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The Analog/Digital Librarian Blog

This blog is dedicated to all the things I find interesting in the library and information professional world.  I love the digital, but in many ways, are still rooted in the analog  - as my own personal paper library attests to.  I think it's important to understand and live in both worlds.

Summer Plans

posted Jun 4, 2014, 12:25 PM by jj pionke

Now that the regular school year has ended and Summer School has just begun, the library is relatively quiet.  This means that it is time to work on projects of all flavors.  This Summer, I need to write two book chapters and a conference paper among other things.  I am also working on a wide variety of projects at work that deal with LibGuides (we are going to be moving to V2 sometime this Summer!  So excited!), instruction, and reaching out to my people.  I'm also going to Librarian Science Bootcamp in Connecticut!  I am thrilled to be going to that.  I am hoping to learn a lot and I feel that I will.

I'm also doing fun stuff at home too.  I'm riding my motorcycle more, reading books for fun (I just polished off the Eragon series), and I am taking a drawing class this Summer at the local arts center.  All really exciting stuff!  Also, my plants haven't died yet.  I am feeling pretty proud of myself!

Teaching in the Spring

posted Jun 4, 2014, 11:41 AM by jj pionke

So, how did my 2nd semester as an instructional librarian go?  I think it went GREAT!  I taught 36 sections of classes and had lots of meetings with people and all sorts of good stuff.  I also taught the 1 credit hour course and it went really well.  I made handouts and did grading and generally got to learn more about WSU students and faculty and what they need in terms of learning and support.  It was a really really hectic Spring, but awesome!

The Ocean at the End of the Lane - Neil Gaiman

posted Feb 16, 2014, 9:21 AM by jj pionke

Let me start off by saying that I adore Neil Gaiman.  I first read his Sandman graphic novels and a love affair was born.  To that end, I found this slim novel to be fantastic and devastating.  There was much in it that struck a hard personal cord.  When the book first came out, I picked it up immediately, delighted by such a treat and then had to put it down within 20 pages because I resonated so strongly with what was being said.  Many months later, along with a move half way across the country, a new job, and a much more balanced approach to life....I picked up the book again. 

I had left the receipt where I had left off so I opened the book to there with a quick skim of the previous pages to remind myself where the novel started.  I read faster and faster, my breath taken away by the rich prose and the strong sense of place and of knowing that Gaiman has.  I was doing great until this line, "I felt safe.  It was as if the essence of grandmotherliness had been condensed into that one place, that one time" (92).  It was like what I imagine being struck by lightening must be like - I was so strongly reminded of a dear and much loved mentor that I burst into tears.  That is the power of Gaiman's writing.  The book is a short exploration of so many issues - being a child, who we are as people in general, the world that we live in, the mysteries of the universe, and mythology.  It can be read on many levels.  I picked up the book last night and finished it last night - just like I used to read when I was a child.  I would sit up under my blanket with my flashlight, long after I was supposed to be asleep and I would read for hours until the story was done - my need to know the ending far outweighing my need for sleep.  Now, as an adult, I value sleep more and so have had to give up reading before bed because I get too excited and then stay up far too late reading....except on Saturdays, when I don't have to be at work the next day.  LOL

I'm glad that I read the book, even with the false start.  It felt good to push myself and to read something that brought me a great deal of pleasure, wonder, and introspection....and I might just start a habit of reading a book on Saturday nights.


posted Jan 25, 2014, 12:02 PM by jj pionke

One of my goals for 2014 is to read 50 books.  This would be about a book a week and is actually a fairly rigorous reading schedule when you think about all of the other stuff I read on a daily basis.  I'm not sure that I will necessarily write reviews of everything but I will try to at least mention here what I have read.  We'll see how it goes.  Reading is something I do for work but it's also something I do for pleasure.  Sometimes those two ideas crash into each other.  At any rate, I recently finished a book on Resilience.  It was pretty good but I am not sure that I really learned a lot from it.  Certainly, I didn't mark it up as much as I have marked up other books.  It was worth it to have read it though and I am glad that I did.  Last night, I picked up Divergent since the movie is coming out and everyone is talking about the film and wanting to go see it.  The books/films sound kind of similar to The Hunger Games, a series that I largely enjoyed so we will see how this book pans out.

