Monthly Archives: August 2010

Puppy Tuesday

jackie o dog

Image source: istolethetv

I severely overestimated the amount of time I’d have to study in between my two volunteer jobs (total of 9 hours a week, 11 if you count my commute) and internship (12 hours a week). This morning, as I was sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic on my way to Claremont, I was trying to think of diplomatic ways to let my supervisor know I had to go on an indefinite hiatus. When I trudged up the hill to the building and up the stairs to the library, my supervisor and I exchanged good mornings and she asked me to help train a new volunteer to do original cataloging of our bound journals. Then she informed me that there are only a couple boxes left to catalog from the most recent gift. I quickly realized I was being dramatic in the car. I don’t want to leave just yet. All I needed was a new project, even if it’s temporary, to get motivated again. And what do you know, I felt more focused today than I ever have. Instead of setting those obscure conference proceedings and government reports on diminishing fruit bat populations aside to do later, I tackled them. I even created a record for a generic atlas printed in 1886*. I got to talk to Sunny on my lunch break. There was no traffic on the way home. I got to listen to President Obama’s speech live and in its entirety. I hope he keeps his promises, but in any case, I got goosebumps. Life’s looking better these days.

As for yesterday, I was a little worried that doing this internship would turn out to be a lateral move. I was wrong. Cataloging fiction, for instance, is very different from cataloging scientific monographs (in one concentrated area of science, no less). And I met the Music Librarian and his assistant, who will teach me about music cataloging and book binding, time willing.**

*Someone better consult that atlas. I wonder if my supervisor knows it’s from 1886. Oh, well. At least I had to derive a new record for it.

**I’m so excited about this. When did I turn into such a gigantic nerd?

Back to school essentials

Well, I have 3 days of school and another birthday under my belt. Tomorrow I have to start sticking to my study schedule. I also start my new internship tomorrow! I am a little nervous (naturally), but not too nervous because I’ll be at Chapman again. Leatherby Libraries was my home away from home during college, and I’m excited to be on the other side now.

Chapman University Leatherby Libraries

Image source

Amidst all the commotion these past few weeks, I’ve been able to do some reflecting on last year so that I can be better prepared to take on schoolwork this year. Here are some of the things I have or should have in my arsenal:

  1. Ginger Tea. I have been known to become so stressed that I make myself physically ill. Ginger tea helps tremendously.
  2. Ibuprofen. Staring at the computer for long periods of time gives me headaches.
  3. Healthy snacks. Sometimes, stress makes me want to eat. I like carrot sticks and hummus or apples and peanut butter.
  4. Two calendars. iCal has a great color-coding feature and task lists, but I like having a backup weekly planner in paper form for looking at things on the go, and to have if my laptop gets lost, stolen, or dies.
  5. USB drive.
  6. Legal pad or composition book. Sometimes, inspiration hits me when I’m not near my laptop. I’ll be taking a notebook to take notes on the first day of my internship tomorrow.
  7. Evernote. Helps organize thoughts and content from the Web.
  8. An internship or volunteer position. Check, double check.
  9. Short yoga workouts. Going to school full time online does not lend itself to good posture. I really need to work on that this school year.
  10. Post-it flags. For marking my readings without ruining my books. This usually translates into a better resale value. I use to sell the textbooks I don’t want anymore and buy used books each semester.
  11. A account. Social bookmarking site that allows me to access my bookmarks on any computer. I don’t really use the social features.
  12. A PBWorks account. I use this to create a portfolio of all of my school and extracurricular work. It comes in handy when tailoring my resume to highlight certain activities. I just copy and paste the info I need from pbworks onto my resume.
  13. More “outside” clothes in my wardrobe than sweatpants. Still working on it…my “outside clothes” are starting to look a little weary, too.
  14. LeechBlock. My favorite time management/productivity tool on the Web.
  15. A newspaper subscription, Google News, and a radio set to my local NPR stations. News stories make for great icebreakers. I like reading the paper at the gym and listening to KPCC and KCRW on the way to the Garden library since my commute is so long.
  16. Google Reader. For keeping up with blogs, job openings, and upcoming professional association events. I’m so addicted to mine that I added it to LeechBlock.
  17. A list of goals to accomplish this semester. I am making one that I plan to put at eye level above my desk.
  18. An organized desktop. Both physical and virtual.
  19. Printouts of my greensheets. I like writing notes on them and checking off finished assignments.
  20. Career guidance books. To help alleviate my fear of adulthood sometimes.

