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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...??

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