Same procedure as last year! The library invites the colleagues from the culture and school department to the traditional Christmas lunch. This year we were 21 persons, only two children but they kept themselves and their mother busy! The staff are in charge of the arrangement, but the boss has to make a speech! Alina from Romania came to our rescue when we should decorate the tables, but all took their share and the arrangement went well. These days I am reading, eating and enjoying the company of my family, it`s great! Yesterday I read Eit vintereventyr of Jan Roar Leikvoll, I felt sick! Some of the descriptions were sickening because of the horrors of the concentration camp. It was very well written, but I wonder if these terrible descriptions of human evil were necessary to get the message through? I think I will try something more light hearted the rest of the vacation…
My friend Thomas, the right honourable Miromurr, has once again shown the way to enjoy the various ways of the libraries!
Last Sunday my husband, eldest son and I went for a walk. I decided not to bring my camera, but my husband did. We went down to the river and had to do some climbing because the path is quite rough. My husband soon got very occupied with his camera, he tried different angles, saw some interesting stones and then there was this bird and so on. My son and I went on for a while, but then we had to stop and wait for him but he did not show up. Then we went to look for him and there he was still pondering how to take the best picture of the waterfall. We turned around again and continued, but much slower this time, but still we had to wait for him. I started to regret I had gone out at all, but then I realized that if we all had brought our cameras we´d had a great time all of us.
This made me think about how some of us have the need to participate, when we want to. I have noticed at the library more people asks for services where they can get what they want by doing most of the ordering themselves. Some sends the links for the books they want to borrow and some want the material sent by email or at least get the message by their mobile or email. The services must offer a kind of interaction, preferably on the internet or at least via some electronic devises. I think this is interesting because it challenges the way of thinking and makes it necessary to create more easy accessible library services for all. This has of course been on the agenda for many years but in a small library you tend to notice these trends a bit later. People are not expecting us to deliver the same services and when they actually discover that we do, they are quite pleased. I don´t think this should be an excuse for not being able to make a good library service, but I have to admit it takes a bit longer to reach the goals because – and I hate to say it – the resources are limited.
The very last day in October ended rather discouraging: my boss sent me an e-mail saying we will have to stop buying stuff for the rest of the year! That is really too bad! In these days we should have the opportunity to buy all the books we wanted to and furbish our borrowers with new and exiting books, but alas – no more new books. I try to tell myself, this is only a job, do the best you can, you have to adjust – but it does not work. I get frustrated! I think the libraries should be spared for cutbacks and recessions they are made to serve the people, to tighten the gap between those who can afford to buy the books and stuff they want and the ones who can´t. But in the organization of the Meland kommune everyone have to make some sacrifices! Well, we will have to make some interesting exhibitions of our old books. Perhaps we can make the borrowers forget about the newest books for a while? LOL
Last Wednesday my colleague and I went to Sarpsborg to attend a conference on e-citizenship and e-libraries initiated by the NLA/Østfold. The State secretary Wenche Lyngholm(SV) from the Ministry of Government Administration and Reform was quite surprised of all the librarians at the conference had their own profile on Facebook! Little did she know that the librarians had attended the course 23Things!! She did not reveal anything we did not know before. When asked of the plans how to initiate the e-citizenship in all the municipalities, she pointed to the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development. This should of course not be a surprise to anyone attending, but it would certainly be refreshing once to experience a politician on a governmental level say: This is our task, we will deal with it! Lyngholm said that the libraries are almost the only noncommercial meeting point in our society and suitable for giving people training in using the PC and the internet. Lyngholm left in a hurry after giving her speech and never got the opportunity to hear the question Tord Høivik put to the panel discussion: Did we think the government understand what they are asking the libraries to do to take on the task of educating the people with no ICT competence? I think the government are not interested in understanding the consequences if the libraries should embark on this journey. They want the job done, they don´t ask how.
The host of the panel debate, Tord Høivik transformed the rather dull and traditional discussion to a slightly confusing but very engaging conversation making everyone attend in some way or other. Well done, Tord!
Some days ago I dug up the courage to write a message to the library discussion list about the inter library lending system. I got some answers, first one indicating that this stupid woman should have made some more enquires and another quite impolite. This made me wonder why are librarians so eager to put each other down? And then how does experiences like these influence the wish to take part in the debates? To the first question – I really have no idea! The second: I think its necessary to have a bit more self confidence, believe in your message and realize that people are in their right to disagree. Well, this can be a challenge for my autumn activities: take part in the debates?
To day I went to the neighbour library to drop off some books since our transport system is not working during the summer. I missed the opening hours, of course, but I stood outside waving until they came to the rescue and we could make the exchange of books and news. On my way back to the car I saw some yarn with a beautiful colour. I stepped into the shop and some minutes later I came out with all I need to knit a jacket. This is madness, my husband will tell me, but this evening I was sitting on our terrace knitting the sun, the warm evening, the song from the birds into this jacket and I am going to enjoy every moment of the process.
Yesterday while sitting at the reference desk I got this question on how to find books on working in laboratories. The person who asked says she is a nurse, but she didn`t speak Norwegian or English and she wanted her books in French. The temperature in the library was at this point 29C and my brain was boiling. I assumed she would have books on working in a laboratory in a hospital, but did I ask her? Oh no! I did some faint attempts to search, but found nothing. Then I called my son and he told me the people working in laboratories are called bioengineers working with microbiology and biochemistry. Then he asked if she couldn´t do this by herself… and I had to tell him of the obligations of a librarian bla,bla,bla… and he drew a sigh and recommended me to drink some water.
After a while I found something that might interest my borrower, but not in French. Perhapes I could recomend her a course in Norwegian or English?
Working as I do with books, systems, people its an everyday filled with details and routine. It is however important to make an effort to reflect upon what I am doing in a bigger picture. The craving of the day makes you loose sight of what the lessons learned by making the decisions on where to put things, how to classify the books and what kind of labels to allow. Yesterday I was making an attempt to clear my desk at home and I found a note from one of my lectures on organizing. I was very intrigued by the theory of The Science of Muddling Through and also of the Method of Non Coherent Small Changes, because these methods are constantly used when you don´t want to make any decisions! So I am working on tidy up both my desk at home, at work and hopefully this will influence my thinking too!