You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘library’ tag.

Sometimes things just pile up and contrive to drive you down.

Everything is great in many ways and I was feeling fine until last week. I had a slow buildup of stress around some outreach for work. Nothing was going wrong, it’s just the party you agree to go to but you can’t cancel on because you aren’t feeling social. And a lot of work goes into outreach and programs, but that’s not a big deal because I could do that in my sleep. And sometimes I do! Stress dreams. I even enjoy outreach. I get to see what my community is up to and interact with people for a short time about something I love. But it’s still a stressor.

Add to that a possible health issue that I went to the doctor for and have to go back because of software failure, wasting both work and personal time.

A person biking was hit by a car driver on 35th, where our illustrious mayor decided that we don’t need bike lanes after a long advocacy fight.

I just want to go ride my bike in the country without any cars around me. Will someone tell me where I can do that?

Vacation starts in 12 days! :)

Here are a few fun things from hiking and biking that I’ve seen lately. Life really isn’t so bad.

Advertisements

I’m a little bit exhausted. I ran a half marathon on Sunday and I haven’t stopped to breathe yet. Strava tells me that I haven’t slowed much on my rides and I was able to go almost 20 miles yesterday. But man, I am tired. I have another 20 mile day tomorrow.

I do love riding though. When I think about busing, I just don’t want to. I can get there faster and happier when I bike. Then again, a little recovery is good. Getting home is a chore though. Over an hour from my main work location to home. My ride takes less than 30 minutes.

Tonight when I got home, my bike parts had come from the Blue Sky Cycling sale. It energized me to install my new pedals on Stella the Kona Sutra–Welgo Platform Pedals with leather toe straps. I also adjusted my manual disc breaks. Then I took a little test ride and realized that riding with toe straps is going to be a learning curve. I’ve done it before, but it’s been years. Hopefully I don’t end up on the ground like I did with clipless shoes the first few times. Maybe I’ll end up removing the straps sometime during the day.

Sleep is calling. See you on the flip side. Here’s a photo from the Seattle Public Library to keep you company. Don’t let the tentacles get you…

img_20190416_112708

I’m holed up in my fancy hotel, cramming for my presentation tomorrow. All of the work has been done, now it’s all about finesse and timing.

I get really nervous speaking to peers. Someone in the audience probably knows more about my subject than I do. Middle school taunts loom large in the back of my brain. It’s not logical, it’s just there.

So I’ve been working on it. I’ve signed up to talk about our new Service Learning model to the library world at large. I spoke at the Young Adult Services conference in November and will be speaking at the Washington Library Association Conference tomorrow.

I’ve made some realizations. Having a partner is key. One person droning on is never as exciting as two. It takes the pressure of all of those eyes off of me to have another person up there and allows me to take a breath when I need one.

I deliberately procrastinate on practicing my slides until within a day of my presentation. It keeps me from getting nervous leading up and keeps everything fresh in my mind, what I want to say and how I want to say it. Why torture myself sooner than necessary? The trick is to make sure to leave time in what can be a busy conference schedule to practice on my own, and then at least go over timing with my partner.

Having really wonderful friends doesn’t hurt either. I’ve had support from several people who have helped me see past my boogie men to the heart of the matter, and offered to be there for me at my presentation to cheer me on.

The presentation in November went great. I won’t pretend that I am suddenly a rock star–I have coworkers who provide celebrity grade performances when on stage; I don’t have that skill and I probably never will. Part of getting over my anxiety is letting things like that go. However, if my subject is interesting and I can present on it in a steady and interesting way, I’ll be happy.

Meanwhile, I’ll keep practicing in this luxurious cage.

davenport

Like many libraries, ours has been shifting attention to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), with a bit of art thrown in for fun and creativity (STEAM). We hired Juan Rubio about a year ago to join our Youth and Family Learning team. He is amazing and procures cool gadgets and funding for work hours to cover us learning about the cool gadgets. A few of the things he’s brought us are Geolocative Games, 3D Printing Programming, Little Bits, and Finch Robots.

