Tuesday, May 13, 2014


On Friday I attended ACRL NEC's annual conference at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. I always enjoy this conference because it's a one-day conference and seems to have a lot of bang for its buck. The theme of this year's conference was "We're All in This Together: Strengthening Librarians Through Professional Development" which was very helpful to me personally as I continue to look for full-time employment. The keynote speakers were Susanne Markgren and Tiffany Eatman Allen who spoke about Taking Control of Your Future: Eleven Steps to Develop your Career. They emphasized the importance of professional development in helping you to advance your career. Here's their presentation.
Here are some of the eleven steps:
  1. Identify strengths.
  2. Map out a plan. 
  3. Accountability measures: must be self-motivated and self-directed. 
  4. Network.
  5. Learn. 
  6. Seek - opportunities for growth and learning, partnership, funding.
  7. Collaborate.
  8. Write/present (very scary for me but I know I have to do it!)
  9. Create, Fail, Redefine,
  10. Share!!!!!!!! (so, here I am sharing!)
If you want to learn more about what Susanne and Tiffany have to say, visit their website. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Hooked Again

So, I took a break from this blogging thing and I'm still not sure I want to continue you it. I started a new job in September. I can actually call myself a librarian. It's part-time and the pay is pretty good so I'll take it for now. My search for full-time work continues.

I've been crocheting again! I'd been wanting to try felting again after trying it out a few (?!) years ago. Back then I made a felted bowl and was somewhat pleased with it for a first felting project. But I wanted to have a sturdier bowl or basket to hold and keep my projects handy in our living room. I came across a pattern on Ravelry (where else does one find patterns?) for a felted crochet hook vase. I made it and was happy with its sturdiness. 

I also made this cute hook case. It's going to be a gift for someone. It was really easy.

This weekend I made a felted basket. That's what I'm calling it. I used the same pattern that I used for the vase but this time I made the base wider and the sides shorter. I used 4 strands of yarn (100% wool) and half-double crocheted the 4 strands using a P size hook. The last 2 rows are 3 strands of yarn, with an N size hook. The second-to-last round is in single crochet, the final round is done in slip stitch. I'm pleased with how it came out.
Here it is after a trip through the washing machine. It shrank a few inches.

 Here it is again looking cute. The radiator in the playroom is a good place for it to hang out while it dries. I've stuffed it with plastic bags to help maintain its shape.

Then I finished up my fingerless mitts! My favorite pair of fingerless mitts that I made a couple of years ago went missing. These are crocheted in half-double crochet through the back loop only to give them a ribbed look. I used Debbie Bliss Cashmerino. To take this picture I used my new Gorilla tripod that was a gift from my hubby.
Here are the fingerless mitts again. Charcoal grey is one of my new favorite colors.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Time for Tumblr?

I'm thinking about taking down this blog and signing up for a Tumblr account. Any thoughts?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Saying Goodbye to Blairhaven

