Sunday, July 20, 2014

Holds - Why are they so Scary?

At least once a day I help a teen or adult try to find a book and it is not on the shelf. It is summer, we are busy, and that hot title is not going to be on the shelf. I always ask them if I can put the title on  hold for them, and 90% of the time, they say no.

This makes absolutely no sense to me. Why would you not place yourself on the list so you have a chance of actually reading the book in the next month?

I have people constantly asking me for The Fault in our Stars, Allegiant, If I Stay, etc. When I tell them they are checked out, they are always disappointed (The movies are either coming out soon, or have come out recently. Why would you think this title would be on the shelf is beyond me.) But they refuse to put it on hold. I ALWAYS offer.

I have had teens say, "I can't believe they don't have a copy."
I grind my teeth, and think to myself: we do, and there are 115 people on the waiting list.

I had reached the end of my rope one day, after 3 people asked me for the same book, and all refused my hold offer. When the next teen asked for it and I told her it wasn't there, and asked if she would like to be added to the list, and, as usual, said no, I broke it down for her. "Honey, if you don't put it on hold, you will not see it on the shelf for at least 3 months. There are 100 people on the list." She looked at me like I was insane.

I think it boggles my mind because I am a person who doesn't really browse anymore. I know what I want, I put it on hold, and it shows up on my desk like hand delivered magic.

Are people afraid of the commitment of a hold? Afraid of the notification phone call or email? The call isn't even a person anymore. It is all automated.

I don't know what I need to do to teach people at the library that holds are not a scary thing, but are actually really convenient. When the book is ready for you, you will be notified, instead of continually coming in to check the shelf and not finding what you are looking for.

I have been rolling around in my head for a while the idea of teaching a basic OPAC course that would include how to do a basic search, how to log into your online account, how to place/cancel/freeze a hold on an item, how to renew items online, and how to pay fines online. I think this would be a great thing, I just don't know if I have the time to teach it, with all of the other things on my plate. Plus, we are in the works for potentially switching to a new library software system and catalog, so things may be changing, so is it worth teaching, when it could change in the next 18 months?

Things for me to think about I guess.

Monday, September 9, 2013

ALA 2013 - A Little Late

I had my first experience with an American Library Association Annual Conference earlier this summer. It was a long day, but wonderful.

Ky, a good friend of mine from college, also came with to the conference. She came down from Wisconsin the night before and we took the train into the city early the next morning. We walked to the conference shuttle, made it to McCormick Place, and got checked in to the conference.

We quickly checked out the lay of the land (& wow, the place was huge!) and started to get in line for author signings. While in line to get my book signed by Sarah Dessen, I was able to get a creeper shot of Mo Willems from across the aisle.

 While I was in line for Ms. Dessen I was standing in front of the AudioGo booth. I chatted with the representative and came away with a free audiobook, and a title that the library had passed by because it was too expensive, to boot!

I finally purchased my book and had it signed. Sarah Dessen was very nice, and while I was taking a picture, she and her assistant both said they loved my phone case ("Keep Calm & Carry On" - fitting for many of us!).

While I was in line for Sarah, Ky stood in line and got our books signed by Marie Lu. 

Diary of a Wimpy Librarian? I hope not!

We wandered around for the rest of the day, I attended a session about video editing and using YouTube for libraries, which was interesting, and I hope to eventually incorporate some of the ideas I learned there into my library work. We accumulated bags full of galleys, Ky got her book signed by Veronica Roth (I was so jealous! Darn having to attend sessions!), and I talked to an OCLC representative about some issues I had been having with creating the ILL account using their new software.

We also saw the Penguin Book Truck, which had lots of great deals, but I had to abstain because my back was already breaking from the mountain of galleys in my tote-bags.

This is the view of the conference floor from the cafe. Ky stayed up here and people watched for a while while I was attending one of my sessions. It was massive! 

After a very long morning and afternoon we caught the bus outside the conference center and headed back to the train station. We were delayed because a street on the way to the hotel was blocked off due to something being filmed. We weren't sure if it was for a movie (we were hoping for Divergent!) or TV, but we got to see a car take off down the street and be filmed by a jeep with a camera rig on top, so that was cool, and worth the extra time on the bus! 

