That’s right, you heard me. Rachel is not in the third mummy movie “The Mummy 3: The Tomb of the Dragon Emperor,” as the librarian Evelyn. Instead she is being played my Maria Bello. Now while I love Maria Bello, I  hope they are going to at least dye her hair for the movie. I mean, I think people will notice that the dark haired Evelyn from the first two films is different than the golden haired Maria Bello. Realistically I am amazed they are doing a third Mummy film at all. I thought they would be done after the Scorpion King, but oh well.

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People wonder how can you make your reference desk and cheerier. Well how about put a cute little stuffed animal on the desk. One place I work has a reference/circulation desk and right in the front one of the staff members left a small stuffed bunny with a pull string coming out of its booty that makes it vibrate. At first I thought it was little weird until I put it on the desk and saw that it made the bunny scoot up and down. Now how can your frown Not turn upside down when you see it skipping on the desk. Sometimes I will pull the string and every time the students cannot help smiling.

I really want to out a sign underneath that says” We are hoppy to help you, ” but do you think that is a little cheesy? Probably, just a little!

Being a millennial and a librarian, I get noticed. In my geographical area I work in I am one of the youngest academic librarians that I know of. To some I seem to represent the new wave of change because of my age. Most of my friends I similarly aged comrades are not in the librarian field and tease me for a certain stereotype. After laughing it off, I start to ponder about the stereotypes we librarians face on a daily basis. I have come to this conclusion…

People are obsessed with our clothes.

Seriously now people say things like, “She is so dressed like a librarian, ” or “She must be one of those hipster librarians they are talking about, ” Or (my personal favorite)” Why does she not dress like a librarian, does she think she is cool or something?”

Last July the New york Times brought younger librarians to light in A hipper crowd of shushers (sorry to bring this article up again, but it demonstrates part of my point). This article if you had not read it (I think you are the only one on the planet that has not) is about the next wave of librarians and how different they are that the current ones.  now in the library field this topic has long been discussed, so much that it has almost become a stereotype in itself. Now two librarian images emerge one of a cat lady with a bun and glasses and the other of a youngish generation x librarians with piercings and tattoos and fabulous clothes. Now the reason stereotypes exist is the fact that some parts are true. However, everyone does not seem to fit the mold. It seems like a battlefield has emerged that pits the ones in the times article with the Nancy Pearl figures. Now while I do love a good shoe sale, I am certainly not as cool as the one documented in these types of articles. However suddenly, I am the spokesperson for them because I am around their age. The other thing is the librarians in most of these hipster librarians articles are Generation X. I along with a new crowd are Generation Y. Typically Generation Y are a little different, because most of us went into this profession right straight from high school to college, and some of the hipster librarian I know did something different before deciding to become a librarian. In the future this will probably be looked at because we are a different species. However, some in the library field seem to lump all young librarians into the group of those who cannot be trusted. I have heard some in the library field complain about how others dress.

Back to the clothes, I believe clothing is not the issue, it is only the battlefield. The true problem  is the notion of  changing of the guard. The previous generation worked so hard to make the profession the best that it can be, and are afraid the younger generation is going to undo all the work and toil they put forth. The fact of the matter is that us youngsters will find our way like our more experienced counterparts did, and it will be okay. As for wardrobe choices on both sides I would like to ask both sides this question ” Do you dress the same way now that you did in high school?” I know for myself that my style has changed over the years and know that it will continue to do so. There are very few professions to examine in detail what we wear. The point in all of this is we need to get past the clothing and see how can work together to help our patrons. The reality of the situation is that the stereotypes are an exception rather than the norm. Some of the hippest librarians I know happen to be older. A lot of younger librarians I know love to crochet and knit and embrace the Nancy Pearl image ( Yes, I do look like a librarian group in Facebook is 175 strong).

The moral of the story is that by working together we can do great things. Yes we can!

I have not posted in a while. Working twelve hour days is quite tiring at times… On another note I have been reading quite a good deal on millenials. I guess the reason this topic interests me is because I feel it so personally. Being born in 1983 I am in the generation Y area. In this way I suppose I have a unique opportunity to connect to the student because of my age. I have come up with some dos and don’ts for my generation.

