Monday, August 27, 2007

Booktender's Six Handy Steps #1, Part 2

See What Needs to be Done

Now you've been working through seeing what's up in your life. You're looking at how career and "real life" intersect and diverge. Now it is time to embrace it.

"If you are poor, you first must accept you are poor." I wish I could remember who said it. It could have been Mother Theresa, it could have been Oprah, heck, it could have been me on a good day. Either way, you must accept where you are. Stop the "shoulds," and erase the word "but" from your language, set aside frustration and anger for a few minutes.

Just Be.
Be the person with a new car
Be the person whose kid is on the honor roll
Be the person whose brother-in-law is an alcoholic
Be the person who just had a divorce
Be the person who was just promoted
Be the person who keeps accidentally kicking the tangle of wires underneath the reference desk and unplugging everything.
Just Be.
Just Be Who You Are.

This is where you are right now in your life. And right now it is the perfect place. It may not be a comfortable place. It may not be an ideal place. It is a place of self-awareness. A place where there is no need to avoid or excuse any action or inaction. From this place you can begin to take stock of what is and is not working around you and what is and is not in your power to change.

Anywhere you are is good for this moment.

If you were to tumble into a hole and needed to get out right away you would be in a very uncomfortable place. Fortuantely, you wouldn't waste your time berating yourself for stepping into the hole, the person who put the hole there, or your higher power for cursing you into the hole. If it's important to get out of there fast, you very quickly accept that you are in a hole and immediately make plans to evacuate said hole.

If you win the lottery you don't just sit around staring at the Great Big Check. You accept that you have a responsibility to deposit the check and make other arrangements for the use of the money. You don't sit around wondering what you would do if you won the lottery anymore. You accept it and get on with it! At least I hope you do!

So it is with our careers and home. Only when we admit that we are in a situation, good or bad, can we make appropriate decisions about our next steps. Only then can we truly free our minds to See What Needs To Be Done.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Currently on the Cubicle Clips

American Library Association Code of Ethics

A list of prospective displays

LED flashlight in case of power outage in a room with no windows

2 pictures of the cats

1 list of Ragathan's rules of librarianship with three postits attached:
a. the words Context and Purpose
b. Shock of the New (as idea, not art) and the word Framework
c. Confrontational -> Conversational

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Important things to remember about relationships and/or marriage

My father passed away in June. My parents had been married 51 years. In the past few years I've really begun to realize how wise they were. I also realized I hadn't passed on that wisdom to some very important young people in my life. So here is what I have, so far:

Your spiritual relationship with God/a higher power/miraculous scientific principal comes first. Then marriage maintenance. Then any kids. If your marriage is strong you have energy left over for the kids. And my parents always pointed out that marriage maintenance was something you had to really work at. Every day.

Never, ever call each other a name. I'm not talking about sweet-talk. I mean name calling and labeling. Don't do it. Say "I'm not understanding you!" instead. "Even, I feel mad because of "

Always plan ahead with your finances. What will your upcoming expenses be in the next 5 years? A car? A baby? College for the kids? Make a plan to set aside for that plus set aside x amount each month for emergencies (handy tip: I still have $50 each month automatically moved from checking to savings. It really helps. Especially in this economy where you can't get a good percentage rate on anything)

Yes, still have 3 months living expenses squirreled away in case a job goes south. (I don't know if I'll ever reacy that! ARgh!)

Find something to do together that enriches you both. For my folks it was the ministry of music in my growing-up church. And regular attendance at the symphony. For Dad it was the history of the automobile (and Mom enjoyed the outings to the car shows so it worked out)

You have a right to all the money you earn, inherit, or win. With that right comes the responsibility to use that money wisely.

Keep your sense of humor - even if you're dying inside.

Rejoice each day. Feel any other feelings that day, too. Mostly, rejoice in the day.

The only secrets you should keep are presents and any thoughts you might have about ever calling your spouse a name - or worse! ;-)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Six Handy Steps: See What Needs to Be Done - Step 1 part 1

The first planning step is See What Needs To Be Done. Pretty obvious, right?

