Welcome to Tessa's blog

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Ergonomics

The week at work contained three meetings and two storage rounds. In addition to this, my department has a new boss. It's a guy who had the same job a few years ago, so we don't think it will be a revolution of any kind. We were also visited by a woman from the university who is in ergonomics. She wanted to know what our job is like from a physical point of view. She checked how we moved our bodies when we retrieve books and what equipment (carts, ladders, boxes) we have to assist us in the work. She went with us to the storage also. We already know what the challenges are but she wanted to get it down on paper. We get whatever equipment we ask for but we still have to lift the heavy boxes with books from the cart to the car and vice versa.

Over the weekend it was the number one drinking day among the students in Lund. They party in the city park on the last day of April and attendance is usually around 25 000. It takes some efforts from the police and city offices to keep everything and everybody safe. This year it was on a Saturday but the chilly weather meant that it was like a normal event (according to the police) and everybody survived. I made the wise decision to stay as far away from Lund this weekend as possible. I went in the opposite direction, to Helsingborg. I went to my favorite mall, Väla. I had lunch at Ikea and bought some house plants there. At the mall I did some clothes shopping, two tunics and a summer dress.

Today is May 1st (Labor Day) and it's the day for political speeches and demonstrations. I stayed indoors, because this doesn't interest me. I attended to my flowers and spent some time solving crossword puzzles. Up until about now it has been rather cold here. So cold that I had to get my winter coat out again. It was pretty wild weather last week with hail storms and high winds. It has become milder now, it was about 15 centigrades today and rather sunny.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Dutch books

The week at work contained some events worth mentioning. We were visited by a Dutch researcher who asked for all the books we have printed in the Netherlands pre-1800. It turned out to be about 130 books (and I didn't have to retrieve any of them, thankfully). These books will be described in the Dutch national catalog. The researcher gave a speech where he described the project. He had been in several other countries to ask for Dutch books and he was going to spend three months here to go to other libraries also.

Wednesday we had the annual social club meeting. We managed to finish the actual meeting in 15 minutes. A new record. We exchanged four of the board members but I'm still the chairwoman. We invited one of the old (93!) university headmasters to give a speech. He talked about what it was like to be a student at this university during the 1940s. His studies were interrupted by the war a few times. It was very interesting to hear. He brought his wife along, as she had worked at our library in the 1950s and 1960s. She talked about the old times when you addressed the professors by full title. Also very interesting. Both of them continued to talk at the dinner table afterwards. It was one of the most successful annual meetings ever, and many people (including the two elderly visitors) expressed gratitude.

This past week I have visited two malls and accumulated some flowers. The flowers are now decorating both my apartment and the box on the balcony. It's rather cold here, about 6-8 centigrades and sometimes rain/snowstorms. It might be a little early to put flowers outside but we'll see if they survive.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Sickness

There is very little to report from here. I have been sick with a fairly bad cold and have taken it very slowly. I worked exactly half of the week and went home Wednesday at lunchtime. I felt already Monday that my throat was sore. It wasn't so bad then so I could work a few days. Normally, I am very busy the first three days of the week when I have to drive the storage rounds. After that it's easier to take leave. It seems like my colleagues have done well without me.

There have been some activities here, but nothing interesting. I was able to get to the grocery store and I cooked for ten lunch boxes. The rest of the time I have watched TV and tried to solve crossword puzzles. I ran out of those, so I had to buy a magazine with new crosswords. That's how bored I have been. Things are almost back to normal now so I will work tomorrow.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Birthday dinner

Last Saturday I went to Ystad on the south coast. It's a very old town with nice shops. There is a shop that sells plus size clothes. I got two tops there. I also walked out to the industrial area, where there are two second hand stores. It was interesting to see but I only got an egg cup for my collection.

Sunday I spent mostly cleaning my apartment. This was because my father and his (new) girlfriend was coming to visit later. They arrived Tuesday evening to celebrate my birthday. I was treated to dinner at a local restaurant and then I did some extensive grocery shopping since my father had a car. I got some yellow tulips for myself. Apart from that, there were no presents but a few people sent greetings.

One of my father's sisters has written her autobiography. It's over 150 pages long (folio format) and one of the most impressive books in that genre I have read. She has included her entire life story, her parents, grandparents, siblings, children and grandchildren - everything. I'ts great to have, not only for us, but also for future generations.

At work there has been three meetings and two storage rounds. This past week I sent out a question to all the libraries in the network to ask if they had some specific block book ends they didn't use anymore. We need to make our shelf marking system at the storage better and when I checked what it would cost to buy new markers of this type I was shocked. There is only one supplier and of course they can charge anything. It turned out that asking my colleagues instead was the right thing to do. I have already picked up two boxes and more will come next week.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Easter weekend

The weeks around Easter have been a little slower at work and I have been able to take some hours off. One day I went to Helsingborg just to have lunch and today I went to Ikea near Malmö to get some things for my mother. It went well, apart from the fact that the train service went down and it took an hour and a half to get back to Lund by two different buses. The buses to my town are all packed with people and I'm not even going to try. I went back to work instead to do some catching up.

