Week 6: Dog days of summer

Apparently July showed up while I wasn’t paying attention and now it’s really summer.  In case you were wondering, yes, it is hot here in south Georgia.  Very hot and very humid.  It seems even worse than it was in Mississippi, but that could be my imagination, or the fact that I wasn’t there in the middle of the summer.  In any case, I’m thankful that I have a job where I can stay indoors for the majority of the day.

So I’m back to the usual schedule, although this week is also a little shorter than usual because Monday was the 4th of July, so the library wasn’t opened.  But it feels like things are back to normal anyway.  I’ve really started in on selecting resources for the grad school prep LibGuide.  I think we’ve got enough to create an entire LibGuide from it instead of just tacking the resources onto the existing one about career development.  Right now I’m just compiling resources that the library has access to, but pretty soon I think I’ll get to actually start working with the LibGuides software, which will be cool.

Jacqueline also let me know that she wants me to create a display for the library.  I’m not entirely sure what will go into the display; I think it’s just supposed to be something to catch students’ eyes and make them aware of some of the books and resources we offer.  So I need to start coming up with ideas for that.  I’ve never been the most creative person in the world, so this may be a challenge, but I think I’m up to it.

In order to make up some hours I went into the library in the evening on Tuesday.  It’s definitely a different environment in the evening.  There are still students and members of the community there, but there are fewer and things seem quieter.  I was able to work on collection development a little more and went through some new Choice magazines for reference sources.  It’s a good time to get work done.

Over at the public library I mostly worked on going through my bibliographies.  The class I’m teaching on Friday is a repeat of the first class I taught on computer basics, so I don’t have as much to prepare.  I do plan on updating a few things, though, and I certainly want to make sure I know the material even better than I did the first time around.

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Week 5: Another short one

So, I’m back from ALA Annual.  Obviously I didn’t get a chance to post anything about it.  It was a fantastic experience, but it was exhausting and a little overwhelming.  I don’t think I’d even know where to start in terms of talking about it.  I did learn some good stuff, though, especially about educational tools.  Hopefully I can use the things I learned to make myself better.

Since I only got back on Tuesday, I didn’t spend much time in the academic library.  Most of the time I did spend there I worked on cataloging.  Becky and I worked on the two original cataloging items.  I came up with a MARC record for the items, which was a nice little refresher in cataloging since it’s been a while (over a year, I think?!) since my cataloging class.  I think I did ok, although Jacqueline had some suggestions for things to improve.

Most of the time, however, I spent at the public library.  I continued to prepare for my computer class on Friday, and the rest of the time I spent going through bibliographies and selecting reference sources.  Oh, and the rest of my books came!

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Yes, that’s almost a foot of books.  Obviously I won’t be able to go through all of them, and I’m not sure I’ll get to the children’s and young adult books at all.  But, I figured I’d order them just in case.  I’m starting with the one on top and the ebook I found.  Both of those deal with reference and nonfiction books for small and medium-sized libraries, so they should be good for my purposes.

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So, I think I ended up putting together a pretty nice presentation for the internet and email class.  Unfortunately, only two people showed up again, but they seemed to get a lot out of it, especially one gentleman who asked quite a few questions throughout the presentation.  He kept apologizing for interrupting me, but I kept encouraging him to talk, telling him that this was what the class was for.  I certainly hope he keeps coming back and asking more questions.  I really want to help, and I think allowing people to ask questions whenever they want is one of the best ways to help them learn.

Week 4: A short one

So this is a short week for me.  In fact, it’s already over!  I’m heading to Orlando tomorrow to attend the ALA Annual Conference.  I’ll be attending as part of the Student to Staff program, which sends on student each from about 40 library schools nationwide to the annual conference.  I’ll be working with the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services, or ALCTS, and attending events in my spare time.  Hopefully I’ll learn a lot and be able to bring some of what I’ve learned back to my job.

My week with the academic library wasn’t cut short, although it will be next week.  But this week I worked some more on cataloging.  I really think I’m getting the hang of it now.  The library just got in a bunch of books on business (the school will be adding a business major in the near future) so I’ve been cataloging those, mostly on my own.  I kind of like it.  Once you get in a rhythm, it’s pretty easy going and fairly enjoyable.  There were two books that could not be found in OCLC, meaning we would have to create an original catalog entry for them.  Becky went over original cataloging procedures with me and told me that we would work on them some more next week.

Jacqueline also sent me a PowerPoint presentation that she and Becky had been working on.  It was an orientation to the library’s psychology resources and is designed to help students in psychology classes with their research.  Jacqueline and Becky are going to record dialogue for it and post it online.  Jacqueline wanted me to look it over and revise it to incorporate a narrative about two students looking for resources.  I worked on that a good bit, and I think I managed to make some decent revisions.  It should turn out well.

