by flickr user sean bonner (cc by-nc-sa 2.0)
There has been a LOT going on with my team over the last couple of months, but I can’t really talk about it here.
I’ve navigated disciplinary issues, inter-department relationship building (and repair), personality conflicts, issues of motivation and attitude, and more — but I haven’t been able to write about any of it because I manage a small team and no matter how I reframe the situation or obfuscate identities, anyone who knows my team and reads my posts will know who I’m talking about. I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting in private diary entries and in the exercises I’m doing with this book, but that’s not the same as having to frame thoughts coherently for an audience and being able to exchange experiences and ideas with others. I’m also seeking advice from other managers and other people within my system, but again, that’s not something I can really share widely.
November 13, 2013
by flickr user SashaW
On Saturday I had my last day at the first professional position I had post-library school (first and only teen services librarian at the New Canaan Library in New Canaan, Connecticut), and today I had orientation and training for my new job (working at NYPL in the Bronx Library Center as the supervising librarian for teen services). It’s a big step in my career, but it’s been bittersweet taking this position because over the not-quite-two-and-a-half-years that I worked in New Canaan, I’ve grown very attached to the town, to the library, and especially to the kids. I didn’t stay as long as I’d intended, but I’m really proud of what I built during my time there, especially since I was a department of one building teen services from the ground up, and super-especially because I did all of that on 19-28 hours a week (I got more hours over time).
Transitions always make me contemplative, and I’m not only thinking about what I did and didn’t accomplish in New Canaan and what my new job will be like and how I’ll grow and change as a librarian and as a person — I’m also thinking about how disappointed I am that I was always too busy to write about my experiences building teen services as they were happening. (more…)
January 14, 2013
I’m not blogging as often as I used to, and I’m struggling to figure out why.
I first started this blog in late January of last year as I was beginning my final semester of grad school. Because I was going to class and writing papers and engaging in interesting discussions with my classmates, I felt full of ideas and opinions and curiosity about the things I hadn’t discovered yet, and blogging seemed like a great way to capture all of that–and to connect with other librarians who were interested in the same things. As I attended conferences and finished my degree, I wrote posts about three times a week.
Once I graduated and was spending the summer wrapping up work at my two different jobs and getting ready to move from Indiana to Connecticut, I wrote a little less often, but then jumped right back in after I got settled in my new home and kicked my job search into high gear. I was lucky enough to (1) find a job (2) doing YA stuff (3) that I like, but since then, I’ve been posting less frequently, say twice a week or so.
But now that I’ve been at my current position for a few months, I’m writing a lot less often. I have five posts in January (although a couple of those were written in December and scheduled to post while I was on vacation), two in February, four in March–and here we are on the 19th of April and I’m just writing my first post.
It’s certainly not that I don’t have opinions–did I ever have opinions about Bitch Media’s 100 Young Adult Books for the Feminist Reader, about the recent article by Sarah Pekkanin in the Washington Post about “the gender divide in children’s books” and Brendan Halpin’s commentary on it, even about recent casting decision for the Hunger Games movie. And it’s also certainly not that I don’t have things to write about: I have an entire list of potential blog posts and especially since I’m the first YA librarian at my library, building the program as I go and learning a lot from my mistakes along the way, I feel like I have plenty to say. I even compose little bits of posts in my car or in the shower. I just… never sit down to write. And even in the middle of this post, I got up to make tea, checked my email a couple of times, and took my teacup back into the kitchen and ran the dishwasher. It’s like I’m procrastinating on some paper I don’t want to write–except that I do want to be writing.
So I’m not really sure where this silence is coming from. I suppose I could try to say that since February started and I began my work on the Amazing Audiobooks committee I’ve been spending a lot of my free time listening to audiobooks, but I was doing a lot of print reading before then anyway and even with work and Amazing Audios, I’m certainly not busier now than I was when I was a full-time student working two part-time jobs. Am I afraid to write or voice opinions for some reason? Now that I’m not in school, am I feeling less engaged with the issues in our profession? (I’m willing to say no on that one.) Is it that I’m just not in the habit of writing like I used to be when I was doing papers and projects all the time? Is the problem that while I have plenty of responsibilities and work to do, I don’t have a lot of actual structure in my day-to-day schedule since I work part time? Am I just becoming decadently lazy now that I’m out of school for the first time since kindergarten?
I’m hoping that by publicly talking about this, I’ll feel more motivated to write, or at least to understand why I’m not blogging the way I used to. But dear readers–if any of you are still out there–what do you do when you’re having trouble getting back in the habit of something you used to do? Have you overcome a lack of motivation to write? I’d love to hear about your own experiences, struggles, and successes!
