There is always a reason to celebrate. More specifically, every month seems to be dedicated to celebrating different groups of people. Click here to see what I mean. This month happens to be Native Heritage Month and about a month ago a fellow librarian informed me that I would be helping her with the display in the library. Sounds good to me!
One thing that we knew we wanted to do was have some sort of map. We weren’t sure exactly what we were going to do with the maps, but we knew we needed some. So, we headed on up to the amazing map collection here in the library and harassed the map librarian into sharing his knowledge. We found a couple we liked, including one from 1793. We were initially drawn to the map from 1793 because it looked cool and showed three of the reservations in central New York. As we looked closer we both became slightly ill and quite depressed. Why? I made this, perhaps it will explain:
I should also point out that the current city of Syracuse takes up about a quarter of that central blue square.
Besides the display we wanted to have a poster of sorts to hang over the a table with flyers and calendars. After talking about it I realized that many, if not most, of the people at Syracuse University have no idea that there is a reservation 10 miles away. Also, even though the reservation is so close, the Native student population at SU is fairly low. Taking these two thoughts I came up with the idea of showcasing a few of those students in hopes of making the SU community more aware. Working with the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) and the Native American Students At Syracuse (NASAS) group we found six students who were willing to participate. Here is the final result:
At the end of it all I am really quite proud about how everything turned out. Combining the resources of the library, OMA, and NASAS had some really great results.
Also, there is a libguide to ensure it all lives on virtually!
Last year I spent Halloween with Beelzebub the bat sitting at the reference desk. This year I get to go home at 5pm and spend Halloween at home. However, while at work I get to spend my time at the reference desk with Frida the mannequin dressed as a bat.
Anyways. Happy Halloween all. I leave you with a picture (maybe two – I can’t help showing off) of my black cat.
I meant to write this on Monday, but you know, life. So. Here it is today. Monday, by the way, was Columbus Day. I have pretty much ignored Columbus Day for years now. I think it is a stupid holiday, but whatever. It’s here. It has been celebrated for generations and has been a federal holiday since 1937. Anyways, the point is I tend to ignore it and completely forgot about it.
Did you know that next month is Native Heritage Month? It is. Which is why I was surprised when the Native group here on campus was hosting the Kanienkehaka Ratirennenhawi Traditional Singers and Dancers as “a celebration of Native culture and heritage in an effort to educate the greater populous of the University as well as the surrounding communities.” I wasn’t surprised they were doing something like this, I was just surprised that they were doing it mid October (as in Monday) rather than in November. See where I’m going with this? It wasn’t till we (another librarian and I) got to the event that I realized what was going on. They were celebrating Indigenous Survival Day. It was suddenly so obvious. I found myself pleasantly surprised that rather than protesting a holiday in honor of a man who murdered and enslaved their people, they were just ignoring it. In its place they were celebrating their survival with song and dance. There were no hateful words or negative feelings (at least that were obvious.) Instead it was a celebration of life and survival.
This is the only video I have since my iPod was dying and I had no other technology on me…
I don’t really have anything else to say besides that a fellow librarian and I are putting together a display of sorts for Native Heritage Month. I am excited about it and will post pictures when we are done.
About a year ago I read Program Or be Programmed: Ten Commands For a Digital Age by Douglas Ruskoff. It was assigned for a class that I ended up dropping, but I was instantly hooked on the book so I kept reading it. I don’t want to turn this post into a book review so I won’t go into details, but I really enjoyed this book. It is one of those books that I think of and relate to something happening “right now” on an almost daily basis. The main point of the book (at least from my point of view) is that we live in a world with a lot of technology, most of which “makes our life easier” but most of us are not programmers. Almost every aspect of our day to day lives is governed by technology – cars/transportation, internet, computers, phones… and a lot of it has become such a part of our lives that we would be lost with out it. We have become dependent on the technology, but the majority of us have no, or very little, understanding of how the technology that governs our lives actually works. If you stop and think about it, this is a scary concept. If we are dependent on a type of technology (the internet, our phones, a computer program, etc) but we have no idea how that technology works, then we are very easily controlled by those that make/provide that technology. Basically, if you don’t know how something works, then you are dependent on those who do.
That is to say, Millennials are using technology, and no doubt their communications create knowledge, but they are consumers of the technology, not creators of it.
Side note: I recently started watching Revolution, a show set in a post-power world. Basically, ALL the power, all electricity and everything that uses it (computers, cars, tv, lights, climate control, ovens and appliances…) just stops. Even generators are useless. This leads to a post-apocalypse environment and it isn’t pretty. I have no idea if Revolution shows an accurate portrayal of what would happen if electricity suddenly stopped working – but I wouldn’t be too surprised. I like to think that I personally wouldn’t fall into kill or be killed mode, but who knows. I am fairly comfortable both with and without technology. If Netflix and Reddit disappeared- I have plenty of books to occupy my time. Cooking over a campfire works for me, well as long as the wood lasts. Can’t drive my car? I have two bikes I quite enjoy. Of course, if there is no power, there probably won’t be a job for me to ride my bike too…
I am getting off topic. Sorry. This tangent is going beyond what Rushkoff was talking about. Even if then electricity stays on, we are still powerless unless we know how our technology works. I don’t know the numbers, but I am willing to bet that most people have my level of programming skills. Those of us in this group depend on programmers to make our stuff for us and we would be lost without them. Some of these programmers work for companies that want the majority of us to not know what is going on. Not in a malicious way – in a marketing way. Having control of the technology is great for sales.
