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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas decorating

I have taken it easy this weekend. The weather has been fierce. The snow fell sideways because of the high winds. It's nice to look at the frosty scenery through the window, but it's pretty cold to go out. I was just out briefly today to get groceries.

Friday evening I started my Christmas shopping in Lund. Like every year, it's difficult to shop for the family members. I haven't got wishlists from anyone yet. I don't have one myself either. I don't really need anything.

I spent a large part of this weekend decorating for the upcoming season. I changed the curtains, assembled the tree, applied tinsel, lights and the top star, and got all the candles, small santas and snowmen out on display. Everything looks very nice. Now it's only the rest of the tree decorating left.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Disaster lecture

The weather is kind of interesting. It has been snowing since yesterday, and it is pretty cold, at least in the mornings. It's a little early for so much snow. Needless to say, traffic is affected, but not severely. At least not yet. The train was delayed yesterday, but not today, so they have some luck.

Yesterday afternoon all the staff assembled in a large lecture hall for - lectures. The theme for this staff education day was security. It sounds crazy, but it was very interesting to see what disasters can happen to libraries. The lecturer showed a film from the Haiti national library surveillance cameras during the earthquake. He showed photos from the library fires in Weimar and Linköping, and the collapse of the city archive in Cologne. He also explained why these disasters could happen, and all of us immediately thought of the old building we keep our books in. There is also the risk of flooding, which happened to an archive in Sweden not long ago. It's not only the cultural heritage and historical documents that are gone forever, people have lost their workplaces (and in reality their jobs). The other lecture was about personal security, and it was useful for us to hear about. There are unfortunately many thefts at the library, and that's because it's an open environment, everybody is allowed in. The library has lost several computers. The visitors have also lost personal belongings. There are now security guards all days of the week and we hope it will help.

The desk duty today was uneventful, not many people showed up. Probably because of the bad weather. We have had lots of visitors the entire fall.

I delivered the answers to the last genealogy requests this week. I was just thinking of returning to the long term projects that I always have, when I received another question. It's from a patron who has a most interesting ancestry. Tragic is not enough to describe it. It involves concentration camp survivors and prisoners of war. It will be a great challenge, but I will try to help her.

On the way home I got a much needed hair cut. Nothing else to report today.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Genealogy requests

It seems like the statistics and the reality didn't agree much this year. We have the number of weekly requests saved from previous years, and it didn't follow the trend this last two weeks. The work load hasn't been as bad as expected. We are certainly not complaining, we are lagging behind with so many things, so we are able to keep very busy anyway. It was a rather normal week, except for the fact that I didn't get any desk duty. The weather also caused some problems during the storage round, it was raining/snowing and unfortunately the books got wet (I didn't notice that someone had removed the plastic cover that is supposed to be in the car).

The library is now open also on Sundays. I'm lucky not to work during weekends. I was thinking of perhaps visiting there on Sundays for private errands, but I really shouldn't be at the workplace seven days a week. People already think that I don't have another life than the library.

Yesterday was of course spent at the archive, and I think I can deliver the last three genealogy files to the people who asked for them soon. There were two "ordinary" requests and one very special. The very special one qualifies in the category Tragic Life Story multiple times. It's a request that I have had on file for years, without finding the answer. When I finally cracked it, and saw the result of a search on the computer screen, it was a great relief. However, it immediately raised a whole lot of questions no one will be able to answer now. This happens often in genealogical research. Finding one answer means that you ask more questions. One other thing I have noticed is the fact that you almost always start asking about the family legends too late. When you get around to asking, the relatives who would have known are usually dead and gone. In this last case, the questions are forty years overdue. It's really sad.

I noticed that some of my neighbors have started to decorate for Christmas, so I made an effort today and got the fake tree down from the attic. I will not decorate it until next weekend, though.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Weekend at the summer house

Last Sunday I went to Helsingborg, both to a second hand store and to the large mall. At the first place I found a book that I know we don't have at the library, so I bought it. It's in the category Swedish biographica, and that's always of interest to our patrons. At the mall I got a top and a denim jacket.

The week at work was tolerable, even though one weakling was at home sick. Nothing special to report, really. On Friday afternoon I took the train + bus to my mother's summer house on the east coast. My mother, sister and her kids had been there the whole week. I arrived at 7 and was immediately asked by my nephew to build some Lego space ships. Late at night my brother-in-law also arrived on the last bus. Saturday we went to one second hand store (the largest one), and I got some Christmas ornaments. My sister found a much-needed Christmas tree stand among other things. In the afternoon the others attended a wedding, and my mother and I took the bus to town to see a friend of hers. We had coffee & cookies and later dinner (very tasty pizza) and then took the bus back in the evening. Transportation has become so much easier since the bus line was extended down to Furuboda about a year ago.

Today we didn't do much, apart from packing and trying to get everything into the car (one extra person and lots of other things had to be crammed in). We had lunch at Furuboda, and then the others drove back to Borås. I went by one bus and three trains (one seriously delayed) home. In addition to this, the time tables don't fit very well on Sundays, and the entire trip lasted almost four hours. It was so boring to wait in between trains, so I bought a magazine to read in Hässleholm. It's times like these when I wish I had a car.....

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Surprise visit

The new genealogy database at work has helped me a lot with the requests that I have right now. I still have to go to the archive for the resources that we don't have, but it saves me time. It means of course that I spend all the day at work, from about 7 to 7. We aren't allowed to stay longer in the building.

One of the patrons wanted to see a collection we keep in a remote storage, so on Tuesday afternoon I drove her there. She was overjoyed to see all those books, and she made me bring six boxes filled with Montgomery books (all editions we own of Anne of Green Gables) back to the library for her to take a closer look at. I'm glad that our collection comes to good use, but what a heavy job.

It seems like many of the patrons are getting ready to write papers, because the number of book requests are increasing. Statistically, the next two weeks will be the worst weeks of the entire year. We are still not in sync with the work load, and that is slightly worrying, considering what is waiting ahead.

Last Friday I got a surprise visit at the library by some relatives from Kristianstad. They had driven all that way just to get an old map of the parish our common ancestors lived in. I asked the map librarian for help, and he found one to copy. I also brought them on a short tour of the stacks and they were impressed by all the book shelves. People in general are amazed when I tell them that we have seven million volumes and it's my job to keep track of all of them.

Today is All Saint's Day and the archive was closed. Instead I made a trip to the mall. I got a pair of boots that actually seem to fit me. I have big feet and it's a problem finding shoes that I can wear. I noticed that many stores already have their Christmas items on display. It feels a little early, but it's the same every year, I guess.

With the help of my dear relative and colleague in Illinois, Nancy, I now have lots of information on the four Herrlin brothers that emigrated 1880-1892. One kept his original name of Hansson, the other three used their mother's maiden name Herrlin. So much easier to find them in the US with a name like that, I have to say.