Lost In Migration

I was going to say that I’ve been MIA but felt that would be disrespectful of the real MIA‘s from our military and others around the world.  So I thought a nod to the Scarlet Johansson-Bill Murray movie was a better title.

Life has gotten in the way of my blog.  Once things settle back down I will hopefully resume a more regular schedule.  So what’s keeping me so busy?  One word – Polaris!  We are in the midst of migrating from our current Sirsi-Dynix ILS (Horizon) to Polaris.  I’ve been given a great opportunity to coordinate all the training for over 240 FT and PT plus all the on-call staff.  This means fitting all these people into 3 rounds of training in less than two months.  This comes at one of the busiest times of the year for our library – just before Summer Reader!  Children’s staff will be book promoting in the schools, then sign up of kids and summer reader begins about a month before we go live.  I have to thank everyone who has been so flexible and understanding – we have a great library staff.

I’m enjoying the challenge and it wouldn’t be possible without Rachel Rappaport’s guidance.  She is our training coordinator but she is about to have her hands really full with her latest project – a baby boy (she is due the end of this month)!  Congrats ahead of time to Rachel and Jonathan – don’t worry about us just enjoy your new bundle of joy.

So if nothing new is posted here for awhile you’ll understand why.  I will be attending Computers in Libraries 2010 this year and I will be blogging from there but after that it will be back to all Polaris all the time.

Thanks for hanging in there with me.

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Use Me, Abuse Me, Make Me Test Your Web Site

Day 4 of Library Day in the Life project

Not the best day of the week – I woke up at 2am with a nose that suddenly turned into a faucet.  Not a dripping one but one that was on full force.  So not to wake hubby I took my tissue box and myself nose into the computer room.  Blow, blow, wipe, blow, wipe…..went on for about an hour.  I have no idea what caused that.  Finally took some allergy medicine but by then my nose was as red as poor ol’ Rudolph.

Did all the normal morning stuff to get ready and out the door.

Get to the library.  Checked in with Foursquare, yep still the Mayor of Central 🙂

Unlocked the office door and did my morning routine of swapping out the tapes for Horizon and Authority Works and unforwarding the phone.

Caffeine was a must today.  Went down to the vending machine in the staff lounge (on the hopes they had filled it) only to find they had not.  So over to the expensive vending machines in the lobby.

Back upstairs with 2 Diet Cokes to fortify me I booted up my Ubuntu and Windows machines.  Fired up Tweetdeck, Thunderbird and Firefox on the Ubuntu machine and Horizon on the Windows machines.

Moved a bunch of photos I had taken over to my Dropbox account.  Love me some Dropbox!

Noticed that one staff member had found the new staff Intranet and had registered for an account there.  She had recently left so I deleted her account on the new Intranet which wasn’t really up and working yet.

Decided to tackle my Inbox a bit.  Noticed I had an email that I remember entering as a helpdesk ticket.  It drove me  nuts – I couldn’t find the helpdesk ticket and I didn’t want to delete the email until I knew it was recorded somewhere.  Finally figured out that I hadn’t use the subject line I thought I had – deleted email (along with a bunch of others).  I tend to use my Inbox as my to-do list.

Sent two emails to OverDrive support regarding two helpdesk tickets that had been assigned to me.  I still find this such bad customer service – customer has problem – has to fill out form on OverDrive site – which then gets sent to someone here in MD – then they forward onto us – then staff here enter into helpdesk – I then get it assigned to me – I contact OverDrive – they write back – I write customer – usually problem is solved.  But the path it takes and the time it takes is just so wasteful.  I must admit their support team is pretty helpful but still this path is not the best way to serve our customers.

Logged into my blog and wrote post for yesterday’s fun filled day.

Our network admin came and showed me one of our old colleague’s, Mike Ricksecker, latest endeavor – Ghosts of Maryland.   He was so sweet – he named each of the IT members in his acknowledgement section.  Gotta buy me a copy and visit all the cool sites he documented.

Sadly removed my old boss’ photo from our Intranet and put it in the “Gone but Not Forgotten” section of our gallery.

Edited more of the photos I had taken with Julian in regards to the scan feature on the copiers.

Took a call from our PR dept. regarding a change on the web site.  Made the necessary change.  While on the phone we also established that I would be listed as the donor of my services so I would actually appear as a donor on the web site. I’m being auctioned off (silently at our fundraiser Evening in the Stacks) as a social web/Intranet consultant.  Hope someone takes me up on the offer and raises money for the library.

