It’s a New Dawn, It’s a New Day

Don't let the sun go down on your grievances
Image by kevindooley via Flickr

…it’s a new life (or at least a new work life).

Arrived a bit early – unlocked the office.  Even though I didn’t have morning duties I still am the first person here so I unforward the helpdesk phone and swapped out the tapes from the Horizon and Authority Works severs.

Went downstairs to get my huge purple mug full of ice from the staff lounge.

The sun coming over the trees and the apartments next to the library caught my eye out the window of my ex-boss.  So I went into her empty office and snapped a shot.  Wasn’t my best but took it anyway.

Fired up by Ubuntu and Windows machines.  On Ubuntu I opened Tweetdeck, Thunderbird and Firefox.  Checked both work and Gmail – looked at the helpdesk tickets on our Staff Intranet.  Assigned them including two to myself.

Luis our network administrator called to say he was out today.  Had completely forgotten he had volunteered to chaperone his grandson’s field trip to Montpelier Mansion.  Emailed the rest of IT because invariable I was going to be asked at some point during the day, “Where’s Luis?”.  I suppose since I am mainly stationed at my desk I seem to know most people’s coming and goings.  I’ve become the unofficial IT secretary.  I joke about it being a pain and sometimes it is but I also like being reliable and knowing the answers to the whereabouts of my co-workers.

Approved a comment on my blog than updated my T is for Training Meme by including links to others that had answered the same questions I had.

Read email from Read/Write/Web and tweeted a few interesting bits.

Worked on the morning bounceback emails.  I often find these amusing since customers often hit reply instead of forward.  I wind up getting love notes meant for spouses or kids saying “Hey honey, do you still have this the library needs it back”.

Schedule another staff member for the usability testing or our new Intranet.  Think we have everyone set now.

Blogged about Monday’s Library Day in the Life.

Then the IT department met with Director of HR and our Deputy Executive Director.  They assured us that Amy’s departure would not effect our jobs, that they’d be posting her position ASAP as they knew with our new ILS migration coming we’d need someone to lead that and told us who our interim boss would be.  A familiar face – Holly Johnson who had been my boss when I was part of the Automation department.  Then Holly came and let us know she wants to make this as smooth as possible.

I went to her office and spoke with her privately about all the things that had gone on in our dept. over the past year.  It’s been a topsy-turvy one for us.  I told her she is getting a great team but maybe not at the best time.  We will recover, we will come together and get through this it’s just we are still a bit in shock at the moment.  I think she understands.

Worked on tweaking the usability tasks and survey.

Grabbed a quick lunch before the first usability test of the day.  Went quickly and if all our staff was like this person my job would be done.  She found almost everything with no problem.  However, I know that won’t be the case but she gave us good feedback.

Our web programmer and I went to our Savage branch to do the next usability test.  Results were interesting.  He also gave us good feedback.  Danny, our web programmer, and I got to talking about all the results so far (4 by then) and decided we wanted one more person before we made any changes to the site.  This would give us another round after the changes to see if the change helped or not.  So we made an unexpected stop at our East Columbia branch.  We asked the Customer Service supervisor to recommend one of her staff.  This helped to make up our minds about one change we had been waffling on.

We came back to Central Library to make the change and then it was time for me to head home.

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Sorry Mr. Dewey, I Am For Real

Savage Non-Fiction section
Image by mlibrarianus via Flickr

Yesterday I did something I haven’t done in the last 15 years or more – I shelved a cart of non-fiction books.  A call went out for help in getting the large amount of non-fiction carts out to the shelves.  Since I’m usually chained to my desk and computer screens I thought it might be nice to have a change of pace.  It’s good to step out of your normal routine and try on someone else’s shoes for a bit.  I started as a page shelving materials so it was fun to get back to my roots.  Also it turned out to be a Mother and Son two for one deal – my son who is also a shelver at my library was in the non-fiction section yesterday.

There is something soothing about shelving non-fiction and getting the shelf in perfect order.  But after about 1 section of the cart done I started looking at things from a different perspective.  It started after doing one section of the cart and not having one single shelf was in order.  Things really changed perspective for me when I was in the computer section.  I was puzzled to see that Linux, Mac and Windows books were interfiled.  Hmm, why wouldn’t all the books in this particular section on Linux be filed together, and then the Mac ones or the Windows books?

As I continued to shelve I got to thinking about the Dewey Decimal system and whether or not our customers really use it.  How many people outside of the library profession can tell you what the call number is for cookbooks, computer books, or even financial books?  Has Dewey seen his day?  What about Library of Congress classification?  Yes, I understand we need some sort of system to file things so everyone can find them but is 005.4469T really the way to go?  I mean does it really mean anything other than a cataloger?  Would perhaps 005 T do just as well?  I can tell you most customers when returning something to shelf don’t seem to see the cutter numbers.  Why do I spend all this time trying to get a shelf perfect if the customers aren’t doing the same?

Book stores don’t use Dewey or LOC and people seem to find the books they want just fine.  So why are we still in this day and age insisting that our customers follow our rules instead of finding out what works for them and providing an easier way to find our collections.  My apologies to all the catalogers.  I’m not trying to make you redundant but I do think it is time we rethink call numbers and how we shelve our materials.

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