Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Book: The Accidental Library Manager

The Accidental Library Manager by Rachel Singer Gordon is the first book I have read to try to get a more well-rounded view of library management than I received in my school course on management.  I highly recommend this book for new library managers or those who would like to go into library management.  The most interesting and useful part of this book were the comments librarians and paraprofessionals made for a survey for the book.  They discussed good and bad managers they had had and made recommendations for others.  The recommended reading list also looks useful, with a multitude of books and journal articles on the different topics in the book.

Topics covered included managing change, people, finances and technology, just as my management textbook did, however these are easily readable and seemingly much more useful.  I will be rereading this book again in the next year or so.

Wordless Wednesday - Jacob Gress

Photograph in possession of my great aunt Lois (It would be her grandfather, my great-great grandfather).  I scanned during my trip to Florida last spring.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Goals for the New Year

In 2010, I hope to accomplish the following:

  • Interview my grandmothers, parents and great aunts, uncles and cousins on video ASAP!
    • Goal is to do this by the end of February for my grandmothers
  • Update each of my lines sideways and forward.
    • I usually do well with my information about my ancestors siblings, but I have not done so well finding cousins in more recent generations.
  • Focus my search for my German lines so that I can visit their hometowns while I am in Germany for 4 1/2 months
    • I will therefore focus on the Eichhorn, Gresz, Fink, Weiss and Tross lines for the next two months
  • Stay in touch with my relatives searching my fathers side of the family.
    • I research my mothers side as I have great aunts and uncles who research my fathers.  I will be helping my Aunt Dottie with her search in Poland for the Karpinski's (my great-grandmother's line)
  • Complete Dear Myrtle's finally get organization checklist from 2009
  • Start researching my fiancé's line (at the very least, get the information he knows into my file)
  • Blog: Participate in Surname Saturday each week in order to get my surnames out there and find new cousins!  I plan on going alphabetically though all my surnames.

SNGF - What I received for Christmas

This weeks Saturday Night Genealogy Fun:
1) What gift that you received for Christmas is your favorite for genealogy purposes? Book, magazine, hardware, software, website subscription, research time - what was it, and how will it affect your genealogy research?

2) Tell us about it in a blog post on your own blog, in a comment to this blog post, or in a comment on Facebook in response to this post.

I received a fantastic genealogy present on Christmas - a reply to a blog post from my second cousin, once removed!  I couldn't have asked for anything better.  Thank you Alan, for a fantastic present!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Semester 1 Completed

I have completed my first semester of graduate school! It went by much quicker than I had anticipated. My favorite class with my introductory class, which featured numerous alum who spoke on their career path and current position. Nearly every week I would have a different idea of what type of librarian I wanted to be.

The most disappointing class was my management class, as it focused only on theory and mostly theory in the IT world (as the class is mandatory for all iSchool students, not just MSLIS). I would have much preferred a class on managing a library, hiring, HR, etc. Basically a "what do I do as a library director/team leader/department manager." As such, I have taken out numerous books on library management to read over winter break.

Overall, this semester was a success. Working full-time and going to school full-time was easier than expected, though I am looking forward to a few weeks of just work without classes.

Next semester I am taking a few online classes, then off to Hamburg, Germany for a semester abroad!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Where in the world is Charles Ammi Cutter?

Our final group project in my Information Resources: Users & Services was to create a pathfinder and presentation about our group namesake, Charles Ammi Cutter. We searched everywhere for information, from Wikipedia to journal articles to a 900 page dissertation by Dr. Francis L. Miksa.

Cutter was a brilliant librarian, creating the modern card catalog, interlibrary loan, a classification system and the traveling library (book mobile). He also wrote The Buffalo public Library in 1983, where he prophesied such things as library automation and controlled atmosphere within a library.

For our presentation we created a game show based on the old television show Where in the World is Carmen San Diego? I was the "hostess with the mostess, head library detective and researcher extraordinaire." Part of the presentation was video taped by a fellow student:

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Poster Session

Our final project for my Introduction to Library and Information Professions class was to present a poster on the pros and cons of a subject of our choosing, along with creating a handout. Our poster was on NARA partnering with private firms to digitize records.

Poster sessions are basically science fairs for grownups, which, as a former science fair competitor, I love. This project game me a lot of experience with Google docs and Microsoft Publisher, two things I had not used a lot in the past. I am now a huge fan of Google docs for group collaboration, particularly since you can look through the revisionist history, can easily collaborate and have a listing of who contributed what (always helpful in a group project with individual evaluations). I have used Microsoft Publisher for brochures and newsletters in the past, but designing a whole poster using it was definitely pushing my boundaries of the software. I was extremely lucky in that one of my teammates is an artist and made fantastic design decisions that she could also implement.

