Monday, September 29, 2014

Little Pink Offices

John "Cougar" Mellencamp is from Indiana, Seymour, Indiana to be exact, roughly 100 miles from Greencastle. If you're not familiar with his work, he wrote a song called  Little Pink Houses. I hope you know where I'm going next.

As you might know, there were painting issues in the IP. What started out as a yellow area is now going to be a gray area. "We are not amused." Well, I don't mind it on the walls in the IP, I just don't find a gray office without windows to be very appealing, especially with fluorescent lighting. I might end up like Joe, with a brain cloud (Joe Versus the Volcano). But, since my boss is pretty cool, he said we could select an alternate color.

Ta da! Our office is pink. There's no carpet in it right now, but there will be at some point this week. (It's the same as the IP, green patterned swatches mixed with gray patterned swatches. Green and gray meet on most swatches to help bridge the patterns.) Finding a color that works with both gray and green was a bit tricky. A light blue wouldn't work, and neither would lavender. Pink would give the room a watermelon feel, kind of like summer all year round. Again, without windows and horrid lighting, it needed a bright, soft touch to it.

Many of the painters give me a hard time about it. But I remind them that I'll almost always match with it. Besides, it will give me an excuse to wear my favorite pink shoes with any outfit. 

Moral of the story: "ain't that America/For you and me/Ain't that America/Something to see, baby"

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Game Plan

Storytelling area with puppet show cutout.
It's finally here; time to start planning the move into the new space. The walls are painted, carpet will be installed this week, and . . . the tree on Wednesday! Planning for the move has been difficult. Unlike the move to the temporary location, the dates for the move back keep changing. (Okay, the dates for the move to the temporary space changed a lot. I had to be out by the "start" date. Check. Start date? Postponed. Was I surprised? Not really. But there wasn't a "Grand Opening" to plan for!!) I've been told we'd be able to start moving back on September 25th. That was 3 days ago and we're still not ready to move. Well, guess what. The tree is coming and carpet has to be down for that.

I'm not blaming anyone or anything on the fact that we can't move yet; it's the basic construction schedule. (I guess I'm blaming construction, but not the construction team, if that makes sense. These guys have been great. I mentioned that we're a library and they had to keep noise down . . . and it worked . . . for 20 minutes.) As I stated in my previous post, you gotta roll with the punches in order to succeed. One easy step is to work with what you have. I have an exact date that the tree will be coming. Okay! Great!

Everything will fall into place. I just know it. I've called in volunteers to come in a week after the tree. By that time shelves should be in. Worst case scenario, they can pull boxes from storage, sort the books, and organize the boxes based on type of book. I have a few weeks before the Halloween Party/Grand Opening to ensure that the space is ready to go. I've got a great team and awesome volunteers who love the library willing to contribute their time to the cause.

Moral of the story: Don't count your chickens before they hatch. Have a plan. Also have a back-up plan. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Banned Blogs?

As a librarian, I support the freedom of speech and the right to share information. In anticipation of Banned Books Week, I gathered a few graphic novels that have been challenged. I also filled my whiteboard (the one in the YA area) with a list of classics that have been challenged, ie The Catcher in the Rye and To Kill a Mockingbird. By avoiding the newest challenged book, thereby censoring myself, I hope to prevent controversy in my library. My assistant and I worked together to create a sign for the display hanging from the ceiling. It's subtle but serves its purpose.

As a new librarian (in a new town, with many challenges ahead) I created this blog to document my experiences. Since it's a public blog, I creatively censor myself. My young patrons may stumble upon my work. Employees and coworkers have read my work. I keep things as anonymous as possible. Sure, if you're "in the know" you might infer who people are, but the definition states, "[to] deduce or conclude (information) from evidence and reasoning rather than from explicit statements." I never point a finger. It's not my style.

As I stated, this is a public blog. After posting my blog about color changes in the IP, it was suggested that I double-check with my boss regarding sharing too much information. I kind of chuckled, and obliged her. I sent the link to many coworkers in the library, including my staff and my boss, after all, I rather liked my "punny" blog (my sister said it was the best one (but she has to say that, right?)). And, like my sister said, everyone seemed to love it, including my boss . . . except . . .

As you may gather, I've been asked to "censor" myself while writing my blog. I've been asked not to share information about . . . because people can infer who is who and what is what. Well, I say "F the [blog] police"! I post what I want! Sorry for the profanity, really, I am, but it's a saying after all and I'm an adult. (I eat cookies for breakfast (sometimes.)) If I want to post situations that happen to me at work, I will. Yes, I will continue to keep it anonymous; however, I will not leave out raging confrontations with coworkers or run-ins with patrons. My goal for this blog is to document what I've done in the hopes that a new librarian may stumble upon it. I have friends in library school who may end up in similar situations. So, I'm sorry if you want me to leave you out of this, but it will stifle my creative flow and I can't do it.

