Monday, June 27, 2011

Week 6: June 21 and 23

This week tested my cataloging abilities. ALA was approaching and the library (and Shelia's office) had to look good, so the week was a mixture of making sure the library was in ship shape and straightening up the office. Most of the books in Shelia's office (which make up the bulk of the office) need to be cataloged, so I loaded them up on the cart and started working. Shelia left me to my devices, and I was able to catalog by myself...which is kind of scary. I keep thinking that I am going to lose the books forever in the library; no one will be able to access them and the information will be lost forever. Every librarian's nightmare. However, the library did not implode on my cataloging abilities. I actually did pretty well. I am still rusty on classifying books. Ok, I'm not good at all at classifying books, but as with the other aspects of cataloging that comes with time and with thousands of books under my belt. Thank goodness for other art libraries that have some of the books that I was cataloging, because that helped out a lot with copying some of the information. Subject headings still need to be added from time to time, but most of the hard stuff was easy to come by and gave me a good start to finish cataloging the books.  I managed to do a whopping 8-10 books. Cataloging is really time consuming.

As for ALA, Shelia had an open house at the library and after the open house there was a talk about Artist Books to go along with the exhibition that Shelia help put together called "Bookmarks, Artist's response to text". I couldn't make it to the open house, but made it to the talk and was so glad I did. It was done by a married couple that are dealers of these unique items at their website Vamp and Tramp. I love the name! But, they talked about these books and how they came about to be in the business. They then showed and passed around these fantastic, creative, wonderful pieces of art that were also wonderful stories. This one was one of my favorites that I saw. It is called The Phoenix by Linda Samson-Talleur:
On one side it has the legend of the Phoenix in Anglo-Saxon and an English translation on the other side. It is awesome in its color and its creativeness.

The talk was so informative and fantastic, they really knew their stuff. I never knew things like that existed, and even after looking at the exhibit last week, I still had no real idea what these items were until I saw them in action. Part of the art is how to open the book or decipher the way to read it. It truly is an under appreciated field.

The free time I had between making sure the library was straight and cataloging I spent writing up some of the information I have gathered for the project about libraries and community involvement. I have a few pages written out of thoughts and questions that I have come up with and I thought that would be the best way to start the writing process. See what I have and what I understand and then tackle what I don't have and what I don't understand and make an outline, because those will probably go hand in hand.

As for the other project with MLA and interns, we have another recruit thanks to an article that Dr. Welsh posted on her facebook page. I saw this article and thought it was pertinent to what we were doing so I showed it to the group. Shelia then contacted Peter and asked if he would be interested in helping us out, and he will! Yay for networking and staying in touch! So far doing the paper is proving what we want to prove with internships. If interns stick together and network only good things can happen!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Week 5: June 15th and June 16th

This week was jammed packed with great information and great fun. On Wednesday the day started with the book club discussion of The Rescue Artist.
The group ended up being bigger than Shelia planned. She was expecting around 12 people, and almost 20 showed up. It was a lively, and at times difficult, discussion. When you have that many people in the room trying to discuss something, it gets a little off track and loud. The discussion was good though and a lot of the ladies in the club shared their experience actually witnessing the Scream by Munch first hand. It brings a lot to the discussion when you can relate to the story in a personal way. Another interesting thing that came up in the book discussion was a book that the group did a couple of months ago, The Girl with the Gallery. Earlier that morning while we were setting up another intern that was going through some books came across some correspondence between the then director of the museum and the subject of the Girl with the Gallery, Edith Halpert. The correspondence was guessed to have been done in the late 1950's. It was really interesting to see the book come to life in such a local way.

After the book discussion Shelia and I had to set up for intern orientation of the library. I actually helped with this by giving the other interns from the other departments of the museum a tour of the reference material that is available in the library. I had to step out of my library world and remember that not everyone has lived in a library like I have and I have to be sure to explain terminology like "call numbers" and "Dewey Decimal" and even "reference". Some of the interns hadn't been in a library since grammar school, so it was really like a completely new thing for them. I really hope to see them in the library this semester.

On Thursday Shelia and two other interns from the library took a field trip to my end of the Gulf Coast and we visited the Hancock County Historical Society for a lunch talk by the Chancery Clerk. The historical society is such a wealth of information that I think is overlooked most of the time. They are very knowledgeable and more than willing to help anyone doing research on the city, county or family.

