Monthly Archives: March 2013

TBR Challenge: Series Catch-Up

I’m still making my way through the TBR challenge, which has been a fun way to try to get some books off of my ever increasing to-be-read pile. The theme for this month was series catch-up, and I decided to read the last two volumes of Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis. I got these last two volumes (one as a gift, one purchased) around Christmas 2011. This image is from the cover of Volume 9:

Transmetropolitan Cover

Two items of business before we move forward:

  • Disclaimer: it has been several years since I first started reading this series, so I am at the mercy of time and my deteriorating memory.
  • Official warning: reader discretion is advised before beginning this series. It is graphic and sometimes disturbing. Personally, I’m okay with it. It’s done to make a point, and it works. Other people might not be able to move past that.

Official business complete! On with the reviewing.

Transmetropolitan is a delightfully bizarre, often deeply disturbing series. The series main character, Spider Jerusalem is a journalist. He has “filthy assistants”. Together, they have adventures and report the news. At the beginning of the series, I enjoyed it but didn’t really see where it was going. A few volumes in, Spider begins to uncover a story that is bigger than he had originally anticipated. This plot line slowly increases in importance, becoming the central arc of the series.

Another interesting development as the series progressed was that I started to really care about the characters. Initially, I just sort of saw them as some sort of deeply disturbed part of Warren Ellis’s brain that had come loose. By the last volume, I was so invested that some sort of water came out of my eyes a little while I was reading. It was strange.

All in all, I strongly recommend this series for lovers of: Warren Ellis, strange cyberpunk dystopian comics, or weirdly profound commentary on new media/technology and its effects on journalism, politics, and society as a whole.

Reading Genre Fiction

This quarter, I have been taking a class called Literacy, Readers, and Reading, which emphasizes reading research and questions like why people read and what happens to people when they read.

Some of our assigned readings have been from a book called Reading Matters, and I highly recommend it.

Reading Matters

One of the suggestions in the book is to read five books from a genre that you are unfamiliar with each year. As a soon-to-be librarian interested in outreach and access (and having been thinking about library catalogs a lot lately for my portfolio), I have been thinking about ways to encourage reading of all types. Through this, I’ve found myself wanting to be more familiar with genres that I have not really read before. Also, as a person who loves anything that involves to-do lists, this sounds generally fantastic.

I suppose this may seem to be strange, considering that public libraries have never been my focus. but I just think it seems really interesting as a project. So, I’m trying to decide which will be my first new genre to tackle, probably in a few months. The strongest possibilities are romance or westerns, since neither is an area in which I have any real familiarity. I’m going to be looking at Genreflecting by Diana Tixier Herald and The Readers’ Advisory Guide to Genre Fiction by Joyce Saricks for inspiration, but any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

HLS Day in the Life – Friday!

I am always so, so exhausted by Fridays. They are probably my lightest day of the week though. I went to my internship in the morning. It also rained today, which was nice. (Rain in Los Angeles is really rare, so I always cherish when it happens.)

Image

Today, I gave an informal presentation to the UCLA Library Social Media Learning Group on the work I’ve been doing this quarter. I talked mostly about my desire to highlight the library’s “pleasure reading” collections like graphic novels and recent fiction. Then, I talked about my analytics evaluation and showed some screenshots from Twitonomy, which I think is a pretty cool free Twitter analytics tool.

After my presentation, the Writing Librarian at Powell (who is also a UCLA MLIS alum!) told me that after I posted a picture of the recent fiction new arrivals display on Instagram, 3 of the books from the display were removed (and presumably checked out)! I have decided to assume that this is due to my outreach efforts, in spite of having only circumstantial evidence to that effect.

After I left work, I headed up to the Information Studies building to finish hanging up flyers for Dodgers Night (which, if you are from UCLA and reading this, you should absolutely attend!). While I was there, I managed to reserve an even better room than the room I had before for the SLA Spring Career Panel, and I ran into my awesome friend Vanessa!

Usually when I get home on Fridays, I intend to do a lot, but I actually do absolutely nothing. Today, I got home around 3:00 and got through quite a few emails! Then I did a lot of nothing and fixed a frozen pizza for dinner. Tonight, I’ll probably watch TV and do some reading for classes, as per usual.

