Well … so much for any regularity to the updates! Needless to say, it has been a busy summer.

At the library, the summer reading program went very well, I started an ongoing genealogy program, organized and cleaned out our storage spaces, introduced a few other organizational changes to make things a little smoother, bought some furniture, worked to bring the library up to speed in a few paper-work areas, and generally learned the ropes (which I’ll still be learning this time next year, I’m sure).

Outside of the library, I accepted an appointment to the ILA Advocacy Committee and was asked to submit an article for an upcoming issue of Library Trends.

Additionally, our second son was born July 5.

So – busy.

Wednesday has already been described, so, Thursday …

More of the same. I spent some more time on the circ desk, decided to move a few things around in the collection, and got ready for my first board meeting. The board meeting ran until 9:15ish, making for a 12 hr, 45 minute day (minus 20 minutes each for lunch and dinner) – not counting the commute! By the end of the day, I had met all of the paid staff. I also learned how to run reports in the ILS (Millennium) and ran a dusty books report showing everything that hadn’t circulated for two years.

Friday morning was spent taking care of tasks that came from the board meeting. I also put together some ideas and requirements for the intern who is putting together our new website. I hadn’t slept much the night before, so by lunch time I was dragging a little. The board had approved a motion for me to purchase a laptop, and after doing some research I found the best price at the Best Buy in Fairview Heights and took a long lunch to pick it up and purchase new blinds for the library workroom (the ones I inherited were both broke).

Google Maps lied about travel time, and I got back to the library later than I had wanted to. I got one of the new blinds put up, but I needed a power drill to do it right, so I decided to put off the project until Saturday. Instead, I started to set up my new computer, which led to more frustration. The way the library’s LAN is set up, we are out of IP addresses. Currently, I’m waiting for the fix from our tech guy.

I made it to the library an hour before open Saturday and got the first blind installed correctly. As I started on the second, our bookkeeper showed up and we talked for awhile. I eventually installed the second and put together a previously unused storage shelf for our workroom – my goal for the day. The rest of the morning was spent chatting with a couple of board members who came in for their reserve books and finding the right edition of a book for a teen patron.

Otherwise, I’m working on ordering my first batch of books and setting up a tracking system for their budget. The tasks for this coming week include:

  • Find out what’s going on with our internet and get it fixed
  • Introduce myself to the school principals, church pastors, etc.
  • Brainstorm for an advocacy plan
  • Brainstorm for future programming
  • The June employee schedule

So much to do.

Smithton Public Library, Day 1.

I was able to kind of organize my work area by throwing away most things more than a year old. I was able to chat with several venders, and work out web hosting with the system. I learned how to set up a new library card, check out, and check in books. I added 30 yrs worth of both National Geographic and American Heritage to the book sale (they were formerly residing in a storage closet). I ate Chinese food for lunch.

That really doesn’t sound like much written out, but trust me, that took all day.

The library board and staff must work together to support “Going Green” at the library. Develop and submit a plan that will make the library more environmentally friendly as envisioned by the Green Governments Illinois Act [20 ILCS 3954].

The preceding quote is a requirement for the FY2011 Illinois Public Library Per Capita and Equalization Aid Grants Application.

This makes me smile.

Almost as a rule, librarians love acronyms/initialisms and associations. What’s even better is that, as a rule, associations are known by their acronyms/initialisms!

Enter ARSL – The Association for Rural and Small Libraries. This association, an affiliate of ALA, was founded in 1982 and works to “create resources and services that address national, state, and local priorities for libraries situated in rural communities.”

Browsing the website, I can see that ARSL’s annual conference may be of interest, but its member-benefits are otherwise a little lite. With ILA, PLA, and potentially YALSA all vying for attention, I can’t say whether ARSL will be able to count me as a member anytime soon. However, it could be nice to be a member of an association whose other members share the particular joys and challenges of rural librarianship.

Brought to you by the ALA, this is Choose Privacy Week. The UI Library has put together a LibGuide on the subject and its made a few more appearances than usual over at LifeHacker. So its not without a little bit of irony that I stumbled upon GoogleHealth this week. It has apparently been available for over two years, and is touted as a value for

consumers being able to own, use, manage and share their medical data online with whomever they choose. (Official Google Blog)

It works by Google Users manually or electronically importing their health data into the system and then managing it themselves, allowing them to share the data as they see fit (as stated by the Google Blog quote above). It is important to note that GoogleHealth, and other services like it, are not covered under HIPAA privacy laws, so that data has much less legal protection from prying eyes than before it was uploaded.

If you’re interested in learning more without giving Google your own data, Matthew Holt of the Health Care Blog gives a guided tour of GoogleHealth here.

