Wednesday, February 24, 2010

About Me (and this blog)

For a while I've been assuming that the only people looking at this weblog were those I worked with (or knew by extension) in libraryland. Yes, I know it's public, but I believed not many others would read it, hence the lack of an informative "About Me" page common to most blogs. Now seems like a good time to clarify things for anyone who arrives here and is confused.

Who I Am:
I am a Reference and Instruction Librarian at a community college in southern New Jersey. Before that, I was an adjunct librarian at several community colleges in upstate New York. Before that, I was a paraprofessional at the Cornell University Library while I worked on my MSLIS at Syracuse University's iSchool. Before that, I worked in journalism as a freelancer and office manager for a small newspaper. Before that, I bounced around the following departments as an undergraduate (this may not seem important, but the interests continue and seem to crop up in the blog): journalism, psychology, classics, literature, philosophy, and history. Eventually this resulted in a BA in history, with a concentration in Middle Eastern Studies.

Blog History:
I started the Librarian's Commute during the 'adjunct' phase of the above biography, when I was shuttling among different jobs and job functions. I used three or four different computers for work every day, and I did not have a true 'home' at work. I also spent a lot of time in the car. I felt the need to have some record of what I was doing, and I looked for a way to make the hours in the car more productive. Hence the name of the blog. I know the title is kind of lame. I would probably think it sounded too stupid to be worth my attention if I wasn't the one writing it. Oh well; at the same time, I still like the idea of the liminal nature of being in transit, when a person is neither here nor there.

Subsequent to my adjuncting days, I found a less temporary position, and at that point I wondered whether I should continue with the blog. For various reasons, I'm still in the car two hours every day, thus I still have plenty of time to ponder things while driving, and so I figured I might as well keep at it.

What this Blog Tries to Be:
Overall, this is my attempt to be a part of, and contribute to, the library community. I am one of many figuring out what a librarian is as the information world changes, and libraries, technology, and higher education are the topics I try and stick to.

Having studied journalism, I'm aware of how difficult it is to be objective, and this is partly why I write from a first-person narrative point of view. Mostly I use this blog as a sounding board while I organize ideas. I try to write in a way that is clear, rational, and conversational, but I'm probably guilty of seeming alternately simplistic and over-earnest. I do my best to be honest and fair.

What this Blog Is Not:
-An official representation of the college where I work. I speak for myself as an individual, not for the college.
-Breaking news. You can find it lots of other places.
-Tech tips, for the same reason as above. I will elaborate on stuff I find useful, but I'm not usually the first to know.
-I don't think of this a place to air my personal grievances, and I don't want to talk about my cat or what I had for lunch here, unless it relates to libraries, technology, or higher education.

Where Else You Might Find Me:
I have private (not particularly library-related) accounts on Facebook and Twitter. I also administer and provide some of the content for my library's Facebook and Twitter pages. I tried to get involved with ning and several other groups online, but they haven't held my attention. I'm a member of ALA, & ACRL, and so I lurk & occasionally post to the CJC, COLLIB, OFFCAMP (DLS), ILI, RSS (RUSA), and NMRT listservs. Locally I try to be involved in VALE, NJ-ACRL, SJRLC, and CJARL.

Relevant Policies etc.:
I attempt to post at least once per week, and I've been able to hold to that so far. When I notice a typographical or factual error, I will edit a previously published post. Because I've been treating this as more of a writing project than a technology project, I've been lazy about adding gadgets and whatnot, preferring to keep it plain and simple. I'm using google's blogger software, which is free free free, and sometimes it shows. I have no plans to monetize any time soon.

The photos are my own unless attributed. At first they were strictly from my commute, and then when I got bored of taking pictures of the road I started posting anything I saw during the week.

For a long time commenting was open to anyone, but then someone submitted a bunch of advertising in Chinese, so I changed the permissions. Recently I changed them back to being more open, but I reserve the right to delete anything I consider inappropriate.

Creative Commons
I just added a license, because it bugged me to think someone might take credit for and profit from my work. It hadn't occurred to me before that anyone would want or be able to do that, but who knows. Please be nice and give me credit for my writing and photos, if you recycle them.

There may be a time when I don't want to do this any more. I'll probably re-evaluate the whole project when it hits five years old. Just because five seems like a good number.

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