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What I’ve Been Up To

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So, as I said in my last post, I started a new job the first of November at the Jackson County Public Library in Marianna, FL. I am absolutely loving it!! There have been some differences that I’ve had to get used to, but it is a wonderful job. In December, I initiated the Elf on the Shelf in the library. We purchased the Elf on the Shelf doll and book and I hid her in different spots in the library throughout the month of December. The children had fun searching for the elf each day. When they found her, they got a candy can, an activity bookmark, and a small box of crayons. I found LOTS of ideas for this on Pinterest. It seems Elf on the Shelf is being used in classrooms too. Here are pictures of our elf in some of my favorite poses.

elf on the shelf

Our elf went zip lining! This was so much fun to do. Most people just walked right under the zip line looking for the elf. It was so funny!

elf2

I found a printable Elf Rocket online somewhere, and I thought it was such a cute idea. I decided to pose our elf next to the globe in the children’s area and the movie “Up”.

elf on tree

Two days before Christmas, i decided it would be cute to put the elf in the Christmas tree!

After Christmas, we had a Frozen party for children age 12 and under, both in Marianna and at the Graceville branch. It was a huge success! We showed the movie, had a “Feed Sven” beanbag toss game, and a “Pin the Nose on Olaf” game. We also had crafts for the children to make: Anna and Elsa cutout crowns, snowflakes made out of pipe cleaners and beads, and icicles made out of sparkly silver pipe cleaners and beads. We also gave them cookies and a drink for refreshments and had coloring pages and paper dolls for them to take home. It was so much fun! We had about 25 children at the party in Marianna, and about 15 in Graceville. I was completely shocked about the turnout at Graceville. I had worried that there were only going to be a few children. They all had a wonderful time watching the movie and playing games. 20150105_133701 20150105_133737 20150105_133811 20150105_133922 20150105_133944 20150105_134940 20150105_171359 20150105_171409

This is the poster I created for the Frozen party. I was very proud of it!

This is the poster I created for the Frozen party. I was very proud of it!

Now we are planning an event for African American History Month. We are hosting an event on Feb. 15 that focuses on T. Thomas Fortune, a man who was born in Marianna and became a successful newspaperman. We are hopefully going to have some artwork by an African American lady from Campbellton displayed as well. I think it is going to be great!

On Feb. 26, the library board is having the 7th annual Classic Southern Desserts fundraiser. I am the liaison for that event, so I have been working hard this past week developing flyers for the event as well as trying to get donations from local businesses. That’s all for now, but I’m sure I’ll have more to post soon!

New Job!

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Time has gone by so quickly it seems. I can’t believe it’s been five months since I graduated with my MLIS! And here I am, about to start a new job. A couple of months ago, I applied for an Assistant Library Director position at the Jackson County Public Library in Marianna, Florida. In July, I had a phone interview with the director there and some other people in the county. I felt like it went pretty well, but there were times when I doubted myself, thought maybe I had screwed it up, or didn’t have all the knowledge or experience I needed. Sometime after the phone interview, I got a letter that said they had decided to repost the position, but my application was on file, so I didn’t need to reapply. Several weeks went by, so I just assumed they had hired someone else. But a couple of weeks ago, I got an email from the director asking if I was still interested in the position. Of course, I said yes. They called me in for a personal interview on September 30. I met with Deborah (the director), two ladies that work for the county, and another lady that works in the library. It was a really good interview! Pam, one of the ladies that works for the county, told me I was her first choice from the beginning. Deborah told me that as well. Before we left Marianna, Mom, Dad, and I looked around for apartments or houses to rent and went by the library to check it out. Deborah told me then that she had already put in a request to hire me, and that it could take a few weeks to get everything approved by the County Commission and all. So, I certainly didn’t expect to get an email the following week asking me to come down to be fingerprinted and do a drug screening. We went down this past Thursday (Oct. 9) to do that. When I went in to be fingerprinted at the sheriff’s office, Dad asked the deputy, Lt. Hinson, if he knew of any houses or apartments for rent. He said he thought so, and would make a call while I was there. He called a friend of his, Nola, who is just moving out of an upstairs apartment on Green Street- the same street as the library! I got to talk to Nola about the place and the community. She gave me the number of the landlord, and we called and scheduled a viewing. We me Donna, the landlord, at 12 to see the apartment, and it was perfect! Donna’s father-in-law, David, owns the house and lives downstairs. He is 82 and walks 3 miles every day. They call him the mayor of Green Street. The apartment is two bedroom, one bath and has a very nice living room area, laundry room, and kitchen. We paid the deposit that day. It is certainly an answered prayer. I needed something close to the library so I can walk to work. Donna said it was a blessing for them too, because they wanted someone who would take care of it and be a good tenant. When we got there, Nola was getting some more of her things out, so I got to meet her. She has bought a house right across the street, and she said if I ever need anything to let her know. She said she would be happy to drive me anywhere I need to go.

