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Posts Tagged ‘Stony Brook Libraries’

Dear friends, I know that several words come to mind when you hear Walk-O-Rama and when you recall the many adventures chronicled on this site. Heroic, fearless, fun-loving. All true. Lazy is another. There, I said it. Adventures were often thwarted by heat, cold, humidity, precipitation, and the promise of delicious food. Even now, I sit here writing to you not of a walk in the physical sense, because that sounds exhausting, but of a mental stroll just taken down memory lane where I recalled my many great years with the wonderful staff at Stony Brook University Libraries.

I began after earning my Master’s degree in 2005 and was happy to have my first full-time job. My search committee assured me that I was not hired because I currently worked selling chocolate in a retail store and could potentially double as their supplier – or perhaps they indicated that that was the sole reason, I forget. To be on the safe side, I brought in a generous assortment when I started to try and win favor with my new friends.

chocolate

Definitely hired for the chocolate.

My first weeks were a little rough. I recall catching a student employee error in the Stacks, which angered her and caused her to leave. I felt guilty and thought for sure the other workers in Circulation would all hate me. Fortunately, I was quickly adopted by The Library Club, a group started and led by the very talented and creative Victor Santiago. This club really helped me develop as a person and a professional in so many ways, and it is my hope that I helped others do the same as one of the advisors. We did our best to share our love of libraries and information literacy by creating tutorials, educational events, blogs, web reviews, etc. and began a fundraising effort to send books to Africa. We took library students on field trips, including two ventures to Salem, MA where we held some pretty exciting scavenger hunts. They were good times.

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LC road trip to Salem

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Human Resources nightmare: losing a student employee on a field trip to find seals. It’s ok, we left an arrow so they could find us

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LC takes on NYPL

salem

LC takes on SPL

 

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Packing some books for Africa!

When I think of my time in Circulation, I remember the wonderful, wonderful people, and the terrific Halloween parties! I don’t mean to group these two together because they are equivalents – the people were definitely better –  but both are such vivid symbols in my mind of my days in the Main Stacks. It was great having a close-knit family environment to help me as I eased into my profession.  I don’t recall all of what I did those first few years, but all timesheets and paperwork seem to indicate that I was in fact present and actively doing something or other.

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This Bigfoot quality photo is a rare shot of me doing something very important in my work environment

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Arrrrrrren’t you feeling sentimental about these days? I know I am!

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Long hours spent on our epic haunted maze! I can still hear the screams of horror. It was perfect.

Gradually I began to learn more and take on additional responsibilities. I became a volunteer member of the virtual chat team and a selector for the Cinema Studies Department. I made Reader’s Advisory signs to try and get people to read our dusty books. I worked closely with our students, checking their accuracy, creating assignments, and introducing them to some pretty high-brow American experiences during our free time. When I felt I could do no more, I moved to a new role in the Central Reading Room.

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Teaching students how to do proper American things

During these next years, I worked more actively with the public and saw ways that I could create events to simultaneously entertain and educate our patrons. I created a few scavenger hunt with the help of some awesome colleagues, worked with the incredibly talented Arielle Hessler (and others) to create some library-themed board games that I think someone once played, and introduced other activities such as button making, Pi-Day, Banned Book Month contests, e-games, and more.

 

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Rebel volunteers who made Spy Hunt happen!

It is also during this time that I became active in Walk-O-Rama, thanks to Richie Feinberg (who began the group) and Celeste Hessler, who asked me to continue the activity after his retirement. These walks, as you may or may not have read in past entries, helped us all regain a small sense of childlike wonder as we left the comforts of our desks and began to bravely explore the campus grounds each week, searching for humor and meaning in all we saw. We found the remnants of an ancient feline civilization, tried our best (unsuccessfully) to make sense of the hospital floor plan, learned Ken is secretly an all-star baseball player, photobombed the President, and even buried our own time capsule somewhere we’ve long forgotten. And we ate. Mostly we ate. But it’s all good, because walking, talking, and breaking bread together is what creates bonds and keeps people happy as a team! I will always have a special place in my heart for Team Walk-O-Rama!

