Coming Up For Air…

HEY FRIENDS!

Just taking a moment to thank you all for your patience during these trying times over at BL. Here’s a quick 30-second recap since our last intrepid experience:

  • My phone got fried by an update (more to come on that)
  • School has many papers this semester, my writing hands have been busy
  • I’m giving annual appraisals to my staff all this month, more busy!
  • RFID self-check stations finally come this week (MORE BUSY)
Break time, people.

Break time, people.

“Wait Justin, didn’t you already handle the RFID stuff?

Nope, that was only the beginning. Back in September, we did inventory and tagged our entire collection, followed by more tagging and stress. There was some crying, some bleeding, but we all came out in one piece. This week, the actual tech comes in for the difficult parts.

While I don’t always have time to write the amazing posts that you guys love so much, my Facebook, Twitter or Instagram are great for keeping you entertained between posts. If you didn’t follow me, you might have missed my totally awesome circulation display!

I cut out some #hearts for our #valentines #display at the #circulation desk. DAT MUSIC THO. #pinterest #romance #library #love #BrashLibrarian

A post shared by Justin Brasher, BrashLibrarian (@brashlibrarian) on

I put these hearts up along the back of our desk area, total credit to Pinterest for the idea.

Maybe advice is more your thing? Always looking to improve your game?

BOOM: Pro tips, free of charge.

A good #protip is keep a #reminder in view to help you reach your #goals! #work #MBA #BrashLibrarian

A post shared by Justin Brasher, BrashLibrarian (@brashlibrarian) on

Maybe you just need a laugh or live vicariously through the misadventures of others.

Yup, we’ve got that covered, too.

(I say, “we” because this was a team effort to clean up.)

And back to the grindstone! I’d way be writing about library adventures than structural vs. cyclical unemployment and monetary vs. fiscal policy, believe me. However, it’s necessary if I want director jobs and and consulting. (I am available for consulting, FYI. Apparently, people didn’t know that I do consulting?)

Next time on BL (probably): Technology and the struggles of it – especially if you’re an Android user. Have a great weekend and/or week next week!

Justin Brasher, Brash Librarian

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy New Year From Brash Librarian

Happy New Year, Friends!

Here we are, already into the beginning of our second week of 2017. We lost many great people in 2016 like Alan Rickman, Elie Wiesel, Prince, and library supporter/book lover David Bowie, to name a few. Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher were particularly close to my heart. Not only am I an avid Star Wars fan, but I can also make the claim to being serenaded by Debbie herself.

That’s right, Debbie Reynolds personally serenaded me.

The reaction I get from most people.

The reaction I get from most people.

I was about 7 years old when my family saw Debbie Reynolds live in Vegas. She spotted me at our table and asked me my name…then announced that she’d sing a song for me. It was a late night show, so I started falling asleep like any little boy. In my last moments before sleep, Debbie started to sing a song called “Goodnight, Justin”.

I truly wish I had been older when I met Debbie. I was too young to appreciate that this legend – the star of what would be my favorite musical years later, the mother of Princess Leia – choose to sing to me. Thank you for giving me a magical night I will carry with me forever. Goodnight to both of you, ladies.

You're missed, General Leia.

You’re missed as well, General Leia.

So let’s go back and look at some of the great highlights we’ve through together here on Brash Librarian!

I had the privilege to work with so many great professionals this year.

fist bump

I had the pleasure of interviewing with Sarah Clark over at Better Library Leaders, I got to learn about copyright and usage with the folks over at the Unshelved comic series, and I’m celebrating one year with Combatant Gentleman, an online clothier that offers a 15% discount for library professionals (just use the code BRASH15).

I was promoted to Circulation Manager! (AKA, “I want to see the manager”)

That’s right, it’s no longer Lieutenant Cruch now…

tumblr_static_shawn_5

 

One year ago today, I announced that I would probably be writing a little less because of the increased responsibility. I’m both pleased and sad that I didn’t disappoint. It comes with managing a team of 9 people.

I turned 30!

midnightn

I was so blessed to have the time and funds to travel back to Florida and ring in my 30th birthday with my best friends at my favorite bar in the universe. I was really terrified about leaving my 20s and entering 30, I’ll admit. Now that I’ve been in it for about six months…it’s not so bad. I feel a little wiser and braver. Just in time for ALA…

 

I attended my first ALA Convention!

I couldn't resist #Elsa and her #frozen self. #LetItGo #sing #ALA #ALA2016 #brashlibrarian

A post shared by Justin Brasher, BrashLibrarian (@brashlibrarian) on

That was an amazing trip. I made connections and new friends, I got to see friends and family, and even hang out with my nephew who visited from Denver!

I entered the MBA program at Texas A&M University.

Sorry, I forgot to put this up earlier. Did I mention I'm an #MBA student? #gradschool #A&M #aggies #business

A post shared by Justin Brasher, BrashLibrarian (@brashlibrarian) on

I’d debated this for awhile, but I decided it’s what I needed if I really wanted to rise both professionally and personally. I love that I’m learning tons, but sad that my social life has dropped to zero…for now.

I went through my first inventory and RFID.

han solo falcon

And we’re just getting started.

It was certainly a fun and interesting foray into new experiences and technology. However, that was JUST the tagging part. The actual book sorting machine, self check-out stations and accompanying toys haven’t even arrived it.

I was in a car accident.

If nothing else, November 2016-present has taught me that car shopping sucks, insurance sucks more, and to have zero faith in anyone and everything car related. RIP little 2003 Honda Accord, I’ll have to make do with a Hyundai Sonata.