Our ILL dept. submitted a helpdesk ticket regarding an system error when trying to print the pick list in Marina.  Did a little digging and called Enoch Pratt since they are the first point of contact.

Ah the first usability test of the day – drove to our East Columbia branch.  Went very well.

Quickly grabbed some lunch.

Then downstairs to Customer Service for the second test of the day.  Again good feedback.

Came back upstairs and made a few tweaks to the new Intranet.

Then we drove over to our Miller branch for the third test of the day.  She was a ringer – got everything right off the bat and quick too!

Came back to Central.  Responded to a customer via email about their OverDrive problem.

Called Pratt again and got some more information about the problem with printing and ILL.  They will have to contact SirsiDynix.

Linked new blogger to the Contributors page on our blog, Highly Recommended.

Answered a staff member’s question about screen savers.

Started to make some changes to the MAILL (Maryland InterLibrary Loan) web site.

Played telephone tag with our HR dept. all day – tried one more time, she is now it.  (every time she called me I was on the phone – every time I called her she had stepped out of her office – maybe tomorrow?)

Home to crash – I NEED SLEEP!

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White Houses of Wilde Lake

Day 3 of Library Day in the Life

I got to work plenty early so I decided to swing by Wilde Lake to see if I could snap a few shots.  The white houses along the lake front caught my eye and I liked their reflection.  I try to participate in Momentile each day so this was my ‘Tile of the day yesterday.  After about 15 mins. I was sufficiently frozen so I hopped back in my car and drive down the street to the library.

Realized when I pulled into the parking lot that Wilde Lake was a venue in Foursquare so I cheated a little and checked in (well I had been there – have the photographic proof).  I waited until I got in the building to check in as the Mayor of Howard County Central Library.

Unlocked the elevator and office door.  Unforwarded the helpdesk phone and swapped out the tapes on both the Horizon and Authority Work servers.

Gave into the Diet Coke addiction once again but alas the staff lounge soda machine was out.  So I had to run back upstairs and get my keys so I could unlock the front grate and get some from the vending machine in the lobby.

Back to my desk – booted up both my Ubuntu and Windows machines.  Per usual opened Tweetdeck, Thunderbird and Firefox on the Ubuntu machine.  Checked our helpdesk tickets on the Staff Intranet and assigned it to one of my co-workers.

Had realized on the drive in this morning that our interim boss wasn’t part of the IT alias so I made sure to add her to it so she could be on top of things.

Checked my Gmail and approved a comment for my blog so while I was in there I blogged about Tuesday.

Noticed that my Windows machine needed a java update so I let that run.

Registered for a Zemanta account and updated my preferences on my blog.  I really have to thank John LeMasney for introducing me to Zemanta.  I love how it finds Creative Commons only images so I can put them in my blog.  I go back and comment on that person’s Flickr account thanking them for using creative commons license and letting them know I used their image for a blog post.

Got a call on the helpdesk line that one of the new info desk computers wasn’t working.  It was flashing red instead of having a solid green light.  Wasn’t booting up to the desktop.  Don’t know why it was doing this because when I went out there I turned it off – counted to 10 turned it back on and it booted up fine.  Guess we’ll have to keep an eye on it.

Edited and uploaded the above picture to Momentile.

Had a short but interesting conversation via Twitter with @librarianbyday and @GMLGeek about using Foursquare in libraries.  I had sent info about Foursquare to our PR dept as well as the Teen Programmer (thought it could be a fun tool to use with Summer Reader at some point).

Checked in my overdue (*bad library worker*) items via Horizon.  Checked out reserve that had come in for me via Marina (our statewide ILL system).

Ran an errand (the bank) across the street and of course checked in via Foursquare.

Updated the usability testing sheets to reflect the changes I had made at the end of the previous day to our new Staff Intranet.

Worked with @Julian2 capturing photos of the scan feature on our new copiers.  We are putting together instructions for staff/customers.

Started editing the photos I took of the copier.

Observed the first usability test of the day.  As always such an interesting process – everyone is so different.  However, we are getting a sense that 90% of the site is spot-on just need to tweak the remaining 10%.

Got an IM from staff member in Admin asking if our network admin was in the UK (he does have family there).  No, he was standing right behind me.  Got 2 phone calls from other staff asking about our network admin.  Turned out his old Facebook account had someone gotten reactivated (not by him) and someone was scamming people with this old scam.   Posted information including the video to front page of our Staff Intranet, as well as, my Facebook page and on Twitter just to let people know that this wasn’t our co-worker scamming folks.