I understand the desire for easily portable health records that are under patient control. I really do. I’ve even argued for them. However, this tool from Google gives me goose bumps. If you are a user, especially an active user, Google already collects a vast amount of data about you. Lets look at some of the potential data you feed them every day, if your account is set just right (or just wrong): your internet search activity, what sites you visit,  your email, your appointments, your documents, your photographs, your location, your movements, your deepest thoughts, and your reading habits. Does Google really need to know your medical history as well?

Before I go any further, let me just say that I use all of those services, except that I have set my account to not log my search or surf activities (trusting that it doesn’t anyway). That said, and not knowing nearly enough about the field of Health Informatics, I feel that this sort of service is best left with someone other than Google as the provider.

Who would you trust with your most personal of personal information? The Government? A health insurance company? Is this data more secure in monolithic databases or scattered to its points of creation?

I go with the later. Just like your bank account, individual hospitals where patients establish a primary care provider could establish web-based patient accounts to an industry standard of security and portability. When a patient changes primary care providers and moves away from that hospital, it would be a simple matter of transferring the data to the new primary care provider’s hospital. I am sure this proposal is overly-simplistic and will be told it can’t be done for reasons x, y, and z, but is it any crazier to think about than turning over control of this data to a search engine company?

Please, think before you act online. If you think and choose to act anyway, be sure to use a VERY strong password.

My apologies to REM, but that song always runs through the back of my mind during major life transitions. Monday was my last class at GSLIS, yesterday I turned in my last assignment, and next Wednesday is my last day at my GAship, with graduation on Sunday.

Whew.

Everything continues to fall into place. As mentioned before, an article I wrote for an independent study last semester (“Podcasts as an Emerging Information Resource”) is being published in College & Undergraduate Libraries . I discusses the use of podcasts in higher education and what that might mean for academic libraries and their collection development policies. Maybe I should followed it up with “Podcasts as an Information Resource in Rural Libraries”?

For now, though, we have 9 days (counting today) until the graduation company arrives. In that time, we have to finish packing and tie up all the other loose ends in C-U.

Our move has prompted my mom to get Internet at home again. I did the research for her and we went to Best Buy to pick up a netbook, wireless router, wireless printer and such. The entire set-up ran about $700 and she’ll be using Skype video chat to stay in touch.

It truly is the end of the world as we know it when one of my parents uses Skype video chat! (Mom, if you find this blog, I mean that in a good way!)

Patrick on the BloomerWe’ve signed a lease, found someone to take over at our current residence (lease wasn’t up until August), obtained a 618 telephone number, and packed most nonessentials. One by one, items are being checked off of the to-do list as moving day approaches. GSLIS graduation is just-over two weeks away, and my start date at Smithton is one day less than three weeks from now.

Also, I was pleasantly surprised when I checked my email today that a paper I wrote has been accepted to College & Undergraduate Libraries.

A fellow hates to say it, but things are going well.

As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day today, let’s remember the positive environmental impact of libraries:

  • Shared Resources – Using shared resources reduces overall consumption and waste
  • Education – The PLA points out that “environmental literacy is a part of information literacy”
  • Community Building – Libraries serve as a nexus for the community in a way that few other institutions can claim. All demographics walk through our doors allowing partnerships to form the serve to create health communities, which can lead to a healthy environment
  • Third Place – Neither home or work, libraries are a third place for patrons, providing a social outlet and a gathering place. This puts libraries in a position to lead by example by implementing recycling programs, encouraging energy and water conservation, and using green building techniques where possible

If you have anything to add to this list, please do!

*Image by Kevin Muckenthaler and courtesy of Wikicommons.

For all intents and purposes, there were no computers at the UIUC Library from 10:00 AM until 12:30 PM today. By UIUC Library, I mean all of them, not just an isolated building.

I’m a little scetchy on the technical details, but apparently, “McAfee antivirus erroneously detected and removed a Windows file that allows it to connect to the network,” an error which caused any machine running Windows XP (98% of them or so) to be inoperable. The problem was apparently campus-wide as well, so there were many a wide-eyed student looking for a functioning printer for their papers due at the next class.

During the outage, we still checked out books. Manually. With cards. We couldn’t check any in and we couldn’t access our own catalog, so we were otherwise dead-in-the-water. Time was spent reading and deflecting patrons from trying to start up the computers on their own, as well as answering their numerous questions regarding the issue.

What did we learn from this experience? Obviously, the integrated library system and other computer-aided tasks have completely superseded any other function of the library to the point that we were moribund during this down-time. Also, while the phone-tree to spread the word concerning the problem without the use of email was effective, there were no other guiding policies that were followed during this period to insure smooth operation.

Thankfully, patrons, for the most part, took the situation in stride and most went on with their usual uses of our library – studying and sleeping. The rest cleared out, and if they are anything like me, enjoyed a beautiful spring day.