On Thursday, when I went by the HR office to turn in my fingerprint paperwork, Elena, the HR person, told me she could be ready to hire as soon as the next day. I told her I needed time to get everything settled, so we decided on November 3 for a start date. I will move all my stuff into the apartment on Oct. 25, a Saturday, then work in Greenville the next Monday and Tuesday for Harry Potter Day, and come back to Marianna to stay on Wednesday the 29th. I can’t believe how quickly things are moving! We have a lot to do, lots of stuff to get, but I am so excited about this opportunity!

Updates

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I realize it’s been over a year since I have posted. Wow! A lot has happened in that time. I finished up my last year with Library Management, Information: The Library & Society, and my Master’s Project. The Master’s Project was probably the most intense work I have done. My research project was entitled “Web 2.0 in Alabama Public Libraries: A Content Analysis”. For this project, I examined the Web sites of all public libraries in Alabama, specifically looking for signs of Web 2.0 applications, such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. Next, I looked at each Web 2.0 application for each library to determine how they were being used. It was a very interesting project, and I got some great feedback from my professor and second reader. I am thinking about publishing it. If I decide to do that, I’ll probably start with SLIS Connecting, the journal for the School of Library and Information Science at USM. I spoke with one of my professors when I was at graduation, and she strongly encouraged it.

I went to Hattiesburg for the graduation ceremony on May 9, and I got to meet all of my professors. It was wonderful to finally meet all of them. I also got to meet a few of my fellow classmates. I was actually sitting with a couple of them during the ceremony, which was good because I wasn’t as nervous. Dr. Griffis was really glad to meet me, and I had a great time talking to Dr. Welsh and Dr. Creel. They are all amazing people, and I am grateful to have had such wonderful professors to learn from.

Since graduation, I’ve been taking it easy for the most part. I’m working part time at the Greenville Library, but still looking for something full time. My friend and fellow librarian Andrea has been helping me improve my resume. This week, I’m filling in for her at Judson while she is at a librarian conference. At first I was really nervous about the whole thing, but it is going to be great. Today was my first day, and I enjoyed it so much. There are some alumnae from the Huntsville chapter here trying to identify photos from the archives. So I tended to them and made sure they had everything they needed. I also started working on one of the tasks that Andrea gave me, which was to find videos for the nursing department. So I started looking at other universities’ Nursing LibGuides to see if they provided any videos. I came up with several possibilities, both paid and free. I am going to meet with the Director of Nursing on Thursday to discuss what I found with her, and also to find out more about what she is looking for specifically. I am incredibly proud about the work I got done today, and I am looking forward to tomorrow!

End of the Semester

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Okay, I realize I haven’t posted in a very long time. Things have been incredibly busy. I took three classes last semester (crazy me!), all of which were pretty tough. I got sick early on (pre-bronchitis, pre-pneumonia, etc.) and I got behind. It was really hard to get caught up after that. I was starting to lose steam as well. I have gone straight through grad school so far, so that’s not too surprising. I was really worried toward the end of last semester that I would have a C in one of my classes. I knew it wouldn’t be all A’s, but I wasn’t so sure it would be A’s & B’s either. After grades were posted, I logged onto SOAR– fingers crossed and eyes closed. I was so scared. BUT I came out with an A, an A-, and a B-. I’LL TAKE IT!!!! This was my first B of graduate school. While I know that I don’t have to have perfect grades all the time, I was so afraid that having a bad grade was going to define my whole career as a librarian. I felt that if I made a bad grade, it meant I wasn’t going to make a good librarian in the long run. I honestly don’t know why I was so scared– it’s not the end of the world. Anyhow, it’s over and done with, and guess what!! I am THREE CLASSES AWAY from my Master’s!!!!!!! I decided, though, that I was tired of killing myself over so much schoolwork, so I am just going to take one class each semester from now on. I had wanted to take the Public Libraries class and the other core class in the fall and take the summer off, but they are offering Public Libraries this summer only, so I have to take it. So then I’ll take LIS 636 in the Fall, and do my Master’s project in the spring and be done! Woohoo!!

In other news, I have applied for the library media specialist position at Greenville High School. the chances that I will get it are likely slim, but I would be a fool not to try for it at least. I know that’s not the route I had intended to take with my career, but if it gets me a job I’ll take it. Fingers crossed on this one too!

I’m Getting There….

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In my last post I mentioned that I felt I should have majored in graphic design because I feel more capable at that, that I’m burned out in school, and what-not. Well, I’m still burned out and wondering why I did this to myself in the first place. I have lost sight of why I wanted to be a librarian to begin with. I get so bogged down in assignments and the day-to-day stuff of school and life that I forget what my end goal is: to serve others in a library setting.

