Author Topic: Librarians, educate me please!  (Read 1901 times)

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AmethystAnne

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Re: Librarians, educate me please!
« Reply #15 on: August 01, 2014, 08:00:14 PM »
Thank you Katana! I wonder if my DD is a member.

I also wonder if most college libraries are L.O.C. based? I went to Glassboro State College in NJ and it's library was L.O.C. I looked up what I needed in the card catalog, and went to the #'ed section.

Dewey Decimal system makes more sense!

Katana_Geldar

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Re: Librarians, educate me please!
« Reply #16 on: August 01, 2014, 08:48:22 PM »
If I recall correctly, LOC was to fit the building the library is in. It's also rather biased as there's "American History" and "Everywhere else in the world history".

This would be infuriating to me in a non-American library.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Library_of_Congress_Classification

Winterlight

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Re: Librarians, educate me please!
« Reply #17 on: August 01, 2014, 08:59:52 PM »
During the average course of the day, I may:

-answer reference questions by phone, email and in person
-give tours of our library
-send materials to school children
-direct people to the nearest bathroom/ATM/Starbucks/museum
-fix the copier/printer
-explain to one of the cleaning crew how to read a job description
-send materials to a prisoner
-give advice on children's science programs for summer
-recommend books
lobby my boss for a library dog/otter/sloth/clouded leopard.



If wisdom’s ways you wisely seek,
Five things observe with care,
To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
Caroline Lake Ingalls

MommyPenguin

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Re: Librarians, educate me please!
« Reply #18 on: August 01, 2014, 09:05:38 PM »
One thing I'm not sure if anybody mentioned... at least in the systems I worked at in Maryland, librarians *don't* check out books!  I know, crazy, right?  But checking out books is, well, not generally skilled labor.  So the people who shelve books and check them out to you are circulation assistants or pages.  In my system, the difference between the two was that a page was a minimum-wage job, mostly high school kids, and they *only* shelved books.  Circulation assistants shelved books, checked books out, helped fill orders for hold books (books requested by different branches in the system) or ILL (inter-library loans, books requested by different library systems), deleted weeded books from the library system (librarians would decide what books the library no longer wished to keep, the circulation assistants would then delete them from the system and send them down to be sold in book sales or the bookstore), things like that.

Librarians were the ones who answered reference questions, weeded books, organized storytimes, book discussions, special events and programming, book displays, requested new books to be ordered, ran the volunteer programs, dealt with discipline and other patron issues, helped with the computers, helped use other machines like copiers and microfiche, attempted to find somebody who spoke the language of a patron, helped patrons with database enquiries and such, etc.

In Maryland, there were "actual librarians," who had Master's degrees, and "library associates," who acted like librarians but only had a bachelor's and had a cap as to how far they could advance without a degree.  They couldn't move into a position where they would supervise other people, but they did most of the other stuff listed on my "librarians" list of duties.

Librarians checking out books tends to be something you'd see more in a small library, where a few staff members do everything.  But in larger libraries, tasks tend to be diversified between the "circulation staff" and the "reference staff."  And sometimes reference is split into "adult" and "children's" or even "young adult."  All depends on the size of the library and staff.

Yarnspinner

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Re: Librarians, educate me please!
« Reply #19 on: August 01, 2014, 11:23:37 PM »
I've recently been transferred from adult reference at the main library to being a Librarian at a small (and lovely branch--it feels like a vacation!).  Technically I am the children's librarian, but ultimately, I will do whatever they need me to do.   What I did today:
-put together a book display for the empty display shelves
-suggested several novels similar to the one a patron was returning
-started clearing out the crafts cupboards my predecessor left in disarray
-answered several questions about acquisitions I purchased for the adult fiction department last week when I was still a reference and acquisitions librarian. 
-decided that some of the furniture in the small branch has to go--kids and adults are hurting themselves on it.
-started plans for a holiday party in October. 
-requested our collection development person purchase some items for our branch since I am not supposed to do acquisition any longer.
In future I will:
-plan story hours for children 1-3 years old.
-arrange school visits with the local school
-handle an adult book club
-patrol the grounds at after hours programs
-run a writer's group
-enter donated books into our system under the radar (for reasons that we cannot determine, our board does not want us to put brand new donated books by popular authors into the system--we do it anyway because our library board hasn't a clue how to do what we do)
-teach people to use the internet
-work with a young colleague to run bilingual story hours
-work the PTA
-teach classes in how to read picture books to your child.
-and so on.