Gobbled down a quick lunch before our first IT meeting with our new interim boss.

IT meeting – went over a few loose ends from our old boss, she had plenty of questions regarding projects we were working on and we each brought her up to date on the projects.

Got a call from HR to update Intranet and web site to reflect old boss’s position being vacant.

Off to our Glenwood branch to do the second usability test of the day.  Our web programmer and I sat down afterwards and discussed what changes we thought might need to be made, how we should move forward considering his work schedule.

Went home but stopped by Food Lion (again checked in with Foursquare) to pick up some nuts for my husband (one of his favorite snacks).  Picked up an extra jar as a small thank you to our web programmer for all his help on the Intranet (and for putting up with me in general).

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Friday and Payday, What’s Not To Like? – Day 5

TGIF!  End to a full, long, interesting week.  One thing I really love about my job is the variety it affords me.  I never really know what will come my way each day.  Since this is the last day for documenting I thought I’d try something a little bit different.

Day 5

  • Pulled into the parking lot and entered the building. Annotated video on YouTube
  • Unforward phones, swap out tapes in the server room, checked Twitter, email and Staff Intranet. Annotated video on YouTube
  • Went to get ice for my green tea, turned on lights for the building, checked reserves and visited my book display on 40th Anniversary of the Moon Landing. Annotated video on YouTube
  • Back to the office to get down to business. Annotated video on YouTube
  • Uploaded the aforementioned videos to YouTube since they were too long to use on Flickr
  • Consulted with co-worker who was doing the morning duties.  She was getting bounced back to beginning page of her account in HIP.  Tried recreating it on my machine and she showed me on the Day End machine – still wasn’t able to recreate it.  Chalk it up to computer gremlins.
  • Typed up my blog for yesterday – Day 4
  • Got a phone call from the Glenwood branch manager regarding the email I had sent out asking them to cleanup the branch notices on Staff Intranet.
  • Since my boss was out on vacation, I assigned the IT staff to their day at our Admin office for next week and posted the notice on our Staff Intranet.
  • Uploaded my photos of my 40th Anniversary of the Moon Landing display to Flickr
  • Deleted notices for Glenwood branch manager per email she sent me (after phone conversation)
  • Worked on bounceback email notices – since this is such a tedious mind numbing job I decided to blip some Robert Palmer songs on blip.fm while I did this.  Having great music to listen to helps!
  • Bounce backs make me hungry so I went and popped some 94% fat-free popcorn
  • Checked the helpdesk tickets and assigned on to fellow IT-er
  • Downloaded Adobe Flash CS3 Professional to my Windows machine
  • Got a call from our Network Administrator who is on vacation in England (visiting his wife’s family) – just checking in with us to make sure things are okay
  • Installed Adobe Flash CS3 Professional on my Windows machine
  • Emailed staff member who submitted a helpdesk ticket.  Needed more information so I could solve her issue.  Consulted with web programmer to see if he had any suggestions but agreed we needed more info before we could proceed.
  • Children’s librarian came to my desk asking questions about burning music to a CD for children’s classes.  I pointed her to the FAQ on our Staff Intranet with great instructions and screen shots.
  • Got a call from HR dept. regarding publishing an announcement on our Staff Intranet.
  • Wrote another post for my blog – not related to Library Day in the Life
  • LUNCH finally seems I’ve been eating later and later this week
  • Children’s librarian came back up for some assistance with burning cd – went down and showed her how to add songs, delete ones you don’t want and move them so you get the order you want.
  • Analyzed current navigation and started documenting what different departments use on Staff Intranet in hopes that this will help us set up better navigation for the new version.
  • Got a follow up email from the staff member in regards to her helpdesk ticket.  Solution was a simple one – she needed to log in with username/password to access forms list.  Emailed her back and closed helpdesk ticket
  • Saw a Tweet from @julie and realized I had missed T is for Training podcast.  Logged into the chat area for the last 15 mins or so of the show.
  • Got a call from hubby that severe storm had blown down 2 trees (turned out to be just very large limbs not the whole tree) onto our garage which houses his precious baby, a 1960 MGA.
  • Took personal leave to go home and document damage for any insurance claims.