I’m not completely better yet, but I’m getting there. Today I read a post by Stephen Abram, author of the blog Stephen’s Lighthouse (http://stephenslighthouse.com). His blog post was entitled “Curb Your Librarian Frustration in 8 Steps.” While I’m not a librarian yet, many of the things he mentioned are relevant to me and my present circumstances. As I was reading his post, I felt like he was speaking directly to me. I needed to hear every bit of what he said, both the encouragement and the constructive criticism. I needed all of it. Here is a little excerpt from his post:

It’s the start of a new month. Are you frustrated yet?  Is your job driving you crazy? Your boss? Your customers?  Are you thinking too much about quitting, retiring, vacationing, or abandoning your dreams?  Do you fantasize your hands around someone’s neck?

Now, before you fold your arms and stomp off into the sunset there is something you should know. This is normal. Every professional worth their salt and who has had an ounce of success has been there.   If you care, you get frustrated . . . and sometimes angry, demotivated or sad.  Worry when you’re at the point of “whatevah.”  Whenever you experience one of those moments (or weeks, months, etc.) you have to spend some time considering your choices and reconnecting to your passion.  Passion drives most of us – it’s what makes librarians put up with the pay! ;-) Luckily for the world, most of us choose to keep going and making a difference.

And you should too.  If no one has told you lately . . . you matter.  Librarians matter.  Information matters.

So, before you throw in the towel, or just wallow in the blues and self pity, let’s think about how to curb some of that frustration a bit so you can get back to striving for success, innovation, great client interactions, fame and fortune (well maybe not the fortune… tongue firmly in cheek).  Let’s move on and make a difference in the world.

This excerpt is mostly the encouragement part of Stephen’s post. He goes on to list the eight steps mentioned. Number 1 is: Stop Whining. That is one dose of reality I needed. Whining is not helping things in any way, nor is it making them better. Thanks for the reality check, Stephen!

Number 2 on the list is Find Your Purpose. I think that’s where I am currently. I need to find (or rediscover) my purpose and passion, my whole reason for putting myself through this in the first place. Number 3 is Change Your Focus. Maybe I need to place my focus elsewhere, not on my schoolwork or the dull, inane assignments that seem to have no purpose or value whatsoever. I need to place my focus on 1.) God, and 2.) God’s purpose for my life. I truly feel like I am supposed to be a librarian, to serve others through the library. I’m on the right path, I have just lost sight of what I should be focusing on and what should be the most important thing. It’s almost as if, buried beneath my course load, there’s a light at the top, beckoning me to a higher calling. I just have to work through all the things that lie between me and that light before I can get there.

Why am I doing this?

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I think I should have majored in Graphic Design or something in undergrad. I’ve developed a big interest in it lately, with all the web design and such I’ve had to do. It intrigues me, and I want to educate myself more about it, but I just don’t have the time outside of school and work. If I could go back in time and redo undergrad, I would major in Graphic Design. It’s not that I don’t cherish my Religious Studies degree; I really do. My time as a religion major has been invaluable to me, the knowledge I gained from all my classes and professors. It’s just that I wish I had known about graphic design then–six years ago when I started college. Right now, I’m in library school, and I keep wondering, why am I doing this? Why am I putting myself through this, if I’m not even going to be able to get a job when I graduate? What’s the point? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy some of my classes (if I’m being truly honest); I certainly don’t enjoy all of them. Some of the ones I haven’t enjoyed, though, are the ones in which I’ve had assignments that piqued my interest in graphic design, particularly web design. It’s just that I lose sight of why I wanted to be a librarian in the first place. I get so bogged down in assignments and everything that most days I don’t remember why I’m putting myself through this. I know that if I want to be a librarian, this degree is what is required. But honestly…….sometimes I just want to quit it all and just take pictures and sit around on the computer editing photos in Photoshop, or designing web pages in Dreamweaver, and learning about all the neat and handy technological tools there are out there. I think if I did though, I’d be a 400-pound slob because I couldn’t leave my computer long enough to go for a walk.

I just don’t know anymore……..

Change of plans!

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Well, I had thought I would design the website for my Computer Applications class on the history of Georgiana. However, the final project is due in two weeks, and I wouldn’t have enough time to get everything together to make a good website. Therefore, I think I will design one for the Little Sorrel Chapter UDC. We have to incorporate some sort of video or audio on the site, as well as design a logo. I’ve got to figure out how to do that. We also have to have graphics on every page. This semester’s assignment is different from last semester. We don’t actually have I write HTML code; we just have to find a free host site and use their design tools. I kind of have mixed feelings about this. It’s easier not to have to figure out HTML, but I can’t seem to find the perfect design theme on my host. I want the site to look good and professional, but I couldn’t really find a theme that fit what I wanted to do. I almost would rather write my own HTML and CSS, but I don’t have the time for that. Oh well, this should be interesting!

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