I am Medlib

2 1/2 weeks ago I had my first day as an employee for a medical system.  Tomorrow, after lots of site visits and training, I will have my first day in my library.  Or Resource Center.  Whatever you want to call it, it’s the space that I was hired to manage and make valuable.  There are a few things making this evening feel like Christmas Eve:

  • This is my first “real” job.
  • I will be the first person working in this brand new library in a brand new hospital.
  • However, I will not be completely (forever) alone; I have an amazing group of fellow librarians elsewhere in the system to support me even as I am “solo” within my locale.
  • I am a hospital librarian.

I just want to focus on the first and fourth bullets for a second.  Because I want to come back to this post in a year and see how it’s going.  But as it stands right now, I’ve realized that this is what I’ve been working towards for the last 5-6 years and I’ve “done it”.  Maybe it’s weird to aspire to a job that put me in so much debt and doesn’t pay *that* much. but I put blood, sweat, and tears (lots and lots of tears) into this, and in the end, I’m pretty sure I’ve discovered that it’s worth it. I guess maybe i shouldn’t say that yet, since I haven’t actually had even a day in my space, but I do know that I have no regrets. And that was the most terrifying thing, through the grief that kept me from making friends through much of library school and then the years apart from people I love, that it might not be worth it. And I knew I wouldn’t know until I reached a certain point. That point is right now.  I think i did a pretty good job of living life, and if it really hadn’t been worth it and I had left the field, I would have been able to move on because I do have amazing friends and family who inspire and motivate me, and things I love doing outside of my career. But it is a an amazingly good feeling to be here and say I’m pretty damn happy to be a hospital librarian.  It feels right, you know?

And so tomorrow I will see if I have any furniture and start to document the life of a new medlib in a new library.  Things of more substance than the above personal “yes!” moment, like how much free stuff you can get from NIH.  And how to build a collection from nothing.  And thoughts on going to non-librarian professional conferences.  And how an iPad can be incorporated into a medlib’s daily routine…Okay, you might have to wait a few paychecks for that last one, but it’s coming.  🙂  And I’d love to have you along for the ride!


Goodbye for now

I should have done this a long time ago… My apologies for my absence. And now there will probably be an even longer one, but not to worry, I’ll probably be back. 🙂

So, over the past 6 months, a few things have changed.  I graduated, so I am now able to “officially” call myself a librarian.  Unless you have to actually work as a librarian to call yourself one…I have my MLIS, and I am currently working as a Content Indexer.  Basically, I help maintain the content on MSN Shopping.  I’m quite happy to have a job, and I’m enjoying the fact that I don’t have homework anymore.  I’m living in a new house with a slightly different set of roommates, and my fiance and I have set a date for our wedding (but it’s not until 2009).  That’s the news.  I’m kind of busy enjoying my life, and I don’t have the fresh ideas popping up from class discussions anymore (for now…).  So I’m going to put this blog more or less on hold.  If I have a mind-blowing idea that I want to be able to reference in the future, I’ll put it up here, but maybe don’t hold your breath.  🙂  I may start a new, more personal blog, but that will remain to be seen.

 So, for my final entry for the time being, I’m going to post an idea that’s perhaps not outstandingly original, but it has been floating on a sticky on my desktop for some time. 

 Most libraries have regularly scheduled staff meetings, correct?  I’ve sat in a few of these at a couple of libraries as a student staff member.  Changes in policy, library events, and similar topics seem like pretty standard meeting fare.  I’d like to see some time in these meetings where frontline staff (basically, ANYONE who EVER could have contact with library users) take a few minutes to share an interesting comment/reference question/feedback/suggestion that he/she responded to (along with the response) since the last meeting.  Just to start a dialog and to help others respond to similar inquiries/comments in the future.  Kind of a living wiki.  🙂  And obviously, someone could keep track of all this info on an actual wiki.  But my thought is creating just a wiki isn’t useful if no one is using it.  And sometimes it’s hard to see the point of one.  Actually having a conversation may draw people in that wouldn’t normally.  And it’s a little more informal; you could use these dialogs to track patterns and look for new areas of service and policy, or it could simply be a time to learn from each other’s strategies and maybe even share a sense of solidarity at some of the things that can come up…

If you know of somewhere this or something similar is done (doesn’t have to be a library), please share! 

