A Day In The Life of A Science Librarian #libday6

Kiyomi D. Deards
Chemistry, Biochemistry, Biological Science, and the Cedar Point Biological Station

Kiyomi D. Deards, Assistant Professor, Librarian
Kiyomi D. Deards
Assistant Professor
Science Librarian

My day started by coming in a little early in an attempt to clear my inbox for the week. ?I discovered that interim SVCAA Weissinger has been selected as a candidate for the permanent position, she gets my vote! (SVCAA stands for Senior Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs.) Some of you may be wondering why a librarian would care about the SVCAA position, but the library no matter how valuable cannot be effective and efficient without good leadership both in the library and within the university community. ?Leadership in higher-ed can make or break an institution and any programs which they are associated with, so I am glad to see someone I consider smart, capable, and a good communicator being consider for the SVCAA position.

After somewhat clearing my inbox I decided to work on Collection Development. ?Our Dean of Libraries has asked that we try and spend out 90% of our funds by the end of February so it?s time to find some good titles that I think might get used. ?These funds can only be used for books and other items that we can purchase for one-time as a monograph, if I could use the funds on journal titles there wouldn?t be any left to worry about spending. ?I don?t want to spend $$$ just to spend so I try and buy reference works, study-aids, a very small amount of popular science books with really good science and accessible writing, science communication, and books to help with the research and publication process. ?I decided to ask the cloud for suggestions in the areas of forensics (a new program at UNL) and biology before starting my reference desk shift.

At the reference desk it was a nice day with just enough students to keep my and my desk partner busy, but not so many that we were overwhelmed. ?Most of the questions had to do with the new Pharos software. ?Pharos is a program that lets you assign different logons to different types of patrons allowing you to set different time limits for different patron types. ?The main confusion for our users was that previously they had a different login based on their active directory accounts, with the new Pharos software everyone needs to login with their UNL ID number or library card ID number if people are not UNL students/faculty/staff. ?In connection with this I sent in a report about a computer that kept shutting itself down, boo!

I decided to clear out some of my old working files from my computer and came across a list of links, dumped them with a brief explanation and a picture on my website to create Tips From the Experts: Interviewees & New Workers. This post was later picked up by @ALA_Joblist, much to my surprise. ?It just goes to show you never know what will resonate with people 🙂

I am asked if I can find and purchase some books on gender/sex and the brain that are science based, i.e. that are related to biological sciences, specifically neurology. ?This is a very cutting edge field and I know there are several people who do neurological research at UNL, and it also fits nicely with the gender studies people so I?m happy to take a look at what?s there. ?Again I decide to crowd source recommendation and ask the people from #scio11 and some biology and neurology friends for their recommendations. ?I also promise to compile the list of recommendations for people the next week (I will post on this next).

I run out of time for lunch and go to my twice monthly meeting with my supervisor at 2pm, oops? (Sorry for being a bad work/life role model! ?Sometimes the focus which people value can hinder things like eating because you loose track of time…) ?Our meeting went well, there are changes coming to the library (no surprise there), but I think things are changing in a positive direction and it?s nice to know she?s looking out for my workload! ?I?m fortunate in that I am just enough like my supervisor that we get along, but different enough that we don?t usually clash. ?She is also one of those rare people that really means it when they say, ?ask me anything? so when I?m not sure if a question might offend someone I can go to her and say ?I don?t want to offend anyone, but I am not sure/confused, etc.? and get a real answer and some guidance on how to handle things. ?Sometimes when I bring up these issues I find out they aren?t my problem and she handles the issue or passes them discretely on to the person best capable of dealing with a situation. It?s good to have discretion and ask for advice so that you can handle things appropriately. I don?t really have as many people skills as others assume I do, but when I realize I don?t know the appropriate or discreet way to handle something I find someone who I know is discreet and ask them who to approach/how to say/handle the situation. ?I still put my foot in my mouth just like everyone else, but this helps cut down on that alot.

Finally I ?go and find something to eat and take my lunch hour to run some quick errands around town near the university. Bless the parking garage, it?s totally worth the $5 per month extra to never have to fight for a space or park outside in the inclement weather. ?I was going to work on devising questions for the Architecture Library Assessment but get burried under e-mail, catching up on science and library posts to keep current, and doing a little tidying up before the 7:30pm talk by Dr. Lise Eliot titled ?Brain Sex: Truth, Tall Tales and Time for a Developmental Perspective?, held two buildings over at UNL?s Gaughan Center. Please see the link for the press release: http://newsroom.unl.edu/announce/todayatunl/162/1417

Dr. Eliot?s excellent presentation can be summed up in a few points:

  1. We need to be clear about what are real differences and percieved differences between boys and girls.
  2. There is a lot of misinformation being portrayed as fact in the news, schools, and even in science.
  3. Show me the data!
  4. ?What you do with your brain effects your brain.?

To expand a little on point 3:
We need to engage our brains and not blindly accept any study which passes peer-review (or is not even submitted to it) as gospel. ?We need to look at the sample sizes and ask to see the data. ?When generalizing about differences between males and females you really should have a large sample size, results with 50-100 participants are not conclusive at all, although they may be useful aggregated together with similar studies to create a large and useful data sets. There are billions of people in this world, someone with a chart handy, look up how many participants you would need for an acceptable error range? ?I don?t know off the top of my head but it?s a lot bigger than 100 people! ?Watch out for studies where the researcher is an object acting on a group of participants, or where the researcher knows things they aren?t supposed to according to their protocols.

After a quick word with some of the gender studies faculty and Dr. Eliot I made my way home at 9:15pm. ?And that is my #libday6.