Brash Jobs: Work-Life Balance

Happy Halloween, Friends!

Sorry for the lack of posts the last week or three, it’s been one of those times where finding a proper balance of life and work has been out of whack. When last we left off on our most recent adventure, we had just finished two weeks of RFID tagging and inventory, followed by the onslaught of checked out books returning home that needed to be tagged and programmed. With most things tagged by the end of September, I decided it was time for some vacation. Thankfully, I already had a vacation set up! I was given the opportunity to be a groomsman in the wedding for one of my best friends, Jovon, back home in Florida.

I was lucky enough to have another bestie Caitlin pick me up from the airport in Orlando and spend a day or two with her!

On #vacation with my friend Caitlin, going to a #wedding in #orlando! #Florida #fun #BrashLibrarian #friends

A photo posted by Justin Brasher, BrashLibrarian (@brashlibrarian) on

With a spare day to run around town, Caitlin and her roomie Ian were kind enough to take me around town and show me some of their neighborhood. Thanks to school and work, I’ve become something of a homebody and cooking my own meals, so it was nice to stretch my legs and see the sights! Once we got to this lovely little Viet/Thai restaurant, I was torn between to dishes: the pork fried rice, and the volcano chicken. Of course I asked our server what’s she would recommend.

“Should I get the volcano chicken, or -“

“You want volcano chicken.”

*Cue skillet of delicious smelling chicken passing by to another table, a pillar of steam rising*

“Whoa, what did that guy order?”

“That volcano chicken.”

…Yup, that giant pile of chicken and veggies was GLORIOUS!

A week later, and I still want more of that #volcano #chicken. #foodstagram #noms #Florida #travel #BrashLibrarian #vacation

A photo posted by Justin Brasher, BrashLibrarian (@brashlibrarian) on

The next day was mostly catching up, resting, relaxing and walking around Gulfport. Caitlin even showed me her local little library! We also walked along the water and saw dolphins, got some fantastic breakfast, and enjoyed some much-needed friend time. Trips like these remind me of how much I miss my friends.

Who doesn't love a #little #free #library? #gulfport #littlelibrary #Florida #BrashLibrarian #books

A photo posted by Justin Brasher, BrashLibrarian (@brashlibrarian) on

As the afternoon pushed on, we packed up an eventually headed over to the rehearsal wedding and dinner. Once again, the food was glorious and the decor amazing. Isn’t this little sign adorable? Also, the groomsmen wore Hawaiian shirts, shorts and Converse chucks. Why? Because my friends are awesome and also FLORIDA!

So proud to be a #groomsman in this #wedding! My best wishes to Jovon and Scott. #HartToHark #Florida #BrashLibrarian

A photo posted by Justin Brasher, BrashLibrarian (@brashlibrarian) on

I got to see old friends (looking at you, DeVonne, Michelle, Scott, Bryan, Tim) and make new friends (bonus points to Alicia for her wicked dance skills and mad baking). Also, everyone in this family unit can COOK! Alicia make the French toast cake, and I’m 99% sure I have the recipe down.

The pre #wedding #breakfast was pretty much made by a professional #chef, #NBD. #foodstagram #noms #HartToHark #BrashLibrarian

A photo posted by Justin Brasher, BrashLibrarian (@brashlibrarian) on

If you’ve never read Brash Librarian before, you’re probably thinking I weigh 400 pounds by how much I mention food; it’s not just the food, but who I’m sharing it with. On the whole, I usually do all the cooking in my place and cook primarily for myself. Eating food that I didn’t have to make (and tastes 10 times better than mine) with people that I love and care about? It’s these little moments that I truly treasure. Congrats again to Jovon and Scott Harkless!

Still so happy I could be part of this group. #wedding #HartToHark #Florida #wekiva

A photo posted by Justin Brasher, BrashLibrarian (@brashlibrarian) on

For more fun photos, be sure to check out my Facebook, Twitter or Instagram! If I included every photo and video, we’d both be here all day.

Once I got back from Florida, it was immediately back into the fray. The following week, we held our second annual comic book convention! There’s so much good stuff in that post, I’ll need to save it for next week. You know, costumes and stuff are a great topic for Halloween week.

So what’s this post all about?

Good question! The fact is, we all work very hard and take great pride in our work, but we sometimes forget to enjoy the little things. When you’re like me – working in a place where you have no family and only a few friends – you sometimes forget how important those little things are. As much as I love to think I’m Batman and capable of anything, even Batman needs rest and friends sometimes. This really recharged my battery and helped remind me how amazing my friends are.