And then the Winter Break was over...

posted Jan 17, 2014, 10:42 AM by jj pionke

Today is the last day of Winter Break.  Classes start on Tuesday.  It's been a whirlwind of reading, report writing, and today is all about trying to frantically get a zillion things done before the semester starts because if the semester starts and these things aren't done....nothing will actually happen, but I will feel better if this to do list is cleared.  LOL

Over break, I did some reading and some writing and some thinking and traveling.  I had a nice trip to Atlanta to visit a friend and got to see whale sharks at their aquarium.  I wrote up my end of year report and realized that even though I had only been here for 5 months, I did quite a bit - go me!  I also did a lot of thinking about what 2014 is going to be like.  It started off a little rocky, but I think it is picking up speed and I have decided that 2014 is going to be the year of play.  I want to try new things.  I also want to read 50 books this year.  Watch this blog for quick reviews of whatever it is I am reading!

I am teaching a library course in the second half of the semester and I will be going to Chicago for PCAACA.  It's gonna be a busy semester and I am looking forward to it!

Whoosh! There goes the semester...

posted Dec 15, 2013, 11:48 AM by jj pionke

Last week was finals week at WSU and I thereby realized that I had completed my first semester as an academic librarian.  It's been a pretty wild ride since my last post and I will try to get back into the habit.  I miss blogging!  So what has the first semester been like?  AMAZING!

I've been learning a lot.  There have been ups and downs and missteps and frustrations and victories and unexpected delights.  In short, it's probably been a pretty normal first semester on the job but there have been highlights.  I have found that I really enjoy being on the reference desk.  I wouldn't want to do it more than I do - 8 hours a day on the reference desk would just kill me - but I really like being out there among the students, hearing their questions, seeing their interactions, and playing in the databases.  My divisions are an interesting challenge and I am enjoying getting to know the people in them.

In other news, I've been enjoying the much milder weather.  We have yet to have any snow!  Fine with me!  My motorcycle is here and it has been great to ride around and see Wichita on it.  It's also amazing to commute on it.  Parking is so easy when I am on the motorcycle!  I continue to have roaches, but it is getting better thankfully.

In short, it's been a roller-coaster semester but that's not a bad thing.  I'm really looking forward to next semester!


posted Sep 4, 2013, 7:52 PM by jj pionke

Android just let out the new software package and it is called KitKat.  My inbox from the University of Michigan pretty much exploded all day with discussion about whether or not calling it KitKat was selling out to "The Man" etc.  However, in a stroke of marketing genius, if you go to kitkat.com you will see that the website is a kind of spoof on Kitkats the candy as Android phone.  It's actually quite smart and funny.  I enjoy having an Android phone though I also enjoy having an iPad.  Personally, I try to be aware of both types of computers - PC and Mac.  I think it's interesting and fun.


posted Aug 25, 2013, 5:23 PM by jj pionke

I am a fan of MOOCs, but like all online learning, you need to be really invested in it and you need to be very disciplined about time management.  It's always easier to go to a physical classroom and listen to the teacher lecture or lead a class discussion than it is to do online work because the amount of time required varies usually from week to week.  As an online teacher myself, I try to vary the weeks so that the assignments aren't the same two weeks in a row and that light and heavy weeks alternate.  At any rate, I finished the David Lankes MOOC on New Librarianship.  It was a fun and interesting.  There wasn't much there that I haven't already thought about but I think that has more to do with my interdisciplinarity anything else.

