We Have Our Own TV Show!

Hey Friends!

So this last weekend was a good weekend for television. Sunday was the series premiere of The Librarians, a new series on TNT based off the TV movie series The Librarian starring Noah Wyle. If you haven’t seen the movies, get your hands on them! In the meantime, you can catch the season premiere online here. That’s right, we librarians are  officially cool enough to have our own TV series.

Take your time to process it, I'll be here when you're ready.

Take your time to process it, I’ll be here when you’re ready.

The films follow Flynn Carsen, the Metropolitan Public Library’s newest librarian. What Flynn doesn’t learn until later is this library houses more than books; it has secretly housed and protected ancient relics including The Ark of the Covenant, Pandora’s box, Excalibur and more for hundreds of years. Of course, things get stolen from the museum or something new is discovered and it’s up to a librarian to keep artifacts from falling into the wrong hands, Indiana Jones-eque style!

The first films (in order) are as follows:

The Librarian: The Quest for the Spear (2004)

This came out in 2004. 10 years we librarians have been waiting!

This came out in 2004. 10 years we librarians have been waiting!

The Librarian: Return to King Solomon’s Mines (2006)

THERE BE GOLD IN THEM HILLS

THERE BE GOLD IN THEM HILLS

The Librarian: The Curse of The Judas Chalice (2008)

I wish I dressed that cool every day.

I wish I dressed that cool every day.

Feel like binge watching them this weekend? Me too. Now I just have to figure out how to work it into my schedule…all three movies, the premiere AND the next episode?

I can fit all three movies in my schedule, right? It'll be tricky...

I can fit all three movies in my schedule, right? It’ll be tricky.

Be sure to catch The Librarians on Sundays at 8pm Eastern. Stay warm this holiday season – now TO ADVENTURE!

Justin Brasher, Brash Librarian

 

 

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Brash Jobs: The Job Hunt

Hey, job seekers!

Welcome again to Brash Jobs, my series designed to help you get into the library profession. Are you looking for a library job? Read on! Looking for a job in general? Read on, many of the tips here will apply to any job hunt! Not looking for a job at all? Send it to a friend!

Set your sights on that job!

Set your sights on that job!

So, you’ve finally decided you’re ready to jump into the library profession! Now come some of the harder questions to help you narrow your search down:

  • Where do you want to live?

If you’re happy with the town or city you’re in, by all means search locally. If you’ve always wanted to move or live somewhere else, librarians are fairly portable. (It’s hard finding a city or town that doesn’t have at least one library nearby.)

  • What kind of library do you want to work in?

For the most part, libraries are divided between public libraries and academic. If you haven’t read my previous post on libraries 101, then PLEASE read it first and save yourself many questions. Everything you need or want to know about different libraries will be there! If it isn’t there, you can always post a question below!

  • What area/field/department do you want to work in? 

Are you more into reference and looking things up/helping people? Do you have a knack for computers/tablets/e-readers/devices in general and would like do the more gadget assistance? Maybe you’d like to work in Technical Services where all the behind-the-scenes stuff happens? If you’re in public libraries or elementary school libraries, working with teens or children are also options. This is the part where you have to be really honest with yourself and know what you want. If you can’t stand being around kids, don’t make the children’s librarian job your first choice.

Even if library work is not your exact cup of tea, there are plenty of other jobs available. Libraries still need people on the financial and administrative side as well! I’ve heard plenty of these.

“But I’m a receptionist/aid/assistant, what would a library do with me?”

Library directors need administrative assistants, the perfect fit for you!

“But I was a finance major, a library has no use for me.”

Wrong! Libraries spend lots of money, and they need somebody to keep track of finances and accounting. Where do you think all those books come from?

  • Do you have a specialty?

Depending on what you have experience in, you can be  can help guide your decision. This primarily applies to academic libraries which serve colleges and universities, their students, staff and faculty. Many academic librarians become specialists in an area of knowledge and can have faculty status. Larger institutions can contain several libraries on their campuses that cater to particular schools, including:

  • Medical libraries (For those with a biology/chemistry/pharmacy background)
  • Science libraries (Engineering, architecture, this one is pretty wide)
  • Law Libraries (Paralegals, notaries, retired lawyers, etc)
  • Business Libraries (Anyone with a business background)
  • English/Drama libraries (English, fine arts, theater majors will be right at home)

HOWEVER!

