Thursday, January 06, 2005

Ahhh, the sweet, still air of the reference department, week one. It's been a while.

I spent the holidays in Canada with my family. I miss Canada. I miss Canadian radio and Canadian politics on television. I miss Rick Mercer. I miss French packaging. I miss public officials who sound, at least superficially, as though they genuinely care about what's good and decent in the world, rather than just what's likeliest to get them re-elected. I miss coinage. I miss Vancouver. I don't miss taxes, but I'm willing to shoulder them if they buy me civilization. (And the right to get married.) I miss my friends' accents. I miss the ocean. And the mountains. And the clean, unbreathed air right off the Pacific, special delivery from Japan. There are wonderful things about Eugene--my neighborhood, my friends, my sweetheart, the size of life around here--but I sure do miss my homeland sometimes.

That said, I'm teaching a four-credit course with my friend and colleague Annie Zeidman-Karpinski, and so far it's exciting and fun. It's on environmental research methods, and we're team-teaching it as an interdisciplinary course from the perspective of a humanities reference librarian and a science reference librarian. (She's the scientist.) It's a lot of work, and there isn't enough relief from the rest of my job to really even things out, but it's worth it. Great experience, good group of students, and four hours a week with a good friend who's a big geeky librarian, just like me. Yay!

The reference desk, on the other hand, is feeling a bit like an intellectual gas station at the moment, because most students haven't started doing any research yet. So far this evening:
  • How do I find print copies of Time magazine from the 1950s and 1960s? (Approximately a million students are asking this tonight, for a Journalism project due tomorrow.)
  • Where can I get a French-English dictionary?
  • Where can I find information about the separation of church and state, and how should I approach my essay on the separation of church and state, and is there more information available on the separation of church and state in education or in government, and are those the same things? (Beginning researcher.)
  • Where can I find some materials to help me with my creative writing assignment, which is about the creation of the self? I need non-fiction items, and I'm not sure what that means.
  • Where can I get my password for my UO email account?

I'm gearing up for ALA next week too...wishing I could tesseract there instead of spending 12 hours in airports each way. It's always 12 hours, no matter where you're going. The airlines like to be consistent about that.


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