day three of #libday8

amy posted this February 2nd, 2012 | filed under: ilovemyjob, meme, moi | Tags: | no comments »

freezing rain + me in a hurry = ouch.

leaving the house this morning i wiped out, but good. slipped on the 2nd step down from my apartment and rode the rest of the stairs down on my ass (manoeuvring the curve in the stairs, thank you very much) and totally crunching my ankle at the bottom on the sidewalk.

so i did some work from home while lying prone and taking a few muscle relaxants cuz my back was not at all happy with the slip n’slide.

not much to report cuz the meds made me a bit loopy so i kept napping… read some blogs. sorted some emails. mind-mapped my job to try and get all the pieces to fit together into a cohesive picture.

hopeful that i’ll feel good enough to go into work tomorrow. i’m on the selection committee for a bunch of librarian positions, and there’s an interview & job talk tomorrow that i do not want to miss.


day two of #libday8

amy posted this January 31st, 2012 | filed under: ilovemyjob, inspire me!, meme, moi | Tags: | no comments »

fell asleep early last night (so. much. indian. food.) so i woke up hyper early (well, for me). caught up on the blogosphere while listening to cbc. (i haven’t owned a television for over 10 years, so my life revolves around cbc radio.) (and i don’t not own one because i’m a hipster, i don’t own one because when i moved to bc 10 years ago it wasn’t worth shipping our gargantuan console tv.)

cbc is still talking about the horrific Shafia trial. (please don’t follow the links unless you want to be saddened, and likely read some crazytalk by some anti-immigration folks.) having worked in the newsroom of a daily newspaper, i understand the media, and the importance of discussing current events. that being said, i’m up before 8am and so i switch to the top 40 channel and just listen to the weather, cuz my brain is only kinda ready for this stuff.

meet with a faculty member to discuss collaborating on grants together. being tenure-track faculty at mpow, i can apply for all kinds o’research things. that being said, i still have a 9-5 job throughout the year, so it’s not like i’m a regular prof. BUT i know the library has a crucial role to play in many of the fun things happening at mcgill, and i’ll be damned if posted work hours stop me from doing things i truly enjoy and that will place the library as the hub of awesome that it is.

2nd meeting of the day is with my practicum student from the library school. she is looking at what actually makes an IR “successful” (because i don’t think that just having lotsa stuff in it = success. if it ain’t used, it ain’t successful.) she is wicked smart, asks the right questions, and is so interested in repositories that, well, i feel like the library school has come a loooong way since when i was there.

the rest of the day was me locked in my office, with breaks for coffee with ed:

  • finalizing the setup of the room for the retrospective digitization project (and by this i mean actually moving tables, and liaising with the movers)
  • updating various faculty on repository/digitization projects
  • setting meetings about digital collection sites
  • sending in bio and info for the ABQLA conference in May 2012 (battledecks, yo)
  • yelling at people on the internet (pretty standard for me)
  • sorting out some travel issues for CiL2012
  • looking at some metadata for a collection we are contributing to a promising linked data initiative with Library & Archives Canada
  • setting up a lot of meetings for the coming week and a half. a lot.
  • finalizing the coordination of having a friend talk at the library school. i like being able to do this for the school, because students should talk to librarylanders as often as possible, and i know some pretty awesome librarylanders.
  • reading some books for that thing i have to go to. ouf. it’s gonna be tough. (reading, not going to the thing.)
  • evaluating some other grants for a meeting that my partner-in-crime (prof @ the library school) and i want to hold next year
  • dealing with more emails
  • chatting with a team member who totally scored and found 2 large format scanners that had been “retired” but are still very functional, so we’re gonna set them up
  • telling a friend about my conference plan for june and july. his response “good gawd woman.” he was right. re-planning.
  • meeting two colleagues for drinks after work. we have a bunch of branches, so i don’t get to see a lot of my favourite people regularly. i consider this essential and part of my workday.
  • finally getting home and started poking at some sxsw stuff. we present in 6 weeks (WHUT WHUT?) and i’m psyched, but have also dropped the ball re: group prep so i’m working on that.
    also i ate a bucket of roasted rapini. that has nothing to do with being a librarian, but much to do with my happiness in life.
i like these libday things. i still get asked weekly what i do all day. it’s nice having a semi-recording of it. thanks Bobbi!



