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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Interesting lectures

It has been a pretty normal week at work, apart from Thursday afternoon. Over 90 librarians attended an event with several lectures that afternoon. It was very interesting to hear my colleagues talk about their areas of knowledge. One gave a speech on the collection of 2000 year old papyrus pieces written in Greek. She brought in two real papyrus plants to show us also. Another gave a lecture on Queen Kristina's librarians. The queen reigned 1632-1654 and took a huge interest in reading and literary matters. Her librarians travelled around Europe to purchase books for her. She abdicated and moved to Rome in 1655. A part of her manuscript collection is still there (in the Vatican Library). One colleague talked about the book production during the 20th century. That century saw an enormous increase in the number of books published, notably large sets of encyclopedias and reference works. That was the time when the book became a common item in every man's household. Prior to that people had basically owned a hymnal book and an almanac. Some younger colleagues had taken a look at the future prospects for the book. They showed us hand-held electronic readers, where the text rolled on the screen, sometimes even with sound effects. Some books are now produced entirely for this market and are never printed properly. I was very impressed with all the speakers, they did a great job of presenting their pieces. Afterwards we talked and mingled for a while.

This has been a rather slow weekend. At least I haven't been anywhere else than here. It may sound a little strange, but I have actually wrapped quite a few Christmas presents. Next weekend I will meet the other family members at the summer house, and I thought that I would bring the presents with me, for them to take home. I have also looked through my clothes collection again, and thrown out some items.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Winter shoes

It was a moderately busy week at work. It seems to be off-peak season when it comes to requests. I managed to avoid driving the storage round, since I was able to persuade others to do it. The desk duty was busy, though.

The rug I messed up when I dropped the container with curry sauce was difficult to get clean. Even though I put it in the machine, there were still stains. Luckily, I could turn it over on the other side so it doesn't show... I dared to cook another dish with curry sauce today, this time with chicken (salmon last week). It turned out to be very tasty.

This weekend I went to the nearest mall by bus. The trains are cancelled for three weekends due to track maintenance, and they have been replaced by buses. It takes much longer time to travel then, so I don't want to go to Malmö or Lund to go shopping. I hadn't been to the nearest mall for quite a while. There were some new stores, but there are still many spaces empty. There aren't many people here, so it's a good place to go shopping, because you don't have to wait in line. I found a pair of winter shoes, surprisingly enough in the women's section. That almost never happens. I have big and wide feet and usually have to buy men's shoes. I also went to the gigantic hardware store and found that they had brought out the Christmas ornaments. Some of it was last year's, and it was on sale at ridiculous prices. Wrapping paper rolls for 0.80 SEK (10 cents) and candle holders for 1.50 SEK (20 cents). I stocked up a little there.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Cleaning weekend

This past week was also busy, but not so exhausting as the previous one. I brought the German intern on the storage round, and he got to see what a heavy job it is carrying crates filled with books. I had desk duty Thursday afternoon, the first session in a long time. Nothing had changed, so there were no surprises. One of the scholars, who has an enormous amount of books in her locker, has finally published her thesis, and we are very happy about this. We hope this means that she will empty her locker soon. She is a demanding library user, and she did thank us for our assistance in her book.

I have been rather active at home this weekend. I have planted new flowers (heather and some silver grey plants) in the box on the balcony. It was very nice weather and I sat out there in the sun wearing a sleeveless top. It was about ten centigrades, but warmer in the sunlight. I have also taken several walks to get groceries (since I don't have a car I have to shop more often). The apartment was in desperate need of attention, so I dusted all of it, moved items to the attic, cleaned the kitchen thoroughly (I dropped a container with curry sauce on the floor), threw away some indoor flowers and went to the recycling place with some cardboard. During the cleaning process I unfortunately slammed my foot into the bathroom door and injured my hand against a metal book case. Not nice, but I will live.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Exhausting week

What a week..... It was the first full week at work for two months and it was terribly busy. People basically lined up at my desk with all their problems. They want to move journals away from the open collection, and asked if I could possibly find some space for them in the stacks. No, I can't. It's packed to the maximum already. The German intern had to find his own way in the stacks, because I had very little time to show him around. We host a visit every year, and it always works out very nicely, because they are very meticulous and learn fast. We have number systems as shelf locations, so they don't need to understand Swedish in order to retrieve books.

Tuesday evening the social club arranged a bowling tournament with dinner at a place in Malmö. It's a tradition, and we always have a great time. The food is a buffet with high quality meat and fish. I go bowling once a year, and it shows. I ended up somewhere in the middle on the result list. One of the guys in stacks won the tournament.

Thursday it was announced who will get the Nobel Prize in literature. It was a Swedish poet this time, Tranströmer. We always check to see how long time it takes from the announcement until his books are requested. It seems like many people have already read his works, because it took several hours and only one person asked for them.

This weekend I have mostly rested. It was an exhausting week and I really needed to take it easy. I did get the apartment vacuumed, though.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Interesting conference

The conference in Göteborg was one of the most interesting ones I have ever attended. It was a two-day event hosted by one of the large foundations, and it dealt with just about every aspect of digitization of old materials you could think of. There were speakers who were archivists, librarians and scholars. The first two categories keeping the material, the last one using it. The scholars gave presentations of their research projects, and explained how they have benefitted from getting the material available online. Statistical and historical comparisons that were impossible before, can now be done fairly easily. It still takes a lot of work, but it has meant a great deal to have the material right on the computer screen (instead of perhaps travelling to the other end of the country). The archivists presented some map projects and the medieval letters online, where the possibility for users to make comments has meant a great deal to get the material correctly transcribed. The librarians talked about the easier access to bibliographic information, and also expressed concern with long term storage and funding. It is very expensive to store these large files and the libraries don't get any extra money for it. I have a long list of books I would like to have scanned, but it is not possible yet, mainly for lack of server space. After the conference we got a guided tour of the university library. We viewed some old and rare books, and then we got to see their brand new (and very expensive) scanner.

Friday evening I went by bus to Borås, an hour east of Göteborg. I spent the weekend with my mother (the others were on vacation). My mother had booked a space for selling some fleamarket-things on the Saturday. It was a disappointment, because there were hardly any people coming. We didn't sell much. We actually had more things with us home than we had when we got there. My mother found some cheap Tupperware items to buy. After a slow Sunday I returned home by train in late evening.

It was hard to get up early today. This is the first full week at work for a long time. Another colleague, who has been away for five months on paternity leave, also returned today. We had some catching up to do. There was also an intern from a library school in Germany coming today. He is here for two weeks and will work in the stacks. I was not prepared for this, but I hope he didn't notice it too much. Even though I can speak English, it's a little difficult to remember the specific words we use for things. It also turned out to be a little strange to speak English with my colleagues, but we did so that the intern wouldn't feel left out.