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Monday, March 30, 2009

Two more lectures

Last week I gave two more lectures with the same content, and my colleagues were active participants. I think at least seven people found their relatives in the books I had brought to show. It was, without a doubt, the most fun lecture I have even given! (I have been asked to do more lectures this fall). Today I left the two carts with books in my room, and I invited the colleagues who were unable to come to the lectures, so that they also got a chance to see the books.

About a week ago the university library made the headlines for something rather unpleasant. The police was called to apprehend a man who had been harassing women in several places at the university. Information about this man had been out for months, and the staff at the circulation desk recognized him. The police came rushing right away (which surprised everybody, they are incredibly slow at other times). It's a huge relief for the young female students that this man is no longer out in the streets.

There have been one other incident recently at the library, involving the police. Someone had accidentally rubbed against the outlet for the alarm indicating violent assault and set it off - without knowing it. (We have never had any use for it, since we don't handle any money no one would think of trying to rob us). The alarm (which is silent) made two police officers with drawn and loaded guns charge into the library through the main entrance, scaring the living daylights out of the receptionist. It took a while before they could figure out what had happened (nothing!), and things settled down again. I missed both these incidents, since they happened later in the evening.

Last Tuesday there was a new TV series started that connected very much to family history research. In these programs (entitled Who do you think you are) a celebrity gets to know more about his/her ancestors. The first program was about the grandmother of a Swedish actress, and it was quite interesting. The grandmother had been brought up in a family with several foster siblings, and they had all lived in a one room apartment. The actress found many new clues to help her understand her grandmother's life.

This weekend there wasn't much activity here, apart from the usual laundry, grocery shopping and cooking. Sunday we started daylight savings time, and it was difficult to get out of bed this morning.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Sometimes I have my moments of brilliance. It's not that often, but it happens. This time I used my imagination and cooked a delicious dinner. So simple, yet so tasty. It turned out to be a vegetable gratin. I precooked cauliflower, broccoli, parsnip, potatoes, carrots and put it in a bowl. I poured pieces of feta cheese and some of the oil from the cheese container over and sprinkled ordinary cheese on top. Spices to taste. In the oven at 225 centigrades for 25-30 minutes, depending on how long it had cooked before.

Saturday was spent in Malmö. A new mall had just opened, but I didn't go there. Way too crowded. Instead I went to some of the flea market stores. I got some small things, a yellow top, for instance.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The first lecture

This week I removed the Christmas cards that were on display above the computer...... Some things just don't get done around here.

The first lecture on biographical works with ordinary people was this afternoon. If I may say so myself, it was a smashing hit! I talked for two hours non-stop and my colleagues were fascinated. Some of them even found their relatives in the books! I was right when I thought that my colleagues don't know these books exist. There are many books with more famous people or doctors, pastors and high-status professions, but not so many with shop assistants, nurses and farm workers. The latter kind of books are very interesting and chances that you find a relative/ancestor in those books are greater than in the other kind.

I bought some clothes on mail order and they arrived today. I had to pick them up at the gas station this evening. I find it remarkable that everything fits me. Especially the sandals with high heels. There was an expensive summer dress in the catalog and I thought about it for a while before ordering it. It's a very nice long flowing dress, brown with pink and beige flowers. I'm keeping it, even though the opportunities to wear it will be rather few.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


The days seem to rush by too fast. This past week I have had the annoying habit of falling asleep on the couch while watching TV in the evenings. I didn't get much done apart from work, really. My sister's birthday was Tuesday and she received a gift certificate to go on a photograph- and nature-excursion this summer, hosted by one of Sweden's most talented nature photographers.

Desk duty last week was Friday, to my great surprise. I didn't realize it until I was all ready to go there Thursday afternoon and happened to look at the schedule. Anyway, it was rather busy. I found myself entangled in an interesting conversation about pirates in the Mediterranean in the 17th and 18th centuries. One scholar had just started to gather material about that, and he was particularly interested in the Swedish sailors who became captives then.

Yesterday I spent most of the day at work. I had to make the last preparations for the upcoming lecture on biographical works. The first one is on Wednesday and I'm beginning to wonder what I got myself into..... It's so popular that I have to do three of them. I didn't think my colleagues would be quite that interested, but it seems like librarians are easily amused.