day one of #libday8

amy posted this January 31st, 2012 | filed under: ilovemyjob, inspire me!, meme, moi | Tags: | 1 comment »

i hate mondays. i especially hate mondays after i’ve been out of the office, because then my inbox is bananas, there are messages on my phone (people, please, don’t bother phoning me), and my whiteboard gives me the stinkeye as though it’s saying “what have you done for me lately?”

today was one of those mondays.

since i am still sans-boss (BE MY BOSS) i attend the senior management meeting first thing in the morning to rep for my department. despite the early hour – okay, it’s not that early, but me and mornings have never liked each other very much – i genuinely enjoy these meetings. it’s great insight into big issues in the organization, and i get to learn from the dean and associate directors. also, there is free coffee, and usually some kinda cookie thing. BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS.

we’ve got a number of digitization projects on the go, including a mega-retrospective dissertation project (the first 12,000 dissertations from mcgill – which will all be made publicly available), so i spend an hour interviewing some students for the gig. in between the interviews i start hacking away at my inbox. i also grab a quick coffee (yes, more coffee) with ed to set up our week and figure out if there are any fires that we need to put out, or start, by friday.

more interviews.

grab lunch in the cafeteria. they’ve started carrying some zaatar-type pitas with spinach and feta and YUM. also you can eat them while running between meetings. (i never eat in the library. nope. not never.) today i don’t have to run to another meeting for 45mins so i eat (inhale) the pita while reading some leadership books that were sent to me to prep for a leadership institute i’m going to in a few weeks. homework, yay! also, i don’t really read, uh, books, like, ever, so this is proving to be quite a learning experience.

look at to-do list and kinda freak out. get more coffee with ed.

see a question on a listserv (LIBRARYLAND LISTERVS 4EVA) about copyright which basically demonstrates how ignorant some librarians are when it comes to this (yes i know very confusing) topic. rant to ed (who gets to see RAMBINA in action more times than anyone should), rant to friendfeed, realize that i don’t want my colleagues to be this ignorant so decide to set up some sessions on copyright and OA for my peeps.

final interview. too many good candidates. i am lucky.

get an application in to the Young Canada Works program to get help with the dissertation project this summer.

triage elventy million emails.

sort out some other copyright superfuntimes with the grad studies office. follow up on missing equipment and software. hunt for invoices (seriously, i shouldn’t have to ask for an invoice if i owe you money, just gimme the thing and i will pay you), put a hold request on a book that i will try to read because i know i need to for my job and it’s time to put on my big-girl pants and just do it.

complain to friends via group text that it’s monday and someone should kill monday with a chainsaw.

realize i’m starving (homey needs more than a pita for lunch) and scrounge around my office for a snack. what do i find?

stinkin’ air canada snack food from my flight on saturday. (and yes, bretzels is french for pretzels. bretty stubid.) regardless, i devour’em.

read some articles, blog posts, poke at people on the internet about projects, and generally try and get inbox down to not-ass-kicking for tuesday.

end the day having dinner with the repository monkey at the other english university in town. we eat too much indian food, yell about mediated deposits, and generally confirm that we are in the right line of work.

get home and fill out an online quiz from one of the books for the leadership institute. it tells me my strengths are: futuristic, positivity, activator, adaptable, and individualistic.

so now i’m waiting for my teleporter to arrive.

libraryland and the 99%

amy posted this November 16th, 2011 | filed under: ilovemyjob, inspire me!, revolution | Tags: | no comments »

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by david_shankbone

read this.
and this.
so so angry.
but even more, so so proud to be part of a profession (vocation? calling? AWESOMEST POSSE EVAR?) that makes sure such things as the #peopleslibrary exist.

