Summer Reflections

Happy Thursday, dear readers! I hope you are having a lovely week and have a wonderful weekend planned. I feel like I’m still recovering from ALA Annual, which was wonderful and exhausting. (Thanks to everyone who stopped by my poster presentation and had a chat. It was a lot of fun!). Today, I just want to share a few thoughts and links before I head off into the 3-day weekend. Summer is a great time for reflection and hopefully some of this post will be useful to you.

Can you believe half the year has gone by already? I can’t. Time is just going too fast, even when I’m bored! I’m going to take some time this weekend to check in with the progress I’ve made this year and what I still want to do with the coming 6 months of the year. Because as we all know, time can just get away from us whether we’re at work or at home. So I think this article was very timely and had some good advice on how to prioritize your life before your manager does it for you. No one (or at least very few) wants to be all work and absolutely no time for anything else. So take some time to think about what you have control over and how you can make your job work for you. It’s worth it.

On the flip side, I know that I’m often drained mentally after work and feel like curling up with a cup of tea and not doing much else the rest of the evening. But I know I should work on my projects and the things that I love to do outside of work, even if it can be hard. So I liked this idea to set aside 20 minutes for personal projects to avoid crashing as written about on Lifehacker. It’s kind of a different take on having an after-work ritual to separate work from home. I need to implement this.

And, of course, we can’t have a post without a little bit of fun. At ALA, I was reminded how many librarians are also cat lovers so thought I’d share this post from The Well-Appointed Desk, Fashionable Friday: Feline Fur-vor. Adorable, especially the copy cat mug.

Also, 3D printing is both interesting and confusing to me, but I can totally get behind this use of a 3D printer: duck waddles and swims with 3D-printed foot. Adorable!

I hope you have a lovely day and weekend filled with all good things. Allons-y!

Work, Goals, and the Light at the End of the Term

Happy Friday, dear readers! I hope that your week has gone well, you’ve accomplished what you’ve set out to do, and you have something fun planned for the weekend. At my university, we can see the light at the end of the quarter as we are done to the final week of classes and then the hurdle of finals week. Summer is almost here, even though it looks like January outside with all the fog and high clouds, and we can almost taste it. So today, I just wanted to share a few thoughts and links on work, goals, and the light at the end of the term.

I’m exhausted and I don’t think I’m the only one. I love teaching at a university, but by the end of the spring quarter I’m pretty much spent. Spring quarter is when all the annual reports are due and everyone is trying to wrap up every project all at once. It is enough to make anyone exhausted and overwhelmed. When I came across this post, It’s not just about working harder, you also need to work faster, I thought I couldn’t have read it at a better time. We don’t just need to work longer, we need to work faster. And to me faster doesn’t mean we run around it a panicked miasma, making everyone around us feel panicked, too. Instead, we channel all our energy, remove all the drama and distractions, and just get work done. Be efficient. Don’t complain about having to do work. Just do the work. It works. I’m not saying I can work full throttle all the time, but it does help to crank out the work at the end of the quarter, especially when I can see the light at the end of the term. (Yay, summer break!)

Doing this at work means we have more time for outside projects, although we have to remember that you can’t achieve your goals if you’re never working towards them. Great, short post by Lifehacker. It reminds me that it is easy to have a goal in my head, but much harder to continue to work towards that goal. But it is worth it because who doesn’t like to level up in achievements? And we all define those achievements in different ways, which is the fun part. Dream big, then get working. Just don’t forget to take a nap once in a while, too.

On the design front, I’m having way too much fun playing with Coolors: the super fast colour schemes generator for cool designers! (Their words, not mine.) It is easy, fast, and a lot of fun to play around with different color schemes. A great tool for those who feel overwhelmed by color choices when designing something new. I’m thinking this might be great for designing our new exhibit color palettes and marketing materials for the library.

And, because it will be summer soon, I just had to share two Joy the Baker recipes that sound amazing: blueberry cheesecake ice cream and strawberry cookies and cream cake. I will have to make these for summer parties this year.

