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“How do you feel about your discussion skills?”

This was how the conversation began that ended with me agreeing to takeover the monthly book club at one of the library branches. And while I feel I have a pretty good grip on my “discussion skills,” one major obstacle remains – I have never even been to a book club, let alone ran one. Quite frankly, it just never sounded like my cup of tea. And even more frankly, it still doesn’t. But alas, I need to expand my marketable librarian skills, and make more $. So here I am googling my life away, trying to figure out how to conduct one of these things. Thankfully I’m getting somewhat of a reprieve this first month, as I will get to watch my coworker (who is handing it over to me) run the show. And there is one awesome thing about it…if I survive, I get to choose the books for next year. I’ve already decided for sure that they’ll be reading Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and the Time Traveler’s Wife.

Any readers (all two of you) been to or ran a book club before? Advice? That would be fantastic.

About a month and a half ago, I applied for a part-time
reference librarian position at a nearby public library.  A week later, I
received a call and participated in a phone interview. That seemed to go well,
and a week later I went in for an in-person interview.  That also went fairly well, and then I didn't hear anything for a long time.  A couple weeks later, I called to see if the position had been filled, but got no answer.  The next day I was informed the the H.R. person had had surgery the day after my interview, and was going to be out of the office for an indeterminate amount of time.  Another week went by, and I called them back, only to learn that the H.R. person had quit during the hiring process, and that they hoped they would be making a decision by the end of the week. They ended up getting ahold of me the next day and offering the reference position to me. I got the job.

Despite the clusterfuck of a hiring process (I was assured this was not how they usually run), I started my training this week.  I'll be splitting my hours between two different branches, both of which are about the same distance away from where I live. My schedule is fairly consistent, though there is this every third Friday and every third weekend (on different rotations) bit that is going to be tricky. Add to that the fact that I'm keeping my old community college library job, and I have a feeling I'm going to get very worn out, very quickly.  I'm thinking about taking up coffee-drinking. I've always preferred tea, but somehow I just don't think that's going to cut it when I have to work from 7am-9pm on Mondays and Tuesdays.  Despite all, I think I'm going to really like this new job, and will probably detail exactly how much in future posts.

Onto the next order of business, I received a new car this week from my worrisome grandparents.  My old car (a '92 Chevy Lumina) breaks down all the time and takes about a half an hour to start in the winter if it starts at all. Add onto that the cracked windshield, no A/C in the summer, no cruise control, no bright lights, speakers that crack beyond belief, a leaky trunk, a dying differential, a back wheel that sounds something like a train chugging along, and a non-opening driver's side door, I had my hands full.  There was no way I could ever afford another vehicle on the salary I make.

Silver-impala (Note: Not my actual car, but one very nearly like it.)

Enter the '04 Chevy Impala, a nice silver color.  Not only does it improve on all of the unfortunate aspects of the Lumina, but it also has a cd player (score!), remote locks (OMG how did I ever live without them!?), and cupholders.  Also? Only about 64,000 miles on it.  It was only bought so cheaply (a few thousand) because the man who was selling it was out of a job and only had $300 to his name.  And while I feel slightly bad about having taken advantage of this man's situation, I am glad to not have to climb over the center console to get in and out of my car.  Words cannot truly express my joy.

Lastly, I'm sure the two readers I had are well aware that I haven't written anything in about a month and a half.  Knowing that if I didn't start up again, this blog would go the way of 98% of blogs in the world, I've decided to participate in NaBloPoMo this November.  Basically, it means I am going to post every day for the month of November in the hopes of jumpstarting my blogging again. I'm not signing up to officially be a member (they don't just do it for the month of November anymore), but nonetheless, I will be pushing myself to do the postings.  Some of these postings will inevitably be made from my Blackberry, so we'll see how that goes (I'm not sure if it will screw with the formatting or not).  At any rate, you can expect another post from me by Sunday night, at the latest.

I went to my first ever librarian conference a couple weeks ago. It was overwhelming.

