From the catalogs of babes











{July 14, 2010}   post-ALA travel

After ALA was over, my sweetie and I decided to visit New York for a few days, since we were over on the east coast and all, and since I had never been. Of course we made the obligatory stop at the New York Public Library.

me making a thumbs-up in front of the NYPL lions

Here I am, showing what I think about libraries.

Of course the library is overwhelmingly beautiful, with all that old-fashioned library reverence and ambiance of Serious Library Building. But when I found this room (after getting lost several times looking for the bathroom), I was blown away:

Catalog Room

from askpang, on Flickr

It’s the Bill Blass Public Catalog Room at NYPL. Imagine: a whole room, devoted to the catalog! There are so many things about this that just make my heart sing:

1. A whole room dedicated to the library catalog(s). Not just OPACs, but all the general and specialty print catalogs constructed over the years. All in one place. The fact that the catalog(s) are given their own room accords them importance in my eyes, and makes me think that the library sees them similarly.

2. This is where you start your search. This is where the reference desk is. It’s obvious that if you’re looking for something, this is the place to go, the place to be. I like the fact that reference service is but one of the many tools offered in the catalog room; that the room offers many different ways to help people with their quest.

3. The fact that it’s not just called the “catalog room,” but the “public catalog room.” I love that such a title expresses and encourages availability and access to all.

I know most libraries don’t have the dedicated space it would take for a catalog room; such a cordoning off at most places might likely actually have the opposite effect and deter public use, especially if the size were very small, or if it were off in some obscure location. And I still advocate for catalog access everywhere–in the stacks, at desks, on mobile phones and other interfaces–rather than containing and limiting it to one central space. But I still can’t help but appreciate the value accorded to the catalog through NYPL’s strategy. Thumbs up to that.



{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.



et cetera