It's spring here now, at least technically speaking. It's about 5-7 centigrades out and the snowdrops are blooming in the park. It's also much lighter and we all appreciate that.

The B & J brownie cheesecake icecream is rather tasty too.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Gender equality

Long time ago since last update here. Sorry about the long silence. Last week was as busy as ever. Tuesday afternoon we participated in a workshop on gender equality at the workplace. Usually those things our boss say we have to go to are really boring, but this was quite interesting with examples taken from the university. Still, in this enlightened era, men and women do not have exactly the same opportunities for a career here. We have come a long way at the library, where half of the employees are men and half women. But within the different departments it's not that equal. In the stacks I'm the only woman, for instance. Not that I want that to change, really. The women who have been working in the stacks have been complaining a lot about the heavy work, so if there will ever be a new employee here, it will be a man, if I can get my opinion heard. Unfortunately, the budget is smaller than ever, and we will not be able to hire anyone within the next two years.

The desk duty on Thursday was rather fun. I kept getting interrupted by people asking a lot of questions, and it was great! It meant that I got use for my entire scope of knowledge, answering these questions about noble family genealogy, where the manuscripts for a specific person were housed, book binding techniques and literature on that subject, Dutch heraldry and other more or less fascinating things.

At the end of last week I did some shopping. Friday afternoon I went to the mall in Lund called Nova. I hadn't been there in a long time. Did shop at H&M, a top. Saturday I went by bus to the mall called Center Syd. There is a shoe store there where I sometimes find good shoes. This time I found three pairs!

Yesterday I received the annual publication from the Historical Society in the mail. My article about the Swedish Leroy Anderson Centennial had been illustrated with photos, and I guess it was an improvement. I just didn't see why photos of me had to be included there. The other articles were interesting; some memoirs of a previous resident, history of early telephone service in the village and notes on the schools from the 19th century.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Upcoming lecture

Last week I sent out invitations to my colleagues to attend a lecture on "Biographical works with ordinary people". The biographical works we have are mainly about famous people and people who had a status through their job, for instance doctors and pastors. But there are quite a few containing information about more normal people like waitresses, farm workers and janitors. These were published in the beginning of the 20th century. I see these books when I work in the stacks and I have noticed that no one is asking for them. I have found lots of information in the kinds of books I was thinking of showing my colleagues. My own grandfather was listed in a jubilee book from his old high school, for example. I have solved a few research tasks with the help of books like that. One was about a missionary in Africa, and another was about a pastor in the Methodist church. It seems like my colleagues are really interested in this lecture, because it only took two days to fill the seats. I added another opportunity today and already seven people want to attend that. Let's hope I can meet the expectations..... I have never done anything like this. The first lecture is March 18.

February was a short month with cold weather. It's lighter out now, but it's still pretty dark when I leave in the morning. The annual book sale started last week, and I did of course look at the books at discount prices. No purchases made yet. It's not like I need any books. If I want to read any I can borrow them at work.

This weekend it was the traditional cross country ski race Vasaloppet. It's a 90 km race in Dalarna. It's beyond me why anyone wants to do that, but more than 13 000 people did this year. A Swede won after four hours and ten minutes. All of it broadcasted live on TV.

Saturday I was at work to prepare for the lecture. I noticed then that our database wasn't working properly, but didn't think much of it. It usually solves itself sooner or later. Today we didn't get any requests to stacks dated after Saturday morning. We could see in the log that there were supposed to be hundreds..... It took many hours to first locate the problem and then do something about it. The staff working for the database provider was clueless (not a good sign). We finally got hold of a computer nerd at the university's central administration who could help us. I cannot express in words how frustrated we were about it all. We couldn't even locate the actual problem ourselves. We have been working so hard for years to get the requests to function, and then everything just stops. When we finally got the requests printed it was way after the deadline, and I had no staff left in the stacks (they only work in the mornings). I had to go around in the house asking people for help. Luckily, I have nice colleagues who saw my desperation, and we got the job done in only about an hour. What a Monday!

My local grocery store sells Ben & Jerry's ice-cream imported from the US. It's pretty expensive, but who can resist the New York Super Fudge Chunk...??