The Electronic Frontier Foundation is hosting Copyright Week, in collaboration with several other groups interested in intellectual property, including the American Library Association, Association of Research Libraries, WikiMedia, Creative Commons, and more. Each day is dedicated to a different copyright-related issue.
Here's a preview:
Day 1: Transparency
Day 2: Building and Defending a Robust Public Domain
Day 3: Open Access
Day 4: You Bought It, You Own It
Day 5: Fair Use Rights
Day 6: Getting Copyright Right
Copyright affects all of us, and it's not perfect--not by a long shot. If we want copyright to reflect our interests and today's networked reality, we need to get informed and get involved. This is a great first step.
Being a librarian is interesting, but exhausting! Here are some of the projects that I have tackled in my first month as a professional librarian at a vocational school specializing in health services:
Helping my coworker tabulate and code all the student and faculty survey data
Revising the surveys so they will be easier for everyone next year and will give us (with any luck) more consistent and meaningful data, and fewer answers with no response. (Pro tip: Closed-ended questions are your friend. Unless you absolutely have to have a detailed explanation for something or have absolutely no idea what type of answers to expect, provide a checklist of answers you expect to get, with a space for "other." This will save you hours of trying to figure out how to sort similar-but-just-slightly-different answers.)
Graphing and analyzing the survey data so we can support our budget recommendations.
Collaborating with my coworker on creating (and revising) a budget.
Coordinating with my coworker, instructors, and program directors to figure out what books and resources we need to buy in order to support the degree-granting programs and meet ABHES accreditation standards by this summer.
Cataloging (well, finding call numbers for and putting spine labels on) about 150 books
Putting together a bulletin board with information on career resources
Coordinating with instructors and program directors to make sure all the new students get a short workshop on the resources available in our e-library
Redesigning the PowerPoint for and giving these workshops (2 so far)
Working with my coworker to write library policies
So it's a pretty full job--there's always a lot to do, even if it is technically part-time. Also, I work at two different campuses, so my time is split between them. (My coworker is at the third campus.)
Here are a few fun and random things about my job:
One of the campuses is really cold. I keep chanting the mantra, "I am a Stark of Winterfell" in the hopes that this will make me tough and awesome enough to handle it. Sometimes it works. Other times I remember that if I really were a Stark of Winterfell, I would have a fur-lined cloak and a direwolf to keep me warm, and then I get cold again.
At the other campus, I share an office with an instructor for the Medical Assistant program, and there's a model skeleton in it. I have to keep fighting the urge to dress it up in funny hats.
Apparently Mosby is a major publisher of medical reference books. This always makes me think of Ted Mosby from How I Met Your Mother, and I either picture him helping me catalog or wonder what he would be like if he had gone into the medical profession. (Somehow, I picture him being a nurse like Greg Focker in Meet the Parents--he would be a cross between that character and J.D. from Scrubs. Also, he would flirt shamelessly with the attractive female patients and get slapped with so many lawsuits. Unless, of course, he gave into his urge to pretentiously quote poetry around his patients and one of them strangled him with a catheter first.)
This is going to be a great and interesting year. I will be starting my job as a librarian at a vocational college specializing in health services. This is my first professional job after getting my MLIS this summer, and I can already tell that I will learn a lot. (I hope people's names are first among these things!)
I am planning to be less remiss in my blog posting and (with any luck) have interesting and varied things for people to read about, ranging from my conference experiences to book recommendations to life as a librarian to random thoughts on things that strike my interest.
There has been a lot of talk about whether libraries and information professionals can adapt to the increasingly digital future--and if so, how. This video, from a seminar at Library 2.011 called "Future Ready," offers a humorous metaphor for how information professionals can adapt to the "jungle" of this brave new world:
This excerpt from Switch offers a mindset for adapting to rapid change: don't look for the roots of problems; look for "bright spots," see what's different about them, and replicate what they're doing as much as possible.
I admit, the future intimidates me sometimes. So do people who jokingly (I think?) welcome our robot overlords. I often feel like they're mindlessly repeating Barney Stinson's four-word mantra from How I Met Your Mother: "New is always better." Not true, in fact. But neither is the reverse.
I am so excited about the two library conferences I am going to this November! There's the CLA/CLSA conference, which I've gone to for the past two years and always enjoyed tremendously, and a brand new conference, Library 2.011, which focuses on the future of libraries in the digital age. The latter is free and entirely online, so that will be an interesting experience, I'm sure. Definitely not the traditional conference experience. Then again, it may give me warm nostalgic feelings (or something) for my days of online education.
Over the years, I have done a lot of tutoring in various subjects. Of course, I get a lot of math students--either students who need help with a math class or who are reviewing math in preparation for a standardized test. So a lot of people have trouble with math. This is understandable, as it can be a difficult subject. But what I find baffling is how often I get comments like, "I just don't get math" or "I'm not a math person." It's this odd fatalism you don't usually find in other academic subjects. I don't hear people say, "Well, I'm not really a history person" or "I don't get English." They might say they don't like it or they find it boring or they have trouble with part of it (usually grammar), but they assume that if they cared enough to put in the effort, they could understand it.
Why don't they assume the same for math? The premise is actually arguably more true for math than for other subjects because of how systematic math is. Maybe the problem is that it is easier to get behind in math--if you miss one conceptual building block, you're more or less stalled until you can get past it and work your way back up. Maybe it has something to do with cultural assumptions about math and the people who love it.
Look: you can learn math. I promise. And it can be very useful. A better understanding of percentages and interest could have decreased the number of people who accepted bad mortgages. An understanding of statistics can help you decide whether a poll or scientific study is actually valid. And geometry has applications in physics, art, architecture, engineering, and animation, among other things.
There are no "math people." There are people who choose to learn math, and people who choose not to.
I've learned there's the greatest difference in the world between feeling guilty and taking responsibility. Feeling guilty mires you in the past: it's about beating yourself up for mistakes and asking, "How could I have been so stupid?" Taking responsibility advances you into the future: it's about learning from your mistakes and asking, "What could I do differently next time?"