Saelynn's Blog

Passions of a library nerd

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On Children (or rather people with children)

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Working in a public library is great most of the time. But I do not work with children or teens most of the times.  I am very lucky to work in a municipality where the majority of users are adults, and that the Youth Department is two floors above me.

Children are our future. I get that, also, that most people end up having children. That is also great.  But there are a couple of things that really bother me as someone who works in a public space and lives in an apartment.

For the library- it really bothers me that the caretakers of children cannot seem to arrive on time to a program, often arriving up until the program is over. It is not only rude and disruptive, but it sets an example to kids that functionality is not important.  Also, that interrupting people is fine. I do get that wrangling children is often difficult- I babysat for years, but if you know that functionally is an issue, start planning to arrive early, and then up arriving on time!  There is also the use/ownership of space issue.  We get people who become upset that there isn’t a  “family room” on every floor, or that the kids aren’t allowed to run down concrete stairs, yell in quiet areas, or get titchy when I suggest that changing a child on a chair that people sit on isn’t the greatest idea.

As a childless person who lives in a building with multiple units, I have more problems. I have been lucky enough for the past year to live in a group of townhouses which share a common courtyard. This space is safe, closed in and very lovely.  But unusable to most people. Why?  Because it has become a playground. There are several young children who use the space to play, which would be okay if it was occasional and their parents reminded them to be courteous to the other residents. Sidewalk chalk on the ground is okay, it washes off. Sidewalk chalk on the walls, is less nice. Especially when their parents seem completely disinterested in cleaning it off. Play for a bit is okay, yelling for hours and hours is not. If adults are restricted to certain hours of evening noise, children and their parents should be encouraged to use local parks and recreation centres.

Mostly my frustration come fromthe societal belief that children can do no wrong, and that calling them on their behavior (telling them to stop crawling on tables, please be quiet) is not allowed. I have even heard someone say that you cannot ever tell a caretaker that their child is wrong/disruptive. This bothers me. When I hear people complain about the rudeness of today’s youth and their sense of entitlement, I see it starting with their caretakers at home, and in public spaces.

This is a rather cranky post, but my complaints are aimed at less than 20% of caretakers, most people with children are fine.

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Written by saelynn

May 14, 2011 at 6:16 pm

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On Online Identity

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It is a little funny, I have used pseudonyms online since I first discovered the internet, and I believe strongly in their necessity but occasionally I wish I could squish everything together. It would make keeping track of things easier, at least.

I do like that a search of my full name just brings up a professional profile, and that my mom doesn’t know my reading preferences or who I date.  And it is excellent that my 15 year old self is not connected in any way to my 25 year old self.

There is some interesting discussions occurring these days about using social media at work, about the US wanting to create “trusted identities.” I do like the idea of being able to authorize programs easier, or linking things together to make purchasing easier- but I don’t want to waive my right to a private life.

I want to have professional me being unrelated to personal me.  To not have my purchase histories linked to my name, or my favourite naughtly books appearing on a search of my name.

It is hard to stand up against people citing anonymous users creating havoc or not being able to fight against spam.  But I don’t need my public and private lives intersecting, and neither do most people.

People should be able to have private lives and public lives, and the internet is perfect as long as facebook doesn’t win.

Some Resources:
http://librarianbyday.net/2010/05/05/my-favorite-privacy-quotes-a-top-ten-countdown/
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/25/magazine/25privacy-t2.html
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2010/04/facebook-timeline/
http://digitaltattoo.ubc.ca/

Written by saelynn

May 7, 2011 at 6:12 pm

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On going back to school

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I was a student from age three to twenty three, and then I took a break.  I ended that time a BA with a major that I loved, even if I didn’t receive the best marks, and a diploma where I recieved excellent marks and loved everything even more.

In early November 2010 I decided to apply to library school.  I had been out of school for a year and a half, working full time,  getting a ton of experience, but seeing the top stair of my career without a MLIS. My plan had always included library school, and I felt at that point that I was ready.

I applied to my first choice of schools and the local choice, and was fairly optimisitic of my chances given my current work experience and my past education.