Special skills and talents are also applicable to the public library sector as well. The majority of people who go into library science often went into something else first – in fact, it’s often a second career. Whether it’s the lady who has been in the corporate world for 20 years and is ready for a change, the guy who wanted to attend medical school but changed his mind, or even the 60-something who just isn’t ready to retire yet, we all have skills that we can apply to our library.

If you look at a library as just a company, it’s not different from many businesses. Both require a figurehead – you say CEO, we say library director. Middle management? Budget wars? Fiscal years? Finance department? Board of Directors to report to? IT support? Yup, we librarians have all that, too. A CEO with a million-dollar company and a library director with a million-dollar budget are the same in many ways.

“No way, Justin! Those are totally separate, you can’t compare them at all!”

Oh really? Prove it. Show me these differences. I’ve heard a few nay-sayers try to convince me otherwise, but I’ve yet to have anyone actually bring me something solid.

Still not enough for you? Speaking of million-dollar companies, Forbes magazine ranked librarians 8th place in the 2014 America’s Least Stressful Jobs Report with audiologists taking 1st place this year…who knew? I hope they’ve heard the good news (ba-dum tsk!)

That’s all for this episode of Brash Jobs! If you have questions/comments/observations between now and the next Brash Jobs, please post them below! I just LOVE when people ask questions.

Justin Brasher, Brash Librarian

 

 

 

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Have a Brash Thanksgiving!

Hey Friends!

I figure everyone will be busy for the rest of the week, so I thought I’d take today to wish everyone a great Thanksgiving! Did you give thanks for your fellow librarian? Here are some other things I’m thankful for that can help you start off your thankful list this turkey day:

  • Books
  • E-books
  • E-readers (to read E-books on)
  • Libraries
  • Netflix
  • Smart phones (to read E-books and watch Netflix on)
Okay, it's not THAT bad.

Okay, it’s not THAT bad.

  • On-Demand cable…for shows that aren’t on Netflix yet
  • Family time
  • Friends – both the ones near and far, old and new
  • Co-workers! My new peeps are pretty fantastic
  • My apartment complex gym (I’d be Fat Justin without it)
  • My health in general!
  • Online Black Friday deals (Because 4 am waiting in line at Best Buy is SO 2008)
  • That I could see my brothers and parents earlier this month
  • OMG DESSERT
I'm a pecan fan myself, but still applies.

I’m a pecan fan myself, but still applies.

  • Dress pants that have the elastic waistband (I’ll definitely need that after the holiday)
  • Google
  • Dentists (I had a root canal around this time last year)
  • Gasoline prices being pretty darn low lately
  • My totally sweet awesome new job!
  • My Facebook page which you should totally like if you haven’t already!
  • Running water
  • Freezers with ice makers (Boo ice trays)
  • Washer and dryer hookups (Curse you, laundromat)
  • My blog – so I can share this will all of you!

I’m sure there are plenty more out there, but I don’t want to keep you too long. Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving everyone!

Justin Brasher, Brash Librarian

 

 

 

 

 

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Florida State University Library Shooting

Hey there everyone,

It’s been a pretty sad day today over at my Alma mater,  Florida State University. At about 12:30 am this morning, an armed gunman walked into Strozier Library and opened fire. When Tallahassee Police and FSU Police arrived, the gunman shot at them and was killed.

Thankfully, no students were killed. Three people were injured – one in critical condition, one stable and one already released after being treated on the scene. Given that the library had about 300 students studying for finals, I’d say we’re very lucky the damage wasn’t greater. I have friends and colleagues who work/study in that library, so you can understand how this news really concerned me.

The Tallahassee Democrat has been giving up-to-the-minute information as it comes in on the matter, if you’d like to read more.

 While this a travesty, I’m still very thankful for the rapid response of FSU and Tallahassee Police. FSU quickly put out a text alert to students to warn them:

“*FSU ALERT!* Dangerous Situation! Main Campus – Tallahassee…Seek shelter immediately, away from doors and windows.”