Moral of the story: Fight for what you believe in! Use your words, and use them wisely. Don't scream and shout to be heard.
“Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us.”—Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, “The One Un-American Act”. Nieman Reports, vol. 7, no. 1 (Jan. 1953): p. 20.

Monday, September 22, 2014

It's a "Gray Area"

This is a situation where the pun is intended. One website ( states a gray area is "something without a clear rule or answer", and that goes for the walls in the Imagination Portal (IP).

A few weeks ago, I was called in for a meeting to discuss the paint scheme for the IP. Originally the walls were to be yellow. A verdict came in that yellow was out. I thought, "no big deal, we can find another color". After discussing with my boss and the interior designer, we decided on a pale rose with an undertone of yellow, "frangipane"; essentially, it was a warm color. We got the green light to continue with the project . . . until today.

My boss looked out of his office window into the lobby of the library. He saw me and frantically waved for me to come to his office. Out of blue he tells me that the interior designer thinks that the shade we chose won't work and that we must select one of two choices, both of which are gray. OH NO! Now my staff and I are seeing red because it wasn't easy to come up with the fallback color. Plus, gray? It seems rather drab, don't you think? And . . . we have to decide in a two hour window in order to ensure the project stays on target. Our deadline is October 20th, which is already a month or so behind schedule. 

Forever an optimist, I am tickled pink because it's a golden opportunity for my employees to no longer feel like black sheep in this project. Since there is a change of color for the room, and our office, we now can collaborate on a color for the office.

Moral of the story: The grass is always greener on the other side. As a manager, you might think you have a final say until you realize it's not always black and white and someone else makes a different call. Remember to roll with the punches to avoid being black and blue. Bonus if you do, you'll succeed with flying colors.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Haunted by Halloween

Did you ever get so stressed out that you dream about your problem? Yeah, that's happening to me right now. There's lots of pressure to have a grand Halloween party for the Imagination Portal. Halloween is by far the library's largest event at PCPL. Last year 1,300+ people showed up for the event. With Halloween landing on a Friday this year, I've been warned that more people will attend. Oh boy!

Each year PCPL gives away books. Tables are set up and books are put out for patrons (of trick-or-treating age). Will I have enough books for the event? There may or may not be candy. There may or may not be a pumpkin decorating set up. AHHHHHH! Perhaps I should schedule a meeting with my team to resolve these issues.

Halloween is huge and the whole county gets into the spirit, which means that there will be competition for attendance. With the launch of our new space, PCPL wants to make a grand spectacle. We want people to linger in our area to explore all that we have to offer. And why not? With a crowd as big as this, it's clear that we will reach an audience not normally using the library. There are so many possibilities for this event, I don't know where to begin.

Well, that last statement is not entirely true. I depleted my budget on books already. The order has been confirmed and shipped. Each book has to be stamped twice, one with our library information and two with "Friends of the Library" information. Will my TAB members help with this? I hope so! Our meeting on Saturday will confirm the volunteer schedule. We're also bribing the kids (I mean . . . rewarding them) with a pizza party.

I have scheduled a meeting with my gals for this afternoon. We'll talk about such things as candy, pumpkins, and entertainment.

Moral of the story: Plan, prepare, party! By setting up a meeting, I'll find out what to expect. With teens helping, I don't have to stress about finding more hours in the day. And, of course, that means I'll be able to relax and enjoy the festivities.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Top Ten Teen Tips

Each week I share tips with teens on the whiteboard in the YA section. (I think I mentioned that there is a whiteboard to encourage interaction since I hide in the basement.)

A few weeks ago (yes, it's been a while since I've last posted) I shared a list of tips that successful people do. A lot of the lists repeat the same information, stay positive, don't accept failure, et cetera, et cetera. The list for that week was called "5 Things successful People Never Do". The final item on the list states, "They don't say 'yes' to everyone, all the time." This is one tip that I have to start implementing.

I've been saying yes to my boss since I got here. It's not that I'm afraid to say "no" (okay, maybe it is) but it's more out of convenience. I live in the town where I work. The Putnam County Public Library is located in Greencastle, Indiana, aka "GC". I live 1.5ish miles away. My boss lives in another county and has to commute 45+ minutes. Also, our schedules don't sync. It's easier for me to come in early, work my normal shift, and take time off on Friday to balance the schedule than to have to find a time that works for both my boss and myself.

In the past I have said "yes" to meeting him on a Tuesday morning, generally around 11 despite my noon start time. After reading the article, I thought I would take its advice. When my boss proposed a meeting for this upcoming Tuesday at 11, I said "no", kind of. Instead of directly saying "no", I gave him the facts; I don't work until noon, and. since the meeting will be about minor details of the Imagination Portal, I was fine with having my co-workers take my place. He was very willing to be flexible with the time. The meeting has been successfully rescheduled for noon on Tuesday.

It might not be easy to say "no" but, like anything else, practice makes perfect. Now it's time to start implementing "track and budget what's spent and what's made" from "10 Things Successful People Do Every Day". Oh boy . . .