Location: UAB Sterne Library
Current gig: Electronic Resources Librarian
Current mobile devices: iPhone, iPad and Dell Laptop
Current computers: A Dell computer at Sterne.
One word that describes how you work? Methodical — and a smidge adaptive. I am constantly multitasking – whether it is renewal of databases, management of electronic resources, or working to resolve an access issue. I’m methodical because I try to carefully go through making sure all of the t’s are crossed and i’s dotted for all projects. I’m adaptive because I must be able to switch gears on a moment’s notice if an issue arises with users’ access or questions about a resource. Being methodical also helps me keep track of what I was doing before the access hiccup occurred.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without? Excel spreadsheets and pivot tables. I use these to manage, analyze, review, track, and basically oversee all aspects of electronic resources and the library statistics I am responsible for maintaining. This April, as a part of a panel of superhero electronic librarians, I will be presenting at the Alabama Library Association Conference on using Excel spreadsheets to manage electronic resources. I am also quite attached to my electronic and print calendar. I had migrated away from maintaining a print version of my calendar a couple of years ago, but I learned the hard way what can happen when a computer misbehaves. Since then, I maintain an electronic and a print copy of my calendar.
What is your workspace like? Generally, I have one pc with two monitors. Most days, I will also have my iPad open and running. On my pc monitors, I will have multiple windows open in a partial screen view. There are usually Excel spreadsheets open on both monitors along with a different Internet browser open on each monitor. I use the iPad mainly to monitor email, or when needed, troubleshoot an access issue. On some days depending on the project(s) I am working on, I will substitute a laptop or my iPhone for the iPad.
I am constantly multitasking throughout the day. And while much of my work is done on an electronic device, I still incorporate some print. A pad of paper is an essential element of my work. I use it to jot down notes, reminders, identify place holders in projects, list the names of people/vendors I have spoken with, etc. Once a pad is full, I will set it aside for future reference. The writing seems to provide an avenue for me to explore concepts that I can return to and revise/revisit as needed.
Of course, my workspace would not be complete without a hot cup of (preferably) peppermint tea and animal crackers.
What is your best life hack? Walking – whether it is indoors or (preferably) outdoors. I find that just getting up and moving helps me organize my thoughts, make lists, and develop strategies to resolve or troubleshoot issues. You could say that walking is my form of meditation.
What is your favorite to-do list manager? Generally, I rely on Outlook and the note feature on my phone. Many times rather than make a list, I just send myself an email and/or set a reminder on my calendar. I have tried Evernote and a couple of other apps but have not been happy with their performance.
Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without? My standalone KitchenAide mixer; it is incredible! I am an avid baker; this has made it so much easier to prepare multiple recipes at one time. This year for Christmas I received the ice cream attachment. So now for dessert, it is no longer just plain cake, but cake and ice cream.
What do you listen to while you work? A couple of years ago, I discovered a public radio station that is hosted by the University of Kentucky, WUKY. They offer three live feeds; the two I enjoy are the all jazz station and one that offers a mix of music/news. Generally I will listen to their “rock & roots” show through lunch and then switch to jazz.
What are you currently reading? I generally like to read what I term “beach books” before bed; the genre I have been reading lately is mysteries. At the moment, I am reading two books; one by Harlan Corbin and one by Patricia Cornwell (the Scarpetta series). I find these to be easy, relaxing reads; that I can pick-up/put down without feeling the need to stay up all night and finish.
Are you more of an introvert or extrovert? I have always considered myself to be an introvert; but a guess a little bit of both. I enjoy people but am not fond of being in the limelight. I am outgoing when it comes to work; negotiating with vendors, etc. I have been known to be quite stern with vendors when it comes to resolving an issue concerning resources the University is paying for.
What’s your sleep routine like? I use my cell phone as an alarm clock and during the work-week have it set for 5:30. But generally, I am up every morning between 5 and 5:30, even on the weekends. I try to at least be in bed by 10 and I may read for a while before falling asleep. I have always been a morning person; no matter what time I actually fall asleep, I am still up and going early in the morning.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received? It is okay to stop and take time to relax. There are days when I “go” from the time I hit the floor in the morning until the time I go to bed at night. I am still learning that it is important to take time to relax and recharge.