I hope you have a lovely weekend, dear readers, full of fun and play and whatever you want. I’ll be back soon with some more news and notes. Allons-y!

Bits and Bobs

Happy Friday, dear readers! Do you ever feel like all you have to talk about are bits and bobs that somehow make sense in your brain, but don’t really seem to have a common thread that would make sense to anyone else? Yeah, this post is kinda like that. I just have a few things to share with you that may or may not be useful for you or your patrons, but they made sense to me, so I’m sharing them now.

I love books. No surprise there. I’m also a fan of adorable and useful infographics, so I had to share this one from BookPal. Yay, books!

Presented By BookPal

If you are trying to teach students that all websites that end in .edu, .org, or .gov are not necessarily great sources of up-to-date, accurate information, you might like this post from Gizmodo on a hidden treasure trove of dead .gov websites. Both fun to look at from a design/history standpoint and as a potential resource for teaching. Also, wow for some of those URLs.

As we get into the weekend, I felt like I had to share this Lifehacker article on the need to stop working on your day off. Like, really, just stop it and go out and do something fun. It will make you more productive at work, promise. I for one am looking forward to napping, reading some new books I just got from the library, and maybe even some baking this weekend. What are you looking forward to this weekend?

I hope you have a lovely weekend full of fun and relaxation. In the coming weeks, I’ll be posting about graphic design and libraries. Hopefully you’ll find some of it useful. Allons-y!

Reminders and Work

Happy Friday, dear readers! Today the library faculty at my university are off on a faculty retreat (aka longest meeting of the year) to get our plans in place for the next academic year. Being a quarter campus, our fall term starts next week and so I think everyone is getting a bit of the start of the term panic. I’m looking forward to the new year and am hoping my class in the fall goes well. Fall will always be the start of the new year for me since my calendar and plans still revolve around the school calendar. So I thought it would be a good idea today to share a trio of articles to perhaps inspire you and your colleagues at this arbitrary start to another year.

While this blog often has a lot to do with reporting on libraries and archives and work in there, I often find some of the most useful articles for me come from blogs that are not from within the library or archives world. Lifehacker is one of my favorite, although only in RSS feed; I find their website interface overwhelming and distracting. But that is neither here nor there. They’ve been having some really wonderful reminders about building reputation and being success at work in the recent months, so I wanted to share two with you.

I really liked this short post on using the “Old Faithful” method to build your reputation, probably because I both love Yellowstone and wish that more people were as reliable as Old Faithful. The advice given here is so true. It may not be as flashy to always be dependable and show up day in and day out, as opposed to grabbing the spotlight once or twice every year with something grand, but it is the way to become a valuable colleague and employee. I will take someone dependable over someone who gets a stupendous idea now and then any day of the week because I know the dependable person will get their work done and I won’t be left scrambling or trying to cover for them at that last minute.

The post reminded me of a book I just finished reading, Mason Currey’s Daily Rituals: How Artists Work. The descriptions of the routines that many of the artists have/had were mundane and regular. Those were the ones who seem to produce a lot of work, too. (Always exceptions to the rule, of course, but I’m not arguing about that here) I think that is a good reminder for all of us that people notice our routines, they notice if we keep our word or not, and they act accordingly.

An earlier Lifehacker article reported in a similar vein that the most important trait of successful people: conscientiousness. So let’s all try to be as conscientious as we can in our work. We’ll get more done with less fuss and stress. We might even have time for some fun along the way.

I know from talking with many of my friends and colleagues in the library field that while we often love our work and find it fulfilling, we also want to time to pursue other interests and hobbies. But, as I think many people can relate to, we are tired after work and don’t feel like we have time to do anything else but crash. So I really appreciated this article reminding us to spend more time on energizing activities so we have the drive to pursue our interests outside of our work.

I hope you have a lovely weekend, dear readers. I hope you have the time and energy to do something fun and the time to also relax. I’ll be back next week, most likely with thoughts on starting the new quarter. Wish us luck. Allons-y!

