Tag Archives: library

Two Great Loves

From the Spring 2010 "Northern Now" alumni magazine



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Library Blues

Some time in the middle of the past summer I had a phone interview with a big-shot new england university library.  They were in the middle of opening an Information Commons (a bookless library for you non-library types) and were hiring a recent graduate to head the department.  They were looking for someone energetic and computer & web savvy.   I was so excited to have the opportunity just to talk to them (they’re that cool)–let alone get an interview.

I studied their school and memorized my CV for hours.  And when the interview came I totally bombed it.  I sounded like a broken record, repeating the same concept no matter how many different ways they phrased their questions.

And I knew when I hung up that it was the last time I’d hear from them.

Disappointed in myself, I held my chin high and laughed it off and remembered that “God always has a plan.”

And really, God came through.  I’ve got this amazing position that keeps me plenty busy.  Although “Library 2.0” certainly wasn’t in my job description, I’m implementing what I know, and have great confidence in what I’m doing here.  This job also kept us close to both of my families and made planning a wedding the slightest bit easier because I didn’t have to do it from across the country.  I certainly don’t envy my friend who aren’t able to talk their mom into coming to lunch with them when they’re having a bad day–a slightly more difficult endeavor when it involves a plane flight.

But something has been haunting me about this the last few days.  I would have been great at that hot-shot library.  I have so much to offer.  I would have been a rock-star adjunct at their Library School.  I ached to move across the country and start a new adventure.

I’m just not sure how to let it go.

And so it goes.


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It has nothing to do with a paycheck. It is because we like you.

from the designers at fearless-future.com for the American University Library

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Poland, place of rest

I’ve been asked to comment on my travels abroad. So here it is. Sorry for the delay Mr. Parkinson.

First of all, why Poland?
Well, my friend Elizabeth had been suggesting I come visit her in Paris for a number of months. But as the year went on time and money began to dwindle and I’d brushed it off. Unfortunately, after sitting around with my parents and a bottle of wine (a bottle? make that 2) sometime back in the spring I started to get the travel bug. Liz said, “pick the place. I’ll meet you there.” Poland: relatively inexpensive, holy, and wouldn’t be mobbed by beach-crazed Americans. Poland it was.

I arrived a few hours late and was met at the airport by my friend Jake, who I’d met a few months earlier in Pennsylvania at the Theology of the Body course. He was a bit confused as to where my luggage was–as was I. Amsterdam, supposedly. My layover there had been interesting, it was the one place in the world where my limited Dutch skillz came in handy. Everything was also in English as well, so really, Dutch continues to be a useless language. Lekker!

I met the travel-weary Elizabeth at the hostel and we spent the evening eating perogies in Old Town Warsaw.

After our visit with the very helpful reference librarian, we took a few moments to show our apreciation.

Day 2 we ventured to the library to attempt to find out where Liz would go to do family research. The reference librarian was VERY helpful, despite the old school computer catalogs and our lack of Polish.

Still not quite sure what this cake actually was...we dedcided coconut and goodness.

The afternoons (this one being no exception) were often spent going to mass and having a cappuccino. Jake drove us to Krakow via Częstochowa–in which lies the Black Madonna and Polish National Shrine. This place is a big deal, but I felt completely stupid as I 1) don’t speak Polish and 2) don’t really know anything about the Black Madonna. But, I was able to stand about 20 feet from her for mass–which I presume has some sort of special graces attached to it.

Day 3 was spent milling around the Old Town of Krakow. Eating the usual picnic lunch (large pretzel looking things, cheese, fruit), shopping and mass. On this particular day I made friends with the cute security guard at the Cathedral, who snuck me into the sanctuary for free to pray before mass. It is a good thing he didn’t ask for my number because my grandma made it very clear I was not to fall in love with a Polish boy and get married. Whew. Close call.

Day 5. Sunday. Papal Tour.
Jake had told us to catch a train to Wadowice, birth place of Karol Wojtyla, and on the route back we’d also be able to stop at the convent of St. Faustina. So Liz and I ventured to the train station about 40 minutes before the scheduled departure (the train station was across the street). Despite our best efforts at Polish and pointing at the printed email from Jake, the ticket ladies kept telling us to go “Hall” “down there” “left!” After about 5 tries to buy tickets we were eventually brought to a tiny office where we bought official PAPAL TRAIN tickets. And once on the platform this disneyworld ride pulled up:

more to come..


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Another use of Zotero

Dear Non-Library Nerds,

You can stop reading now.


This Girl

I started using Zotero to manage my documents for class.  Although this bibliographic tool (it stores documents, allows you to add notes and tags, inserts citations into your Word document, and then builds a bibliography based upon the documents you use–all built seamlessly within the Firefox browser) is geared more toward the end-product of a research paper, I was thinking that it might be beneficial for class.  I spend a good portion of my time finding, printing, and then sorting through journal articles.  This semester I thought perhaps I’d try to read them from my computer screen (omystars I’m becoming a less tactile person?!  2.0!) and keep my comments in a Word document.  It still seemed a bit messy to me–too many steps, too many folders to create and sort through. Although there is probably a way the Word or Pages allows you to hyperlink remote files I was feeling too stubborn to find out.

So I turned to Zotero, who would allow me to “capture” the article, add notes, and retrieve articles by class date or keyword.  Brilliant.  I’ll just have to be sure to stay off Adium (or GoogleChat) and on task during class…

The only downside is that this is all hosted from within my Mac.  Meaning, if I’m away from my computer I’ll have to be sure to capture the articles and notes later.  Internet hosting verses isolated desktop hosting–an interesting conundrum that I’ve experienced both sides of recently.  But the RefWorks v. Zotero discussion is a topic for another day.


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You know you’re not actually a librarian, right?

When I worked at a library in college I sometimes called myself a “librarian” just to make it easier when I explained my job to others.  Somewhere along the way I stopped that practice because I began to recognize that it was kind of like calling myself a doctor when I was just a candy-striper.   And now, as a library science student I continue to struggle with the term.  Although I’m still a year away from my degree that certifies me as such, I have still been working to use the term “grad assistant” or “pseudo-librarian.”

But then I realized while watching Scrubs (as all good revelations come while watching Scrubs) that all the med-students on the show call themselves doctors, despite the fact they’re still in school.  This made me wonder if, as a person with six years of library experience and currently works in the field, could I, too, proclaim the title of librarian–or should it be saved for all its glory until after I graduate?


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Keep on keep’n on

I’ve been rather MIA since leaving Champaign last weekend (or, since March, really).  You’d think that ending classes would have positively impact a person’s schedule, but I’ve been working on putting my ideas together for a poster presentation at LOEX tomorrow.  My room is currently in shambles–piles from the semester, last week’s trip to Champaign, and the shopping trips I’ve made to update my shoe collection.  And if you know me at all you’ll know that this means I’ve been rather busy.

Next week I’ll be without classes or presentations.  I’ll working downtown and enjoying the joy of warm weather and the anticipation of the Holy Spirit’s decent upon the earth–sorry…I can get a little to Catholic sometimes.

New suit on.  Poster prepped.  Handouts made. Resumes printed.  Nerdy/chic librarian glasses.  Good to go.

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