All posts by JollyLibrarian

Monday Motivator: Try Before Complaining

This post comes courtesy of my colleague. When I came back from a meeting last week, she was sitting disconsolately in her cubicle. Working on a website for a committee, she’d been asked to make some modifications, changes she didn’t know how to do. She was sure that, even if she could learn how to do this, the process would take a long time.  She was one unhappy librarian.

Thirty minutes later, she appeared in my office.

“How’s it going?” I asked.

She gave a sheepish grin. “It’s done.” She had looked up how to do it and completed the project in less time than she’d spent complaining about it.

It was, we agreed, a good lesson. So I’m sharing it.

When the Network Goes Crazy

Let me say this: I know nothing about how computers and the internet work. For me, it’s a magic box that tells me things I need to know. So I may use wrong terms here.

It seems our computers are on different networks. So there could be a problem on a student computer when the same database or program is working just fine on the staff ones. Except for mine. My computer does not like to be a snob. So it shares the problems of the student machines.

Yesterday, we noticed that our links to ebooks were not working. But because problems can never be simple, they were working on some pages and not on others. The links worked only on one browser. And to make matters more confusing, they worked on some machines and not others.

Today, when I came in, a colleague told me the problem had not been fixed. I checked on my computer, and sure enough, the link led to a virtual abyss.

I check with another staff member, who said, “It’s working on my machine.”

“But it’s not working on mine.”

“I tried it a hour ago, and it was fine.”

“But I just tried it, and it’s not working at all.”

Then there was a stare-off between the person with working links who’s pretty sure that the other person is having user-error problems and the person (me) who is sure she knows how to click on a link.

I demonstrated that the links did not work on my machine. Then I checked the student machines and discovered that they did not work there. Now the  problem is in the capable hands of our beloved IT department.

It occurred to me that today held some pretty good life lessons:

  1. Don’t assume that because something has happened to you, it is universal.
  2. Know the cause of a problem before trying to solve it.
  3. There are some things that are beyond your understanding. To delve too deeply into them will only lead to madness.




I’m willing to bet that there is one constant among libraries all over the world: If a storm hits and the power goes off, all the patrons stare at the library staff as if they turned off the electricity on purpose.

Today lightning struck somewhere nearby. The electricity was off for only a couple of seconds, but long enough to cause the lights to go out and the computers to shut off.

The lights came back on, and we were confronted with faces staring at us with a mixture of despair and blame.

Quick-thinking Amy yelled out that all might not be lost, and she went out among the students to see what could be saved. She also used this as a teachable moment, reminding students to save their work, that reliance on auto-save might not be the best of ideas in bad weather.

Luckily, everyone seemed to get back to what they were doing with a minimum of effort.

All’s well, although we are hoping for a break so we can go to lunch without getting drenched. Or struck by lightning.



Missed Connections at the Circ Desk

Colleague: What are you doing?

Me: I’m looking up a president for a student.

Colleague: Can you look up James Madison for me? I’m listening to a book about him and want to see a picture.

Me: Sure. Here you go.

Colleague: He looks nothing like I imagined. I imagined him looking more like an uncle. He seems so kind and gentle in the book.

Me: Madison? Those aren’t adjectives I’ve heard used about him. Great man, sure. But gentle and kind? Nope.

Colleague: And don’t tell me. But I think someone’s going to try and kill him.

Me:  Well, you can’t stop worrying. No one killed Madison.

Colleague: Not Madison. I meant Garfield.

Me; Oh. You might want to start worrying again.


Monday Motivator: Kiss a Cat

This past week on My Cat from Hell, Jackson Galaxy worked with a couple. The woman had a cat; her boyfriend had a fear of cats. This was a huge fear. He was sure that cats wanted nothing more than to scratch his eyes out of his face. And it was a fear that he had been bred into him. Apparently,  he was the latest of generations of family members who feared cats. He didn’t just not care for them; he was petrified.

