Incompetence

I really should not let patrons get me down.

Today I worked three hours with patrons in the computer labs. I sat down for a total of three minutes — just enough time to figure out how to create underlined blank forms in Word, otherwise I was on my feet and leaning over computers assisting patrons. During that time, where I helped dozens of people, I had four people who either explicitly said or implied that I am incompetent. Three of the things were completely beyond anyone’s control (e.g. a terrible website and another was simply being sexist) and one was because the patron cannot grasp a computers 101 concept. This last person loudly told everyone how terrible I am. I was told that I need further training, to get someone who knew what they were doing.

At this point, I envisioned many rebuttals though I simply walked away. Most weeks go by fine, but as soon as the snide comments kick in that I should go get a man because the computer is freezing, I became very frustrated. I also know that the lashing out is because the patron is angry because things are not working, but I wish they had the manners to direct it not on the person who is patiently trying to explain/demonstrate basic computer/digital literacy skills to them. This behavior is nothing new — customers acted the same way in retail.

So, why does it bother me? I think it is because working with the public means you are a verbal punching bag.

Otherwise, I spent the day creating four more digital signs, answering emails, checking the settings on the ILS, editing a video, and fixing a tv screen. When all this was done, I downloaded all our data from a website into CSV files then imported it into a Google Docs account before sending documentation out to staff. N

Moving Forward

Thursday
Running out of creative ideas!
This was a day of design! I finished up this poster (I am currently fresh out of design ideas), completed a month’s worth of new books digital signage, and then got caught up in administering the project I mentioned yesterday. The hiccup is still tying us all up and denying access. Hopefully tomorrow we can get it all sorted out. Meanwhile, I wrote up documentation and gave a few one-on-one training sessions for staff on the project. Then I continued work on the website.

Friday
I had a meeting with my boss so I spent some time prepping a list of questions to send ahead to him so he could be prepared for our meeting. In between I worked on cleaning up various aspects of the website (removed a page which had bullet points to other pages and replaced all of them with a single page with a much cleaner layout). While working on this particular clean up, I discovered some discripencies with the catalog and the website’s listings which I sent off emails to address.

My meeting with my boss went very well. I told him that I still lack a clear vision of what the front of the website should look like, but am moving towards removing the blog-like displays which the site hinges on. I am still taking us towards having landing pages for each major section (which will usually include a chat box). We agreed that we do not wish to employ sliders on the website.

After that meeting, I set about putting things in order that we had discussed. This led to a lengthy conversation about setting up a home page for book groups. At first, the staff member proposed creating a whole separate website, but after further inquiry, I realized that she probably only needs a few custom links and a landing page. I gave her instructions to carry out for her part of the project and this week I will set about working on my end. Then I talked to technical services to try sorting out an ILS problem that plagues us. I only took one semester in cataloging so I had to keep drilling for simpler clarification till I could understand the issue at hand. Hopefully I can try something on Monday to fix the problem.

Midweek

Monday
I spent most of the day working in the computer lab. The time went by so rapidly that in the end I could not even complain. The highlight was a patron reminding me of an earlier conversation we had about website building. I offered her my business card so we could have a one-on-one session for me to show her WordPress, but she told me she still had it “in a place of honor” on her refrigerator. I managed to compile a detailed email about things needed for the new online resources page. I rounded out the day by creating only one new panel and answering emails.

Tuesday
I am still waiting on the transfer of the 960 px width theme to the production website. So instead I went through the UX report and started making notes, assigning duties to others to update their content, and fixing small pieces here and there. I brought some joy to the RA staff after inquiring about their desire for a calendar on the website listing all events. Fortunately, the adult programming librarian chimed in and told me one already existed. The RAs were so pleased! I then made another panel (this one has a sneaky QR code to encourage parents to RSVP via their phone) which was a joy since it was so pink. Then I ran some more tests on the camcorder — the sound is still atrocious.

Wednesday
People returned from ALA’s Midwinter and thus the email avalanche arrived. Inspired by one email, I went on a quest to figure out how to combine all of the Microsoft Outlook calendars into one interface for the front desk staff so they could better direct groups to their meetings. It took me about half an hour of tinkering. Once I discovered the solution, I setup the new feature on three computers, documented the process, and then informed department heads of this handy feature. I also played phone tag for much of the day with a local supplier. I also outlined a plan of promotional products with the teen librarian to take with her when she goes to a volunteer fair. The 2′ x 3′ foot poster will be printed tomorrow. I will be posting the photo of the final products on the Library’s Google Plus account so I will share the photo here as well!

Speaking of Google Plus, I have seen a flurry of activity about the Library’s account:
1) It was mentioned in Library Journal
2) Whenever I post about the Espresso Book Machine, the post gets shared
3) On G+, I was informed that a class is studying the Library in their innovative libraries class
4) Another library contacted us wanting information about our page
5) My coworkers are often very excited about finding me new things to share

One of our internal beta projects officially got off the ground today. There has been a glitch with one aspect of it but I am working with others on that aspect. I am in charge of the administrative side which is very satisfying. I look forward to sharing what this project is soon.

Finally, I rounded out the day with answering more emails than I care to recall.

Double the Work

I am getting out of the habit of recording my daily work. Coming home to answer emails and forum posts from the WordPress students might have something to do with that. Therefore let’s dive in!