April 19, 2011
Colleen, the Guardienne of the Tomes, discussed negative reviews recently and it’s gotten me thinking again. I’ve talked before about how I think reviewers shouldn’t be afraid to write negative reviews. In short, we (especially librarians) are experts that people trust to be able to evaluate books–I mean, we do it every day when we decide what to buy or recommend for our patrons–and furthermore, refusing to write bad reviews means that it’s impossible to tell if a book with no reviews is bad or simply neglected.
I’ve found over the past few months that I’m writing more reviews and fewer long opinion pieces and while I don’t want this blog to become exclusively a review blog, I do enjoy reading, thinking critically about what I’m reading, and then publishing a review that I hope will be helpful to others. So to be a better reviewer, I’ve written a review policy, but I’ve also decided to establish a rating scale.
I was feeling ambivalent about rating scales–are all 3-star books equivalently good? What if I liked a book that I know isn’t well-written? What about books that won’t be popular but are beautifully mapped and crafted?–until I realized I was already rating everything I read on Goodreads anyway.
So from now on (and going back a handful of reviews), book reviews I write will close with the book being assigned to a 1-5 scale that (mostly) fits a bell curve. Like someone said on Twitter during the YA Lit Symposium (I think? Was it LizB? I couldn’t find the actual tweet), some books are good, some are crap, but most are in the middle. Thus most books I read will be 3s, some will be 2s or 4s, and a few will be 1s or 5s, and all of those will map to the number of stars I give a book on Goodreads. (Because I usually read books I think I’ll like, I suspect there will probably be fewer 1s than 5s, so I guess my bell curve will be slightly skewed. But still: most will be in the middle and fewer will be at either extreme.)
I should stress that the ratings system will be almost more subjective than the rest of the review. I’ll try to evaluate how well a book does what it’s trying to do (especially if it’s not in a genre I know as well), but when it comes down to having just five options, there’s going to be a lot of “just because that’s how it feels” involved in the decision. The rest of the review should explain in more detail the book’s particular merits or weak points.
Do you use a rating system or no? What led you to that decision?
January 7, 2011
Now that I’ve finished my MLS and am wrapping up my work here in Indiana, it’s time to move on to new adventures: my husband and I are packing up all of our belongings and moving to Connecticut over the next week and a half. My schedule’s just too busy with work and packing and cleaning, and we’ll be without Internet for a while, so Librarified will be on hiatus until early June once things have settled down a bit. See you then!
May 25, 2010
After a few days of working out the details, Librarified’s new look is finally complete! It’s been a lot of fun to work with the brilliantly talented Brandon Peat on the design. If you ever need design work done, he is the dude to ask. He does logos and illustrations and websites and he is full of great ideas, has a solid sense of how things should look and function, has a good eye for detail, works quickly, and knew exactly what I wanted even when I didn’t. At every step along the way he exceeded my expectations and I cannot recommend him highly enough.
I’ve been so eager to reveal bits and pieces of the design along the way, but I wanted to wait until it was all finished to announce it. And now it’s finished! And this is the announcement! And the new look is totally awesome, so if you keep up with Librarified via RSS you should visit the site itself to see.
April 22, 2010
Hello! I’m in my final semester of my MLS at Indiana University’s Indianapolis campus and I’ve been meaning to start a library blog for a long time. I work in a university library and a synagogue library and have done an internship in a public library’s teen services department. I’m also an officer in IUPUI’s Association of Library and Information Science Students (ALISS) and the School of Library and Information Science’s representative to the Graduate Student Organization. I’d like to become a teen services librarian, but generally I’m interested in public libraries, youth services, Teen Advisory Boards, partnerships between public and school libraries, social networking and new media, privacy and copyright issues, gaming in libraries, and intergenerational programming.
I’m still developing my library skills and librarian identity, so I do a lot of thinking about the values of librarianship, controversies in librarianship, and the way libraries interact with the rest of the world. I wanted a place to collect some of those thoughts and post interesting bits of news, links to other great library thinkers, or provide reaction pieces to articles I read. I’m sure that as I grow as a librarian, this blog will, too–and I’m looking forward to that!
One note: I came up with the name “Librarified” independently and when I Googled it to see if it was already in use, I did find a LiveJournal with the same name by someone named Jamie Davis, but as there have been no new posts there in over a year and I’ve been unable to contact Jamie, I’m going to step in and use the name. I should be clear, though, that I have absolutely no connection to that journal or to its original author.
January 27, 2010