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As I’ve mentioned, I’m in the mentor program at work to help me figure out if management is the right path for me. I am reserving my opinion on that for the moment. At the same time, I am pursuing other professional opportunities outside, or somewhat outside of my workplace.
A few weeks ago, I was contacted by a PhC student at the University of Washington asking if I would be interested in taking part in an educational project at a local high school. A peer from my cohort recommended me; she is someone I see in my work neighborhood and knows a bit about my work with teens. The volunteer experience entails giving instruction in database use and being a professional contact for students after they have chosen a research topic.
I also helped the PhC student get in contact with librarians at the county library system when I found out that the school would be in their area. I was able to do this easily because I know their cluster manager. I gave her the information on the program and let her decide if it was something that was supported by the library system’s goals. She conferred with the librarians and they decided to support it.
I met with the teachers and other librarians last week, then today I taught my two database classes. The other two librarians are teaching tomorrow. The biggest challenges teaching these classes had little to do with navigating the website. One was to NOT show how much better my system’s website is than the county’s. That wouldn’t help. The second was to keep the workshop within a half hour. The first one went over and the second one I left out authority. I was sad when I realized that.
The good news is that I wasn’t nervous. What I learned is that I want to get better at my delivery, so that is what I’ll be working on the next few months. My poor adult computer learners will be my guinea pigs. I’m sure they’ll love it.
Other things I do in my own time to supplement my resume? Mentoring a teen in the juvenile rehabilitation system, taking part in my P-Patch government, being a board member for my union and participating in conferences–although that last one is partially on work time. I say only partially because there’s a lot of effort that goes into getting myself to a conference. Some of the cost is covered and some of my time is paid, but not all, and if I didn’t have a will, I wouldn’t find a way. Over the next couple of years I plan to focus more on local conferences, as it will minimize the time I’m spending away from home and be a bit easier on the pocket book. I’m looking forward to participating in the Washington Library Association conference this year, where I will probably be facilitating a round table discussion.
Ok, I’m back (I think, might be too soon to say). The Boy and I have been setting up house, getting used to each other again and struggling with homework discipline. He is coming around on the latter, slowly but surely. His grades are good, but it’s early to say that and the hard projects are coming. I’m hoping we can get him into a healthy pattern before they start. He seems to see the wisdom I’m preaching, when he isn’t rolling his eyes or telling me not to act like he’s stupid. We’re working on it.
And “The Boy” just sticks for me. I guess he will always be my boy, so not a big deal to call him such. Especially here where he never bothers to tread. I try to keep the embarrassing bits to myself anyhow.
So, libraryland is busy as always. The new session of TAG is underway and while my group is smaller, it seems more solid. I have a lot of kids back from last year and a few new people. There are definitely a couple of dominating personalities, so I will be looking into learning about moderating meetings in that situation.
I took a beginning Excel class offered to city employees. I expected to be bored for most of it, since I’ve been using Excel pretty often for the last 10 years, but I was pleasantly surprised that I learned something new through most of the training. Part of it was learning where things are in the ribbon, which I admit has been making life difficult since the upgrade to Windows 2007. I got my questions answered too, which will make me a better treasurer and would likely land me the temp job of my choice!
I also wrote my first “professional” blog post, over there–> It’s nothing revolutionary, but something I am interested in and not necessarily librariany. I have some thoughts for a couple more, but need a few minutes at work to write them down. Then I have some more reading and thought processing to do.
I had some fun with the pictures in the header. They are all pictures I took, mostly around Seattle. I like how they fit my mood and seem to fit my profession.
Ok, I’m off. Lots to do this lovely Saturday that is likely to be the last sunny day in a while. Ciao.
One of the things I really enjoy about my job are all the opportunities to participate in events and projects. In the last few years I have been on the Instruction Committee (creating policy around our computer classes for the public and laptop computer labs), blog committee (tech liaison etc), scheduling software committee (just wrapping up) and have helped coordinate a teen lock in/overnight, All Ages Art Night, Comixtravaganza, a regional gaming tournament and a reading marathon. That doesn’t include the regular programming I have done at my branches and outreach to my schools. I really love making my library a relevant and innovative space that is attractive to all ages. Now that things have settled down with some of my other projects, I am taking some new challenges.
