Monday, September 16, 2019

Laptop Librarian?

Datura this morning, just inside of my gate.

I haven’t written a blog post in several months, mostly because the summer school job transitioned directly into the school year job with very little break in between. My day job taken over by technology. Not ten minutes has gone by while at work when I have not had to troubleshoot, check out, or otherwise stop anything I have been doing to answer a question about a laptop or a Chromebook.

I am not a Luddite, but I really wish the push for technology didn’t always mean that the librarian is expected to be that technology person. I’m sure it comes from the idea that we are supposed to be technologically savvy. What most don’t seem to understand, though, is that this savviness is supposed to be in teaching innovative research tools, not trying to fix the broken technology. That is what my job has become-- the “check out and fix it” person. That’s not exactly what they trained us to do in graduate school. Definitely not a valuable use of time for someone with a degree. I’m not saying that I shouldn’t be doing this because I have a degree or that I am personally too “valuable” to do this work. I’m saying that librarians-- a position which requires a master’s degree— cost the district more salary-wise than what is required to do this particular job. In assigning this work, it also comes at a cost to any library programming put in place. Schools with two librarians are able to come closer to operating normally because they are able to function every day as a library as well as provide that technical support when needed. Schools like mine, who have over 2,000 students between the two schools on campus but only one librarian, do not function as well.

Last year, when the responsibility for student devices was dumped on me, I spent two months straight-- every day-- working on laptops. When we switched to Chromebooks, I set up a schedule, just like all of the other librarians in the district. I guess it’s hard to follow a schedule when you’re not used to doing it, because I still have students coming in during non-support times. The hard part is that I really do want to help them. I can’t do that, though. Having a schedule means that even I have to stick to it. Just because I can stop whatever I’m doing and fix the problem doesn’t mean that I should. If I start doing that, I will constantly have interruptions to classes I’m teaching, or book orders I’m attempting to compile, or anything else I may be doing that is related to being the head of a school library.

Unfortunately, the expectation from my faculty is that I fix it and it doesn’t matter what I happen to be working on or that it is not the scheduled time to do it. It seems that so many people assume that this is just what I’m paid to do. They assume it is part of a stipend and I should spend more time doing it if I’m being paid to do that. Um…it’s not. This is just an extra duty, and it is supposed to be up to me how I handle it. People have actually yelled at me (educated adults who you’d think would know about professional decorum), that this is my job and I’m obviously not doing what I’m supposed to when I’m supposed to do it. That when I say I’ve made time for it in my day, they say it’s not something you are supposed to make time for, its just your job. Why does my school have this breakdown as to what my job is?

So, after all of this complaining about the shifting of my job (thank you to those who have read this far and are still here!), what do I do about it? Well, I get up every morning and hope to have the best day yet. I feed my cats and dog, make my coffee, get dressed, have breakfast and journal about my dreams. I take at least 30 minutes to sit out on my patio to enjoy the sunrise. I breathe in the fresh morning air (as fresh as it can be living in a city!), and just free my mind of thoughts of what the work day may hold. As I recently saw in a Facebook meme, I am building a life right now in my home that I don’t have to run away from. I am working towards not worrying about this day job work when I am at home. Any work stress will just have to stay at work. I don’t have time for it at home. There’s way too much to do and enjoy in life for that!

Friday, June 14, 2019

School's Out for Summer...Except for That Pesky Summer School Thing

Clark Gardens, just outside of Mineral Wells, TX
Summer is FINALLY HERE! Yes!

Well, I say that, but my school is one of the summer school locations and I accepted the summer school librarian position. So…I’ll be back at school next week! There are bonuses to this, though. I’ll be paid enough to take out some of my credit card debt, which, like most people, I absolutely hate having. The secret, hidden bonus is that I will be using the district A/C instead of my own, so I’ll actually be saving money!

My main work for summer school will be to check out and help students maintain working laptops. That particular job has kicked my butt in May, but with the expectation that this is my primary job, I think I’ll be fine.

Speaking of May and laptop and my butt being kicked...I spent probably too much energy last month on laptops and very little time on my personal creative endeavors. It took me six days to prep for a planned four days of collection--which turned into eight days of collection! I do not understand where the breakdown was in exactly when items needed to be returned, but I’m hoping it was just willful disobedience instead of a lack of common sense (which isn’t really that common!).

I truly intended to blog more last month. You can read my last entry and see that I was at least going to have an every Monday blog post. I'm hoping to pick that back up next week, as long as I have a few moments to get the words down. That's just how things go when multitasking is not an option!

I have so many plans for Rachel Pilcher Writing Workshops this summer and I am hoping to be able to accomplish them in some of the downtime I will have over the next few weeks. Stay tuned!

Monday, May 6, 2019

Museum Monday: The Kimbell Art Museum’s The Torment of Saint Anthony by Michelangelo


One of the things that you’re taught when you decide to start a blog is that you need to have thematic days. Something for every day of the week. I have never been good at that. This week I’m changing things up.