  1. Do notice the problems we have. If a students keeps misunderstanding like say something in a handout or website, look at again.
  2. DON’T blame the students for not understanding something. Even if you do not say it and are thinking it, it comes across. Remember grabbing the patrons trust is like the old restaurant adage. “It takes forever to build up a successful eatery, and one cockroach to kill it.” In other words one little thing can destroy ay chance of trust.
  3. DO listen to what the students are needing in their studies.
  4. DON’T be close minded. This includes adding technology. Sometimes librarians are so sure that Library 2.0 tools will work that when they do not, suddenly it is the population’s fault. What looks good on a supermodel does not look good on the girl next door.
  5. DON’T treat us whippersnappers like another species. We may do different things, but we still need help. Also DON’T be fooled and think we know how to find electronic resources because we somehow were born with magical knowledge.
  6. DO DO DO remember that although we may see the library differently, remember that we still come to the library for the same reasons that our ancestors came: “To find information that can better our lives.” Libraries are about people and their information needs. The tools may have changed (once the card catalog and typed cards were revolutionary) but the mission has not.

 

I am a generation Y and I am a librarian, hear me roar….

Ever notice that people approach fines differently. Over the past semester I had to collect fines I noticed a few different responses. Some respond by embarrassment “Oh, my god I can’t believe I had a fine, I’m so sorry.” Then others respond in anger “the library has enough money this is a racket!” Then there are others who respond in disbelief, “I know I brought it back, I just know it, I could not possibly have forgotten so can you get rid of it?” Then there are those who understand the system and just pay the fine “I know I should have returned it on time and here is the money.” The last groups are the ones who understand the responsibility of bringing back the books on time and if they forget they pay it. If you are reading this, we in the library world love you! But do you know who we love the most? People who bring the things back on time! We don’t want to charge fines, but if we do not, then things would never get returned and then patrons could not use our resources. I have always thought about the concept of changing the names of fines to late fees like video rentals, but library fines are engrained into people’s minds. Maybe the library staff should walk around campus with shirts that say (on the front) Bring It… (on the back) Back to the Library. In a perfect world no books would be late and there would be no fines, but obviously it is not. Students would not like it if we took something of theirs and did not return it. Everything has consequences, if they did not return something of their buddy’s, that student would hound his friend constantly. With academia at least their grades and transcripts would be held. We have an agreement that needs to be upheld. May be we should have a billboard that says, “Return or Get Burned.”

I know people will disagree but I love the end of the semester . ESR is what I like to call the end of the semester rush, which is a drug. ESR sends faculty, staff, librarians, and especially students into a tizzy twice a year. Sure there is a lot of stress but I love the hustle and bustle. ESR sends you into a different frame of mind when helping people. For some it is a frustrating time because the students and faculty are at their last rope, but I think the most important thing for librarian and library staff to remember is too not take their ranting too personally. Maybe it is because I just finished college and grad school and was one of those undergrad students who left everything until the last minute.  (I did not stop until the end of my sophomore year when I got extensions for every class and needed to do 15 papers in 2 weeks. That was the point where I learned the fact that it is easier to do stuff on time.) At that point you would get testy with the Mother Teresa just because you come to the realization that if you don’t work at a suicidal pace then you might not pass and then you have to retake everything and may lose your scholarship, get kicked out of college, disappoint your family, never get a steady job…. and etc. ESR is a drug, it can send you to that ultimate low where you want to smash something, but on the other hand can send you to an almost euphoric high. ESR can provide a great opportunity for librarians to show what we are really made of. There have been times where I have helped a student at the 12th hour and that student comes back the next semester and gets help throughout the semester and not just at the tail end. (Now not this does not always happen and sometimes the student gets extremely mad and blames everything in earshot and sight, but we live for the successes, don’t we?) The effects of ESR can be long lasting, and my only hope for each semester is that the students I helped will finish and start clean next semester.

