Friday, April 13, 2012

Day 100: Officially Half A Librarian!

Happy Friday the 13th! And happy Day 100 and End of Year 1 as well! I'm half way there!

As a grand summary lesson for my 100th numbered day in Library School, let me share the most overarching lesson I've taken away from this year.

Lesson 100: You can do anything. Anything at all. You just have to ignore all doubts about whether you can, and just go go go.

This week has been quite the interesting experience, and very much proving the lesson, so let me spell it out.

Our final research proposal was due Tuesday. Luckily someone in my group was in Montreal and willing to hand it in because I was still in Ontario, just preparing to head back to Montreal. I was taking the midnight bus that night, so I did some shopping in Toronto (five-fingers shoes and fancy Sephora hair-ties) and met up with my friend Elissa for dinner (lobster grilled cheese and a raspberry mojito) before catching the bus.

After a fitful sleep full of interruptions, I was finally back in Montreal, and went home to catch some ZZZs before waking up (at 11) to go to work and complete the last of my final assignments.

On Thursday, our project management final and our collection development final were both due, four hours apart.

I did not sleep Wednesday night. A bottle of NOS kept me company while I stayed up to finish my collection development paper. Although at one point the bottle of NOS convinced me that rather than continue the futile quest to get WebCT to cooperate and allow me to download the PowerPoints I needed, what I really needed to do was read some fan fiction instead.

Despite the distractions borne of no sleep and too much caffeine, I finished the collection development paper and handed it in just under the wire thanks to Aimee being awesome and printing it off for me while I ran to SIS. Then we put the finishing touches on our project management paper, handed it in, and got some celebratory lunch as a group.

Then I had my first training shift in my new job at the Neuro-Patient Resource Centre... on ~6hrs sleep in the past 48-72hrs. Needless to say that afterwards I went straight home and got a proper night's sleep.

Today, I had another training shift at the Neuro followed immediately by a regular shift at the Life Sci. My new boss told me that she was very impressed with how high-functioning I was yesterday on less than no sleep. I still got it! ^.^

And to mark the official end of the semester, we had a party with wine and tasty food, mingling, and superlatives! There were many categories to be won; best dressed, info-retrieval wizard, most likely to be the first to become library director, most stereotypical, most likely to become a prof...

In a three-way tie, I won Most Stereotypical Librarian.

... Maybe I shouldn't buy those cateye frames I've been eyeing... It might cause a singularity of librarianship...

Librarian blackhole; Nothing can escape its gravity. Cats, knitting and baking supplies are pulled in with no chance of release. Knowledge is devoured and it is not known whether it escapes again in some form, but scientists presume that it must, due to the principle of the conservation of mass...

Full results of the vote as compiled by Alex Amar on the Library School facebook group are copypastad for your viewing pleasure here.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Day 99: Last day of class?

Today's supposed to be my last day of class, but a ticket home on the 4th was less than half the price of a ticket home on the 5th, so instead of being in class I'm actually in Ontario.

However, a few of my classmates and I have taken to live-tweeting our classes allowing us to share insights, chat in a less disruptive manner, and a newly discovered benefit: allowing the absent to still follow along with class!

So despite not being in management today, I still learned about management; I attended my fiancé's "OB" (Organizational Behaviour) class, and got the insight from my own class through Twitter.

Lesson 99: Just because you're absent, doesn't necessarily mean you're missing out on class.

Of course, perhaps someone can help me puzzle out one insight I couldn't quite unravel through twitter...

One of our professors told the class about a co-worker in a library who had taken nude photos of themself, printed them and hid them within books in the circulating collection. My question is one of motivation, I can't understand what reason anyone might have for doing that to themselves. If they were doing it to someone else I could guess that the motive would be as a prank, or vengeance of some sort. But doing it to yourself, what kind of outcome would you even be hoping for?

... How unfathomable are the depths of human nature...

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Day 98: Never, ever do that again

In a completely unexpected and unforeseeable turn of events, it turns out that leaving your house at 10 am, fully ready for the bus ride home but not actually catching that bus until 9:30 pm is a world of misery. Particularly when you compound it with 3 hours of sleep and schlepping around not only my own travel bags, but also a ridiculously heavy good deed.

Who knew?

The good deed? I'm transporting Zikomo bags back home for my sister. Being in International Development, she sells these bags on the behalf of a women's cooperative in Malawi. If you want to read more about my sister and what she's up to in "InDev" as they call it, she's started a blog too! She's going to be doing a work placement in Botswana next year so the blog is mainly to document that.

I haven't really learned anything so far today, except to be thankful for the caps on bottles of rubbing alcohol... In my sleep deprived state, I reached for my can of Amp Energy Drink and my hand came back with my bottle of rubbing alcohol instead. No, bad hand, that is not for drinking and will certainly not keep me awake through class!

Speaking of class, it was really bizarre today. Constantly contradictory and confusing, and at times disturbing. Here's an example of one of the lessons my professor wanted me to learn today...

(Faux) Lesson 98: Stalking is cute and romantic, but it is not ethical.

I was severely unimpressed. Stalking is not cute, it is not romantic. It is creepy, disturbing, unethical and immoral to boot. Don't do it!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Day 97: Mostly Serendipitous

Serendipity is a huge topic in librarianship. Heck, it's a huge issue in information and knowledge organization, period.

In fact, serendipity is one of the things most organizational systems are designed around. Dewey and Library of Congress, the two ways of organizing a library that you are most likely to be familiar with, both aim to "facilitate serendipity" by grouping similar volumes together. It's why you can go to "The Cookbook Section" or "The Canadian History Section"of the library and why we don't just organize all the books, fiction and non-fiction, by author's name or title. We want you to go to a section looking for a specific book and realize "hey, here's that book I was looking for, but this one right next to it is actually going to be better for what I need!"

We can get into all the arguments we want to about whether or not it's really serendipitous if it's been arranged that way, engineered serendipity if you will, but the fact is that it is useful, helpful and just plain fantastic whether or not it's "true" serendipity.

But I'd always just taken the word for granted. It's probably this or that Greek root meaning "divine guidance" or some such, peppered with a little Latin, left to stew in 3 or 4 different romance languages, before finally being looted by English. Or so I thought...

Lesson 97: The term "Serendipity" was inspired by a (mostly) Persian tale called "The Three Princes of Serendip" in which the titular three princes come upon information through happenstance and coincidence and are able to infer all manner of things.

The tale had been printed, reprinted, retold, reformed, combined with other tales, modified through the years adding elements from different tales from other locales or inspiring similar tales in other locales, but eventually made it to a book Horace Walpole read as a boy. It was this "silly fairy tale" that inspired him to coin the term "serendipity" in 1754.

If you're interested in reading a summary of the story, learning more about these Princes of Serendip and how the word serendipity came to be, I found this article in two parts that explains it all quite in depth.

Happy reading!