One thing that will take up much of my time is the formal mentoring program I entered into at work. I am trying to figure out if management is the right direction for me–to make sure that goal isn’t sticking with me just because it feels like that should be my next step. I love what I do, do I really need more? One of the things I want to work on during this time is critical reading and analysis of management and library topics. My mentor will assign me reading and I will pick something I find interesting and blog about it. Not here–I have set up another wordpress blog and will use that. I’ll update when I actually write something, probably in August sometime. The other thing I will do is job shadow and interview current managers and assistant managers to see what they do and how they balance life and work.
In my own time, I also plan to submit a proposal for a presentation at WLA which is happening in Tulalip next April. It is a small conference, close to home and a good place to try out my public speaking. The worst thing about it is that I will probably know people there–bigger chance I’ll embarrass myself, right? It’s a chance I’ll take. My proposal entails building communities; how to make teen volunteers/teen advisory group ambassadors for the library and using programs to connect your library to the community.
Speaking of programs, I had a great time making books with Seattle Center for Book Arts:
Since making angry noises on David Lee King’s blog, when he proposed that librarians should be required have their full name and picture posted on library web sites for a customer service angle, I have been evaluating having an online presence. Up until now I have been pretty careful with my identity on the internet. I just haven’t been ready to trust the world to leave me alone, partially due to having an ex who takes everything I say online very seriously and usually wrongly. I was even surprised recently that his wife, who I thought was fairly savvy on the internet, saw my online prattling to mean that I spent a lot of time at happy hour and getting massages. Since these people are already seeing me online and judging me by what I say here, why not let the world?
So I have opened up my Google profile (and so my Reader posts) to be public, linked to my Linked-In profile and vice versa and to this blog. I partially made this decision because of an article I read recently (which of course I cannot find now) about how prospective employers expect you to have an online presence and how if everything is locked down, you must have something to hide. My Facebook is still pretty locked down, although you can find my name on there . Even though I made my Google profile searchable, it isn’t coming up in a search–the fact that I have a pretty common name probably doesn’t help. My linked-in profile is on top if you include my profession and city, but the MySpace hit is for someone else–probably because I have been inactive on there for so long.
I’m not going to do anything further to make it easier to find me right now. Baby steps. Most references you can find of me on the web, if you can weed them out of the b-actress hits, are from when I helped with local conferences. Most library related things only show my first name and most comments and such use my couple of screen names. I will see how this goes, then maybe open up a little more. I still don’t agree with David’s premise that all librarians should be required to give up full names and pictures on a public website, but I can see the usefulness in doing so on a voluntary basis.
I’ve had the last few days off and spent the time taking my brother and his girlfriend sight seeing and to visit other family members. We went to the Boy’s basketball game on Friday and he came home with us and he is still here now. Yesterday was spent wandering around Pike Place Market, and of course we went to the Central Library. We stopped at Dick’s in Queen Anne on the way back–the only place where you can get two filling meals for $10 (not something you want to do everyday, as I believe you will start having hamburger shaped protrusions emerge from your abdomen in a short time). We took the bus around, which always lends to interesting people watching opportunities. It’s fun being a tourist in your own city and even more fun to show off the highlights to visitors. Next time we will have to get to the zoo and aquarium.
What am I reading? I finished The Atomic Weight of Secrets by Eden Unger Bowditch. It was a fun book and will be great for kids (or adults) who like A Series of Unfortunate Events. The adventure is set in 1903, and 5 children are thrown together when their scientist parents are needed for some super-secret project. The project is so super-secret that the kids don’t know where they are or why they have been separated and go about inventing things to help them get away from the school they have been sent to and to find their missing parents.
The idea that the children of super intelligent parents will also turn out to be brilliant didn’t sit that well with me, but otherwise the story was great. A scene where a teacher is beaten by a bad guy for information and the history of neglect by the parents of the children are a bit disturbing, so I wouldn’t recommend it to sensitive children. I’d say the age is 7-12, but that anyone would like this book. I am only sorry it doesn’t come out until April so I can’t start recommending it right away.
I am reading Reckless by Cornelia Funke, and while I like it, I don’t see that it is a children’s book. It is dark, all the characters are older and I think most kids would find it scary. It should have been put in teen or adult, but in our library system it is in the J (juvenile) section.