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Monday, April 11, 2011

Just Another (not so) Manic Monday

Got some time to kill before class. I had intended to do a little reading for class, but it turns out the book I need, though listed in the card catalog as not being checked out, is not on the shelf in the IS library. Part of me thinks it's kinda sad that a library school doesn't have accurate records of what is and isn't on the shelf, but another part suspects it's been pulled specifically because it's to be used for our class tonight. I'm going to go with the latter.

Speaking of classes, I ran numbers for grades this afternoon. It appears that if I keep on the same course as I am now, I will be sitting on an A- in History of Children's Lit (Par for the course for my tenure here) and on a solid B in Marketing. It's still POSSIBLE to get an A- in Marketing, but it doesn't look likely. I'm not over the moon about the B, especially since it'll only be the second grade below an A that I've achieved in this program, but I'll take it. This semester has been the term of burnout. Hopefully I can get through and rediscover some drive and passion in my last semester. Finish strong.

I need to get cracking on these two major papers I have to write. Made some tiny bit of progress on the PLA article, but haven't really scratched the surface on the Baum paper. However, I've tackled a 47-page capstone on Sophia and scored an A. I should be able to handle a 15-page research paper on L. Frank Baum.

I cannot wait until I am able to work on writing that I want to be doing again. I'll get there. Only gotta get through July 31. Then it's time to start prepping for the GREs so I can apply for the PhD program. Yes, I am a glutton for punishment. I looked at the requirements for the PhD program today. Wow. "Brutal" doesn't begin to cut it. I'm almost as terrified for the prelim and comprehensive exams that go with the program as I am of taking the GREs! I don't think I've ever passed an oral exam in my life. It's intimidating, to say the least.

There still is the lingering question of what happens after graduation. I still can't get a call back for an interview from any of the jobs for which I applied. This is made even sadder by the fact that for two of them I have had friends who have worked at the institutions call to put in a good word for me, and still nothing. It's awful that even having an "in" doesn't seem to help a person anymore. What good is networking if your contacts' word can't get you a foot in the door? Frustrating.

This weekend is the opening of the Carnegie LYNCS location at the Pittsburgh Public Market in the Strip District. If you're local, come out and support the effort--there's all kinds of activities for kids going on, as well as attractions for adults. And yours truly (along with the rest of our Marketing class) had a major hand in getting this thing going. LYNCS stands for "Libraries in Your Neighborhood, Community, and Schools," and is a wonderful and unique initiative that the Carnegie is trying to get off the ground.

Some people are bitter that their neighborhood libraries (which are low-use overall) have lost services while the CLP is spending money to open a new service model in the Strip. For those unfamiliar, the Carnegie was in a situation due in part to the city's failure to live up to its financial commitments, where last year it almost had to cut a couple of branches. In the end, funding was found to keep these branches open, but most (or all) of them lost certain services as a result of the reduced funding available. This means some lost computers, others lost staff, all lost budget, resulting in a host of other unfortunate cuts. The patrons of these libraries feel that the Carnegie shouldn't be redirecting the funds it "stole" from them into another area.

To these people I say, the solution isn't to be bitter about the CLP actually doing something successful and good for a community other than yours, it's to actually advocate in your community for your library. The reason your libraries lost funding is because they hemorrhage funding due to low usage. If you want more funding, get more people in the door and show with hard numbers that your branch needs and deserves the funding. It's that simple. Yelling at the Carnegie board during board meetings isn't advocacy. Advocacy is getting out in your neighborhood and supporting your library in the community. Work with the library staff to sponsor neighborhood events that will get people in the door. Educate your community on the services the library provides. If you want to save your library, make sure it gets used, and be able to show the numbers. It's that simple. Yes, libraries are intended as a free source of information. Yes, they are there to provide community services. No, they are not "for profit" institutions...but unfortunately, they do have to be salient. Funding for libraries is limited, and if a branch is hemorrhaging the limited funds the organization has to distribute, those funds must be redirected somewhere that they can be better, more successfully utilized. As the recent bout of cuts by the Port Authority (where IS our drink tax money going, anyway?) prove, outrange and ranting against the organization that's cutting your funding isn't likely to win you points with them.

It should also be clarified, this first LYNCS satellite is not a new branch of the Carnegie. It's a new service model that serves as an extension of the main branch, operating out of the PPM on weekends. The staff will be qualified librarians culled from the Carnegie's overall pool, and it won't have a full branch budget. In fact, as I understand it, the budget for LYNCS is being culled from the overall budget of the Carnegie Main, not from money redirected from low-usage cuts. I could be wrong about that, but that is my understanding at this time. IN any case, this is an effort to extend services, not create whole new branches (with all the associated overhead that goes with that).

In other news, we're getting the band back together. Oh, yeah. Amish Driveby (Mk. III) will hopefully be hitting the Pittsburgh local music circuit (such as it is, anyway) by this fall. This time we have three original members: myself, the bassist (Jeff), and the drummer (Mike). That's assuming Jeff gets a job in Pittsburgh after his own graduation. We're adding two new members: Rena will be taking over lead vocals and Mark will be playing rhythm guitar (or bass, if Jeff doesn't get back to the 'burgh). Hoping to start jamming sometime late May, if my final two classes don't define "brutality."

Well, I guess that's all for now. I've rambled on long enough and I'm lucky to have the few users I have who actually take the time to read this crap. Until next time, Loyal Followers, I bid you farewell. And don't forget: this Friday and Saturday, the Pittsburgh Public Market in the Strip District! And tell them Jason Vey from the Pitt Marketing Class gave you the heads' up--it'll help my grade ;).

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Sophia, Goddess of Wisdom, and Mary Magdalene.

I'm not a mad bible thumper--Sophia, however, is my inspiration and always in my heart