Why I Learned To Love the Command Line via Hack Library School
“I want to be clear that I’m not advocating librarians become professional programmers– programmers spend years of their lives and dedicate their career to the art.”
“I will say though, as library websites become the primary service point by which patrons interact with the library, librarians should know how the web works, what languages it works in, what languages do what, and how the web is structured. My vision of the future library does not have each department working in a vacuum from one another but rather librarians and IT professionals working together, sharing a common language, and figuring out how to best serve the community.“
Making a new, better library website–or doing anything at all!–requires collaboration and teamwork. We’re often stuck in little bubbles, and it won’t be until we get over ourselves and realize that sharing information and working together is the way to go that we’ll actually be able to do good things for the community.
That’s why we’re around, remember?
Library Workers Make Libraries Better – Together via Designing Better Libraries
I really like the quote that he shared near the middle:
One of the few things that separates one public library from others are the people that work there. We’ve all got books and computers. No two libraries have the same people working for them.
It was cold. Wonderfully cold in August.
My family went on a one-week cruise of the Inside Passage, which “is a coastal route for oceangoing vessels along a network of passages which weave through the islands on the Pacific coast of North America” (thanks, Wikipedia!).
We flew up to Seattle the Thursday before, and Shawn and I stayed for two days in Seattle after the cruise ended.
I loved this vacation.
I’d say that posts about each day were going to be coming, but it’s best not to promise things like that.
I went to an ALA preconference with quite possibly the longest name ever: “Strange Bedfellows: IT and Reference Collaborations to Enhance User Experiences.”
All of the presenters were from academic libraries, and I was a little worried that many of the things they were going to discuss were not going to be applicable to public libraries. Some things were not, just because academic libraries are organized very differently from public libraries, and IT departments in academic libraries (and larger public libraries) have a much different function than our IT department.
Some common themes that ran throughout the day were communication, working towards shared organizational goals, discovering what works for your specific organization, and spending time with coworkers in a social setting (food makes everything better?) to build real, human relationships.
Char Booth was the first speaker, and I took the most notes during her presentation. You must “know thy frenemy;” you know, the person that works at the same place as you, is in the same room as you, but lives in a different universe. You work together and make small talk but don’t see things in the same way.
She also described “Steel Magnolia diplomacy.” The magnolia part reminds you to come prepared to a meeting and take an interest in what others are saying rather than putting on airs and pretending that you know more than you do. Ask questions and say thank you. The steel part reminds you to stand your ground and speak your mind. You have to know your strengths and how to pick your battles–it’s not nitpicky if you think it’s important. Also, say thank you.
Matt Critchlow and Dan Suchy from the UCSD Libraries discussed the problems and successes they had in redesigning their website and creating a new mobile site. Two big bullet points:
- IT works with not for user services
- Should IT own a project that is for patrons, like the library’s website? How does IT know what patrons want? There needs to be a collaborative effort between the two departments. User services cannot take over either.
Catherine Murray-Rust is Dean of Libraries at Georgia Institute of Technology, so it was appropriate that she discussed the topic of leadership in these collaborations. She referenced the book Trust and Betrayal in the Workplace and spent a lot of time talking about different types of trust. You’ve got to share information, tell the truth, admit your mistakes, give and receive constructive feedback, maintain confidentiality, speak with a good purpose, respect the knowledge and good judgement of others, help others learn skills, and let people participate.
Joanne Kossuth of Olin College closed the program with some things that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. She said that sharing information creates openness. In turn, that improves staff morale. Also, it’s not what I do. It’s not what you do. It’s what we can do for the user.
Some terms that were discussed throughout the day were memorandum of understanding and requirements meeting. These things happen before any action is taken on a project to ensure that everyone working on the project is clear on its goals and procedures. Another attendee suggested that this meeting should be at least two hours long; you hash out some guidelines during the first half, take a break to really think about what was discussed, and then come together again and finalize the plans while discussing insights realized during the break.
I stayed for the opening of the exhibits and was frightened by the intensity many of the librarians had when the doors were first opened.
I’m finding it hard to concentrate on things lately. Anything. I’m not sure if I have a lot on my mind, if I’m just not prioritizing well, or if I’m just tired.
For example, I went to the gym this morning. It should have been simple: get my stuff, drive over, exercise, drive home. This is how it went:
- get my stuff, walk to my car, realize I have my wedding rings on, walk back into the house to leave my rings, get into the car and back out of the driveway.
- realize I forgot my water bottle, pull back into the driveway, run back into the house and grab the water, drive down jefferson highway for about five minutes.
- realize I forgot my headphones, make a U-turn, drive back home, run back into the house to grab the headphones, finally drive to the gym.
- luck improves as I find a parking spot on the second aisle I drove down, walk to the sidewalk, realize I still have my sunglasses on, walk back to the car to drop them off, FINALLY make it to the gym.
Today was day two of week four of the Couch-to-5K running plan that I’ve been following for a month, and I made it through that without any mishaps, so I indulged in a pb&j smoothie at the gym’s cafe. The drive home was uneventful.
Also, I promised myself that I’d get a new pair of shoes if I could stick with this C25K thing for a month, and I have. New shoes, woohoo.
This sign was put in the upstairs library bathroom in January. Interesting and sad.
The sign had a few additions made to it before it was finally taken down, but I was a little jealous. I wanted downstairs signs too! But happy signs.
I haven’t been taking pictures of all of the signs that have appeared in our bathrooms, but I intend to fix that in the future.
This is the second year that Shawn and I gave up meat for Lent, which is a really good time frame to use to try something new or give something up. We chose to continue to eat seafood during this time, especially since it’s crawfish season, so I can’t say that doing this is a total sacrifice.
One of my favorite new meatless recipes was this chickpea chili. It did take a long time to cook because it used dried chickpeas. I thought about using canned beans, but decided against it. The long amount of time in the slow cooker surely adds to the melding of the ingredients.
My other favorite was mujadara from Orangette. I had this lentil dish at the Green Olive Lebanese Restaurant in Lafayette when I was there for a library conference, and looked for a recipe soon after. It looks a little unappetizing, but it is delicious. Caramelizing the onions completely is key.
What did we break the meat fast with? Bacon, of course.
I also made sorbet for dessert,
but writing about that obsession will have to wait.