Monday, August 31, 2009

Slightly shameful

The most recent additions to "my" juvenile collection are titles reviewed and selected to finish empty budget lines for the 2008-2009 academic year (ending June 30th). After noting release dates, titles pending publication after May 31st were placed in a B & T folder; on hold for purchase at the beginning of the 2009-2010 academic year (beginning July 1st). With permission given to the acquisitions librarian to begin purchasing, they have since become the only books added to the collection over the summer. Even experiencing back-up in cataloging, this is not a good way to begin a new school year ... my new book shelves are empty sans ten titles. Most of the new books have already begun circulating, the patrons expect and peruse the new books on a regular basis.

For weeks I have been dragging three months worth of Booklist and School Library Journal, not to mention print lists of Horn Book newsletters and Publisher's Weekly feeds, back and forth between my office and the resource center hoping for a few minutes to begin the review process. Today, I had an opportunity to spend the afternoon selecting children's books. It was very enjoyable, except for the short window of purchasing due to availability and print runs of juvenile literature. Titles from the July and August journal issues were sold out, out of stock, and awaiting restocking with our jobber. Chances are I will still get many of them, but after repeated instances of OS, I did something I rarely do; something frowned upon from a collection development perspective. I went through the June titles and looked at the stars for purchase.

I did not automatically choose a starred review, but they did get a significant amount of my attention. I am feeling slightly shameful ... but, I will persevere. ;-)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Back to school, me too

Weekend shopping meant sharing stores with parents and children in varying degrees of joy and frustration as they located clothes and shoes for the new school year. While the bulk of my purchases were for the house, I determined a few new items for myself were not remiss. Though shoes were not among my primary purchase (scary looking in some stores), I did get several blouses, sweaters, and/or tops. As is the case with any first-grader, I have something new to wear tomorrow to greet incoming and returning students. Welcome back!

I think I may be spending just a bit too much time with YouTube ...

Friday, August 21, 2009

Ready or not

Freshman arrived on campus today and were unloading cars, picking up pre-ordered text books by the box, and traveling in somewhat happy packs. Several students and their parents were in the library and resource center after lunch. They were excited and asking questions about the collection - and the Ellison dies! I found it both interesting and reassuring; this is the first time I remember seeing students and their parents beyond the library main floor.

For me, today was a day for finishing big tasks, little tasks, and all manner of tasks in-between. Oddly enough, finishing the little tasks that kept piling up made the biggest difference. Starting happily with the little things, I was able to post a dozen entries on the resource center blog featuring children's books, education books, activity books, and educational technology specific books. Moving on to the big things I completed all my scheduling for graduate assistants and student workers for the fall term! Once finished, the in-between things were a challenging way to finish my day. It took close to half an hour to search my email for a password, but I prevailed and the new GA's will be able to access their course email and blog outside of the course management system.

It is another Ghostbusters movie night on AMC, while waiting for Eureka to start I watched the opening scene in the library and ...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Offers or not

As the 2008-2009 Academic year drew to a close, I had a throng of student workers and graduate assistants leave the academy for greener pastures. Beginning in early May and continuing through last week, I have written letters, answered email inquiries, and given references via the phone to prospective employers. It is something I enjoy doing. Blessed with a continuously capable and talented group of student workers I am glad to have a small part in helping them gain employment. The only downside to this scenario is the ultimate necessity of evaluating applicants, conduct interviews, and choose to hire, or pass on hiring, the next group of workers.

This week I had opportunity to speak with a well-qualified group of interested prospective employees for two graduate assistant positions. Each of them brought something unique to the table and my choice, limited to two, was inherently difficult. After careful deliberation I offered the job to my top two and both accepted within an hour of the email notification. I am extremely pleased. I am now in the position of having to write "rejection" letters to the other applicants, not a task that I embrace. When the person is unqualified, the letter often writes itself. In this instance, that is not the case.

I spent some researching samples of candidate "rejection" letters. Though I found more geared to the candidate rejecting an offer, there were a few viable resources:
They are a good starting point. I hope to craft a letter that successfully conveys my respect for the applicants resume and qualifications. It is never enjoyable to receive this type of communication, but I am learning today it is not easy to write one either.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Just a few ARCs

I determined this would be the year where I did not pick up an overabundance of freebies and fripperies from The Stacks. It is a pledge I make yearly, but was actually able to stick with in Chicago. To my eyes there seemed to be fewer exhibitors; I had lunch with an exhibitor who mentioned this was the first time in ten years they were roaming the hall sans exhibit area. Those in attendance brought less free stuff, a good move in my opinion. Do not misunderstand, there were attendees leaving with bags overflowing with marketing toys. I merely found it simpler to resist what was displayed.

But what about books? What about the children's literature ARCs? I picked up only five ... yes, five.
One was a boredom saver, my flight was delayed three times leaving Chicago and at the last minute I put Front and Center in my purse. The third in Catherine Gilbert Murdock's series Dairy Queen and The Off Season, it was a welcome respite from crossword puzzles and CNN.

Late ALA Photos

One more area/topic I have been remiss in posting about is the recent 2009 ALA Annual conference in Chicago. A first time visitor, I found many things to enjoy and gawk at during my stay. On Sunday morning I escaped, had a nice breakfast at a nearby bakery, and walked from The Palmer House Hilton uptown (I think it was up) to the Inter Continental Hotel for an ERIC session. A nice walk along Michigan Avenue, one of the places I passed was a sporting goods shop next to one of a plethora of coffee shops.

With the Stanley Cup playoffs recently over (Go, Pens!), the above window display caught my eye and brought forth a chuckle.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

It's almost that time

Between grading final projects, submitting final grades, and setting up graduate assistant interviews, this has not been the most restful of vacation. Earlier this evening I saw one of the best back-to-school commercials ever; it's heeereee. "Everyone's favorite Staples commercial, back after 15 years!"

Though they have since graduated from high school, and probably college and/or grad school for that matter, I adore the expressions on the faces of those two children. I find myself oddly empathetic of their plight as the school year approaches and my things-to-do-before-school-starts list lengthens and casts a shadow over remaining vacation days.