Don't be so sure. To truly see what needs to be done you must be aware of what's going on inside you, around you, and what's just around the corner. It's easy to be lulled into complacent acceptance of our routines. Go to work, do your public service hours, order books, reboot computers, chase toddlers, punch out, repeat.

You can live that way. And if you're living that way for long, you're probably making yourself nuts. If you work full-time for 5 days a week, the majority of your waking hours are spent getting ready for work, going to work, working, driving home, and decompressing after work.

A person could get into a real grind. Grinding only lasts for so long before you start feeling a little antsy, maybe a bit crabby, overworked, underappreciated, and downright mad. You feel like your life and your Self is controlled by your work.

Here's the good news. Your life and Self are not controlled by your job. You have control over how you do your job, within safety and sanity limits, of course. The antsy/crabby/mad feelings are important clues. They're clues to a life out of balance. And since our job is part of our life, it's likely to be a big part of that imbalance.

Begin by really questioning how you're feeling right now. Work isn't the only thing that might make a person feel crabby, overworked, and mad. There are lots of other reasons. Your kids, the love of your life, your famly, the weather, your physical abilities...the list is very long. Look at it all.

If the problem's at home you have to take care of what's at home. And sometimes it bleeds over into work time. Welcome to the human race. If the problem's at work you may find it bleeds over into home time. Again, a big 'ol welcome to the human race. And sometimes the problems are in both areas.

I think you know what I'm going to say about that.

So grab your pencil and paper. Think about your home. Think about specific family members and tasks. Write down your feelings about them right now. Joyful? Depressed? Overwhelmed? Bored? No need to write names, just start listing the feelings.

Now do it for work. Pinpoint which tasks make you feel best, which make you feel angry. And be sure to rate your annoyance and boredom levels. You'll find it revealing.

Next: Your feelings and how you think.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

What I'm Reading

READING

Keeping the world away : a novel by Margaret Forster
I kind of like this one but I couldn't say why. It's about a painting that affects the lives of women throughout the 20th century. Apparently all the women, in the words of Greta Garbo "Want to Be Alone." And they're not just talking about a room of their own. These women are bothered by the world. It seems to be keeping my attention, but I can't figure out why. The first character is a ninny but it's interesting how she falls apart.

LISTENING
Cradle and all by James Patterson
My first foray into Patterson-land. I say, that guy does have a hook, doesn't he? No wonder the kids all dig him.

VIEWING
AAAAARRRRGH! I confess. I've been watching Big Brother 8 on CBS. I think I finally figured out why I like these stupid last-person-standing reality shows. It's the strategy. I suck at strategy. I couldn't live my life always strategizing how to use someone or get ahead. But I appear to enjoy watching other do it. Man, what a voyeur I am!

CURRENT MUSCAL MOTIF
Obscure musical numbers from little-known musicals in which I performed. "All I want is a room in Bloomsbury..." lalala

TBR
Chain reaction by Dee Davis
Yipee! Nuclear disasters! Secret government Agencies! IDAHO!!!! Does it get any better?

Monday, August 06, 2007

New TBR

Drake Sisters books by Christine Feehan
I'm not into vampires but this sounds ok. Witchcraft I can deal with. Although the series apparently starts with a short story, I'll just dive right in with The twilight before Christmas. Christmas? meh, not my holiday. But c'mon, California climate, witchcraft, seven sisters, an earthquake that releases horrors? And a hero with the name MATT GRANITE??? This will be a must-investigate for me!

The Reincarnationist by M.J. Rose
M.J. Rose is mega-hot right now so I guess it's time for me to read one of hers. And it sounds very close to some of the apocalyptic SF I enjoy. But with a romantic twist. A time-travel evil vs. good twist. Works for me. Onto the list she goes. Bonus: I can't find a mention of vampires in the reviews.

Category 7 by Bill Evans
Sounds iffy on the writing but I do love an apocalyptic thriller. And I've now learned I have a new way to describe myself: "Apocalyptic Thriller Weather Nerd."

Thanks Publisher's Weekly!