If there’s one thing we librarians are good at, it’s getting information out there! It’s a good reminder that we should all be aware of our surroundings, both librarians and society in general. Has your library or department had a safety meeting lately? Maybe it’s time for a refresher on staying safe!

…Oh, and FSU President John Thrasher announced that the library should be open tomorrow. Talk about hardcore.

Neil deGrasse Tyson, everyone.

Neil deGrasse Tyson, everyone.

Stay safe this week everyone,

Justin Brasher, Brash Librarian

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Library Snapshot Day!

Hey Friends!

For my Texan library lovers who don’t know, today is Texas Library Snapshot Day! What is Snapshot Day, you ask? According to the ALA Snapshot guide,

“Library Snapshot Day provides a way for libraries of all types across a state, region, system or community to show what happens in a single day in their libraries. How many books are checked out? How many people receive help finding a job? Doing their taxes? Doing their homework? This initiative provides an easy means to collect statistics, photos and stories that will enable library advocates to prove the value of their libraries to decision-makers and increase public awareness.”

For full details (including how to start your own Snapshot Day!), you can read it all here on ALA’s website. At first, I thought it was a national library celebration; I’ve since learned that each state has a different day, which you can find here.

Texans, do you have pictures to share? Send them to me on here or on the Facebook page and I’ll feature some on here. In fact, I’ll open it up to all 50 states. If you have any cool library pics, send them my way and show off your library and friends!

That’s all I have for this week, I’m keeping short and sweet since I have Spartan Race coming up! That’s right, another 13 miles of mud, barbed wire, high walls and fire. (And insanity/masochism, depending on how ready you are.)

Justin Brasher, Brash Librarian

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Brash Jobs: Libraries 101

Hey there, friends!

As I’ve started putting together my upcoming series of job posts, I’ve been getting bombarded with questions, comments, concerns, observations, and more. While most of them are from people who are on board with a library job, I get many from people who have no library experience and are on the fence about it. Many of them include:

  • How do I know if a library career is for me?
  • What if I don’t like [insert problem]?
  • What if a library doesn’t have a job for me?
  • What if I don’t have the skills the library is looking for?

WHOA UP, THERE.

I’ll have you know that most of these can be answered just by reading on. Right now, the biggest problem you probably have is that you don’t know what you don’t know. I’ll try to fix that today by breaking down the main types of libraries to help you figure out where you’d be a good fit. Today, I’m going to touch on:

  • Academic Libraries
  • Public Libraries
  • School Libraries (Not to be confused with academic libraries!)
  • Specialty Libraries

Most of the names are fairly self-explanatory, but maybe you just went from “Hmmm…I guess I could work in that library across town” to “Wait, the college has a library across the street from my apartment? I never knew!”

Nowadays in our age of technology, a librarian does way more than just “check out materials” and “shelve books”. Technology whiz and trainer, information detective, project or team manager, literacy savant, community programming coordinator, reader’s advisor/material reviewer, children’s storyteller, and acquisitions agent are just a few of the hats a public librarian wears. A job in today’s public libraries offers a diverse and exciting range of responsibilities, projects, and opportunities.

To give you an idea, let’s say you were living in Gainesville, FL, attending the University of Florida where I went for my Bachelors. Gainesville, which is located in Alachua County, is home to several libraries and collections. How many, you ask? Let’s go through the numbers.

1. The University of Florida, which houses

  • Library West (Humanities & Social Sciences, Judaica Library)
  • Smathers Library East (Maps & Imagery Library, Latin American & Caribbean Collections, Special Studies & Areas Collections)
  • Marston Science Library (Agriculture, Life Sciences, Engineering, Physical Sciences, Mathematics and Earth Sciences)
  • Architecture and Fine Arts Library (Art, Architecture, Building Construction, Interior Design, Urban Planning, Music and more)
  • Education Library (Counselor Education, Educational Administration & Policy, Educational Psychology, School of Teaching & Learning, Special Education, and more)
  • Health Science and Center Library (Dentistry, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, and Veterinary Medicine)
  • Levin College of Law (Legal Information Center and most manners of Law)