It’s Sunday night. Forget about tomorrow and listen to The Temper Trap perform “Love Lost”. Be blown away by their ability to fill a room with such glorious sounds.

Notes from the Career Paths for New Librarians panel discussion

Last spring, SJSU SLIS, the Orange County chapter of REFORMA, SJSU LISSTEN, and the California Librarians Black Caucus sponsored a panel discussion entitled Career Paths for New Librarians. Since the session was so informative, I thought I’d transcribe my notes here before I forget what the panelists were talking about.

Career Paths for New Librarians
Panel discussion held April 11, 2010 at California State University Fullerton

Susan Berumen (Orange County Archives)
Susan received an MA in History before getting her MLIS. If you have an interest in archives, do the MARA track. Take as many archives classes as possible, including preservation. Look for jobs on USAJobs, listservs such as SAA, AMIA, and Lone Rangers (??? I don’t know if I heard her right), and apply during your last term of library school. Very important that you do an internship. Resume tips: address organization’s needs. Do research about the institution. Be positive. Don’t be modest. Think about what you can do instead of what you can’t do. Reflect your interests in your resume.

Yolanda Moreno (Director – Orange Public Library)
Yolanda has a background in mathematics, but says any background will serve you well in public librarianship. Take a budgeting class if possible. You must like to work with people. Start looking for a job immediately, and volunteer or intern during school. Public library employers look for library experience and good decision-making skills. Tailor your skills to employers’ needs, be passionate, ask questions. Public library jobs are available online.

Rosalind Goddard (LA City College Library) [I think she is the director of the library. She’s listed as Associate Professor of Library and Information Science on the LACC faculty website]
Community colleges have a similar mission to public libraries. Minimum qualifications: MLIS, knowledge of systems, web design, technology skills, background in an academic discipline [I’m guessing that a BA will suffice], knowledge of Microsoft Office. Librarians at CCs are non-instructional faculty. Must be aware of campus hierarchies. Skills: must like people, be able to adapt, embrace diversity, listen effectively, have patience, be a problem solver and team player. Career strategy: set goals, become familiar with college structures (, internship experience, read about CC environments. Job market is tough for CCs, Look at California CC registry (, classifieds, Chronicle of Higher Education (, CC district websites. Be flexible. What they look for in resumes: experience in community college, database skills, research [probably among other things]. Interview: committee interview, reference interview, and instructional demonstration. Listen well, answer questions well, relax. CCs do not require you to publish, but if you do, it’s a plus!

Susan Luevano (Librarian, CSU Long Beach)
CSUs are known for their information literacy programs. Salary for Senior Assistant (1 yr contract) = $56k-$70k [!!!], Associate = $64k-$89k, Full Librarian =$100k. MLIS is necessary. They only hire from ALA accredited. Apply last year of library school, must graduate by appointment date. Diversity is a plus. Information literacy background a plus. Knowledge of collection development is important. Librarians must research, publish, present at conferences, be involved with professional organizations. Must have subject specialty but also be a generalist. Must have instructional experience. Letter of application must address every single job qualification/requirement. Writing sample. Interview process: multiple interviews in one day. Instructional presentation, Q&A, attend social events (lunch, dinner, meet & greet). Study website, visit campus, ask questions, watch reference interactions. Talk about information literacy trends & research agenda. Take instruction classes. Teach. Apply to internships. Dress for success. Join CARL ( Sample questions: What are you reading? Do you have a research background? How do you deal with a difficult patron? How do you make a difficult decision?

