Dan Messer, aka the Cyberpunk Librarian, did a podcast recently called the "The Technogeneralist" http://cyberpunklibrarian.com/podcast/episode-18-the-technogeneralist/. In it he talks about "why it’s important to specialize in generalization". I have a Windows 7 computer, a Windows 8 mini laptop to teach with, a mac mini, a chromebook, a Raspberry Pi, a Samsung tablet and smartphone, an iPad and iPod touch, a Kindle Fire, a Nook HD and a digital camera. I also have different Linux boxes installed on VirtualBox on my Windows 7 computer. I also keep up with what is new and changing in all 3 operating systems. I also have a flashdrive with helpful portable apps. Why? Well, for one thing, I love technology and use these things personally quite a bit. But also, I need to do so for work. I use the computer a lot for answering reference questions and doing my work. I’m the one that teaches our computer/gadget classes. I also am the one that people come to if they have a question about the computers or their gadget. Our patrons want help with a wide range of gadgets and computers. So I have to keep up with the latest technology and software through social media, newspaper and magazine articles, etc. I also need to know how they work, how to use them, and how to troubleshoot if something goes wrong. So it helps to at least get my hands on the new devices or own one. Knowing a little about everything helps in other aspects of my job as well. I need to be able to answer all sorts of questions from legal, to medical, to job searching, to homework, to current events, to knowing about the best sellers and favorites in adult, teen, and kids fiction, non-fiction, music, and movies (and be able to make recommendations to patrons). I keep up with all of the things that we offer online as well as other libraries in the area. I also try to keep up with what other area libraries are doing to answer questions about that as well. I’ve been to Phoenix’s Mach 1 to see their cool STEM toys. I’ve been to Mesa’s ThinkSpot to see their set up and also see a 3d printer and Google Glass in action. I also will search Worldcat to find a book for a patron if we don’t have what they are looking for. I also have to be able to answer Circulation questions as well. I also can answer questions about the area around the library too (like where the closest bank or grocery store is) as well as what other programs other departments are doing or refer them to another department in the City if they need it. I also try to keep up with current events.

I am also what Knightwise calls a Slider. I can go from Windows to Mac to an Apple Device to an Android device pretty easily. And I can use the different types of apps on those computers and devices pretty easily as well. If there is something technological or otherwise I don’t know or someone I am helping wants to know I will try Googling it.

From Lifehacker’s Series.

What is your current gig? Is this what you chose to be doing at this point in your life? Why or why not?

Librarian. Yes. it’s what I wanted to be since the 7th grade when I became a student worker in the school library. I volunteered in our public library before Sophomore year in High School. Then I became a page in a library my Sophomore year in High School. As a kid I was always in the library or the pool in the summers.

How long have you been in the field?

I have been a librarian since 1994.

Current mobile device:

Samsung Galaxy 4s mini, Samsung Galaxy 10, iPad 3, iPod Touch, Nook hd tablet, Kindle Fire.

Current computer:

Dell at home and work

One word that best describes how you work:


What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

I use our ILS, Google Chrome, and Microsoft Office a lot at work. I use Firefox, spotify, itunes, and metapad a lot at home. I also work a lot with ebooks at work so I use different software to show patrons how to download ebooks from Overdrive. I also use Ninite to update computers.

What’s your workspace like?

At work, your typical cube. At home, a pre-made computer desk with my computer, monitor, software, nas, speakers, chotchkies, and a fish tank. My printer, a Mac Mini, and a Chromebox are on a stand next to it.

How do you organize your days?

I usually have to work the reference desk several times a day. I’ll also have either a computer class or some other kinds of program to present. I might have a meeting sometime in there as well. I also will order books.

What do you spend most of your time doing?

I spend it working the reference desk, teaching classes or presenting programs, working on collection development, going through my to-do lists.

What is a typical day like for you?

I usually don’t have a typical day. We have a desk schedule to follow so I keep my eye on that. I also as I mentioned have classes or programs depending on what I have scheduled. Most of the time I do start the day by reading my email. I might need to also turn on the reference desk computers and print off desk passes. I do also take time to go through the social media and news sites I like to keep up with. Then it depends on my schedule and my to-do list. I also will order books.

What’s your best time-saving trick?

Make to-do lists. They can help me with pre-planning.

What’s your favorite to-do list manager?

I use paper and pencil a lot. I also use Evernote and Pocket quite a bit as well.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?

My ebook readers for books, magazine articles, and comics.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?

Working with computers (at work anyway).

What are you currently reading?

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

What do you listen to while you work?

At work nothing usually since I work with a lot of people around. At home one of my lists on Spotify.

Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?

Both. If I am meeting someone for the first time I am an introvert. But once I get to know someone I am an extrovert.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

None really but the best quote I have heard is from a former director of mine “They don’t teach you that in Library School”. I say that quite a lot a work.

What’s in your bag?

For work I have my organizer, some of my business cards, a cheap pair of headphones, flashdrives, batteries, an ebook reader, Moleskein notebook, and an umberella (been caught with out one too many times not to carry one with me). I have all of this in a Eastpack messenger bag. I usually bring lunch with me in my lunch bag. Then if I’m teaching a computer class that day I’ll have another bag with either my mini laptop computer or my iPad and Samsung tablet plus an hdmi cord and adapters. I carry my cell phone in my purse with me at all times.

What have you found yourself doing at work that you never expected?

Teaching computer classes and posting to social media. I’ve always loved computers since I was a kid but I never imagined teaching people/staff how to use them.

If time/talent/money were no object, what would your dream occupation be?

Something with computers.