Welcome to Tessa's blog

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

New database system

Last week we had a wake for our departed database called Lovisa. We had a small gathering at a pub, where the old ones (me and a few others) told tales of Lovisa's introduction almost 20 years ago.

One of the more memorable library visitors recently was the American man who asked for information about his grandfather. The grandfather was an American who had been involved in some committees relating to the Lutheran Church and had visited Sweden in the 1940s. I was able to find the minutes from the meetings he had taken part in and also two newspaper articles where his name and photo were included. We even found five letters he had written to Swedish religious leaders. The grandson was ecstatic about the finds and thanked me excessively.

Last week I held one more education session for some colleagues that still hadn't seen the new system. It was a very positive atmosphere and we all thought it will be better and easier to use for the staff.

Our new database system, called LUBcat, started today. I was invited to an improvised launch party in the technicians' office. There are of course problems already. For some reason we can't print anything from the website... At least not the things we want. Luckily, we didn't have that many patrons today. We have, however, about ten carts with books that need to be returned in this database but we can't do that right now because of the printing issues.

Over the weekend I visited the summerhouse again. The temperature is lower, around 20 degrees and the wind has changed so the ocean water is colder. Still, I jumped in once. We went to two fleamarket stores and surprisingly my mother actually donated much more than she bought this time. I got a book for my library. We are supposed to have all Swedish books but some we have never received because they are published abroad. This particular one had text in Swedish but was printed in Germany. Monday morning I travelled directly from the summerhouse to work. Once again the railway company had a bad day. The train crew apologized several times. The delay was about an hour in total.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Weekend at the summerhouse

Saturday a week ago I went to Lund with a colleague to see a minor re-enactment of the Battle at Lund 1676. It was in a park by the Cathedral. The battle included people in armour, old weapons, horses and cannons. It was loud and dusty but rather fascinating. Any other horse would have freaked out but those ones must have been trained to stand such sounds. One of the participants had a cell phone that he used to take photos of the crowd and that looked really out of place.

Monday last week the climate indoors was terrible and so hot that I had to go home after lunch. My brain was not working, it was no use staying. Wednesday it was our National Day. It means that the stores are open in Denmark. This time I took the train north to Helsingborg and then (a very crowded) ferry over to Helsingör (Elsinore). It's a pretty little town with very old houses. I found four second hand stores and one outlet store with plus sizes. I bought a summerdress in the latter. I bumped into a colleague in one store. There were thousands of Swedes in Helsingör that day. I had lunch at a typically Danish family restaurant. Dessert was an incredible chocolate cheesecake. It was a very nice visit to Denmark.

Thursday at noon was a milestone in the history of the library. Our local database system was shut down. We have had the same for about 20 years and it was time to get something else. It will take time before all the data has been migrated into the new system. Most likely we will have a new database next week. Right now we can't do much. We can't register new books or lend books to anyone. In the stacks we are busy shelving, however.

The hot weather means water shortage and most places now have a ban against watering outdoor areas such as gardens and lawns. Last week we had no hot water in my town (still unclear why) and Friday hardly any water came through the shower. That evening I travelled to the summerhouse and spent the weekend there with my mother and her boyfriend. Saturday was the first time this year I jumped into the ocean. It was great! Pretty high waves and acceptable temperature. Of course I got burned by the sun but it was still worth it. We also covered two fleamarkets but spent most of the time relaxing. Very nice.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Hot weather

I haven't had time to write here in a while. This time of year is very tough at the library with lots to do. It's the end of the semester and the students need books for their reports and then they also return large numbers of books to us. This year it has been worse than usual, I think. There are many other things going on also. Both our local catalogue and the national catalogue Libris will be down for upgrading in June. Many of us have been rushing to get things done before the closing. The catalogues will be drastically different when they go live again, so many fear that everything will take longer time then. We are still testing our local database to see if it will cope with such a workload as we expect with full capacity. It's still uncertain. The education sessions have ended. Now I'm involved in the project group that will produce guides and manuals for the staff.

This summer two students will work in the stacks and in preparing for that we needed five bookcases installed. The janitor is so busy we had to get a moving company to do it. There has also been an afternoon with lectures for the staff. The topics were equality and diversity. It was a lot more interesting than I thought it would be.

The weather is extreme in every way. The month of May has never been this warm since they started keeping records in the 19th century. The ventilation system at work is not functioning well. It's 28-30 degrees inside my office and the stacks. It's very difficult to do manual labor under these circumstances. The heat is affecting my brain and I have made several mistakes these past two weeks.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Carnival

Thursday evening I attended a concert in Lund. The Academic choir had invited the Missouri University choir. They sang some pieces together. It was a marvellous experience with a very powerful sound and varied program. Two colleagues are in the Academic choir and they said afterwards that they too were very impressed by their guests' performance.