As a reference librarian I have:
-planned programs in art or drama, or on themed topics
-answered a bazillion questions and had to determine what level of information these folks needed
-answered the same (completely mad) patron questions over and over again for nearly an hour as he compared doctors to do his surgery (we did this every day for a month)
-listened to rants from other logic challenged patrons re: their favorite president or baseball team.  (Apparently, since I am a Boston fan, I deserve to have my face torn off and fed to small dogs.  Someone has watched too many Hannibal Lector films.)
-yesterday, my last day on the old job, I met a young lady who developed a fascination with Agatha Christie by way of that Season 8 episode of Doctor Who (best question ever)
-I've written up bibliographies, created lengthy lists of new materials and generally tried to make the public aware of the movies, information and so forth that is available to them.
-ever tried to help someone sign up to get an appointment for a learner's permit at the DMV...hair pulling time.
-settled bar bets (no, seriously, there was a group of guys who spent their days at a local bar and would get into arguments about what was stronger, a whale or an elephant--stuff like that--and we would have to find the information.
-and so on.

A patron once asked how I studied to be a "lieberrian."  I very enthusiastically explained about getting an English major and enjoying doing research...I got as far as explaining about getting a master's degree and watched her eyes glaze over.

"If I wanted to work that hard, I would be a ditch digger."

Thipu1

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Re: Librarians, educate me please!
« Reply #20 on: August 02, 2014, 12:13:45 AM »
Amen!

Before I went back to school for my MLS I was a library assistant in a small but very specialized library.  Because the only other staff member was the librarian,  I learned to do just about everything from making photocopies to original cataloging, ILL work and reference work.  This meant that library school was a lot easier than I expected.  Doing acquisitions meant that I had a pretty deep knowledge of the collection because I saw and physically handled every piece of material that came into the library.

Being a librarian sometimes seems like an exercise in maddness but being able to tell a patron that there is a recent book on dwarves in Ancient Greece or seeing the look on a face of a child who finally 'gets' a concept makes it all worthwhile. 

Library Dragon

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Re: Librarians, educate me please!
« Reply #21 on: August 02, 2014, 04:46:02 AM »
Both in a school library and a public library I spend a lot of time being up to date with various laws, applying them, and explaining them so that the school/library stays out of legal trouble.

I've been around long enough that when CIPA (Children's Internet Protection Act) came about under President Clinton I had to work to find viable methods to filter Internet access without restricting valid education resources.  Yes, there are naked people on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, but that doesn't make it pornography. 

School librarians often become the copyright police.  Explaining to teachers that regardless of what they were taught at college, unless public performance rights are granted they cannot show a movie as a reward.  There has to be direct instruction involved.  I don't care that studio makes money, the school doesn't need a lawsuit.

In the school setting I taught students how to conduct research online and in print.  Internet safety, selecting books at an appropriate reading level without labels or computer tests.  I did interdisciplinary projects with the computer, art, and music teachers. 

Knowing the law when a parent wants a book removed from the school, privacy laws in the school setting.  Privacy laws are big issues for public libraries and vary from state to state.  Also knowing how to help people find the information they need without giving legal or medical advice. 

We are often the first place that has been actively helpful and patrons pour out their problems to us.  We have to know where to send them for assistance.  Agency A will sit down and fill out student aide forms.  Agency B will provide free after school tutors in addition to our free online tutoring service.  Yes, the local fast food place has free Internet, but the counter clerk won't be allowed to help format your resume.