General advice: Work on a special project, get involved on a committee, publish something. Both the e-portfolio and thesis options are valuable to libraries because it demonstrates burgeoning expertise.

You can watch the webcast of the event here (go to Student Resources –> Career Resources –> Careers Path [sic] Workshop (Fullerton Campus – 10 April 2010)).

Puppy Tuesday

It’s Tuesday. This week has already been tough. My gift to myself and my readers is a picture of a kit. The red foxes in Morro Bay seem to be having a tough time, too. Here’s to having a much better week, starting tonight.

3 of 5 Red Fox Pup(s) Morro Bay, CA 26 May 2008

Oh helloooooo.

Mike Baird has plenty of wonderful photos, but I couldn’t resist this one because red foxes are cute and he referenced Mike Evans of the highly revered California native plant nursery Tree of Life Nursery in his description. I believe I’ve cataloged at least one of Mr. Evans’ papers in the RSABG Occasional Publications series. As for the red foxes of Morro Bay, I hope that nature has worked itself out and that they are OK.

And with that, I am going to shower, change into my jammies, crawl into bed and watch King of the Hill until I drift into a deep sleep. Dang ol’ goodnight *mumble mumble*.

Major obstacles in adopting Web 2.0 principles: A little case study

Several weeks ago, I went grocery shopping with my mom. She needed to do her weekly shopping and I wanted to pick up some ingredients to make Jamaican jerk chicken bowls. When we were finished loading up the car, she asked me where I got the recipe. “I got it from a recipe blog,” I replied. After a moment of contemplation she asked, “is that how your generation finds things today? Through blogs?” “Pretty much,” I said. “If something doesn’t show up in a Google search, we’re less likely to find it. It’s not that I wouldn’t look in a recipe book. I just happened to be browsing through blogs and thought it looked good.”

Colorado River

Much of our water supply comes from the CO River. Further climate change could reduce the flow of the river, which means less water for Californians. Photo by Wolfgang Staudt.

It turns out Mom was looking for some insight into a problem they have at work (a government agency in southern California that shall forever remain anonymous on this blog). The agency foresees even tougher times in terms of access to water in the future, and they want to teach SoCal residents to be smart about their water use. I don’t know who their audience is right now (when she said “fix sprinklers,” Hank Hill came to mind), but in a couple of years, their audience is going to include young homeowners who expect to access and/or contribute to the agency’s information in dynamic ways. The agency has the capacity to redesign their unorganized, text-heavy website, adopt some Web 2.0 principles, and reach out to their audience where they are, but those who are ready to implement the changes are facing two major obstacles:

Lack of radical trust.
According to Meredith Farkas (n.d.), author of Social Software in Libraries: Building Collaboration, Communication, and Community Online and the blog Information Wants To Be Free, organizations must have trust in their audience. Some people at the agency feel that a public wiki would be useful in that people can post information on ways to conserve water around the house. External affairs, however, does not think the open, collaborative nature of wikis will lend itself to civil behavior and a high degree of accuracy in this capacity. Understandably, they don’t trust the public not to post expletive-laden comments or inaccurate information. Farkas suggests that organizations can prepare for abuse of trust by setting up policies for posting. Examples of these guidelines can be found just above the comments section of just about any online news article. As for wikis, they are constructed in such a way that it would be easy to revert back to earlier versions that did not yet contain the expletive-laden comments. But even if the external affairs department embraces transparency and collaboration with the public, they still have one more obstacle to overcome:

Too much concern with perfection.
Farkas also mentions that libraries are often too concerned with perfecting what they present to the public. They are known to strive for accuracy. The agency is the same way, from what I gather. They would rather not unveil new site features, such as a wiki or blog, that don’t work. It’s noble, sure, but Web 2.0 doesn’t work like that. Websites, apps, widgets, etc. that operate on Web 2.0 principles are in what is known as a perpetual beta state. To paraphrase Farkas, there is never a finished product. Organizations receive constant feedback from users about buggy software and needed improvements. Understandably, constant criticism (constructive or otherwise) can be difficult for some organizations to embrace, but in a Web 2.0 environment, embracing total collaboration is absolutely necessary in order to remain relevant.

