Category: library

Library Day in the Life – Days 1, 2, and 3

I’ve decided to participate in Library Day in the Life, round 8. Now that my work has shifted back into the realm of “library”, it seemed like it might be interesting to document what it is I do in a typical week.

¬†TL;DR – We’re migrating from a legacy web server and a content management system to Drupal. I’m leading the academic department migrations. That is most of what I do right now, supplemented with management responsibilities and desk responsibilities.

Monday – Day 1

Today I’m working from home. We were supposed to have an all-day training on using Drupal, but that was canceled. I’m taking advantage of having cleared my day by spending the entire day working on one big project: the Art Department web site.

7:30 – get up, feed dogs, make and eat breakfast, finish reading “betsy-tacy”
8:45 – shower
9:00 – login to email, read google groups, delete a bunch of stuff
9:30 – fire up VPN connection (which hasn’t worked for me until now – hooray!) and login to new web server
9:35 – open email from art department and ponder how to approach the creation of their new website in our new Drupal environment
9:36 – open twitter (to think, of course) and see @younglibrarian’s posting about #libday8
9:37 – start this post after seeing on twitter that libday8 is today
9:40 – back to the art web site – start building structure, adding content
10:30 – let dogs out
10:45 – let dogs in
11:00 – still working on art, had difficulties uploading a PDF and had to email technical team to figure out why we can’t (missing content type?)
11:05 – technical team just had to add file type to allowed list
11:08 – 2-minute Words With Friends break (36-point word!)
11:10 – check email
11:15 – uploaded PDF to file upload area, found URL, used “redirector” content type, had colleague test, and it worked! (later: so I thought… I was wrong)
11:20 – put small dog on porch
11:25 – get back to creating site
12:05 – break for lunch (Words With Friends, Twitter, Facebook, begin reading Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIHM; eat lime-basil chicken, roasted brussel sprouts, red cabbage slaw, plain seltzer water)
12:42 – resume working on art, uploading images
1:05 – sent panicked email to public affairs folks after reading message that I fear I’ve misunderstood
1:30 – they email back – fortunately, I did misunderstand and we are not working at cross-purposes, GChat with colleague and laugh hysterically
2:15 – check email and update LibGuide for econometrics, adding in Stata tab created by instructional technologist who works with numerical and spatial data (she’s meeting with the class on Thursday)
2:30 – bring barking dog in from porch
2:36 – put dog outside
2:54 – bring barking dog inside so mailman will deliver mail
3:18 – called it a day on the art department web site
3:20 – made green smoothie for fortification for rest of day (spinach, kiwi, grapes, avocado, ice, water)
3:30 – realized I wasn’t done with art department web site, finish work on it, upload all images
4:05 – update faculty profile, email faculty member about additional information for profile
4:15 – reviewed email, answered some things, and got ready for tuesday when i’ll go in to the office
4:40 – logged off of email and VPN
4:55 – head to gym

Tuesday, Day 2

7:15 – wake up, eat, shower, check Facebook, Twitter, email, feed dogs
8:15 – leave for work
8:30 – greet colleague back from FMLA
8:35 – fire up computer, begin post, check calendar, full day of meetings
9:00-9:25 – meet with colleague on Drupal project, check progress of to-do items, send message to team re: weird behavior in one content type
9:25 – get message back from another team member saying problems with redirector i tried to use yesterday – second message saying that – deleted the content using that type and asked folks to check again. big bummer if that’s the case, as it would have solved a nagging issue
9:30-10:15 – Research Services team meeting (the group I manage) – we discuss results of fall instruction assessment. decided to continue for spring semester for WRIT125 courses and PSYC101 (larger numbers of these classes than others); saw marked improvement on most technique questions, found the qualitative data very interesting and want to figure out how to gather that for higher-level courses in a less formal way (free-form, more independently developed); discussed moved reserves (from first floor near nothing in particular to upstairs in reference room/computer area)
10:15-11:00- met with Africana Studies admin assistant and showed her new web system and her department’s content in it; she’s thrilled, very excited to get in and start working.
11:00-12:15 – attend all-LTS meeting; dean in student life came to talk about parent’s task force at college and college’s approach to working with parents going forward; introduce new staff member (yay Dawn!); demonstrate Drupal for division; CIO gives lots of updates on projects being worked on all over LTS; special collections Browning letters project is about to launch! (I admit that during the dean’s presentation, I had to get into Drupal to try to figure out what was happening with the redirector I’d used the day before – all of a sudden, anyone who logged out of the system couldn’t get back in and anything they clicked on only opened up the redirected link. Fortunately, I was still logged in to the system and was able to delete the redirectors, and also empty the recycle bin of them. That seemed to solve the problem, and folks could get back in again.)
12:15-2:00 – lunch with colleague, discuss and grapple with possibilities (it’s been a long time since she and I have done that, and it was good to get back into that groove). Lunch is shepherd’s pie, eggplant caponata, brussel sprouts with almonds and dried apricots, blueberries, and cherry tomatoes. YUM!
2:00-3:00 – met with Art department admin assistant, show her Drupal and department’s new site, ask her for certain information (missing content, matching images with pages)
3:00-4:00 – Research and Instructional Support managers meeting – discuss some workflow issues over the weekend, give and get updates on different projects all parts of the team are working on
4:00-4:30  Рschedule Drupal training and drop-in sessions for first three weeks of February with colleague from drupal team, schedule meeting for next week to put together rest of training outline
4:30-4:38 – write up day’s activities
4:40 – triaged email from faculty member about a MATLAB toolbox that isn’t installed on lab computers to computer imaging manager and instructional technologist (I LOVE WORKING IN A MERGED ORGANIZATION!!!)
4:45 – finished going through emails, wrapped up for day, announce that I’m heading to the gym
4:50 – decide against going to gym on advice of colleagues (or rather, my own rationalization which they supported – said rationalization is that I only do Crossfit 3 days in a row before I need a rest day. I went on Monday, and know that Thursday is a big workout that I need to do for our gym’s January challenge. The question was – do I go Tuesday for a workout containing running knowing my hamstrings are very tight, or do I go Wednesday for Weightlifting Wednesday – one of my favorite days each week at the gym? No-brainer, really. Weightlifting Wednesday it is!)
5:00 – head home

