Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Still feeling "NEW" on the job

The strategic planning session is over. It ran over two days - the first day with all stakeholders present and the second with just our team. We brainstormed our vision & mission statements and nailed our values. SP is a great way to learn more about your organization (both the past and future) especially if you are new to your job.

I have been told it will take me 2 years to comfortably settle into my job - that is how complicated it is :) So it was good to clarify some things in this session and set achievable future goals.

Just when I thought I can relax, Computers in Libraries contacted me to see if I would be interested in writing up my presentation for them. I couldn't say no, could I? Thanks to my co-presenter who agreed to write up his part on such short notice too.

I am still looking for those minority leadership articles.......

Monday, October 18, 2010

Australians, Americans and librarians from UK

I see hits from these regions so I know someone from these areas is reading. If you are a librarian I would be really interested in a conversation about minority librarians in your country.

Leadership and Minorities

I am working on this subject right now. There is plenty of information on leadership and there is a lot on minorities - their psychology, behaviour, etc, but not much on the two of them together. This is probably a good thing too. But if you know of any I am all ears.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Strategic Planning for your library

I am involved in strategic planning for my organization. I haven't sat in any planning committee before. So if you are like me and want to know how to go about strategic planning, there are plethora of books out there in amazon and just about any library. There is also a course on strategic planning offered by Medical Libraries Association. Its focus is for medical librarians, but I am sure anyone can get pointers from this course for any library.

Here is another webpage with many articles on strategic planning for different libraries

If you know of any let me know and I'll post it here.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Governor General

One perk about being in an academic setting - you get to meet big shots. Our Governor General Michaelle Jean was on a tour of the province and she stopped by for a visit on campus. Of course I had to go even though I had a busy day of meetings. She was on time and from her body language and speech, she seemed like a very warm, friendly person.

One of our colleagues had a chance to talk to her. Her Excellency was talking to a student and my colleague who happens to know this student really well asked her to tell him not to smoke anymore. Her Excellency obliged by expressing shock that he was smoking and asked him to quit asap - very politely of course. I thought that was a nice touch - a motherly side of her.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

New Job at University

It'll be a month (tomorrow) since I started this new job and it is time to write. I love challenges and so I like my new job. It is very, very, very different from anything else I have done in a library but I would like to think I'll do well.

I don't have to sit at the reference desk or answer reference questions onlinephone. I don't teach, at least not yet. I don't have to worry about circulation. I had plenty of that at the public library which kept this blog amusing, at the very least, entertaining. Now I deal with vendors and negotiations. Most of my day is spent talking about access issues (or just questions I have), filing away renewal notices, journal vouchers, bills, receipts, invoices, etc; making sure the right invoices get to the right people, everything on the excel sheet balances and can be accounted for and some more.

Since I have only been here for a month, a lot of my time has been spent meeting people and undergoing training sessions which I hope will wind down soon. Then I get to travel, first within the city and then outside - doing displays and promotions - and in spring I can choose to fly away to a conference some where.

Between these two I will be involved in some strategic planning. I am really looking forward to that too. Got to go find some books on that subject so I don't look too dumb while in action.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Conspiracy Theory

This was sent to me by a colleague and it happened over the phone:

Patron: Hello
Coll: Hello, how may I help you?
Patron: There was oil spill in the gulf.
Coll: Yes
Patron: Then there was earthquake in Ottawa.
Coll: Yes
Patron: Is there a connection?
Coll: Um...
Patron: Look at a map and you will find a direct line running from Gulf to the East of Canada.
Coll: Okay!?
Patron: There is a connection.
Coll: I don't know.
Patron: Do you have a geologist on board?
Coll: This is a public library.
Patron: And you don't have a geologist on board?
Coll: No.
Patron: Thanks. (Hangs up)

We don't have enough librairans. Whatever makes patrons think we have subject specialists hanging around to help, I will never know.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

New Job

I haven't posted anything recently because I've been busy. I am starting a new job and will be moving into academia next month. Not sure what I'll post since there won't be public patrons.

I hope there is something for me to ramble about.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Mug Shot ID?

You won't believe what I got for ID today to log a patron on to the computers. His mugshot printed from the City's police website. Ha! Never a dull day.

It has his picture, his build, his eye colour, hair colour....etc. And it is probably as official an ID as far as ID's go.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Can you type?

Patron: Can you type?
Me: Yes.
Patron: I want a couple of pages typed.
Me: Sorry we don't offer that kind of service.
Patron: Why not?
Me: We are not in that business.
Patron: Well, I need this typed.
Me: I can set you up on a computer and you are welcome to type it. How many pages do you have?
Patron: Two. I am not good at typing.
Me: You will have an hour on the computer. That should be enough to type two pages.
Patron: Book me a computer for tomorrow.
Me: Sure.

Just glad this conversation didn't end up in an argument about what sort of services we should offer.

Friday, April 23, 2010


Patron: Do you know where you keep your cookbooks?
Me: (Of course) I do. And walk to the shelves to show him.

Monday, April 12, 2010

My Email from Your Computer?

