Category Archives: Life and Stuff

Let me bare my librarian soul…

Part of the Emerging Leaders project meetings involved the following exercise:

Pair up with someone in the room you don’t know. You each have one minute to tell your life story. First, I’d like you tell your life story from the perspective of a victim.
I’ll let you know when one minute for each of you has passed.
Great.
Now that you’ve shared, tell your life story from the perspective of being a hero.
Great.
Now tell your life story but relay it only from the perspective of the life lessons you’ve learned.

I thought it was going to be a really stupid exercise. I was really, really, really resentful that I was being forced to share my life story with someone I didn’t know at all. I did my best to share but edit gently.

Luckily, I had a really cool partner.

And you know what? I’m thinking of that experience today, and I’m not resentful. I really enjoyed it, and I really learned a lot about myself and my perspective of myself from that exercise.

It was really hard to be the victim. I kept trying to leap to the most positive things that happened, but that wasn’t really allowed. “Yeah, that sucked big time but later on something great happened!” I guess I’m a more positive person than I really thought.

Secondly, I was a bit embarassed to try and be the hero. But I couldn’t tell the story without making it funny. I think that’s true of librarians – we have a hard time making ourselves and our institutions into heroes.

And the life lessons…I hmmmed, and hawed and muttered something about learning to be patient. And now that I’ve had three or four days to think, I’ve realized how many life lessons I’ve really gained. And how I don’t appreciate or refer to those life lessons nearly enough. Wow…crazy…it’s like having an amazing personal resource center and never bothering to use it…

So, I went from resentfully baring my soul to really learning a lot. That six minute exercise is still making me think, days after the fact.

Something to ponder…

(p.s. I tried to find clipart a naked dude wearing a barrel.  No dice.  It got kinda kinky!  Yikes!)

Ridiculously sick…and thoughts on Kansas

So, I was ridiculously sick last week and didn’t even feel like touching my computer.  But while laying in a cough syrup induced semi-coma, I began to think of some of the major differences I’ve noticed about Kansas and Michigan.  Some library related (well, only one), others not-so-much.  Though I miss Michigan and my friends, I’m enjoying Kansas and the life I’ve got here.  It’s fun to see something different and it’s kind of a different culture in some ways.  Keep in mind, I’m in a slightly more rural area of Kansas…so I’m not talking about Kansas City or Topeka or Wichita in my notes.  Need to go do more city safaris.

- No coney islands.  That’s the saddest thing about Kansas to me.  Those staples of metro Detroit life…the coney island restaurant, do not seem to be in existence here.  I’m going to start looking harder.  It appears that once you drive west of Chicago, people no longer need mousaka, chili dogs, or lemon rice soup available to them 24 hours a day.  Breakfast is only served in the mornings in Kansas restaurants.  These people have no idea what they’re missing!

- Now that said, the most positive thing?  The pace of life is so much nicer here.  People don’t honk much when driving down the road.  And for the post part, folks are very, very nice.  I have been in the grocery store and been asked by the employees there if I need help finding anything.  IF I NEED HELP FINDING ANYTHING!  As if it is their job to help me find the groceries I need if I am wandering through the aisles looking lost!  And then I realize…it is there job to help me find something if I can’t find it!  It’s just that in Michigan most grocery store employees try to avoid eye contact.  (I worked in grocery stores for many years…don’t tell me I’m wrong…I’ll kick your…)

- I do, in fact, have an accent.  And apparently it’s obvious.  And people find it humorous.  I uttered the phrase “out and about” (oot and a-boot) a couple weeks ago to the guy behind the desk at the post office and he just about turned his face inside out trying not to laugh. 

- Growing up in a small town in Michigan, I’m used to not having a big food selection at the grocery store.  But I gotta tell ya, the selection in most of the grocery stores in Kansas is lacking.  (I need Middle Eastern food…I was raised by a Middle Eastern dad and a girl needs tabbouleh sometimes).  But the barbeque?  It’s orgasmic.  (Read again…I said orgasmic…).  It’s incredible.  What’s that Japanese term…umame?  Kinda like savory, but better?  I think that’s what makes KC BBQ so good…umame. 