Part of Jackson’s therapy was for the guy to have play time with his girlfriend’s cat and also to visit a cat cafe. At the end of the show, Jackson and the couple returned to the cafe and left the guy there surrounded by cats.

After the commercial, they walked into the cafe and asked him how he was doing.

“I kissed a cat,” he answered.

It was a happy ending, but it got me thinking about my own fears and how I’ve grown to accept them over the years. Perhaps it’s time I take out a couple out for a walk in the sunlight and maybe even kiss one.

Why Librarians Shouldn’t Own Expensive Sunglasses

Yesterday as I planned to go to lunch, I found that my sunglasses were broken. This was annoying since it was sunny, and I was going to walk to my favorite restaurant. But, unfortunately, it’s not an unusual occurrence in my life.

I blame my job. Library workers can’t help loving books and never want to be without a good read wherever they find themselves. So right now, in my purse, in addition to a wallet and some lip gloss, I have the following:

  • a physical book that I’m almost done with,
  • an iPad mini that holds several other books and magazines so that I have something to read if I’m not in the mood for the physical book,
  • a pair of reading glasses that I only need if I’m reading a book with small print, which is almost never, but who wants to to take the chance?
  • a rubbery implement called a BookBone that holds down the pages on the physical book, and
  • a notebook in case I get some good ideas while reading.

Obviously, my sunglasses don’t stand a chance. But I’ve learned a few lessons along the way. No Sunglass Hut or designer frames for me.

I went to Target and tried on new sunglasses. One pair was lovely with gray rims and a shape that fit my face. I looked at the price tag: $20. I looked at my purse. I moved over to the $7.99 pairs.



Down Time at the Circ Desk

The Great Dingo/Bingo Confusion.

Amy: “Look at this cute dog.”

Me:    “Oh, he’s cute. And his name is Dingo. How perfect.”

Pam:  “Do you guys remember that song, Bingo?” (Starts singing: ‘B-I-N-G-O.)

Amy:  “But his name is Dingo. As in ‘the dingo ate your baby.'”

Pam:  “They made a song about that?”

Amy:  “No.”

Pam: “Then why are you talking about it?”

Amy: “It’s the dog’s name.”

Pam:  “What dog?”

Me:    “We definitely need more students on Friday afternoons.”

The Thirty-Day Challenge

I have so many areas in which to improve that I can’t choose. Probably the one that would help me the most would be to get up early each morning. But I failed at that one this very day.  So I’m moving on.

Others I considered:

  1. 10,000 steps each day. I’m consistent at this, but on the weekends, I visit my mom, it’s almost impossible. So that’s out.
  2. Cutting out sugar. Ha! Just kidding. That’s never going to happen.
  3. Lifting weights to give my arms some needed definition and so I can lift myself up if I ever fall off a mountain.
  4. Writing everyday.

And the winner is: Writing everyday. I have fallen out of my daily writing habit. So it’s time to get back in the groove.

Send good thoughts my way.

30 Day Challenge

I was searching for some material today for our freshman experience course when I came across this Ted Talk by Matt Cutts:

Try Something New for 30 Days

There are all sorts of 30-Day Challenges out there. You can improve your abs, your thighs, your chest, your arms, etc. You can write a poem, take a photo, clean some part of your house, even perform a random act of kindness each day.

There are various reasons for the popularity of these challenges:

  • They are short enough to actually complete. The end is always in sight.
  • They are long enough to establish a pattern.
  • Maybe most important of all, to commitmentphobes like me, they don’t carry the same kind of emotional weight as a goal or a resolution.

So tomorrow I’m going to start a 30-day challenge. I haven’t quite made up my mind yet about what it’s going to be. (Stay tuned!)

Why don’t you join me by taking up a challenge of your own?


Summer Term

A student stopped me in the parking lot this afternoon and asked, “Is summer always like this?” She pointed at the few cars in our parking lot.

I nodded and said that summers are certainly slower than the other semesters.

She shrugged and said, “Well, it’s boring.”

I was tempted to yell after her, “You should have been here last week.” But that didn’t seem very professional.