Farkas, M. (n.d.). Introduction to social software (audiovisual slides). Retrieved from

Library Student Day in the Life, part I

7:00 am – Wake up; shower and stuff.

8:00 – Make myself a poached egg on an English muffin; read the newspaper while I eat.

9:30 – Arrive at the research library, make myself a big cup of coffee because I can tell it’s going to be one of those days*, and grab 6 books off of the process cart to catalog. One of the former volunteers at the garden passed away, and a couple months ago, his son donated all of his books to us. There are about a bazillion boxes to keep me and the other volunteers busy.

10:30 – Catalog a book on venomous animals and plants. Realized I had no idea there were so many kinds of rattlesnakes, and that a lot of those venomous spiders live indoors. Ick.

12:00 – Headache settles in. Happily reflect upon the fact that none of the records in OCLC have been that bad, and there are no supposed duplicates in our library of any of the books. I say “supposed” because last week, I ran into no less than 4 records in OCLC and our catalog that say we had a book, and when I went to find it, it wasn’t there.

1:00 – Venture outside for lunch break. Look around to see if there are any rattlesnakes or spiders where I want to sit. Even though I knew it would be 97 degrees yesterday, I packed myself some leftover vegetable soup. Not the best choice, but delicious nonetheless. Read Lindsey Pollak’s Getting from College to Career while I eat.

1:15 – Back inside. Headache has worsened, probably from the heat. I remind myself to pack more water and a bottle of Aleve next time as I grab some more books. I am going to be under quota today.

3:00 – Start cataloging a few books on bamboo physiology. Surprised at the abundance of LCSHs on bamboo, read through them. Run across the term “very swollen node” and an accompanying picture in one of the books and gag a little. You’d never guess I was the daughter of a nurseryman.

4:30 – Done for the day. Sign out. Eye a pretty book from the sale pile that I want to get for my parents. Asst. Librarian lets me take it for free. I make a note to bring homemade cookies next week.

5:45 – Home. My brother and his girlfriend are on their way out to take the dogs for a walk, leaving me with a nice, cool, peaceful house.

6:00 – Change into home clothes and catch up on email. Arrange with my faculty internship advisor to register late for my Fall internship, which starts August 30. Catch up on the discussions on the job search boards for SJSU SLIS and on LinkedIn. Remind myself to start making notes of good advice and info. (Make a note to make notes. Efficient!)

7:00 – Sit outside on the patio and read some of Seth Godin’s The Dip.

7:30 – Dad comes home with steak. I start making tomato salad with tomatoes from our garden.

8:30 – Have a brief Google Chat conversation with Sunny about tomorrow (which is now today) when I have to say goodbye before he goes back to Pittsburgh again. Get the sads and pop in a Daria DVD. Start working on a crocheted blanket so I can whittle down my yarn stash quicker than I could with a knitted blanket.

11:30 – Make a list of things to do tomorrow, then fall asleep and have nightmares.

*Even the KPCC hosts and KCRW DJs were getting all tongue-tied yesterday. Must be something in the air.

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I just re-submitted my final project for LIBR 240 – Information Technology Tools and Applications. Now that I have nothing to do except watch Lost (I started watching it the day after I posted about FlashlightWorthy’s list of books in the show), I thought I’d share some of the books that have helped me become proficient in HTML/XHTML and CSS this summer (especially since you can use them to teach yourself).

In a nutshell:

HTML/XHTML allow you to write content. CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) allow you to make your content look organized and pretty.

Cover of Elizabeth Castro's book HTML, XHTML, & CSS This book is a little outdated, as HTML5 is currently under development and more people are using CSS3. Since HTML5 and CSS3 won’t validate, and many people still have older browsers that are incompatible, Castro’s book is still relevant and useful. She manages to explain things step-by-step without insulting the reader.

