Archive for the ‘librarydayinthelife’ Category

#libday7: What is it you do?

August 1, 2011

For years, the rumor in the town where I live was that I work for the local spy agency. When my kids were asked “what does your mom do?” they answered: “Forget it, it’s too complicated to explain.” All anyone seems to know is that I mainly work from home, I work long crazy hours, and I’m able to support a family.

So what is it I do?

The easier thing to explain is what I do as a volunteer: music cataloging at a local library, the Karnei Shomron Public Library.I’ve done about 200 out of the 700+ discs that need cataloging; when I finish those I plan to move on to getting the English language books into the computerized catalog. That means searching out information that’s not on the disc or the accompanying materials and deciding what access points, given my very limited time, are worth putting in to the catalog.

The harder thing to explain is my day job as corporate information officer. Technically I work for a small boutique investment firm, which seconds me out to companies currently under its sheltering wing. That means one year I may be working on information about widgets, the next about aardvark technology. Well, no, not really, but since we mainly invest in high-tech stealth start-ups, I can’t really talk about my fields of practice unless I get you to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Yes, it makes for fun times on first dates when I can’t talk about what I do.

I usually work out of a home office. At around 7 am I wake, make coffee, and read the tech blogs. Anything that would be of interest to one of my companies gets put on the relevant corporate blog. After that I scan the marketing blogs and newspapers and add any relevant information to marketing plans.

The afternoons vary, depending on which client company need attention the most. I might compile a list of publishers or work with a marketing professional to create brochures. I might search for suppliers, chase down NDAs from potential partners, put together grant applications, get information on the availability of WiFi in Bora Bora, or debunk the latest hoax going around the industry. I read my LinkedIn groups and then start making and returning calls from Europe and the US. Sometimes I’ll go out for meetings with investors; one day last week I got to go to see a competitor’s product demonstrated.

In short, my job is to know why our corporate product is better than our competitors’ and be able to back up that claim with scientific studies and marketing history.

Except, of course, on days like today, when I spent 14 hours writing a 26 page paper, with a 3 page bibliography, on antelope prevention.

Library Day in the Life Round 7

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#libday7 Library school never taught this

July 26, 2011

Things library school never taught me

To be an LIS professional you need:

  • A big checkbook
  • Graphics skills
  • Muscles

So what did I do all day? In my day job, I spent the day digging up old bills that had never been paid. (Hello, no one has paid the water bill since March or the electricity since January? And we still have service?). Then I spent about 10 hours doing drawings for patent applications (which, for obvious reasons, I can’t post at this point).

Around 7 pm my public library director calls and asks if I can help set the library up for the Minister of Culture’s visit. The advantage of living alone is that I can do spontaneous hings like this (yes, isn’t my life just too much fun?!?).

Our first task was straightening two rooms full of shelves, so the place looked good. Aside from a few obvious mis-shelvings (a book of Jewish law on the shelf with books on cults, for example) we didn’t try to organize, just fix this:

Clear all the furniture out of the children’s area, set up the speakers’ area

And put out 60 chairs for guests.

When I grow up, I want a job in a library with a maintenance staff!

#libday7 Day 1: Cataloging the Blues

July 25, 2011

I wear three different LIS hats. At work I’m the information officer for a boutique investment firm, currently seconded to a tech start-up in the field of 3D displays. On the weekends I’m a volunteer in a small community library. And during the school year I’m a student in a post-grad LIS program.

My library week starts with my volunteer cataloging work.  I work on administrative mornings (meaning we’re supposedly not open to the public), and our library isn’t the sort that people casually stroll into.

matnasKarnei Shomron community center

No, the whole building is not the library. We’re up two flights of stairs, in the back of the building.

Yet somehow this is how the library looks on a day it’s closed:

2011-07-24 10.31.25View from the admin/check-out desk to the computer area.
Kids’ library is to the left, periodical and the future home of the music library is between the desk and the computers.

(Three boys at the computers, two girls reading. Does this say anything about socialization and gender issues?)

In addition, though we are not open, we had a reading club come for a tour of the library, and our head librarian gameified their visit with a treasure hunt amongst the shelves.

View from the admin/check-out desk through the kids’ library to the YA, reference, English, and adult section.

But I wasn’t there to take pictures. What did I go to the library for again? Oh, yeah:

Too bad it’s not laced with gin….

What do you mean I’m not here for the tea? Oh, right. Music library cataloging. I was hoping you’d forget…

Step 1:  Gather discs from the cabinet, push uncatalogued returns out of my work space

Step 2:  Log into cataloging system. Hello, Agron! Hate you so much! You’re so wonderfully flexible (not)!

Step 3:  No matter what they teach you in cataloging class, the disc, wrapper, and booklet are not sufficient sources of information.

When the resources which come with the disc fail me, my first stop is MUSIClassical. Most of what’s missing is the first names of composers, and the website has most that I’ve needed. When all else fails, Google steps in.

Step 4:  Type, rinse, repeat.

Due to the way the printer is set up, as well as the way Agron handles printing (as far as I can tell, an early version of Word’s merge function), we have to print up labels 24 at a time, no more and no less.

Step 5:  Prepare the barcodes.

Have I mentioned how much I hate Agron? If I made a mistake in counting and have an extra CD cataloged, it’s a PITA to extract that item during the next cataloging session and add it to the new discs awaiting barcodes. I have to clear out the temporary database, manually input all the item numbers one by one, and then print the new temporary database onto stickers. At least at the end of it I get a little play therapy.