This season in The Library…

Happy New Year!

Time for the year end wrap up and reflection on our continued journey through the library.

  • Once again, I had really wonderful student workers who worked really hard on our ongoing catalog digitization. We finally had reliable internet and access to the server, and we made a big dent in our catalog. At this point, we’re almost done with our first room! Given that we are also actively cataloging check ins and check outs and we’re all part time, that’s pretty good!
  • We also set up a system for selling our discards because yes, we have discards. I’m considering a post or two next year about my thoughts behind deselections and discards, just to give a sense of the various criteria that go into the process.
  • There were no major projects this year, and that’s to be expected. We’re in the midst of catalog digitization, after all. That is going to take time and priority at this point.
  • We’ve continued to receive generous donations to our collection, and have been getting those cataloged and onto the shelves for folks to use.

Next year promises to have more of the same, with the hope that we will complete the catalog conversion for the entire ground floor of books.

Finally, in case you missed it, check out the Fall issue of Communitas. I have a write up on Tolkien that I think you’ll all enjoy

Quick year end wrap up

So what did we accomplish this year? A quick rundown for you:

  • Established Koha as the electronic catalog for the school. Currently available on the library network
  • We cataloged 3000 books over the course of the year
  • This is awesome when you consider we were without a network for close to two months, impeding the students and myself from adding any records during that time
  • We received two very generous donations to the library– between them close to 4000 books! We’re currently going through them to determine what will be a good fit for the collection.
  • We got Interlibrary Loan up and running, connecting to NHAIS. In addition to being able to get updated holdings into their catalog, we were able to borrow books that our students needed, as well as share books from our collection with neighboring libraries.

I incredibly grateful to the 5 students who rotated through library work study this year (at least one from each class, no less!). They all worked hard and helped get us to this point– we can say we’re truly underway with this catalog, which was not the case 10 months ago.

Special shout out to my “IT department”– my husband and my brother, who helped pull wire and fight the technological imps that threatened to drag us down. Those two are truly a blessing (even when the jokes are gently at my expense :D)

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:

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:

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




Another foray into digital resources

Today the University of California expands the reach of its research publications by issuing a Presidential Open Access Policy, allowing future scholarly articles authored by all UC employees to be freely shared with readers worldwide. Building on UC’s previously-adopted Academic Senate open access (OA) policies, this new policy enables the university system and associated national labs to provide unprecedented access to scholarly research authored by clinical faculty, lecturers, staff researchers, postdoctoral scholars, graduate students and librarians – just to name a few. Comprising ten campuses, five medical centers, three national laboratories and nearly 200,000 employees, the UC system is responsible for over 2% of the world’s total research publications. UC’s collective OA policies now cover more authors than any other institutional OA policy to date.

Source: » Groundbreaking University of California policy extends free access to all scholarly articles written by UC employees Office of Scholarly Communication

Not a lot of commentary for you guys on this one. Obviously, for people who don’t have access to a large array of databases, its nice to see a larger array of academia available, particularly to those who would normally not be able to access it. We are fortunate to have good internet access for our students, even if we don’t have a larger array of digital resources.

On that note, you will notice there is now a little Pinterest button on the sidebar. I am attempting to collect freely available, good digital resources to be able to present to students later this semester or early next semester. It is ever ongoing, but I’m happy to take any and all suggestions for additions!

A voyage of Discovery

Very often, I am on campus during the weekend, when most students have scattered to the four winds, free of classes for two days and determined to enjoy the New England fall before winter sets in. There is no time to feel lonely or alone when facing a project like this one, and there is something nice about being able to bear down and focus on the task at hand. Still and all, a librarian exists in part to serve his or her community, and I have been a bit of a ghost in mine.

Today was the Fall Open house, and a rare Monday off from the work-a-day world for me, so I sojourned to campus to see what could be done. The answer, as it turns out, was not as much as anticipated. What I enjoyed most as a student has come back to haunt me: the rooms of the library are constantly occupied. It is difficult to shelve books when you’re interrupting Metaphysics.

To that end, I assisted with the open house, saying hello to visitors and students and, in the process, becoming a visible presence on campus. The odd juxtaposition is that I am known among the faculty and ‘older’ alumni, but am offered help as though a stranger by the current students, and how are they to know different? The onus is on me. There will always be a part of me that would like to take up residence among the old and rare books, but such a life is impractical, even in the green world. In venturing out, I found that my addition is a welcome one. After all, the students are aware of the challenges of the library, and there is an appreciation for a return to order. My only hope is that I not set the bar too high.

My greatest discovery was the number of people who mentioned a desire to see the older books restored and gain guidance on restoring their older books. An idea that has bounced through my head for months is the idea of something like a guild, but for the library– a group of students trained in basic preservation and restoration (and perhaps a visit or two from NEDCC?) It would require fundraising, but I do love the idea of being able to pass on preservation skills along with research skills. After all, we are a school of book lovers, and it would be wonderful to be able to care for those books well. Additionally, a number of the rare books are 1st editions of authors of interest and we want to care for those treasures we possess, though they may not be costly at this time. What sort of rare books do we possess? Watch this space over the coming months as profile the collection and detail the building of the special collections.

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?