This is a video of ILR student John Ertl speaking at the rally in Wisconsin:
I’m proud to say that John worked for Web & Digital Projects here at Catherwood a year or so back, and proud that the video was sent to me by a student assistant who currently works for us and asked for the week off to head out to Wisconsin.
I have often described the students who work for us as forces of nature. They do amazing work while they’re with us, pursue tremendous goals while they’re at Cornell, and leave us do things like work in Hong Kong or teach in charter schools. I take credit for nothing beyond convincing such awesome folks to work with us for a while, knowing that they will go on to do things which will stagger us.
Tours: As noted, Monday’s tour ended with knives. Tuesday’s actually concluded with applause, which either means that I give amazing freaking tours or that years of theatre left me well-trained in cuing audiences that, yes, now is when you clap. Considering one of the kids from that tour followed me back to my office to ask for a job, maybe it was the former. In any case, now I’m gonna be disappointed in any future tours which lack cheering. We must be discriminating when choosing which disappointments to set ourselves up for.
Booth: I didn’t mention this, but last week I put in a couple hours at the Cornell University Library booth at the big “Welcome Frosh” fair in Barton Hall. I tried to give out helpful information, and ended learning a few things myself:
- A lot of kids want to work at the library, but parents are the ones who get excited by the notion in droves.
- In times of incipient and developing change, it’s important to speak definitively in the present tense.
- No one rolls their eyes quite like an 18-year-old whose mom is asking if we have any libraries that are open 24 hours on weekends.
Reference: I answered my first co-op chat question this week, in addition to my usual shift on CU chat. I have a feeling that working with other library’s online resources is gonna show me just how bad catalogs can get, but overall I think it’ll be a good experience.
I also answered a bunch of in-person questions, which is generally more fun. These ranged from helping a lot of students wrangle their online reserves — which got me doing a compare-and-contrast between what I was seeing them deal with and with what I experienced in library school; whole ‘nother post there, I think — to getting someone up and running on research for their honors thesis. I am still vaguely surprised that I’m able to answer ref questions in a reasonably competent manner; maybe I’ll get less so as the years pile on.
Less surprised, not less competent. C’mon people; work with me here.
I was tempted to call this a post-mortem, but a) that sounds a bit too morbid, and b) I’ve got the better part of the day left, which will include another ref desk shift and at least one interview with a potential student employee. So this thing ain’t dead yet.
I am always amazed by how much worse traffic in this town gets once the Cornell students return. Since they rarely drive to class and only slightly less rarely leave East Hill — mainly to go to Wegmans — I tend to assume that there is some indirect mechanism by which they cause this effect. Of course, correlation and causation and all that, so I shouldn’t rule out the possibility that there is some Z factor snarling late August traffic every year.
The scholastic influx’s effect on the library is much less obscure. This week saw me giving tours, fixing links on the library’s web page, and selecting my slots on the semester’s reference desk schedule. It’s a hectic time, especially after summer’s languorous pace, but it’s also an irrefutable reminder of why we’re here in the first place.
It’s also cool to realize that in amongst the several thousand incoming freshmen there are a few people who are going to fall in love with this town and end up staying here long after they’ve graduated. They likely have no idea that this is the case; I certainly didn’t.