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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Emigrant research lectures

Over the past few weeks I have had quite a lot of pain in my back. I got treatment by the chiropractor twice, but it's still not good. He said that I should walk as much as possible, so I have taken several trips to cities to go shopping..... It requires a lot of walking, so I thought it would count. I have been in Lund to a flea market and had brunch at a restaurant near the city park. I have heard of this restaurant, and I was curious to try the food. It was great, lots of herring, salmon and other things I like. The dessert table was impressive, the chocolate mousse was definitely homemade.

At work I have done a lot of talking lately. I have given four lectures about Swedish American biographical works and how to find lost emigrants in North America. Several of my colleagues have found information about their relatives by using the databases I suggested. It was quite fun to hear about their family histories, and I'm glad they seem to have enjoyed the lectures. After this, there is no doubt in anyone's mind what a nerd I am. I talked non-stop for an hour and a half on this subject and could answer all the questions. My links and booklist are now a part of the staff online resource list.

The library has employed a curator who is an expert on preservation and conservation of books and paper material. She went with me through almost all the floors of the library and also the storage, and I showed her all the collections that need attention for some reason. I explained how we work and what the problem areas are. There has been very little interest in preservation, even though it's our duty. I hope this will change now.

I have moved a book collection to the storage, this time it was very old books, so I had to do the job myself. It wasn't possible to transport them on carts, so I had to use boxes. It was not ideal for my back, it got worse afterwards. The faculties have also sent about 30 boxes with books for me to process. I was able to distribute some of them to other colleagues, but it was still a lot of work. I have to say it's great not to have to drive the storage round anymore, but I somehow end up doing pretty hard work anyway.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Birthday party

Last weekend I was in BorĂ¥s to attend my sister's big birthday party. She turned 40 and invited a large crowd for an open house. Our mother had made lots of preparations, but the only thing I really did was to peel as few kilos of potatoes. And load the dishwasher a large number of times. The party was great, the kids ran around, the adults were talkative, the food was very tasty (salmon and potato terrine, with homebaked cake for dessert) and my sister seemed to be happy about the presents.

I took two days off from work, so I stayed longer than usual. One of my colleagues had forgotten this and texted me at 8 AM Monday morning. I was not so happy about this. Anyway, my mother and I went to the local swimmingpool, where she exercises twice a week. Nice place. We also went shopping at the mall area and some second hand stores, including the one she works at as a volunteer. Tuesday I had an appointment for massage, where I used yet another gift certificate given to me at Christmas. The train ride home that evening turned out to be longer than expected. Another train driver had damaged a switch, so the trains were cancelled and we had to go by bus part of the way. The journey lasted five and a half hours instead of four. Very boring trip.

One colleague, who has been on paternity leave since June, returned last week, but only part-time. Still, it's a welcome addition. This past week I handed over almost all my regular tasks to other people. I no longer drive the storage round, shelve or sort requests or returned books. It's a test to see if the others manage without me. It's too early to tell if it's going to function. I have started to arrive late for work (at 8 instead of 7) and go home "early" (at 5 PM or so). I will use the last five weeks to clear my desk and finish all the other projects, before I go on my long vacation. I was told that they will actually employ someone else to fill in for me during this absence, and to my knowledge that has never happened before in the library's history. There is no money to pay double salaries, so where they found that resource I don't know.

This past week I started giving another lecture to my colleagues. It's about biographical works (like the previous one), but this time the scope is Swedish-Americans. We have a collection of Swedish American books, and some of them contain interesting information about the emigrants and where they settled in North America. I also included information on how to find lost emigrants, online databases and general family history research techniques. The lecture seems to be popular and I will give it several times the next few weeks, so that everyone gets to hear it.

This Friday I got to go to the new ephemera collection storage. It's in a large house, where we had our Christmas party two years ago. It was then empty, but now it is crammed with compact shelves on two levels, and the material was either on the shelves or on pallets on the floor. The move was recently finished and this was the first time I saw the place with shelves installed. Impressive place. They have lots of work to do, getting the material on pallets up on the shelves. It will take years getting it all in order.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Stand-up show

The work week was pretty ordinary, so nothing exciting to report from the library. Friday was a long day. I went out to eat after work and then continued on to the theater. The ticket was given to me as a Christmas present by my sister. It was a stand-up show by a local talent, and it was really funny. He tried to make predictions about the future and it turned out to be an entertaining show.

Saturday I woke up early, but decided it was too early and went back to sleep. I finally woke up at 1 p.m. and was amazed at the number of hours gone by. It has been a slow weekend spent at home. I have been cooking, tidying up and watching TV. Today was the annual Vasaloppet ski race, run in rather bad conditions. It's not cold enough, the snow turns into slush. It's much warmer than normal, and it seems like there will be no more winter here.