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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Work related issues

Wednesday morning I woke up an hour and a half too late! I had forgotten to set the alarm clock. It was not a pleasant awakening, realizing that so much time had been lost. We are so busy at work in the mornings. It wasn't a world record, but I was out of the door in 22 minutes. I even remembered to bring the lunch boxes with me. When I arrived at the train station, the screen indicated train delay by 20 minutes. It was not a good start of the day. I lagged behind with work for the rest of the day.

Today I actually remembered the 8.30 meeting, much to the other's surprise. I had told my closest colleagues to remind me, and it helped. The desk duty this afternoon was kind of interesting. I knew beforehand that a woman would come and ask for old music material (chapbooks) that I had retrieved. The main problem was that she arrived five minutes before closing time (which is 5 pm). She was totally clueless of everything. She had gone to the city library first, believing that it was the right place. When she got to our library, she couldn't find her way to the manuscript reading room (there are signs). A reference librarian had to escort her. When she told me who she was, I got the material out, but she was so stressed for time that she couldn't sit down to look at it. I was prepared to make an exception and let her stay longer, but it didn't help. She hastily decided on having all of it copied, and filled in the form. During this whole time she talked non-stop, mostly about unrelating subjects. In addition, she asked for copies from two books she had seen in the reference collection ten minutes earlier, but couldn't remember the titles and didn't have time to show me. It will be a guessing game for me tomorrow. There is no way she is a regular visitor at any library.

Monday, October 26, 2009


It's dark and rainy here now. Typical Swedish Fall weather. It's dark when I leave home in the morning and dark when I leave work in the afternoon. Pretty boring and slightly depressing. I decided to cheer me up with a shopping trip - I'm going on a three-day visit to London on November 8. So I have spent most of the weekend searching online for clothing/shoe/vintage/second hand stores that I want to go to. I was thinking of seeing at least one museum also.

Friday we had a party for seven employees who no longer works at the library. Six of them retired and the seventh got a new job in Stockholm. It's always nice to have a party, but sad to see so many colleagues go at the same time. With the current financial problems none of them will be replaced. This will soon have pretty interesting consequences. The acquisition department no longer has time to open all the boxes with incoming books, for instance. For my department I'm not going to complain yet, we have the youngest staff members. But one part-timer is leaving in February and the newest employee will get changed duties part of the time he is in the stacks, starting January. There haven't been any changes for the better at the library for quite a while, unfortunately.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bowling in Malmö

Tuesday evening the social club at work arranged dinner & bowling in Malmö. We had this arrangement also last fall. We started with the dinner and it was marvelous food. Wild boar steak, moose meatballs, deer steak, bbq ribs, spicy chicken and lots of other great dishes. It was called Hunter's Buffet. We all ate too much. The bowling was fun and the styles varied a lot. One in my team won, but he was not really an amateur, he had done this quite a few times before. I managed four strikes in the last series and I was told it was pretty good. I hope everybody understands that it was just luck. It was the third time I had been in a bowling hall in my life. The arrangement was definitely a success and we will probably do this again next year.

Today we had a visit from a young German library science student from Berlin. Her name was Dana and she followed me around during most of the morning work. She retrieved books in the stacks and then we drove to the remote storages to do the same. She was really impressed by the large shelving systems. Her English was quite good and she actually tried to learn Swedish.

Yesterday a brand new gigantic Ikea store opened in Malmö. They had grown out of their old building. The newspapers reported that 20 000 people had visited. Unbelievable. I might go there some day later, when things are not so crazy.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Challenges at work

This week at work has meant quite a few challenges by our patrons. A patron came in and asked what trunier means in French. He said it was a military title. We went through all the French language and military encyclopedias we have from around 1700 and on, and we came up with nothing. I really hope the word was incorrectly spelled, otherwise we can't help him. Another patron handed in four requests for Swedish books he couldn't find in the catalog..... It took me over two hours to locate three of them. One was a newspaper, one was "grey" print (uncataloged) and the third was an article in a magazine. The fourth I actually gave up on. It's not like me to do that, but not even the Royal Library had it, and it was unlikely that we would have it then.

Desk duty on Thursday was incredibly busy. I hardly got to sit down. There were many scholars who read manuscripts and old books, and they had lots of questions also. I felt slightly braindead afterwards, but at the same time it had been quite fun.

