Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Work and play


- High school students in Philadelphia are required to put in a certain number of community service hours each year, so the library has started attracting teenagers eager for boring work in a clean and dry environment like... erm, animals to an attractive thing. We have three so far, diligently demolishing our backload of projects to get to some day. They've been very useful, not merely by doing a lot of grunt work, but because to have things for them to do, I need to be organized enough to do a lot of the things that had been stacking up so I have things ready for them to do. By the time they're done, they'll have gone through about three years' worth of things we had been putting off because they involved a lot of time-consuming tedious labor. Why, our card catalog may even bear a passing resemblance to what's on the shelf once they get done with the inventory project. Imagine!

- It's actually incredibly useful that we have innocent teenagers to abuse do an inventory project because we recently received the fabled, oft-mentioned in yearning tones but never seen museum and library software! And after a few Keystone Kops moments involving not being able to find the administrator's password to our computer, we're even ready to install it. This means that we are about to start on the process of putting our catalog on the computer! Oh my, I've been looking forward to this. Card catalogs may seem all nostalgic and romantic, but that's before you have to spend any amount of time maintaining one. If you want to make a change to a record on the computer, it takes about five seconds. The same change for a card catalog involves digging out all of the cards associated with the book (every book has a minimum of three), retyping them and then refiling them. And just imagine how the workload scales up if you want to make changes to a bunch of books, like when I pulled a couple hundred books out of adult fiction to create a science fiction section last year. It would have taken most of the rest of the year to note the change on all of those cards (well, in a larger library it would take the better part of a week, but we have collectively 18 hours of librarian time a week with normally no other help), so with the inventory project and computerization, I'm finally getting the opportunity to make the changes in a fashion that won't take me the next six months to accomplish.

- We had THREE HOUR Friends meeting the other week, mostly thanks to the insane treasurer (no, really - she wants the Park Commission to hand over the trust fund that pays for the museum to her. This is like a PTA not only wanting to take over the school, but take over collecting property taxes as well). Although to be fair, plenty of time was wasted by the people who couldn't understand why we wanted to order new brochures just because we're about to run out of our current supply. Is there a particular circle of Hell that involves particularly pointless and nitpicky committee meetings?


We've been watching several new tv shows lately:

Slings and Arrows: This is a Canadian tv show about a theatre company, focusing on a Shakespeare play each season. It's hysterically funny, especially if you have theatre experience. Fair warning: one of the central aspects of the show requires a character's death, so the first two episodes are a bit down. After that it picks up quite a bit and the second season was just wonderful. There's only one more season available from Netflix and I'm not sure what we'll do after we've watched all of this, except perhaps sit around and look melancholy.

Avatar: the Last Airbender: An anime style series done by Nickelodeon, which we are enjoying immensely so far. I have to give Nick credit for doing a very creditable faux-anime which is hard to distinguish from the kind made in Japan.

Under the category "Classics of Anime," we've been rewatching Lupin the 3rd and are about to embark on Ranma 1/2. I've only watched a few episodes of it several years ago, and it doesn't seem right to call myself an anime fan without having watched a decent amount of it.

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