libraries

shiny, shiny toy

1

For those of you who don’t know, I am a public librarian. I work at the reference desk at a medium-sized library in central Indiana. And today…

My library bought an iPad.

It’s for staff use. I’m part of a team that will be learning to use various personal gadgets, such as the iPad, to download the audiobooks, e-books, and videos that are available to our patrons for checkout. After we’ve learned the process on all of the gadgets, we’re going to teach the rest of the library staff as well. We decided to purchase a Sony Pocket Reader, an iPad, and a Zune video MP3 player. This decision was made roughly a week after I had attended a webinar on gadgets in the library, which was informative and exciting but prompted me to lament to my manager because I didn’t foresee the library’s equipment budget allowing for such purchases any time soon. Luckily, several managers felt staff needed to know how to use these new fangled things if we’re to have any hope of assisting patrons that have them.

I’d been curious about the iPad since I first saw it, wondering how this new device would perform compared to a smartphone or a laptop. It’s true that I secretly want one for myself even though I’ve never really wanted an Apple product before, and I’m not sure I can justify needing one. I do have a desktop and a laptop computer, after all. Although, the laptop is about five years old now and becoming sluggish…

Anyway, the techie in me was doing an Irish jig on top of the world when one of the managers brought the iPad to me this morning. Aside from the staff member that slapped the inventory sticker onto it, I was the first person to behold its shininess. I was the first person to start smearing my fingerprints across its pristine screen.

I am intrigued. I cannot wait to see the future of touch interfaces and how they will be used in libraries of all kinds, beyond their obvious uses as media readers/players. Will a touch interface become the new library catalog, allowing patrons to explore a library’s collection in new, interactive ways? The touch interface is so intuitive, as many users of the iPad have demonstrated with their videos of their two-year-olds and savvy cats. This could be a major advantage over some traditional catalog interfaces that patrons find clunky and hard to navigate.

I was bummed that I couldn’t bring the iPad home with me to continue learning and exploring over the weekend. Fortunately, some friends who are staying at our house this weekend bought their own iPad today! “Everything’s shiny, captain!”

knitter’s shoulder?

10

I think I’ve injured myself by knitting too furiously.

I started a blanket for my mom a week before Mother’s Day. I had grand delusions of being able to finish it, even at the snail-like pace that I knit, in time to gift it on Mother’s Day. Now…you need to understand that I knit so tightly that I often have to let go of the working yarn to scooch the knitting up the needle using both hands (or in this case, around the needle, since I’m working in the round). My hands usually start to hurt after knitting for an hour or so.

Also, I usually knit while sitting in my computer chair—an instrument of torture that I’ve been suffering for several years. The armrests are not adjustable. They are made of hard plastic and do not have any cushioning or padding covering them.

I finally realized after a week of furious knitting (furious means that I averaged at least an hour of knitting every day) that the way I rest my elbows against my torso while knitting—somewhat squished because if I rested my elbows on the actual ARMRESTS for more than five minutes, I would be bruised for life—yep, it kinda hurt.

When I finally admitted defeat two days before my unrealistic deadline, I scaled back on my knitting time and consciously tried to adjust my posture so as to not create as much tension in my hands and upper body. But, the next day my wrists and shoulder ached just a bit. A little twinge here and there.

Apparently I really need to try to knit more loosely. I’ve barely knitted at all this week. My wrists twinge more than a bit. And my shoulder! Egads, my right shoulder aches like whoa if I move it just so, especially while performing that oh-so-important motion of pulling up your pants or underwear. I don’t think the reference desk setup at work helps either. Our reference desk was designed by a sadist who did not stop to consider that most librarians (okay, about half of the librarians I know) have thighs the size of giant hams, and maybe we’d like to sit at the desk with an ergonomically correct posture but we’re unable to do so due to the sadistic design plus the idiotic lap drawers that are six inches tall, which means we can’t put our arms and wrists in that comfortable computing position because the tops of our thunder thighs will bump the lap drawers if we adjust the chair height to the correct ergonomic position.

But I digress.

I need a new computer/knitting/sewing chair.

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