The Brash Librarian Returns


No, I’m not dead. It’s been over a month since I’ve had a chance to really get back into this, and let me say that I’ve missed you guys. I’ve been super busy diving head-first into the new job, moving, the Superhero Scramble, and just taking some time to get centered. Let’s jump in, there’s tons to cover!

Firstly, the Brash Librarian’s Facebook now has over 100 followers! YAY!

Before we get into the work, let’s rewind to the weekend before starting the job back in April when I ran the Superhero Scramble’s 8-mile Intimidator Challenge Race in May. Having ran multiple 5Ks now, I decided it was time to kick it up a notch. As I’m running in the Tough Mudder at the end of the year, I decided an 8-mile race was a good barometer to test my skills.

Oh boy.

Let’s do a quick breakdown here:

Time I wanted to do it in: 2 hours or less

Time I actually did it in: 3 hours, 8 minutes

In the British military elite, the Special Air Service (SAS) starts recruits with a combat fitness test: an 8-mile run carrying a 55+ lbs backpack; I figure I’m not carrying a pack, but guessed the obstacles would slow me down to make it fair. I know I’m pushing myself, that’s the whole point! Unlike the last Scramble I ran, this one was much more water-intensive. Two portions of the race included swimming – upstream, no less – for 400 yards. EMTs told me the lifeguards had to fish a few people out who got too tired to finish. (Thankfully, I wasn’t one of them.) Other obstacles were welcome such as the “Hell froze over” where I jumped a small fire line into a pool of iced down water. That felt so good, I wish they’d had a few of these!

That water was ICE cold. It felt amazing.

I also realized I’ve put on some weight since then. While it’s both muscle and fat, I feel it could be more muscle. Eh, just time to up my cardio. I’ll admit, I ran out of steam while running and learned I definitely need to work on my endurance. I’m totally in shape for a 5k, but Tough Mudder will break me if I don’t adjust and improve. I recommend the “couch to 10k trainer” (C210k) app, they also have a 5k version and both are free.

Mud crawl under barbed wire? Done.

While I recommend gloves, I’ve decided to try full fingered gloves next time. I cut the tips off my thumb, index and middle fingers for better dexterity, but I realize I’ve yet to find an obstacle that really called for fine motor skills. That, and I tore my thumbnail going over a wall – which wouldn’t have happened if I’d been wearing full gloves.

Bicep pose!

Once again, wrapping my wrists with tape was a brilliant idea. I nearly torqued it a few times on those high walls. I got to make some new friends and trade some tips. My new friend Kayla works at a running store near Orlando and is planning on hitting the Tough Mudder as well. Here’s to hoping! Somebody’s gotta drag me across the finish line, might as well be someone I know.

Yeah, that’s right. GIMME MAH MEDAL

I’ve also learned the importance of hydration. There were maybe three water stations the entire way through, the first one being about 4 miles in. That’s halfway through, for people keeping track. My lips were cracked and dry from no fluids. NO, not cool. I don’t know what Tough Mudder is going to have for water stations, but I’m running with a Camelbak next time.

Where was I? Oh right, work.

As mentioned in my last post, I left UF’s Archives to become the Social Media Marketing and Technical Services Manager, AKA “the new media manager”, “technical services manager”, “social media guy”, “Facebook director”, “IT guy who isn’t really IT”, “Excuse me sir, this computer is frozen”…and “Kevin”. No, really, that was my name for a week. So what all have I been doing? EVERYTHING. Let’s do some walking and talking, shall we?

My office on day one! Yes, it’s less bare now.

My predecessor for this position sadly passed away and her second in command quit before I arrived, which made for one giant nightmare. How did most days go at first? Almost every phone call to our vendors, suppliers, etc went something like this:

[Vendor on phone]: Thank you for calling, can I get your account number please?

Me: I don’t have it.

[Vendor]: No problem, can I get your user ID?

Me: I don’t know the ID.

[Vendor]: That’s alright, can I get the name and email associated with the account?

Me: I don’t know those, either.

[Vendor]: I’m not sure I can really help then. Is there anyone there who knows?

Me: (explains my situation it pitiful tone and pleads for help)

[Vendor]: Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear that! I’d be happy to help you out!

Let me just say that all of our vendors, particularly The Library Corporation (TLC), were incredibly helpful! I think I’m on first-name basis with every one of their support people. On the plus side, having nothing to work with means you get to make whatever you want! I started asking what people liked about the way things were, what they didn’t, and slowly started building bit by bit. We haven’t worked out all the kinks yet, but steady as she goes.

Welcome to Technical Services! Or Wayne-Tech. Or Stark Industries.

In the last month I’ve learned about editing, creating and deleting catalog records, how to use our circulation system, processing books from receiving them in the mail to getting them on the shelf, spine labels, putting covers on paperbacks and dust jackets, learning where all of our branches are (Palatka, Crescent City, Melrose, Interlachen and Bostwick) and delivering books to them, supply orders, computer repair, taking photos of children’s programs for the library website, and a few dozen other things that escape my mind at present. Long story short, people like ABC and hate XYZ – and I’ve gotten it to ABZ…not perfect, but getting there. However, I credit all my success here to the people of Putnam County’s staff. Everyone here has been so nice, warm, welcoming, helpful and I can’t thank them enough for the support they’ve already shown me. Thank you to all who have made me feel at home! Especially if you read the nonsense I write on here!

The rest of my domain!

That’s about all I have for this week, but I hope you’ve all enjoyed it. I’ll keep you guys in the loop as I get this whole job under control.

Stay Brash as always, and don’t forget to follow the Brashest of Brash on Facebook!

Justin Brasher, Brash Librarian

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