Coming up later this week:

This week, I’m aiming for a double post week to make up for the lack of posts. Since I need to talk about our recent comic book convention, it’ll be a perfect topic for this week!

Take care until then (and don’t eat too much candy!)

Justin Brasher, Brash Librarian

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Brash Jobs: RFID, The Revenge

Hey Friends!

This week, I realized I wasn’t ready to write about this post.

When last you heard from me, RFID tagging was coming to an end.last week at my library.

If you’ve been following me on my Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, then you’ve already seen our great progress!  If you’re just starting out on this thread of adventure, start with the first post here.

“So you weren’t ready to write this post?”

Well, I thought I was ready. I said that I would be discussing my final thoughts on tagging and inventory on this post, but I wasn’t planning on what happened next. Sure, some books would come in and need to be tagged, but I didn’t realize how many…

jaws-rfid

All four Jaws movies are on Netflix right now, BTW.

Books, DVDs, materials coming in left and right that need tagging…we turned one of our RFID carts from inventory into a mobile RFID command center to tag and program books as they come in. Add in the new books coming in, and you’ve got some work cut out for yourself.

BUT IT DOESN’T END THERE.

During the inventory, we couldn’t tell what books were marked lost, overdue, etc…this was purely tagging and programming, because we would come back for them later. You pretty much have three kinds of books in the mix:

  • Lost Books: Books patrons supposedly never turned back in and got charged for
  • Overdue books: Books that haven’t turned into lost books yet
  • Blank ??? books: Books that have a barcode, but don’t exist in our records

Since blank books aren’t in our system, we don’t have a name to go on – just a barcode. How do we track down a single barcode? With a pretty clever idea: we look at the book that was scanned before the blank book, find that book and grab the book next to it. Easy, right? Super easy! Except there’s one problem:

WHAT IF THE BOOK NEXT TO IT WAS IN THE WRONG AREA?

If it’s next to 641.23 BLOK and that book somehow wound up in the 940’s, then finding it becomes incredibly more difficult. In other words, this adventure has only just started and my team and I have much to do!

scott8

How I feel when asked to track down lost books.

If you still have any other problems, questions, issues, observations or more, it’s not too late to ask me! Ask me on here, Instagram, Facebook or Twitter and I’ll cover them in next week’s post (for real this time).

That’s all for this week, stay out of the water…duh dum…duh-dum…

Justin Brasher, Brash Librarian

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Brash Jobs: RFID and Inventory, Week Two

Hey Friends!

So last week, I posted about my library starting our inventory and tagging our collection with RFID tags.

If you’ve been following me on my Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, then you’ve already started to see my progress videos on how it’s going.

Great to hear! But just in case, tell me about this RFID thing because I didn’t read last week.”

Well, Radio-frequency identification (RFID) uses radio waves to automatically identify and track tags that contain electronically stored information. Libraries use them, Amazon uses them, and your dog probably has one, too. Just go back to last week’s post here, silly!

“So how did the process finally go?”

Well! We finished ahead of schedule! It was a ton of dedication and hard work, but we did it!

#RFID and #inventory is done! #Happy #Friday, y'all! #Books #library #librarian #work #snapchat #BrashLibrarian

A video posted by Justin Brasher, BrashLibrarian (@brashlibrarian) on

It was a fairly straight-forward process but there were a few things you guys had questions about, like staggering the tags and how the computer side of things worked.

We certainly picked up a few other tricks and ran into hiccups along the way, and I’ll be covering more those completely in next week’s post.

If you still have any other problems, questions, issues, observations or more, it’s not too late to ask me! Ask me on here, Instagram, Facebook or Twitter and I’ll cover them in next week’s post.

That’s all for this week, time to really pull all this together and make a definite RFID guide!

Justin Brasher, Brash Librarian

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Brash Jobs: RFID and Inventory Has Begun!

Hey Friends!

I hope everyone had a safe and happy Labor Day weekend, because this week is ALL about the Labor!

As I mentioned in a previous post, my library would be performing inventory for our branches and tagging our collection with RFID tags.

If you’ve been following me on my Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, then you’ve already started to see my progress videos on how it’s going.

Day 1 of #RFID tagging and #inventory at the library! We're turning #books sideways as we tag them to keep track. More updates soon!

A video posted by Justin Brasher, BrashLibrarian (@brashlibrarian) on

 

That’s really cool! I’m a little lost though, what’s this RFID thing?”