librarylanders ARE invading sxswi

amy posted this November 3rd, 2011 | filed under: ilovemyjob, innovation, inspire me!, moi, presenting | Tags: | 1 comment »

cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo shared by sarah0s


so the panel that michael and i proposed was accepted for sxswi. and i’m happy to say that the incredible nate and the awesome char are joining the party.

this is such a kick-ass opportunity – to talk to non-librarylanders about our awesome – i’m really looking forward to it.

also, march in austin? sounds pretty sweet to me. (hullo barton springs!)

even better – i’m not the only librarylander speaking at sxswi – everyone in bold on this list will be there too!


a letter to libraryland partners

amy posted this September 20th, 2011 | filed under: ilovemyjob, inspire me!, moi, ranting | 3 comments »

dear aggregators, ILS vendors, publishers, computer companies, library-equipment companies, and various “cooperatives”:

some good friends in libraryland are having a rough few weeks dealing with you. this makes me unhappy. first off, i appreciate that:

  1. for the most part you are in this for the benjamins while we are in it for our communities.
  2. to stay competitive you can’t tailor things down to meet absolutely everyone’s needs.
  3. you are responsible to your board members who are mostly concerned with #1.

given all of that (and i’m more “appreciative” than some) i still demand an explanation for the abominable customer service, foggy service contracts, condescending sales reps, tech support folks who treat libraries like guinea pigs for a new bug-tracking system, or ridiculous charges for “packages” (mpow has the economist from 8 different sources – it’s a great mag, but, srsly?).

consider this your notice, this will not last much longer. librarians are learning. learning that we can do a lot on our own. learning that it’s worth finding partners how really listen to us. learning that it’s okay to name names and call people out for their craptastic behaviour.

OH! and these librarians? they are moving into upper management (aka: where the buck stops).

so it’s your call really, continue to treat us poorly and then face the inevitable smackdown when i’m running the library. or up your game now, and become a true partner.


librarylanders invading sxswi

amy posted this August 30th, 2011 | filed under: discovery, ilovemyjob, innovation, inspire me!, moi, presenting | Tags: | no comments »

a bunch of librarylanders have proposed sessions for sxsw interactive. talking to non-librarylanders about libraries – [insert sarcastic voice here] what a novel concept! i think it’s great that so many librarians are getting the word out about we do, especially in an environment like sxswi (which just seems like a natural fit for libraries, really. innovacation + community + information = libraries!)

i’m involved in a session titled “Making” stories: Libraries & community publishing with Michael Porter and Nate Hill.

Good libraries are community-minded, technologically-aware, devoted to increasing access to information, and interested in preserving the local cultural heritage. Good newspapers aggregate and curate information for their readers, prioritize the local population, and are the record of a place, a time, a citizenry. Both believe they must tell stories for everyone, not just themselves. Libraries have experience with media production, and are already a known community resource. Supporting communication within their community falls within the library’s mandate to increase access to information. Building on the “maker” ethic, how can libraries help their communities make their own news, write their own stories, publish their own histories?

voting closes this friday, september 2, so go register an account and start voting!

welcome to the conferencezone

amy posted this August 5th, 2011 | filed under: conference-y, ilovemyjob, innovation, inspire me!, moi, presenting, ranting, revolution | 3 comments »

i had a really busy spring. it was both awesome, and exhausting. (errrr, i’m still trying to catch up. sorry if you’re still waiting to hear from me.)

i attended 10 conferences in 12 weeks. wait, WHUT? (plus, at some point in there, i want on a truly awesome west coast roadtrip with kendrak and megvmeg for 9 days. i think it was between CNI and CREPUQ, but i can’t really be sure.)

at some of these conferences i spoke at (one i did precon, gaming night, panel presentation, AND postcon), others i just got to learn about fun things, and one i was on the organizing committee.

here are the gory details:

