Fellow Bloggers

One of my job duties at work is to create bibliographies of sources that students can use when researching (mostly different battles).  I was working on a recent battle from 2009 in Afghanistan, and obviously there’s not a ton out there yet since it was so recent.  Surprisingly, the most valuable sources of information were mil bloggers who were present during the attack.

I was super excited!  This community is fantastic, and I’m so proud and in awe of the great things we can accomplish scattered around the world in constant transit.  I loved seeing  social media used for something positive rather than only hearing about yet another OPSEC violation on Facebook.

It also got me thinking of how it’s changing scholarship.  I wasn’t quite sure how to cite a blogger, especially an anonymous one.  Anonymity sort of goes against the core of historical research, and blogging is so informal that in my gut I don’t feel like it’s a trustworthy source.  Yet what is more accurate and valuable to the historical record than a person writing exactly where they were, what they thought, and what they felt while getting attacked by RPGs?

I’m so conflicted yet so excited for being apart of this change as a blogger but, more importantly, as a scholar.  Geeze, I’m such a nerd.

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?

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.

Hot And Colds

The in-laws just left this morning, and the hubs and I are glued to the couch sick.  It’s been a busy week.

There’s been no air conditioning at work for over a week and a half, and the summer reading program for kids just started.  It’s like a race between me and three hundred kids to see who can get the crankiest the fastest.

I’ve been wrestling with TriCare on getting a referral for a therapist.  As always, the referral process is cumbersome and slow, but you know, I will be going to a person eventually.  A friend of mine pays out of pocket for her therapist, and I hate hearing her struggle with her mental health versus the cost of care.  It shouldn’t be a factor, and it makes me so thankful for my frustrating, stupid TriCare referral system.  I originally wanted to talk more about that now, but this cold is taking over.

DH surprised me by coming home a couple days early, which was lovely and unexpected.  I don’t know about you, but after a long absence when the phone calls start to drop off, I sometimes daydream that he can’t answer his phone because he’s on a plane coming to see me.  Now that he’s actually delivered once, my daydreams are going to go wild.  Speaking of absences, we got notice for the next deployment.  Boo.

Now back to my kleenex box.  At least there’s AC at home.

Important Quickie

I haven’t gone missing.  Just busy.  It’s work and more work.  We lost two people at work, so the rest of us have been picking up the slack.  Is it just me or have the weekends gotten shorter?  There might be hope on the horizon.  I found a pretty cool job, maybe even two that I would really enjoy, so there might be changes on that front.  The hiring process for federal jobs takes so long and there are so many applicants.  I’m confident that I’m awesome enough for either, and I’m trying hard to stay positive.

One thing that is really helping is that  Me and My Soldier Man is giving away a Target gift card.  This may be the coolest giveaway get.  And I just got done telling DH how I needed shoes…

I have a couple book posts in the works and I’m working on finding a few minutes to write something of significance.  Soon.

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.

Cruel And Unusual Punishment

If you didn’t know already, February is Black History Month, and the librarians at work decided to do a display.  This year has a theme (I didn’t know it was a themed event in the past, but anywhoo…) of the Civil War I’m assuming because of the sesquicentennial (150 yrs, people).

One of the librarians had a Civil War uniform, belt, and ammo pouch, which she kept calling his purse, that she was going to display along with the books she had pulled.

She pulled the FOLDED uniform out of a CARDBOARD BOX.  The leather belt and ammo pouch came out from UNDERNEATH a mannequin.  I could not believe what I was seeing.  Her and another librarian decided to put it in full view of the  WALL OF WINDOWS and SLIDING DOOR.  And it’s freaking raining!!

It hurt to see these objects treated like that.  They were putting the hats ON THEIR OWN HEADS after taking them out of ordinary PLASTIC shopping bags.  There were no padded hangers.  There were no cotton gloves.  There wasn’t acid free tissue or acid free boxes anywhere.  It was a horrible, horrible sight.

They put the uniform on the mannequin and attempted to put the belt on as well.  It was too big for the mannequin (as they usually are), so they tried to ADJUST IT!  That’s like the quickest way to rip and destroy fragile leather, which looses its suppleness as it ages and dries out.  When that didn’t work, THEY TOOK TAPE AND TAPED IT TO THE UNIFORM instead of padding the mannequin out to support the belt!!!

I got up and walked away.  I couldn’t watch them destroy those pieces.  It turns out the items were loaned from a local museum.  I was shocked.  Either the museum has no funding or no professional staff with any shred of professional ethics/common sense, but I couldn’t be there to find out.  I’m scarred for life.

I Blame The Clock

I’m usually running about three minutes late for work, which wouldn’t be such a big deal except I live like two and a half minutes away from work.  So when I saw the frost on the car windows this morning, my heart sank.  I put the defroster on high and sat for a second.  Then I saw several of my neighbors in their cars doing the same thing.  I couldn’t sit and watch the clock tick over to 8 without even trying.  I dug around until I found a credit card and scraped like the wind.  I was on my way to work in no time and feeling superior to these wimpy Southerners who didn’t know what to do with frost on their windows.

Then I got stuck waiting for what seemed like every last basic trainee to disembark a bus and cross the street.  I could see my work building from where I was waiting.  I also could see the clock tick over 8:10.  My forehead hit steering wheel right about then.

Guess I’ll try to make it on time again tomorrow.

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