Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Some time to think while I got Pandora running

I discovered Pandora, and when I am at my desk working on the computer, I often have it on. If you have not discovered Pandora, you may want to give it a spin. You basically enter a song or an artist, and it tries to find music similar to what you ask for. Most of the time it gets it right. Once in a while I wonder, "now why did it pick such and such." It has some options for sharing, but not something I am interested in now. Anyhow, I am disgressing.

I taught my first class of the semester last week. It went well overall, even if the Multimedia Services people botched my reservation for a technology cart that I was going to use to teach the BI session at a teacher's location. As luck would have it, I was able to get the cart in question, but only because they happened to have one when I went over to find out why my cart had not been delivered. Since it was an evening class, the cart had to be returned to the Academic Computing Lab, and the lady at the front desk said she would take care of it, make sure it was put away. I should know better than to trust someone after hours. Two days later the Multimedia people call asking me if I still have the cart. I explain where I left it and with whom and what time, and what I was told. Apparently, someone else had a cart that night too, and two carts were returned at the same time. One got moved, and they did not know who's got moved. I had to go personally to Multimedia to doublecheck. I think they got things straight now. However, it is clear they need to fix their online reservation system. From now on, I am walking there personally if I need another reservation. Long term though, I am going to propose we purchase our own unit for the library; all we would need is a cart with a portable projector and a computer with wireless capability. It would add to our mobility since many of the classrooms in the older building are not computer equipped (heck, not even a projector). Newer classrooms have at least an instructor station, so that works fine. We'll see. At any rate, the class went well. It was a second semester composition class working on topics of globalization. Wal-Mart was the current topic they were working on, with attention to that company's moves in China. We teach classes in our Instruction Room, and we also go to classrooms upon request. We are as mobile as can be. That instructor had a second class late at night, but her second class was in the new building, so there was a computer there with projector. It's amazing how we take things like good technology for granted, and we notice when it's not there.

Tomorrow, I am teaching another class, a second semester composition. This is my last semi-slow week in terms of teaching. I launch into full mode next week (10 classes). In the meantime, I have been busy with a lot of other things. I am working on the Spring 06 edition of our newsletter. Prepping for classes, scheduling more classes, so on. This is the time of year an Instruction Librarian lives for. On the "trying out new things" department, I am now giving my students my AIM (gypsylibrarian) and Y!IM (scholar_librarian) usernames so they can contact me. It's an experiment based on what I have read about some librarians using instant messaging, mostly for virtual reference. It is a soft launch for me. To be honest, I have not even told my colleagues yet, and when they read this, they will probably either shrug or wonder why I did not mention it. It was an impulse thing. The Yahoo! username is one on my current account (the one that has the e-mail I use here); the AIM is new. At the moment, I usually keep the line open midmorning and after lunch (say from 1p until I leave, which varies from 4p to 7p, unless I am doing a night class, but I would not be online for IM then). I have no idea if this will even work or not. Odds are slim, but hey, it's another way that students might contact me, so it's worth giving it a shot. In my line of work, I do a good share of student consultations. It's another thing I live for, working with students.

So, what else is on my mind? Projects. The big one for the Instruction Unit is remodeling the classroom, which is on stages. I won't say much more on it now, other than I am thankful for the most valuable assistance and advice of our Systems Librarian. I tell him my vision, and he advises me how to make it happen. As for other projects, I have quite a list, and then as I sit to do one thing, I go, "oh yea, I need to do X" or "at some point, I really need to make a new guide for Y." The list grows a bit more every time I do that. Hmm, Talking Heads are on Pandora now (Live version of "Once in a Lifetime"). I do wonder at times how did I get here. Oh, I know the literal way, but more in terms of the path that got me here. Then there is my reading and writing. I am still reading quite a bit, though my professional reading has slowed down a bit. Of course, work trumps blogging. Actually, I have some things for my blogs to post done, so no fear readers, there will be posts. As of late, I am doing more personal notes on books and articles. I have done a couple of online workshops, and I took a moment to go listen to a visiting Fulbright Scholar today. I have the notes on that, and I will try to post by end of week. I am firm believer of taking advantage of opportunities like that on campus.

As for the biblioblogosphere, I have seen a couple of things here and there I wanted to either respond to or blog about. But to be honest, between L2 and ALA, and some of the politics as of late, not really up to it. Not that I have not thought about some things, they have just gone to my personal journal. So, what am I thinking? A magnificent question. Sometimes I feel like I am biting my tongue to remain polite or graceful. Part of it is the belief that you don't say anything if you have nothing nice to say. At this point, I am not sure what I am trying to vocalize. When I started this experiment, it was a journey of exploration, and it still is. But I am finding that it may be better to stick to the side roads rather than using the highways. I am reading a lot of articles with applications to instruction or my subject areas, so readers may see me make notes on those. And there are some small ideas in the cue, just not sure if they will see light of day right away. Personally, I don't worry about when I will get to those and other things in my blogs. But I know there are readers out there (ok, not many, but more than zero, which is what I started out with), and I want to put something out that is good enough for them. The experiment, at this point, seems to be working.

Well, time to go home. I am learning that much of what I do is to live to fight another day. And you know what, I enjoy it. I am trying out some new things in classes, so I may write about those as well. And I have another project, for now I will keep that card close, but if it works out, I will let folks know. And, I am hoping also to go to TLA this year. It's going to be quite a ride, or so I hope.


Mark said...

I like what you write Angel. Do what you can when you can and I, at least, will be happy.

I agree on taking advantage of the campus opportunities. I went to a lecture Monday night even though I felt crappy. It was worth it.

And by the way, please, please, please, if I am ever one of those adding to the noise of the (biblio)blogosphere post a comment or send me a private email. I NEED to be corrected/pointed in the right direction/calmed down/etc on occasion.

Also, wanted to ensure you saw T. Scott's comment in reference to yours at my anniversary post.

Cheers and best as the semester picks up--if rocket-like acceleration can be called "picking up."

Angel, librarian and educator said...

Mark: Well, thanks for stopping by and for the encouraging words. I think some of what I worried about as I got to thinking was about the noise factor. As of late, what I am finding interesting in the biblioblogosphere are the people that go on tangents or draw attention to something different. And don't worry, you know I will comment, though I am not worried you will be adding to that noise. I just don't see it coming from you. I will have to jump over to your blog to take a look at T. Scott's remark.

As for the semester, it has been rocket like, actually a bit more like a tsunami in the sense of suddeness, not devastation. This is the year I am hoping to attend at least one library professional-related conference, so a bit...well anxious is not quite the word. I have been to academic conferences before, so I know some of the drill. Just the natural sense of wonder at going into a new path. In that sense, it's probably a healthy thing.

As always, best and keep on blogging.