In early June I took a trip to a place that has been near and dear to my heart for almost 35 years. I drove some of the same familiar roads I’d always driven to get there. When I got to the center of town I drove through the little rotary where a flagpole marks the center, I took a right onto Standish Street and then another right at the fork in the road onto Crescent Street. This is where the tears started. I knew it was going to be one of the last times I would see Blairhaven.     I’d been to Blairhaven in South Duxbury, MA countless times. First as a camper in the late ‘70s; then as a teen attending retreats with the NCYL (now SCYL) in the early to mid ‘80s; as a camp counselor in the summer of 1982; as an adult staffing teen retreats in the late ‘80s to early ‘90s; and even as an adult attendee at a women’s retreat. In addition to all those visits, we often attended the end of year church picnic at Blairhaven. Over the years the building and property became very familiar to me and I truly loved being there. The sunsets on Kingston Bay were always gorgeous. Walks to Myles Standish Monument were part of the regular routine during a visit to Blairhaven.
    When I first I attended Blairhaven as a camper, Lois McCurdy was the camp director. I didn't grow up in the church. I started attending the Sunday school in Elmwood, MA when we moved there in the summer of 1975. The pastor was rather bland and the Sunday School was pretty generic but the kids kept talking about Camp Blairhaven. My mom decided to send me there. I honestly don’t know if her decision to send me to camp was a result of my nagging or if she’d talked to other moms in the neighborhood. Blairhaven was only about 30 minutes from Elmwood so it must have felt safe to her. For the rest of my life I will never forget my first encounter with Lois McCurdy, the camp director. Smiling, cheerful, and welcoming are words that come to mind when I think of Lois. She was sitting at a table on the porch near the front door of the big house. My mom brought me over to the table to check me in and Lois introduced herself and told me to call her "Aunt Lois". I immediately felt comfortable. It wasn't that I was really worried about being away from home because I knew several neighborhood kids who were also attending camp, but Lois’s demeanor immediately put me at ease. In addition to being camp director, Lois taught the religion class.
    Up until that point, I really had no idea what religion the Elmwood New Church was associated with. I was christened at Christ Church (Episcopal) in Quincy, Massachusetts. My mom always wanted us to go to Sunday School so we went to whatever Sunday School was convenient. As long as it wasn’t Catholic, or too weird, we went to Sunday School. When we moved to East Bridgewater, sending us to the Sunday School 5 houses down the street was really convenient. We got a basic Christian education at Elmwood New Church. It wasn’t until I went to Camp Blairhaven that I discovered for the first time that the beliefs of the church that I’d been attending for at least a year, mirrored my personal beliefs about heaven and hell. I was 12 years old. You could say I was hooked. Between learning about the church, making new friends, swimming in the bay, trips to Powder Point beach, games on the front lawn, craft projects, and the camp store, the days were packed and there was little time for boredom or homesickness.
    I attended summer camp at Blairhaven until I was considered “too old” at which point I started attending camp at Fryeburg (but that’s a story for another time). In the summer of 1982 I was, however, old enough at 17, to be a junior camp counselor. The camp director that year was Trevor Woofenden (now my husband). I’d known him for several years through attending church conventions and retreats with the NCYL. Little did I know then that as soon as he saw my application to be a counselor that he immediately decided he wanted me to be on staff. Junior counselor really meant dishwasher and I washed so many pots and pans that summer that I was washing pots and pans in my dreams. As a junior counselor we had to be in the kitchen after every meal for at least an hour but for the rest of the day we were free to do whatever we wanted.     Other staff members that summer included: Jim Lawrence, Gladys Wheaton, Sue Tafel and Robin Tafel, to name a few. As a dishwasher, I participated in most camp activities and trips but for me the highlight of working at Blairhaven that summer was simply being there for the entire month of July.
    I attended my first youth league retreat at Blairhaven on Memorial Day weekend in 1980. Anyone who has ever attended a youth league retreat knows how much fun they are but what was really special about a retreat at Blairhaven was the location. Watching the sunset over Kingston Bay from the front porch, sunbathing on the porch roof, late night walks to Myles Standish Monument, and playing games on the front lawn were just some of the more memorable things we did at retreats.
    In the mid 1980s the Blairhaven Committee hired their first resident director of Blairhaven, Rev. Ken Turley. Ken was also the pastor of the Elmwood Church at the time. Ken and his wife Laurie lived in the main house while the barn (which had previously been used as a boys dormitory) was completely renovated and converted into the director’s house. Also around the same time, the much-loved front porch was enclosed and a ramp was built, covering the much-loved front steps of the main house. Other changes to the main house included a handicap accessible bathroom on the first floor. While these changes made it possible to host larger groups, the feel of the building was never the same to me. The wide porch on two sides of the building had been completely enclosed.
    I’ll admit that I have a thing for porches and it goes back to my childhood when we would visit my great-grandparents’ summer house in Chatham on Cape Cod. The house was a simple cape but it had the most magnificent porch on all four sides, three sides had a view of the ocean, with one corner glassed in, also facing the ocean. The glassed in porch was the perfect place to be when the wind on the bluff was just a little too much.  Blairhaven, with its magnificent porch on two sides, one facing the bay, was a close second to my great-grandparents’ house in Chatham. I was sad to see the porch go, and even though the enclosed porch had plenty of windows it wasn’t the same. The Blairhaven that I had grown to love had been changed forever.
    When it was suggested to sell Blairhaven a few years ago, it wasn’t the first time. There hadn’t been a resident director for quite a while and the building needed some serious work. But still, just the idea of letting go of Blairhaven seemed like it would never happen. I thought that it would always be there. It was a relief to learn that the town of Duxbury would buy the property and that it would be part of a waterfront park.
    In May, an email from Rev. Susannah Currie alerted me to the fact that all of the furnishings from Blairhaven would be available and that the Massachusetts Association and New Church Union wanted    sister camps to be first on the list to take whatever they could use. As registrar for Fryeburg New Church Assembly I knew that the camp could certainly use some new-to-us beds. On the weekend of June 11th and 12th, we arranged volunteers, rented a truck and took one last trip to Blairhaven. It was bittersweet, to say the least. It was wonderful to be there again, even in the pouring rain, as it was when I arrived. We spent that Saturday afternoon going through house, and packed a U-Haul truck with furniture for Fryeburg. It felt good to know that Fryeburg would be benefitting by the sale of Blairhaven but at the same time I fought back many tears and occasionally gave in and had a good cry. A small group of people, including Ken and Laurie Turley, Gladys Wheaton, Herb Ziegler, Beki (Phinney) Greenwood, and Denyse Daurat enjoyed a delicious dinner together that evening. We shared some memories of Blairhaven and some were surprised to learn of other’s connections to the place that has meant so much to so many people. On Sunday morning about 40 people turned out on a rainy morning for the final service at Blairhaven. More memories and remembrances were shared, as well as a tear or two shed.
    I was lucky to have one more visit to Blairhaven on July 4th. Trevor and I were in the area and were able to spend the night and watch the fireworks across the bay from the (now enclosed) porch. The next day we packed up our truck with more items for Fryeburg and said our final goodbye to Blairhaven.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Networking Works!