  • computers in libraries – washington, dc – march 20-24 – presented
  • CNI spring meeting – san diego, ca – april 4-5 – learned
  • CREPUQ technologies mobiles – trois rivières, qc – may 6 – presented
  • IMLS workshop on library-based publishing – salt lake city, ut – may 11-13 – presented
  • canadian library association – halifax, ns – may 28-29 (lost the badge!) – presented
  • THATcamp prime – fairfax, va – june 3-5 – presented/learned (it’s a camp, you do both!)
  • curatecamp – austin, tx, june 6 – learned (HI DECLAN – remember how hot it was?)
  • open repositories – austin, tx – june 8-10 – learned (MORE HI DECLAN – remember bbq?)
  • special libraries association – philadelphia, pa – june 10-15 – organized/presented
  • tedXlibrarians – toronto, on – june 25 – presented

please note: before the haters come out… a number of these i covered on my own dime because i just wanted to go to them, and there’s no reason mpow has to send me to just anything i want to go to. also, dates may not be actual conference dates – for many i did precons, postcons, or had a metric tonne of meetings. and i had to say hi to declan because he got all cranky last week about not being in any of my #libday7 posts and yelled at me on the twittermachine.

i learned a lot about libraryland, awesome new services i want to try out at mpow, and how to bring the revolution. but what i want to share right now, is what i learned about conferencing.

things i now know

  1. NEXUS PASSES ARE THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE. at YUL it means a quick security line as well as speedy customs line, both filled with people who are used to traveling so are hyper-efficient at getting through the line. (no, lady. you can’t bring a litre of moisturizer in your carry on.) if only YYZ had a NEXUS line for security if you’re connecting. seriously? grrrrr. the pass is well worth the 50$ (lasts 5 years).
  2. having a sippy cup that seals completely, like this one, is one of the best things to travel with. coffee, water, bourbon… whatever ya got, you can take it with you. you can run out of your hotel room and rush to the first session (i am never late in the morning. nope, not never) with coffee in hand.
    a sippy cup, and baby wipes. because everyone who travels is gross and covered in germs and half of them should probably be wearing hazmat suits. plus, when you forget to seal the package properly and they dry out, you can at least use’em as kleenexes.
  3. how to pack for 3 back-to-back conferences and two weeks of travel in only a wee-bit-too-big-for-carry-on suitcase. lean towards underpacking (you can always run into an old navy and pick up a shirt after spilling tomato soup down the front of yourself – not that i ever had to do that) and two pairs of shoes max in your luggage. you can do it.
    also, how to do laundry in a hotel. (many thanks to the awesome front desk staff in philly who not only gave me free soap, but gave me change when i didn’t have any, because “hon, we know you don’t want to be doing laundry while you’re staying in a hotel.”)
  4. my passport number, by memory.
  5. before arriving, map the nearest grocery store to the hotel. and the nearest liquor store.
  6. if you’re in a hot place (HELLO AUSTIN) brew some coffee at night and put it in the frigo for the morning so you can still get a jolt of caffeine but not be drinking something hot in 104F weather.
  7. that 104F = 40C. which is WAY TOO HOT to do anything other than be in a pool with a lone star in your hand. (i tried to have that be a session at curatecamp, but they didn’t go for it.) (cuz then giarlo woulda had to do a cannonball.)
  8. mexican martinis are brutal. trust me on this one. there is no need for more than one. and after drinking them, you should never cap off the night with shots of cheap tequila.
  9. always travel with acetaminophen and antacid. (possibly related to my previous point. you’ll never know.)
  10. having a conference buddy is great. i didn’t have a partner-in-crime for a few this spring, and on occasion found myself thinking “stranger danger” at receptions and wanting to run back to my room to watch bad tv and eat ice cream. if there’s someone that you keep bumping into at conferences and you really gel with, do it.
  11. whenever possible, try and do something non-conferencey to stay sane. visit friends in town, go to a museum, play hooky from a social event to just chillax.
  12. eat fruits and veggies whenever they cross your path. when in the conferencezone it won’t happen often, so just do it. it also helps to have awesome vegan friends who take you to fantastic restos once you have eaten nothing but texas bbq for a week straight. (for the record, i was quite happy eating texas bbq for a week straight. salt lick and ruby’s. yes.)
  13. in the “whenever you can” vein, if you’re doing back-to-back conferences, nap whenever the opportunity arises. it’s okay to skip the networking breakfast for a bit of a lie-in, and if there is really no session that floats your boat, and no colleagues you want to hang with during that time, go decompress in your room for a bit. you won’t learn anything if you’re zonked.
  14. montréal, je t’aime. (i knew this already, but home is so good, it deserves a mention.)


