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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Staff shortage

This past week most of my colleagues went on vacation. Starting Wednesday we were only two people in the stacks. This will continue also next week. It means that we will have to do the job of seven people. The number of requests is low but we have the hobby researchers that come in during the summer and they often ask for lots of books at the same time.  I have been to the storage a lot, both for retrieval in the mornings and shelving in the afternoons. The students we hired for moving projects have done one more small book move but are mostly engaged in database work. They sit and make corrections in the database. 15 years ago we moved many journals to storage but we were unable to change the location indicator in the database. I have for a long time asked for staff to do this manually, since this couldn't be done automatically. Many other things had a higher priority so it has taken a while, but this summer they will get it done finally.

The medicine I had to take for the borrelia made me tired so I haven't done much apart from work. I did deliver several bags of clothes to the charity shop, but not much else. This weekend the weather has been terrible with rainstorms so I have stayed at home. Generally, the climate has been good to work in, about 20-22 centigrades and often cloudy. Though really awful if you have vacation and planned on sunbathing. Many Swedes have gone abroad this summer because it has been a very lousy summer so far.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Shopping trips and concert

Two book moving projects were finished last week. Most of the open collection journals we were supposed to move to storage have now been relocated. Some of the titles couldn't be moved because there is no place for them at the storage. The two students also managed to finish their big move of books to the lower basement. They have some small projects left though.

Last week I worked shorter days because my mother was visiting. She spent most of the mornings in my apartment doing some chores like mending clothes and attending to the house plants. Tuesday she went to Helsingborg and in the afternoon I went there too so we could go to Ikea together. She is going to renovate the summerhouse and she wants new furniture also, so she took measures and made plans. We also went to a second hand store at a mall, where she found brand new clothes very cheaply. Friday we went to a concert in Lund, it was Sanna Nielsen, one of the Swedish Eurovision song contest winners. That woman can really sing. It was a very nice outdoor concert. Saturday my mother returned to the summerhouse.

Last week I had to go to the medical center - I have borrelia (caused by a tick three weeks earlier). This was the first time there in many, many years. It was fascinating to see how things work in the health care system these days. I first had to see a nurse, then a doctor and then another nurse. I was there for two hours, but I really shouldn't complain, because they were very meticulous and did extra tests to rule other things out. I was asked if I'm allergic to penicillin and I had no way of knowing that. The only kind of medicine (apart from vaccine) I have taken the last 40 years has been ordinary pain medication. Anyway, I was given penicillin and the situation is better.

The book about my great grandfather Arndt is, believe it or not, finished. I printed it out last week. My father is going to see most of those relatives in a few days so he will distribute the book for me.

Today I went to a rather new fleamarket place outside Helsingborg. I had never heard of it before, I found it on a listing on-line. It turned out to be a large warehouse were people could hand in the items they want to sell, pricemark them and leave them on a designated shelf. It was a huge place and I wish I had discovered it while my mother was here, she would have enjoyed it very much. I found some nice plates and a small decorative tray.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Book moving project

Last week the weather cooled down and it is now about 18-20 centigrades and cloudy. Not much of a summer, but nice to work when it is like this. I got a project of moving open collection journals to storage a kick-start and did little else last week. There were lots of staff members in the stacks so I could do something else. I started from the end of the collection, and I have now moved all the foreign language journals from Z to G. The biggest problem isn't moving them, it's all the changes you have to do in the database. Every volume has to be updated with a new sticker and a call number.

Friday afternoon we made an effort and five of us went to the storage to shelve. We are constantly lagging behind with this task. The situation got better, but it wasn't enough. 

My mother arrived here Saturday evening for a week's stay. Sunday we made a trip to the flea market in Malmö, where she made some bargains (shoes and a top). We also went to a mall, where we got some decorative items. The summer sales are on everywhere and since the weather was bad the mall was crowded. When I arrived back home from work today my mother had replanted most of my plants, cleaned the kitchen, gone grocery shopping and had been to a mall to get me new tea-cups, flowers and a few other things. I wish I had that kind of energy.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Hot weekend

Last Tuesday two students started working in the stacks. They will do a moving project. We have to move about 600 meters of books from the 4th floor to the lower basement. The biggest problem has turned out to be the hot climate. The weather has changed and is now sunny and warm. The 4th floor stacks is not pleasant during summer. Another challenge is the call number system in the stacks. All the books are placed from the bottom and up on the shelves. It requires some extra attention to get it right. This morning it turned out wrong when shelving and we all blamed the hot weather.

I attended the last meeting for the summer Wednesday, and the outcome was that I have to make a mapping of all the processes in my department. Meaning that I have to list all the tasks we do, describe them, count the number of hours it takes every day, identify the target groups and aims, and a few other things. This will be one of my tasks when I return after my vacation this fall, but I have already started on it.

