Library Sans Internet

Every time I start one of these posts I’m amazed by how much has happened in one short week. It’s been an interesting one here in the library. We came in yesterday to a campus-wide internet outage. The main server for our whole campus died, and we spent yesterday with intermittent service as the backup server couldn’t handle all of the traffic. When I came in this afternoon it was down and has been mostly on since around 1. I just got a call that it should be fixed permanently…fingers crossed! It was really interesting to see how people reacted to no internet. It was nice to see students reading books and working in groups having conversations.

On the work side it was difficult because essentially everything I do uses the internet in some way (even our campus phone system is internet based!). I made a spreadsheet to keep track of circulation. The staff was writing things down by hand at first, and I knew it would be more efficient to keep track on the computer. Most of our part time staff is older and they’re hesitant to use the computer for things. I’m hoping I can influence them and show them that technology isn’t just for the nerds and the young people. (Aside, does anyone watch “New Girl”? This just made me think of Schmidt with his youths lines from this week’s episode!)

Last week I wrote about how I’m now embedded in two History classes. I made a section in their course for the library with a welcome/introductions, some tutorials on searching and resource types that I’ve made, and recommendations for resources. The instructor only wants them to use materials from JSTOR and NCLive. We have super limited JSTOR access, and although NCLive has great resources, it’s unfortunate for the students that she’s limiting them in that way. She also doesn’t want them using biographies or encyclopedias, two sources that I definitely feel would be valid for an intro level History class at a community college! I was so excited to get approached to be embedded and it was kind of a let down to feel so limited off the bat. I haven’t heard from the instructor yet about the information I put in her course, and the students can’t see it yet. I’m hoping it goes well.

I ran my first committee meeting today and it went better than I expected. I have so much less experience than everyone else on the committee but they were all very supportive, and one person even made a comment that they love meetings like this where things actually get done. I’m realizing that one of my strengths is my ability to see the big picture and use that vision to figure out a logical course of action. I wish I knew how to play chess! This realization helped me feel validated during the meeting. Although I can’t go out and train people in cataloging or circulation because I lack the knowledge and experience, I know that I can coordinate our efforts and contribute by being a facilitator of all the different pieces that need to come together.

The rest of this week has been focused on getting ready for the library part of the ACA classes over the next 2 weeks. I’m teaching 12 sections and my Dean is teaching 4. We had a practice session on Tuesday. I feel really good about the new method we’re using, but I’m a little worried that my Dean won’t be able to pull it off as well because she’s not as familiar with the material. We have some time tomorrow to make any adjustments, but I think it will be good. I’m looking forward to seeing how the students react and keeping my fingers crossed that it’s a success.

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