Mondays will forever be known (until I give up or run out of art!) as Museum Mondays. Most museums aren’t open on Mondays, but it’s the perfect day to write about them, mostly because of the alliterativeness of it! What I’ll be doing on Museum Mondays is featuring a work of art I decided to take a picture of and give you, the reader, my thoughts on this art. Sometimes these thoughts will be serious, but mostly they will be fun and a bit silly.
Here goes…
The Torment of Saint Anthony, 1487- Michelangelo


Last Friday I was attending Global Gallery Night, where high school students teach about a particular art piece within the museum, held annually at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth. One of my favorite works of art there is The Torment of Saint Anthony (1487) by Michelangelo Buonarroti. Yes, that Michelangelo. We have one in Fort Worth!

Anyway…this painting is one of the earliest works by Michelangelo, painted when he was just a young teen. You can tell. The demons are fantastical. Their faces are comical. They have oversized organs (I mean, not to get gross, but the anus of that red demon on the bottom right is somewhat ridiculously large). Saint Anthony, though, looks like you would expect a Saint to look in a Renaissance painting. Then add the boy factor, and you have what could, according to a friend of mine when we were looking at the painting Friday, be an overlaid work of art with demons added by a modern artist.

If you ever get the chance to see this painting in person, either at The Kimbell, or at another museum when it is out touring the world, just remember…A thirteen-year-old boy painted this painting, which is pretty amazing in itself.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Facebook Live Coming Up Sunday, April 21st at 6PM CST

Join me on Sunday, April 21st at 6pm CST over on the Rachel Pilcher Writing Workshops Facebook page for Episode 26: Why Grammar and Punctuation Matters.

In this episode, we will discuss grammar and punctuation in your final drafts. This information specifically be helpful if you intend to submit your writing for publication in literary journals, magazines, or book publishers! I'll be sharing some of my own experiences as a writer and publisher when those editorial mistakes have slipped through the cracks.

If you don't do Facebook, you can always catch the replay of all episodes over on the Rachel Pilcher Writing Workshops YouTube page. Make sure to click "Subscribe" when you get there so you are alerted every time a new episode is uploaded!

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Online Workshop: Your Online Presence, Saturday, April 27, 2019


https://www.rachelpilcherwritingworkshops.com/p/blog-page.html

As many of you know, I've been teaching monthly online workshops through my business, Rachel Pilcher Writing Workshops.

My next workshop is coming up in two weeks! Here is a bit of information about the workshop. I hope you'll join me!
 
Online Workshop: Your Online Presence
Saturday, April 27, 2019
10am-1pm CST (Here's a helpful timezone converter)
Registration Deadline: Friday, April 26, 2019, 8pm CST
$79.95  

The way you represent yourself professionally online is important. Whether it is through your website or on social media, having an online presence is necessary in today’s publishing world. Many publishers will not even look at a manuscript of a writer who doesn’t have some sort of online following. In this workshop, we’ll discuss the opportunities you will have as a writer online, how you can begin to gain an online following, as well as the dos and don’ts of presenting yourself online.
*This workshop is geared towards writers, but professionals from other communities are welcome to join in on the fun!
 
For more information or to register, please click here.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Panther City Review #4 Deadline is NEAR!


http://www.panthercityreview.com/

If you weren't aware, I have a publishing company, Sleeping Panther Press. I decided to start this micro-press to showcase local writers (at first, just my critique group!) through an annually published literary journal, Panther City Review.

Definitely take a moment to check out previous issues, which can be ordered through Amazon, via this link (Issue #3, 2018).

If you are interested in submitting to Panther City Review this year, the deadline for Issue #4 is April 29, 2019 at 11:59PM CST.

Here are the submission guidelines:

Click here to submit

The theme for this issue is "Focus." 

The submission fee is $5 per entry (Poetry may submit up to 5 poems for $5, Cover Art up to 2 images for $5).


What Is Published in Panther City Review?

Creative Non-Fiction (up to 4,000 words)
Novel Excerpts (up to 4,000 words)
Poetry (up to 5 poems per submission)
Short Play/Screenplay (up to 15 pages)
Short Story (up to 4,000 words)

Submission Guidelines:

Please make sure to include the type of entry in the title of your document file (ie- nf=Non-Fiction, ss=Short Story, etc). Please make sure your file is an editable file (ie- .docx or .rtf).

We are also seeking Cover Art.
If you are an artist and interested in submitting cover art, please make sure to include a document describing the art you are submitting and how it relates to the theme of "Focus." Please make sure that your submission is a vertical image (the journal is printed 5.125" X 8"), and submitted as a .jpg file no smaller than 300 dpi.
 
All submissions chosen for Panther City Review Issue #4 will receive a complimentary copy of Issue #4 as well as wholesale discounts on any additional copies. All accepted writers will be invited and encouraged to attend in the launch party in Fort Worth, where there will be an opportunity to read a selection from your included work in the Fall of 2019.

Any submissions not accepted will receive critique notes as a thank you for your interest. If you have questions, please contact Rachel Pilcher at rachel@rachelpilcher.com.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Facebook Live Coming Up Sunday, April 7th at 6PM CST!


https://www.facebook.com/RachelPilcherWritingWorkshops/Join me on Sunday, April 7th at 6pm CST over on the Rachel Pilcher Writing Workshops Facebook page for Episode 25: The Necessity of Social Media for Writers.

In this episode, we will discuss the various benefits (and the downfalls) of participating in social media outlets for writers.

If you don't do Facebook, you can always catch the replay of all episodes over on the Rachel Pilcher Writing Workshops YouTube page. Make sure to click "Subscribe" when you get there so you are alerted every time a new episode is uploaded!