Fair question! Radio-frequency identification (RFID) uses electromagnetic fields and radio waves to automatically identify and track tags that contain electronically stored information. “Active” tags have a local power source like a battery and can still work from several hundred yards away. “Passive” tags just use ambient energy via radio waves from a close range RFID reader, and are the ones most libraries and retail stores use. Since it doesn’t need to be scanned like a barcode, RFID tags can be put inside the book, DVD, audio book, or any other object. 

RFID tags are used in many industries now. Like I said above, passive tags are great for retail stores. Some can get more technical like an RFID tag slapped on a car during to track its progress through the assembly line and warehouse; a Pfizer warehouse with RFID-tagged pharmaceuticals or can be tracked as it ships, just like Amazon does with its products. Got a dog or cat you had micro-chipped in case they went missing? That’s RFID, too.

Getting back to #RFID and #book #inventory at the #library after #lunch! Got questions? Ask me on #instagram #twitter or #facebook! #BrashLibrarian

A video posted by Justin Brasher, BrashLibrarian (@brashlibrarian) on

“Hmmm, interesting. So what’s the actual process for getting it done?”

Well, it’s a fairly straight-forward process:

  1. Place an RFID tag inside the book.
  2. Scan the barcode to bring up the book’s information.
  3. Place the book on the RFID pad so the pad can program the corresponding information onto the RFID tag.

The original plan was to separate into 3-person teams as such:

  • One person grabs and opens the book
  • The second person tags it
  • The third person scans the barcode and programs the tag.

However, we brought in an RFID expert who has done this kind of collection conversion several times and recommended breaking the teams up and having everyone focus on one thing, as the assembly-line style is apparently slower. So to sum up his plan:

  • Start with one side of the library to tag and work your way over to the other side, tagging everything first
  • After about half the library is tagged or you’ve tagged an entire section (e.g. Fiction, Nonfiction, etc), half the people can keep tagging while the other half begin scanning barcodes and programming tags. They start on the same side and begin working their way across the library. By the time the last of the books are tagged, about half the books should be scanned and programmed by then.

As we go along, I’ll be covering any problems, questions, issues, observations and other things we encountered along the process. Got any questions about the process so far? Ask me on here, Instagram, Facebook or Twitter!

After we finish this branch, we have another next week. If you need me, you know where I’ll be!

Justin Brasher, Brash Librarian

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Author Jennifer Martinez Returns!

Hey Friends!

This week, I’m taking a break for work stuff and focusing on one thing we all love: BOOKS.

Some of you may remember my friend and author Jennifer Martinez, whom I previously teamed up with to announce her debut novel, Don’t Kill Dinner.

don't kill dinner

Available on Amazon!

Jennifer is back with another book and asked a select group to reveal the cover on her newest book., Catch and Release. Of course, I was honored to be in such a group! I believe talented writers and artists of any kind should receive recognition for creating something the world can enjoy.

So let me tell you a little about her latest novel…

Lila is one of the last Succubi alive. After the anti-paranormal group known only as “Corporate” attacks her family’s tribe she is completely alone, until she meets Artie.
He knew better than to let his emotions get the best of him but with her he couldn’t help it. Now he is stuck with Lila and he can never tell if its the bond he forged or her choice that keeps them together. Corporate is closing in on the pair and the only option to save the two of them is to risk losing the only person he cares about.

“If you love someone, set them free. If they come back they’re yours; if they don’t they never were.”

Always hunt to Catch and Release.

catch and release

With a cover like that, you know it’ll be a movie at some point.

Want to see more of Jennifer? Take a look at her links below:

Jennifer Martinez Official Webpage
Jennifer Martinez on Facebook
Jennifer Martinez on Twitter
Jennifer Martinez on Amazon
Jennifer Martinez on Libboo
Jennifer Martinez on Pinterest
Jennifer Martinez on Wattpad

About the Author, Jennifer:

One day while slaving away at her monotonous day job, Jennifer Martinez found her true calling. Like a firefly in the night, the pages called to her. Once she caught the bug there was no stopping it. Her fingers flew furiously across the keyboard winding tales of love, mystery and anger. She snapped out of her reverie to find herself still behind the desk but at least she knew who she was… Author Jennifer Martinez.
I like to think of myself as a beautiful conundrum. When I am not writing, I can be found surrounded by my amazing family or doing yoga at the beach. I love who I am and don’t mind at all when I get strange looks from people. I am a tattoo covered, child and animal lover who looks forward to destroying peoples preconceived notions of what “someone like me” would be interested in. You only live life once… you may as well make it interesting.
I love to get lost in a good book and hope that everyone will get lost in mine.

jenn headshot

Always lookin’ sharp, this one.