And those are just UF’s main ones. Other sites include:

  • Mead Library (at P.K. Younge Research School)
  • Off-Campus Government Documents Library
  • An online Business Library
  • An online Digital Collections Library (Baldwin Children’s Literature Collection, Samuel Proctor Oral History Collections, Florida Photograph Collections, Aerial Photography Collection and more)
  • The Borland Health Science Library (Located in Jacksonville)
  • The Florida Academic Repository (FLARE)
  • The Auxiliary Library Facility (ALF, where I used to work!)

Think libraries are a dying thing? Then why is UF proposing to build and change more facilities? These would be:

  • Marston Science Library turning a floor into a Collaboration Commons
  • Library West’s Colonnade
  • Historic Newell Hall being turned into a Student Learning Commons
  • A new Shared Storage Facility

For more information on any of the above, you can check UF’s Collection list here.

UF has a handy-dandy map and everything.

UF’s library website has a handy-dandy map and everything.

2. Santa Fe College, a smaller college on the other side of town, is home to the Lawrence W. Tyree Library.

3. Alachua County Public Library System has 12 branches in Gainesville and the surrounding areas.

All told, that makes for 27 library facilities, totaling over 40 collections and libraries.

I wonder what else you might learn today.

I wonder what else you might learn today.

Now that your mind has been slightly blown, let’s dive into these and find the one for you!

Academic Libraries

Academic libraries serve colleges and universities, their students, staff and faculty. Larger institutions may have several libraries on their campuses dedicated to serving particular schools such as law, medical and science libraries. Many academic librarians become specialists in an area of knowledge and can have faculty status – even tenure!

As described by the American Library Association, “Concentration of the main and branch libraries is frequently on the needs of specific fields or departments of study at a research level. The needs of academic library users fall on a spectrum, with use of introductory research materials and instruction in the research process at one end and primary source materials and highly specialized research services at the opposite end…The separate undergraduate library, where it exists, provides a designated place in which undergraduates are the primary focus, for whom the space is specifically designed, and in which they are not displaced by faculty or graduate students.”

So what kind of libraries can you find on campus? A few include:

  • Law Libraries
  • Medical Libraries
  • Architecture Libraries
  • Fine Arts Libraries

Or you can just re-read that bit above on the University of Florida and see how many libraries and collections they have.

Public Libraries

As the name implies, public libraries serve the public and are committed to communities of all demographics – any size and type. Wherever you live, there’s a good chance a local library isn’t too far. Public libraries often have departments that focus on areas of service, such as youth, teens and adults. In other words, we have something for you from the time you’re in diapers until the time you’re back in diapers again. According Foundations of Library and Information Science author Rubin Richards, “There are five fundamental characteristics shared by public libraries. The first is that they are generally supported by taxes (usually local, though any level of government can and may contribute); they are governed by a board to serve the public interest; they are open to all, and every community member can access the collection; they are entirely voluntary in that no one is ever forced to use the services provided; and public libraries provide basic services without charge.” I’m still glad I kept my text books from grad school!

If you really want to get technical, there are different types of public libraries – namely association libraries, municipal public libraries, school district libraries and special district public libraries – whose differences are primarily who governs and funds them. A good example would be in Harris County in Texas, where Houston is located. Let’s separate them out!

  • Houston has its own public library system (Houston Public Library System)
  • Harris County also runs a public library system (Harris County Public Library System)
  • Further south of Houston, the city of Baytown has its own city library (Sterling Municipal Public Library)

It can get very confusing on occasion, but they all serve the public. It also means more job opportunities!

School Libraries

School libraries are usually part of a school system (be it private or public) serving students from K-12. Today, many are called media centers, requiring many school librarians to have a second degree in education or a certificate in school media.

Today’s school librarian works with both students and teachers to facilitate access to information in a wide variety of formats. A good school librarian teaches students (and often teachers) how to acquire, evaluate and use information and the technological tools needed. The goal is to help introduce children and young adults to literature and other resources to broaden minds and skill sets – lifelong skills, I should say!.