Of course, there are two sides to every coin. There are open source devices/programs which allow you to make something fit your specific needs. There are also hackathons such as this one at Penn that encourage the modification of software. Of course, to get the most from these you still need to know what you are doing.
Part of me is worried that the future generations will continue to be “consumers of the technology, not creators of it.” Mostly though, I think this is my way of talking myself into taking a programming class…
A little less than a year ago (I think… I don’t really remember) Apple recalled their generation 5 iPod nanos and I just happened to have one. The nano I had was refurbished and given to me as a gift and I loved it. I almost ignored the recall but finally sent it in when I realized it was supposedly a fire hazard. In return I got a shinny new gen 6 nano. Now this thing I LOVED. It took some time getting use to it but it is great for running and I soon couldn’t imagine not having it. It is small and clips on to any article of clothing, and it has the Nike fitness app that tells me my running speed and keeps track of all my runs. About the time that I decided I couldn’t live without it is when the power button stopped working. Of course this was also just after the warranty ran out. I couldn’t be too upset since it basically was a free upgrade of an iPod I had for a couple years, but I was not about to just throw it away and buy a new one. Instead I threw it in a drawer and told myself I would fix it… later.
Later finally happened today. I was sure I knew what the problem was. I had done lots of research and basically everyone said it was a shim that fell off. I found a forum which led to a blog and I felt confident that mine had the same problem. Now, I don’t usually take electronics apart. I am good with the front end of technology – give me a new piece of software or a new computer and I’ll figure it out. I am not so good with the insides. I had never really taken anything like this apart before. Sure, I had replaced the RAM or hard drive of a computer, but that is as far as I got. I think that is why “later” took six months to finally happen. I finally figured I had nothing to loose. I couldn’t use the iPod as it was so if I broke it, o well.
I use the directions in the forum and some youtube videos to take it apart and finally got to the part where I was expecting the shim to be off center. Except it was perfectly centered. After more research I finally figured out that there is a little black “dimple” that should be right on the button. Mine was nowhere to be found. Well crap. I have no idea what this little black thing is really called to try to buy one, didn’t know if I could make one, and even if I did fine it I had no idea how to adhere it. I seriously debated taking it off of one of the volume buttons thinking I would rather be able to turn it on than adjust the volume. Then I remembered. A couple years ago I spilled soup on my iPod touch. Well, in my defense, the soup spilled in by bag (faulty lid!) that just happened to also have the iPod. Either way – it was fried. Being resistant to just throwing out electronics I put it in a baggy and stuffed it someplace. Well, did you know that if you take a touch apart it has ONE button that conveniently uses the same technology? I tore it out, stole a piece of adhesive that was holding the battery in the nano and stuck it on. It works!
Anyways, I thought this tied in nicely with my last post about not realizing I had the “required qualifications” of many job postings. I guess both these posts are saying that sometimes you don’t realize what you can do, and what skills you have, until you do it.
Ahhh that moment when you are looking at a job posting and thinking “Great, another job I like but don’t qualify for… WAIT! I DO have that experience!”. I think I get so tied into the fact that I am a recent grad and I don’t have that much experience in a library. My position at UB and my practicums have been invaluable and I will be eternally grateful that I was able to do all of it. However, there definitely has still been times where I see a posting that says recent grads are encouraged to apply but the list of requirements is, well… not short or “basic”. This is usually the point where I pout and move on to the job postings I actually do qualify for. Every so often though I say “screw it!” and start applying for the one I don’t qualify for. It usually hits in the middle of writing my cover letter that I actually *do* qualify for the job. No, I don’t have years of experience, and I don’t fill every waking breath with library activities, but I do have more qualifications and skills than I give myself credit for. Why can’t I remember this? All the job hunting advice I have been given says to really think about those skills that are required, that there is more than one way to gain experience. I think I have finally started to remember these things when it comes to applying for positions, or at least I make myself start writing a cover letter.
Now if I can only start remembering during the actual interviews! I don’t know why my brain shuts down during interviews. No matter how much time I spend preparing I never seem to be able to think of things to say. That is until I am on my way home. O well. I guess that is the way it usually works. Practice makes perfect right? I should probably be less particular about the jobs I consider/apply for, but I am not willing to settle yet. I’ll keep shooting for the jobs I really want and look at the interviews as practice – plus I kind of like having an excuse to wear a suit.
On another note, I have continued volunteering at the Health Sciences Library since my student position ended. This is wonderful for many reasons. I am able to continue working with people I have grown to respect and whose company I enjoy. I am also getting more experience with collection development which is an area that I have been hoping to get more hands on experience with. I just talked with the reference manager today about a large project they are planning to start on in the next couple of weeks. The students are doing the “grunt” work while I will be working with the librarians making executive decisions. It is a good little ego boost when your ex-boss trusts you and respects you enough to let you do the professional librarian work.