Moving along, I wish you all the best.  Thanks for reading!  🙂  If all goes according to plan, I’ll be back, and maybe I’ll have stories to share about actually implementing some of my scattered ideas.  In the meantime, you can find me at some of my online hangouts:

До свидания, друзья!   


It’s been a little more than a year since I began this blog. Looks like I’ve averaged about 1 entry a month. We’ll ignore the fact that I didn’t write anything really during the summer. Let’s take a look at my first entry’s re-solutions and see what’s happening:

re-solution: become a vegetarian again (except for sushi; i love sushi)
Check! With small free-range exceptions for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

re-solution: pay off the credit cards (work-study job raise, hurrah!)
More or less check; credit card balance is currently $0. Woot!

re-solution: put some of what i’ve learned and am learning to good use [in my MLIS program]; sharpen my somewhat dull blog skills, volunteer, get some job experience, etc.
Check marks for everything except the blog skills. Ah well, perhaps this year I should aim for skillz instead.

This year’s concern is money money money. I lost my job/internship at Amgen because headquarters decided to save money by not renewing my contract. My boyfriend of 5 years and I became engaged in October (I proposed to him), so we need to save for a wedding someday. And I want to travel. I actually bought a book on finances for people in their 20’s-30’s. And, to link this entry to something useful perhaps for others, I discovered the website www.bankrate.com. Could be worth passing on to some patrons or something. 🙂

I also wanted to share with you, tovarishi (that is, comrades), that I am writing this in class. An information technologies class, no less. I have a feeling that this will happen fairly often over the next 10 weeks, as I finally learn more about CSS and PHP and so on. And perhaps someday I’ll have a legitimate purpose for my blog that I can market to my superiors (ahhh!!) so that I can blog at work. How’s that for an idea? Marketing ourselves is becoming more and more important to us here in the library world. Making and keeping up a decent blog could be good practice (just don’t follow my example).

Happy New Year!

A Direction

I've been doing some thinking. I kind of wanted this blog to be "about" something; to have some sort of "focus". And it hasn't really had anything of that sort…until now. After going to a concert for my friend's band, I had this random idea of using the library to promote local musical groups. But where to put this idea so that I never lose it? Why, the blog, of course! The plan is to keep this up until the ideas stop and I become an old, crochety, disillusioned librarian, sometime around 30. Feel free to comment on my "ideas" and tell me that they've already been thought of and implemented elsewhere (tell me where!  tell me where!). Disclaimer: for the most part, I doubt my ideas will be of the technical, OPAC improvement kind (although there might be a little of that). They'll be more community-based, random things that I'd just like to see done in a library setting. Enough.

previous ideas:

1) Create a service for cancer patients and their families. Could work with the social worker and/or caregivers, could be volunteer…I know my mom could have used some help with her Google searches when she was looking up information on my sister's cancer. At that point, neither of us knew about MedlinePlus. (This was better articulated, but I lost where I wrote it down).

2) Create an outreach program that would connect rural physicians with their local public librarian (assuming one exists). This idea came from a health sciences librarianship course I took. (The presentation is mentioned briefly in another entry.)

3) Promote local bands. Create displays and exhibits showcasing their albums (including album art). Make sure your collection owns EVERYTHING local (or, in big cities with lots of groups, maybe just your neighborhood…policy writing time!). On school outreach projects, try to get students to tell you about their groups. Keep track of announcements of concerts in the newspaper and try to collect concert fliers for fun display cases.

today's small display idea:
promote ultimate frisbee! (obvious at all?)

(I also reserve the right to randomly post about anything I want). 

Fighting PowerPoint

Okay, I did it. I finally tried out Jessamyn West’s html slide template. The presentation isn’t that great, and I haven’t actually given it yet, but I feel a litte more like, hey, this is something I can do. And just from looking at the css style sheet, I think I understand a tiny bit more of what it is and how it works and how HTML and CSS and everything all fit together. Although I did do some really ugly additions to the index.html (for example, the alignment stuff) that I probably should have done in the style sheet. But I’ll learn, I swear. So, thank you, Jessamyn.

p.s. this weekend I’m going away for the Stanford Invitational. So maybe my next post will finally be the first on ultimate. Don’t hold your breath.

