Saturday, January 29, 2011

Library Day in the Life - Round 6 - Part 2

For the rest of the week, here is a short daily re-cap:

Tuesday: I was worried that the rain would affect my commute, but it did not. Good news for me is that the temp is still in the mid 50s (above zero). Watched "the regulars" come in this morning. It is interesting how each library has its own group. Here some of them are homeless, and use the library as a place to hang out. They also often know each other. I have gotten many of them to greet me with a hello each day. (I try to be welcoming.) There are periodic changes in the group as someone gets a job, or moves away, but this is a pretty well behaved group.

One of my tasks each morning is to open the seminar center if a group is using it. Yesterday and today it has been a training session for math instructors and is being done by staff of the Department of Education. This morning one of them asked me about our services, so I had the opportunity to promote the library.

I also have now become the "go-to person" for stats, and get to play with the state's system of gathering statistics from our agency. And, today, I was asked to help with the library's Facebook presence. Moving forward!! Had a very productive afternoon meeting with the folks who run the other public service departments. We resolved several issues.

Wednesday: Had to get gas to start the morning trip...But today was sunny. It was 10 degrees (F) colder today when I left than yesterday, and, as usual, got colder as I drove from the city into the more rural areas (i.e. swamp). One staff member is out today, so more desk time than usual. Yesterday it was nice to have a full staff. Quiet at the Reference Desk this morning. I forget what it is, but Wednesday morning there is some event which has our "regulars" arriving late, like 8:30 - 8:45. It was quiet enough that I took the first steps to set up the Facebook page for the Library.

Thursday: Both the wife and I got up very early (middle of the night) so we did a first run at the taxes. Getting a refund! Woot! However, that could be the down payment for her to purchase the car she has been leasing for the past three years....I left earlier than usual, and had an uneventful drive, but the sunrise (in the rear view mirror) was spectacular. There were just enough clouds in the East to make the colors glorious as I drove across the swamps. Down one staff member today (as opposed to a suddenly down 2 yesterday) means less desk time than yesterday, but more than a normal day.

Got a lot done at work, in spite of spending a lot of time on the desk. Spent about 45 minutes, off and on, with an electrician who had been to a job center. They took his resume and reformatted it to post it to the job folks web site. However, this guy, an admitted "three finger typist" did not like how it looked. We went through, cutting it, pasting it, re-formatting it, saving it to Google Docs, and for insurance, emailing it to himself. It reminds me of how much I really do know!

On the drive home I was reminded again about the beauty around me. First of all, there were enough Eastern clouds, that the setting sunlight was reflected nicely in it. Right by where the Interstate leaves the swamp/lake and enters the metro area are two sights that always amaze me. I noticed the firs early in my first spring. There is a large, tall tree which has a cluster of sticks in a crook near the top. One day, I saw a bird there....I looked closely, and it was an American Bald Eagle. I have seen both male and female birds, and even the heads of the young, over the time I have been doing the commute. It is on the south side of I-10, right by the I-310 cut-off. On the other side, there is an area of "bushes" (maybe they are mangroves?). In the morning, and sometimes in the evening, it looks like white plastic shopping bags have been caught on the branches by the water. But that is not what they are....they are roosting egrets. I see egrets all over the place. They are water birds, and a bunch of my drive is along water. I have also seen them in Audubon Park here in the city. A final note is that I can tell when it is "wet" or "dry" based on the level of Lake Pontchartrain along "the Spillway." Lately it seems like the levels are dropping. We are in winter, and I guess that is OK. All the snow up north will melt, and run down, eventually into the Mississippi River, the Spillway is an outlet to keep New Orleans from flooding by diverting water into the lake. We'll see!

Friday: It is payday. Yay! It is also another gas fill-up. But, gas prices are down to $2.81! Got to work and got the last info I needed for my first time entering the departmental data into the state-wide data collection platform. It was an interesting experience, and not as difficult as I feared. Of course some of that is that folks in the other library departments are good about entering their data monthly into an Excel spreadsheet which is the basis for the organization wide data. It was a relatively quiet morning on the Reference Desk with the usual questions about tax forms....and I asked for more state forms from the folks up in the Louisiana Section (who collect all state publications, and therefore deal with the tax forms for us). I will be glad when the instruction booklets come in!

The mail brought professional journals, ads for publications, and letters from the prison. One of our jobs is to respond to requests for information from prisoners. This spring, I started an internal wiki to keep track of both the types of questions and the prison from which we were getting them. One of these days (maybe around the first anniversary, or at the new fiscal year), I'll have to sit down and analyze them.

Bonus: When I was growing up, and when my kids were growing up, we often played variations on the "license plate game" while on long trips. There are many visitors to Louisiana. Here is a list of state license places seen on the highway this week (other than Louisiana), in rough order of appearance: New Jersey, Texas, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Oregon, Ohio, South Carolina, Wyoming, Colorado, New York, Missouri, Washington, North Carolina, Illinois, Maryland, Arizona, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Iowa, Nebraska. That's 28 out of the 50 states. I did not see any Canadian or Mexican license plates -- this week.

Blog Bonus: I read 162 different blogs in Google Reader. But I want to give a shout out to one of my favorite Monday - Thursday cartoons. It was created by half of the creative genius team behind Unshelved, and revolves around computer programing. The title says a lot Not Invented Here.

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