Wednesday
Worked on adding chat boxes to the website, updating a banner, and various odds and ends with the management of the Adult Tech Classes.

Thursday
I was not feeling particularly well as my head felt like it was wrapped in plastic wrap so I could not even think straight. This probably lent a great deal to the difficulties I was having with setting git up. I also did some more tweaking to the website, had the monthly luncheon with the other new workers, and contacted several patrons to follow up on some issues.

Friday
I tried to design a sign up card for a local teen volunteer fair but was having problems. I installed Inkscape on my work PC which helped hurry the process, but I was short on creative ideas. I then started building/designing the new online resources (databases and recommended websites) pages for reference. During most of my 75 minute stint in the computer lab, I worked on adding websites to the new content type. What is left now is to tweak the CSS, divide the content into appropriate sections, and then send it all off to the reference desk so they can finish adding the content. Once that is done, I can remove the old database pages.

Tomorrow I have to set up two programs before the Library opens so I will be leaving my house half an hour early. Then I will be in the computer lab for 60% of my day.

Surprise Snow

Last night, my household caught up with the final episode of the second season of BBC’s Sherlock Holmes. As I went through the house afterwards, I glanced outside the window to a world of white. I’ve been hoping for snow since my hometown has received three snowfalls in the last two weeks when it hardly ever snowed there when I lived there. This snowfall was gone before I headed out the door for work this morning.

Monday
This was a truly mixed day that left me feeling like I was treading water. Nothing too exciting to report besides getting mixed audio results while working with the new camcorder. Topics of the day: panels, fixing web pages, clearing the online help request tickets, social media, and spruced up the Espresso Book Machine website.

The WordPress class Polly and I are teaching stared as well. I came home to half a zillion emails. Since it was a long holiday weekend, there has been a back up getting some the email addresses of some of the participants, but it is getting itself sorted out.

Tuesday
I closed the Adult Technology Classes by going into the nodes and deleting the embed code. I then had to send out mass emails informing patrons of their registration. Part of this meant discovering patrons whose cards were long expired, people who did not live here, and then a stream of patrons wanting to know where was their confirmation email despite the screen telling them that January 17th was confirmation day when they registered and then a follow-up email reminding them of this as well. I headdesked a lot, in other words. I started checking out Github (squealing over the checksum portion), but then got interrupted by a request to go to a conference call meeting (which I can’t talk about yet!). I rushed to lunch and then to a meeting with reference about how they want to change their website pages. This meeting made me feel particularly anxious with a lot of new demands that I need to work in. I will have to sit down and plot out what I will do to fulfill those requests. Then I closed out the day by working in the computer labs. It is midterms week so we have a packed house.

Import Emails from Excel into Gmail

This is a quick overview:

  1. So you have your Excel spreadsheet with two columns: name and email addresses. Resave your spreadsheet as a .csv file.
  2. In Gmail, go to Contacts and then click on More and then Import.
  3. Select your CSV and import it.
  4. You will now see a list of all your email contacts.
  5. You can rename the contact list by selecting More again and then clicking on Rename Group.

Hunger Games

I have been preoccupied all week listening to The Hunger Games series of audiobooks (about halfway through the second set. I was able to download the mp3 of Catching Fire quite easily to my phone through my library’s website!). This constant state of hunger and attention to the books has caused me to put off any writing/reading that would rip my attention away from the books.

Thursday
In short order, I worked on the website, got a sneak peek of the upcoming Sedna Creator software (which looks amazing! I can finally schedule digital signs to expire! It’ll be available in a few months), had a meeting to discuss building a summer reading website, made a panel, did a short amount of web shop talk with a coworker, then had a meeting with my boss. The most amazing thing out of all of these was 1) proposing a mini site design for the upcoming 21 Things program for parents and realizing how close I was to transferring the new website changes from the test site to the real site. My boss also made some adjustments in his plans for the site, which freed me up from such annoying tasks like trying to add multiple inline images. I was ecstatic.

Friday
I made nine more digital signs and scheduled them to play (in only an hour!), made some final tweaks on the test website, and built the mini website for 21 Things (each week I will “flip over” each tile to activate that week’s lesson). Then came the moment of truth. I copied the theming files from the test website and saved them. I then copied the real website’s theming files to the test server. The test site regained its former appearance. Then I replaced the real site’s theme files with the test ones again. The transition was smooth and even! On Monday my boss will supervise copying the files over to make sure it goes correctly. I will then post an update about some of the changes. These will probably be the first big changes that patrons are likely to notice.

Nutshell

“I have not failed seven hundred times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those seven hundred ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.”

supposedly said by Thomas Edison.

I spent most of the day working on Display Suite trying to get the Book List module to display the actual book list fields. When that failed, I worked on styling the post, and then trying to build a content type that would let me having repeating blocks of inline images. No dice.

Iron Grid

Today was an absolute throw together mess of items. The stand outs would be fleeing my office when the electricians were dragging thick iron (?) cords through the ceiling tiles immediately above my head, doing some small website tweaks, and then dealing with patrons. The first patron asked about a specific program, berated me for not having it, and then when I finally got their name, I realized they were not even our patron! Another person did not care for a specific group of patrons and thus complained repeatedly about it.

Somehow I came away from the day being very angry and Thomas has more or less booted me to my room to keep my aggressiveness in check elsewhere! From the sounds of the shouting upstairs, it looks like even the neighbors are enjoying an angry evening as well!