Working Better

Happy Friday, dear readers! I hope your week has gone well and you have a lovely weekend planned. I’m looking forward to some relaxation this weekend. But before we get to the weekend, we have to get through Friday. I’ve always found Fridays to be both a great day to get a lot of things done (nothing like an impending weekend to fire up the desire to get as many things off one’s plate as possible) and a day that requires a constant fight of inertia (because, really who wants to work when it is almost the weekend?). So I thought it fitting to share some articles about how to work better so we can get done what we need to and enjoy our weekend free from worrying about work. So let’s get to it.

I think we can all agree that sometimes email can be overwhelming. I know I’m not a fan of having a full inbox of emails. So I was happy to see this post on Lifehacker about the key to better work? Email less, flow more. I am a total convert to not having my email on all day long and only checking email a few times a day. I’ve told my colleagues that I don’t have email on all the time so if it is an emergency, or if they just need a really quick answer, they should call me. I love having less interruptions from the constantly updating inbox and also feel like a huge productivity pro when I can quickly run through all my emails when I do log in instead of breaking up my workflow on my other work. How do you like to manage your email, dear readers, and how do you manage to get into your flow state at work?

I think we can all agree that part of working better is knowing how to avoid burnout. I love this suggestion for doing what you love regularly and not having an existential crisis about trying to figure out what you really love to do. Great quick tip and pretty easy to implement, especially if you are not wasting all your time with email (see above).

Finally, I recommend this read on the biggest pitfalls of long term goals and how to beat them. We may be way past new year’s day, but that doesn’t mean we still don’t have long-term goals that we are working on. I really like these tips as they are concrete and I can relate to all the stages that the article outlines. Hopefully you find some good take-aways that will help you with your next long term goal.

I think the most important thing to remember to working better is to focus on your most important tasks and figure out how to optimize the other tasks you have to do (like email, for example) so they don’t take up the best, most productive hours of your day. For me, single tasking, batching emails, and writing down daily to do lists help me work better. Having lists of longer term goals and sitting down each month to determine what progress I’m making and where I need to go next, help me with my longer term goals. Finally, for me, figuring out how to fuse some of my non-library passions with the work I do in the library is re-energizing my passion for librarianship and scholarship more generally, which I think is a great thing.

So, dear readers, how do you work better?

I hope you have a wonderful, relaxing (and possibly even email-free weekend), dear readers. I’ll be back soon with more news and notes. Allons-y!

Life, Quiet, and Exams Week

Happy Friday, dear readers! I hope that your week has gone well and that you have a relaxing weekend planned. I’m looking forward to the weekend after this last week of exams on campus. The end of a school term always seems like a good time to look back and take stock of what I’ve learned and what I want to implement in the coming terms, both in terms of teaching and life, so I have a few articles to share with you today in that vein. Let’s get to it.

One of the things that teaching always reminds me about is that, in order to be a good teacher, you have to a balance of empathy and not caring if your students like you. You need empathy to relate to your students and learn from them and help them grow. But you also really need to have a thick skin and standards that you expect them to achieve in order to be a professional and fair instructor. I have never been a “cool” person and never will be a cool person. I’m a librarian who teaches at a state college and is serious about typography and letterpress and research. I’m so not even near the cool meter and that is totally okay with me. So I don’t need to be the cool professor that everyone likes or the professor who everyone likes because my class is an “easy A.” I can be the empathetic, earnest, awkward, occasionally funny professor who really wants her students to learn and will spend extra time helping outside of class, but also has explicit, clear guidelines on what it takes to pass my class and no, the fact that the computer ate your paper that you had 8 weeks to write is not a valid excuse professor, too. So in that spirit, I share Lifehacker’s article on how to stop giving a f*ck about what people think. Be bold, live your life, be kind, and be who you are, even if it is not in anyway “cool.”

