What’s Past is Prologue

booksI’ve taken on a new reading project. It’s not directly related to my library work, but it’s reading, which is good all around, right?

So what am I doing? I’ve decided to read all 37 of William Shakespeare‘s plays. Why? Well, my father passed away last month. He was an English major in college, and he and my mother met in a Shakespeare class. I wish that I turn back the clock and ask him more about that class, and if he had a favorite Shakespeare play. I can’t even recall who his favorite authors were. (In his retired years, he enjoyed reading non-fiction works about sports, politics, and history.)

I wish I’d read more Shakespeare while Dad was still alive, but I’m doing it now. I already have Julius Caesar, Romeo and Juliet, and Macbeth (finished last week) under my belt. Now I’m reading The Tempest.

The phrase “What’s past is prologue” happens to be from The Tempest. Although Dad’s not here anymore, he’s still inspiring me. He’d like this Shakespeare project of mine, I think.



Library Obsessions

I read a blog post on Hack Library School this morning that asked the question, “What’s your library obsession?” It’s a great question, and one I’ve been thinking about for a while. I’ve recently switched positions within Tech Services at my current employer, so I’ve been busy learning new things on the job, which is great! I’ve been thinking about other areas of librarianship to explore outside my job, as professional and personal development. I’d been working to expand my knowledge of ebooks, since they were a growing part of my last position, but with the new position (and our Tech Services reorganization), ebooks have shifted away from my job.

So what’s next? I’ve been thinking about learning more about data science as it relates to libraries, but there’s a pretty big (but not impossible) learning curve there. I’ve also been working on my foreign language skills on Duolingo. Still, I’ve been keeping my eyes open to other ideas and opportunities.

What is YOUR library obsession?


ALA Annual 2017 in Orlando

I had a good ALA Annual Conference in Orlando the last weekend in June. Yes, it was really

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Rudy, Lesley (me), and Beth at the Beta Phi Mu Meeting

hot (but not as hot as Las Vegas was two years ago), and event venues were pretty spread out (again, somewhat like the Annual in Las Vegas), but I still had a good time! I attended several meetings related to my new gig as NMRT Treasurer-elect, but I attended some other things as well, including the Beta Phi Mu meeting and the NMRT Annual Reception sponsored by Mango Languages (who did a nice job with the food and the venue).


On my first night in Orlando, several of us from the TRLN Management Academy cohort from 2014 enjoyed dinner at a local Cuban restaurant called Havana’s. It was fun to get this group from across the country together for a meal to catch up on jobs and life.

My takeaways from this conference include learning more about the NMRT Treasurer position during this training year, and reading more about “transformational leadership,” a phrase I heard in an ALCTS program I attended at the conference on changes in Technical Services.

Recap of ALA Annual 2015

I’m back from an awesome trip to San Francisco for ALA Annual 2015! While I’m still mulling things over, I think it was my favorite ALA conference so far. Why?

1) The People: I meet some new people and got to visit with colleagues and former classmates I hadn’t seen in a while. I attended several social events to reach out more, and that effort was totally worth it! One of them was the NMRT Student Reception. While I’m no longer a student (I graduated in December), I was chair of the committee that organized the reception this year. I was really happy with the turnout, and the attendees seemed to have a good time! I also enjoyed meeting with Rachel H. about getting involved in the North Carolina Library Association in the year ahead. Catching up with Beth, Orolando, and Kourtney, former library school classmates, was also a treat!

2) The Programs: I attended several programs and sessions that I enjoyed. One of my favorites was a panel called, “Telling Your Story: Why Technical Services Matters.” One of my take-aways was to work on personalizing stories about Technical Services’ worth. Numbers and statistics are important, but personalizing the numbers has additional impact. How are patrons affected? What’s the impact on employees? I’m really looking forward to reading one of the books I learned about in this session, Organizational Storytelling for Librarians: Using Stories for Effective Leadership, by Kate Marek.

View of Downtown San Francisco from The View Lounge

View of Downtown San Francisco from The View Lounge

3) Location: I loved being back in San Francisco for the first time in about 20 years! Although I was pretty busy with the conference, I really enjoyed doing some exploring, thanks in part to conference programs and meetings in four different hotels plus the Moscone Center.  I also enjoyed the nearby Yerba Buena Gardens, as well as yummy meals at La Mar (with my sister and her family–fun!!) and Samovar Tea Lounge.

ACRL 2015 in Portland, Oregon

I attended my first ACRL conference last weekend in Portland, Oregon. It was a really good experience, so I’m glad I made the trip!

I participated in my first panel, which was my main point in going. There was a decent turnout for our panel, especially for the last time slot of the day, 4-5pm. I felt like my part was less polished than the others, but I did get some nice feedback from an attendee afterward. (I’m looking forward to getting involved in Toastmasters again to polish my public speaking skills!)

Librarians like to socialize at library conferences, I’ve learned, and I did enjoy three different evening events. The first was the ACRL Chair’s Reception on Thursday night at the Left Bank Annex. Friday night, I attended the Hack Library School Blog Meetup at White Owl Social Club, then went to the All-Conference Reception at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. I met several new people and exchanged some business cards. Good networking and yummy food!

On Saturday, I enjoyed playing tourist in Portland! Saturday morning, I went to Powell’s, a famous bookstore in Portland, where I enjoyed browsing and made a few purchases. After lunch at Deschutes, a local pug and brewery, I visited the Portland Art Museum, which had a special exhibit on Italian fashion since 1945. Since I’m studying Italian on my own, I really enjoyed this exhibit!

On Saturday evening, I enjoyed a fun dinner with my cousin Melanie and her family at E-San Thai, where I had a yummy Pumpkin Curry dish. It was a great way to end my trip!

Learning Italian

italyAs a new MLS-holder, I’ve been thinking about skills that I can learn or improve on that would enhance my professional development. After looking over some job postings recently, one of the common skills I noticed was knowledge of a foreign language. I took French and German in high school, and French, German, and a semester of biblical Hebrew in college, but all of that was “a while ago!” I’ve considered restarting one of those languages, but haven’t been inspired to continue. I decided to pick a new-to-me language, and have recently started working on Italian.

Why Italian, you ask? Italy’s a country I’d love to visit! I also love Italian food. Plus, there’s so much culture (music, art, literature) and history tied to Italy!

So, I’ve started by trying out a few iPhone apps with Italian vocabulary, flashcards, and games. My library offers the foreign language learning database Transparent, and I’m using Duolingo (thanks to a recommendation on Twitter) as well. I’ve also downloaded an iPhone app called WordPower, that’s associated with ItalianPod101.com. For extra inspiration, I’ve started reading the book, La Bella Lingua: My Love Affair with Italian, the World’s Most Enchanting Language.

How’s it going so far? My progress is slow but sure. Will I ever become fluent? Realistically, it’s hard to say. But it’s fun learning something new!