Home Away From Home – Day 2

Ah, day two and it should have started off better.  Knew I had to leave a bit early from home to drop my son off at his Dad’s new house.  Still trying to figure out best routes to and from his house.  This morning with the hazy fog it didn’t help and I was a few minutes late getting to work.

EntranceFirst one in the office this morning.  Dropped my stuff at my work space and scurried to get to the morning duties (I had switched days with a co-worker).  Unforwarded the helpdesk phone and then proceeded to swap the tapes on both the Horizon and Authority Works servers.

This was to be my IT @ Admin day so I needed to focus on the morning duties and get them out of the way.  Once logged into my Ubuntu and Windows machines I did a quick cursory check of email (no dire messages).  I then proceeded to do the morning duties (just like yesterday).

Once they were out of the way I checked the helpdesk tickets and assigned them accordingly to my co-workers (seems some days I get a lot and others I don’t – it all evens out in the end).  Opened Twirl so I can peruse Twitter (both my personal account – @mlibrarianus and the library’s official account @HoCo_Library).  Then I queued up a Tweet for the library’s account using TweetFunnel.

Our Network Administrator came into the office and had mentioned that we had a power outage (clock in the workroom before ours was behind).   PACs were showing red on PACMON (our own montioring system that our web programmer wrote) but luckily the Day End computer finished running Day End before the power outage (having to run day end in the morning before people start logging into Horizon is not a fun thing to coordinate).

I proceeded to work on the email bouncebacks.  I’m still amazed at how many we get.  Are that many people really changing their email addresses and not updating them with us or what?  Still trying to figure out the best way to ensure our customers get notified without this having to deal with bouncebacks.  It is a labor intensive process that should not be handled by IT.  Haven’t come up with the answer as I know that there isn’t a “one size fits all” solution.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw a tweet that made me chuckle.  I don’t normally follow the trends on Twitter but this one caught my eye #verydullbands.  Some were pretty good.  tumour seemed to be on a roll.  Time to head to our Administrative office in the East Columbia Branch and be the IT guru of the day (each of us takes turns spending a day at Admin helping with computer/software related issues that arise).

Home away from homeAfter getting my lunch in the fridge and things settled into the IT cubicle, I logged into the Ubuntu machine we have set aside for us.  Last time I was there I used Good OS – as if Google and Mac had a love child this would be it.  I really liked the operating system and having the Google gadgets.  Alas I was back to our staff desktop version of Ubuntu which is nice too.

Queued up another tweet for the library’s official account (which is approved by our Public Relations dept. and released to the Twitterverse).   Talked to a colleague who had heard I’d been recently to Spain recently and was thinking of going.  So I sent her a link to my photos from Espana on Flickr.

Consulted with fellow IT co-worker about iTouch and our collaborative software, DeskNow.  He had a Blackberry and wasn’t familiar with the iTouch.  Went around the Admin office asking staff if they had an iPhone or iTouch.  Found someone in Public Relations that had an iTouch who was able to help with the question another staff member had asked me.  I won’t mention my extreme jealousy of those with the iPhone or Blackberry (I soooo miss my Blackberry).

Helped another colleague with a PrintNow problem.  Think the delay was due to her Java update message wanting attention.  Once I clicked on that PrintNow printed the screen shot she needed.  Stopped by the cubicle of our Training Coordinator to discuss a request that had come up in my visits to the branches regarding our Staff Intranet.  She was open to the suggestion that the less formal “Lunch and Learns” be part of the training calendar as well as a notice on the Staff Intranet.

ITBack to my cubicle.  Checked on the Merlin site since I was playing admin while Nini Beegan was on vacation.  Cleaned up a bunch of registered users that were clearly spammers.

Consulted with web programmer and network administrator about the best way to get a new image onto our PAC screensavers.  The library’s unofficial (yet very professional and wonderfully talented) photography, Fritzi Newton, had taken shots of each of our 6 branches along with iconic views of our county and mixed them with photos she was able to obtain from Enoch Pratt.  She put these altogether as a screensaver for our public computers.  There was wording on each saying where the photo was taken.  After 2 years of these being out there for the public someone had realized that one of the slides had Maryland misspelled.  Fritzi corrected this and gave us the new image (with correctly spelled state) to use.