Tee-WhatHappens-womens-small

Bought this shirt @ the Unshelved booth at ALA (that is not me in the picture).  I also went to some programs and stuff, but we'll speak no more of that.  What this shirt DID get me was no fewer than 10 librarians swarming me at the Broad Ripple Brew Fest this past weekend wondering where I got the shirt.

After my conference goings-on, I did this:

Joycebday 046

From the top of the Sears Willis Tower. You can see the curvature of the earth. Crazy.

And this…

Joycebday 049

I might be crazy. That's 103 stories straight down.

And again, in case you didn't get it the first time:

Joycebday 050
 

A view from one box to another:

Joycebday 052
 

And after the 4 hours it took to get up and down the tower, I got to dip my feet in the water here for approx. 5 seconds, followed by a stiff drink at the bar by the water:

Joycebday 054  

And still no decent pictures of my hair.  I guess you're gonna have to wait until I get it cut again.

Finis.

2008_09_banned_books_week
I want to bring to everyone's attention that ALA's Banned Books Week 2008 is going on from September 27 through October 4.  This event is so important in recognizing intellectual freedom, or the freedom to read whatever you want.  Some people *cough* Palin *cough, cough* would censor the masses from certain reading materials because they don't think we can handle it.  Personally, I don't think anyone else has a right to tell me what I can and can't read.  And as for those people who don't want their children's precious eyes to behold certain reading material—it is THEIR responsibility to police what their children read, if they so choose, NOT the library's even if their tax money goes to it.  Allowing them to ban a book not only censors their child, but also everyone else.  And that's just not right.

A number of so-called classics have been on the banned books list at one point or another, many for years in a row.  Please take some time to check out the ALA website for more information, or take some time to go to a Banned Books event near you.  But above all, don't let someone else tell you what you can or can't read.

Here's a list of the most challenged books of 2007:

1. And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell

2. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier


3. Olive’s Ocean by Kevin Henkes


4. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman


5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain


6. The Color Purple by Alice Walker


7. TTYL by Lauren Myracle


8. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou


9. It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris


10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Job posting found at careers.arl.org:

*looking for the quotes on the new typepad set-up.  Can't find them. Ugh.*

Assistant Librarian (Reference)

Yale Center for British ArtConnecticut
Yale University

 
Assistant Librarian (Reference)
Reference Library and Photograph Archive
Yale Center for British Art
Yale University
Rank: Librarian I

Schedule
Full time – 37.5 hours per week; Weekdays 8:30-5:00.
Application Deadline: Friday, June 20, 2008

Yale Center for British Art
The Yale Center for British Art, both a research institute and a public museum, houses the largest collection of British paintings, sculpture, drawings, prints, and rare books outside Great Britain. Given to Yale University by the late Paul Mellon (Yale Class of 1929), the YCBA is a flourishing center for research and scholarship on all aspects of the history of British art since the 16th century. For additional information about the Center, consult the web site at http://www.yale.edu/ycba/

The Reference Library and Photograph archive support the research activities of the Curatorial, Research, and Education Departments of the Museum as well as the faculty and students in Yale’s History of Art Department. Docents, volunteers, visiting scholars, and general visitors to the Museum are also important constituents to the Library. The Reference Library holds secondary resources in a variety of formats supporting the study of British art and related fields including architecture, history, literature, and the performing arts. The Photograph Archive, located within the Reference Library, consists of over 200,000 black-and-white study photographs of British art worldwide, with a special focus on holdings in the United States, Canada, and Australia.

The collection of Rare Books and Manuscripts, one of three curatorial departments at the Center, contains approximately 35,000 titles, consisting of material relating to the visual arts and cultural life in the United Kingdom and former British Empire from the 16th century to the present. The Prints and Drawings collection offers a comprehensive view of the development of British graphic art, with an emphasis on the flowering of the British watercolor school. The Paintings and Sculpture collection contains masterpieces by the leading artists who worked in Britain from the 16th century to the present, including Hogarth, Gainsborough, Reynolds, Stubbs, Constable, and Turner. British sporting art, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, the Camden Town School, and the Bloomsbury Group are well represented, together with more recent British art.