This Tuesday we had a meeting with a company that sells shelving systems. The meeting was really not interesting. It was very different from the other company, the one in Denmark where they treated us to lunch, dinner and a factory tour. This Swedish company sent one representative over, and what he basically did was to apologize for the crappy system they had sold to us a few years ago. He promised that the electronic part of the shelves had improved since then, and I definitely hope so. We have had lots of problems with it. If the shelves get stuck and we can't open them (it's a 10 meter high compact system on rails), we miss our deadline and have to send messages to all the patrons waiting for the books. It's annoying, especially since we can't fix the problems ourselves. If we get to have a say, we want the shelves from the Danish company. Now, we don't get to have a say, because the lowest bidder gets the job.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Wedding in Västergötland

Friday after work I went by train to my father's place. We had pizza downtown Vinslöv. This is the place where I grew up, I lived there for about 20 years. There were not many stores that had survived from that time.

Saturday morning my father and I went by car to the province of Västergötland. It took about four hours to reach the area of Kinnekulle, which is a forested hill with a natural preserve. The fall foliage was very beautiful, the colors were very strong in red and yellow. We checked in to the hostel and met several of our relatives there. My grandfather (aged 95) was there, among others. It really is amazing that he can take such active part in the family events. We changed our clothes and drove to the church, ten minutes away. It was a small countryside church, situated with a wonderful view of lake Vänern. We attended the wedding of my first cousin Johan and his girlfriend Monika there. It was a nice ceremony, and surprisingly short, about 30 minutes. The party was at an old smith's house at a manor house nearby. About 80 guests enjoyed the meal (deer - very delicious), the speeches, the sing-along and the general ambiance. My aunt had made the cake herself, nine cakes with chocolate and raspberry mousse. In all, a great party!

I might add that I was wearing a brown dress with turquoise-blue dots on, a necklace I got at a second hand store for 30 SEK and a bracelet I had made myself. I bought the dress at Macy's in New York City last year, and it was the first time I used it. A great bargain, I think it cost something like 25 USD.

Sunday morning my father was going to continue further north, to go moose hunting, so I went with my sister and her husband to Borås instead. My mother and nephew joined us for a lunch at a Greek restaurant. It was a small celebration of my sister's and her husband's wedding anniversary. After coffee at my mother's apartment, she drove me to the train station. It took about four hours to travel back home to Kävlinge.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Nobel Prize winner books

It's the same thing almost every year. It takes just a few minutes before someone orders all the books we have by the author who is awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. The winner was announced today at 1 pm exactly and three minutes later a scholar ordered the books by Herta Müller. We had eight books in Swedish and one in German. I have never read any of them, but I recognized some of the titles.

Yet again I somehow blacked out and forgot the 8.30 meeting today, but this time they went looking for me. The meeting resulted in even more work for us in the stacks, so I would gladly have missed it. The entire circulation department will physically move up two floors to the same level where I have my desk. The process involves making a total review of all the routines we have, both in common with them and separate from them. The flow charts we will have to create will be rather complicated.

Tomorrow I will travel to my father's place outside Hässleholm. Early Saturday morning we will go by car to the province of Västergötland. My first cousin will get married in a small country church and we are looking forward to seeing the other relatives also.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Cauliflower soup recipe

In a large pan fry a chopped onion a few minutes until soft and golden brown. Add a cube of vegetable stock, 2-3 dl/1 cup of creme fraiche/cooking yoghurt and about the same amount of mushroom soup/sauce (chanterelles preferably). Finely chop a cauliflower head and put in the pan. Add more liquid if it doesn't cover the cauliflower. Cook for 15-20 minutes. If it's not thick enough, add grated cheese at the end. Salt to taste. Also nice to fry fresh chanterelles and bacon or ham with the onion.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Ordinary work week

I can't believe it's already October. Time goes by so quickly. It's pretty cold here (especially in the mornings), and very windy. There are some pretty amazing rainshowers also, often with hail.

It has been a fairly ordinary week at work, except for the fact that I have desk duty today (normally it's on Thursdays). There is a total of one visitor. I'm glad I brought some work with me, otherwise this would be very boring.

Apart from the hair cut I got yesterday, there isn't really much else to report. Everyday life in Sweden isn't that exciting.

I have (had?) technical problems with the blogspot-page, which often means that it takes a long time before the page gets updated. Sometimes the automatic sending doesn't function and those who get these blogs as emails don't get any messages. The last blog posting was 27 Sep and I think most of you missed that one.