This week, I developed a blog post for work about local news sources. Since it's just a blog post, I focused on the main sources with a few relevant niche sources. As I was writing, I realized just how overwhelming a single project like this could be.
What qualifies as news? Do I mention bias? Do I include hyperlocal neighborhoods? Do I split by subject matter or area of the city? Do I include all the ways you could follow one source? Do I expand to include neighborhoods over the border?
I ended up saving loads of resources to put into an expanded research guide that our users could reference later. Said research guide will still be curated but, more importantly, it will be organized for easier navigation. Most importantly, it will include some descriptive information to put each source in context to help the user decide what they really need to look at.
This is not the first time I've had to navigate through these waters. With each research guide, video, or tutorial, I'm making choices on what to include. I'm deciding what works best at this moment and for this audience. That necessarily means that I am deliberately omitting certain sources and information. My main goal with these projects is to funnel information in such a way that they are useful and not an inundation. It would be so easy to just smack a person in the face with ALL THE INFORMATION. That's a bad idea. Instead, I see my work as a librarian to wrangle information in such a way that it is easy to navigate, digest, and understand.
Right now, I have a mental image in my head of a cowboy lassoing a single cat out of a whole herd on the wide open plains. That's an absurd mental image, but it's not wrong. In a world where there's more and more information every second, not everyone can take the time to delicately pick out exactly what they need from the masses.
That's where I come in. I look at the whole landscape, make a short list, and then share that curated list with the person in front of me.
The Now: March 22, 2023
I just spent an hour outside hoping to talk to students during a "roving reference" session. I timed this session to overlap with our weekly sprit event on the campus plaza. There are lots of students who show up. Unfortunately, as it turns out, today there was no spirit event. Bummer for talking to students. At least I got a chance to enjoy the gorgeous weather.
Here's what I'm working on.
The Weekly Wrap: March 19, 2023
There is one thing I am going to miss if Twitter disappears: hashtags. This is a tiny, revolutionary thing that groups like ideas and makes them highly searchable.
Yesterday, I wrapped up my attendance at ACRL 2023. This is the conference for academic libraries. It's a place for us to share our research, what we've learned through work, and projects worth replicating. It's a massive conference with many overlapping virtual sessions, panels, presentations, posters, round tables, and lightning talks. Oh, and the exhibit hall was essentially in an airplane hanger.
It is impossible to go to everything you want to go to. Even with many sessions being recorded there is no way to consume all the content. That's where hashtags come in. Many of my colleagues (myself included), still tweet during sessions. That makes it possible for me to catch the important points from sessions I would otherwise miss. Plus, it creates a conversation where we can bounce and amplify ideas.
While I mostly use hashtags for conferences, I also use them when I'm curious about trends, to ask #LibraryTwitter questions, and to keep an eye on niche things I'm interested in.
Twitter is problematic, but searchable hashtags are great. I hope they stick around.
Just Good Things: March 17, 2023
Tonight is my final night in a hotel for my work conference. I've relished these nights off of parenting - particularly after 10 days of solo parenting. I even lucked in to staying a hotel with decently firm mattresses. My back is a fan of the support.
Here's what else was good this week:
I'm still making my way through Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham. I got bogged down in the early chapters discussing exactly how nuclear power generation works and how the design of the RBMK reactor was a recipe for disaster. It was all good stuff, just very detailed. They were the kind of details I had to read several times because my brain has been mush at the end of the day. Now, it seems like we're moving more into the narrative of what happened. It's all very tense - even for something that happened three decades ago.
Books shared here are affiliate links for Bookshop.org.
The Now: March 15, 2023
Greetings from Pittsburgh, PA! I'm in town for the ACRL Conference and had quite the delightful road trip up here. A colleague and I shared a car and proceeded to chat the entire way. It was a mix of work, personal life, and general discussion. I love working with great people.
Here's where I'm at:
The Weekly Wrap: March 12, 2023
The links are paltry this week. That's because I unexpectedly ended up with another week of solo parenting AND daycare was closed at the end of the week.
The Husband was away for business the first week of March. At that event, he ended up being the first of us to get COVID. We knew we couldn't make it much longer without one of us getting it. Luckily, he knew he was exposed and tested before he came home. He went directly to a hotel to isolate so that kiddo and I would not be in contact with him.
While solo parenting is hard, I found that this time has shown me just how much I am capable of doing alone. (It helped that kiddo was on her best behavior most days.) I was able to do all the parenting, keep the house (somewhat) in order, run a few errands, get work done, and prepare for my weekend away. I'm tired but I'm also incredibly proud of myself. I thought this much time doing it all would leave me exhausted, frustrated, and, honestly, angry. Instead, I'm feeling pretty good. I know I can get through something like this again.
I kept telling myself, "Just make it to Friday." Hubby and I were supposed to go away together for our friend ski trip. Instead of going together, I am here alone. It's nice to have this break, but it's not the same.
This is the longest my husband and I have been apart in over a decade. We've been together for 16 years. In that time, I think the longest we've been apart is five days. This time, it's been 13 with one more night to go. I don't like it. There was one night I just burrowed into a blanket on the couch, put on a rom com, and moped. Admittedly, after learning of his positive test, I cried. Not because of the parenting to come but because I was so damn lonely. I'm an introvert. I like my alone time, but this was too much.
Thank goodness for FaceTime and texting. That helped make the isolation feel less of a burden. But hubby better be prepared. Tomorrow, I am going to tackle hug him and not go for a while.
Just Good Things: March 10, 2023
Currently, I am sitting in a big comfy chair, by a fire, watching some friends play the weirdest video game I've ever seen. I'm only able to do this because my husband, family, and friends handled my not so elegant melt down this morning after 10 days of solo parenting and abrupt, unexpected plan changes. You know you have a good support system when so many people rush to help (some from several states away). Thank you!
Here are the other things that helped me get through the week:
The Now: March 8, 2023
I'm doing a little dance in my cubicle and item number one will tell you why.
Keeping this intro short today because my brain is 100% zapped.
Here's what I've been working on.
The Weekly Wrap: March 5, 2023
I was solo parenting for most of the week. All things considered, even with a 1:30AM wake up one night, it was a pretty good week. Kiddo was happy and cooperative. We had a lot of fun riding the metro too and from school, she helped me make dinner, and we both watched a little more Daniel Tiger than normal.
Kids' shows like Daniel Tiger seep into your brain. DT, as it's referred to in our household, is more ear wormy than most. It's designed to be. Daniel and his community sing short songs to help them remember (and teach) lessons. Our kiddo has taken to repeating some of these. While her dad was gone this week, she sang several renditions of "Grown ups come back." When she visits the potty, she sings the song about flushing and washing your hands. At meals, we encourage her to eat by repeating the "try new foods" song.
These ditties are useful for her and us. They are a friendly way to communicate skills we want her to adapt. Plus, they engage her in various processes making them more fun.
But there is peril here as well. This week, a neighbor held the door open for me, I looked her dead in the eye and sang, "Thank you, for everything you do." Kiddo wasn't even with me. I turned beet red but she just chortled.
I can only hope she's a parent too. Otherwise, we need to move.