 

It was only fitting that WOR founder, Richie, should walk the time capsule to it's burial spot, wherever the heck that is

It was only fitting that WOR founder, Richie, should transport the time capsule to its burial spot, wherever the heck that is

Ken assures me this card will be worth big bucks someday

Ken assures me this card will be worth big bucks someday

President Stanley out with Walk-O-Rama

President Stanley happy to be out with Walk-O-Rama one day

I did other things I never dreamed I would do as a professional, or in any other capacity for that matter. I helped make several boats out of carboard and duct tape for the annual Roth Regatta and helped row two. To our surprise, none of them sank, and we even earned a trophy for coming in second place in the Speedster division during our first attempt. Go us! Staff all came out and cheered us on, and for days following I received small gifts and cards like a real hero who had done something wonderful. As someone who does not usually do things, I can tell you that it meant a lot in my little world to feel this way.

 

 

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Mentally preparing ourselves to sink upon contact with water

I have learned so much in my time here, both about myself and about my profession, and I have had the pleasure of meeting so many kind, creative, talented people who have made such a difference in my life, whether they realize it or not. Walk-O-Rama may be ended in some sense, but the energy that started it still remains. I hope you all will not forget to devote parts of your day, or even just your week to doing something that is brave –  even if only brave for you at your level, something silly, something adventurous, but mostly something fun. And take a friend – or several friends. Or drag someone you don’t particularly care for and force them to be your friend, because being adventurous together is awesome, and I have enjoyed my awesome adventure with you.

 

 

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A picture has no caption.

 

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Having learned that former dedicated Walk-O-Rama member Donna had been relocated to the secluded, often thought to be imaginary library branch known to us as MASIC (Mythical Area Serving Imaginary Customers), we determined that we should set off on an adventure to visit her. And that’s just what we did.  Many in our party had never been there before, so we thought this would make for a great working lunch. Regrettably, Ken (AKA the guy who knows where everything is) could not join us today, so the rest of us pieced together all of our fragmented memories and suspicions about where we thought we recalled seeing the trail that would take us there. Today’s walk included a guest observer, so we all felt added pressure to show off our professionalism on this very serious, totally physical fitness related walk. As we shuffled along to find the entrance to this “short cut” through the Ashley Schiff Preserve, we saw signs of spring reminding us to chill out and to stop and smell the…whatever these were.

Everyone knows to stop and smell the roses.  We were not sure what to do to these and so we just stared awkwardly

Everyone knows to stop and smell the roses, but what of these little guys? Unsure, we just stopped and stared awkwardly

After some difficulty, we disregarded this suggestion and went back to walking using both legs

After some difficulty, we decided to disregard this suggestion and went back to walking using both legs

Ann, one of the newest members of the group who had never been on the trail in which we would take, properly pointed out its location before anyone else had seen it.  We considered this to be WOR beginner’s luck.  Surely she too will slowly lose all sense of focus and direction as her time with the state progresses. We have determined that this condition, of which we all suffer, is properly called Stateemployeeitus. We will leave it to Ann, the Head of our Health Science Library, to verify the accuracy of this definitely not made up medical diagnosis.

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Like us!

Team WOR staggers through the woods without Ken or Maria to guide them

Team WOR staggers through the woods without Ken or Maria to guide them

The path was long and winding, with at least one hill that had to be inconveniently scaled in an upward direction.  If WOR members approach a hill in the woods and no one is there to hear them swear, do they still do it?  YES!

At long last we were nearing the end of the great woods and the threat of a TOUS (ticks of unusual size) attack was quickly fading into the distance.  We had survived. We had reached South Campus!  This revealed challenges of its own, symbolically represented by the lack of the name of the building we sought on the signs – Challenger! We wandered through at least one building that seemed to have all the defining features of the one that houses the library – an overabundance of fridges and freezers lining the halls.  After spotting a Wildling frolicking through the halls (Wildling being the name I have just designated to those who study beyond Main Campus in the south), we decided to cautiously approach her for directions.  She kindly directed us to the building to the right.  Tricky Wildings should not be trusted – that turned out to be the Police Station.

This is nothing - you should see the TOUSs!

This is nothing – you should see the TOUSs!

Typical Wildling attire

Typical Wildling attire

Those less experienced than we might have abandoned the mission and gone back to the office, but we are experts and began to survey our surroundings to find this challenging Challenger building.  To the left we saw the last possible building that could house the library, and as luck would have it, it was there! We walked in and saw our friend Donna smiling happily, likely because she had not had to look at our faces for several days since her move.

The MASIC gate count rose exponentially on the day of our visit. Statisticians will be studying the reason for the spike in activity for years.