The Position
Under the supervision of the Head Librarian of the Yale Center for British Art Reference Library, assists in the day-to-day activities of the Library including reference services, collection development, and the planning and implementation of public service policies and activities.

Qualifications
MLS degree from an ALA accredited library school or the equivalent. Demonstrated commitment to public service. Knowledge of art historical reference sources, both print and online as well as general reference sources. Reading knowledge of one or more Western European languages. Preferred: Volunteer or work experience in an art museum library. Preferred: Undergraduate or graduate study in art or art history. Excellent oral and written communication skills. Strong analytical and problem solving skills. Strong computer skills. Ability to work independently and collaboratively in a service oriented, team environment. Excellent teaching skills.

Salary and Benefits
Rank and competitive salary will be based upon the successful candidate's qualifications and experience. Full benefits package including pro-rated 22 vacation days; 18 holiday, recess and personal days; comprehensive health care; TIAA/CREF or Yale retirement plan; and relocation assistance.

Yale University is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer. Yale values diversity in its faculty, staff, and students and strongly encourages applications from women and members of underrepresented minority groups.

Yale University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer

***The point?  I am ridiculously qualified for this job.  If only I had my degree already, I could be working at Yale for God's sake!!!

Kip Dude, Napoleon Dynamite’s brother just walked into the library and asked for a set of headphones.  Or at least it was a man that looked very nearly like him.

And that’s about the most exciting thing that has happened in here today, or for a few weeks.

As for my weekend, it was spent trying to avoid getting fixed up with men.  My mom’s friend called me Friday night and talked on and on about some guy she knows, a paper salesman named Scott, that I just had to meet.  After numerous "no," "no, I don’t want to date anyone," "no, I don’t want to meet anyone," "sorry, I can’t date men named Scott," and "seriously, thanks but no," she persisted, so I finally said, "We’ll see."  Very non-committal, I thought.  But she emailed me his picture all the same, wanting me to return the favor.  How ’bout no?  Then I went to mass Saturday evening for the Palm Sunday celebration.  An older lady there mistakeningly thought I was another woman’s grandchild.  Then, after finding out that at 23, I was too old to be one of the other lady’s grandchildren, she informed me that she has a 33-year-old son that was really nice and had never been married, and I should meet him.  She sort of elbowed me in the ribs and I did a sort of nervous laugh.  I mean, what do you say to that?

Sunday morning was breakfast with an old friend, which was nice as I hadn’t seen him for a while.  We both commiserated on how we were sick of people trying to fix us up (not with each other of course…he’s like my brother).  I had some crazy dreams all weekend.  Two things from my dreams actually came up Sunday:  One, I saw the band name Blind Melon in a dream, then my friend mentioned Blind Melon at breakfast; Two, I had seen bulbs coming up from the ground in my dream, only to discover on Sunday that actually we had some daffodils coming up in the yard fairly early.  This week will be my first back in class in three weeks, because of weather and "Spring Break" (Heh, what a joke). 

Oh, one more thing from this weekend….Torchwood!  Does anyone else watch it?!?  I am basically obsessed with it at the moment.  I knew when Owen died that he couldn’t really be gone, and I was right.  But I must say, I do enjoy the sneak peak I get at next week’s episode, since they are aired a few days earlier in the U.K.  And about Owen…I really am attracted to his character, even though he’s basically an ass and treats Toshiko terribly.  But the episode with the guy that changed their memories showed a bit about the inner Owen, and I think he’s not all that rotten now.  Just have to break a bit through that bad boy, egomaniacal facade.  In reality, men are such cowards.  Sure, they can go into battle when it means certain death, but give them an emotion and *choke* they can’t deal with it.  Owen is just an example of this.

