The Start of the Semester & the NH Poetry Festival

The Start of the Semester & the NH Poetry Festival

Howdy all!

The semester, and the fall, are upon us! Welcome back to New England. The leaves aren’t quite changing– yet. There are some that have turned russet or yellow, but we mostly have green as befits our rainy summer. The humidity is leaving though, and its cool enough to spend days with the windows open, and there is loveliness in that.

We’ll be getting back to our library escapades this semester as well, but here’s a shorter note to start. Did you know that New Hampshire has a poetry festival? The New Hampshire Poetry Festival is schedule for the end of the month, Sept 23. Now, shocking as this will be for some, this particular librarian¬†wasn’t a lit major, and so poetry isn’t exactly within my personal wheelhouse. However, it looks like this will be an interesting day with a number of different workshops and panels. Check out their site for all the details.

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A brief hello

A brief hello

Oh poor blog, lost in the hustle and bustle of life. I unwittingly let the entire academic year go by without pushing publish on the posts I had in mind. Oops! To be fair, I am now on my third computer since the fall, and the technology in the library was also, well… You ever see Chicken Run? When Mr. Tweedy bursts into the house and screams “The chickens are revolting!” Yeah, that was kind of the story of me and computers this year. Good times, good times.

Now, however, it is summer, and my hope is that everything will settle down and let me get updates out for all of you lovely folks.

Cheers!

Saturday Librarian: To Boldly Go…

Saturday Librarian: To Boldly Go…

When I first showed up in my librarian capacity, one of our stated goals was to make sure that we got a digital catalog. Its not a new technology — digital catalogs began to show up in the 1980s and they were commonplace by the late 90s. Even now in 2016 the smaller libraries of the word find a way to digitize their catalogs, and the hope was that we would do the same.

At first, I considered an inventory to be our goal. After all, we needed to know what to load into the OPAC, right? Fast forward a year, and the inventory is decidedly off the pace I had expected, primarily because I was trying to make sure that we had the basics of a catalog record, just in case we couldn’t get full MARC records to start. A year is a good amount of time upon which to base a decision. You can base your decisions on the good and the bad and the middle of the road. And so we’re embarking of the catalog now and continuing the inventory in the new system.

Why? Quite simply, we have to be able to track circulation and Interlibrary loan material, and we have to have that system in place before the students return. Then too, the inventory is a lot easier when you’re only confirming the barcode is right and the book is on the shelf — MARC records can be pulled into our new system directly from NHAIS.

So what did we do today? We got the server, got it plugged in and got the operating system and basic installation of our new cataloging software installed. The main stumbling block had more to do with the suddenly disappearing internet, and Saturdays are hard to troubleshoot tech issues because of the number of players that are not working. The course of technology never did run smooth.

Lest anyone take the preceding paragraph the wrong way, this is not meant to imply that the installation is difficult or untenable, or that we run the risk of losing our catalog in a way that doesn’t exist with the card catalog. There are redundancies that will be in place on premises and off, and we will also reach the point where we have our catalog included in the NH State Library’s Union catalog, to help facilitate our ILL relationships. Its very difficult to be a good ILL partner with a card catalog.

In fact, sadly, I’m still on Excel spreadsheets. The installation could not be completed in a day, and so Excel is still our catalog– for the moment. Still, in the space of a day, we’ve come closer to our online catalog then we have before. The students will start to come back in about a month, Freshmen first for orientation followed by the returning Sophomores and Upper Classmen. My hope is that they will have a new catalog there to greet them and the choice of serendipity in the stacks or precision recall of materials, whatever the situation may call for.

Begin at the beginning…

Begin at the beginning…

11 years ago, during an early fall not unlike this one, I found myself enrolled as a freshman at the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts. I wandered campus aimlessly, sticking with the pack of equally lost freshmen who were part of my cohort. It took only a day or two to become part of the college community, to grow used to the rhythm and cycles of the days. My bookish heart rejoiced in particular at the sheer volume of time I was able to spend in the library.

When I look back at that time, I realize that I spent thousand upon thousands of hours in the various rooms of the library: attending class, studying, checking email, hunting up some lost tome that I simply had to check for my junior project or senior thesis. It comes as little surprise to me, then, that after a somewhat circuitous route through grad school, marriage, and various modes of employment, I find myself back at the beginning, at the Warren Library at Thomas More.

The work load is not light: the library catalog must be checked and digitized (currently, we have a very charming and labor intensive card catalog), the collection itself reevaluated and grown where needed, the arrangement of the library itself will come into scope as well. There is a need to evaluate the rarer holdings the library has and establish a special collections room. The college’s need for digital resources is acute as well. And that, dear reader, is where you come in. This blog will be both record and forum. When I attended SLA 2015 in Boston and told the story of my little library to my fellow information professionals, they lit up at the challenge I described. I was encouraged to start this blog to invite the community to share our trials, our victories, our defeats, as well as to offer their own hard-won wisdom along the way, in the hope that we might build this library up into the library it should be. Won’t you join us?