The local choice rejected me- which was unexpectedly devastating. I mostly expected it, their deciding factor was GPA, not fieldwork- but it still was tough.

At that point I hadn’t heard back from my first choice- but after contacting them it looked as though a piece of my applciaiton was lost.  As soon as I re-mailed it- I was accepted within days.

The idea that I will be moving 4200 km to go to school for a year is a little frightening.  I will be packaging my things into storage and living in a small basement suite- and hopefully having a ton of fun learning and being back at school.

This week has been a flurry of applying for scholarships, applying for a leave of absence, and letting interested parties know where I will be come September.

So ages twenty-five to twenty-six I’ll be completing my education, and then returning to my seaside library.

Written by saelynn

April 15, 2011 at 10:53 pm

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On Customer Service

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I applied for my first front-line customer service job in order to improve my social skills.  Seriously.  I knew that for my chosen profession I needed people skills and I didn’t have them.  So I worked a month at a terrible coffee shop, a year at a bottle return-it and then a year as the admin assistant at a dance studio before I applied for my first position in my chosen field.

Did it help? Yes.  Was it enough?  Not really.  The level of public service that is required at my current position is high.  I’m not perfect at it, might never be, but I do my best.

I put up with people screaming at me, people willfully destroying public property, people unable/unwilling to learn new tasks, people upset with change…. and generally people who don’t know how to function politely.

But I also get to deal with wonderful people who want to learn new skills, share their stories and who are grateful for the service we provide.

Most days I know that the latter outweigh the former, but on days like today, it is hard to remember.  And not only are some people tough to deal with, it really bothers me when I know I’m not dealing with a situation the best way possible.

Sometimes I know the only way to deal with certain situations well is to gain experience, and the only way to gain experience is time.  And gaining years of experience is going to take years.

Written by saelynn

June 11, 2010 at 9:50 pm

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On people knowing me

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At 24 years of age, I’m starting to deal with something resembling popularity.  It is weird and makes me uncomfortable.

I’m co-convener of an interest group in a local association, and that has led to opportunities with speaking at the association’s conference, publishing an article in their newsletter and running our interest group’s blog.  With the new-ish full-time job it means that people know who I am, and want to talk to me.  It is weird.

Part of me is thrilled, the lonely, socially inept teenager I was really likes the idea.  But most of me is worried.  Worried about letting people down, worried about missteps, and social faux pas.  I know that they are inevitable and a part of life, but I’m a fretter and I fret.

Every time I see my name mentioned in a report (at the job or the interest group) I worry about how it will look in 5 years, I worry about future employers searching my name, and mostly I worry about my personal life and my work life meeting.

These worries intersect with popularity (or notoriety) in that as an anonymous high school student, college student and on-call worker my online life was completely unlikely ever to come out.  As a professional who is doing well in my field anonymity is a bit harder to hold on to.

I don’t want to feel like I’m compromising any of my passions; work, friends, hobbies, or anything else, in order to hold onto one of them.

For example, my other non-professional blog contains my current creative writing endeavors, most of which is both questionable in quality as well as being explicit in content.  Do I want to be judged for my hobbies?  Not really, but I have heard enough tales of people being fired/not hired, etc. for their online activities that I am a bit paranoid.

Overall, I think that I’ll go on as I have, and enjoy blogging as I go.  But I’ll worry.

Written by saelynn

February 20, 2010 at 5:06 am

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Hello World!

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I’ve been thinking about starting a new blog for a couple of months, and have finally done it.  Previously, the reasons for were: I have something to say and I enjoy blogging. The reasons holding me back were: I already have one blog that I don’t update enough and concerns about my online identity affecting my professional life.

In the past I’ve had two (now defunct) online journals. Both from livejournal and both were started when I was in my teens.  They included fanfiction, conversations with friends, poorly created icons and most of my teenage angst. My other (current) blog is filled with my creative writing projects and other writing related postings.

I’m an adult now, and the urge to share my goals, passions and interests to (theoretically) the world hasn’t disappeared.  I’ve enjoyed the conversations I’ve had with people known only through their online personas, and I look forward to having more in the future.

Written by saelynn

February 10, 2010 at 2:19 am

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