The interviews yesterday were…interesting.  It did indeed feel strange, not because I was one of the people doing the interviewing, but because I was younger than every person we interviewed, and by decades for a few of them.  It’s much the same feeling as I get walking around the halls here with my official-looking magnetic nametag when half of the people who go to school here are twice my age.  And here they are, being nervous around me, asking for my advice and help.  Very odd.

As for my own interview this morning, I was unusually nervous beforehand, though not sure why.  Also, I didn’t have any clue as to how it went once it was finished, much like the interview I had for my current job.  I suppose it was alright….of course, the director made it seem like it was a very difficult job, though it is only a circulation clerk position–easy peasy.  There were 11 applicants, and I was the last to interview.  Next week she’ll be checking references and I should hear back either way by the end of next week.  The hours she told me I’d work were different than the hours I originally thought, so I probably won’t be able to keep this job if I get that one.  I almost wish I wouldn’t get it, even though I need the money.

As for the director herself, I had met her before when I had conducted a reference interview for a class.  She’s nice, fairly young for such a big position (though it is a small-town library).  Apparently, she also has a tea fetish.  She had about (and I am not in any way joking about this or exaggerating) fifty kinds of tea all displayed in her office on a shelf.  She says she drinks it constantly and even offered some to me.  I picked some pomegranate green tea.  The irony of all this is that I decided a couple of days ago that I would start drinking tea like a fiend, sort of fasting in the modern sense, but drinking lots of tea and only two meals (breakfast and dinner).  So I suppose it’s not fasting since it’s more than one meal, but still.  Lots of tea. 
Tea of the Day:  Green Tea

We will see where this leads.  I promise to post any job results on here, or perhaps results of drinking ginormous (suppose that’s how one would spell it) amounts of tea.

Original post found here.

Frugal librarian amassed 4 million pound art trove

By Luke BakerTue Jan 29, 9:28 AM ET

From the outside it’s an ordinary, red-brick house in a terraced row, not unlike tens of thousands of others scattered across Britain.

But on the inside, Jean Preston’s spartan Oxford home contained works of art of international significance, carefully acquired over a lifetime and haphazardly displayed.

Preston, a thrifty 77-year-old spinster who rode the bus and ate frozen meals, died in 2006. But art experts and auctioneers have now completed the sale of the exceptional works hoarded in her modest home.

The auctions have raised an estimated 4 million pounds, according to valuers, about 20 times the price of the house they were kept in, stunning experts and Preston’s relatives alike.

Among the treasures were two paintings by Fra Angelico, the 15th century Italian Renaissance master, that were the missing pieces of an eight-part altar decoration.

They were sold together for $3.4 million (1.37 million pounds) and are expected to be returned to the Uffizi Gallery, Florence’s famed art museum.

"We knew we were going to a house that contained some important works," Guy Schwinge of Dukes art auctioneers in Dorchester, which helped with the sale, told Reuters.

"But I was amazed to see quite how many treasures there were … The Fra Angelicos were behind the bedroom door and we only spotted them on the way out."

Hanging in the kitchen was a 19th century watercolour by pre-Raphaelite artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and in the sitting room, above an electric fire, a work by Sir Edward Burne-Jones.

Those two, estimated to be worth $2 million, have been saved for Britain and are expected to go on display at Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum, Schwinge said.

Another hidden treasure was a rare edition of the works of Chaucer that was too big to fit on Preston’s bookshelf and was found buried in a wardrobe. It sold for nearly $150,000.

"We often go to fabulous homes to evaluate artworks, but in this case the house was just so modest from the outside, and had very modest decor on the inside too," said Schwinge.

"It’s just rare to stumble across something quite so breathtaking."

Preston, who worked as a librarian for much of her life, inherited many of the works from her father, a keen collector. Her relatives were stunned by the artworks she had tucked away.

"My aunt bought her clothes from a catalogue, ate frozen meals and went everywhere on the bus," the Daily Mail newspaper quoted one of them as saying.