I was only over at the public library for one day, so I didn’t have time to do a whole lot there.  There will obviously be no computer class this week, since I’ll be out of town.  I did do a little work on my class for next week, which focuses on internet and email basics.  I also started looking through the resources that I do have for appropriate reference books.  One of the books I ordered came in, so I looked through that a little, but I didn’t have time to do much.  I’ll really get into it next week.  Right now I’m focused on getting ready for the conference.  Maybe I’ll post about it if I have time.  If not, then you’ll know I was busy!

The first class and the end of the third week

Well, the rest of the week at the public library went about as smoothly as could be expected.  I did a good deal of preparing for the first computer class.  There was already a PowerPoint presentation that one of the previous interns had prepared, so I had a bit of a template to go by; I just had to make a few changes and adjust it how I saw fit.  I won’t be so lucky for the remaining classes though.  Those won’t have pre-made presentations; I’ll have to come up with them from scratch!  I still wanted to really make sure I had the presentation down, though.  If I’m going to teach people about computers, I have to make sure I know the material really well myself.

Aside from preparing for the class, I had to come up with a list of bibliographies to use for finding reference and nonfiction resources.  I mainly searched for sources that had recommended and core books for small or medium-sized rural libraries.  I found one good ebook that we had access to through GALILEO, and some more that we could easily order through PINES.  I don’t think I’ve talked about PINES yet, have I?  Well, allow me to do so!  PINES stands for Public Information Network for Electronic Services and it connects most of the library systems in Georgia.  Patrons can request any item from a PINES-connected library (which is most of them in the state) and have it delivered for free.  It’s really cool, and I was not aware that such a system existed.  I don’t know if there are other states that have similar systems or if Georgia is unique, but it’s certainly a great idea.  Anyway, I was able to order some books via PINES that should help me in selecting the materials.

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Ok, now on to the computer class!  I wasn’t sure exactly how many people to expect.  Only three had signed up, but the class could accommodate as many as ten, so I set up all ten computers just in case (you can see some of them in the picture above).  The computers are quite nice:  large HP laptops that I connected external keyboards and mice to, so they’d more closely resemble the desktops available in the library.  I figured the patrons could follow along with my presentation while also trying out different things on the computers.

As it turns out, I needn’t have worried about having too many people in the class, as only two showed up.  However, they seemed to get a lot out of the class, and I enjoyed teaching them.  The class lasted about an hour, which is pretty much how I’d planned it, so it worked out well.  The people that came to the class expressed interest in attending future classes, so that was good.  Maybe more people will show up for the future classes, but if they don’t, that’s ok.  I’ll do my best to teach the people that do come, and give them some good one-on-one interaction.

Third week’s the charm!

Ok, now I’ve started to settle into a bit of a routine.  I come in to the library in the morning, head back to my space at the reference desk, and see what Becky has for me to do.  Becky’s been great in helping me out with things.  A year ago she was actually in pretty much the exact position I am now.  She was an MLIS candidate at USM, just like I am, and was working in the exact same internship I am.  Now, a year later, she has a job as a librarian at South Georgia State.  It’s nice to see how internship experience can work for your career.  It’s also nice to have someone who knows exactly what I’m going through and can help me out.

We started off the week selecting art resources for inclusion in the library’s collection.  Apparently the library has the opportunity to obtain a number of free art books as part of a program, so Becky and I went through a list of them online and selected some that we thought would be appropriate for the library.  Some of them were pretty out there (as modern art can be), but we found some good ones.

I also started learning a new skill: cataloging!  Yolanda started showing me how to go about cataloging materials using OCLC Connexion and Voyager Cataloging software.  She printed out a handy little sheet telling me what to do, which was nice because I could never remember everything otherwise.  Some of the stuff she showed me I remembered from my cataloging class, but most of it was pretty new.  Really, the procedure is pretty simple.  When we get a new book, we find the correct edition in OCLC (the Online Computer Library Center) and import the MARC record to Voyager.  Then we make the necessary changes to adapt it to our library.  There are a lot of steps, though, and a lot of specific things that we have to do to properly catalog the item.  After learning these procedures Yolanda gave me three books to catalog.  I think I did ok, although there were a few things I messed up.  Nothing that couldn’t be quickly fixed, though.  I think I may actually end up enjoying cataloging once I get the hang of it.

Over at the public library I got to work on putting together my computer class.  The first one is just going to be on computer basics:  the parts of the computer, using a mouse and keyboard, opening and closing programs, etc.  Mark mentioned that a lot of the people who have come to these classes in the past have barely used computers before, so I might have my work cut out for me in explaining things to them.  I’m ok with that, though!  Computer literacy is a something that most people can’t afford not to have nowadays, so I’m happy to help them as much as I can.  I also came up with a schedule for the rest of the classes.  I’ll be touching on internet and email basics, social media, Microsoft Word, and including a practice lab for people to work on the skills they’ve learned in the classes.  I’ll also be repeating the computer basics class for anyone who missed it the first time.  I’m a bit nervous, but we’ll see how it goes!  It should be great experience if nothing else.

