data-crunching librarian

Officially, my title is Electronic Resources Librarian, but lately I’ve been spending more of my time and energy on gathering and crunching data about our eresources than on anything else. It’s starting to bleed over into the print world, as well. Since we don’t have someone dedicated to managing our print journals, I’ve taken on the responsibility of directing discussions about their future, as well as gathering and providing e-only options to the selectors.

I like this work, but I’ve also been feeling a bit like my role is evolving and changing in ways I’m not entirely cognizant of, and that worries me. I came into this job without clear direction and made it my own, and even though I have a department head now, I still often feel like I’m the driver. This has both positives and negatives, and lately I’ve been wishing I could have more outside direction, in part so I don’t feel so much like I’m doing things that may not have much value to the people for whom I am doing them.

However, on Monday, something clicked. A simple comment about using SAS to analyze the print book collection use over time set all sorts of things firing away in my head. About all I know with SAS is that it’s some sort of data analysis tool, but I realized that I had come up with several of my professional goals for the next year in that moment.

For one, I want to explore whether or not I can learn and use SAS (or SPSS) effectively to analyze our collections (not just print books, as in the example above). For another, I want to explore whether or not I can learn R to more effectively visualize the data I gather.

Maybe some day down the road my title won’t be Electronic Resources Librarian anymore. Maybe some day it will be Data-Crunching Librarian.

Sounds good to me.

feeling empty

Wishing Chair
I spent the past four days with my friends Kiya & Miriam. They’re in a folk-roots band called Wishing Chair, which I’ve mentioned a few times on this blog. They flew out here on Thursday, and until this morning, I was their driver for the PNW part of their west coast tour. Despite the hours spent in my cramped and crowded Toyota Tercel, it was wonderful to be with them. Now they’ve gone on to the Northern California portion of their tour, and I feel empty. I have to re-adjust to being alone. To living in a place where all of my relationships are new and without the depth of the friendships I left behind in Kentucky and elsewhere.

I have to keep reminding myself of the joy of this past weekend. I produced a show here on Sunday. Wishing Chair has arranged some of their songs to be performed by/with a women’s choir. The concert included two of those songs performed by/with the Ellensburg Women’s Chorus, of which I am a member. It was amazing to be up on stage with my fellow choir members, singing Wishing Chair songs. Normally, I’m just sitting in the audience quietly singing along. This time I was up there with them. With my friends.