The weather is nice but it means that it is now about 28 degrees in our offices. It didn't take long before we started complaining. It's the same thing every year.

This past week I invested in a sun deck chair to have on my balcony. It's not a large balcony so I had to remove the other furniture. In order to get it home I borrowed the storage round car Friday. The library was closed over the weekend so the janitor told me he didn't need the car back until Monday morning. I made very good use of this offer. Saturday I drove to the Archive center to do research in the morning. At 1 PM I continued in to town and parked in the regular spot at the library. Then I walked 200 meters and joined many thousands of other people to watch the carnival parade. Once every four years there is a large carnival in Lund. It certainly is a spectacle. The floats were on trucks and displayed variants of current events. There were references to local politics, the traffic situation, the new university in Malmö, the Me Too-movement and much else. The participants had dressed up (or down) in crazy outfits in all sorts of colors. In between the floats there were also marching bands and dancing groups. The event is estimated to attract about 400 000 visitors to Lund over the weekend.

Sunday I did a nice road trip in the area north of where I live. I visited a small village where there are several second hand stores. I hadn't been there in years and there are even more shops now. I only bought a few egg cups for my collection. After driving further east I had lunch in a town and then went for groceries. It was great weather so when I came home I tried out the new sun deck chair. It was approved of.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Chores

The week at work was interrupted by a holiday on the Thursday, Ascension Day. The first three days of the week we had to cram in three education sessions; one for my closest colleagues and two for general staff members. We have done this a few times now and we are more confident than in the beginning. I even forgot my manuscript on one occasion but I don't think anyone noticed. Friday there were not many people working, as it wasn't a proper working day. The library was however open and it means that a few of us have to be ordered to work. This is usually not a problem, there were five people who agreed to be "ordered" this time. The extra overtime hours you get are a good deal. I had to be there a little longer than the others because I had desk duty until 4 pm. There was quite a lot to do, especially since one patron had asked for several different journals and they turned out to be both large and heavy.

The traffic service here had once again a very bad day Tuesday. I didn't know about the total breakdown until I got to the train station. I turned around, walked back to work and borrowed the storage round car. I had to get to a meeting with the condo association and just barely made it. Of course there had been accidents on the road so getting home took almost one hour. Normally it's a 15 minute drive.

The top I missed out on the previous week I was able to find in a store in Lund instead. It was very nice with purple flowers on a black background. I haven't done that much over the weekend, really. The weather is lovely with sun and not too hot temperatures, 20-22 degrees. I have done some chores like getting plastic and glass to the recycling place, grocery shopping, replanting a dying houseplant, clearing out outdated food, reorganizing part of my book collection and handwashing a few blouses. I have also enjoyed sitting on my balcony.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Trip to Copenhagen

May 1st is a holiday here and I went on an excursion to Copenhagen that day. The weather was rather bad so I spent the day in two different indoor shopping malls. I had a great lunch at a buffet restaurant. Especially the dessert was noteworthy: chocolate pudding and waffles with maple syrup. The shopping was limited; a floral blouse, a peach colored t-shirt and some socks. Still, it was a nice trip.

Thursday I gave a lecture on the new database system to the colleagues in my department. There will be a few changes that will effect our work. Most of the changes will be for the better, believe it or not.

Saturday there was a market fair in the town where I live. I went there for an unusual reason. I collected printed material from all the political parties represented. This year is an election year and the ephemera department at my library has the ambition to collect this type of material. It is not always sent in to us.

Today I made a short visit to a mall in Malmö because I wanted to buy a certain top in a store. I missed out, unfortunately. They didn't have my size. Instead I went grocery shopping.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Long weekend

For the education sessions last week the test database had been upgraded and it did actually cope with the work load. The first session on Wednesday went well even though the "students" didn't bother about doing the tasks suggested to them. Thursday morning I sighed loudly when there was an e-mail from my colleague saying he was sick. It meant that I had to do all of it that day. I hadn't prepared his part and it didn't go that well. At one point I completely blanked out but I hope no one noticed. On the Thursday the students were much more into doing the tasks themselves and that was a relief.

Friday there was a new exhibit opened at the library. It was commemorating the start of the lithographic printing method in Sweden 200 years ago. The staff in the stacks had helped out by retrieving a large number of works for this exhibit. It was interesting to see the displays.

Friday I also managed to get through the last reference book on Geography, so now that entire section is done. I moved about half of the collection to the stacks. I think the next subject will be Natural science.

This weekend turns out to be a long weekend because the library is closed both today and tomorrow. Today is Walpurgis Night and tomorrow is Labor Day. I have taken it rather slow so far, I only went to the nearest mall to get some new flowers for the balcony. I even dared to get a tomato plant.

The weather is typical for the season with high winds and rainstorms. The blue flowers in the park in front of the library have already blossomed.  The spring came late this year but now everything is growing fast.