So far I’ve had training on the Finch robots. We use Samsung Chromebooks with the Snap Extension. You can use the Snap without the Finch and program a Sprite to move around, so it’s worth checking out if you are interested in really basic programming. There are 4 levels of difficulty in Snap, which is useful in teaching. The picture below is level 3, which I find to have the most functionality and easier to use than level 4.

Screenshot 2016-04-20 at 9.08.26 PM

Here’s where I warn you that I have no background in programming aside from a little HTML, CSS and XML. I do understand that the Snap commands represent a more complicated coding language underneath. I’ve even learned how to have the program show some of that language, but I don’t know what it means.

You can still teach Snap/Finches without knowing coding languages. It’s mostly logic once you get the hang of where everything is. You need a Control and a motion command in order to make the Finch do something. You can add operators and sensors and use variables to do more complicated sequences, as you can see above.

Some things were frustrating for me and the students. The Finches didn’t always behave as they should, even when the program was perfect. Sometimes the problem was that a student would have 2 or more programs running at once and they would interfere with each other. Other times the traction on the floor or table wasn’t good for the Finch’s wheels. Sometimes it just didn’t do what you told it to. Especially when it came to the sensors. I was able to turn this into a learning experience where we tried many different things to get the Finch to do what we wanted, trying different inputs and environments. The students learned that sometimes the environment is going to get in the way of what you want to happen.

I’ve had 2 groups of students so far. I do outreach at a local family housing community center, where families are transitioning out of homelessness. It’s long term housing, so they’re fairly stable, at least in having a place to live. The teens that I work with there are mostly girls from ages 11-14. For these classes, I went once a week for 3 weeks and had an hour each time. An hour was not enough and the teens have a lot of things on their plates, but we had a good time and they learned a lot. We’ll have our party in early May and students will be challenged to make their Finches dance, make music and do a light show.

outreach

The other program I’ve had was at our branch over Spring Break. It was 3 days long with a party at the end of the 3rd day where they showed off the tricks they’d learned. This group was mostly boys, ages 8-12. They’d all had Scratch before, so understood most of the Snap programming basics. I had to modify the first few curriculum for them, then move quickly to the more advanced workshops.

My next training will be on the Geolocative Games. With that, we’ll create a game that is a digital scavenger hunt. There are a lot of ways to make this game beneficial to the community. One of my colleagues did a project with her service learning group where they researched the history of their neighborhood, then put locations named after iconic people into their game, with information to teach the gamer about the history.

It was a really fun and sometimes frustrating experience. Totally worthwhile. I wouldn’t have been as successful if I hadn’t had a very wonderful coworker at my branch who could help me with the more technical stuff. He is also a very patient and intuitive teacher and I learned a lot having him there to help with the outreach programs.

 

I got home from a great day at the library to this article by Linda Braun. Linda is our Youth Services Manager and since she put this article out into the world in a professional capacity, but not a Seattle Public Library outlet, I feel comfortable answering it in the politest terms I can muster.

Linda, do you work in public services? No? How long has it been since you have? From what I’ve read on your resume, it’s been a while. Many years, in fact. And no, dropping into a program every few months does not count.

So when you tell us that being busy during Summer Reading (Sorry, Summer of Learning) isn’t a reason for concern, I wonder which library world you’re living in.

According to your piece, this is the only time that our libraries are busy. How would you know? And actually, have you seen our circulation stats? Our program attendance? The number of programs and outreach visits we plan in house each year?

The real argument against your opinion piece is this: How can we give good customer service to these hundreds of families that descend upon us when the summer program starts when we have the same staffing level we had the day before?  How can librarians suggest just right books to parents, teens and children when there are 10 more behind them and only one of us in the building? How can circulation staff keep up with all the fine payments and new cards (because the old ones expired) etc that come with this influx? We do the best we can and we do it cheerfully.

And yes, we complain to each other in private as a means of support through a crazy time. Then things settle down after a week or two and we can do a better job. Welcome to the library Linda. Maybe someday you’ll be one of us.

Right after getting back from Florida I went to to Wenatchee for a library conference. I had The Boy ride along on the first leg of his journey to Spokane. He’s gone to stay with his grandparents on his father’s side to see if he can find a job over there for a while. Job prospects in Arlington and Darrington were pretty slim before the 530 Slide and they’re even more dismal now. He’s having a tough time over there. He’s lonely and really just wants to go home.

