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Saturday, September 28, 2013

History Museum visit

Last Saturday it was Culture Night in Lund. There were many activities, for example dance troups, lectures, theater performances, science shows, market stalls, and several museums were open until very late. Admission was free everywhere and people made use of this. I went to the Museum of History, which was quite interesting. There were local archeological finds from the Iron Age, such as pearls, coins (very large collection), arrowheads and other things made of metal and bone. Also large halls with interiors from medieval churches; benches, fonts, wooden sculptures and entire altarpieces. There was also a curiosity cabinet, with items collected by explorers to (very) foreign lands hundreds of years ago. Some examples: a stuffed crocodile, a mummy, fish fossils and a skirt made of grass.

At work it's the same as usual, though more tasks for me. I definitely work too much. Several people were at home due to a very bad cold that has knocked them out for days. It's just a matter of time before I get it too.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Grateful customers

Another week filled with work passed by. I attended several meetings and shelved a large number of books at the storage. The piles of books are still large. The new storage for the ephemera collection was flooded and the wooden floor was destroyed. I thanked my lucky star for not being in charge of that problem. There are compact shelves installed, but the material is still placed elsewhere. They plan on starting the move this October. I have another book move to do also, but not that big. It's about 2000 meters that will be relocated within the building, but new compact shelves will have to be installed first. It will take a while.

The technician arrived at our new storage to look at the problem with the shelves that are stuck, and established the same thing as we already knew - something is not right. I think the programming was done incorrectly.

In our aim to please our customers, we reached new heights this week. It happens that people ask about their ancestors who were students at the university. There are records of what they studied and for how long, so we can give them that information. But this case was slightly different. We found a lot more, because another student from that time (end 19th century) had written his memoirs and included this person. We also referred the patron to the university archive, where she was able to get copies of one essay and one dissertation her ancestor had written. I met her yesterday and she was ecstatic about her finds. She showed me the ancestor chart and I noticed some gaps on it. So I used our databases to add the missing information. This is not a service we usually provide, but it was easy for me and she was forever grateful.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Fall weather

The situation at work got slightly better this past week, but there were still many problems. The printer decided to break down and it delayed the requests quite a lot. It's always something happening here. Some shelves at the new storage got stuck again, and we can't move them to retrieve books in three sections. We had a stacks meeting to discuss all the issues and it was a pretty long meeting. We have a lot of work to do this fall, without a doubt. And my back is complaining already.

The weather seems to have changed over the weekend. Saturday was very nice and I sat on the balcony enjoying the sun. Today it's dark and rainy. The leaves have already started to change in color and also fall off the trees.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Tough week

The week at work was terrible. It was the first week of the semester and our database crashed the previous Saturday. It couldn't stand the pressure of thousands of requests at the same time. All the students had their reading lists and wanted to request the books. The database was running again on Monday afternoon, but we saw the effects of the failure for several days on. The amount of requests was high and we worked hard to make the deadline (which is at noon).

It was also the first week when most people were back on duty again, and we had to have several meetings to discuss work issues. We have lots to plan for this semester and the staff situation is not that great. I spent every afternoon at the new storage to try to make the backlog of returned books a little smaller. Getting the returned books back on the shelves has been a problem for a long time. I brought the new guy with me and challenged him to shelve books in the old collection, which is much more complicated than the collection at the main library, where he usually works.

The only positive thing I have to report is the fact that I cracked a very difficult genealogy case last weekend. Someone had spent decades trying to find the origin of a family who lived in a parish where the church records are missing that early (1740-1800). With the help of a database, the tax records and checking who was listed as godmother/godfather at their children's baptisms (it's usually a relative), I found two more generations. It wasn't easy, but if it were, it wouldn't be called research.

And greetings, cheers and best wishes to my colleague Anna-Karin, who got married yesterday!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Copenhagen trip

Wednesday they had hired retired librarians to attend the desk and all the regular staff members (more than 60) went on a trip to Copenhagen. We divided up in groups and went to visit different libraries or related institutions. I went to the Danish State Archive. They keep historical records since their country was formed and on. It is the place to go if you want to find your Danish ancestors. They have posted an enormous amount of records online on their website, free for everyone to look at. Starting point: http://www.sa.dk/content/us/ We visited their rather new storage facility in central Copenhagen. It was gigantic, 14 meters high and accessible only through an electric movable lift. Very interesting to compare with our storage. The staff showed us very old documents, letters and maps. Peace treaties from the wars Denmark and Sweden fought in the 1600s and a coronation document from 1497, for instance. We also discussed digitization, making the historic document available to everyone, conservation and restoration methods, storage space and how costly all of it is. It was one of the most interesting visits to another library/archive I have ever done. We have so many issues in common.

After a sandwich lunch we took the metro to the new aquarium, the Blue Planet, close to the airport. It opened this spring and it's very popular. They have large tanks with all sorts of fish; sharks, piranhas, electric eels, flat ray-fish with long tails, and species that didn't even have names in our language. There were also sealions, snakes and colorful frogs. I only stayed about an hour, then I took the metro to a mall. There is a plus size clothing store there, and I found a nice top at a very affordable price. Plus size clothes are actually cheaper in Denmark, and there is more to chose from than in Sweden.

Apart from this, the week at work was not pleasant. There was very much to do. The semester starts on Monday. The only good thing was the fact that the movers cleaned the new storage very thoroughly and we are grateful for it. It was the last task they had here for a while, the next move will start in October, probably.