Last week, a student came to me looking for an article in the New York Times. He needed to use the microfilm. I told him to look at the index and identify the reels he needed. Then, when he found the reels he should come back to me, and I will show him how to load the microfilm reader. Maybe 20 minutes or so went by, and I went to check on the student. He was gone!
Yesterday, he returned to the library. I asked him a series of questions. He said yes to everything I asked him. He was ready to use the reels. He picked the reel, and I helped him load the microfilm reader. I was having some technical problems so I enlisted some help from my kind colleagues. Turns out he never looked at the index, and used Wikipedia. I asked him if he used the index, and he said he did not know he needed to use it. It was amazing. A few people told me I was an “authority figure” and he did not want to tell me he needed help. This left me baffled. You come to a librarian for help. Why not tell me you did not do something or you do not understand? I work very hard at being approachable. He came back a few hours later looking for something else. I learned a little bit about him, and asked my questions differently. Image from: http://www.microfiche-microfilm-scanning.co.uk/microfiche-reader.html
Wright College Library Reference Desk
I am asked a lot of questions on a variety of subjects. I was really stumped for search terms to use in EBSCO and ProQuest for this student’s topic. The topic is rehabilitation and treatment of pedophiles on probation. I started with rehabilitation and pedophile, and a few things popped up. She already searched cognitive therapies. I needed to think about this without her staring at me at the reference desk. So, I told her I would continue to look, and check back with her. I can see her sitting at a computer station from the reference desk. She was advised to focus on the laws. Since it was an English course I decided to be more liberal with my search. Some of my search terms were: behavioral intervention and pedophilia, pharmacological interventions and pedophilia, Depo-Provera and pedophile, Gonadotropin-releasing hormone and pedophile, chemical castration, phallometric testing, and incarceration and pedophile. I removed the scholarly journal limiter and my results included articles from periodicals such as Time magazine.
I knew I was not going to get a break today. The young lady I tried to help before this student only spoke a little bit of English. Spanish was her first language. Luckily the Head of Reference was able to help her, and speak to her in Spanish.
So, I decided to make blue and white cupcakes, because those are Wright College’s colors. I came in the revolving door this afternoon carrying the blue cupcakes covered in plastic wrap. Soon as I entered the building students were asking for cupcakes. I told them to go to the library. A student arrived at the desk before I did, and was asking for cupcakes. I did even get a chance to put them on a platter. It was so funny. I have baked about 75 cupcakes this week, and I am done. Image from: wilton.com
I am going to make pink cupcakes for the book sale tomorrow. The chocolate cupcakes were a hit. Pink is more spring-like, and the shining sun has inspired me. If I am really motivated I might make a dozen blue cupcakes. Now, I just have to figure out if I am going to dye the cake, frosting, or both.
Today I visited my new job. I was planning to go to River Forest, and went the wrong ending up in Northbrook. You can tell I am from the city. Everything looked the same. I am glad I carry a road map in my car. It was cool. I got to drive around on a surprisingly warm and sunny day in Chicago. I saw Glenview Public Library for the first time. It was really nice.
I am planning to finish out my contract with my part-time job, and start working the full-time job soon. So, I will be working two jobs for a while. I know I am not the only librarian working two jobs. I wonder what percentages of librarians are working two jobs. I will have to look into it. Image from: shrinkingvioletpromotions.blogspot.com
I have applied for 65-70 jobs at academic, public, and special libraries. I have applied to work at for-profit schools, too. Half of my job interviews have been with for-profit schools like Kaplan University.
It took me some time to warm up to the idea of applying to for-profit schools. They get so much bad press, and you never hear the success stories. I recently watched Frontline’s College, Inc., which does not depict a rosy picture. I personally do not know anyone who has attended a for-profit school. So, I am really relying on what I hear about these schools, and what turns up in my research. I read several comments and postings on blogs from students at for-profit colleges discussing their experiences. I decided the students were having the same experiences as students at public and private universities.