I'll share an anecdote that the president of the society told us. He was approached by an elderly man one day wanting to know more about his father. All he knew was that his father was killed in a road accident and his mother moved away from the Hancock County area when he was still a baby. He just wanted to know more about his father's side of the family. Well, the president of the society started looking around and found out that the man's father did die in the road, but it was no accident, he had been shot 6 times by the sheriff for causing quite a disturbance (shooting up the town and such). The president of the historical society didn't have the heart to tell the old man that his father was shot, but he did give him the family information that he needed. He figured if his mother had lied to him over 80 years ago, it was best to let it be. He did say that if the man's children came looking for information, he would pass on the truth.

Rich things like this can be found at the local historical society. Who needs fiction when the truth is more entertaining. We always tend to over look the treasures right in our own back yard.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Week 4: June 7th and 9th

This week I learned about a really cool program that the NOMA library takes part in...the Publications Exchange Program. This program is in conjunction with other museums and their libraries and exchanges exhibition and collection catalogs with the museums and libraries that are interested. This week I sent out the (very large and heavy) catalog Ancestors of Congo Square: African Art in the New Orleans Museum of Art.


It is a very beautiful book with information about the current African Art exhibition on the first floor of the museum. Very interesting to walk through. We sent the books to 18 different museums and libraries that are interested in African Art. Very cool program.

Also this week there was a program in the library in conjunction with the book club that is meeting next week. The book we are reading is The Rescue Artist and in line with the book we had the head of NOMA security talk to the group about how to protect your art. Shelia and I commented after the program that we must have sounded like a ring of art thieves with all the questions we were asking. They may be watching us now. :) Wouldn't that be an interesting plot for a book.

This week Shelia and I also looked over the research I have been doing with my project. There is good news and bad news with that. The good news is that not a lot has been written on art museums and the role they have within the community and the larger construct of the museum. The bad news is, there is not a lot that has been written on art museums and the role they have within the community and the larger construct of the museum. So we are shifting focus to a more general look at special libraries and how they are involved in the community.

Next week will be fun, some time away from the museum in my neck of the woods in Hancock county with the historical society and showing Shelia and the other interns the library where I work (where there just so happens to be a Smithsonian exhibit on roots music this summer). I am definitely looking forward to sharing what the MS Coast is doing.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Week 3: May 31st and June 2nd

May 31st
This week was the week of paperwork. It is a necessary evil in the world of librarianship, this Shelia and I can agree on. We would much rather be cataloging or doing research. I had to call and get some price checks on some supplies that are needed. One of the things I was looking into was hanging files for the artist file collection. In the back room of the library (where all the cool stuff happens) there is an extensive system of artist files. These are artist that might be of interest to the museum staff or researchers and the information wouldn't be found in one of the books in the library. It's actaully really cool and I plan on getting back there sometime and really look through them. Then it was on to checking titles to see if the library needed to get them or not, and then the highlight of the day (and I mean that sarcastically) a SELA Executive Board meeting that Shelia had to call into and she had me sit in on. To say the least, it was awful. Shelia and I sat down after the meeting and she asked me what exactly was wrong with that meeting? Here's my list:
-The minutes for the meeting were e-mailed out an hour before the meeting started.
-Anything that needs to be discussed, information needs to be given.
-Reports that are scheduled to be given need to be ready to give.
-Preparation is the key.

The meeting was ill planned, ill thought out and never on topic.
One word: Frustrating.

After lunch I finished up some paperwork (P.O.'s) and unloaded some boxes that were delivered and had time to walk through the galleries again. One painting I keep thinking about and going back to is one by Dorothea Tanning and it is called Guardian Angels. I found an image of it here:

Are those birds? Is that blood? Why are there beds? Are people being eaten? Ugh! I don't know, but I can't stop looking at it!

June 2nd
Today was a day of finding out mysteries. There were some cataloging cards that had little information on them, and I was to try and track down the book so the record could be completed. The book was not found, but a second cataloging card with all the correct information on it was found. Yay! Shelia pointed out that this is one of the many reasons the library needs to be automated. Cards get misplaced, duplicated are printed...it becomes a huge mess.

I also did some more cataloging. After 2 hours I had done...2 books. This also fits in with the mystery of earlier, because we had a book that we could find no real information on in other catalogs so copy cataloging was out of the question. It was a book on Louise Bourgeois, but not on her sculptures, but rather some etchings and mixed media items. It was very interesting to go through and figure out where it needed to go, because it was different than the other books in the collection.