To Dollbaby On The Third Anniversary Of Her Death

The most wonderful friend in the world.
Dollbaby and me, 2006

Time is not a healer of loss. Every day is a motion of going on with life, but who I am is still immovable from where Dollbaby’s life stopped. As she stopped, so did I. The difference after three years is that my unconscious knows that she’s not physically here anymore. I don’t see her walking just in the corner of my vision anymore — that’s her younger sister. I don’t wake up reaching for her in her place by my head. I am slowly building up a rough coat that keeps me from breaking down just by mentioning her to someone. I still cannot bear to have a photo of her on display. What is a photo when she’s still a living, breathing part of my heart? I only have to close my eyes to feel her breathe under my hands or under my cheek. My heart is full to bursting with love for my dearest friend, the one that has left me.

My fury, my rage, towards her murderer has not been set aside. Perhaps this anger is what continues to make it hurt so much and why I can’t shift past the horrible way Dollbaby died. I write this as a testimony that time is not easing the pain. I still can’t think of Dollbaby and just be happy about our thousands of happy hours together because the awful cruelty of her end is so immense.

As I’m writing this, Chii has settled next to my right wrist in front of the keyboard. She appeared as soon as tears started to fall. She’s purring faintly and is just being near. I scheduled myself to teach a class tonight during the hour that Dollbaby took her last breath. I don’t know if that’s a shield or not.

Behind the Scenes with the New Darien Library Tumblr

Darien Library's new Tumblr!
Darien Library’s new Tumblr!

Background
My brilliant colleague, Stephanie Anderson (@bookavore), approached me a little while ago with the idea of creating a new Tumblr for Darien Library called Darien Reads. The purpose is to:

At Darien Library, we provide great online reads every day, sorted the same way our non-fiction is organized in the stacks.

That is to say, Stephanie is a big fan of long-form journalism on the web. She wanted to curate this site for our commuters so they can connect with us for their train rides without them having to commit themselves to a book.

We discussed some ideas for themes and she went with the Venice theme by Style Hatch. I then did some preliminary digging around to see how hard it would be to alter it so it’d have a completely customized frontpage like a “real” website. After a few hours of research and attempts, I sent Stephanie an email asking the theme creators if we could hire them to make the adjustments. No dice!

Inspiration
So we went back to the drawing board and I studied some other Tumblr themes for inspiration. Examples: One, Two, Three. I then sketched out some designs (I really need to scan these sketches!). Once we settled on one, I went to work making the current theme as seen above.

Resources
Tumblr code is not the same as regular HTML since everything (HTML and CSS) are all on the same very, very long page. Tumblr also uses it’s own tag system for dynamic content. It behaves in unexpected ways. It took awhile, but I finally found the trick to get the double-column layout is called Masonry. Then I had to learn how to implement Masonry for that grid look. I didn’t get a chance to use this resource, but it looks very helpful.

Hold Backs
Tumblr did present us with a few stumbling blocks. For example, if you have Darien Reads on your Dashboard, you can see the images which are being pulled from the article. However, by visiting Darien Reads’ frontpage, you don’t get the image. This is a bit distressing, but it’s the default behavior. I’m also having trouble getting Body & Soul to link correctly for the pages.

Future Changes
I’m not 100% satisfied with the current appearance. However, “done is better than perfect,” so we decided to go ahead and start promoting it now that we’ve secured a URL for the page. We’ll be working on how to integrate this new Tumblr into our workflow.

“Darien Library Does Gangnam Style” Receives Award

Photo by @figsandninjas
Photo by @figsandninjas

And Alex represented the award on behalf of the Library:

AKA I’m really excited! I’ve known about this for a couple months now.

My eBooks & eReaders LibGuide gets some love!

View my eBooks & eReaders guide.

Photo by Alex Hylton, @genesis2kx
Photo by Alex Hylton, @genesis2kx

When I asked Alex what was up, he responded:

Tech Book Collection Finally Moved

Photo taken at Darien Library
Photo taken at Darien Library

Early last year, it was suggested to me that I take over the abandoned tech books collection at my library. No new items had been purchased since 2006 (before the library moved to its current location!) and the oldest item was 25 years old. So the first thing I did was pull up the circ records from Polaris’ Simply Reports. I then marked up which items would be removed. One of the part-timers who work in the computer labs pulled the requested books for me. The books were then sent to recycling since they were so out of date and inaccurate.

Sine then, I have weeded the collection three more times (got rid of 193 books in the first sweep) and have ordered some replacements. I ambushed patrons I found browsing the shelves and emailed others for suggestions on what to buy. A couple months ago I wrote up a collection development policy for this particular collection. If I get leeway, I will post it — though the library has an overall policy which they just unveiled. I then spent months pestering the head of reference and other people to get the collection moved from the basement. Where the books were formerly located, no one knew where they were and thus were unused for the most part. However, I can proudly state that checking the stats today, every single new book I ordered — except one — has been checked out multiple times.

So, when the news came over from cataloging that the books had been relabeled for their new home, I took them myself. The lady who processed them thankfully kept them in order, so it was just a matter of pushing the cart upstairs and then unloading them onto the shelves. Several staff members remarked on how happy I am about this. I’m thrilled. At my library school, collection management was removed as a required class. However, working on this collection is 100% the thing that makes me feel like an actual librarian. That may be silly considering the other face-to-face work I do, but for someone like me who just wants to find things for myself, having a well-managed collection means I am helping people who would never ask for me and that I may never see.

There is still more work to be done. I noticed today how the topics were split apart. For example, two OS books are together but are not grouped with all the other OS books. This part will take a little longer and it’s up for another weeding, but it is ready to go.

New Meeting Rooms Page

According to Trello, I first noted that the Meeting Rooms page on the website needed an update on January 18, 2012. The next note states that I contacted my coworkers who are in charge of the meeting room policies on September 4th. However, I know that I talked to them before this time. A couple weeks ago I decided that I would just go ahead with the meeting pages redesign project on my own. So I wrote up content, took photos, designed the page (using CSS — no tables!), and then sent it to my coworkers for inspection. I worked furiously and then today I finally received the last golden ticket — my coworker agreed to let me put the room rental application online as a webform! When this form is filled out, it will trigger an email to the coworker in charge of these room rentals. Another coworker is very excited about this project as it should remove some of the stress related to room management.

Meeting Rooms

I still need to finish a few more things before this project is completely done. Namely, I should add a button at the top of the page for submit an application. Further down the page, I would like a link to connect people to a chat box so they can book a study room. I did go in and add the HTML5

tag around each image. My goal is to get all new images on the site properly marked up within the next couple of months.

Push Everything Off the Table

My plans for today went awry due to requests from other parties. What I did achieve was to finish a VHS digitization project for a patron, replace a sign with a shiny new one, attend a brown bag lunch on Minecraft, hang up my web design inspirational mood board, modify the Create Account page for users after chatting with the new head of Readers’ Advisory, write a tutorial on Handbrake, answer emails, and finally work on the new Meeting Rooms page. With any luck, it’ll go live tomorrow!

Blocky!

The glowing star of today is planning out the next social media experiment we are going to do on Facebook. We will be running it the same week that an in-library group is going on. I will post about this experiment in mid-December! We are also looking into doing more video recordings. Just short videos to share with our patrons. The first of these videos will be next week!