Friday afternoon I made a strategic relocation to the summerhouse. The forecast indicated that summer would finally arrive and it turned out to be true. We had temperatures up to 30 centigrades and mostly sunshine over the weekend. Very hot indeed. Despite this my mother wanted to go to an outdoor fleamarket Saturday. We got some decorative things and fabric. We invited some relatives we happened to meet at this fleamarket for coffee the same evening. But for the most part I spent the weekend in a reclining chair on the terrace. We also visited the beach. I decided to go directly to work this morning, so I had to get out of bed at 5.30. But it was worth it.

The day at work was, not surprisingly, hot. I had 25 centigrades in my office, which meant that I tried to do my job elsewhere. The outdoor temperature was lower, 22, so it has cooled down. All the available portable fans at work are in use and the janitor was asked to find a few more.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Midsummer and fleamarket

Midsummer Eve was spent at the summer house with my mother and two of her friends. It was too cold and rainy to do anything else than sitting inside the entire weekend. We had the usual meal with herring and potatoes, with some boiled eggs.

Last week was very busy. My mother and I arrange a fleamarket at Furuboda every year (though last year we had too few items so it was cancelled). This year we had plenty. So many things were left unsold because people didn't see all of them. It was really crammed with stuff, both on the tables and on the floor. My mother and I were there five days in a row to sort things, put up signs, hang paintings, arrange books in rows and try to sell it at two occasions. We were 23 volunteers at the main salesday on Friday. We were all exhausted afterwards but at the same time it's a fun project. The proceeds go to Furuboda's summer camps for disabled children.

My sister and family arrived Sunday evening, just in time to help celebrate my mother's birthday today. Some friends were invited also for a delicious salmon meal and homemade birthday cake. Afterwards I got a ride to the train and arrived back home this evening. I will work at the library from tomorrow until mid August. Just as the weather forecast predicts sunny and warm weather (it has been very miserable so far with heavy rainshowers and cold winds)...

Monday, June 15, 2015

Fun workshops

Last week at work I arranged two workshops on biographical material. In essence, I forced my colleagues to do genealogical research! Not in their own families, though. I gave them basic info about famous 20th century Swedes and told them to find that person's parents and grandparents. I provided weblinks and booklists and showed them basic search techniques. In my opinion they did very well. Some were very ambitious and located more details than I asked for. Several of them thought it was fun! And so did I!

The other tasks at work were not so exciting. We have a project involving weeding the reference collection and we wanted to know what books are actually used. We asked the visitors to put the used books on carts instead of back on the shelf. I had the worst week so far, I wrote down the titles of over 100 books and then shelved them properly. It actually seems like the collection is more in demand than we initially thought, which is a good thing. The rest of the week was spent trying to do as much as possible before the summer. I will work for the most part, but several projects require the assistance of colleagues, so we have had many meetings recently.

Today was the first day of the summer pass, which enables you to travel everywhere in Skåne the entire summer. I did remember to buy a pass in time. Today was also the first day with summer routines at work. Honestly, it could have gone better. Somehow we forgot to retrieve books on the third floor of the stacks... Remarkable. And rather embarrassing. We were few staff members today, but that really is no excuse.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Mouldy books

I had to drive the storage round twice this week. At the same time I did a project. We are going to move many of the journals from the open collection to the stacks. Before we can do that we have to check if there is actually room for them at the different call numbers. It was a long list and I didn't have time to check all of them, but with the help of the other colleague involved in this project, we got a complete list by the end of the week. I would say we can move back 80% of them to the stacks.

We discovered some water-damaged books at the new storage this week. There was a leaking pipe two years ago and apparently we didn't notice back then that some books had been affected by the water. Now I had to remove about 15 books that looked awful - black mould was growing on them. There is no way we can save them, they will have to be thrown away. Touching mouldy books would really require a different type of gear, but I didn't know what to expect so I didn't have any gloves. I normally don't have to handle "bio-hazard" material...

Saturday was the national holiday but I only noticed that because the library was closed. I had to find something else to do and chose a visit to my favorite mall. It was crowded and not as nice as other times. I had lunch at Ikea and then bought a jar of cloudberry jam. Today I was at work like usual, but this time I did research for someone else. I got a request from a man who will give his wife her family history as a birthday gift. To 75% it was very easy because those ancestors lived in the same parish, but the remaining 25% will be difficult because they originated in Norway. There will be at least two empty boxes on the ancestor chart and that bothers me very much.

The weather here is a little out of the ordinary. It was the coldest May in over 50 years. It has changed now and it's around 16-18 centigrades in the daytime, but I wouldn't say it's warm. It's not a pleasant start of the summer season.