(Over the phone)

Patron: I want to use your computer.
Me: Sure. Do you want me to book a time for you?
Patron: My computer at home is dead and unplugged. Can I get my email from your computer?
Me: You want to use our computer to access your email, right?
Patron: Well, I want to get my email.
Me: Right. You can use our computers to read your email.
Patron: But my computer is dead.
Me: You said you wanted to use OUR computer.
Patron: Yeah, can I compute my email on your computer.
Me: (Trying to clarify again) You want to use one of our computers to read or send an email. Is that what you are asking me?
Patron: Yeah, but my computer is dead. Will my email work on YOUR computer?
Me: Oh yes! You can access your email from any computer (confirmed her email was universally available).
Patron: Okay, so I can read my email on your computer even though my computer at home is dead. right.
Me: Right.
Patron: Thanks. I will come in and use the computer.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Author in the Rye??

Patron (young female): Do you have Author in the Rye...?
Me: Author in the Rye or Catcher in the Rye?
Patron: Oh, Maybe. It is a famous book.
Me: That would be Catcher in the Rye.
Patron: (shyly) Thanks.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Slow Cooker Recipes

Patron: (pointing to the public computers) Can I hit this button and get slow cooker recipes?
Me: What are you looking for? Books with recipes or something from the Internet?
Patron: I just want a recipe to take home with me!!
Me: Elaborating on my earlier question - would you like a book to take home or are you looking for something to be printed out.
Patron: Can you just show me how to use this?
Me: (Trying to explain how to use "this") you can check our catalogue (our home page is the catalogue) or you can find something on Google.
Patron: No, no. Just get me something printed.
Me: Do you have a certain recipe in mind or a favourite website for slow cooker recipes?
Patron: No.
Me: Just Google for something and ask him if he wants this printed.
Patron: Yes. Do I have to pay for this?
Me: Yes. 10 cents please.

Patron leaves.
Me: Left wondering about my reference interview skills!!!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Another Step Forward - Or Is It?

I just watched a video on Augmented Reality on the Common Craft Blog - a blog I follow regularly. This video got me thinking. With Google, people decided they didn't need libraries or librarians. With this, what will they say?

We as librarians know that the general mass doesn't know how to search efficiently or effectively, but.....hmmm.... they think they do.

But, what is the need for so much information anyway. These gadgets take away the decision making ability, the joy of looking up information, the adventure of venturing out, from us. Will the younger generation understand that? Or will they let their gadgets make decisions for them? How long will it be before you can point your glasses at a human being to decide weather he/she is your soul-mate (I hate that word).

I'm just another librarian rambling.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Education or Experience?

Patron wearing yellow tinted glasses and hooded jacket: When does the University close?
Me (no glasses or hood): For the day, for the semester or the year?
Patron: No, when does one finish University?
Me: Oh, a degree? It depends - could be 4 years or 6 years or longer.
Patron: Oh! (goes away)

3 minutes later:

Same Patron: Is education important?
Me: That is a very broad question and philosophical. Do you have a specific question about education? (remember he is hooded and has tinted glass - so I can't see much of him)
Patron: What about you? Was education important?
Me: Me, personally? Yes it was.
Patron: What about experience?
Me: Education adds more value to your experience and/or vice versa, atleast for me personally.
Patron: Oh, okay! (and walks away)

A few minutes later:

Same patron: I want to write an exam to show I would qualify for a degree.
Me: (not finding anything immediately) I'll give you the University's number and another College's number. Talk to people there.
Patron: (Reading what I wrote). What is this?
Me: That is the name of the University?
Patron: Is it here? In town?
Me: Yes.
Patron: Really?
Me: Really!
Patron: Hmmm... (and walks away)

Me: What was that all about??????? Was he serious? Was he testing me?

An Act or At

Patron: It won't give me an Act!!
Me: An Act! What Act are you looking for? (as in law)
Patron: It just won't give me an Act!!
Me: Was someone else help you find something? Can you tell me more?
Patron: I am on the computer typing my yahoo email ID. And I can't type the @ sign.
Me: Oh an "at." Let me come and help you.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Do you work here?

I was sitting behind the desk, reading a work email. A patron comes to the desk and asks:

Patron: Hi, do you work here?
Me: Yes (screaming in my head: Of course! I am sitting behind the desk!)
Patron: Where are the card catalogs?
Me: Uh! We don't use those anymore.
Patron: Where do I search for books then?
Me: I will show you how to use our online catalog.
Patron: Alright! (sigh).

But still a sport and comes with me to the computer and spends 15 minutes finding his way around. I thought that was nice.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Do I need a card?

Patron: Do I need a library card to take stuff out of the library?

Me: Yes.

Patron: It's probably a dumb question eh?

Me: No. Not at all.

Patron: I can't believe I have to sign up for a card. Can I take it just once without a card?

Me: No. You cannot.

Patron: Urgh....

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What more will they ask of us?

A patron called from home. He is having email issues and wanted a favour. Could I go into his email account from the library and let him know if there are any emails from potential employers? Don't read the mail, just check if there is a mail, he says.

I had to say: NO sorry, we cannot do that. You are welcome to come into any of our branches and use the computers. We are open till 9 p.m.

He hung up on me! He'll probably come marching in later to yell at one of us for not helping him.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Where is Carly?

It was a steady Saturday and this is the conversation I had with my patron

P: "Where is Carly?"
Me: "I don't know. Who is Carly?"
P: "Your Library."
Me: Carly works here?
P:"No. It is another of your library."
Me: Oh! (still not connecting the dots)
P: "It is a branch."
Me:"You mean Carlyle King, our branch?"
P: "Yes."
Me: "Here is the address and map of how to get there."
P: "Thank you."