Her explanation of forms and scripts is helpful, but brief. Don’t expect to find all the answers if you’re trying to get your pages with forms to validate (trust me).

Bib notes:

6th ed.
Visual Quickstart Guide
Author: Elizabeth Castro
ISBN: 0321430840

Cover of the book CSS: The Missing ManualAnother useful book for learning CSS is David Sawyer McFarland’s book CSS: The Missing Manual. Naturally, this book is much more in-depth than Castro’s on the topic of CSS. Even though it is not in color, the tutorials at the end of each chapter are helpful and comprehensive. One thing I didn’t like was how verbose McFarland is. That can be helpful for many people, but I prefer to learn by playing around with code rather than reading a long explanation of the code.

McFarland touches upon CSS3 in the final section, so I’d say this is a great book for introducing yourself to CSS.

Bib notes:

CSS: The Missing Manual
Rev. 2nd ed.
Author: David Sawyer McFarland
ISBN: 0596802447

Javascript DemystifiedEventually,  you will need to learn how to make your pages interactive. You’ll need a good book on JavaScript to show you how. I didn’t use this book very often because my class focused more on XHTML and CSS, but it really helped me grasp JavaScript conceptually and get through the JavaScript exercises I was required to do.

Bib notes:
JavaScript Demystified: A Self-Teaching Guide
Author: Jim Keogh
ISBN: 007226134X

Get out of your head (but plan early) to make the most out of internship opportunities.


My office.

This year has gone by fast. There’s so much more that I want to learn in school and I’m not sure I have the room to do it. My program puts a cap on the number of units a student can take, and in one year (21 units, give or take) I will be done.

My advice to new LIS students: start searching for internships during your first semester. If you’re on the fast track to graduation, you have no time to be scared. Search postings on your school’s internship listing website and start making inquiries. You can even submit application materials early, indicating that you’re eligible to intern after the following semester (for example). This shows initiative. If something looks interesting or exciting, apply, even if you aren’t sure it fits into your career plans. This past February (wayyy after I should have started searching), I saw an internship listing on my school’s website for a library at a botanic garden. I was so excited about it that I immediately applied, regardless of start date and eligibility (technically, my eligibility began this summer after taking 6 units of electives this past spring). I interviewed the following week, and landed myself a pretty nice, flexible internship (though records indicate that I’m a volunteer since I don’t get paid and I’m not getting school credit). I have learned more than I ever thought I would, I worked with Kiyomi who turned out to be a wellspring of great advice, and I’ve been there ever since. The commute is an hour each way, but I love it there. Your commute is another thing to consider: if you’re getting school credit, you are paying to do an internship (duh). But if you are not getting school credit, and you can handle long commutes (another thing I inherited from my parents who commute at least an hour each way to their jobs), you might consider taking that cooler internship in a not-so-local location than the boring internship in the next town over. It costs gas/public transit money, but it’s probably cheaper than a 3 unit class.

I should extend this advice to all LIS students. Begin your internship search far in advance of the semester during which you wish to intern. I say this because I am currently in a huge pickle. I found a great internship for which I must apply and interview. If I get the position, my potential supervisor and I have to submit a separate application to my school, then I have to register for LIBR 294 (Professional Experience). All of this has to be done before registration closes on August 15. I don’t have high hopes for my situation.

Why didn’t I start looking earlier? Hell if I know. I thought I had my bases covered in terms of library experience for the upcoming semester. But then it dawned on me how little time I have left in my program, and now I have an insatiable drive to beef up my resume.

Don’t do this to yourself. When in doubt, apply, apply, apply, even if you don’t think you can handle an internship in your schedule. In some cases, the hours are negotiable. The world is an unstable place. Prepare. Follow your heart, but remember to plan ahead.

Expanding scope

What happened to Flammable Friends?

I’ve decided to consolidate my blogs into one. I had another blog on the Blogger platform for about 2 weeks until I gave up on its crappy interface. In addition to book reviews, I will present my personal perspective on library/info science-related things. I’ll try to make it exciting.