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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Lots to do

Things are still crazy at work. There was a scholar asking for books printed pre-1800 in cyrillic letters. This is incredibly hard to find, because that information is not noted in the catalog. The worst part was the fact that my boss didn't pass on the request to me, so when he arrived at the library it got a lot more stressful than anyone wished. He had travelled from Stockholm just for this, and he was in a hurry. His gratitude was limitless (I found books he didn't know about), but I really don't want that long workdays. I have been at work almost 12 hours several days the past weeks. It's supposed to be eight. I can't take out the overtime in money, I have to take time off - the question is when..... Sigh.

Last week we had another intern visiting the library. She was from the Royal Library in Copenhagen, and was here on an exchange for a week. She was in the stacks for two days and seemed to understand the concept. I have problems with the Danish language, but we managed to communicate anyway.

Desk duty today was busy. I got several challenging questions. One elderly man came in and asked for the book that had been retrieved for him. I noticed that the book (printed 1804) was written by someone with the same surname as the patron. I asked about this (we are really not allowed to inquire, but I couldn't help myself) and he gladly explained that it was one of his ancestors. In fact, he was there to find out if the book contained any family information. It was an unusual name, so I googled it and found some more details and a reference to another book. He was happy to get this info also. Other questions regarded an 18th century book in French vs English (we had both, to my surprise), if there are any manuscripts from the Färö Islands (I couldn't answer, but sent it on to a colleague), and if the handwritten signature on a title page could be deciphered (yes).

Outside of work, I have more research requests than ever before, and from several different people. Even a colleague asked for help. It's one of my bosses and he was impressed by my findings. It was easy to get the answers, but of course I didn't tell him that.

Yesterday I suddenly noticed that there was a new thumbnail added to my computer at work (this is done centrally on all computers). I was thrilled to see that the library now subscribes to one of the Swedish genealogy databases with scanned church records. This means that I will be at work even longer hours (not to work all the time, though).

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cruel week

Last week was a cruel week. Incredible technical problems, short of staff and heavy chores. The entire server hosting an online catalog broke down physically (it's very unusual) and it took six days to repair. In the meantime we couldn't send any articles or find out what the patrons had actually ordered from this catalog. A little frustrating. At the same time two scholars asked for more material, and that wasn't a little. It was no use counting the volumes, it was several shelf meters of journals that we had to pick up from a remote storage. After such an incredible week I had to go to the chiropractor again. He wondered what on earth I'm doing at my job.

One of my colleagues became a father for the first time ten days ago, so he was at home for a while. I was happy to see him return yesterday, because he drives to the remote storages. Last week we also had a library school intern from Germany visiting. Despite the language barrier she was a fast learner, so she helped us retrieve books in the mornings. Her main interest was actually the stacks (who would have thought this...) so she spent all the time there. She was especially impressed by the old collection. I also arranged visits to the book bindery and the manuscript department.

The weather is typical of the season. It has been quite nice with cool, dark mornings and sunny in the daytime. The colors of the trees are beautiful, bright yellow, orange and red. Today was the first rainy day in several weeks.

Last Saturday I was at the archive again. I have received a few research requests that are quite interesting. I have been asked to do research in parishes in northern Sweden. Some of the places I had never even heard of before. Sunday there was a large flea market in Malmö, I only got a few small things (an eggcup for instance). Also went to two malls, just to browse the clothing stores.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Bowling in Malmö

The first full work week after the vacation was tiring. Lots of things are going on, and we are busy not only with the daily chores, but also with planning for upcoming events. One of the highlights of the week was Monday when it was Cinnamon Bun Day. Strange, but true.

We were eagerly awaiting the announcement of this year's Nobel prize winner in literature. Just like other years, we checked how long time it took before the first request came through our system. It took two minutes this time. We have about 18 books in Swedish by Mario Vargas Llosa, and most of them are now on loan.

Tuesday evening it was time for another social club event. I didn't arrange this one, because I hadn't been at work. We went bowling in Malmö. We started with a very nice meal, a buffet with all sorts of meat, salmon, taco gratin, chicken and lots of greens. The salmon was definitely worth trying more than once. We seemed to be equally bad at the bowling, but it was a fun hour. One of the catalogers at my library won the tournament.

This week I have also been to the charity shop twice to give them discarded clothes and shoes, had dinner in town with a colleague from another library (I bumped into her while window shopping), and today I have been to the flea market (no purchases, but met another colleague) and the archive (yet another interesting case to investigate).

Sunday, October 3, 2010

More emigrants

Thursday and Friday were pretty tough days at work. My colleagues handed over some of the tasks they had been unable to do and there were lots of people I had to talk to. It was a peculiar feeling when several of them clearly sighed of relief when they saw me.

When I read through the Herrlin family history book I noticed several things that I didn't know (and there were also passages where I have a lot more info). There were more emigrants in the family than I thought. One was Nils Herrlin, who (according to the book) was the black sheep in the family, and he had emigrated to America. He was supposed to have been alive at least until the beginning of the 1900s. The author hadn't been able to find more on his life in the US. For this reason, I went to the archive yesterday. It was very difficult, but I found him in the 1910 US census with his name indexed as Niel Hurllin. He died the next year in New York, his name was misinterpreted also in that database. It said in the 1910 census that he had arrived in 1864, and that can be true. There are no passenger lists that early. I wonder how he managed to stay away from the census taker in 1870, 1880 and 1900. While I was at the archive anyway, I went through the entire book and compared the entries with the availabale databases. There were a few additions to be made.

Today has been a big cleaning day. I cleaned several windows, vacuumed everywhere and swabbed the kitchen and bathroom. I also put some items in the attic and went to the recycle place with some cardboard and plastic. My apartment looks better than ever before.