Researching for the project was the most interesting course work I did all semester. I am very interested in archives and digitization (and talked my group into doing this topic), which made the information very relevant and useful for me. The wide variety of journal articles we found on the topic also sparked other fields of research interest, such as using digitization for preservation in other special collections, preserving material that is "born digital" and looking into how NARA will store and use the data once it is available for them to post online.

Presenting a poster seems like a much better way to present research than giving a lecture. The conversations you have with people bring up new items to look into and find possible collaborators for future work. For the shyer members of the group, it also allowed them to discuss their ideas in a less threatening way than a presentation.

Our poster was judged as one of the top 3 in the class and we are now looking to modify it slightly and submit it to conferences in the next year. Having the ability to present it to librarians in the field is tremendously exciting (and nerve-racking) and I hope that it becomes a reality.

Advent Calender - Opening Day 5

The GeneaBlogger Advent Calender prompt #5: December 5 - Outdoor Decorations
Did people in your neighborhood decorate with lights? Did some people really go “all out” when decorating? Any stories involving your ancestors and decorations?

In recent years, my sister has slowly become one of the more out-of-control light people. Each year after Christmas, she gets another one of those lit, movable, holiday animals to add to the collection. Her and my mom also put up icicle lights around the house for a complete winter wonderland.

My favorite lights are those of an unknown neighbor. Each year, for as long as I can remember, he has put up a huge Christmas tree, made out of green lights. It never feels like Christmas until I go home and see the tree all lit up against the dark night sky.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Advent Calender - Opening Day 4

The GeneaBlogger Advent Calender prompt #4: December 4 - Christmas Cards
Did your family send cards? Did your family display the ones they received? Do you still send Christmas cards? Do you have any cards from your ancestors?

My mother is fantastic about sending Christmas cards, which is a trait I am trying hard to pick up on. She would write out dozens each year, as would my grandmother and, in return, our mailbox would be full each day leading up to Christmas. Trying to display each one could be tricky, but we went through a multitude of card holders over the years to do so.

I do not have any cards from my ancestors and until reading this prompt had never thought to look for some. It looks like it is time to mention that to relatives as they pull out all their holiday items and hopefully find some old cards tucked away.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Advent Calender - Opening Day 3

The GeneaBlogger Advent Calender prompt #3: December 3 - Christmas Tree Ornaments
Did your family have heirloom or cherished ornaments? Did you ever string popcorn and cranberries? Did your family or ancestors make Christmas ornaments?

My mother has a multitude of ornaments her grandmother and other female relatives made over the years. Each year we would hang a few of these on the tree along with all of our Hallmark ornaments from more recent years. The ornaments I love the most are those with a story attached and my mom does an excellent job at picking them out for us year after year. My favorite from last year was the "First Christmas Together 2008" she got for Aaron and I and our first apartment together.

We also tell the story each year of when my grandmother bought each family a pickle ornament and my cousin Jake picked one up and it just crushed in his hand. He had the most crestfallen look ever, but after making sure he was okay, we all just laughed and laughed. Glass ornaments around a bunch of active kids did not work out too well. But they received another of the ornaments at a later date and it became family legend.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Advent Calender - Opening Day 2

The GeneaBlogger Advent Calender prompt #2: December 2 - Holiday Foods
Did your family or ancestors serve traditional dishes for the holidays? Was there one dish that was unusual?

My favorite holiday food story is also always brought up by my Gramma Acquard every time I see her:-) We spend Christmas each year with my father's family and for every Christmas dinner my grandmother makes baked beans. Every year she also forgets to take them out of the oven, which is where I come in. I always remember that they aren't out on the counter in the buffet line with everything else, so she will pull them out of the oven and find a place for them with everything else. This is apparently a long running tradition, as my mother used to always remind her before I was old enough to. She makes fantastic baked beans.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Advent Calender - Opening Day 1

The GeneaBlogger Advent Calender prompt #1: December 1 - The Christmas Tree
Did you have a real tree or was it artificial? How big was the tree? Who decorated the tree? What types of Christmas trees did your ancestors have?

We almost always had an artificial tree growing up, except for the few years my sister convinced my mom that a real one was necessary. After still picking up needles in July, we would switch back to the artificial for another year. We all helped decorate, pulling all the ornament boxes out of the attic and remembering why we had received each one or which relative had made them back in the day. Everyones favorite part was always the tinsel. As kids, we would throw it on in globs and my mom would add it in a more restrained way.

Since moving out, I have a very small artificial tree, which works perfectly with the miniature ornaments that I love. I put the few larger ornaments around it on the table, along with my Charlie Brown nativity scene and other random holiday items. Doing this post reminded me that I need to clear the school books and papers off the coffee table, pull my Christmas box out of the closet, turn some carols on and start the holiday decorating!

Back to Basic: July

July went quick! GRIP  went virtual! I attended (most) of the sessions in Documentation and then continued my citation work with my ProGen a...