Tag Archives: Reference

Library Day in the Life [of the unemployed librarian]: Tuesday

Today turned out to be pretty busy for me for day 2 of Library Day in the Life round 6 :)  Here’s what I did today:

8:00-9:00 – Got up, started the coffee pot and made breakfast for Ava.  Then, I checked my email and got ready to go to Millersville University for a webinar.

9:30-10 – Met up with Library Scenester to get my parking pass and settled into the library classroom (by logging into Twitter and Facebook).  Met another librarian from the Lancaster County Public Library System who graduated with me this past December in Clarion.  We talked about what direction in librarianship we want to take and she told me she would like to get back into Academic Librarianship (heh, me too).

10-10:50 – Listened to “The Joy of Text” webinar sponsored by PaLA CRD.  I tweeted some of what was going on during the session, but I also took some notes.  Before the break we learned:

  • What text messaging is and the definition of SMS.  (I found that this was a kind of unnecessary information considering the audience)
  • Discovered the LYRASIS delicious page, however, we were told that this would be moving sometime in the near future.  In the meantime, there are some pretty interesting links if you are interested in continuing your education on mobile reference services.
  • Reasons why texting and reference makes sense: 1. Phone is favored form of communication. 2. Texting is easier (and quicker). and 3. There is documented evidence of increased usage.
  • Learned about “the cloud.”  Basically, this cloud is the core network that every device that has internet connection bounces off of.  I thought we already assumed that, but now there is a term for it.  This is something that I have been seeing on TV a lot more in ads, now that I am jobless.

10:50-11:05 – BREAK TIME!  Which meant fill up on caffeine at the Starbucks on the G floor of the library (a favorable addition to the building).  I must thank Erin for spotting me the extra dollar for my Almond Joy Latte :D

11:05-12 – Wrapped up the webinar:

  • Vendors offering SMS reference service: Libanswers, Mosio: Text-A-Librarian, Volusion, Library H31p, Altarama, Google SMS (Voice), Guide by Cell, [KGB and ChaCha]
  • Briefly touched on policies/tone of texting, how to be professional and polite and uphold ALA standards.  Also, what are the students’ expectations? However, I would have liked to have seen an example of a library implementing this in their library, maybe an article link.  I think that this could be touched upon a little more for the purposes of the seminar.
  • How to implement: use dashboard service as in Mosio? Or every librarian have a device?  The text service could be used all the time or just during peak hours.  Again, I didn’t really get more than that.  I would have like to have seen libraries that are using this and how it is working.
  • Results May Vary: you may or may not get as many texts as you were expecting (obviously).  But, it becomes an issue when the library must choose a service and sometimes, the pricing is based on how many texts will be going out per month.
  • Best Practices: Provide hours + Availability, FAQs, Policy, Staff training, and Promote/Market the service.  Here, I would have liked how other libraries had marketed the service and how it is working for them.  I would like to see what flat out didn’t work.  I could probably tell you: bulletin board marketing (which was suggested).  While a good idea in theory, students just aren’t seeing it.  Believe me.
  • How to answer texts: Direct complicated texts to email or chat, always use an away message if necessary, send descriptive links OR URLs, keep it simple, and be mindful of text character limits.  However, here again, I would have liked to know how to approach a question.  Should we conduct a deeper reference interview with, say 4, texts?  Or, should we throw assumptions of unlimited texting aside, and stick to one-text answers?

Essentially, I learned that the library is just going to have to come up with some skeleton base that seems appropriate for their particular library- Then, EXPERIMENT.  No one will know how to implement this into libraries if there aren’t people experimenting and writing about it.

12-2:30 – worked on cover letters at the library with my friend and former co-worker (and now library intern), Jacob (whose blog looks startlingly similar to mine..uh oh!  :) ).  He was there for me to complain to when discussing the cover letter.  After a while, I start to forget what I am doing and what job I am applying to.  Right now, I am working particularly hard on this one job application because the description seems to fit my experience and also the direction I want to take.  However, I don’t get too excited: I have enough rejection letters to wall-paper my bathroom.  This isn’t to say that I don’t put in a serious effort into every app that I send out, but I have to remember to keep it light, so to speak.

