Thursday, December 29, 2011

Looking back over the year

It is that time of year when all of us should take some time and reflect on the previous twelve months. Quite a lot has happened in my life and I’m sure many others have experienced some changes.

And the year ends with a couple of good things. I wrote an article I wrote for the GovInfo Pro Best Practices Guide earlier this year. It has been picked up and published by SLA’s Future Ready 365 on Friday, December 23. That, in turn was picked up by PinHawk Librarian News Digest on Tuesday, December 27. (it is a free e-newsletter, but they require registration.)

My year has had some ups and downs but I’m content with how things are at the moment. Let me focus on four aspects of my professional and personal life.


This has been a year for learning new things. I have traveled and have changed jobs. Travel is supposed to broaden one’s horizons and my trips certainly did that. In addition, my trip to the Holy Land sites in Israel and the Palestinian Territory gives me a different perspective. More on that below.

I have worked a couple of temp jobs and in both cases I have been lucky to work with intelligent and pleasant people who are diligent workers and yet manage to keep their sanity. I have benefited from the experience and learned new systems and procedures.

I’ve had a chance to work with the AGRICOLA database at the US Department of Agriculture. In the course of my work with the National Invasive Species Information Center I have learned so much more about a variety of invasive species than I had ever thought about. In my current position I am learning more about Gartner Research. Also I have been making good use of two databases of government contracts – GovWin IQ and the Federal Procurement Data System.

My Internet skills are improving and I’ve been using Sharepoint more and more for document sharing and creating webpages.

I have also been keeping up with the professional literature and being reminded that librarians need to reach out within our organizations and try to find new ways to support the research and information needs of our colleagues.

The coolest Internet resource that I learned about recently is Medpedia – a wiki written by health care experts. A much more reliable resource for health and medical information than a generic Internet search. But I recommend consulting with your physician for personal health and medical advice.

Back in June I attended the SLA Conference in Philadelphia. I attended a number of workshops and networked with many librarians and vendors. It was a great experience as usual! Write-ups of some of the sessions are posted elsewhere on my blog.


In May of this year I left my government job. Turns out that reading contracts is tedious and not exactly something that sings to my soul. Still I enjoyed the opportunity to work with some excellent people and learned quite a bit.

Since then I have been learning more about job searching, networking, interviewing, writing cover letters etc.

My journey has introduced me to I Need a Library Job (INALJ) and 40Plus of Greater Washington. I attended some great presentations at 40Plus and wrote about them in this blog. INALJ is a daily resource of Library and related jobs nationwide. We also had a get-together of locals here in DC. Naomi House runs INALJ along with others and she is providing a great service. My growing expertise has allowed me to help others. That’s also one of my goals for the next few weeks – to finish work on a website for the DC SLA Chapter.

Pilgrimage to Holy Land

A major highlight of my year was a visit to the Holy Land. I am a Catholic Christian so visiting the sites that are so important in the life of Christ and the early Church was both a cultural and a spiritual delight.

Middle Eastern culture is very different from our lives here in the US. But I found the people very friendly and intelligent. The many places in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth and around the Sea of Galilee were remarkable.

It was more than profound to be in the same places where centuries of Jews, Christians and Muslims have lived and worshiped. It is sad to see the divisions that exist between peoples who share so much. Much has been done on all sides but I continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and her peoples.

Personal success – weight loss!

Finally I reflect on my personal journey of weight loss. I started talking about it earlier in the year as the incredible shrinking librarian.

Now at year’s end, almost eleven months since I started, I am down just over 78 lbs. I am within 5 lbs of my goal. I have really had to change the way I think about food and eating. I am more aware of my moods and what Weight Watchers calls emotional eating.

In closing

In the words of the poet John Donne, No man is an island. I would not be here now were it not for the help and support of my friends and family. I genuinely enjoy working with so many wonderful people. So I am thankful for the year that is almost over and looking forward to the year ahead.

I hope to be more involved with SLA in the coming year – and look forward to being in Chicago for the annual conference!

No comments:

Post a Comment