Friday, 29 July 2011

Library Day in the Life Project

6:00 Woken by girlfriend (a real librarian :) getting up to give the diabetic cat its 12 hourly injection. Fall back asleep.
8:47 Awake. Remembering to keep a log of today for the Library Day in the Life Project. I’m not a librarian, but I partially work, self-employed, in the library sector, so I’m kinda borderline eligible. Also, during the 10+ years I’ve been self-employed, people keep asking me “So, what do you do?” and this may shed a little light. No two days are the same, though.
9:07 Commute to work. This means moving from bedroom to bathroom to kitchen.
9:08 Coffee on. Catch up on the cricket scores. Twitter next, then emails, Flickr, then everything else. US public library: “Can we use the ‘Use Libraries and Learn Stuff’ image?”. (Me: yes). Email correspondence with librarian chum looking to move into other sector (Me: keep your options open, don’t burn bridges). Gossip from chum at JISC. Lewd joke from CILIP councillor.
9:25 Note that all 175 tickets for the UK library camp in Birmingham in October went quickly. Wooo! There are a *lot* of librarians attending who I know on Twitter but haven't met in "real life", so will be great to finally meet some of them.
9:27 Large bowl of high fibre cereal for breakfast.
9:30 Ploughing through more emails and chatting online. Notice Americans coming into work (through Twitter), while British librarians are about halfway through their afternoon shift. Work a bit on tricky piece I'd promised for Jessica's blog, advice for new librarians and library school students.
9:35 E-chat with young Bobbi about editing the wiki for the Library Day in the Life project.
10:11 Taunt obese cat with an unfulfilled promise of ice cream.
10:30 Morning tea.
10:45 Continue to battle with PhP, MySQL, Wordpress, Wordpress plug-ins, and my technically reliable though very unhelpful hoster. I've been redefining what I do in terms of work for a while, and the end result of that is a project to move much of what's online onto new (clearer) websites (such as this one) and social media. This has turned into a timesink, a large chunk of which is taken up setting up three new websites and reviving two that have been gathering digital dust.
11:00 Elevenses. Then back to battling with things teccie.
12:00 As usual, make luncheon for us both. Other half is getting organised as she starts her new job as the Systems Librarian and Assistant Professor at the college here on monday. Watch Daily Show on Hulu at the same time. Oooo, John Stewart mentions going to your library. But then does an extended montage of conservative anti-liberal books you may find there. Oh.
12:35 Working at home is fine, but it's sensible to get outside at least once a day. Trouble is, am currently in a massive heatwave. Check the local weather service online, which says: "HEAT INDEX... HEAT INDEX VALUES WILL PEAK IN THE 105 TO 110 RANGE THIS AFTERNOON." In centigrade, that's 41C to 43C. Or ****ing hot. Contemplate a plan of action.
12:38 Briefly look at UK news. As grim as ever. Britain has become like a distant and unpleasant relative who I'm obliged to visit frequently; I try and keep it out of my mind. And lo, the phone hacking scandal has somehow reached new depths.
12:40 More battling with teccie stuff, and also some work-related typing.
1:30 Shower and clothes. Yes, being self-employed makes for a flexible day. Unless a client wishes to video chat early on.
1:55 Online chat with colleagues in the games sector about digital games in places other than the home or school (roughly half of what I do for a living is this). Mention Jenny Levine's National (Library) Gaming Day event and discuss around it. New game sector colleagues are almost always surprised to discover that video games are used, or available, in more than a few public libraries; this often leads onto correcting misconceptions about what public libraries are, do, and provide. Perhaps not surprisingly, a lot of people in the game development sector assume that most or all information and information services "are online". Repeatedly correcting that one.
2:15 Go into town to see what's happening at the cycle event. This is an annual thing where several thousand people bike from one side of the state to the other in 100+ degree heat. And they’re welcome to it.
2:20 Get to town. Some cloud cover, so it's relatively cool and the weather forecast was a bit off. Wander around; lots of stands, cyclists, places selling stuff. The Republican Party headquarters is very busy - Iowa is where the early presidential political action happens, and the Ames straw poll is in a few weeks. Cannot resist going over, chatting, watching a bit of the Sarah Palin movie, and taking various ephemera away with me. Of which this bumper sticker is my favourite, for the sheer optimism alone:
Bumper sticker 3:30 Afternoon tea. Close of play in county cricket matches back in England, so checking all the scores. The second match between England and India starts tomorrow and continues for five days, so will be distracted until tuesday lunchtime by that.
3:51 Time for a poo (see 9:27 this morning).
4:20 Post office, but forgot to bring the "Use Libraries and Learn Stuff" cards I'm sending to Boehner and Cantor. Wonder if they'll understand the "101 in 336" I wrote inside. Worth a try.
4:30 Into the public library to borrow a book and a CD audio book (good for car journeys), and to try and edit the wiki for the Library Day in the Life project. It's a new building, roomy with air con, wifi, and a great magazine selection. And I was eligible to join the library, so that's my first US public library card. Mission successful.
4:45 Home. Battle with Wordpress plug-ins continues. Incompatibility between some combination of PhP and at least one of my website plug-ins. Deactivate all of them; things work fine. Le sigh.
5:15 Invited to speak at library conference, on a comparison of UK and US public library funding. Expensive conference to attend. However, they aren't paying a fee (not usually an issue, but it's nice), nor contributing to travel expenses, and - and this is the killer - they still want speakers to pay the full conference fee. So, easy non-attendance decision to make. Thankfully, the organisers of the profit-raising event didn't try the "But it'll help promote you, so we're doing you a favour" one, so the reply back to them was polite.
5:43 Start to upload the days pictures to Flickr.
5:45 Biscuit.
6:10 Dinner, but for a change I’m not slaving over a stove as we got food at the biking event downtown. So it's a quick reheat of the Chinese food, then watching last nights Colbert Report.
7:15 Catching up on backlog of things I've promised for people, plus a consortium funding proposal regarding examining the use of video games in a variety of environments.
8:00 Remembered this question from #libchat last night. Do some research into the profits of UK publishers/"owners" of academic journals. Figures in the many millions, largely due to eye-watering subscription levels. Noting that one mechanism for reducing the cost of a journal is to persuade the entire editorial board to resign and set up with a different, lower-charging, publisher.
9:30 Short break to read the local newspaper, which has just arrived. It doesn't have many pages in it.
9:40 Back to battling with Wordpress plug-ins. Please, for the love of God, if you design such a plug-in then (a) test it thoroughly and (b) write some instructions that are comprehensible and correct on how to configure it. I know it's free and someone else has put in the effort and therefore I should be grateful, but please...
10:30 Check out the latest edition of Ariadne - issue 67; it's been going over 15 years now. Gosh. Still have a soft spot for this online library magazine, as I was the editor for the first 10 issues/2 years. Happy days, and my boss of the time also ended up in America, at an obscure library vendor you probably haven't heard of.
10:45 Half-watching tonight's Colbert Report. He's advised to go to Iowa. Do a quick bit of online lobbying, urging him to come here. That would be fun...
11:00 Publishing this, then doing a last bit of packing, then a bit more website work. Tomorrow we're off to Madison for a few days of fun (which will include visiting the library school). I'll still be doing a bit of work - just need a broadband connection and I can work anywhere - but it'll be mostly to check out various eating establishments, wander round the city, do a little geocaching, take lots of photographs, and check out some restaurants. Did I mention I like food?

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