Saturday Librarian: What a time to be alive!

Saturday Librarian: What a time to be alive!

Ya’ll, I’m truly geeking out on my new catalog, and I don’t expect you to understand. Its enough for me to know that 1) we have a computer in the library 2) we have a barcode scanner that is younger than I am 3) with their powers combined, I can pull MARC records into a catalog that 4) is visible on the wifi.

That’s a pretty big 2 weeks folks (and yes, yes I milking the excuse for my tardy blogging. Wouldn’t you?) The previous cataloging that I’ve done is on a virtual machine, which means its not actually live on campus. The stuff we’ve done the last two weeks? Totally live on campus!

Some other items of note:

  • Phase 2 of the Music Room is done! My wonderful workers were able to get the art and music collection moved into the Music room over the last two weeks. The fabulous summer crew, you’ll remember, cleared that out for me over the course of the summer. This allows us to process some art books that need to join the collection, and gives room to expand that part of the collection as we choose.
  • What did we do with our extra stack space? Shelve some of my lovely acquisitions hoard. Getting those onto shelves is step one to making it easily reviewable for the faculty.
  • I got a question about the periodicals we’re boxing– those are not being discarded, they are being stored off campus. There are many easier ways to access journal entries than by combing through hard copy, and we need to clean up the lower stacks area and set it to better use.
  • Finally, I just gotta brag on my campus. It shows to lovely effect on a fall afternoon:

Obligatory gorgeous photo of campus on a lovely fall afternoon #newhampshire #newengland #collegethomasmore #nofilter

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Saturday Librarian: The WiFi strikes back

Hopefully everyone had a lovely weekend and start to the week. I’m planning to start the Saturday posts again now that the semester has begun, and I have a few fun items from the library to highlight on Thursday’s as well.

This past week, I was able to introduce the students to the ILL program which was big for me. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but for four years I sat in the upper classroom of the library, soaking in all manner of thoughts, phrases, and ideas. Arguing and pondering and generally enjoying the years. And for a brief 15 minute window, I stood at the front of that classroom and I was the expert on one small area. A bit of the goosebumps with that one, no lie.

Saturday dawned with such promise. I had my first pumpkin coffee of the fall, got to campus nice and early since I had to leave early, and I had grand plans of finalizing the server set up that was interrupted by the lack of internet followed by locked down internet. I had confirmed that the WiFi was back up, unlocked, and strong with internet flowing like a river when I was on campus Monday.

You can guess where this is going…

Yeah, the unlocked WiFi network was flakier than a croissant, with nowhere near the connectivity I needed to make sure that the client box would continue to see the server without failing at some point. So back to the drawing board on that one– I’m not in IT, Jim, I’m a librarian darn it! (Oh come on, Star Trek turned 50 this past week!)

I did manage to get our lovely check out cards cut up and available for the students:

This librarian is running on Dunkin Punkin and cutting up checkout slips. #librariesofinstagram #librarylife #collegethomasmore

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So I had that going for me! We also have all the library books shelved. Yes, ALL of them! I have 3 awesome student workers this semester which is the most I’ve had before and man are they quick with the shelving! With the WiFi declaring that we shall not catalog, the focus at the moment is moving the art and music collections into the Music room. That will fit better from a collection standpoint and clear nearly an aisle’s worth of shelf space in the Stacks, which we can use to hold acquisitions.

Lastly, I updated the official library website. Did you know we had an official library website? The plan was to run some WordPress plug-ins to simulate an online catalog but the move from development to production didn’t work out as planned and so the decision was made to abandon that half step and move to the complete catalog solution.

But! We have the site so we might as well use it. You can find the ILL policy and circulation policy, and I am curating digital resources for student use on the site as well. To see any of these, go to Library.thomasmorecollege.edu and check it out! Drop me a line if there are any digital resources you think would be helpful, or if you’ve tried to fined resources for a certain type of research and come up empty and we’ll take a look.

…And we’re back

…And we’re back

Happy fall, everyone! School has been back now for about a week, and at least this weekend, the weather has turned decidedly fall-wards. That is to say, lightly breezy, low humidity, and cool enough at night to leave the windows open. The other plus side of this weather is that the library loses the stuffiness that comes with high summer, and its pleasant all the way through, not just in the stacks.

Lots of exciting goings-on to report as I enter year 2. First, today I’ll be running an orientation to the Library for both new and returning students, which hasn’t really happened before. I’m looking forward to running folks through the basics: how to read a call number, how to use the card catalog, and how to use our new Interlibrary Loan program.

Some of you may have seen the Instagram posts over the summer, but its true that we secured a server for the library with the goal of running a digital catalog! Koha is running and we just need to finalize the end user set up (also, we need a desk for our check out station in the foyer.)

Exciting as it is to have the digital catalog started, I feel the need to sound caution: we have limited MARC records and we must enter in the holdings one by one. Lest we have forgotten, that’s 45000 entries.