amy posted this July 31st, 2011 | filed under: ilovemyjob, inspire me!, moi | Tags: , | no comments »

*includes saturday, since i forgot to post this yesterday

FRIDAY: (aka: thanx jeebus it arrived.)

today was a big-ass chunk o’unproductive. i feel terrible. epic plans to get stuff done and… less epic was had. this happens rarely, so i’m not going to stress about it too much, but… ya. i do not like it when i can’t just GSD.

but i have awesome colleagues who a) understand that some days are just ZOMG TOO MUCH TO DO I CAN’T START DOING ANYTHING IMMA SIT IN MY OFFICE AND WONDER WHAT IT WOULD HAVE BEEN LIKE TO STAY IN MY PREVIOUS JOB, and b) don’t make me feel like a douche for having days like this.

exhibit a (of awesome colleagues):

cc licensed ( BY NC ) flickr photo shared by jambina

one of the things i did manage to take off my to-do list, was to get up my nellie mcclung poster (sent to me by the lovely david). the awesome ed, who is in the office beside mine, who drinks coffee on a similar schedule to mine, and who wants to make academic libraryland rock as hard as it can, made me feel all productive about getting it up.

otherwise the day amounted to a ginormous chunk of email-triaging, meeting-planning, association-thinking, and generally sorting out my office. also, another colleague brought me a thermometre to try and see just how cold my office is. after 2 hours it registered between 15 and 16 degrees (celsius. seriously americans, it’s you and liberia that are holding to the imperial system. grow a set and join metricville!) that is redonkulously cold. i was not shitting you about the wool blanket in my office.

the day ended with a GREAT talk with a professor in the library school. we are planning a bunch of presentations and publications looking at scholarly communication and digital curation from both a scholar’s and a practitioner’s experience. librarians and LIS researchers talking about the same topic in the same article? kookytalk, i know. but if you know carolyn and i, it makes total (and terrifying?) sense. (i guested in a class of hers on IRs, and it was genius. “in principle, the IR does x, y, and z. amy – how does it work in practice?” “errrr, kinda like a, b, and c.” we need more of this in LIS schools – k?)

i got home, made dinner, made chicken stock (protip: a bit of parmesan rind in the stock and it’s waaaaay richer and yummier), then sat down and sent out a bunch of emails that i should have done while at work. i also did a quick wireframe of the new scholarly communications site i’m going to build in august (which is weeks away – right?). so, see? not totally a write-off of a day!

SATURDAY: (aka: sometimes, as an academic librarian, you work on the weekend, either on a desk shift, or at home. c’est comme ça. if it needs doing, DO IT.)

got up earlier than normal so that i could devise a plan of attack for the weekend.

okay, really, i got up at the same time, but instead of listening to the CBC all morning, and reading non-libraryland things (which i truly love about my weekend mornings – connecting back to my community in ways other than through the library), i read my starred google reader posts cuz i need to either respond/bring to some colleagues/write up a pilot project proposal cuz i want to steal the idea.

11:30am-3:30pm. ma belle maman had a big birthday this week, and my brother has us over to fête her. the fête was not nearly as fête-ish as it could have been, so i have plans to continue it throughout the year. (ma, if you’re reading this, pretend you didn’t see that part. k?)