The MASIC gate count rose exponentially on the day of our visit. Statisticians will be studying the reason for the spike in activity for years to come.

Like fashion trends, technology seems to cycle around and repeat itself.  MASIC is the Paris of our campus, apparently, with all the old styles coming back in vogue.  The typewriter is all the rage this spring, as is the HP 5m printer. We all hope to get ours before the season is out.

Electronic typewriters are all the rage, I hear.

Electronic typewriters are all the rage, I hear.

And everyone who's anyone has this status symbol in their office.

And everyone who’s anyone has this status symbol in their office.

I just really liked this lunch box

I just really liked this lunch box in a building full of refrigerators

Peggy revealed that she was actually still working by delivering mail to Donna in her interoffice mail tray.  I hope she puts that in her Annual Addendum!

Three cheers for mail calls!

Three cheers for delicious mail calls!

...and beautiful roses from Raquel!

…and beautiful roses from Raquel!

We took a quick tour of the branch before rushing back to work, to thoroughly dispel the myth that this was not an actual library branch.  Not only was it real, it was beautiful, which made us all envy Donna’s good fortune!

Soon to become the most overcrowded place on campus, thanks to our publicity.  You're welcome, Donna ;)

Soon to become the most overcrowded place on campus, thanks to our publicity. You’re welcome, Donna 😉

Don't take our blocks! They serve very important functions, clearly

Don’t take our state issued blocks! They serve very important functions, clearly

On the way back, we had difficulty finding our way back into the woods, so Kristen decided to forge ahead and create a trail of her own.  This was quite possibly the worst idea of the day, which made everyone miss Ken even more.

Everyone hates when Kristen leads

Everyone hates when Kristen leads

But eventually it worked out.  The trail was found and successfully followed, and we all made it out alive, except for Celeste and her friend who have not been heard from since.  If anyone finds her, please tell her to report back to work immediately.

Darn it - we left Celeste! Our bad.

Darn it – we left Celeste! Our bad.

Join us next time as we show more new people new places. Hopefully Ken will be there to make sure things are found properly.

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Today’s outing will not be believed by many, but it cannot be helped, we are just that amazing and our lives so full of wondrous adventures.  Weary of our usual weekly destinations, we decided to head on over to new territory, a quaint little restaurant known as ________, to partake in our favorite type of walking, Eat-O-Rama.   That’s right, I will not share its name, as every other location we advertise soon becomes an instant sensation and we are no longer able to eat there in peace.  So we will keep you guessing.  Fun was had by all, including the waiter who considered it an honor to serve us.  He was so grateful, in fact, that he did not accept payment and tipped us instead.  We were quite pleased with this outcome and will expect such service everywhere we dine at in the future.  I can’t recall exactly what he looked like to provide any sort of recommendation, but if I had to pick him out of a lineup I’m pretty sure I remember him looking like this:

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Best, most adorable waiter ever! Thanks restaurant we will not name!

Discourse took an unfamiliar turn for the weird as we all began reminiscing about our deepest, darkest childhood memories, apart from John who is still willfully living in his.  Please treat him delicately and do not inflict any harsh punishments on him for inappropriate behavior, it might negatively impact him when he someday reaches adulthood.
Upon leaving the restaurant we realized that a trench had been dug around the perimeter, which we could not recall seeing on our way in, and which hindered our ability to make good time getting back.  We sincerely hope this was not the beginnings of a mote to keep suspicious characters like us away.  We decided that that was impossible for too many reasons to list, and disregarded its existence entirely.
But the most memorable moments were yet to come.  Having had too much deliciousness for our bodies to immediately deal with, we were at a loss of what the quickest route back to the library was.  A moment was spent at a complete stop as we all stared around in utter confusion.  Celeste, who is usually the most limited in the field of directional expertise, seized this moment to shine as the savior of our return journey as she pieced together fragmented memories of previous return trips on our excursions.  We were all very proud and thankful for her memory.  
As we reentered the library we spotted Gisele, which instantly sent chills up and down our spines, as we remembered Grant’s spectacular walking abilities and wondered if he would seize this opportunity to put the group to shame again, we being exhausted and stuffed well beyond comfortable capacity.  He remained hidden, however, probably planning future ways in which to make us look old and decrepit. 

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Next time, next time

Join us next time, if you dare face this threat.  Don’t be intimidated, he is only a child.

 

 

 

 

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