November Update from Your Multitasking Alchemist

The leaves fall, the temperature drops, and the days between blogging pass like a dream.  It’s still very busy in my world, but I thought I’d take a few moments to briefly discuss what “busy” means this month.

It’s database renewal season, so I’m busy crafting an agenda for tomorrow’s meeting.  Quite a lot to discuss on a conceptual level too, as we’re considering expanding the committee’s charge to promotion and instruction.  If we’re really feeling ambitious, we might explore the possibility of having an e-resources committee that would cover e-audio and video formats, and expand membership to include stakeholders in those areas.  All up in the air, of course.

I’m currently at the refdesk.  Best question this evening so far, and a chance to practice explaining technology, involved blogging and live blogging.  The patron heard it discussed on TV, and called in because he didn’t know what those concepts meant.  This comforts me, that even in matters technological, some folks still turn to the library first.

Only one serious callback on the plate, but it’s a doozy.  The magazine writer who was impressed with our collective due diligence on the Robert Frost quote is back with more quotes.  Another Frost, a Vincent Lombardi, a random economist, etc.  Tracing quotation provenance is my favorite kind of question, but don’t tell the other librarians, or they’ll make me share.  Hee.

There are a lot of ordering tools on the table this week, so I think that will be tomorrow’s major endeavor.  There’s an Ingram Advance for next week, too, so I’d like to get a jump on that.  Friday is my next turn in the Eleventh Stack rotation, so I want to make sure that’s of the same high caliber our readers have come to expect.

In professional development news, I’m fussily revising my PaLA presentation and slides. Perfectionism can be a two-edged sword. Luckily, I really enjoy giving presentations and don’t get too nervous – after all, sharing with peers is good, and I appreciate the chance to talk about what my peers and I are trying over here. Tame the Web discussed presentations recently, and I found it a good, reassuring reminder of what’s important.

I’m also greedily devouring various bloggy dispatches from Internet Librarian via my newsreader. Since not everybody can go to every conference, the blogs and embedded presentations are invaluable. If I can ever make time to sit down and watch all that video, and read all that copy, I will gladly share the highlights!

Tweeting tonight’s shift, at intervals. I Tweet rarely, because there’s so much to do. There will always be more work to do, and I tend to work as if my hair is on fire. It is, however, a labor of love. There’s nothing like working in a public library. Nothing. Others might disagree, but then again, everyone has their niche in library world, which is what makes it great.

I think, to be a good public librarian, you have to love people, even when they are not very likeable. Last night I spent two hours on one transaction, and somewhere in the middle of that long conversation, I lost a contact lens. It was one of those moments that tries your soul, and makes you wonder if you really went to graduate school for this. I went home, put on my glasses, and briefly contemplated applying to the Peace Corps.

But the next day, when I came in, I learned that my colleagues had found my contact lens when I could not (being, after all, quite the blind). They rescued it, soaked it in their own saline, and stored it in an extra case they just happened to have handy. And one lovely, leafy printout from the color printer was on my desk, an extra left behind by that same patron I’d been helping. It’s a picture of a path leading into the woods, green and inviting, beckoning us on to goodness knows where.

And that, in a nutshell, is public library service: you make your way down the path as best you can, never knowing what will happen next, and sometimes tested by obstacles. But you are never alone on your journey, and there is always something lovely hidden around the next bend to remind you why you started off on the journey in the first place.

Until next month, probably, I remain….

LAV, library alchemist!

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