It is the end of the semester and everyone seems to be learning new things. The faculty and students learn how soon the semester comes to a close and learns how to deal with the winter and winter driving.  The library staff learns ways to get the books back. Lately I have been learning different ways to attract student to the library. the listservs have been buzzing with ideas from cool libraries with neat ways to get the students in there. One library did laser tag (incidentally I told my college age brother who does not like his college library this idea and he would go in the library if there was laser tag) dance parties, video games, etc. In my library we used to do a little something at the beginning of the fall and we did not do that this year and the attendance dropped.  Lately I have been reading a good amount on how to best serve users. Something has been hitting me as I peruse the cornucopia of articles on technology and social networking, etc. The basis for all of these services is human interaction. If a patron comes in and is not treated well then all of the technological gizmos in the world will have zero impact. Jenica Rogers Urbanek wrote a great post about users and how willing we are to help them if they just ask. It is one thing to hear about what the library can do for you and it is another thing to experience the power of a helpful librarian or staff member. For example, I helped the student search the catalog. Then the student was perusing the stacks and could not find anything she was looking for so she came to me for assistance. In a matter of seconds I located the book she was searching for. She then looked at me with wide eyes and said how did you do that? (Like I had just pulled a rabbit from a hat) I then explained to her the basics of the Dewey Decimal System, but what I really wanted to do was tell her I’m a librarian and I have superpowers. A week later a bunch of students came in the library and said are you the one who can help us find stuff, so and so said you are really good. The point is if we take the opportunities to show the users we are here for them, then they will be more apt to use our services. We need to show them we can fly! (to their assistance anyway)

Across the blogosphere there is a buzz about the what the future will hold for libraries. Well kids, I hate to tell you this but the future is now. Think back twenty five years ago when people said that computers would take over the world. People in libraries balked and could not imagine a time without a card catalog. I work with mainly college students and it is a rarity to find one that knows what a card a catalog even is, let alone know how to use one. The only catalog students can get their heads around is an online version. (once I tried explaining the concept to a student and she said ” so it’s like a box that you can find stuff in?” but is another story for another day.”) My point is that libraries have embraced technology from the very beginning. I mean, the concept of the card catalog itself was revolutionary at one time. The problem with the digital divide is that sometimes technology can be portrayed as the be all end all, and in actuality all it is a progression. Also a new technology does not mean everything else went to waste. For example, I know how to search an online catalog better because I used to type out card catalog cards for my librarian mother. Every technology is basically a progression from something.

An example I like to use is Facebook. Now what is exactly was the precursor to Facebook? When I was a freshman in college in the fall of 2001 all the newbie freshmen received “drumroll” facebooks! When we agreed to go to the college we were asked to send a senior picture in, and on convocation day we all received books with the pictures of the incoming freshmen with our names and where we were from. It was a way to break the ice and get to know people in that crazy time we know and love as “college”. Now colleges did this all around the country and the creator of Facebook noticed that people lost their facebooks pretty fast. He thought “wouldn’t it be great if it was online and you could interact with people that way (something you could not lose?”) It was a hit at Harvard and soon it spread to a few other ivy league schools and then to college and now the world. The important thing to remember is that Facebook stripped down is simply a directory of information about people. Now librarians have long used directories in reference transactions to find information. Let me put it this way, if you can use an index, you can find things on Facebook. (You may be able to find too much information, but more on that on another day!) Facebook is not a new concept, it is just a different format from an already existing resource.

The important thing librarians have to understand is that is okay to be apprehensive about new technologies (it’s scary out there). However we also have to realize that we do have knowledge to use them if we have the needs. The basics are already there, we just need to learn a few more tricks and solutions to existing problems may be found. Why do this? Why change at all? The reason we change (even if we do not want to) is that in the end our priority is our patrons. If we do not meet our patrons needs, then the library does not exist. Those who work in libraries strive to help the patrons, because by helping them change the world, so do we.

This is my first post to my blog. I have been lurking around the blogosphere for a while and decided it was time I create my own blog. I am a young librarian learning about all of the things technological that can hopefully help patrons’ lives easier. This blog will mainly focus on library stuff and if you are wondering accidentally curious refers to the fact that I can be random at times and things usually happen by chance. Happy reading !