Saturday, August 29, 2009


I was aware of it, of course, but I didn't really feel it, until I walked into Barnes & Noble after work, and in a pile on the very front table were dozens of copies of that book, that graphic novel A.D. New Orleans after the Deluge by Josh Neufeld. And I suddenly realized, really realized, Oh, my god, this is it. This is the anniversary of Katrina. Four years ago today.

I hadn't really wanted to think about it. I certainly hadn't planned on memorializing it. Now here it was smacking me in the face.

I picked up the book -- it fell open to a page where a woman, a survivor, finds her cat crying with a broken leg after the storm. I absolutely cannot stand to read or see about animals being hurt or suffering. Certainly not in that context.

The gates of memory opened. The anguish and the horror flooded over me. I remembered what it felt like in baton rouge those days.

Goddamn it! I planned to get through this day without crying. That's why I had tuned it all out. i had to go hide in the bathroom for a while.

I bought the book -- but i don't know if I'll ever be able to read it. I haven't read any of the Katrina books, except 1 Dead in Attic -- I was able to read it because I had already read many of the columns online or in the paper, and it was salted witha liberal dose of gallows humor. But the rest are just ... too ... upsetting.

I've written about this before, how useless I think it is to drag up all that grief and rage that will never be resolved. But sometimes you don't drag it up. It drags you down. Like today.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Busy Day in the Life

Well it is time for Library Day in the Life again. Something I always enjoy, but I am really too busy this week to devote a lot of time to a long blog entry, so I refer you back to my previous entries. Maybe I can put somethign together some evening later this week.

Click on the "Librarydayinthelife" tag below to see all my posts. Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Day in the life -- Wednesday (?)

Well yesterday was a busy day. A lot of different things came up, which I understand is normal for a supervisor.

The day started off as usual, having to do the morning caretaking things we have to do to ready the library for opening -- getting and stamping the newspapers, pulling the morning holds list. There are only two of us here in the morning, me and my assisstant librarian, so I have to pitch in and help with these routine tasks. Upon opening, I work my one hour a day on the reference desk. I like to be there at opening and kind of take the pulse of the day as the morning crowd comes in -- the computer users, the regular newspaper readers. But I have too much "behind the scenes" stuff to do to to work more than an hour a day at the desk. I had to ask my assisstant librarian to cut back my hous on the desk -- I was running around like a chicken with no head and not getting done what I needed to do.

After my hour on the desk I spoke to some vendors and got quotes for some audiovisual supplies that we need. The City of New Orleans purchasing process is quite Byzantine. You have to get quotes for everything. It's the people's money after all. Once I got the quotes I submitted the paperwork for everything up the chain of command.

Then I worked on shifting the periodicals. I felt like I had to take a hand in this and not just dump it on the staff. One must lead by example, I think.

Then lunch.

In the afternoon I met with a fellow division head and a sales rep from Gale Cengage Learning, a major publisher of reference works and online databases. She was trying to sell us on databases. We were saying, our patrons are not computer-literate. We need paper sources.

Then working on the inventory project on the periodicals backfiles in the basement.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Library Week - Tuesday

Well a lot has changed since the last time I did this. I have accepted a promotion, and am now head of a department at the main library downtown. Of my old division I worked in pre-Katrina in fact, the Periodicals, Arts, & Recreation division.

I have a lot on my plate. I was brought in to stabilize the division -- it has seen a crazy amount of staff turnover this year -- and to prepare it for being shut down and turned into a new Teen Center for the main library. So I have to oversee the regular duties of the division, train new staff who were brought in, and start weeding, clearing out and deaccessioning the old materials to make way for the new. Things keep coming at me, and sometimes I get a little confused about what exactly I'm doing. My staff, who know I was brought in to rescue them to a certain extent, get upset if I can't answer their questions right off. But hey, I've never been a supervisor before, I'm figuring it out too. I know a lot about how the division is supposed to be run, but not everything. I last worked here as an associate after all.

Right now we are shifting the back issues of the magazines. This is done at the new year. Some of 2007's we have to keep, and they go down to the basement, and some we can discard. The records about which goes where, however, are not up to date, so I am having to make Solomonic decisions about what stays and what goes on a daily basis.

On top of that, I am currebtly also writing the annual report for last year. I need to take an HR training course on evaluating staff, which I have to do next month - annual evaluations. I am training a new paraprofessional. I need to get started on weeding the old PAR reference collection -- a lot of thaT\t stuff needs to go. We are in the middle of shifting our circulating books to the Information division. It's a lot to keep in the air at once.

So that's what I'm doing this week.

Monday, January 26, 2009

A Library Week in the Life

Well it is time for another round of the Library Day in the Life wiki. I hope this is actually doing some people some good, that library students areactually looking at it and learning something.

unfortunately, I wasn't well today and took a sick day, so I don't have anything to report on the work front. except, I guess, the fact that librarians get sick too. We may be pretty awesome,but we're not superheroes. :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


People are looking forward to this Inauguration far more than any I can remember in my lifetime. People are taking off work, travelling to Washington, and not just black people, either. Not everyone -- there are still plenty of Obama haters out there -- but more than I ever remember. One of my employees is reconfiguring one of our computers so staff and patrons can watch the swearing-in.

This isn't just a simple transfer of power. It has the air of a ritual of purgation, of re-conscecration. I think it must have felt somethign like this back in Bronze Age times, at the installation of a new sacred king. After they alaughter the old one. (Assuming such a thing ever really happened, outside the fever dreams of Robert Graves.)

Well, I guess we have advanced somewhat, the human race, in that we don't have to slaughter "43" to get rid of him, and we observe a peaceful transfer of power with the full cooperation of the old regime. But it definitely feels like a new day in America. I keep thinking, Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, we're free at last!