Friday, March 31, 2006

Faculty status, Librarians with

The question of faculty status for academic librarians is an issue that elicits passionate debate from people on both sides of the issue. Some academic librarians are considered faculty and have all the rights and responsibilities that such a title entails. Others are called faculty, but are really just academic support staff with glorified titles. Most, however, are somewhere in between and are responsible for things that fit into both categories:
  • staff: working at service desks, cataloging and automation, collection development, etc.
  • faculty: teaching and instruction, research and publication, service and committees, etc.
Not sure where you fall into this landscape of muddled job classification, professionalism, and self-identity? Lack of controlled vocabulary strikes again!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Online catalog, Lamenting your

All librarians should have a love/hate relationship with their online catalog. For all the time and effort librarians put into maintaining their online catalogs, you might think the interfaces would be a lot more user-friendly. (How often does have to do training sessions on "Finding Books"?) The only real course of action is for librarians to lament the sorry state of their catalogs' interfaces to one another -- informally, in meetings, at conferences, with users' groups, and on listservs. In the meantime, just be sure you keep paying your catalog vendors outrageous fees for their substandard products.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Vendors, On enduring

When your boss thinks that it'll be a really swell idea to bring in the most annoying vendor reps to demo a bunch of crap your library would never use, make sure that you make the dude work for it by asking the dumbest questions you can think of. Your objectives are two-fold: to irritate the vendor and to put off going back to work for as long as possible. Ask really hard questions that salespeople would never know and when the vendor squirms and answers the question with a really inadequate response, try not to be too impressed with your evil self. When the vendor leaves, make sure to gossip with your favorite co-worker(s) about whatever tacky thing the vendor said or did (because they pretty much always do.) Bonus points for baiting the vendor into taking you out and paying for drinks on his/her company's tab.

White cafe mocha, Deserving an expensive

Some everyday events justify treating oneself to an expensive white cafe mocha from the library's coffee shop. Some examples are listed below:

Celebrating with a white cafe mocha
  • Acing a particularly difficult reference question
  • All your colleagues leave for a library conference, and you have run of the place in their absence
  • Getting through a day with no email from any of your upline supervisors
Earning a white cafe mocha
  • Having to endure more than two meetings and/or instruction sessions in the same day
  • Sitting through a particularly long or annoying meeting
  • Having to perform staff evaluations
Other ways to justify a white cafe mocha

Monday, March 27, 2006

Coots @ your library, Crazy old

Beware of crazy old men carrying briefcases. They usually have "special research projects" that they want to share with you. This might include rehashing tedious details of geneaology research, finding a mailing address for a hand-written tech-support letter to Gateway, shopping for replacement cane tips (that "aren't shit!"), and pulling seemingly random items out of library storage. Crazy old coots may or may not have excessive nose and ear hair, very loud voices, and a propensity to touch you on the shoulder and back. If you see one coming... run away.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Association membership dues, On not paying on time

When your crappy SLA membership dues come up for renewal, ignore the second, third and fourth reminders and just wait until someone from the organization practically begs you to renew. It's always nice when someone begs, especially if they knock a little off the price. And if you decide not to renew, make sure you blow off some steam and tell someone exactly whyyou think the dues are a complete waste of money.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Technical issues, Overexplaining

When patrons complain about dead links on your library's web site, out-of-service databases, or a disabled online catalog, help them understand what's going on by explaining the technical problems in excruciating detail. Patrons really care about the javascript code running behind your library's web site and what kind of server your link resolver is running on. Really, nothing dissolves patrons' frustrations like dense, technical, jargon-filled hypothetical explanations of your library catalog's problems. When you're finished rambling, refer patrons to an online form to report the problem and tell them to "check back" to see when it's up and running again.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Wares, Hawking

Shamelessly self-promote your library blog by setting up an online store to sell your homemade wares.