It’s going to be so awkward!  There are still some gems about this job. 🙂

July Potpourri

Work is insane right now. Our little library is helping about 13,000 people each month, and we’ve been growing by 2,000 patrons every month this year. That’s a lot of people, and every single one of them come and talks to me at some point. I am just starting to train a new employee to help me out at the front desk, but I don’t know how long she’s going to stay. My spidey sense says going to move on in the near future.

I’m going to vacation soon though! I have to remember to pack my camera… It’s going to be fabulous. I’m going to vacation for the hubs’ block leave. It’s going to be just the two of us. J I’m coming back and leaving again almost immediately to go back home for two family weddings. That is also going to be fabulous, and I’m so excited to see everyone. That reminds me I need to look for wedding gifts… I’m hoping to come back rejuvenated and ready to tackle work again.

I’ve been fighting a migraine all week and it is so not fun.

The Mrs. over at Trying Our Best is having a giveaway from her Etsy shop. I’m a huge supporter of giveaways and Etsy, so check her out if you’ve got time.

My Home My Style magazine is fantastic! We get it at work, and I’m addicted to the quick, easy decorating ideas. I’ve been cruising the second hand stores for a chest of drawers because I want to do this painting/map idea that was in May’s issue. Since summer is moving season I’m hoping I’ll get lucky. And I’m absolutely dying to re-tile someone’s kitchen back splash with those sparkly glass tiles you see everywhere now. My mother is still refusing to cooperate, but I’m going to wear her down.

I’m headed to my new therapist tomorrow afternoon for my first appointment. I’m really, really excited for this one to work out. It’s probably the only time I’ve been excited for a Monday to get here.

Ready To Move Up

I’ve been struggling lately with where I’m at with my job.  I like the theoretical job.  I love the order of it.  I tell DH I can get all my crazy out at work and can come home and actually enjoy my time in a dirty house.  I love the patrons.  I love knowing their preferences and being able to recommend titles to them.  I am thrilled to be able to see all the latest books that come out and have the first crack at them.

It’s the actual job that I’m having problems with.  My co-workers are insane.  It’s like a war zone there, and everyone has to take sides.  People refuse to work, and the library suffers.  Library policies aren’t very important to most, and I’m frustrated with being one of only a few employees that want to do a good job and care.  I’m tired of the hours.  I want to be home to enjoy my husband when he’s actually around and working evenings and weekends aren’t making that possible.

Mostly, I’m tired of the unchallenging level of the job.  In a public library there isn’t a huge demand for academic research.  I help a few patrons find sources for a project, but the vast majority of my time is spent explaining how to operate the printer, unjamming the copier, and picking up spit cups that get left on the table.  I’ve always wanted to work in a library, and I’m so glad I can cross it off my bucket list, but I’m a little disappointed.  I know a lot of that is the particular library I’m at, but some of it is just the nature of the job.

I don’t want to focus on the low pay, because oh, is it low!  I don’t want to focus on the insane amount of education I have to be working in such a dead-end job.  There is no way for me to get promoted or take on more responsibility.  I could work for the rest of my life here and only look forward to a coupon for a free day off every year and a polo shirt—no joke!  I don’t want to…but it’s hard not to.

I’ve been looking for a new job lately.  It’s tough because of the economy and because there is a ready pool of possible employees waiting for the good jobs to open up on post.  Most jobs are only advertised for a week if you’re lucky, and several hundred people will apply.  I’ve been working on my resume to hopefully jump start some new job leads before there’s no point because it’ll be time to move again.

I was struggling with the federal format for resumes, and as I was finishing up I realized that I’d crossed over.  My resume was at a whole new level.  There was that transition from high school/early college resume to adult resume where extra curricular activities dropped off the paper and a high school GPA didn’t matter anymore.  I suddenly had enough work experience to fill out a good resume.  I didn’t know there was another step after adult, but there is, and I got there this week.  I’m all ultra big girl panties kind of grown up now.  Hopefully there’s a job market for that.

A Weekend Thwarted

I was so excited to get in the yard and get gardening this weekend, but the weather turned cold and rainy.  Poo.  I got green beans in over a week ago.  Hopefully I get a longer season in than last year.  I didn’t account for the shift in growing seasons when you move farther south and a lot of my veggies fried in the sun by late July.  I’m going to get a few herbs going inside I think.  I want to try tomatoes again this year.  They never really produced for me last year, but my green peppers did really well albeit a little late.  I joked that I was going to do a couple rows of corn just to send DH over the edge.  He thinks I’m a natural plant killer.  I’ll show him.

