Three Hour Meeting

Yesterday, my day was dominated by a very important meeting which I can’t discuss on here. The first two hours of my day were spent setting up equipment for various groups, checking my email, then prepping for the meeting. I then marched up stairs and sat anxiously at the meeting taking notes. I sat across the table from the head person and we both bent our heads over our respected books with our pens scratching away. During the lunch portion I would lift my plate to scribble down additional lines of text.

In writing about this, I recall three years ago when I was on the shoot for that rap video documentary freelance gig. I tagged along, asking questions to clarify statements all while clutching my notebook in hand. In some of the later shots, you can see me ducking out of the frame when the cameraman would swing wildly around. It’s a funny comparison to think of myself then and now sitting in a big meeting at my first professional job with only a span of three years and a lifetime of changes in-between.
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Two in One

I came home and fell asleep almost immediately yesterday so no post. Today I’m blogging from my phone so short summaries.

In the computer lab answering emails and patron questions for four hours, lunch, downloading Apple Remote Desktop, trying to clean up a digital signage default screens only to realize that the players on the signs and the controllers on my desk were incompatible. Grr. Worked on misc. tasks. Decided to teach a workshop on Screenflow. Looked at older library photos and then put them away. Carried a heavy monitor to another office and set it up.

Finally a day without any computer lab time! I had plans and then when I logged in to manage the front of the website discovered terrible things regarding permission levels. Then I heard of another weird happening. My stress levels shot through the roof as I realized this was all on me to fix.

Just as I started pouring over logs, I got a phone call. A patron not scheduled for a week showed up for a tutoring lesson. I had to set the trouble aside and go smile and be present and ever so helpful. The lesson was a mess since I had no time to prepare. The patron also had a grab bag of skills and uncertain desires about what they wanted to do. I made an extended metaphor comparing the Internet And browsers to cars.

Aftewards, I go back to my office and log back in. The big problem was gone! I have no idea about what happened or how it was fixed. Emails from my boss did not clear the mystery up. I’m thankful everything is business as usual but it was so bad.

Then emailed instructions on how to remove Kindle checkouts from an Amazon acount, TONS of vendor emails back and forth. I got inspired by the iPad apps talk that I longed for the freedom to drop everything else and focus on the website for the Children’s Library. I channeled tat desire into a few modest changes on the website instead.

I then climbed a stepladder to turn off the digital signs to update the software–was surprised at how the off signs drew no attention or looked bad when off– only to discover that the software the vendor sent was wrong. I stood on a chair to turn the signs off that time.

I made a new panel as I struggled to deal with the lack of inspiration I found in this particular piece. Did some more touching up. Then got drafted to an important meeting with less than 24 hours notice. I was briefed and I gotta say, this particular project is what makes me love my job.

Interviewed about First Time Conference Attendance

I was asked to write about my first conference experience for my graduate program’s student association. I stuck to ALA’s annual meeting since that is the BIG conference. I was given a two paragraph limit, so I tried to be informal/real and directed them to a more formal write-up that I did for Hack Library School. I felt a bit bad when I checked the previous alumnae response and discovered that she had went on for several paragraphs. Aww.

In other news, one of my mentors/idols received an Early Career Award. Congratulations, Lauren!

One by Phone and Two by Email

I was off for only two days but came in to find my email crammed to the brim. I replied to a few before I went to the monthly luncheon with the new full-timers/recent grads. At our luncheon we discussed professional involvement, internal training programs, conferences, and schedules. We added a splash of squeeing over a coworker’s very recent wedding photos as well.

