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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Easter weekend

The weeks around Easter have been a little slower at work and I have been able to take some hours off. One day I went to Helsingborg just to have lunch and today I went to Ikea near Malmö to get some things for my mother. It went well, apart from the fact that the train service went down and it took an hour and a half to get back to Lund by two different buses. The buses to my town are all packed with people and I'm not even going to try. I went back to work instead to do some catching up.

The Easter weekend was very nice. I spent it at the summerhouse with my mother and two of her friends. There was lots of food, for example boiled eggs, salmon of various styles, pickled herring and Janson's Temptation (a potato gratin with anchovy). I tried a novelty dish - pickled herring with blueberry flavor. Kind of sweet and sour at the same time but pretty good taste. We kept busy with several chores my mother had prepared. After the remodelling last year she got new pieces of furniture from Ikea that we now had to assemble. It was a pretty big job. We didn't get the bed finished because there was a part missing - that's why I went to Ikea today. But we assembled the bedside table and a book case. My mother was also taking care of a small dog but I was the one walking it mostly. My mother has some problems with her hip so she couldn't walk that easily. We did two excursions; one to the local town to get groceries and one to do some bird watching. Every spring there are large amounts of cranes visiting an area close by to rest before heading further north. There were more than 5000 cranes in that field. Quite impressive.

After four days of eating, solving crosswords and (mostly) relaxing I returned home by train Monday. That too was problematic and took almost three hours. The reason was one we hadn't heard before - a kite got stuck in the electrical lines and to get it off they had to shut all the power.

This week at work only two things worth mentioning have happened. Tuesday we celebrated three people who have retired with two enormous cakes that lasted also the next day. I will miss especially one of them, a very experienced librarian who knows just about everything. Yesterday I took part in a very hands-on workshop regarding how to save water-damaged books. The teacher was a colleague and she gave us soaked books to save. It was all fake because in real life it's very difficult to save books which have been that water-damaged. But we leafed in some dry tissue paper between the pages and it worked to some degree. Normally, we buy a new book instead. It's only if that's not possible we try to dry it out. If you can't start leafing in dry paper right away you have to freeze the book, otherwise it will get mouldy. We definitely learned a few things there.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Lots of shelving

These past two weeks have been rather busy although the number of requests have decreased. We have done many other things than retrieving books. Last week I brought one of the recent employees to the remote storage for the first time. I gave her the guided tour of our two storage facilities. We also did some much needed shelving. All of us in the stacks have taken turns going there to shelve, as the situation was very strained. We piled books on carts and tables because there was no room anywhere else. I also brought the most recent employee to the storage today. It was not my favorite place to spend a Friday afternoon but it was necessary. We were three people and we got a fair amount done.

At the main library I have come to the end of my part of the reference collection weeding project. I went through the bibliographies. It was challenging, as my knowledge about those books isn't that great. But I asked the others for a second opinion when I was in doubt. This project is supposed to end soon, but we have only reviewed perhaps 10% of the entire collection. We were not expected to do more right now, because it's a huge undertaking that will take years. The project of weeding the journals on open shelves is basically also over. I moved about 150 meters to stacks and made all the changes in our database. I have one thing left to do and that's a list (mostly for the staff) of the titles that remain on the open shelves.

The weather indicates that spring is on the way. There are many flowers blooming in the park in front of the library already. It's still rather cold, around 3-5 centigrades. It has been sunny the past few days, which is very nice after that long and dark winter.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

More research

I spent the weekend at work again. It was so interesting to review the family history research I couldn't stop. I have now gone through my mother's side of the family. Back in the 1990s when I did most of that research I never wrote down causes of death for my ancestors. It doesn't always say what they died of in the records but in most cases you can find out. I spent the weekend looking this up and it turned out to be sad statistics. Many of them actually reached old age but those who didn't died of tuberculosis or something similar. Often they didn't know the proper name for the illness (there were no doctors available until the 19th century) so they wrote the symptoms instead. Some women died giving birth and often the child didn't make it either. It was a harsh reality for many of my ancestors.

At work I lag behind with most things but particularly with the project of weeding the reference collection. I have done a lot of that the past few days. It is sometimes difficult to decide whether the book should stay on the shelf or be put in the stacks. But in some cases it is easy. I have found guides for internet searching printed 20 years ago. They were moved without any hesitation from my side.

This past Friday we attended a lecture on material handling. One would think that I would know how to handle a book by now but I was told to attend it. I failed the promise I made to myself to keep my mouth shut at this lecture. The lecturer suggested that we should spend one more hour on retrieving so that the books wouldn't risk being damaged. I asked where we would get that extra hour from. It amazed me that someone would actually say something like that. It's not like we have too little to do.

This Saturday I went to a grocery store outside Lund just to shop somewhere else than normal. I got some ground beef and made taco-style lunch boxes with it. One more success.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Busy Tuesday

Last week was like usual, mostly work and not much to report. The storage round car broke down but we were not affected as the janitor got a rental car for us immediately. They tried to explain what was wrong but I didn't really listen. They fixed it in a few days. Apart from work, the only significant event was the much needed hair cut I got last Wednesday. Afterwards I treated myself to a chicken pizza at the local establishment.

I spent the weekend at work. No surprise there. I actually devoted some time on my own ancestors for a change. Normally it's mostly research for others. The information I had on my ancestors until about the year 1800 was gathered many (20+) years ago. At that time you did research by going to the archive and using microfiche. Today it's easier with access on the computer screen. Also, by now many people have posted their research online and I found several clues from those sites posted by distant relatives. I reviewed my grandmother's side of the family and found more details to enter on the charts. Her ancestors lived in Småland, Blekinge and Skåne provinces.

This week some noteworthy things have happened at work. Especially on the Tuesday. The statistics were handed in that day - on the very last day. We are wondering every year if any one would actually read it. The same day a new employee started working in the stacks. I had no chance showing him anything as I was incredibly busy. He was introduced later and began retrieving books on the fourth floor (where all new employees start). Also on Tuesday the project group dealing with the reference collection had invited librarians from the faculties to discuss the project. In the beginning everything went wrong. The computer wouldn't work properly so the technician had to come. The coffee and cookies didn't show up as expected and that made people nervous. (If you invite people to a meeting it's more likely they will attend if you offer coffee - a well known fact here). But the meeting went really well, the discussion we hoped for was interesting and the input we got was positive. And I had desk duty that day too. I don't know how I survived it. Today was a little easier; one storage round and one meeting.