It’ll be a busy few months from now through the spring – both of my final projects are due the week of March 18th. We have the last week of March off, and then Spring quarter (my last one…) starts the 1st of April. Our portfolios for the UCLA MLIS program are due on April 12th, so that is certainly what I’ll be spending almost all of spare time on between now and then. After portfolios are turned in, we have to present them in May. Then in June, I’m headed to the SLA annual conference, and I’ll be graduating! It seems like so little when I just type it all out like it’s no big deal…

Anyway, this whole HLSDITL thing has really been fantastic! I’m excited to have new blogs and twitter accounts to follow and to have started to get to know so many awesome people. Hopefully, I’ll keep blogging more than my normal once a month (although it absolutely will NOT be daily – this is hard!)

HLS Day in the Life – Thursday evening

So, it’s Hack Library School’s Student Day in the Life project: Day 4.

Thursday is usually not a day that I do much for class, since both of my classes were the day before and I have another week before they happen again. I am at my job in Library Special Collections from 9-1 and my Social Media Internship from 1:30-5:30.

Both my job and my internship are in this building, the Powell Library Building, which houses the UCLA Undergraduate Library. It also houses a small special collections processing facility on the ground level, which is where I work part-time. It’s quite nice to have my internship at the Undergraduate Library and my job just two floors down, especially because it was supposed to rain today.

Image

It’s a gorgeous building, and I can tell you that it is incredibly popular to post photos of the building (both interior and exterior) on social media.

Work was good this morning. I’m nearly finished with a collection, so there was a lot of going through the tricky parts with my supervisor. We had some really good conversations about arrangement and things like that. I find the work really interesting, even though my general career focus has shifted towards librarianship. I had intended to work on the front matter for another collection today, but then I got caught up putting folders in alphabetical order and transferring them to manuscript boxes. It was maybe not as intellectually stimulating, but I found it very satisfying.

Then, I went to my internship. There was a lot to do today, because as I mentioned on Tuesday, we have a lot of Stressbusters events to promote for tenth week (next week) and finals. The events include meditation workshops, therapy dogs, gaming, and origami. Wait a minute, did I just throw therapy dogs in the middle there? Yes, I did. This photo was taken by the library last year when the dogs were there. Isn’t she adorable??

Image

Anyway, it’s a lot of fun to promote. I’ve been using Hootsuite to schedule out posts for the next two weeks. I don’t always think of myself as an especially creative person, in spite of the fact that my mother always insists that I am (hi, Mom!), so I’ve been pleased with my ability to come up with content ideas for all of our social media channels. I love using social media as a form of outreach, especially when we get people interacting with and talking about the library and the content we post. And honestly, it’s also really, really fun. Tomorrow I’m giving a presentation to the UCLA Library Social Media Learning Group about what I’ve been doing this quarter, so I spent a little bit of time today thinking about that and putting a few images together.

Tonight, I hope to send some emails about SLA events. It’s not that it takes a huge amount of time to plan events, it’s just that I don’t always get to it as frequently as I should. I also plan to read a bit more of Reading Lolita in Tehran. I’m actually re-reading it, because I read it sometime around 2008, and I really remember very little about it. Then, I need to read the last chapter of Collection Management Basics. I’d love to say that I’ll get more than that done tonight, but it’s highly unlikely. I’ll probably watch a small amount of TV with the boyfriend, then try to get some sleep.

HLS Day in the Life – Thursday morning!

Today is another long day, in which I’ll be at work for four hours and at my internship for four hours. I’m currently coffee-ing up (with my Wicked mug, which means I’ll be humming Defying Gravity for a while today).

photo-5

I’ll need to get ready for an informal presentation that I’ll be giving at my tomorrow about the work I’ve done at my internship site this quarter. It should be a lot of fun, and I’m hoping to meet new people from the UCLA library.

It’s probably also time for me to check on the survey results from our UCLA SLA chapter about the career panel that I’m organizing for next quarter. I sent out a survey over the weekend to get an idea of the types of special libraries that our members are most interested in. Then, i can start inviting professionals to see who is willing to come talk to us next month! I’m hoping we’ll get a good turnout and that it will be really helpful to other students in the Information Studies program.

HLS Day in the Life – Wednesday!

So, I’m still participating in the Hack Library School Day in the Life project! It’s day 3 now.