I am incredibly grateful to NHAIS for sending over the 6000+ MARC records that we had in the NH Union catalog. Its a wonderful starting point! I’m also blessed to have 3 student workers helping me out this year! For those keeping score, I started with 1 last fall, then 2 last spring. Having the increased support is marvelous.

Finally, Interlibrary Loan has arrived! As of, well, now, students and faculty have access to Interlibrary Loan through the NHU PAC, connecting us with the libraries of New Hampshire. For other institutions in the state, we absolutely lend as well, we just don’t have all of our holdings in NHU Pac, so make sure to email me if you are looking for something that is esoteric enough that we may have it. We also have non-esoteric holdings, but the odd, the old, and the humanities are kind of our wheelhouse.

Welcome back everyone!

Take a moment to enjoy this fabulous weather. I sure am! #contrasttothestacks #newhampshire #newengland #collegethomasmore

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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.

Saturday Librarian: Bits and Bobs

Saturday Librarian: Bits and Bobs

Saturday brought another quiet working day, as a good portion of the summer promises to be. The weather was more tolerable (read: Less humid!), and that made it easier to move throughout the library without wanting to flee directly to the stacks. More books were logged and shelved, not that it stopped a whole crop of new books from appearing:

These were pulled from the music room. I am very fortunate to have the summer work study students available for a handful of hours a week, and they are making quick work of the periodicals that are stored throughout the music room and the stacks. They’re on a pace to have everything stored in another area by the end of the summer! The periodicals will still be available if needed, but they aren’t accessed enough to tie up the Music Room.

Why the move? We need space for the expanding art and music collection! The art and music, as I’m sure some of you know, is currently tucked in the back of the stacks with no room to grow, yet grow it has. There are some new books to be incorporated into the collection and they need to be shelved somewhere. The goal is to house the art and music collections in the music room itself; there are plenty of shelves and the location is far more appropriate.

Upcoming goal: get us set up on the state’s Interlibrary Loan system. More on that to come. In the meantime, have another picture of campus wearing her summer glory:

Go out and enjoy the day! It's a beautiful one. #collegethomasmore #newhampshire #newengland #nofilter #summer

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Saturday Librarian: By the Numbers

Saturday Librarian: By the Numbers

Everyone likes numbers right? How about a numerical run down of the year:

176 — books cataloged in the Ballroom and Newman Room, covering linguistics and literature

854 — books cataloged in the Scholars Lounge, covering general knowledge and starting on the (robust) Philosophy section

929 — books cataloged in the Stacks, covering a few of my favorite things history, politics, art and music.

115— books from the end of the semester that still need to be checked in and included in the numbers above, for a total of…

2,074 books checked in or cataloged during the 2015-2016 academic year.

42,945 — estimated number of volumes in the library

That puts us at a completion rate of 5%.

17 — Saturday cataloging days in the 2nd semester

48 — Blog posts

822 — Blog page views (thank you!)

Given the fact that I’m not able to devote full time to the library, I’m pretty happy with the progress we’ve made. Would I love to have done more? Sure, who wouldn’t? But for a part time librarian with part time student workers, the numbers are respectable.

More to come on the projects for the summer and into next year, in the mean time enjoy these pictures from Saturday

 

Achievement unlock: librarian like a boss #temporaryoffice #classy #cataloginginstyle

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Happy Saturday! All is quiet after graduation but time and books wait for no woman… #collegethomasmore #saturdaylibrarian #nofilter

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Planning for pruning

When at last we have a handle on what we have, what we don’t have, and what has already been acquired, there will come a (likely long needed) pruning of the collection. Pruning sounds so much better than weeding doesn’t it? Call it pruning, weeding, deselection, discarding, collection maintenance, or “throwing out books, you uncivilized lout!” it is a necessary part of collection development and management.

The time is not remotely close, but when it does arrive, the question will be what to do with the books that can no longer call the Warren home sweet home? A number of these books began their lives calling other libraries home. Can a book find a 3rd library home after 2 deselections? I have my doubts but I’m willing to try. On the other hand, we could run a deselection outlet online, selling those books which are too damaged to continue or which no longer fit within the library– if you know anyone who wants an old science textbook we can probably part with a few. But not the actual ancient ones, like Aristotle. Those still have a home.

There is an argument that is made that everything should be held because it has some historical value, however slight. Certainly there are books that, if held onto long enough, begin to have value on the other side. The question then is whether you can afford the maintenance and physical plant costs? Given the number of books awaiting processing, the answer is likely no. There will be a number of deselections in the future, and that is for the health of the collection. Never fear, I will not be taking this on alone. There is certainly be faculty input. In the meantime, I wonder how large an audience I’d have for those books we do eventually part ways with. Is there an audience? It would be a good bump to the library budget, for sure, and that is a practical consideration to be sure.