There’s been a bit of upheaval in my life recently, with the promotion and everything, so I’m going to put together a kind of disjointed post here. I still haven’t learned how to segue.
The first thing I want to talk about is the new job! My supervisor and I have been talking about what direction I want to go in here at the library, and I mentioned that I really like the cross-departmental aspects, such as working with eBranch on ereader stuff, attending presentations for new ebook platforms with Tech Services, or helping Circulation on the weekends (incidentally, I recently had my last official weekend in Circulation, barring any last minute emergencies, so that part of my library career is officially over. Mixed feelings about it!) She’s been really responsive and has invited me to a couple of database and collections meetings, and I’ve recently been assigned a massive project involving our print and digital magazines. We’re going to try to find out which of our print magazines actually get read (we have about 240 subscriptions) and if there are any that we should get digital copies of, as well (we’ve only got about 90 Zinio titles). The Zinio catalog hasn’t officially launched yet, though you can find it if you know where to look on our website (Hint: it involves /zinio). So what I’ve done this week is started an Excel database of all the print and digital titles, labeled them with general categories like Fashion or Racing or Dogs, as well as how often each title is published. The Zinio catalog is complete, and since there is a lot of overlap a good chunk of the print titles are done too. The second phase of this database is to work with the Circulation pages, asking them to monitor what they pick up and put away weekly, and then forward the numbers to me to work through. In March, we make a lot of our magazine renewals, so by then I should have some good data to help make decisions. It’s not a perfect system, since patrons may actually put the magazine back when they’re done with them, but it should help in the long run.
Another aspect of the new position is displays. Since my first name is also first alphabetically in the department (B is for Bookaneer) I was picked to go first for our new display shelves next to the new quiet reading room. The only criteria was they have to be non-fiction books, so I decided to make a display of cross-stitching and embroidery books, something that is a hobby of mine. The display turned out great, and I think people have really been interacting with it since I’ve had to fill in a couple holes already!
My lovingly hand-crafted display sign!
I also helped with our large main display which changes monthly. October’s was a combination of Banned Books Week and Halloween: “Don’t be afraid of banned books!” This month’s original plan was to have an old-timey circus strongman holding a huge barbell with the symbols of the Republican and Democratic parties on either side. It was going to read “Exercise Your Right to Vote” (Get it?) but the person who made the lettering locked them in her desk, then went away for several days, and wasn’t going to be back until the day of the election. So we had to think fast and change it! We ended up deciding on just using the word VOTE in big letters, which would be easier to do. I was given the task of making the letters, and decided to set them against contrasting colors. It really gave the display an overall circus look, which we joked was social commentary on the election process as a whole. It turned out pretty good:
The strongman wants you to vote!
Then, after the election, I made an “I” and a “D” at my coworker’s suggestion, and turned it into “I VOTED”:
Look at this post-election display!
So we’re already planning for December, which will be fantasy-related, to coincide with the release of The Hobbit next month. It’s going to be awesome!
One of my favorite things about my new position is getting to answer people’s questions. One great story I have from this past week is about an older gentlemen who came up to the reference desk asking about a mystery writer named McDonald, he said the author wrote about a detective who lived on a houseboat. With a little search engine magic, I found the author he was looking for, and told him that we had several different titles by him at our branch. I showed him where they were, and he looked at me like I was some kind of miracle worker and thanked me profusely. It was so gratifying and perfectly summed up the reason I do what I do.
I’m sure most of you know about NaNoWriMo: National Novel-Writing Month. If you’re unaware, the month of November has become a time to challenge one’s writing skills, and write a whole novel of 50,000 words in just one month. I’m not participating this year (since I never remember about it until the 5th or 6th) but the library is hosting a write-in every Tuesday night for people to come and work on and talk about their novels. I’m always impressed by those who do it, and I hope to be able to read some sweet finished products!
Tomorrow is a big day for the Bookaneer, because I am running in my very first 5K with some great friends, including my pal the Brash Librarian! We’re participating in the Run For Your Lives. I’m kinda nervous, but I think I’m mostly ready. If you had asked me this summer if I would be running a 5K this fall, I would have laughed in your face. But I’m doing it tomorrow, and it’s gonna be great!
I also want to mention that The Bookaneer is on Facebook, as well as Tumblr! I’ll be posting and sharing some shorter bits and anecdotes over there, so make sure you follow me! We’ll have a great time!
So it’s time for me to get to bed, big day tomorrow. Keep bookaneering, crew!