Alright, Exercise #2 on learning the Dewey Decimal System is complete. This is tough work! — at least when you are unfamiliar with the rules, haven’t done it before, and are under time pressures. I’m fairly certain that I should be able to at least complete Exercise #3 tomorrow night, meaning that I will only be one exercise behind, come Tuesday morning (when I shouldn’t have to go to work, anyway, and can finish it — if I wake up).
Dewey is just something that you kind of don’t want to rush…it’s very detail-heavy and technical, and it’s quite easy to just overlook the notes on how to use the system. And when that happens…one wrong step, and everything after that is wrong. Kind of like math.
On the bright side (was that a dark side?), I’m thinking that my time spent working for libraries hasn’t gone to waste. I should look into getting into contact with the people in my system who take care of Graphics/Design and Cataloging…and maybe talk to my old co-worker again, who has moved on into a different branch (it’s been a while since I spoke with him). Basically, the biggest thing that I think would bother me about becoming an Adult Services Librarian would be having to act as a security guard. But maybe that isn’t necessarily part of the job, in places other than my County.
I’m also getting a better idea of what Information Services entails, which is not necessarily “talking with the drunk lonely guys,” or “being random homeless guy’s personal secretary,” or “untrained acting Social Worker,” though that impression has been what stuck with me from my first years on the job (and who would WANT that?)…well, the creeps asking this of me would want that, I guess.
This is largely due to the fact that I didn’t know how to set limits with people, back then; and the concept of “public servant” as equivalent to “slave” (as a noticeable minority of people may treat us) didn’t die easily.
At this point, our patrons — the library community, that is — mostly recognize me, because I’ve been working this position for over five years. (Community work, I’ve found, can be very satisfying — but do I really need to be the person on the front lines?) What’s interesting to note is that I have outlasted many of the people who used to give us trouble; and that I apparently am intimidating to some of the ones who used to do so, as well.
I also have realized that this issue with shying away from dealing with the public is something I’m working on, and is in an ongoing process of growth. Cataloging is the most obvious route out of working in Information Services, though I could also likely work in an Academic or Special Library, where I wouldn’t have to deal with the general public.
And actually, Academic work would seem pretty sweet — because of the environment, the patrons, and the quality of the resources! I’m not sure if I’d have to be a subject expert, though…although, hey, I do have a degree in English, so…
I just notice that a lot of the books I really enjoy come from University presses; and Academic (College/University) Libraries often have more highly detailed and historic works than Public Libraries. Academic Libraries are geared towards research, whereas Public Libraries are targeted to the general public and geared towards civil service. Also — areas with high concentrations of college students (from my experience with University and college communities in Northern California) tend to be more caught-up with the current zeitgeist, and more affluent, where it comes to culture. That isn’t necessarily the case around Public Libraries…
Of course, this could just be me beginning to get a very thorough taste of Cataloging and Information Management and realizing that yes, this is very technical; but also realizing that Cataloging itself, because of its high cost, is probably something that a lot of people are looking to find digital solutions for. I can actually see something like the beginnings of that happening here, where on the Reader, the closest fitting Tag (or so says WordPress’s algorithms) appears next to the titles of our entries.
However, Linked Data and the Semantic Web is very, very exciting. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to move forward on that front with just an MLIS, as versus an advanced degree in Information Science from someplace like UC Berkeley…(though hopping over there, I see that I would need quantitative and analytical reasoning skills…and I haven’t completed a math class in some time).
As things are, I’ll likely want to learn MARC coding and XML, from what I can tell — as a start. That…is just the impression I’ve gotten from the last 2 weeks of readings and lectures. Once I learn that, though…well, if I keep on in a technical bent…maybe I will acquire the vocabulary and not be so intimidated by all the acronyms?
Now that I look at it, though: what is appealing to me most (now that I am not so shy of being in an Information Services position) is the possibility of Digital Services, again. Looking at the two pathways, there are a number of places where the paths join up. Maybe I should focus there, over Summer and/or next semester (Fall 2017).
I can work on my spreadsheets and see where I can fit in the Foundation courses for the Digital Services track, in case I decide to look at an alternate path.
Actually, just took about 45 minutes doing that, and have to go to work tomorrow; good night!