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

A post shared by Alexis the Librarian (@alibraryforallseasons) on

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.

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THOMAS.gov is going home…

THOMAS.gov is going home…

Library school was about 8 years ago for me, and one of my classes involved government research. As it happens, that was how I was introduced to Twitter but, more to the point, how I became aware of THOMAS. At the time, THOMAS was a big deal– launched in 1995, it started out as a bleeding edge resource, making Congressional proceedings available for free. Basically, if you were trying to look into anything that Congress did, you went to this website.

Remember, for a moment, what the internet was like in 1995. If you need a refresher, trying viewing some of the internet relics that are out there: Space Jam is a perennial favorite; for something more comparable, check out the Wayback Machine for Yahoo. Compare that to THOMAS, and you were much farther ahead. As with most technology, we’ve reached the end of life for the THOMAS system– its simply not robust enough for modern users or browsers.

Several years ago, the Library of Congress introduced Congress.gov, the successor to THOMAS. Now comes the final word: THOMAS is retiring July 5. (Side note: I have considered and discarded numerous Hamilton related puns. You’re welcome). LOC has a full write up for those interested. In the meantime, if you are looking for any Congressional sessions, resolutions, bills, treaties, or general information make sure you are going to Congress.gov rather than THOMAS.