At any rate, this all got me started thinking about MOOCs in general.  I like MOOCs because they offer me a structured way to learn about topics that I find interesting and right now at least, I can do that learning for free.  Are they the wave of the future?  I would like to think that they are.  That said, I am not sure how well they will thrive where the labor of creating the class on the teacher's end is done for free right now.  It's just not sustainable.  At the moment, MOOCs are shiny and new so people are willing to count them for all sorts of things, in part because of the prestige and shiny factor but more and more MOOCs are being offered and various universities/entities are experimenting with monetizing them.  Lankes MOOC for example was put on by the ischool at Syracuse.  I finished the class and got a certificate of completion but if I had been willing to pay a relatively small fee, I could have gotten CEUs or if I was willing to pay the tuition price, I could have gotten college credit from isyracuse.  The CEU and credit options included an extension on the class to write a paper that the professor would then grade.  Could that be a major problem in the future?  You bet.  What if 10,000 people signed up for the course and 1,000 handed in papers.  Do you know how long that would take to grade?!  As it is, that is not that much of a major problem because the number of people that actually complete a MOOC is relatively small.  Say 10,000 people sign up.  By the time you hit week 2, you might be down to 200 and by the time you hit the last week, you might be down to 40.  Undoubtedly, the number varies from MOOC to MOOC depending on how hard the material is but this kind of attrition is common in regular online classes.  My online classes start full with say 25.  By midterm, I am usually down to 9-12 and by end of term somewhere between 7-10 depending.  I've had semesters where the numbers were higher and lower.

Still, for a person like me - highly motivated to learn, curious, intellectual, and willing to work hard - MOOCs are awesome.  I've signed up for three more.  There is no telling that I will complete any of them, but they are all in topics that I find interesting.  One of the positives I see about MOOCs is that yes, if my semester is too insane, I can simply stop and I won't lose out on tuition money and for the most part, I can always go back and finish it later (though I might not get the certificate of completion).

2nd Week of Work

posted Aug 17, 2013, 9:35 AM by jj pionke

I promise, I won't post about every week of my working life, but I probably will for a little while.

I find myself in this funky place of knowing a lot and not knowing enough so sometimes I'm all, "I got this!  I know how to do this!  I have accomplished something!"  and sometimes I am all, "Wait, what is the policy here?  Who do I have to contact?  What does the person want/need? How do I answer this question?".  The most frustrating part is when I can't do something I know how to do because of (insert reason here) like I am really good with Blackboard because of my past teaching experience but they are having problems adding me to Blackboard so the things that I could do, I can't because Blackboard is having a moment.  There have been some other frustrations too but not terrible and not outside of what I have expected.  I am still finding my coworkers pretty awesome and a lot of fun.  I feel like I fit in pretty well and I am excited about meeting with the Dean next week to go over a battle plan to approach my departments.

This is my third week in Wichita and I was due for some culture shock which I have been experiencing a bit on and off this week.  It's not as harsh as say being in Uganda, but I have been trying to treat myself gently.

So excited to be here!

First Week of Work

posted Aug 10, 2013, 6:41 AM by jj pionke

This past week was my first week of work.  I spent time talking to fellow coworkers, setting up my office, and starting to learn the ins and outs of my job.  It was pretty low key and that is a good thing!  The students come back in another week and then it will be all sorts of crazy.  Still, I really like my job so far and I love the people that I am working with.  They are interesting and fun.  I think the job will be a challenge and exciting and I am super excited about that.  I'm a little nervous about publishing but that seems to be be pretty par for the course.  I am also super thankful that everyone is understanding about needing to do things like get my car tags changed over and get a license which of course can only be done during typical working hours.  I can say I am now the proud owner of a Kansas license plate and yes, the tag office is really as bad as they say.  Though, I went prepared - I had a book, my cell phone, and my crochet.

Next week, there will be an official orientation to the college and meetings and it will be awesome as I get more into the groove of doing things that I need to do.  I will also continue to slowly migrate things to work a little at a time.  I took my UM diploma in yesterday.

I'm totally digging all of this!  YAY!

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