On Wednesdays, I’m in class for most of the day. My morning class, Literacy, Readers, and Reading, is really fascinating. I’ve been thinking about my final project, which I think I’m going to do on recommendations and reviews from various sources and how readers select from them. It’s sort of an extension of something I’ve been researching for my portfolio issue paper. I’m also making a website as the final project instead of just writing a research paper, so I think it’ll be a really great experience!

Before class, I was also able to talk to some fellow UCLA SLA members about our Dodger night plans. Later in the day, I hung up a few flyers around the Information Studies building, sent out the official announcement on our department listserv, and I’ll hopefully get an email sent out tonight about setting up times to sell tickets in person as well.

This is what I had for lunch today:

Image

This is a fine example of the $3.50 pizza that is sold on campus near where the UCLA Information Studies classes are held. After you factor in the low cost, it’s surprisingly edible. I eat this far too often.

Then, in my collection development class, we did the first round of final project presentations and had a great guest speaker who was a school librarian. I think that my presentation went fairly well, and now next week I can just relax and watch the rest! We also talked about something which I had never heard of before this week, the Public Lending Right. Apparently, in Australia, the UK, Canada, and Europe authors are compensated for library circulations of their copyrighted works. It seems to strange to me after studying the U.S. copyright system last quarter!

Also today, I’m having a lot of paranoid thoughts about my final quarter in grad school. (what if I’m picking the wrong classes? the wrong internship? will it ruin my employment chances forever?) I know that this is overly dramatic and not at all accurate, but it sneaks up on me every now and again. It could also be a side effect of the fact that I’m very possibly getting sick. Luckily, Wednesdays are also the day that I see all of my amazing friends from my cohort on campus, and that always makes everything better!

Tonight, I need to do a few more things:

  • get through all of my emails
  • start reading Reading Lolita in Tehran
  • make a new schoolwork plan for the next week
  • hopefully watch the episode of Southland that is on my DVR

HLSDITL – Tuesday!

So here it is, day 2 of Hack Library School’s Student Day in the Life project. I’m really loving seeing everyone’s posts and hearing the stories. I’m also realizing that my days are really crammed and noticing that I a lot of time with email and Twitter!

Today I had two main tasks: work and my internship. On Tuesdays I work until 1:00, eat lunch, then head up to the second floor of the same building for my internship.

At work today, I talked to my supervisor about a presentation I’ll be giving at the end of the quarter about collections that I’ve been processing. We worked out a strategy for that, then I finally finished entering the contents of 18 boxes into a database and making sure everything is in folders. It was a pretty successful half day there, I think!

Then, I headed up to my internship. I’m currently a social media intern for the UCLA Undergraduate Library (called either College or Powell, depending on who you ask). We’re gearing up for some big events that require a lot of promotion that are happening during 10th week and finals week, called Stress-Busters. Just in our library, there are therapy dogs, origami, meditation sessions, and gaming! So, I strategized with my supervisor about promoting the events on social media and then started scheduling out posts and creating other content. We currently use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. It’s really exciting. I’m quite fond of the content curation/management, but my favorite part is interacting with students and other users on social media, which is happening more and more as we get closer to finals. My site supervisor (who is also a UCLA MLIS alum) and I also posted our first promoted post on Facebook, so that was a fun experiment! My main project for this quarter there has been to evaluate different analytics tools, so we talked about my work on that as well. On Friday, I’ll be giving an informal presentation to a library social media group about what I’ve been doing this quarter. It was a great day, and I was so involved with creating and scheduling out posts that I forgot to leave at 5:30. I left a little bit late, which actually happens to me a lot there.

I got home, fixed some dinner, checked my email and responded to a few different things that were happening with SLA events and other issues. I scheduled an interview next week for a public library internship for next quarter. I’m definitely torn, because I would love to stay on at my current site another quarter, but we’ll see what happens! I meant to get started with some school work pretty immediately, but I ended up taking a short TV-watching break with the boyfriend instead.

Then, I practiced my Collection Development presentation for tomorrow a couple of times (it should be under 7 minutes, no problem!), got my stuff together, and here we are. I’m exhausted just thinking about my day again! I still need to finish reading Words at Work and Play, and then I can head to bed. Tomorrow is my one class day of the week; I will be in classes pretty much from 9-5. In the morning is Literacy, Readers, and Reading, and in the afternoon is Collection Development. Usually on Wednesday evenings, I reward myself with pleasure reading and watching TV shows that I’ve recorded, but we’ll see how it goes.