Tuition increases, struggling to pay for school, taking out$100,000 in student loans, struggling to find a job in their chosen field after graduation, and changes in curriculum and requirements in their field. I think higher education is too expensive all around whether you go to a for-profit, private, or public institution. Honestly, when I was a college student some of the people I went to school with were not prepared. They chose to go to a private institution, and did not know how to write a basic essay. Enrolling more students, and making more money is a goal for almost every institution of higher learning.
I think some student grievances with for-profit schools might be valid. For example, getting stuck with loans they did not want, or nursing students suing over lack of accreditation. There was a similar case at Virginia Western Community College. I saw a television special where nursing graduates from a for-profit school never stepped foot in a hospital. Of course, I do not know what was on their mind not questioning why they never went to a hospital as part as part of their training.
Despite all the bad press there are librarians out there that need jobs. You get to a point where you stop being choosy, and need to pay your bills. If you are really willing you can have an impact on students. This goes for all institutions of higher learning. I believe helping students find authoritative information, providing them with the skills to do ethical research, and teaching them to do research on their own is the most important part of my job. Image from: lakelandlocal.com
It’s only Monday, but it does not mean things will not happen in the library. Ten minutes into my reference desk shift a young lady asks for a paper bag. I ask if she can breathe, and she nods no. We give her a shopping bag to breathe into and call security.
I commend Wright College’s security for coming within seconds, and being very compassionate. They were great with the student. It turns out she was on her way to astronomy class, had previously been in the military, and going to Africa in summer on a school study trip. (All of this revealed through her emotional rant.)
I gave her cold water, rubbed her knees, wiped her tears with a tissue, and told her everything would be okay. She was worried about missing class, and was embarrassed she was having anxiety attack in front of people. Security and I reassured her we only wanted her to get better.
Minutes later a team of about 7 or 8 fire fighters arrived with equipment, and a stretcher. They seated her, gave her oxygen, and she was on her way. She received help quickly, and was handled with care.
Hopefully next time I see the student it will be for research help. Image from: http://www.mtv.com/photos/made-season-8/1563810/2621658/photo.jhtml
Yesterday, a student that attended my research workshop insisted I come see her. She offered me coffee and treats on my next visit to the cafeteria. I know the students are relieved to get help. Especially, when I clarify an assignment and they begin to understand how to do research. I like to help them. I don’t know if they realize I get paid too. I have received thank you cards, email, and letters. I wonder if any other librarians have experienced their patrons offering them free services or goods. Image from: http://barterintheboro.com/tag/barter/
A student signed up for Friday’s workshop, but did not show up. No surprise. Fridays are very quiet on campus. I have no plans of doing a workshop on a Friday ever again!
Friday I put tent signs on all the study tables in the library to advertise the workshops. My supervisor sent an email announcement to the person that sends announcements to students and faculty. Hopefully, she will send it out in the next day or so.
Now, it is midterm time, and students have exams. Most of the workshops are scheduled for late April and early May when research papers are due. I hope attendance will increase when the students are freaking out about their papers. Image from: http://grlonthemuv.blogspot.com/
This is the first time in years that I have worked with tattle taped books. The textbooks we get from the bookstore cannot leave the library. The sensors go off, and I run over to search the person’s belongings. Of course, some people try to run downstairs to the open computer lab with the textbooks. I ran after one student, but I lost him somewhere on the first floor. A few hours later he returned to the library. The second time I ran after a student down the steps to the open computer lab. I made him come back upstairs to the library. Not only am a librarian, but I am also security.
On Monday, a student came to the reference desk 30 minutes before his class started. He needed information about scorpions. I asked the following questions:
“What class is this for?”
“Is there a scorpion in that container?”
He said the class was Speech, and his mother’s scorpion was in the container. Of course, this led to other librarians and staff getting involved. Everyone wanted to see the scorpion. He explained there were two additional scorpions at home. I looked in the stacks, and my colleague searched Gale Virtual Reference Library. I came back with nothing, but he was happy to see the information in the database. In the end, he got the information he needed and sped off to a computer to create his PowerPoint slides. Librarian’s to the rescue again!
Image from: http://picsicio.us/keyword/scorpions%20killer/