Learning the ropes at the public library

In what may be described as a “trial by fire,” I was thrust into duty at the public library this week.  I quickly learned that things are quite different at the public library than they are at the academic library.  Summer is the slowest time of year at the academic library because most of the students are gone.  Such is not the case at the public library!  Summer is probably their busiest season, with kids being off from school and summer reading activities in full effect.  I helped out a lot at the circulation desk, probably more than I normally would have because an employee had called out sick.  I learned a lot from Sandra and Paige, the two employees I stuck with most of the time.  The system wasn’t too difficult to learn; I had used a similar system in my years working at banks.  You look up a patron and all of their info comes up, including how many books they’ve checked out, any requests or holds they’ve placed, and whether or not they have outstanding fines.  I really just had to learn where to click to get to things.

Sandra showed me around and pointed out where everything went and what materials we had to lend out.  The library isn’t huge, but it’s not tiny either.  It’s got a nice children’s section that was pretty busy most of the time I was there.  There are also a good number of computers for patrons to use; those were quite popular.  Most of my time at the desk was spent either checking out books or ringing up patrons who needed to print (printing costs 20 cents per page).  I think I got a handle on things pretty quickly, although I kept forgetting to deactivate the security strips on the books.  Two or three times people had the alarm go off because I hadn’t “bumped” the books on the deactivation contraption.  They were nice about it, though.

On Friday I helped Paige shelve materials.  This gave me a good opportunity to see how the library was laid out.  The fiction section is divided into genres:  romance, thrillers, mysteries, sci-fi, etc.  The new books are kept separate for about a year after they’re released.  Everything seemed to be laid out pretty well.  I think I’d be able to find materials quite easily if I were a patron.

So, that concluded my first week at the public library and my second week overall.  Normally I would be teaching the technology class on Fridays, but I got the first week off to prepare.  We’ll see how that goes next week!

Week 2, and day 1 at the public library

I got my first taste of the circulation desk this week!  There is certainly a lot to learn.  I went over procedures for checking books in and out, doing interlibrary loans, and requesting materials through GIL Express, which is a service that allows all libraries in the University System of Georgia to efficiently share materials.  Yolanda, who I didn’t meet last week because she was out of town, helped me through everything.  It was a bit overwhelming, but I kind of enjoyed it.  The main challenge was learning where things are in the system and how to operate the software.  I learned how to use Voyager Circulation and OCLC WorldShare, which I’m sure will eventually come in handy.  I also learned something interesting about the library:  they are switching everything over to another system next year!  So, I’m learning how to use software that the library is actually going to stop using within the year.  Oh, well.  It won’t really affect me that much, though.  Yolanda and Jacqueline, on the other hand, are going to have to be doing a lot of work over the summer to learn how to use the new system and prepare for implementing it.

On Monday I helped Becky teach a library orientation class for a group of undergrads.  It was very similar to some of the classes I taught as a grad assistant at USM, so I was fairly comfortable with the material.  Most of the class was focused on showing the students how to find relevant research materials, do internet searches using Boolean operators, and evaluate sources.  I was still a little nervous just because it was a new class and I wasn’t 100% familiar with the presentation, but I think I did ok.  The students took a short quiz after the presentation and we compiled their answers on Tuesday.  It was a nice introduction to library instruction and evaluation.

I also started working on collection development a little bit.  Jacqueline eventually wants me to help in selecting resources for the library’s reference collection, but this week I just started choosing a few general resources from Choice magazines, a periodical that lists and rates academic library resources.  Jacqueline also had me look over a Web site for GRE prep.  I then began collecting resources related to grad school prep to potentially use in a new LibGuide.  I’m not sure if we’ll end up having enough to create a new LibGuide or if it will end up as part of an existing one, so we’ll see.

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On Wednesday I spent my morning at the academic library and then, after a break for lunch, headed over to the public library around 1:00.   There I met the director of the Douglas-Coffee County branch of the Satilla Regional Public Library System, Mark Cole.  We had spoken over the phone a couple of times, but this was the first time I had met him in person.  He laid out the things I would be doing at the public library over the summer.  My main tasks would be teaching a technology class to library patrons every Friday and selecting resources for inclusion in the library’s reference collection.  Mark mentioned that he was in the process of applying for a grant that would give the library $125,000 for new materials, some of which would be used to revamp the reference collection.  So, I had to select a number of bibliographies of reference materials and start looking.  That was most of what I did on Wednesday.  That, and take a quick tutorial and quiz on the Dewey Decimal System, which I didn’t have much trouble with.

It sounds like it will be a busy summer, but I am certainly looking forward to it!