"Who would have thought she had the equivalent of a winning lottery ticket in her spare room all these years?"

(Editing by Paul Casciato)

That’s my lifelong ambition, other than the spinster part.  And by the by, I thought the word spinster was no longer in use?  I suppose such things are unimportant when trying to fit it in with the librarian stereotype.  But anyway, this is just another reason to be friendly to your local librarian: she may bequeath you a rare artwork.  Or maybe she’ll just take off some of your overdue fines.  But either way, it’s a win-win situation.

Two amazing facts I learned today from this article: (1) There is such a thing as a "humor tumor" (mentioned in paragraph after the paragraph next to the picture of a couple, third sentence) and (2) laughter can cause death in extreme cases.  That I might die from laughing too hard disturbs me greatly.  I mean, there have been many times where I laughed so hard and so long that I wondered if I might die, but I never seriously thought that that was a possible outcome.  I’ll be sure to steer clear of comedians in the future.  And also my coworker, to whom I just suggested that he should spend his days coming up with creative names for pornos.

In other news…I got to see my friend’s baby this weekend!  It’s so hard to get ahold of her, but I went over there and got to see her little girl, whom I have nicknamed Gigi (her real name being Gianni).  It seems to have stuck somewhat with others as well, for I have heard her called "Gigi poopypants."  Not as attractive, but I guess you get what you can when you’re an infant.  She’s two months old today.  I’d post a picture, but I forgot to ask Amber if that was okay with her, so maybe later.

Also, I don’t remember if I’ve written about this yet on here, but I’ve decided that I don’t want to be a school librarian any more, but a reference librarian.  The major problem with this is that all four of the classes for which I registered this semester are specifically geared towards the school media thing.  Really it is too late to begin a new class at this point, basically making this semester a waste of time for me.  However, I did drop the SLIS class that was geared specifically towards school teachers since I have to take a nearly identical one for the reference specialization.  That leaves three classes, one of which I can still count towards my 21hours of MLS electives, but the other two are from the School of Education and thus cannot be counted towards ANYTHING in my degree.  Waste of time and money.  But I still need to be at least a half-time student, so I need to keep them.  Might drop one of the education classes, since I think I can drop one more and still be half-time.

That is all.

Sooooo….the weekend.  It was eventful.  We’ll start from the beginning.

Had class on Friday–both grad school and my motorcycle training course.  On campus, the FFA was holding their national convention, with a special exhibition in the library.  Good thing I didn’t wear my cowboy/riding boots to class, otherwise those farmboys would’ve been all over me like flies on honey.  But really I chose not to wear them because I hate the sound of the boots on marble floor.  It irritates me greatly.  Also, I’ve got a great quote though from one of my Reference professors: "I was a geek in middle school…and high school…aaaaannnd college."  –in reference to his excitement at the information packets his friend got in the mail from various embassies.

The motorcycle class went well Friday night, but didn’t let out til 10, at which point I was VERY tired.  Had to get up at 5 the next morning to get back to class on time, so I was exhausted the whole next day, which isn’t conducive to learning to ride a motorcycle.  Let’s just say that I’m never going to buy my own motorcycle and will only operate one in the future if it is an emergency.  I’m so much better at riding on the back of one.  Didn’t go to class on Sunday because I was fairly certain I broke my foot the day before on the range when I dropped the bike twice.  It’s fine now.  On my range performance, the instructor said, "Well, you’ve made some great progress, but then sometimes it’s like your mind goes blank and you forget everything."  And folks, that’s exactly what happened.  That’s all I’m going to say about that.

As for the class I have to teach next week, I have to instruct them on how to use the virtual library for writing research papers and such.  I’m certain I can do it, as I teach it one-on-one to students nearly every day, but this is an entire class.  And on top of that, I’m pretty sure I have to take up about an hour, which, let’s face it, is not that easy for me when I really care so little about the subject at hand.

In other news, I have jury duty on Halloween.  Trick or treat?

Also, you people need to start looking up those song lyrics.

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