The Organization of Information
My husband (a philosophy professor) and I (a librarian and former bookstore manager) just finished cataloging our entire book collection into LibraryThing.Â You can only imagine the number of bookshelves in our house, right?Â For Valentine’s Day I gave him an LT lifetime subscription and he gave me one of their CueCat scanners, and we spent several days scanning, adding, and tagging with reckless abandon.Â (This really does relate, I promise!)Â I’ve mentioned before that I work at a “one person library”, so even in the time between semesters I have to keep the library open, cooling my heels in a mostly empty building.Â Sure, a few students come in to check email or Facebook, but in general the month of May is Very Slow, especially for someone who likes to stay busy.
By now Iâ€™ve caught up with all my work, and Iâ€™m starting to invent projects.Â Iâ€™ve read several books that faculty have recommended to students, the better to talk about them when students have questions.Â (I just finished 1776 by David McCullough, and am currently plodding my way through A History of the American Revolution by John Richard Alden.Â McCullough is a much more entertaining read, if youâ€™re curious.)Â Iâ€™ve done some book shifting to make the shelves more balanced, in the hope that my miniscule book budget for next year will actually get passed.Â I finished the dreaded Professional Development Plan.Â I’m pondering articles I’d like to write but wonder if I can ever get them published.Â Unfortunately though, since I work a ten-hour day, I run out of library-related projects fast.Â So Iâ€™ve started to get creative.
The one thing my position doesnâ€™t have me doing is the cataloging, which of course is what I *would* be doing in a perfect world.Â So I came up with another great idea â€“ not precisely work related but close enough for my purposes.Â I decided to add Library of Congress call numbers to all of our books in LibraryThing.Â I donâ€™t have access here to OCLCâ€™s Connexion or Catalogerâ€™s Desktop, but what the heck.Â There are plenty of free resources at my disposal.Â And I do want to stay reasonably current with the cataloging trends, because someday, somewhere, Iâ€™d really like to get back into tech services full time.Â My husband, who actually organizes his philosophy books by *authorâ€™s birthday*, thinks Iâ€™m nuts.Â But Iâ€™ve actually been enjoying myself immensely.Â It hones my research skills when I run across a title Iâ€™m not familiar with.Â It encourages me to familiarize myself with the Library of Congress online catalog. It makes me want to take some of the cataloging seminars offered by Lyrasis!
So, two questions I’d like to offer up:
1) When you hit a down-time (if you ever hit a down-time), how do you keep yourself busy?
2) More importantly, how do you keep current in an area where you donâ€™t spend your day-to-day time, but would if you had your choice?