Thursday, July 19, 2012

Today is the day! I'm going to Catholic University of America to talk with Shanyun Zhang, their Electronic Resources Librarian. At first I wasn't sure if asking a private university to use their tech resources as a source for this assignment was a good idea, but upon talking with some of their alums and asking what they thought, I was encouraged to give it a try.

CUA has always been very inviting and informative to me when I would call blindly "Who do I talk to about X?", and this was no exception. The woman I spoke to at the front desk when I called ("I'maprospectivestudentandIhaveanassignmentabouttechresourcesformycurrentlibraryclass. *Breath* MayIpleasespeaktothelibrarianinchargeofyourelectronicresources?") gave me the name and number of the librarian but advised me that e-mail might be better. As I personally prefer e-mail as a method of communication over the phone, I was rather relieved. I sent her an e-mail with a request to interview her about their library's technological resources and a brief description of my assignment. Attached were some question guidelines so she wouldn't be taken off guard by me asking about things like budgeting and the inner processes of the library. She was brief and quick to respond, and within the next few hours an appointment for Thursday (today!) was made.

I've given some thought as to how to actually do the interview, and I've decided that I want to record us talking, leaving my mind free to ask more questions rather than be worried about taking everything down in my notebook. I've also decided against using my iPhone at all. Using a communications device seems somehow rude to me - what if it buzzes while I'm recording? The camera isn't as nice as my point-n-shoot Lumix, and... well it just seems unprofessional to use an iPhone. My dear mother has been kind enough to lend me her Olympus voice recorder (LS-10, for any lovely Olympus nerds out there). Not going to lie, the first thought that went through my head was, "Whoooa. I think mom just bought this for its Steampunk appeal." After I played around with it, I can see why my mother bought it, though. She has good taste (and high standards) for her techie gadgets, and this recorder is nice. It records in WMA, MP3, and WAV, and has a nice little lapel mic included. I loaded it up with two new AA batteries and it is safely tucked into my bag.

My thoughts going into this today are more or less my usual shakiness. What if I forget an important question? What if I lose focus and start tangenting? What if the library itself decides that I am not worthy of learning its beauty and opens up a Hellmouth to suck me into its depth and I am never seen again? Okay maybe a bit overdone there, but my extreme introversion likes to remind me that it exists sometimes. To remind myself of how unfounded my fears are, I just think how friendly everyone at CUA has been so far. I spoke with Kavita Freeman a month or two ago about their grad program and she was beyond kind and informative to me in answering my questions and being helpful. The few alumni I've spoken to (some have been those awkward e-mail introductions via mutual friends) have been fun and passionate about the work they do, and they talk about their time CUA with such warmth!  I must also remind myself that while this library has been effected by earthquakes in the last year, it is not in Sunnydale.
"Well, um... I enjoy cross-referencing."

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