There are programs and exhibits for all ages and interests.  The henna art program also involves cultural and consumer information--okay, it's fun too.  There is putting the right book into the right hands.  One of my greatest joys was when the dyslexic teen, who swore there were no books that he liked came back for the next book in a series I recommended.  It was getting to know what he liked (scary stories), having already developed a wide collection, and knowing I had something he could enjoy and not consider babyish. 

I am fortunate that I get to do the job I always dreamed of doing.  As a child in a chaotic home the library was the one place people didn't tell I couldn't dream of more or change interests.  A library isn't a warehouse for books.  It's the doorway to everything. 

Okay, commercial over.   Now you know why I'm the VP of the state association.  I  :-* libraries.

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Yarnspinner

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Re: Librarians, educate me please!
« Reply #22 on: August 02, 2014, 08:34:21 AM »
Amen!

Before I went back to school for my MLS I was a library assistant in a small but very specialized library.  Because the only other staff member was the librarian,  I learned to do just about everything from making photocopies to original cataloging, ILL work and reference work.  This meant that library school was a lot easier than I expected.  Doing acquisitions meant that I had a pretty deep knowledge of the collection because I saw and physically handled every piece of material that came into the library.

Being a librarian sometimes seems like an exercise in maddness but being able to tell a patron that there is a recent book on dwarves in Ancient Greece or seeing the look on a face of a child who finally 'gets' a concept makes it all worthwhile

Sing it, Thipu!

Best day ever:  an eighth grade girl and her Mom came in.  Girl was kind of defeated looking.  She explained that she wanted to do an extra credit project for her history class and had to create a medieval banquet atmosphere and create a couple of sample dishes, but she had been unable to find anything about banquets of the period or food information.  She had been to Ren Faires and the like, but didn't know what kind of food she should serve.

We managed to rustle up books on how to prepare a "medieval" type banquet and found a book with recipes that had been translated into modern English with explanations of how to modify the recipe for what's available in the store.

A few weeks later, the same girl and her mother came into the library and hunted me down.  Without a word she just threw her arms around me and said "I got an A.  Thank you."

Her mother told me she insisted they come directly to the library to tell me.  I waited until they left before I went out in the back stacks and burst into happy tears.  And I can't tell you how many times a year, when I am dealing with someone who not only wants me to write their resume for them, but apparently accompany them on the interview and ultimately to the job they think they will get....that I pull that memory out to feel refreshed and happy in my work.

Also wanted to mention:  our library has an extensive history department which covers the history of OurCity and OurState.  Not only that, we have had people come from as far away as Iceland to research their family tree in the history department's
genealogy center.  A coworker and I were fortunate enough to be staffing the room in the history librarian's absence and got thanked a million times by the wife of a man who had been adopted within his own family never knew until recently that the Aunt who visited was really his Mom and who hadn't known anything about her until we helped them unearth her obituary and several articles in the local paper.  This couple sat in our office and sobbed over finally knowing "who he was".  It was beautiful.

There are days that if PeeWee Herman rode by on his bicycle,  I would jump on the handle bars and point him west.  And there are days that if my favorite fantasy crushes from Criminal Minds drove up in a limo, bearing roses and champagne, I wouldn't leave at all.   It's that kind of job.

AmethystAnne

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Re: Librarians, educate me please!
« Reply #23 on: August 02, 2014, 09:20:44 AM »
There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry-
This Traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of Toll-
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears the Human Soul-

Emily Dickinson


I totally agree with Miss Dickinson. This is why I love to read. What other way can you take a vacation without having to do anything besides turn the page.

Librarians are heroes.

JenJay

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Re: Librarians, educate me please!
« Reply #24 on: August 02, 2014, 01:56:43 PM »
A question popped into my mind earlier and this seemed like the place to ask.

During a criminal investigation law enforcement officers will often times obtain a warrant to search a person's computer for evidence. I was thinking of the recent case where the man left his child in the car on a hot day and it was later revealed that he had done a few searches re at what temperature being left in a car is fatal, and also cases where a bombing suspect has been shown to have searched for bomb-making instructions and components, etc.