In split family drama, The Boy’s step mother reacted badly to him saying that and sent some messages to him and his grandmother. Some of what she said was negative about me. Usually I let their relationship be their relationship and just try to give The Boy perspective, but I really don’t like the badmouthing and drama that always seems to go with these blow ups, so this time I just blocked her from my life. I don’t need it and now it’s not my problem.

The conference itself was educational. I took a Video making pre-conference where I learned a lot about lighting and sound. My organization gave some really good talks–so much so that I ended up staying at those presentations rather than going to hear others, which was my intention. There was an interesting talk on reimagined spaces–something hot on our list–given by the next county over. I also got to network with a lot of cool folks, some of whom I’ve seen before, but just never got to connect with. Others I didn’t get to talk to enough. Now that I’ve been elected to the CAYAS board, I want to get to know the other key members better.

Tomorrow I’m representing Books on Bikes and the library on Bike to Work day. We’ll be giving away some library swag and have the ability to issue library cards and check out materials. Should be fun!

I’ll get a review up of Half Bad in a day or so. It was quite good.

I’ve been struggling to get through a book. It seems like I only get a few pages in a night and that just doesn’t cut it when you have a pile of books to read.  On top of it, it’s a book that a lot of people like and one that I bought, thinking I would like it.  That’s right, I actually bought a book. ahem, back to the subject. So, I’ve decided not to finish it. I can still give it to the right teen–someone who likes supernatural mysteries with strong characters and strange plots with a little historical fiction.

Now I’m reading The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness.  It’s the kind of book I can’t wait to get back to. The main character is just a regular guy on the surface, a little amazing below it, who finds himself in a very strange situation. I love the story, the tone and the complex characters and I’m so happy to move on to something that keeps my mind intrigued.

The library has been busy. I’m planning a couple of special projects that have been going up and down with triumphs and setbacks.  Each time I run up against a setback, another opportunity saves the program. It’s been bumpy but I’m learning a lot and feeling very optimistic how they will turn out.

Now if only I could make most of my job revolve around community biking programs, I’d be set! ;)

Oh, one more triumph this week. I watched a webinar today given by Eidelweiss and finally scored my first digital ARC. I also figured out how to download it. So I’ll be reading Singapore Noir, a series of short dark stories set in Singapore, a place that’s always intrigued me.

And now to go nurse this cold. My third in a month. I hope it’s short.

 

A lucky few that are subscribed to my blog somehow have probably noticed the reviews that have popped up here recently. I’ve been reluctant to start blogging again because private life has been more exciting than library life in a lot of ways, and I talk about that so much on Google+ that it seems silly to blog it too.

However, library life has had some golden moments in the last 6 months.  I attended the Pacific Northwest Library Association’s Leadership Institute in October of 2014. It was held at Fort Worden in beautiful Port Townsend. The weather was beautiful. I can’t talk about what they do in the conference, but it was very helpful and I feel so much gratitude towards my group and mentors for their help.  Here’s a few pictures to distract you. The second picture is of my folding bike. Chris and I sailed to Port Townsend and I rode my bike down to the Ferry to Edmonds, which was a grand adventure.

Many deer ran around the park

So sunny for October!

My library has also undergone a small remodel over the last couple of months. The children’s area has been expanded to reflect our usage (so 50% bigger) with lots of seating both desk style and comfy reading style. It’s much brighter and more welcoming. One of the changes that were made though was a combined reference and circulation desk. This has had some mixed results.  My feeling is that this is the future, but also that our practices of staffing the desk will change also. I can see that it would be best to have a basic librarian position at the desk, then have the advanced librarian staff doing more specialized work–outreach, reference, etc somewhere they can easily come to the aid of those on desk. Right now I’m helping with fines and finding holds an awful lot. I like giving good service, but I don’t want to get to the point where they’re wondering why they’re paying me so much to do clerical work. More pics:

New children’s area after school

One view of our fancy new desks–fab models, no?