The Chicago Art Institute Lions were celebrating a Blackhawks Stanley Cup win in style!

The bus only took us as far as the Weston Hotel so we had to hoof it several blocks back to the train station. I'm sure we were quite a site with all of our tote-bags.

Yay Maggie! I needed some Gansey time!

I spent some time on the train ride home reading this galley, that I was very excited to have randomly handed to me as soon as I hit the conference floor. I had been waiting for this book for months (and it was worth the wait!).

We finally made it back to the train station, and were starving, so we stopped at Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner. It was the perfect end to a very long, but satisfying, day.

The hungry teacher and librarian devoured these in a matter of minutes. And they were delicious.

My first ALA Conference was only one day, but I really enjoyed it, and hope I get to attend another the future. Maybe someday I'll be one of the librarians leading a session.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Sleep... Or Lack Thereof

It is 1:30 in the morning as I write this. I should be sleeping, but thank goodness I don't have to work until noon tomorrow. Things are keeping my mind too busy to let me drift off.

Our Summer Reading Program concluded last Friday, with the final party taking place on Saturday evening at the local YMCA. We rented out the entire facility, which was then closed to the general public, and filled the space with library families for 3 hours. They could swim, play in the gym, climb around in the playhouse, play air hockey or pool, or use the climbing wall, bounce house, or inflatable obstacle course we had rented for the event.

We only had 1 major complaint, so I think it went pretty well. I sat behind the welcome desk with the teen librarian to take tickets and give directions, and you would not believe how many people thought I worked for the YMCA and were asking me membership questions. They were astonished to discover that I was not, in fact, a YMCA employee, but a librarian. Apparently my disguise consisting of jeans and a Pride & Prejudice t-shirt was effective (Affective? It's late; my grammar skills have declined.). 

With programming on hiatus for the rest of the summer so that we can plan everything for the rest of the year, I have been taking time to do some software training for the other main aspect of my job: Interlibrary Loan. Over the past 2 days I have spent a solid 4 hours participating in OCLC WorldShare instruction webinars. They have made me the crankiest staff member afterwards, but they will be highly useful once the old ILL module is disabled and retired at the end of the year.

4 more work days and then it is time for this librarian's 5 day vacation. And house move, but I'm trying not to think about that. I do look forward to being able to unpack and no longer be living out of boxes.

Time for attempt 3 at falling asleep.

Sunday, June 9, 2013


Remember that time I started my full-time job and promptly stopped blogging?

I do.

It was sad.

I'm hoping I can get back to it on a more regular basis sometime soon.

Although, Summer Reading Club starts tomorrow... so I might be doomed.

We shall see. Because I certainly do miss blogging.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

100 Best YA

The world has voted, and the results are in!

NPR's list of 100 Best Young Adult Novels:

I know I saw quite a few of my favorites on the list!

What do you think? Are there any that they missed?

Friday, July 6, 2012

So, hey, I graduated!

As of May 20, 2012 I became a "real" librarian, MLIS degree and everything.

It's been an interesting transition.

Being out of school is such a new experience for me. I have been in school for the past 20 years of my life, with never more than a 3 month break between 9 month hauls of school has trained me and given me a different outlook on life. It is strange to think that I will never have to write another paper or attend another lecture unless I really really want to (which, to be honest, I usually really wanted to attend lectures while I was in school anyway. It's the nerd in me. I couldn't help myself.)

I have been having a bit of trouble adjusting to life without school. I constantly feel like there are things that I am supposed to be doing, when in reality I no longer have homework to stress over. I can, in fact, watch a movie or a couple episodes of a TV show and not feel terribly guilty about it, but I still have that nagging thought in the back of my mind that there is homework to be done and I am procrastinating.

I guess I still have homework and assignments, but it's a new variety called job applications and resume updating. They never end, and currently the job prospects aren't all that good. No one wants a fresh faced, newly minted librarian, they want someone with professional experience. There also aren't many full time positions available for youth services librarians, but I'm not giving up hope yet!

I've had a few interviews and I'm anxiously awaitng responses.

Keep your fingers crossed!