Making lists

Things I’m planning on posting or posting about:

1) Ultimate frisbee pictures
2) Ultimate frisbee news, especially from the Northwest and especially about women
3) Library school/library stuff
4) Cool things I find on the ‘net
5) Future career ideas for the information professional

Things I think are cool, but you probably won’t see here:
1) pictures of food
2) pictures of my cat (it was a one time thing, i swear)
3) crazy Russian cartoons

and so on. stay tuned!

New Year’s re-solutions

solution: eat only free-range meat.
didn’t happen; hello dick’s hamburgers
re-solution: become a vegetarian again (except for sushi; i love sushi)

solution: save money
didn’t happen; i love my ibook!
re-solution: pay off the credit cards (work-study job raise, hurrah!)

solution: go to library school
this one did happen and still is, but my original goals have changed and i’m learning a lot.
re-solution: put some of what i’ve learned and am learning to good use; sharpen my somewhat dull blog skills, volunteer, get some job experience, etc.

happy new year!  and good luck with your own resolutions.

About as far from the A-list as you can get…

This is a brand new blog, created because I wanted to see what I could do with wordpress.com. I’m a new blogger in general, started at Blogger a couple months ago (see http://ultimatelibrarian.blogspot.com), and still haven’t decided what I want to do with my blog (either one). It will probably become a livejournal type thing, where it’s mostly my thoughts and opinions and things on the web that I find (through other blogs, del.ic.ious, random searches, whatever) and that I think are cool and hip and fun etcetera etcetera. I don’t know who will read this, probably just friends and family, if that, and one of my more selfish motivators is the “portfolio” that MLIS students at the University of Washington are required to create. One of the 5 experiences we’re supposed to be able to write about is a “significant technological” one. Learning how to blog shall hopefully be mine, and if all goes according to plan, I’ll have fun doing it and learn more about HTML, XHTML, and CSS as I go.

A tiny bit about me: I’m working on my MLIS at the University of Washington (in case you missed that above). I play ultimate frisbee, hence my name and the title of the blog. I love it, end of story. This blog will not be limited to my interests in these two areas, but it will probably be weighted towards them (blog about what you love and understand, seems intuitive, and it’s the advice given by smart people out there in the blog world). I’m also pretty young (almost 23…one of those crazies who knew she wanted to become a librarian right after undergrad), so forgive any naïveté and/or immaturity. I was a Russian/Mathematics double major at Grinnell College (loved the school, happy to answer any questions), so those interests might sneak in, too. Oh Russia…Did I mention I’m totally into Russian libraries and their crazy classification system? Well, that’s a future post.

So, the title of my (first! wordpress.com, at least) post was inspired by this one over at LibraryStuff. I don’t know Steven, but this post seems like one of those calls for help and vindication. My comments echo those posted over there, and I can’t articulate myself as well as those lovely ladies did (yes, I already read their blogs and recognized their names), but all this talk about the clique of librarian bloggers is just amusing to me. Um, I may be a future librarian, but last time I checked none of my friends are, and I’m constantly sending them links (sadly, none of them have really discovered blogs and aggregators for themselves, despite being cool Seattlites, but I’m working on it) to all of ya’ll’s posts. It’s a tiny step, but, hate to break it to ya, your stuff is getting out there. And as an otherwise outside observer, it looks like outside stuff is getting in. Steven’s not the only one blogging about new Web2.0 toys (although, as an avid reader of Go Flock Yourself, I think that’s all overrated anyway), and there are loads of “librarian” blogs that I go to for news, links for other good blogs outside of the “biblioblogosphere”, and to get a smile (how many non-librarian readers go to The Well-Dressed Librarian? I’d say more then a few; it appeals to other interest groups). Maybe I don’t understand exactly what this “clique” is and what Steven means by it, but I really don’t see it. The whole blog community clique is the bigger worry for me. Worry about who reads your blog and who reads whose blog and then links to them and then maybe recognizes them at a conference, but I’m going to worry about those who aren’t reading blogs, who may also be librarians who could learn a lot about what’s going on in their field, or may not be librarians who don’t even realize that Web2.0 exists (whether it does or not is a question I’m really not interested in, but you know what I mean). Just for example. So get off your soapbox, do something, and don’t post things that make you look egotistical and lonely.

So that’s my first post. Now I get to give it categories! It’s the little things, people.

Happy Holidays.