I redirected my efforts to an amazing banana bread.  Tucker posted the recipe a few days ago and it got my taste buds working.  I love that it’s made without butter.  I need to find the charger for the camera so I can post pictures.

My lazy weekend is over too soon.  It’s back to work tomorrow.  I’ve been struggling a lot with work lately.  It deserves it’s own post, and I need some time to figure out what I want to say exactly.  I’ve been getting more and more frustrated with where I’m at, but it’s not the job in theory.  I say that, but last Friday I had to sit through someone clipping their toenails on the couch in the magazine area.  Party foul, People!  Anyway, on paper I love this job.  I love my regular patrons.  I love knowing what they like to read, having it ready for them, and our quick conversations once a week.  Sounds great…but so does communism on paper.  Ugh.

You know, what I really need is to win the millions.

Did I Hear You Correctly?

I had someone ask who the author of the Diary of Anne Frank was today.

There are no words…

Suit Of Green

 I was at library training all day today.  I had high hopes.  It sounded fun, and I’ll always take an opprotunity to be away from the office for awhile.  It was hosted by the academic library here on post that works almost exclusively with a career course for soldiers.  It’s a small library, and honestly, it would melt my heart if I could work there.

Anyway, the librarians there kept calling soldiers “green suiters” in the most derogatory way I’ve ever heard.  I have never been more offended.  They aren’t wearing a “green suit.”  It’s a uniform, and they wear it proudly.  These librarians are all civilians, some having worked in military libraries for decades.  I would bet none have military spouses though.  Why look down or belittle your main customer base?

I expected better from people who work on post with soldiers everyday and see how their lifestyle stresses them and their families.  It’s not a catchy nickname, and I immediately had a bad taste in my mouth about the library and the librarians who work there.  Bad form, ladies.

Work Rant

I like my job.  I really do.  I like the unpredictableness of my days.  I like the order of a library.  I tell my husband I can get all my crazy, anal, organizational self tired at work, so when I come home at night I can just me be and enjoy life.  The house can be a mess and so many chores left undone, and it’s ok.  I feel that I’ve put enough in order for  one day that all the less important things at home and wait.  It’s lovely.  I like seeing the regular families come in to visit.  I like seeing their faces when I remember their favorites or to save a book aside for them.  I like seeing displays that I created get picked over because people are interested in the books I’ve set out.  I truly like my job.

As with any job though, there are not fun things about it too.  I barely tolerate the unpredictable hours, the random evenings, the increasingly frequent weekends.  Library life is repetitious.  It’s the same few questions over and over.  It’s not extremely challenging mentally.  Click.  Scan. Repeat.

But I really, really hate my job sometimes.  I hear more about what my co-workers refuse to do in an average day than I see them actually take initiative.  When did this become acceptable work behavior?  I wouldn’t dare say the word refuse to any boss ever.  People refuse to work with each other.  They refuse to do certain tasks.  They refuse to work on specific days.  One guy sleeps.  Another takes regular 2 hour lunches.  Some won’t shelve books.  Others won’t create new patron records.  Some days I just want to scream “either do something or leave because I’m tired of hearing it!”  Get off Facebook.  Get off the phone.  Earn your paycheck.  My immediate supervisor is no better though.  She flat out won’t do certain tasks because they confuse her.  She has pawned off several strictly librarian responsibilities to me because I’m better at them.  I wish my paycheck reflected that then because I don’t make even close to her salary, but it is giving me incredibly valuable experience to put on a resume that I couldn’t get any other way.

I’m so frustrated at feeling like I’m one of two, maybe three people who are trying to keep up professional standards at my workplace.  I can’t do it all, and they’re tearing the place down around me faster than I can pick up after them.  It’s not fair, and I hate saying that, but it isn’t.  We’re supposed to rotate evenings and weekends, but since more and more people are refusing to be flexible, the burden is increasingly falling to a few.  I don’t want to be working so many weekends when DH is home.  I don’t mind doing my share, but I don’t want to be walked all over and abused.  I don’t want to work anywhere where I’m stressed and grumpy all the time.  Life is too short, and I try too hard to create a quality of life during my personal time to throw it away for 40 hours every week.

I hate complaining.  The vast majority of the time, I do love my job.  I have only been here a few months, and I don’t want to be burning out so soon.  I just don’t understand people.  What happened to a work ethic?  And what’s the solution?  Try and be superwoman and carry the burden of library standards all on my shoulders or throw them all out the window and watch my personal respect go with it?  Or can I be granted permission to just smack some sense into people instead?

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