I was wondering if the police can obtain warrants to search library computers? Can a person's card number be used to see exactly what they were reading? Are the settings such that internet history isn't saved or it's erased regularly?

I've always had a library card but I've never used the computers (other than to look up a specific book I was trying to find) so it never really occurred to me before.

Slartibartfast

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Re: Librarians, educate me please!
« Reply #25 on: August 02, 2014, 02:28:11 PM »
A question popped into my mind earlier and this seemed like the place to ask.

During a criminal investigation law enforcement officers will often times obtain a warrant to search a person's computer for evidence. I was thinking of the recent case where the man left his child in the car on a hot day and it was later revealed that he had done a few searches re at what temperature being left in a car is fatal, and also cases where a bombing suspect has been shown to have searched for bomb-making instructions and components, etc.

I was wondering if the police can obtain warrants to search library computers? Can a person's card number be used to see exactly what they were reading? Are the settings such that internet history isn't saved or it's erased regularly?

I've always had a library card but I've never used the computers (other than to look up a specific book I was trying to find) so it never really occurred to me before.

This varies greatly depending on the library, whether it's public or private (like at a university), and what the situation is.  In general, librarians tend to be pretty rabid about personal privacy, to the point of intentionally not keeping records of past library use so law enforcement can't compel them to hand them over.  Some of that is changing with software and whatnot, though, so the short answer is "it depends."

Library Dragon

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Re: Librarians, educate me please!
« Reply #26 on: August 02, 2014, 02:50:56 PM »
Slartibartfast is correct.  It depends.  A program used in some libraries removes all history, downloads, documents, etc., when the computer is restarted.  It protects the computers from viruses and patron information. 

We use it, so when we had a subpoena asking for data all we could provide was the date, time, and duration of the computer used. The deputy from a neighboring state was very easy to work with.  He knew he had to have a court order and that we wouldn't have detailed data. 

The only other experience I've had is when someone tried to use their computer usage as an alibi.  I've written about it another thread, but we could confirm that they logged onto computer 8, but it was logged off after 5 minutes of inactivity. 

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Sharnita

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Re: Librarians, educate me please!
« Reply #27 on: August 03, 2014, 07:29:32 AM »
I was an assistant in a small-ish local library and we would "read shelves" to make sure books were in order, where they belonged. Book after book, shelf after shelf, aisle after aisle.

Thipu1

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Re: Librarians, educate me please!
« Reply #28 on: August 03, 2014, 11:28:24 AM »
I was an assistant in a small-ish local library and we would "read shelves" to make sure books were in order, where they belonged. Book after book, shelf after shelf, aisle after aisle.

...week after week.  I understand you.  The museum in which our library was located was closed on Tuesdays.  On Tuesdays, we wore jeans and sneakers because that was shelf-reading and shelf-shifting day.

It was actually rather fun because climbing ladders and shifting several hundred books in an afternoon was good exercise.  It also reminded us of things in the collection that we'd forgotten about.

It was also instructive in other ways.  All readers were told not to reshelve books.  There was a truck conveniently placed at the end of the readers' tables.  We had many European scholars who visited. Often, they'd come in on weekends with curators when the library was officially closed. We always knew when they tried to be helpful and reshelve books because the books were shelved upside down. 

The spine  titles on most books published in English read from top to bottom.  Most books published in languages used in continental Europe have spine titles that read from bottom to top.  An English language book filed upside down was a dead give-away. The German or French scholar was simply shelving books the way he was used to seeing them.   

Most library workers also know that when patrons reshelve books, the volume often winds up one
shelf lower than it should be. These reasons are why shelf reading is an important part of library management. 

 

AmethystAnne

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Re: Librarians, educate me please!
« Reply #29 on: August 03, 2014, 12:16:49 PM »
Shelfe reading is checking that all the books on a shelfe are in correct order according to Dewey# for non-fiction and alphabetical according to author (then book title) for fiction?

And that books are correct side up, spine side out, and there are no books wrapped around other books?
« Last Edit: August 03, 2014, 12:18:43 PM by AmethystAnne »