- There is a library system in Missouri that shall remain nameless, but I think they are privatized.  And from everything I’ve observed, it’s not pretty.  One professional librarian at every branch, all the other employees are paraprofessionals.  All cataloging and purchasing done at a main office.  It’s bad for two reasons…non-librarians without a decent amount of training are answering reference questions…but are they doing it well?  (I think there are a lot of paraprofessionals who do a lot of great work at the ref desk, but I’m admittedly a fan of librarians being on desk…it’s a whole other post).  And how can one office purchase for all branches?  You’d hope that a branch would be a reflection of it’s community.  I hope they at least look at circ stats before purchasing from that one main office.

As you can see, I’m feeling a bit fiesty again.  It’s good to be back.  I’m almost fully decongested!  Then I’ll be unstoppable!

Happy Holidays!

Hey all…happy holidays!  Hope your holiday break is full of food, family, friends and a stack of really good books.
I’ll be reading Twilight!

Oh!  And a very happy new year too!

Completely unrelated to libraries…

But considering it is incredibly cold today here in metro Detroit and I managed to slide around many a street corner a la Jack Lemmon, here is a bit of Grumpy Old Men to make your Monday right…

Books and Bumper Stickers

I’m one of those people who tries to manipulate the holiday season and the spirit of giving to be about me. I’ll admit it. I mean, I love giving things to people for the holiday, but more importantly, I love giving ME something. Because who better than ME to pick out just the right thing for ME?

I’m being tongue-in-cheek (not really), of course. But I was getting on a plane recently and saw a woman reading a book and I was envious all of a sudden. And for the nerdiest of reasons…she was reading a book and I have only read the web and magazines for the past three or four months. Yes, I could go the library, but darn it, I want to buy myself a book! Boy do I ever feel like a rebel. (Cue the Dukes of Hazard theme…) I think it will be something by Malcolm Gladwell – Outliers or Blink perhaps.

A little hint: When I walk through the library or bookstore and see books that I might like to read, I use my cell phone to take a picture of the cover. That way I don’t have to worry about losing a scrap of paper and I have the author and title right there.

Another side bar…I have this idea in my mind for some sort of magentic bumper sticker library campaign. Something where library patrons are encouraged to put a library magnet on their car for a month or something to that effect to help promote the library. Hmmm, it’s right there in my mind. All the bits are there for an idea but it’s not coming together. Ideas? Anyone? Perhaps if I drink more coffee this morning…

That new airport smell…

So this afternoon I’m flying back to metro Detroit after spending a few days at the new job.  The Indianapolis International Airport experienced an overnight reincarnation, and in a span of four hours, all services were switched to a brand new airport.  And it’s sexy.  And it has that new airport smell…and an IPOD VENDING MACHINE!!!!  I had never seen one before.  I took a picture and will post it soon.

I think I was filmed by the local news asking a question about where my gate was.  Of course, I’m having a bad hair day.  Ah well, I can’t always be unbearably gorgeous.  ;)

The new job…the last time I wrote I told I had ‘gone private’!  Yes, yes I have.  So, I’m working for Evanced Solutions in Indianapolis, Indiana.  They make a summer reading program management software, a rooms/reservations management software, and an events management/events notification software.  My title?  Coordinator of Customer Experience.  My job is to make sure that the libraries that use the product are happy.  And if they’re not, I fix it until they are happy.  That’s it.  I don’t sell stuff, I don’t try to make them spend more cash (which my company isn’t into either…they are actually not going to do a previously planned price increase because they realize how bad the economy is right now).  My main goal is to make sure libraries get the most value from their investment in the software.  Isn’t that cool?

Now, let me tell why that’s going to be great for my blog.  In the process of making sure that all those libraries are happy, I’m going to be touching base with over 800 libraries all over North America and a few in Australia.  What I get to learn about their innovation or ideas, I’m going to share with you, because, y’know, those are library ideas.  :)

All right, well, I’m going to go get a hot dog…they’ve got a chili dog shop at the airport!  Yum!