That’s all I got for this week. Do you know an author who should be featured on Brash Librarian? Are YOU an author who wants to be featured? Let me know! Next time on BL, it’s going to be all business – the dreaded RFID and inventory. Stay brash like Jennifer and have a safe Labor Day weekend!

Justin Brasher, Brash Librarian

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Brash Jobs: MBA Program & Other Updates

Hey Friends!

Whew! Once again, I’m going through another week at a hundred miles an hour. This week has been focused on migrating to a new computer management system and the end of my summer MBA class. Add in somebody from reference who just put their 2 weeks notice in, and you’ve got some of us moving at super speed.

barry run

Snapshot of me on a Monday.

Work aside, school is going well. If you’ve been following my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, then you’ve seen some of my school hi-jinks.

My first #HR exam wasn't so good, but it showed me how to prepare for exam 2. #MBA #IHRM #business

A photo posted by Justin Brasher, BrashLibrarian (@brashlibrarian) on

When it came time for group projects, my extremely proactive teammates had already assigned team roles almost the moment teams were created. My team randomly nominated me as the editor for all the team responses.

Yes, give the writing/editing to the guy who writes his own material all the time.

MBA Group

scott5

What else is going on?

Well, some pretty big stuff if coming. Starting in about two weeks time, my library is going to inventory AND tag our books with RFID tags at the same time. I posted about our training session with a neighboring library system last week on Instagram and I got several responses asking the hows and whens of RFID tagging.

Here we go, #RFID tag #training at our #library has begun. #thefuture #technology #BrashLibrarian

A photo posted by Justin Brasher, BrashLibrarian (@brashlibrarian) on

Rest assured, I will be posting about my experiences with it in the coming weeks. All the joy, sorrow, questions, problems and strategies that will help us get through this transition.

To answer a few of your questions thus far:

  • We are going with 3M. We tried and tested a few other companies out at ALA and TLA, but we found their tech to be the best for us.
  • The tagging consists of a regular bar code scanner, an RFID pad, a laptop, a translation module (that little magic box beneath the laptop and pad,), the tags to put inside the books, the 3M software, and a wooden or plastic cart.
  • NO METAL CARTS. The metal carts interfere with the radio frequency and cause errors when the pad is programming the tag.
  • We are borrowing spare RFID tech from a neighboring library system that has already made the transition.

Got more questions on it? Let me know and I’ll answer them on my social media and here as well!

Justin Brasher, Brash Librarian

 

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Brash Jobs: Better Library Leaders

Hey Friends!

WOW, I can’t remember the last time I was this busy. In the last week or two, I have:

  • Traveled to several libraries to look at RFID technology.
  • Rolled out new computer/print management software in the library, and all the bugs that includes.
  • Had 5 quizzes, one exam, a research paper, and preparing for another group project. (And that’s all just one class. Welcome to summer MBA classes.)
  • Performed a magic show for the Texas Children’s Hospital Back-to-School event at the local mall.
14002540_10101225646937525_818928726_o

That little girl was SO happy! This was right before I blew her skeptical brother’s mind.

Despite being that busy, I still found time to sit down and speak with Dr. Sarah Clark over at Better Library Leaders, a podcast, blog, and Facebook community designed to explore the elements of great libraries and great library leaders. This week, Sarah and I discussed getting into libraries (particularly actors-turned-librarians), social media, our shared struggle of living as library celebrities, and more.

Listen to our conversation on her podcast here!

 

better library leaders

Awesome! This is totally going on my instagram and twitter, BTW.

Sarah has a PhD in Higher Education Leadership as well as an MLIS, and has worked in just about every job from front desk paraprofessional to associate library director. She provides helpful tips, insightful interviews, and other resources that will help you make your career (and your library) the best they can be. Public library? Academic? School? Some special offshoot? Not even in libraries yet? It’s cool, she’s still got stuff you could learn.

This all started when Sarah and I stumbled upon each other in the Facebook library community some time ago, and have tried to promote one another whenever possible. While being an actor is a cutthroat business, being library superstars like ourselves is (usually) not. Recently, Sarah asked me if I’d like to do a piece with her and I was honored. I’ve never been on a podcast before! I’ve done some stuff with my friends on film critic and comic book podcasts, but never anything library-related before.

Give it a listen here and tell me what you think. I want to hear from you: what’s most important to you? Let me know and I’ll follow up on what’s important to you! You can also let me know on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram what you’d like to see!

Alright, back to this computer/MBA circus I’m running, I hope you all enjoy listening to the podcast as much as we enjoyed making it!

Justin Brasher, Brash Librarian

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