Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Frenetic first day of classes...

Happy Tuesday everybody! Tuesday of the 21st week of Ordinary Time, to be exact. No saint on the liturgical calendar today (bummer), but today is the conclusion to the St. Monica novena, as her feast day is tomorrow! If you have any loved ones who have strayed from the faith, St. Monica is your go-to gal. Ask for her intercession. I have really enjoyed this novena, and currently have materials in my Fusion Beads cart to make her chaplet.


But yesterday was the first day of classes here, so I thought I'd report in on that. It's pretty warm here this week, so the weather isn't exactly screaming FALL! But that's ok. There's always a wonderful sense of expectant energy on the first day of classes for the fall semester. In the life of this state university librarian, there are also parking snafus and panicked students at the reference desk.

I'll start with the parking, since I'm still feeling feisty about it. :0 I don't know why this has to be so complicated, but it is. We have a large student population here, nearly 30,000 (across 2 campuses, but still). There are also a lot of employees, as you might imagine. And yet, there are not enough parking spaces.

A few years ago, they did *a study*. A study about parking, because this is a university, and studies apparently make people feel productive. And the result, they tell us, is that there ARE enough parking spaces. Aforementioned parking spaces simply aren't where WE WANT THEM TO BE.

Now, ok. The Powers That Be *clearly* want us to now see the "error" of our ways, and agree with them that we shouldn't complain about parking anymore.

I don't *think so* MISTER SMARTY PANTS. Nobody wants to park several miles away and hike through the excessive wind that is omnipresent on this poorly constructed campus to get to work. Nor are we wild about the idea of parking far away and awaiting a shuttle in the winter time. In Buffalo. There is plenty of space on this ugly suburban sprawl of a college campus, and it seems to me that we could come up with a better solution much closer to the buildings that everyone wants to get to.

I'm just SAYING. But nobody has come and surveyed me, so there you have it.

So, yesterday I arrived on campus bright eyed and bushy tailed, only to get behind a truck that puttered along very slowly, perusing the full parking lots. There was lots of signage and parking people standing guard at each lot, trying to direct everyone. Said truck marooned me out in the road as he partially turned, blocking everyone, to talk to one of the parking people. I felt annoyed, but I know that my first day here I didn't know where to go either, so we'll give him a pass. When I finally got by him and up to the staff portion of that particular lot, there were about 6 spaces left. I nabbed one.

This morning, I arrived at the exact same time, feeling angelic at 8:30 am, and zoomed easily up to the staff lot, bypassing the anxious-looking parking people with ease. Except, *dun dun dunnnnnnnnn*. There were no parking spots.


*long suffering sigh*

I parked in one of the student lots that was still close by and walked just a few minutes further, no big deal. But come 9-9:30 am, WATCH OUT! Misery will ensue. And swear words. Which reminds me, I'm leaving a tad early today to make it to confession.


So, parking behind me, we now have the entity that is the library reference desk during the first week of classes. My first shift of the week actually isn't until tomorrow (just can't wait) but I got a foretaste of things last Friday afternoon. The campus was already bustling from orientations and move-in day. After fielding several students who approached me with their syllabi, hoping that the library carried all of their textbooks for them to check out for the duration of the semester, and somehow ahead of the 249 classmates in their giant lecture courses (sigh), I hear a BOOP! on my chat reference interface.

"Hello. How can I help you?"


"Hi! I'm working on a thesis project. I need to find stuff on 5 different deities from ancient Greek mythology, as well as..."

You get the idea. Not exactly a simple question answered easily via IM.

"Do you need find both books and articles? Have you found anything that you are using already?"

"Um, I do need both books and articles. In fact, a graduate school friend of mine gave me an article to use. But I'm not familiar with this Odyssey tool."

This happens a lot in chat reference. He has started speaking in some unfamiliar language with no explanation. :0 I don't know what on earth he's talking about, and elaboration isn't exactly forthcoming. I take a stab at it.

"Do you mean, "The Odyssey"? By Homer?"

That seemed plausible, given the subject matter.


*long pause as I await further details*

*none comes*

"Should I look at the library website?"

"Well, yes, we have... [insert explanation of our discovery service here]. But where do you see 'Odyssey' in reference to this article you have?"

"Oh. It says 'Odyssey' along the side. The person who gave it to me is from another college."

"Ah. I bet that is an interlibrary loan/delivery service of some kind, from another institution."

"Oh. That makes sense, I guess."


[insert efficient and helpful completion of reference interaction by your resident Catholic Librarian]


Good times. Anybody else have a first day of school for you or your little one yesterday? Leave me a comment!


  1. Last Monday was the first day of school at the community college where I am an adjunct librarian. I had the first reference desk shift and it was super busy. Most students wanted to know if we had their textbook or how to use the printer. In between students I was listening to and then returning messages left on the reference desk voice mail.

    1. It's good to know that some things are a given everywhere. :) Thanks, Melanie!


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