Realized I hadn’t really talked to our staff at Admin about the revamping the Staff Intranet.  I had been to all the branches to get feedback so I wondered around the office and talked to different staff.  Along the way I helped with a couple browser settings.  The one feature that I love on our Intranet was one that I pointed out to several folks.  Our web programmer had created a staff directory – the staff search box searches that directory.  So if you don’t know what branch, the phone number, the exact spelling of their email, what title they have, etc you can search for a person (last name or first name or full name) and see all of that plus a picture.  I convinced several people that using the staff directory search was 100 times easier than scrolling through the phone list.  This made me realize that this well used by many but missed by some box needed a more prominent spot on our Intranet.  So I moved that up further on the left hand side along with moving the Quick Links further to the top as well.  These are just temporary stop gaps until we revamp the whole Intranet.

LUNCH!

Assigned to myself and closed helpdesk ticket regarding receiving spam from old email address.  *sigh* The only 100% sure fire way to not receive spam is to not use email.

Played telephone tag with the editor of our reader’s advisory blog, Highly Recommended, regarding a few tweaks and a new idea that had come up in a meeting.  Then I went about interviewing more of the Admin staff about our Intranet and what ideas they might have.

Dealt with calendar settings for two people in Public Relations.  They didn’t have a box checked so the calendar invites were not showing up on their calendars the way they should.

Debunked an Urban Legend that was sent via email to IT.  I love Snopes.com.  I used to hang out on their bulletin board and I do miss the folks from there.

Discussed ideas with the Events & Seminars Manager about the use of voice recorders regarding local authors.  Getting them to read excerpts from their books or interviews with them as part of a podcast.

Answered an email from staff about the spam filtering option setting in our email.  Explained that we use Barracuda, spam filter, on the main email server so there is no need to use the one provided by DeskNow (if you do it actually creates more work).

Decided to make another change to the current Staff Intranet (that was brought up by staff at the branch) and managed to not screw it up.  Deleted code and things still worked properly.  Then I got a little too confident and removed some more – this time I did screw it up.  THANKFULLY, our web programmer who has the patience of a saint with me was able to figure out what I did wrong and fix it.

Way past time for me to go, so I turned off my machine and headed home.  I had to pack and drive to PA that night since I going with my parents the next morning to the hospital.  My Mother was having a biopsy of her lung done.  Here’s hoping it all goes well and the results are good.

Day in the Life – Better Late Than Never

Day in the Life

Day 5 of week of keeping track of what librarians or library workers do so we can see the diversity of the jobs we do.

Friday January 30, 2009

7:25 – arrived at work – unlocked elevator and office

7:29 – swapped out tapes on Horizon and Authority works servers and unforwarded the helpline phone

7:35 – logged on both Windows and Linux machines – logged into email and did a cursory scan since I was out yesterday

7:41 – logged into Horizon and returned my DVDs (hubby is watching Wire in the Blood) and checked to see what reserves had come in for me

7:43 – went downstairs to put returned DVDs in correct delivery boxes, get mega cup of ice for Diet Coke habit and to retrieve my 13 holds

7:48 – checked out my 13 holds including David Lee King’s “Designing the Digital Experience”

7:53 – logged into Staff Intranet, iGoogle, Friendfeed, Facebook and Meebo

8:10 – updated co-worker on husband’s condition after yesterday’s test

8:15 – reading/responding to emails from yesterday

8:31 – posted day 3 of DitL blog post because I was out yesterday

8:32 – caught up with co-worker about Wednesday’s Lost episode

8:37 – tested Sailor link to our Marina page – is working now that they have the correct one

8:47 – updated boss on hubby’s test results from yesterday

8:50 – back to emails

9:00 – bounceback emails are calling me

9:05 – to help with a helpdesk ticket installing Filezilla client on Mac laptop – while waiting I “Dugg” some article from my RSS feed

9:14 – installed and correctly setup FileZilla on Mac laptop and was able to connect – easy install

9:15 – back to bouncebacks more have come in

9:30 – called Public Relations office about their helpdesk ticket

9:44 – uploading PDF’s to ChooseCivility site

9:55 – called Public Relations back and discussed uploading to Joomla’s media manager instead – turns out will probably just wait until the new Choose Civility site is up and running for this

10:03 – more bouncebacks….guess ILL finally generated all the notices

10:10 – discussed with Sys Admin about some errors and concerns over day end process a couple of days ago. Sadly neither of us is 100% sure who messed up what or did the system fail to finish a process.