 

Special Libraries

Special libraries go by many names: libraries, information centers, information resource collections, archives, or just about any other name that the institution picks. Special libraries are much more specialized than traditional libraries and deal with more specific kinds of information to better serve particular populations. By that, I mean they are developed to support the mission of their sponsoring organization and their collections and services are more targeted and specific to the needs of their clientele. Some examples could be:

  • Disability Libraries (i.e. libraries for blind, physically challenged)
  • Government Libraries (Library of Congress, Presidential Library)
  • Seed Libraries (usually at said agricultural and botanical centers)
  • Christian/Biblical Libraries (in Rome, think Angels and Demons)
  • Slide Libraries (usually at medical libraries or the Center for Disease Control)
  • Lending Libraries (“take a book, leave a book” places, great for friends!)
  • Green Libraries (Sustainable nurseries designed to help improve building quality)
  • Private Libraries (either belonging to a single person or group)
  • Subscription Libraries (membership-only libraries that charge a membership fee)
  • Drama Libraries (There are libraries just full of theater plays, yay actors!)
  • Research Institute Libraries (for scientists to find the information they need quickly)
  • Botanical and Horticultural Libraries
  • Corporate Libraries
  • Hospital Libraries
  • Military Libraries
  • Museum Libraries
  • Prison Libraries

Special libraries may or may not be open to the general public, and those that are may offer services similar to public, academic, or children’s libraries; some of these libraries will have restrictions (only lending books to patients at a hospital, restricted areas in parts of a military collection, etc). These libraries offer unique opportunities to work in a specialized environment and may or may not have a traditionally trained/qualified librarian on staff.. In other words, your boo-hoo “I can’t be a librarian, my Masters is in chemistry!” story won’t work on me. You could be a university medical librarian or a chemistry librarian at Dow Chemical Company.

…Whew, there where more bullets in this post than all of Commando.

Seriously, watch this movie.

That movie has ALL the bullets.

Feel like you’re a step closer to being in the library industry? I sure hope so. As always, feel free to comment or question either here or on my Facebook page.

Stay tuned as we start delving further into Brash Jobs!

Justin Brasher, Brash Librarian

 

 

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What Library School DOESN’T Teach You

Hello Everyone!

This week I thought I’d put up something both serious and funny for my fellow library peeps. Anyone who has gone to library school can agree that library school teaches you only a few select skills you need. Dewey decimal, research methods and other skills are taught, but the majority of real skills you need aren’t taught in library school. To be honest, some of them can’t be taught. Any librarian can tell that when you enter the library field, there will be on-the-job training – and I don’t mean like learning what circulation software you’re running.

As you learn these skills and apply them, you’ll eventually get the most famous library question a co-worker or occasional patron can ask:

“Did you learn that in library school?”

If you work in a smaller library that doesn’t have as many MLS/MLIS people on staff, you’re more likely to hear this phrase than in a larger system; I guarantee you’ve either heard it or will hear it some day. What don’t they teach in library school, you ask?

Unclogging toilets.

Checking bathrooms at closing time is scary.

Checking bathrooms at closing time is scary.

I still remember the first time I unclogged a library bathroom toilet, particularly the moment I walked out – plunger still in hand – and was asked by a co-worker “Did they teach you how to do that in library school?”

Yes, that is EXACTLY what they teach us. Got the degree and everything.

Changing light bulbs.

Okay, it's not usually this bad.

Okay, it’s not usually this bad.

Generally, large fluorescent tubes and really high stuff gets changed by maintenance/buildings and grounds/etc, but there are times when there’s one screwy bulb that needs fixing sooner rather than later. Maybe the bulb above the door or the little bulb in the display case, you never know. I’ve had co-workers that make it seem like changing a light bulb is a Mission: Impossible task. (do-do-dooo…)

Device and Computer Support.

TRUTH.

TRUTH. EXCEPT FOR THE TYPO.

