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

A Belated Happy Hobbit Day

Thursday was Hobbit Day, for those who are fans of Tolkien. This year, it struck me as somehow fitting that Hobbit Day falls on the last day of summer– the final hurrah before the world slowly spins down into winter hibernation. A fine day for a party, but usually cool enough to allow a feast fit for a hobbit’s appetite.

I mean, it should be. It was gray and rainy most of the week, though not cool– tropical storms will do that to a person. Fortunately it cleared up and was bright and warm for the Tea and Shoot today. In the meantime, we have finally started to process our acquisitions! I believe we have somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 cataloged so far, with many more to go, but its a start. Its nice to see those books lined up with spine labels and shiny new bar codes, with shiny new MARC records in the catalog to go with them.

I’ll leave you with a fun Tolkien fact for the day: last Friday was the 40th anniversary of the publication of The Silmarillion. I wish I could find it, but I remember reading somewhere that it represented one of the top ranking pre-orders the industry had seen at the time. Certainly it sold over a million copies that year. We have one:

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: Grinding

Back in the summer, before I commenced work on the library, I was putting together my plan. A year one roadmap, if you will. I knew the work on the library would take a while, and after I made my case, I was told to go forth and clean my Augean stables.

I laughed at the time; I knew there was disarray, but I figured I could keep it interesting. To

So I’m basically Hercules in this scenario. Everything else is the library, but less smelly.

a certain extent, I have been able to do so, but we are rapidly reaching the point where I feel like I’m grinding. Grinding, in a video game context, refers to having to do the same thing over and over in an effort to gain a level/tool/experience/thing you want or need. And man, is that what this feels like. Needing to account for what I had accomplished and get a better idea of how long things might take, I took to each of my spreadsheets and slapped a few formulas in the bottom. Nothing spangly or flashy, just some Countifs, addition, division and a percentage at the bottom.

For context, I have one student tackling the two rooms at the top of the library, and I am fortunate that she like literature because that’s where it’s all housed– the Ps in Library of Congress Classification. I have one student handling the first floor of the library, running through philosophy and religion, the A and B sections of LCC. Everything, and I mean every other letter left over (23 for those keeping track), fall into The Stacks. And yes, it deserves it capitalization. The Stacks are cool, largely left alone, and chock full of interesting thing. Its also full of random not interesting things. Them’s the breaks, after all. I began my work on The Stacks this semester, having spent last semester getting us up and running and catching up on the check ins.

Here we are, rapidly approaching the half way point of semester 2 out of ? and we have made the following progress:

Ballroom and Newman Room: 2.7% complete

Scholars Lounge and Helm Room: 6.58% complete

The Stacks: 2.67% complete

Total completion: 3.8%

And now you know why I drink copious amounts of coffee. Feel free to send more my way. In the meantime, last weekend’s futurists have given way to the Middle Ages (not pictured, the intriguingly named “Life of a Medieval Baron”):