Also, while you’re reading about ways to be okay with living your life on your terms, you might want to click over and read 10 painfully obvious truths everyone forgets too soon. I love break week because work slows down and I have more space to think and plan for the next quarter, both at work and in life and the projects that I want to get done and also the spaces I want for creating outside of work. It’s never too late or too early to start being and living how you want to and remembering that while we are not our jobs, we can become our work so create the work you want to be.

Finally, if all this talk about work is stressing you out, check out the busy person’s guide to reducing stress. Stress is totally a killer to calm, quiet, and peace in all aspects to life, so stress reduction is really important. I’m all for petting a purring cat, having a cup of tea, doing some yoga, and reading a good book. Oh, and dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is good, too.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend, dear readers. I’ll be back soon with more news and notes. Allons-y!

Staying Current

Happy Friday, dear readers! I hope that you’ve had a lovely week. My week has been productive, but very busy. So when I was thinking of what to write about for this post, I thought a lot about what I do to stay current with trends, technology, and news in librarianship. I think it can be very easy to get overwhelmed with all the avenues of information in the world and it is definitely easy to feel information overloaded, too. So today, I thought I’d share some of my favorite blogs and websites that I use to keep updated on things. This list is by no means comprehensive and I’d love to hear about your favorite sites in the comments. So let’s get to it.

For tech news and tips, my favorite source is (no surprise) Lifehacker. The writers post timely articles and good snippets of advice for technology and productivity. While I don’t always agree with everything posted, it is a great one-stop-shopping for tech news.

I’m also a fan of Gizmodo, but less for tech news and more for the crazy stories about technology and other random pop culture things. Definitely a must for skimming through at the end of the day for me.

Also, I adore danah boyd’s work and blog: danah boyd ǀ apophenia. Lots of interesting writing and great research. I’m looking forward to reading her new book, It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens.

In library-focused blogs, I really enjoy INFOdocket for keeping up with what’s happening all over the world in libraries. I’m also a fan of Stephen Abram’s Stephen’s Lighthouse, mainly for the interesting infographics and graphics he shares. And it is always good to remember that really important news items and trends are blogged about by multiple blogs so you are sure to catch a piece of noteworthy news somewhere. (I remind myself of that so I don’t try to keep up with 500 blogs!)

I really do love typography, so naturally the I Love Typography blog is a favorite of mine.

For lovely, clever comics that come in handy for information literacy classes, my favorite is definitely xkcd. Always awesome when there is a new biology one I can use.

And because I love his work and his blog is a bunch of fun to, I highly recommend Neil Gaiman’s Journal.

A newer favorite thing is definitely Welcome to Night Vale. We enjoyed listening to the podcast driving down to see family this holiday season and always look forward to a new episode. I’d recommend giving it a chance, especially the summer reading program.

Finally, I love to bake and therefore love Joy the Baker’s blog. Tons of wonderful recipes to bake and to share. Our student assistants at the library are particularly fond of the chocolate bundt cake.

I leave you with 28 beautiful quotes about libraries from Stephen’s Lighthouse. Absolutely lovely.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend full of whatever you want it to be. I’ll be back next week. Allons-y!

Friday Tips

Happy Friday, dear readers! I hope that your week has gone well and you have a lovely weekend planned. Today I have a grab bag of tips to share as we get into both the happiest (and sometimes most stressful) part of the year. So let’s just get into it.

Airport travel seems inevitable this time of year. Unless, of course, you find yourself on a road trip. But if you are flying, you should really check out Lifehacker’s article on how to make the airport less crappy and more fun. I completely agree that airport time is much better if you are not rushed and if you already know the layout of the airport. Also, if the airport has free wifi, that always makes things better.

While a lot of us are getting into the holiday mood, we still have to be productive at work and so I share Lifehacker’s article on a 3 step alternative to a machine like workday. This really is a must read and more importantly, a must implement strategy. I’m a huge fan of single tasking and creating a schedule, when possible, that matches your productivity and energy peaks throughout the day. While this is not always possible with meetings and service point schedules, it is good to maintain an overall balance so you can get more done without falling into the trap of burnout. If nothing else, step away from your email. You’ll be amazed how much more you get done without the constant notification of an incoming message every few minutes (and you’ll also be able to respond in a timely manner; waiting a few hours for a response is not the end of the world and if it really is urgent, the sender will call you). Also, remember to breathe!

