From the catalogs of babes

{June 22, 2010}   the swing of things

Hi all. I’ve been away.

Despite not starting the Ph.D. program until September, I decided to leave my position at my former library at the end of May, and spend my summer vacation break sabbatical finishing some lingering projects as well as doing some traveling. I feel like it’s not often in our lives when we might get such an opportunity to take a few months off with the security that there’s something waiting for us at the end of it.

Despite my intentions otherwise, I’ve so far kind of turned my brain off to cataloging and libraries…I haven’t been reading many articles or following the blogs I usually do or any of that. While it’s nice to have a vacation of sorts, I know I need to get back in the swing of things shortly, or it’ll just be detrimental in the long run.

I wasn’t going to go to ALA, but my sweetie is going for work and I weaseled my way into a last-minute speaking gig there on Sunday. I’ll be part of a panel for the RUSA Catalog Use Committee’s “Lightning Rounds” session on Sunday, June 27, from 4-5:30 p.m. (EMB-Capital A). The theme is “Innovations in Catalog Use” and each presenter will have about 5 minutes to share a tip or innovation that worked (or didn’t!) for their library and catalog. Personally, I’m excited about the format–I think the short presentations combined with the practical tips will make this a really accessible and helpful session, and I hope if you’re at ALA you’ll come by to see it.

Also while I’m shamelessly self-promoting, if you’re going to be at ALA, make sure to check out the quilts up for silent auction at the entrance to the exhibits. I helped work on these, and all proceeds go to fund scholarships.

ALA Wonky Log Cabin front

You know you want to bid on some awesome quilts made by librarians.

Washington DC wasn’t exactly the travel I had in mind when I set out to take a summer vacation (I was thinking more like a month or two in Australia…), but I trust that things work themselves out this way for a reason. I confess it feels a little weird to be attending a conference without a specific library or position to tie it back to–I find myself interested in attending very different sessions than when I was working at the fashion library. I also find myself not quite such a slave driver to make every single remotely relevant session from 7 a.m. until 7 at night…I’m much more motivated to be a tourist this time around. I’ve never been to DC and I’m looking forward to seeing the Nation’s Capitol and the Smithsonian and all that good stuff.

So if you’re in DC for ALA, I hope you’ll say “hi!” and help me get back in the swing of things.

For those that haven’t heard, the Louisville Free Public Library (home of Greg Schwartz, creator and host of the Uncontrolled Vocabulary podcast) suffered serious and irreparable damage due to flash flooding.

While all stories like this break my heart, the flood following so closely on the heels of the Libraries Are Free But Books Aren’t book drive really hurts.

If you have a bit to spare, please consider helping out. A disaster recovery fund has been established; you can mail a check to:
The Library Foundation
301 York Street
Louisville, KY 40203

Or you can pay into a collection organized by Steve Lawson.

I may get upset about the dysfunctionality of our catalog, but at least ours isn’t served on a computer buried under 4 feet of water.

I’m superceding today’s rant to bring you public service announcement: we have an open position at our library in Los Angeleswe need to fill, and I have a strange hope that someone reading this blog might be interested. Full disclaimer: it’s a paraprofessional position, not a professional librarian job, but it’s a decent job, working with magazines and other serials.

In today’s economic climate jobs can be hard to find. I keep reading everywhere about library closures and layoffs. I’m constantly surprised at how little our school seems to be affected by such recessions (knock on wood). Here we are, a private trade school for the fashion industry–you’d think that people would be hesitant to spend such a large amount of money on tuition for a degree that may or may not be of any actual benefit in an industry that by its very nature seems so frivolous that it should be on of the first things people stop supporting, rather than the last. Yet I’ve been here 3 years and enrollment has done nothing but rise. I sometimes worry that it’s merely a delayed reaction, and we’ll take the full brunt of this hit a few years down the line. But part of me wonders if the reason people support and strive to study fashion isn’t so much the logical progression of degree–>job, but rather a dream, a fantasy, and that’s something that can never die.

I won’t lie–we’re a crazy sort of dysfunctional family in our library, with a unique set of characteristics in our patrons that I’ve yet to encounter all together anywhere else. The pay ain’t spectacular–find me a library where it is (and maybe I’ll apply there, ha!)–but it’s decent, and there are lots of other unoffical benefits. And heck, it’s a job, which is more than some people have these days.  I’m not in charge of hiring for this position, but I’d love to have someone with some bit of cataloging background; doesn’t have to be a lot. Library science students are definitely encouraged to apply.

If you’re seriously interested, please send your resume and a cover letter to the email address in the link. Feel free to say you saw it posted here.

et cetera