10:30 – closed helpdesk ticket from Public Relations – will wait for new site to add pdfs

10:40 – emailed class about Picasa3 training and some issues that have arisen around timing and schedule

10:50 – called staff member to follow up on helpdesk ticket follow up that they didn’t follow up on 😉

11:00 – worked on CIL09 slides

11:40 – created collection/set in library’s Flickr account for our new This Is Your Life program so they can start uploading images

11:45 – wrote up instructions so This is Your Life folks can upload to Flickr

12:10 – Lunch

12:45 – spoke with Network Admin about why my synaptic package manager was giving me error message – taught me how to run the command in terminal because an update didn’t get finish – running full updates now – installed FileZilla on Ubuntu machine

12:54 – back to CIL09 slides

2:00 – Called into podcast T is for Training

3:00 – back to CIL09 slides

3:30 – end of day, end of week

A Day in the Life

Day 1 of week of keeping track of what librarians or library workers do so we can see the diversity of the jobs we do.

Monday January 26, 2009

7:15 – arrive at work – disarm alarm, unlock elevator and open office. Remove tapes, clean tape drives (on both Horizon server and AuthorityWorks server) insert new tapes.

8:00 – perform morning task such as checking our catalog (login, searching and requesting working), making sure Day End process finished correctly as well as several other processes, checking several server logs, making sure Zserver connects to Marina (our ILL for the state), verify that telephony system is working

8:15 – check email, Facebook, Friendfeed, Twitter and RSS feeds.

8:30 – discuss current LOST theories with 2 of my co-workers.

9:30 – investigated extra white spacing in our Highly Recommend blog. Part of the problem is code we had added that previously had to be there to keep 2 images from bleeding over into next post. But still the problem exists so something in the WordPress code will have to be looked at.

9:45 – fought with Nokia N800 software update

10:34 – finally updated Nokia N800 and setup bluetooth for phone (although it wanted to set it up with my co-worker’s blackberry instead – not sure he’d like that idea)

10:37 – started one of my Grooveshark playlists and went through bounced back emails (from our pre-overdue, overdue and hold notices), removed emails from Horizon database and made note on customer’s accounts.

11:15 – planned Picasa training for Library Associate Training Institute students since we aren’t a Microsoft shop and we can’t use Photostory3.

11:20 – began learning Picasa Web Albums for training I’ll be giving

11:35 – discussed with one of the LATI folks just what exactly they are going to be doing to decide if Picasa, Wink or Impress will suit their needs – seems like Wink might work best for some but others will need Picasa

12:15 – LUNCH!

12:45 – work on CIL09 presentation slides which are due to my co-presenters by end of the week

1:18 – struggling to find CC images on Flickr that I can use for my CIL09 presentation. Even contacted CC Guru, Michael Sauers, to verify which photos I could and couldn’t use. Frustrated because I find a perfect image – only hope is contacting the owner and seeing if they’ll grant me permission to use it in my presentation.  *Contacted owner and they agreed to let me use it in the presentation – WHOO HOO!

3:15 – off to take my son to get his high school senior portrait taken

Kicking and Screaming

Well thanks to strangelibrarian for tagging me on this my 2nd Meme (1st one was actually my first blog post). Interesting how a comment on FriendFeed takes on life of it’s own.

Funny I’ve told the story many times about how I got started here at Howard County Library but it wasn’t until this that I really thought about it. So here goes it….

I was born a poor black child….wait, that isn’t right.

It was a dark and stormy night……hmm, that doesn’t quite sound right either.

Like many of my fellow library workers, I suspect, my road to Librarydom started with a love of reading. As an only child it was often up to me to entertain myself and I often turned to books. I was definitely a fiction reader from early on but I also know I spent time scouring through our bicentennial editon of World Book encyclopedia. My folks also had a collection of medical encyclopedia’s put out by Reader’s Digest. The thought of that makes me laugh now. I know I often went to it as a teen who was too afraid to admit ignorance to my parents or peers and actually did find some good info in that collection. So basically everything from Dr. Seuss to World Book encyclopedia was devoured.

Then in middle school I had the opportunity to be a library aide. I can’t remember how I got asked to do that just remember shelving materials during lunch time.

Forward a bit to my 16th year and my Mother literally forcing me to apply for a page position (yes, we called them pages then – god knows what they are now they’ve been called many things over the years) at the Long Reach branch of the Howard County Library. I always tell this part as “she took me kickng and screaming…” which isn’t too far from the truth. Ironically my straight A student next door neighbor also applied for the job. Somehow my experience as a library aide in middle school must have given me an in because I got the job.