If you are in higher education, or just read the news headlines, you can’t escape hearing about MOOCs. So it is great that you can find a Compendium on MOOcs by Educause. I still need to go through all the resources, but it is really a good place to get more information about MOOCs and educate yourself if your library is considering implementing and/or supporting MOOCs.

Finally, I had to share this Kickstarter for the Book House. Yay for bookstores and helping independent bookstore owners!

I hope you have a fantastic weekend full of relaxation, fun, and good food. I’ll be back next week. Allons-y!

Productivity and Other Stuff

Happy Friday, dear readers! I hope your week has gone well and you are ready for a fun weekend. Today I want to share a couple of productivity articles and a couple of other links to blogs and posts I’ve enjoyed recently. Hopefully you’ll enjoy them, too. So let’s just get into it.

First, a couple of productivity articles. I quite like this idea to set aside prefrontal Mondays for thinking and planning. Makes a lot of sense and I’m going to see how it works in action for me on this coming workweek. Although it will have to wait until after Monday since Monday is happily a holiday! (Also, Happy [early] Veteran’s Day.)

I also enjoyed the article on Marie Curie’s best productivity tricks. Good advice for anyone in navigating the political environment when trying to get things done and a good reminder to always be professional.

And then on to my hat tips to some excellent blogs and posts. You should go read does this sound like fandom to you? Great post and really, we all should be helping to create spaces where it is safe to be a fan, love fandoms and fanfic, without worrying about getting bullied. Really, what’s up with that? (Also, another note, I’m incredibly biased about you going and checking out this blog as it is written by one of my best friends who also happens to be married to one of my other dear friends whose blog I told you to check out on Tuesday. Just ’cause I’m biased, doesn’t make it not a good post to read and a fun blog to subscribe to).

My other online shout-out is to the new blog, Stories for my wife. Go to read it for a couple of lovely short stories written by a librarian and archivist and creative writer. (Again, incredibly biased about this one, too, as it is written by my husband. Again, just ’cause I’m biased, doesn’t mean it isn’t a lovely read.)

Finally, for happy thoughts of vacation and island fun, check out the photo below:

Moa at Poipu Beach

Moa at Poipu Beach

Have a wonderful weekend full of whatever you’d like it to be full of. I’ll be back next week. Allons-y!

Grab Bag of Tips for Friday

Happy Friday, dear readers! Can you believe that we’ve finished up a week in November already? I can’t. Anyway, today’s post is a grab bag of tips and interesting reports that I wanted to share today. No real theme other than I thought these were interesting and/or useful and wanted to share.

This Lifehacker article is both useful and something you could do this weekend: how to make your entire internet life more secure in one day. Always good to be up on internet security.

For a couple of reports that I recently read (and really enjoyed), I thought I’d share California Digital Library’s CDL Strategic Themes and CDL Annual Report 2012-2013. I’m super-biased when it comes to the CDL and the OAC because I’ve never had anything but good experiences with the people there, our university archives is part of the OAC, and I really just think they are doing an awesome job at all their programs and are super-generous with sharing and helping out other, smaller institutions (like ours). So it was great to read a couple of documents that were easy to understand and outlined both accomplishments and goals for the coming year. I can’t wait to see what else gets rolled out and am looking forward to getting more of our archival documents into the OAC in the coming year. Nice work CDL.

I thought this was a nice article on 3 mental tricks to deal with people who annoy you. We all get annoyed, but these are some ways to at least downgrade the annoyance.

Also, because I really do enjoy being productive and getting things done, I wanted to share this infographic on how to productive. It’s quite a lovely infographic and distills a lot of very good advice into one easy to read graphic (which I know is the point of all infographics, but this one actually works).

I hope you have a wonderful weekend and I’ll be back week with more. Allons-y!