The highly sensitive person's survival guide : essential skills for living well in an overstimulating world by Ted Zeff
Recommended by a coworker. Probably a good companion to other books I've read recently about emotional sensitivity, disease management, sleep, etc.

Rejected for the Reading List
Eat, pray, love : one woman's search for everything across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert
I think I'm just tired of this stuff

Quandry du Jour

Being a librarian you sometimes find yourself stuck with burning questions that you don't have time to research. Here are my current ones:

Middlesex
Why is Middlesex (by Jeffrey Eugenides) still one of the bestselling and most-checked out library books? It seems to be on the reading list of everybody and their dogs. I confess, when it first came out I put it on my reading list. And there it has sat for years.

Maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm just burned out with the endless debate about GBLTQ/Heterosexual, Religious/Personal sexuality good/evil/neither, nature/nurture, and what kind of activist stance should one take about any of it. Or maybe the Smyrna genocide attacks in 1922 are just too, too sad for me to even think about. Or my boredom with coming-of-age novels anyway for the most part.

I suspect it truly is a great piece of literature. And I think it's good that people are thinking about all of the topics above, even coming-of-age novels. It's just with the current political and religious climate I find this book an unusual choice.

Any maybe that's it. Maybe I'm underestimating my public. Maybe the religious and political climate isn't as far to the right as I think. More to ponder, more to ponder...

Jodi Picoult
I tried to listen to Vanishing Acts. I really did. Maybe it's not the time for me to listen to poignant tales about a girl's relationship with her Dad and family secrets. Or maybe she's just too sad for me. Maybe I'll revisit her in the future because my readers sure like her.

Erotica
Is Erotica being mainstream really a good thing (see Publisher's Weekly 7/9/07?) What's the point of erotica if it isn't just a little...forbidden? Big surprise that it sells and sells. Duh.

Most importantly, what does this mean to me, Ms. Fiction Librarian???

There, those are my quandries du jour.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

On Time Management and Planning

"I’ve learned that task management is its own overhead, and the task you no longer have to manage reduces that overhead to an absolute minimum."
Karen Schneider, Free Range Librarian, Getting Things Done Sat, Jun 9 2007 7:59 AM

This has stuck with me for two months now. I think, as usual, she got it right. Librarians have all kinds of conflicting priorities. We rush from user to user to task to user again. And then the ILS goes down. How do we get anything done?

By planning. Taking time to plan. Spend a whole day planning if you must. Just plan.

You are in control of You. You decide how you will handle tasks. You decide which methods work for you. You investigate new ways of handling tasks. You even look at situations or projects and realize that you can do the most important stuff and do it well. You may even find out that the less important stuff just doesn't need to be done at all.

It takes time to do that kind of studying of the situation and your methods. Take that time. Use tons of paper. Type until your fingers go numb. Use your research skills and learn about all kinds of methods. Try whatever looks good until you find what works for you.

And when you do find a good method, revisit it regularly. Never let a month go by without revisiting your plan at least once. Things change priority. You may stumble upon a new way of doing things. What you thought was important may not be that important after all.

Below are Booktender's Six Handy Steps for keeping control of your work and keeping your sanity in libraryland:
  1. See what needs to be done
  2. Release pre-conceived notions about who should do it or how it should be done
  3. Make a plan for doing what needs to be done
  4. Share your plan
  5. Follow your plan
  6. Repeat

If you hit a roadblock along the way you've just been given important information. Look at the roadblock, look at the plan. Use the important new information to start again at step one.

If you don't hit a roadblock, you were right! You win!

I'm going to try to look more closely at Booktender's Six Handy Steps in upcoming posts. Unless I have to revise my plan. I'll keep you posted

Thursday, August 02, 2007

PLAN IT DANG IT!!!!

This goes out to all you folks in libraryland. Other professions may use or ignore this at their discretion.

PLANNING IS AN ACCEPTABLE USE OF TIME
FAILURE TO PLAN IS A WASTE OF TIME
and it annoys the heck outta me.

Thanks, I feel better now.