Then it was back to work plowing through the emails. I was on the phone closing one of the library’s accounts so I could open it back in my name, left a voicemail with our regional rep. to get back to me to talk about licensing, negotiated software upgrades with another vendor, wrote OverDrive to ask for help in returning ebooks when the wrong format has been downloaded, scheduled a one-on-one basic computer literacy session for next week, managed the front of the website, signed off on the formal agreement for the ALA TechSource class I’ll be co-teaching in January/February 2012, ran up the stairs to ask my boss a few questions–poor guy had to listen to me gasp for breath since I can’t walk up the stairs like a normal person, talked to another higher up about what to do with my coworker’s work area now that she’s gone, rearranged next week’s schedule, updated the online Tech Center schedule, changed the lending period time of the adult-lending iPad, proposed topics to talk about for my one hour tech session next month, and finally tried to squeeze in a few minutes to work on designing a new digital signage. The “big” shocker of the day was realizing that Apple wants $80 to let you remotely control other Apple desktops. I think I just saw a much cheaper program on Lifehacker this morning before work. Since I’m a PC girl, I’m used to finding shareware/open source solutions for a lot of my computer needs.

I then worked in the computer lab for three hours. I sat at my computer for literally only 10 minutes. The rest of it was spent sprinting about the room to restock paper, showing teens how to copy — and laughing when they asked if I remembered my chemistry lessons (much to my nerdy sorrow. I really enjoyed balancing equations). The main three events here was assisting a lady by phone on fixing her online library account, helping a boy discover that Yahoo and its email service is terrible, and spending 40 minutes showing a gentleman how to move photos from his phone to a flashdrive and then process them for printing.

When I got time to talk to my coworkers via IM for a moment, I asked them for suggestions on that tech class. The suggestions: ebooks but something more indepth than an overview (I deem this impossible in an hour since it’s so much “and then you click on this…”) or PowerPoint. It just occurred to me that maybe I could do a photo editing class. I think I might enjoy teaching about personal digital archives.

I Gave Up on OverDrive’s Audiobooks

I have a Nook Color–which is amazing! This weekend I decided to listen to an audiobook while sewing and since we lack portable CD players in my house, a downloadable audiobook is just what circumstances ordered. I have been making my way through a physical copy of The Night Circus so I logged in through the OverDrive Media Console app on my Nook to check out the audiobook version. That process went smoothly. Then a message popped up telling me that I would need to download the title on my PC and then transfer to the Nook. Okay.

I get on my PC and pull out my library card again as I log back into my OverDrive account. I click the Checked Out Items link and go to download my book. A proprietary OverDrive file downloads. Not knowing what to do with the file, I click through and discover that I have to install Windows Media Player, then run security checks, and then it looks like I’ll still need to convert the files once they download through Windows Media Player into MP3 format. That’s a lot of steps and I’m not alone in my frustration. The OverDrive FAQ was also unhelpful. I have a custom built rig and try to keep undesirable programs like Windows Media Player off my machine.

In the end, I gave up on listening to a story about star-crossed lovers and instead listened to Pandora. Instead of magic and mystery, I got to think about questions such as why does the Little Lion Man (by Mumford & Sons) station bring up exclusively 90s music?

Screencasting Friday

On Friday I finally had some time away from the computer labs so I was able to teach myself Screenflow, a Mac screen recording program, so I could produce the Kindle+OverDrive screencast. Camtasia is a far more intuitive program but is three times the price of Screenflow. Both programs have poor transition abilities. I would like to make a video specific to Window users, but the free Windows program, Camstudio, kept crashing.

The other major task was an in-person meeting with a potential uh…not sure how to phrase it while keeping my project a secret. Let’s just go with saying a vendor. I learned a lot from this particular conversation such as knowing more about budgets — which is above my station — but is important when discussing a project. At one point I had to ask if there were other questions/thoughts that I should take note of for my boss. While part of me finds this awkward and a little embarrassing to not have enough experience to know all the questions to ask, I find that people are usually straight forward about helping me out. Hopefully this project will get off the ground soon. Meeting with this vendor came after emails and a long phone call to other librarians around the country. I find that my experience as the LISUNCG webmaster prepared me in cold-contacting people to ask for input.

I wrapped up the day by watching more of the Unix training series. I have a sticky note open on my Mac with a few dozen lines with shortcuts and hints. Profhacker then posted a great intro post on the command line.

Screencast Purgatory

Today I started studying Unix commands so I could go in and change the permissions of a CSS file so I could take command of it. It’s not as bad as I thought it’d be but the instructor goes fast. I looked up the videos after finding MacVim to be less documented. As well as the ever prevalent emails. I then moved on to watch a webinar about user-initiated digitization policies using a Bookeye scanner.