3:30-8: pick up an xbox kinect. i used to play video games. i enjoy the distraction, i enjoy the silly fun. and since i haven’t played one regularly in 15 years (WHERE MY SEGA AT, YO?) everything is different! also, libraries are doing a lot with gaming these days, and i generally feel like if people are going to mention “innovative” and my name, in the same sentence, then i need to know all the fun stuff that folks are doing out there. (also, after just boxing on the kinect for 2 hours straight… seriously? i am in love.)

get home all ready to get my “kinect adventures” on, and realize i can’t get the monitor out of standby mode, cuz i don’t have the remote. thankfully the previous owner will be home around 7:30pm so i can pick it up. all is good. game on, literally.

9-midnight: read articles, network on the friendfeed, facebook, twitter, IM, email, whuteveryagot, and setup some more of the xbox. (i forgot to buy speakers for the downright-ancient, but insanely-ginormous-and-FREE VGA monitor i was given, so setup is kinda half-assed.)

1:30am: write this thinger. will likely play kinect sports games til… 3am? mebbe 4am. too fun. also, i’m terrible at these games, but i care not at all.

makin’ copies

amy posted this July 29th, 2011 | filed under: ilovemyjob, inspire me!, moi | Tags: , | no comments »

cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by net_efekt

THURSDAY (aka: tomorrow is friday. hang in there.)

today was one of those days where i had good intentions to get some important stuff done (mostly, i have to set up my whiteboard. i am lost without my whiteboard) but got sidetracked by other things.

part of my gig is coordinating all the digitization projects here. we do a LOT of digitization and have some pretty fancy equipment. today was all about digitization – everything from buying light bulbs to thinking about metadata for rare islamic texts. so the whiteboard, she’s still blank.

morningish: email, blogs, coffee. do some non-libraryland things too (pay ze billz, email ze cousinz). at some point i get to work. i don’t quite remember when, but i do remember listening to me, mom & morgentaler very loudly on the metro during my commute. (sorry fellow commuters.)

11am: weekly team meeting to make sure we’re all doing the things we said we would be doing before other people gave us more things to be doing. my team is awesomer than your team.

noon: meet a friend from the management library (where i worked when i was but a babybrarian… 2 years ago) for lunch. at some point during the team meeting i looked down at my cardigan and realize it’s covered with, well, schmutz. well done buckland, you can’t even be trusted to dress yourself. so i drag my friend to the mall so that i can pick up something that’s, you know, clean, to wear the rest of the day. we also get lunch at the new burger place which purports to be “smart” which i guess translates to putting brie on everything. pretty yum.

afternoonish: email, phone calls, google reader, friendfeed, twitter, facebook. discover that the sparc oa meeting in march is the same week as sxswi. get bummed. decide i’d prefer to hit sxswi because i need inspiration, not moaning IR managers. we’ll see.

2-3:30pm: individual meetings with my team to make sure everyone is doing the things they said they’d be doing before i gave them more things to be doing.

3:30pm: exchange emails with some great folks about publishing, libraries, and how we need to save the world. we also discuss beer.

4pm: i start prepping lists n’such to get my whiteboard on. in going through the piles on my desk, i discover a folder of “READ ME NAO” related to digitization best practices. (i also find the receipt for a dress that i’ve been trying to return for over a month. of course now it’s too late to return it. grrrr.) so i start reading and get swallowed up by METS and RAW and OMEKA. it’s all good. i really wish i did digitization 100% of my time. i also wish i had a pony.

5 à 7: i believe in celebrating team achievements. the digitization team has had an epic year digitizing everything from old class photos, to olympic torches, to well, lots of old and crazy texts, so we go for drinks after work to pat ourselves on the back. (oh ya, and we cracked 27,000 ETDs in eScholarship@McGill.) i’ve said it before, and i’ll say it again, i work with great people.

nightish: do other things you people don’t need to know about. yell at ruebot on twitter. (i do a lot of yelling on twitter.)

2am: write this thinger.