August 25, 2008

How I became a librarian meme

(Sneakin' one in under the hiatus blanket...) First outright tag for a meme - tagged by Christina! Thanks! Started by Jill, the question was what got us interested initially in our fields of interest? Lemme 'splain... no, that would take too long. Lemme sum up...

I've always been in and around libraries (my mom was a career librarian until her retirement last year; my dad was career Air Force so we were always on the move, but wherever we were, there was a library). I fell in love with astronomy in 7th grade Earth Science and knew I'd be in the sciences one way or another when I grew up (I read my first copy of Jastrow & Thompson when I was 15). I originally went to college on an Air Force scholarship to study aerospace engineering, but a game of ultimate frisbee gone really wrong ended those plans, and I switched my study focus to astronomy, which is what I wanted to study in the first place (I will always miss Dr. Tom Swihart, my most excellent advisor). I landed a student job at the Steward Observatory Mirror Lab, which led to my first post-college job with the Mt. Graham International Observatory. I moved from there to the new Gemini 8m Telescopes Project (which became the Gemini Observatories when it went operational), and one of the things that I took on was managing the engineering documentation.

I really got a kick out of it, and was also contemplating going back to school - these two things finally clicked together and I headed down the street a couple of blocks to the School of Information Resources and Library Sciences. I met with Dr. Charley Seavey, who became my advisor, and it's all thanks to him that I even made it through, as the philosophy and social epistemology stuff really threw me off (I did great in statistics, though!). But make it through I did, with a focus on technical librarianship (fairly new at that point, this was back in '97-'99), and I graduated with a job offer in-hand from the Gemini Observatory in Hilo (Hawaii) to come out and set up the new research library. I jumped in the deep end at that point - up until then it'd all been databases and engineering archives!

Although I will always treasure the time I spent in Hawaii, the two years I spent out there setting up and managing a traditional library really brought home to me that I was much happier in the computers - webmastering, DBAing, things like that - and with engineering documentation. When the time came to move back to the mainland, I looked around at other large astronomy engineering projects, and hit up my current employer for a job. (Obviously, it worked.) I love being part of something no one's ever done before, and the skills I've built along the way have made me especially suited to dealing with both scientists and engineers, managing various electronic documentation systems, juggling configuration management issues, and configuring new web site management systems. That's what I spend my days doing now; I do order an occasional book, and snag journal papers and conference proceedings for the scientists and engineers, but I'm quite happy in my life as a systems librarian and intend to do so for many more years :-)

OK, so that's a bit long for a sum-up, but believe me, it's shorter than the whole story! I'd be interested in answers from Hedgie, G, Emily, Stephen, and Effing, if they'd like.

August 15, 2008

Hiatus, I has it

I know things have been sporadic at best for the last month, and particularly quiet lately. They're going to remain so for the next few weeks; I'm near the end of a rather large and sticky project that's taking most of my focus. I hope you'll stick around, because I already have things planned for next month that I hope you'll find interesting!

In the meantime: be safe, have fun, and keep those links coming; I promise I'll post a big 'ol summary when this is all over!

August 4, 2008

Happy Dancing People

How did I miss this?!?! July 22nd's Astronomy Picture of the Day (always amazing) was actually a movie. Of people. Around the world. DANCING! I defy you to watch this without smiling. (I was smiling so much by the end of it that my cheeks hurt!) As a lifelong dancer, I heartily applaud Matt Harding and his team for this production. Thank you!

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

Pop Goes the Library: The Book!

Pop goes the Library
Congratulations to Sophie and Liz, the great minds behind Pop Goes the Library, on the publication of their book! Now you, too, can gain insight into how to use pop culture to jazz up your library services - and have some fun along the way. To top off the publication, they've gone social-networking-mad; there's a blog, a wiki, a Flickr group, and a Twitter account , and a Facebook page in progress. w00t! So pick your way to learn their secrets :-)

August 2, 2008

Librarians FTW!

Thank you, thank you to the 1,213 librarians who participated in my recent re-survey "Do you look like a librarian?" - you all ROCK. There is a ton of new data to sift through, and then the fun part starts: comparing it to the survey data from 2001. Any bets on if, or how, things have changed? (I'm expecting that they have, just not sure how.)

I'll be sharing the results at a future date; keep your eyes on this space!