I’ve actually gotten a lot done within the last few days…though I need to keep up with it. I’ve had some ongoing issues with allergies (the abundant rain has led to abundant pollen), and so yesterday was full of dusting and vacuuming. I still haven’t done everything possible: I could still change the bedsheets, wash the covers, possibly wash a pillow, and vacuum the wedge pillows and plushies. I may need to dust the cords going around the room, I realized after I saw a couple of swathes of dust on my forearm from a phone cord. I have a stack of papers leftover from the last time I cleaned this place, which I should really go through and either file, or shred.
I also vacuumed the tops of all of my books, cleaned out the areas behind the books, and rearranged the shelves. Writing Reference (for English language) is on the top left; below that is part of my Japanese language study collection; to the right of that is currently-viable Information Science. Upper right, second stack: Arts and Crafts, Magazines, Non-Fiction; below that, Creative Writing.
I’m not sure I’m going to stick with this layout, but it’s good enough for now. It’s also something of a relief to get the books I’d need to go through if I wanted to be Reference staff, out of here. So stuff on Library Programming, and Reference Interviewing, and Reader’s Advisory, I now know I don’t have to deal with. And I don’t have to store them in my bedroom.
There are two separate query letters and resumes I need to work on…one is an Archives position, the other is a Preservation position. I was eyeing the latter because 1) I do like to work with my hands, and 2) it would give me a more rounded experience: my MLIS was almost totally online (with the exception of working with a local Historical Society), so there are things that I just didn’t learn, which I would have had the ability to learn if I had been on-campus.
I have a feeling that the Preservation position is going to at times, be disgusting and maddening (as I would have felt if someone used a taco for a bookmark: look it up on Google Images [the original tweet seems to have been taken down]). Or like the time one of my former co-workers found a book returned with pancake syrup all over the cover…as though no one would know who last checked it out.
There are a lot of people who just really don’t treat Library materials (technically community property) with any respect…but then, there are also people who don’t treat Library Staff with any respect. I’m reminded of the time one of our workers found a carton half-full of totally melted ice cream one morning, in the stacks. We had a no-food rule. She, having been a long-term library patron, was disgusted that people would be so disrespectful. And I can say that I understand. Entirely.
This is the reason I haven’t yet applied. I’m fine with repairing torn pages; I’m fine with replacing a worn-out or broken binding. I could repair a book that has had its insides razored out. I have re-taped covers on hardbacks. I might even be able to tolerate freezing or gassing a book for pests, given that it was contained and effective and wasn’t going to kill me (or travel home on me), too. It’s the really nasty stuff — biohazardous material, dangerous material (like when I found a partially-unsheathed razor blade being used as a bookmark), and food — that I’m concerned about.
The last is probably the most minor. Biohazard is the major issue, but I’m thinking (hoping?) that it isn’t a continual or major problem. (The benefit to biohazard is that it leaves behind DNA that can be sampled and tracked.)
Egregious abuse of Library materials, would tick me off. And I would likely see all of it. On the bright side, a University (this is a University position) would likely be conscientious and professional enough to charge anyone they could point the finger at — which might discourage the behavior, instead of allowing it to go on and making everyone in the organization have to deal with it.
And…yeah, I’m not sure anyone really wants to know what some patrons get up to, with Library books. It is enough to make a person want to work in Publishing, instead. At least there is some kind of respect, in that position — it’s essentially an honor to have a manuscript accepted for Publication. I’m also thinking that a lot of what is thrown at Public Librarians wouldn’t happen, if the vocation wasn’t gendered as feminine.
Now that I think about it, maybe I want to pass on the Preservation position, specifically because of my dust and mold allergies and germ phobia. I hadn’t thought about it until just now when I got up to shift a bookend to a more needed spot (the Writing Reference section is trailing off, and in more need of that bookend than Nonfiction).
I got pretty dirty last night, just by cleaning my books and thumbing through the Creative Writing on my bedroom shelves (some of which, I hadn’t touched since Undergrad, other than to move them or decide whether or not to keep them). Of course: these are bedroom shelves, meaning they collect dust, quickly.
Becoming a Proofreader would be a better short-term outlet for me, especially seeing that the Preservationist position is, initially, not that great (12-month temporary, part-time, no benefits)…and I’m not looking forward to a career in book preservation. The biggest upshots to taking a job in book preservation would be: 1) the opportunity to work with my hands, 2) the jobs it could open up in Museums, 3) the jobs it could open up in Archives, or 4) the hands-on Digital Preservation work it might enable.
Actually, that’s a fair bit. And I can look at it as valuable paid training.
To the best of my knowledge, Museum jobs don’t pay much, though I hope to be wrong on that. I suppose the upshot is that you’re working with a lot of bright colleagues who are into history and art, and other aspects of material culture.
I don’t know why I keep brainstorming positions (like Copyediting, or Digital Humanities, or Translation), when I already know that I’m aiming to eventually work within Technical Services, and I know I need not to have a primarily social job.
I suppose Book Preservation is not a social job.
Copyediting has a (very) strong social component. Then there is written Translation, which will be viable — after I gain the skills to do it!
The term, “Digital Humanities,” would seem to cover what I’m looking for, but it doesn’t seem to be about what the name would infer. I see, “data modeling,” mentioned offhand, which sounds like (analytics plus visualization plus…) it’s mostly beyond the scope of my skills, right now. Working with computers, however, might keep me away from dust, mold, and germs…and may not require interfacing directly with the Public.
(Why, when I have issues with grossness and people, did I think Librarianship was a good outlet? Ah, right: interest in books, gaining research skills, social permission, and altruism. I also didn’t know at the outset, that I was going to have trouble socially; particularly over being stereotyped as a woman, and on top of that, being stereotyped as a woman Librarian [whose, “no,” must always mean, “push harder,” or, “she,” wouldn’t be in this job].
I have started to work on my technical skills, again (Python 3, currently). The major issue I’m facing is the nervousness of anticipation; the question of, am I going to be able to solve this problem, this time? Which really doesn’t need to be there, as I generally can do the work. The courses are set up so that they give you the information you need to have, to solve the problem: and if they don’t, you’re already online.
This is the same fear I’ve had when considering re-entry into Math…mostly because my high-school Math experience was neither enjoyable nor transparent. This doesn’t mean I was bad at it; I just had a lot of negative experiences around it, which made me not want to see it again if I didn’t have to.
Looking up curricula online, I can see that I’m less familiar with the content I had to deal with in the year I was in Honors, probably because there was so much material crammed into that year. Which kind of makes me wonder if Honors Math actually benefitted me, over the long term.
But compared to dealing with people…at least Math is predictable. Errors can be located and corrected. It’s not like trying to deal with Psychology, with no Psychology training. Which can make a routine day intolerable, as you don’t know who is about to blindside you, if anyone. I deal with hypervigilance enough already, without the need for it being reinforced.
Just imagine if I had majored in Psychology (or a Social Science, for that matter), and was looking for a job away from people…yeesh.
But don’t you major in something because you both have an interest in it, and know you don’t understand it? Not all the time, because you already know what it is, and you’re already good at it?
And actually, now that I’ve written this out: maybe I will try for the Preservation position. There are interesting avenues it could open up…and the money would cover the other training I’m working through.
I began this entry at 2:25 PM. It’s now nearly 8:25 PM, same day. I had this open during dinner, which looks like it took about an hour, but didn’t add much of note, at the time. This means I spent 5 hours on this entry!
Maybe I should keep noting when I start and stop, in order to see exactly, how much time I spend, writing…