Wednesday, Day 3

6:45 – up, eat, shower, feed dogs, twitter, facebook, email
8:20 – leave for work
8:30 – arrive work
8:40 – Drupal check-in – ¬†explore menus/blocks with team leader, give quick update to CIO, send email to theme person asking if she can do in prod what she’s done in test in terms of hiding stuff in the left-hand menu
9:15 – update faculty member’s profile, add photos, media bio, send email to faculty asking clarifying questions
9:30 – respond to email from colleague about google calendar appointment slots, add link to appointments to my libguide profile
9:35 – go through paper mailbox, make decisions about 2 items and where they should live (one – “Progress of the World’s Women 2011-2012″ – into UN docs, the other – ‘ The Commentators’ Bible: Exodus” – into the stacks)
10:00 – one-on-one staff meeting – she has lots of exciting instruction lined up!
10:25 – check a couple of emails
10:30 – head to merged reference/instructional technology/circulation desk to cover for a colleague for an hour; met with student re: faculty member’s web site, placed lots of holds, did other minor work.
11:30 – one-on-one staff meeting – she also has exciting instruction lined up, including 4 classes and one student group doing zine work
12:00 – eat lunch and realize I have brought all the wrong silverware (need spoon and knife, only have fork. alas) Lunch consists of carrot soup, pork tenderloin, roasted broccoli, sauteed brussel sprouts with almonds and dried apricots, blueberries and strawberries, and olives. YUM.
12:30 – head back out to desk, where I answer a couple of ILL questions, work more on the Art department web site, report LOTS of oddities in behavior in Drupal to team. I also realize that the almond-stuffed olives I brought today are really garlic-stuffed. Sadness, for I am meeting with people later in the day and don’t want to blast them with garlic breath. Give a quick impromptu pep talk to colleague who looked like she needed it. I love sharing that part of my brain/intuition with her.
2:15 – Reference question: I NEED THIS DVD NOW TO BRING BACK TO CLASS BECAUSE WE TOLD THE PROF ABOUT IT AND SHE WANTS US TO WATCH IT TODAY. Realizing how challenging they can be to find in the stacks, I head up with her – not in the stacks, not in the recently returned items, but hooray, it’s on the reshelving book truck. Send her running away happy. 4-minutes from question to her heading back to class – THAT is service!
2:25 – Leave desk early because I’m off to meet w/ current and future director of the biological chemistry program about moving their web site to Drupal. Meeting is at The Leaky Beaker cafe in the Science Center. That cafe did amazing things to the social nature of the Science Center – I love it! Both faculty members are really excited, and as soon as we can put images in to the site, are ready to go live.
3:15 – Head back to my office to upload images and insert into pages.
3:30 – Images all saved to my desktop, but now there is no folder to put them in. Email technical team for help creating folder.
3:45 – Get pulled into hour-long discussion with colleagues about workflow snafus; determine cause to be miscommunication and misunderstandings about who’s doing what.
4:45 – Give pep talk #2 to colleague who I gave pep talk to earlier, and we give each other mutual love and admiration. I work with wonderful people.5:05 – Pack up and leave for the gym, where I lift heavy stuff and get measured on final day of 30-day Paleo challenge. I lost 2.3% body fat this month, without restricting the quantity of food I’m eating, only the type of food. It’s amazing what not drinking beer or eating grains/dairy will do for a girl! Also thoroughly enjoy Weightlifting Wednesday, where I set a new 10 rep max on power cleans (120#), 15 rep max on overhead squats (85#), and 15 rep max on push presses (80#). I LOVE to lift.
6:45 – Head home and eat dinner
8:00 – Fire up computer, begin doing a bit of work on web sites, see CIO’s latest work on it, diagnose weird problem with not being able to access something from off-campus (i.e. logged in to VPN and then could get to it – must be restricted to on-campus only, which will be a problem for this particular content going foward)
8:20-9:05 – write this post.