Straight on. The desks go up and down–very space age.

Hopefully I will continue to find interesting things to say here. Thanks for reading.

 

That sounds like an admission of guilt or something.  In reality, I’ve just been living and not really had anything I wanted to write about.  Life keeps on moving.  The boy went back to his father’s house shortly after my last post, things got really busy at the library and my energy was needed for other things.

On to bigger and better things:

Image

May is bike to work month and I’ve been going full swing.  My plan is to ride 100% to work this month and I’ve done it so far, with only a few days left to go.  I’ve got 227 commuting miles under my belt and have actually ridden at least 20 more (I stopped keeping track) for side trips before or after work.  My team is amazing, having ridden 1130 miles this month so far.  We’re beating our rival team by over 200 miles.

The boy and I went to the University Street Fair on Saturday and we got him a bunch of art supplies for his birthday.  I let him pick what he wanted, but was happy that he asked my opinion.  I’m not terribly artistic, but I’ve used most mediums at some point or another and have had artists as friends, so I was able to steer him towards some nice brush and thin tip markers and we got him a calligraphy set inspired by an artist we saw at an all ages show last year.

On Sunday we went to my dad’s and I put the new bike together…well, mostly.  It turns out I was missing a headset, so I’ve ordered that and I don’t think that will be hard to put on.  Then I’ll need to practice because I’ve never spent much time on a road bike.  It’s really different from the upright of a mountain bike.  I am so excited to ride this bike during STP.

And finally, I’m seeing a new special someone.  It’s only been a couple of weeks, but I’m optimistic (probably too much so).  I keep expecting someone to jump out at me and say “you’re not allowed to be this happy, give that back!”  He’s sweet and strong and fun and that’s all you get for now.

Ciao!

Wow, I haven’t been here for a while.  Lots of things have changed and every time I sat down to write all of it felt a little too heavy to drop on the page.  Nothing is bad, there was just a lot of life going on.

I suppose bad is relative though.  I did break up with the Mister.  Long distance relationships wear you down after a while, and for me, our relationship got worn down to nothing.  There’s no he said, she said, just an end and a new beginning.  I am happy being single and it isn’t that different from being in a long distance relationship.  At the moment, I’m happy being me.  Maybe someone else will come along that is also happy with me being me and we can be happy together.  There should probably be a law against using the word happy that many times in a paragraph.

Libraryland has been wonderful.  I’ve been participating in our programming committee and feel like this is a group who’s work will make a difference.  I got approved to have a Teen Space at my branch too, in addition to Teen Advisory, so now we will have a once a month hang out spot just for teens.  Reading Marathon is coming up in about a week and we go next week to the middle school to promote it at lunch hour.  I love having a specific program to promote–ok, I just love tabling and all the teens I see.  I feel like a mini celebrity bribing the kids with candy to love me (I mean, love the library of course). Oh and we got a new regional manager.  Yup, another new manager.

The Boy is very nice to have around.  He’s at an awkward phase where he wants to be a gentleman, but he forgets sometimes and lapses back into teen sas.  I am diligent in reminding him to “be nice” and he’s always pretty quick to come around.  Unless there’s school work involved, then it takes him a little longer.  He got a bit of a scare this quarter though, so even that attitude is changing.  For now.  I understand wanting to be in charge of your own life but failing school isn’t a good way of proving you’re ready to be a man.  Oh, and when it takes you two days to empty the dishwasher, that means I have to wait that long to do the dishes. (That’s an exaggeration, in case you’re wondering). We’ve been having a nice time together generally.  The power struggles have gotten shorter and we have some pretty good conversations when we sit on the couch in the evenings.

This snow is awesome.  I had Wednesday off to take The Boy to his doctor appointments, but of course they were all canceled.  I stocked up on groceries on Tuesday night and I’m super glad because I haven’t been outside for the last 2 days for more than taking pictures and taking out the trash.  I got the house clean and organized yesterday and now am enjoying the warmth and quiet.  I think I’m going to go hang out in my newly reassembled bed for some quality reading time.  Hopefully my legs will not atrophy before my 6 mile run on Sunday.

Advertisements