I got a job by networking. Yes, it's true. I got a job by NETWORKING. I start training at my new job next week. I will be part of the team of Reference Librarians at Springfield Technical Community College (STCC).

Exactly how did this happen? Back in late April I attended a one-day workshop at Mount Holyoke College. The presenter was fantastic and one of those amazing librarians that you suspect doesn't sleep much. During our lunch break I was chatting with a couple of GSLIS students and one of them introduced me to the dean of library services at STCC. We chatted about science librarianship and she told me that they were hoping to have an opening in the fall and they would like to have someone on their staff with a science background.  I told her that I have a BS in Geology and would be very interested in working at STCC and gave her my card. She told me to be patient because STCC is state-funded and it would take a while.

Over the summer I continued my job search and wrote a few impassioned cover letters but kept checking the STCC website hoping to see a posting. A couple of weeks ago she called me to tell me that they would be having a couple of openings in the fall and would I be interested. We had several emails back and forth over the course of the next week. She encouraged me to consider the part-time evening position that would start in September. Last week I took a trip to STCC for a 2 hour "meet and greet" with the library staff. It wasn't a formal interview but it certainly felt like one. The next day I wrote to her to say that I would love to work there. The position was officially posted, I applied for it, and learned on Wednesday of this week that it's mine!

Another recent GSLIS grad had a similar "not an interview" experience recently. I'm beginning to suspect that in this tough job market that the folks who do the hiring are trying to avoid reading through hundreds of resumes and prefer instead to hire someone that they've met. Lucky for me I happened to be in the right place at the right time.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wrapping it all up

 Mount Shasta and Whitney Glacier in California, seen from the crater (Shastina). Photo by C.E. Watkins. Geological Exploration of the Fortieth Parallel. 

My time at Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science is coming to an end! Saturday May 7th is the last day of classes and I graduate on May 20th. It's been quite a journey for me and I won't go on and on at length about that right now. This semester I had an internship at the Science and Engineering Library at UMass/Amherst. I loved being there and would love to work there someday. If you want to know what I did there you can read about it in the GSLIS newsletter, Infolink.
In addition to my internship I took a class called Photographic Archives Management which was absolutely fabulous! I spent the semester working on a group project which turned into a website called Photography of the American West: 1850-1885. I really enjoyed working on the project and the class was really fun. I love photography and this project was a great opportunity to explore 19th century photographers and the "wild west" as Trevor has been calling it. I hope you enjoy exploring the website. I'm proud of it! I wish I could take credit for the design of the site but I can't. We were fortunate to have someone in our group who is very tech savvy and knows all the cool tools to use. I'll take credit for a good portion of the content and quite a few of the fabulous resources we found.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Repair this Book!

Seriously, send this book to be repaired. This book is from an academic library in the Happy Valley. Yes, that is a little sticker in the upper right corner that says, "Loose pages. Be careful. Please rewrap in rubberband after use." Yes, that is a produce rubber band. You know, the kind that comes with your asparagus from Peru in mid-winter. It says, "PRODUCE OF PERU". People, please, repair this book!