The Easter weekend was very nice. I spent it at the summerhouse with my mother and two of her friends. There was lots of food, for example boiled eggs, salmon of various styles, pickled herring and Janson's Temptation (a potato gratin with anchovy). I tried a novelty dish - pickled herring with blueberry flavor. Kind of sweet and sour at the same time but pretty good taste. We kept busy with several chores my mother had prepared. After the remodelling last year she got new pieces of furniture from Ikea that we now had to assemble. It was a pretty big job. We didn't get the bed finished because there was a part missing - that's why I went to Ikea today. But we assembled the bedside table and a book case. My mother was also taking care of a small dog but I was the one walking it mostly. My mother has some problems with her hip so she couldn't walk that easily. We did two excursions; one to the local town to get groceries and one to do some bird watching. Every spring there are large amounts of cranes visiting an area close by to rest before heading further north. There were more than 5000 cranes in that field. Quite impressive.

After four days of eating, solving crosswords and (mostly) relaxing I returned home by train Monday. That too was problematic and took almost three hours. The reason was one we hadn't heard before - a kite got stuck in the electrical lines and to get it off they had to shut all the power.

This week at work only two things worth mentioning have happened. Tuesday we celebrated three people who have retired with two enormous cakes that lasted also the next day. I will miss especially one of them, a very experienced librarian who knows just about everything. Yesterday I took part in a very hands-on workshop regarding how to save water-damaged books. The teacher was a colleague and she gave us soaked books to save. It was all fake because in real life it's very difficult to save books which have been that water-damaged. But we leafed in some dry tissue paper between the pages and it worked to some degree. Normally, we buy a new book instead. It's only if that's not possible we try to dry it out. If you can't start leafing in dry paper right away you have to freeze the book, otherwise it will get mouldy. We definitely learned a few things there.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Lots of shelving

These past two weeks have been rather busy although the number of requests have decreased. We have done many other things than retrieving books. Last week I brought one of the recent employees to the remote storage for the first time. I gave her the guided tour of our two storage facilities. We also did some much needed shelving. All of us in the stacks have taken turns going there to shelve, as the situation was very strained. We piled books on carts and tables because there was no room anywhere else. I also brought the most recent employee to the storage today. It was not my favorite place to spend a Friday afternoon but it was necessary. We were three people and we got a fair amount done.

At the main library I have come to the end of my part of the reference collection weeding project. I went through the bibliographies. It was challenging, as my knowledge about those books isn't that great. But I asked the others for a second opinion when I was in doubt. This project is supposed to end soon, but we have only reviewed perhaps 10% of the entire collection. We were not expected to do more right now, because it's a huge undertaking that will take years. The project of weeding the journals on open shelves is basically also over. I moved about 150 meters to stacks and made all the changes in our database. I have one thing left to do and that's a list (mostly for the staff) of the titles that remain on the open shelves.

The weather indicates that spring is on the way. There are many flowers blooming in the park in front of the library already. It's still rather cold, around 3-5 centigrades. It has been sunny the past few days, which is very nice after that long and dark winter.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

More research

I spent the weekend at work again. It was so interesting to review the family history research I couldn't stop. I have now gone through my mother's side of the family. Back in the 1990s when I did most of that research I never wrote down causes of death for my ancestors. It doesn't always say what they died of in the records but in most cases you can find out. I spent the weekend looking this up and it turned out to be sad statistics. Many of them actually reached old age but those who didn't died of tuberculosis or something similar. Often they didn't know the proper name for the illness (there were no doctors available until the 19th century) so they wrote the symptoms instead. Some women died giving birth and often the child didn't make it either. It was a harsh reality for many of my ancestors.

At work I lag behind with most things but particularly with the project of weeding the reference collection. I have done a lot of that the past few days. It is sometimes difficult to decide whether the book should stay on the shelf or be put in the stacks. But in some cases it is easy. I have found guides for internet searching printed 20 years ago. They were moved without any hesitation from my side.

This past Friday we attended a lecture on material handling. One would think that I would know how to handle a book by now but I was told to attend it. I failed the promise I made to myself to keep my mouth shut at this lecture. The lecturer suggested that we should spend one more hour on retrieving so that the books wouldn't risk being damaged. I asked where we would get that extra hour from. It amazed me that someone would actually say something like that. It's not like we have too little to do.

This Saturday I went to a grocery store outside Lund just to shop somewhere else than normal. I got some ground beef and made taco-style lunch boxes with it. One more success.