Stay tuned for days 4 and 5!


I don’t blog much about work – no time, desire but no energy, etc. etc. But I just have to say that I am so proud of this. I have spent the past 15 months of my life on this project (and will likely spend the next 15 or more on it as well). Change is never easy, especially not when it affects daily work/school processes, but I’m confident that my colleagues at the college, as well as the faculty and students, will rise to the occasion and explore, use, and improve these new tools that we’re going to be using next year.

Picture 3 Zimbra Picture 4

Reference Librarian Haiku

Every semester during reading period and finals, there is a protracted online discussion in which students bemoan their current state of affairs in haiku format. Yesterday, I was working at the reference desk and thought I’d jump into the foray in an attempt to drum up some business. What follows is a series of haikus I sent out over the course of the 4 hours I was working.

writing a paper?
librarians have mad skills.
consult with megan.

here till 5pm
i can answer your questions
glorious sources

research pressure mounts
pubmed lion econlit
move beyond google

footnotes and endnotes galore
save time talk to me

what is your style?
chicago turabian
help with citations

i’ll help you today
someone is here tomorrow
use our great knowledge

(Reference Librarian Haiku by Megan Brooks is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.)

After posting those to my Facebook account, my friends Eric, Steve, and Mac all supplemented my offerings with ones of their own, which I offer here:

Find a citation easy
Document your sources right
Science Eye Brain Neuron


dewey decimal
what in the hell does he know?
go right to the source.


She knows where to find
the answers contained herein.
Your fault if you fail.

FInd the best sources.
The librarian knows where
they are all hiding.

Paper is due soon
Your Zotero is empty.
You should ask for help.

Do you understand
what the reference desk does?
You should ask, buddy.

The cursor blinks.
You will need more evidence
to support your claims.

You chose your topic,
but are not sure which journals
might aid your research.

I write these haiku
Hoping to charm you into
Asking me questions.

I am an expert
in tracking down resources.
I earned a degree.

Please don’t walk by me
another time looking lost.
I am here to help.

(Nine Library Haiku by Eric Behrens is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.)

I am highly entertained.

Some Creative Commons Information

I’ve been looking in lots of places for audio, image, and video files that some of my students can use for a project they’re working on in lab. Here are some of the neat things – all available either in the public domain or via Creative Commons licensing – I’ve found:

Example 1: The Boston Typewriter Orchestra

Example 2: ccMixter – mashup, re-mix, and re-use all sorts of songs

Example 3: Free Sound Project – mashup, re-mix, and re-use all sorts of sounds (not songs, though)

Example 4: The Internet Archive, but in particular the moving images and audio collections.

Example 5: Flickr images – with CC licensing

Example 6: Creative Commons search

Not really sure what Creative Commons licensing is? Check out this excellent video on the history and principles behind CC.

I’m still not 100% comfortable with licensing my writing under a CC license, although many of my photos are available with one of the CC licenses. What about you (if you contribute digital works to the internet cloud)? Do you reserve all your rights, or do you share some of your rights?

Educause 2008 – Day 2

Today was the day of email and the day of Twitter.

I went to two morning discussions sessions: one on outsourcing student email, the other on outsourcing non-email applications. Took lots of notes in both. I went to afternoon session: a point/counterpoint on outsourcing student email solutions. I talked with the Microsoft Live@edu rep about email. I walked past the Mirapoint booth several times but was too fried each time to actually make it in to talk with them.

I also got roped into two presentations: the first was by a company named Bradford. They do network security stuff. It’s probably bad to admit that I only stuck around for the drawing for an ipod touch at the end, isn’t it? About 20 minutes after I didn’t win that prize, I stumbled on a customer presentation about Desire2Learn. It was really good, so after it was over I grabbed one of the reps and chatted with him for a long time about D2L. It’s a pretty impressive-looking product.

Poster sessions today were similar to yesterday in terms of graphical quality. I just don’t get the whole using 8.5″ x 11″ paper plus thumbtacks for a presentation. Not surprisingly, Memorial Sloan Kettering had the most professional poster. Scientists do a lot of poster sessions, so they get how to do them right.

As for Twitter, I tweeted the Moira Gunn keynote this morning and noticed that 8 or so other folks were doing the same thing. A few of us ended up grabbing lunch together. It was odd to walk up to a table of people and say, “Hi! I’m librarygrrrl, but you can call me Megan.” Fortunately they were all like, “Hi, I’m Kaijia” and “I’m LJ Full of Grace”, so librarygrrrl doesn’t seem quite so silly.

I’ll post links to all the sessions I attended later. Too poped right now to do more than close the computer and crawl under the covers of this big, king bed bedecked in all-white sheets and duvet. Yeah, that pretty much would never happen in my home with the two pooches, their fur, and their dity little paws.

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