I was convinced that only the nerds, geeks, losers of high school worked at the *gasp* library. Back in that day there was actually more prestige associated with working at McDonald’s than at a library. However, my first day at work changed my opinion of libraries for good. The senior class clown was there working in my branch. How could someone that cool work at the library? Hmm, maybe this wasn’t such a bad place after all.

Forward about 7 years after I had left my page position at the library I find myself answering an ad for Circulation Technician. Wet behind the ears, I find myself dealing with the normal first job issues including having an elderly gentleman have a heart attack, fall to the floor and die on my desk shift. Ah, just another day in the life of a library.

A few years later I took a position as the Evening Supervisor. Basically was in charge of keeping the pages (then called something else forget just what) in line on nights and weekends. Some of the kids were really motivated and great workers. As usual the slackers were the ones that made my life hell. Not sure I was the best suited for that job and the hours soon wore on me. At the end of my stint doing that I found myself back in college and planning a wedding. Talk about stress.

Within 2 years I entered into a job share position and had to step down a level but it was worth it as I was a new mother and it afforded me time home with my son. Just before he entered kindergarten I went back full time. Within a few months I was able to move back up to my previous level as Senior Circulation Assistant.

During this time I had managed to learn quite a bit about our ILS system and was often the go-to girl for other staff. I had worked off and on in Interlibrary loan during the years so when a full time position in ILL became open, I went for it. It was perfect timing for me as in the 6 years I spent in ILL I learned 3 different ILL systems (AutoGraphics, Sails which went on to become Marina (URSA from SirsiDynix), and OCLC passport). As someone who loves variety, loves to learn, likes to just get in there and get her hands dirty and learn my years in ILL were filled with many new learning moments.

Then it looked like the face of ILL was going to change so I applied for a position in Automation. Luckily they wanted me for it (as I didn’t have ALL the requirements for the job) but my thorough knowledge of our then ILS system was in my favor. Again, the opportunity to learn more about our ILS system (classic Dynix) plus a whole new department gave me many years of learning enjoyment.

Then the migration to Horizon came which was MORE than a learning experience for me. But it opened a new opportunity – training. I had done a few training sessions on our email clients (Netscape, Thunderbird, Webmail) but now I got offer classes on how to use Windows and Horizon. I stumbled upon an area that I was good at and really enjoyed. Funny, when I first started my library path I never would have envisioned training being part of my future.

Shortly after our migration to Horizon, the Automation department joined with the rest of IT and I got a new boss. Again I found that my job gave me variety and plenty of opportunity for me to learn but to also help others learn. My new title reflected that – Coordinator of Software Support and Training. More classes were offered (RSS feeds, how to use our new Linux OS, Groovix, on our PACs, AquaBrowser) as well as written instructions and FAQs.

I was then given the awesome task of recreating our staff Intranet using Joomla! So again, I got to learn something new, get in and get my hands dirty (oh you are suppose to read manuals? Nah!) and loved every minute of it. I’ve now brought up 3 other sites on Joomla! and continue to learn about the product as well as good web practices. This opened another path for me – web design. Well not quite that good but it enabled me to work with our web programmer on our new website. If I was only half as cool or knew half as much as he does I’d be happy. But I learned so much and appreciated his patience with such a web neophyte.

Now as we migrate to Koha I have another opportunity to learn and train. I’ll be working with one of our librarians to help create the training modules used for our staff. We will first look at the work flow issues in each department and how they do it now. I’m looking forward to that as well as eventually working on YakPac.

My next new learning moment for me will come this fall when I branch out from training staff to our customers. I will be giving my first class for customers on Web 2.0 this fall. I designed a 5 part series with the help of other web 2.0 enthused staff – overview (my part), wikis, photo sharing, social networking, and audio streaming. I hope to bring my love of Web 2.0 to our customers and help them to understand and navigate the web a bit better.

The future holds, I hope, more opportunity to grow, learn and be able to give back to others the knowledge I’ve gained.

Okay, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Now it’s your turn – so I tag the following:

Theycallmetater (whom I work with)

Library Trainer (who I’ve not met in person but would love to hear her story)

Greg Schwartz (who I’ve not met in person but had interesting email exchange and love his show Uncontrolled Vocabulary)

almostBaldGeekinMd (who I’ve met in person and worked with virtually) who was also tagged by strangelibrarian (so maybe we can tag team him?)