While the start of my residency certainly felt like and adventure, things have been less adventurous in the last couple of weeks ... at least they've been less eventful. My things finally arrived, Spiderbane has continued to kill a few spiders here and there, I learned to keep my head above water while in the deep water fitness class, and I settled in to work on my projects.
For this year, my schedule has worked out so that I'm working with Collections & Technical Services (CTS - the behind the scenes library people) in the mornings. In the afternoons I'm with Special Collections (think Noah Wyle's The Librarian series ... sort of ... OK. Not really. But they do get to work with cool older archival materials.)
My mornings so far are harkening back to grad school when I first learned about creating databases. That's because I'm creating a database. The main goal is to pull together usage and cost data for electronic (and later all) materials to determine whether we're getting a good return on investment for each journal. Ultimately, we want to use the database to help determine whether to continue subscribing to journals based on how much they're getting used and how much they cost. I'm not in this quest alone. I've got the support of Annette who works with electronic resources and emerging technologies and Tracy in collections assessment and oh so many people on the CTS team. Plus, I've got my textbooks from school to refer to. Thank you Connolly & Begg for your wonderful Database Systems text and thank you Manga Guide to Databases for making it fun to refresh my memory on database basics.
In the afternoons, I've been working on the LGBTQ History at Virginia Tech project. So far, I've been indexing oral history audio recordings so that they will be searchable and ready for use in a display for the project in October. I'm enjoying this project for a number of reasons. It hits close to home for me since it's about the history of the LGBTQ rights movement in Virginia and I grew up gay in Virginia. It also gives me the opportunity to work on a project that sits right in the area of librarianship I'm most interested in: digital collections. I love that the work we do on this project will be accessible worldwide (or conceivably off-planet!) and can be used for research and education by anyone with access to the Internet. Providing that access is so important especially when the collection highlights an underrepresented population or a part of human history that is often overlooked or swept aside.
In addition to working on these two projects, I've also been working to set up collaboration tools for the Diversity Alliance cohort to use. Our first Institute is coming up later this month and I want to have those tools ready to go so that we can all keep in touch after we meet each other. I'm also working with another librarian and representatives of the American Indian Studies program to host some events in the library for Native American Heritage Month later this year - I may get to help plan some author events with Sherman Alexie!! Squeee!
Coming in the next few weeks, I have my first Diversity Development Institute class and my first SafeZone class. I also have the first Diversity Alliance Institute and get to meet the 5 other residents from American University, West Virginia University, and the University of Iowa. For that, I'll be in Morgantown, WV and get to go see Pittsburgh! New places, new people! I'm excited but I'm sure I'll need to huddle alone in my apartment afterward to recover. It will be fun and challenging.
More updates as I have more to report.
I'm the Community Collections Archivist, Community and Cultural Centers Librarian & Resident Librarian at Virginia Tech.