2:30-3 – Drove to my hair dresser (gotta keep it fresh for any upcoming job interviews).  This time, though, I got a little lost because: a) My new GPS talks extremely low and b) my hairdresser quit the salon and is now doing it out of her house, so I’ve never been there before.  But, I will say, it was a relaxing part of my day, and her new house-salon is beautiful!

3-4 – Enjoyed myself at the salon, I was pampered with coffee, food, and some man (the next haircut client) who entertained my nerdy photography babble  :)

4:30-6:30 – Cooked dinner for Ava, played with her and put her to bed.

6:30-8 – Finished working on my cover letter from earlier and rearranged my CV and added/changed a few things.  Man, this stuff is tedious.

8-Now – Writing this post.  And listening to Pres. Obama in the background talking about this economy.  And I am sitting here thinking, ‘yeah tell me about it.’

*Hope you didn’t fall asleep during that post.  We’ll see what tomorrow brings!*

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Business Reference: How to sort through it

For my Business Reference class, we recently had a question-set assignment where our goal was to find the most up-to-date information and provide the “correct” answer with APA-citation.  Sounds easy enough, right?  Wrong.  I discovered many problems with the assignment to the point I was second guessing myself over and over.  This could be attributed to my OCD-nature as a LS grad student, or what’s more likely is that the questions could have several different answers and I would never know if it was the most up-to-date.

Thus, here are some major sources of frustration:

 

Problem #1: Many of  the questions in the “question-set” were to mimic that of a typical reference question.  They didn’t.

Problem #2: There are so many different resources, which one should I use with the most current information?  Or am I really supposed to look at EVERYTHING?  Is that practical?

Problem #3: I am not very good at Math, nor Statistics…(this speaks for itself).

With my frustration mounting, I decided to contact an old colleague of mine for help, since business reference is his schtick, and he was more than happy to help me (thankfully).  In my paranoid, frantic e-mail, I wanted to address problem #1 (see above, :P ).  I wanted to know if questions such as: “List the revenue and net income for INSERT COMPANY HERE for the past 5 years.  What is the company’s growth rate over each of the last five years based on the total revenue/sales?” were typical.  When I first read this question, I had NO CLUE what any of that meant.  Coming from a humanity background, I didn’t even know what resources would have such information.  I also didn’t think this was a reference question that I would ever see, because I would never DO someone’s homework for them.  I can understand providing the material and the formula to answer this questions, but I would NEVER figure out “growth rate”..see Problem #3: I am not very good at math, and would not trust myself helping to that extent.

Then, Problem #2 struck me.  Gah! How can I possibly sort through all of this information??  How do I know it is the most up-to-date??  The only way I could think to approach this was to just go to a database and check it out.  I figured, if it seems too old, it probably is, and I went with that, no matter how impractical my method seemed.

But it worked!  Here is a list of databases/resources I found most current for business reference (if you library subscribes to it, that is):
1. S&P
2. Mergent
3. Yahoo! Finance (Yes, Yahoo, if you don’t believe me, check it out)
3. COMPUSTAT
4. Datamonitor (great SWOT analysis)

After that, comes the most out-of-date: The U.S. Census.  Obviously.  If it isn’t FactFinder, expect this to be your last resort.  Also, instead of answering Industry questions with the Census, try using their trade-industry website.  For example, if you get a question such as, “how many people are employed in the restaurant industry?,” check out The National Restaurant Association website: http://www.restaurant.org/

This is so much quicker than the Census Industry Statistics page, as you don’t have to choose whether the restaurant you are referring to is full-service, limited-service, etc.  The patron may not know all of that information after you conduct the reference interview.

Then comes the citation.  APA.  Business database.  How?

Here is a link to a wonderful resource for business citations, you can’t even find this stuff on OWL! http://www.sru.edu/academics/library/resources/Pages/mgmt_citing.aspx

So, if you find yourself second guessing how current your information is, take a look at the list above.  OR contact a handy librarian!  After all, that’s what they’re there for   :)

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