I wanted to focus back on Unix but got sucked into trying to create the screencast about how to get OverDrive books on your Kindle. Unfortunately, it was fraught with problems:

  • The only mic I had works only on the PC.
  • The screencast software, Screenflow, is on the iMac.
  • My familiarity with iMovie on my Mac Pro is greater than screenflow.

I made multiple recordings but something would always go wrong during the conversion process. The image would stretch, be blurry, or the list goes on. I finally had to give up when it was my turn to head to the computer lab. In there I managed to do some housekeeping to set up some events and follow-ups on other projects.

The Problem with OverDrive and Kindle’s Deal for Libraries

OverDrive launched the ability for patrons to check out OverDrive library books on their Kindles today. Word flew fast on Twitter which I was absently monitoring while doing other tasks at work. A few hours after the initial tweets I noticed that my library’s OverDrive ebook collection had indeed been Kindlized. As soon I had a chance, I hurried to set up equipment to record a tutorial video for our patrons so they would know how to get OverDrive ebooks on their Kindles. That’s when I ran into problems.

First, my library owns multiple Kindles which are registered to the Library. We lend these and other ereaders out to our patrons. The instructions from OverDrive’s blog are pretty thin about explaining the actual multiple step process which looks like this:

  1. Go to your library’s OverDrive website.
  2. Select a book which has a Kindle format and add that format to your cart/bag.
  3. Enter your library card number.
  4. Continue reading →

On Presenting Books

Today was my second time recommending books to patrons. The crowd that comes is 100% female and usually higher up in the age bracket. I presented Cleopatra: A Life last time to abysmal results. So, this time I decided to go all out and present books I enjoy regardless of the fact that they are not the targeted age range of the patrons who come to the talks. The books I choose:

  • The Night Circus
  • The Leviathan trilogy
  • Fruits Basket
  • Beka Cooper
  • The Witches — in honor of Banned Book Week
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? — in honor of Banned Book Week
  • The Giver — in honor of Banned Book Week

One of the higher ups was the other person and he spoke about John Irving. Let’s just say that I probably did more embarrassed giggles than I should have for someone my age, but hearing a superior talk about a character with perpetual arousal issues is well–giggle-worthy in the best of 12 year old ways.

Other than that, I was back in the computer lab for four hours (+ hour doing the book talk + hour lunch) led me to about 90 minutes of work time. In that time I set up a meeting with that MIA vendor for Friday and uploaded the Strings Override module to the real website and changed out Account Summary for My Account. I then attempted to create a quick video tutorial on how to download ebooks on a library’s Kindle to fail results. I’ll blog about that next!


(I’m just making up titles at this point)

I missed saying goodbye to my coworker since I came in late for the closing shift. She sent me one last email where she wrote that she knows I hate goodbyes, so instead she was just writing “Good morning.” Cue me running over to her corner office and seeing the piles upon piles of materials she had left behind. She couldn’t have left with her desk still so crowded!

After that a variety of small things as per usual:

  • Finished editing my How to video (I speak haltingly since the original audio did not take so I had to do it separately)
  • Had another idea for how to promote our digital collections, so I emailed our vendor
  • Was on the computer lab for an hour, then later for three more hours
  • Drafted a proposal for how to organize the library’s shared drive and emailed it to a colleague for input — later had to redo since Outlook ate my careful formatting
  • Met with my boss and got a tutorial on how to use ~sedna presenter — still very nervous about using it
  • Called and wrote a final email to a potential vendor that this was their last time to try reaching me or I’d go elsewhere
  • Took over some more account into my name
  • During computer lab hours, I had to set up a class, deal with 4 computers that froze up, and help dissolve a fight/tantrum in the teen room
  • Tried picking at some low-hanging fruit on the test server. Looks like I can fix one of the problems though I’m grumpy that it’s a module thing.
  • Also tried out taxonomy breadcrumbs which is having issues so I might not use that

Tomorrow will be super hectic but at least I get off before dark!