Maybe you had a class that covered E-books, or some kind of technology class, but those will not prepare you for computer and device trials that await you. Nothing short of a previous IT job can help you with the trouble that comes with learning a new circulation system or dealing with the public access computers (PACs) that patrons use. Either web pages don’t load, the internet is down (or just really slow), the printer is not working properly, the copier is just a 3-foot tall paperweight…problems happen, and sometimes IT isn’t there to resolve the problem for who knows how long.

…Just when you thought it was all fixed, a patron will come in with a technical problem and we’re back to square one.

Social Marketing.

And this is just a drop in the bucket of stuff out there.

And this is just a drop in the bucket of stuff out there.

Oh, your library is on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, YouTube, Tumblr, Flickr, Photobucket, Blogspot, WordPress AND Myspace? Who manages all that stuff?

Depending on whose spot you’ve just filled, what department you’re in, etc…it could be

YOU.

If you’ve never had a Googly-Face-Twitter-Insta-Tumblr, you’re about to have one. In a good library system, they’ll get you access to workshops and webinars on social media and platform-specific classes that can help you be the most efficient machine possible. And in this case, TECHNOLOGY IS YOUR FRIEND. At my last library, I had a Facebook Page Manager app on my phone (and it’s free!) that would let me post directly to the library’s page. It allowed me to post photos and videos from my phone straight to the page – I could have Story Time’s pictures and videos up and loaded before Story Time was even over.

Maybe you’re put in an even weirder position like me. I had a library that wanted me to get their Facebook page up and running…except it was owned by somebody else. “They created it without our permission…can we get it from them?” Oh, and I wasn’t allowed to ask that person to just give me control, because long-standing politics. Long story short, I contacted Facebook, told them that a page had been created by non-library personnel, and requested control to be (quietly) transferred to me.

And this all before I could even get the page going.

The Annoyed Librarian has written on this topic before:

I noticed a notice that the ACRL NMDG wants speakers willing to travel to ALA Midwinter and talk about “things they wish they had learned in library school.”

They seem very excited about it. “Who knew that you’d become a web designer, marketing director, and reference librarian all in one?!” Actually, the answer to that question is easy, since no one really is all those things. The ability to make webpages doesn’t make you a “web designer,” just as putting up flyers or posting to the library Facebook page doesn’t make you a “marketing director.”

I’d partially agree with her, but I counter: If you’re the only person in your library who does marketing and runs all the social media outlets, then you ARE the marketing director. If you’re the only person updating the Facebook page, printing flyers and distributing them, then you ARE the marketing director. If you are the person solely charged with editing and updating your library web pages, then you ARE the web designer. As somebody once said, “if sh*t doesn’t get done when you’re not there, you’re the director of said sh*t.” Sorry Annoyed, but that’s what they are – regardless of what their title actually states. You don’t see “Lightbulb Changer” or “Toilet Unclogger” on my business card, either.

Dealing with Odd, Odd People

Every place needs a regular.

Every place needs a regular.

If you’ve worked in or frequented a library, you know that a large quantity of our patrons are homeless, mentally challenged or both. As servants of the public, it’s our duty to help these people – but sometimes, you’ll come across the truly peculiar people. You know, the guy with the mountain man beard who covers his monitor in foil so “the damn gubment and the aliens can’t steal my emails and that wee-fee (wifi) stuff”.

Those kind of guys are pretty tame next to the more disturbing ones who like to stuff poop into the book drop or throw bricks through the window. Bleh.

Office Politics

The politics, not so much the sex/violence.

The politics, not everybody dying and stuff.

Most jobs have inner-office politics, and libraries are no different. Power struggles, passive-aggressive behavior, eating somebody else’s lunch, stealing somebody’s pen or coffee mug, etc – the wrong mix of people in the wrong environment can be a breeding ground of psychological warfare. Politics are what separate an honest mistake from “I know that b*tch is just trying to mess with me!”

For the most part, I’ve been lucky enough to work in places that had a good group of people.

 

That’s all for this week’s post! Do YOU have strange, crazy library stories or duties that weren’t in your job description? Let me know and I can feature them in the next installment of What they don’t teach you in Library School! Stories? Horrible bosses? Crazy patrons? I want to hear them! Either send them to me or comment below!

Until next time,

Justin Brasher, Brash Librarian

 

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