Resolutions? Hmm…that’s tough.

I’m planning to get back into working out – I injured my shoulder right before Christmas and I’m still waiting for that to heal. However, that doesn’t mean that I can’t exercise the rest of me and eat right. The main resolution here would be to have a body like Stephen Amell in Arrow.

stephen amell9

He’s like 34, I still got time. Yes, I did my research.

Body image aside, I think I want to improve my entire self. Way too often, people tell me that I’m too humble, that I don’t take enough credit, that I push myself too hard, that I deserve more and shouldn’t settle. Maybe I will this year! I used to be way more arrogant, cocky, dismissive, etc; I feel that I’ve really come a long way, but a few people suggested that I might have over-corrected and swung to far back in the opposite direction. I suppose I could try to put the “Brash” back into Brash Librarian?

(Yeah, that sounds catchy! The Brash is back! Watch out, world! He’s da coolest!)

Thanks, stereotypical late 80s/early 90s voice in my head!

As my mom always says to me when I talk about all the people I’m helping and the stress work and school can take on me: “That’s great, but have you been good to Justin?”

I think this year is about being good to me as well as others. Bruce Wayne can’t live as Batman 24/7, and I have to hang my cape up every now and again to help myself. To sum up this year’s resolutions: Be good to the world and to Justin (but especially in the 6 pack abs way).

That’s all for this week, I hope everyone is having an okay start to the New Year!

Justin Brasher, Brash Librarian

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Brashly Returning From The Dead

Hey, Everyone.

It’s been over a month since I’ve posted, but for good reason. Well, more like bad reasons but the reasons are solid!

Firstly, Happy Halloween!

Reference for those who use Bounty instead.

Reference for those who use Bounty instead.

I wasn’t sure what to be for Halloween, so I put about 10 choices on my Facebook and threw in the Brawny paper towel man as a joke. Of course, Brawny Man won by a landslide.

Since it was a totally work-appropriate costume, I wore it to our City costume contest, held at City Hall. While I didn’t win, I got the entire room to applaud with my humor. Just imagine half deep booming voice/half car salesman voice telling all of the council chamber, “Don’t be fooled by that quicker-picker-upper impostor, Bounty! Shop smart…shop Brawny!”

halloween-employee-costume-contest_2016_037

After being asked 20 times if I’m a lumberjack, I wore a name tag and carried the roll.

  • Our comic con happened.

I know I’ve promised you info about our comic book convention, but that will have to wait because there’s just too much to cover today.

  • I was in a car accident.

My car accident felt like an SNL skit or something. While on my way to our annual strategic planning meeting, I was about halfway through the intersection when a kid in a Dodge Avenger blew through a red light and hit me. He hit my front corner so hard, he whipped around and boomeranged into the back of my car. That’s right, I GOT HIT TWICE BY ONE CAR.

You can see the wheel well crumpled around the tires with not too much cosmetic damage. I was almost able to drive away from it! His car pretty much exploded like a toy, everything from the front wheels forward was gone. 

So cops show up, insurance is called, kid admits fault to everything. Turns out we both have State Farm for insurance, which contracts cars to pick us up and take us to the Hertz rental. I RODE TO HERTZ WITH THE GUY WHO HIT ME.

insane

But wait, it gets better. I get to talking with the kid, he’s in school for mechanics. He works at a car dealership getting a job in the COLLISION REPAIR DEPT. I can’t make this up.

I was thinking another Honda because this one took it like a champ. I really hoped they  wouldn’t total it, but they did. I loved my little Honda, but they’re so expensive now. I looked around, but found nothing that really seemed good. Is a Honda 2013 or newer certified pre-owned that’s reasonably priced so hard to find?

So some of you know I was debating between a Honda Accord and a Hyundai Sonata for my next car. My rental choices were either a large SUV…or a Hyundai Sonata. Extended test drive, begin! Spoiler: I ended up with a Hyundai.

  • Happy Thanksgiving!

Due to the whole “shopping for a new car thing”, I didn’t really have much to spend for Black Friday. However, I did spring about $39 for 1500-thread count sheets so I can be spend my sleepless nights of anxiety in comfort. Adulting done right, am I right?

jingle-yay

My spirit vs. my wallet.

  • General Stress

So the whole car buying experience was a nightmare, dealing with a bunch of scamsters who tried to bait-and-switch me. Lesson: Don’t mess with a librarian – we research, compare, verify and double check to make sure you’re trying to pull a fast one. From start to finish, I think I knocked about $2300 off the price tag. Not bad for my first car buying experience!

On top of all that stress, I started to feel some of the effects from the car accident. I wish I could say that I walked away feeling 100%, but I’m afraid not. I wonder how Batman manages all this.

  • I got a haircut!

I decided the hair needed some kind of change, so my stylist decided to swoop my front hair to the side. It’s not a life-altering difference, but it’s nice! My hair says “new!”, but my face says “stressed”.

New #haircut! I usually like #symmetrical styles, but I'm digging the side styling. Also, #Batgirl. #hairdid #hair #style #BrashLibrarian

A post shared by Justin Brasher, BrashLibrarian (@brashlibrarian) on

  • Lots of great holidays!

Whatever holidays you celebrate, I hope they’re great (AND SAFE). Here’s to the next post being happier!

Justin Brasher, Brash Librarian

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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 post shared 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 post shared 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 post shared 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 post shared 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 post shared 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 post shared 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

Posted in Brash Jobs, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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 post shared 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

Posted in Brash Jobs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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 post shared 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.

“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

Posted in Brash Jobs, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment