Monday, August 25, 2014

The transition to Mrs. Splain

Hello everyone!

It has certainly been a few months since I last updated this blog.  Two and a half weeks ago, I became Mrs. Christopher Splain. 

With the new marital status comes a new name, so I have applied for a new SS card with my new legal name, Rebecca Vogler Splain.  I have also bought a new domain name,  I'm excited to get to be a .com, since my old name was already snapped up, hence why this is 

Anyways, I think I have this domain for a few more months, so I will keep it up, but I would like to go ahead and direct everyone to my new, much better, site.  See you around, folks!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Come Back Home to Mama, Little Library Books!

So, I have been doing almost nothing other than checking in books today, or so it seems.  It's Finals Week at work and all the students have been dumping their books in our various return bins.  It seems as soon as I'm finished emptying one bin, another is filled up with more books.  That may seem like a tedious repetitive job, but like Jesus who rejoiced when he found the one lost lamb, I'm super excited every time the computer screen tells me that a lost, billed, or "claims returned" book has just been checked in.  All my babies are coming home and will eventually be put back in its proper place and the OCD in me is super excited about it.

However, that's not all I've been working on.  The last few weeks have been hectic with interviewing new students to replace graduating students, getting their new hire paperwork done now so they'll be ready to start training at the beginning of the Fall semester, and trying to figure out just how much money I do have left to spend on student assistants for the Summer semester.  Thankfully, we are actually looking pretty good until the new fiscal year begins July 1st.  Now my boss and I are just crossing our fingers and praying that we get the same budget for the coming fiscal year.  No promises from above yet.

Here's the list of work projects I will be tackling this summer:

1. Clean our hold shelves, DVD shelves, Audiobook shelves, and Class Reserve shelves.  They're super dusty right now.

2.  Work on a Fall schedule

3.  Apparently help with a streaming project for class reserve DVDs.  I have no idea what I will be doing, but it looks like I'll be doing something new.

4.  Create a bunch of PowToon training videos for various aspects of our library software

5.  Work on a new LibGuide (SO excited to do that).

6.  Help with LOTS of shelving

Personally, my main focus is getting packed to move in with my soon-to-be husband once we get married in August.  I still have no clue when I'm getting married because the courthouse won't let me know when they'll be doing weddings in August, so right now the date is TBA.  I have a dress, but I need to get it cleaned.  We need to figure out where we will be holding out post-wedding BBQ and what we will be cooking, (actually, what HE will be cooking).  I'm just going to buy a bunch of sides from Bandana's BBQ.  I'm NOT cooking on my wedding day! :-)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Here Comes the Storm

So, St. Louis is about to get pounded by some pretty bad storms.  They've already been reporting some nice sized hail about 30 miles northwest of here and I suspect we're going to get the same any moment now.  I went to work extremely early today just so I could make sure that I wouldn't be caught out in it, and I'm glad I did.  The rain just started pouring down.

In other news, plans on my wedding are stalled a bit while I wait for a co-worker of my fiance, who is also an ordained minister, to get back to me.  It's actually been over a week since he got my name and e-mail address from my fiance and sent out an initial e-mail.  I responded back asking him some basic questions about how he conducts weddings, and have yet to get a response from him.  It's frustrating and making me think it may be better just to get married at a courthouse.  The problem is that the courthouse where we would like to be married only perform weddings once a month and I won't know until June when they will be doing August weddings.  It leaves little time to really plan, not that I was going to have a big wedding anyways.

Otherwise, work is the same.  I'm working on creating more of those animated training videos for the students, and they've been going over pretty well.  My boss and I are also in the process of creating a survey for students to see about setting up a location nearer to the dorms where students can pick up books they have requested.  We're going to see which days and which times of day (in 3 hour blocks) are the most popular, and whether this service will be worth doing or not.  Assessment is always fun!  We even have a couple of our own student assistants who are helping with the effort.  Another work experience I can put on the old resume!

Last, but not least, Saturday at Wizard Con is coming up and I'm still very excited to see this guy!

Matt Smith as the Doctor

But mostly just excited to see this guy

My fiance!  Doesn't he look a bit like Capt. Jack Sparrow?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A little bit of bling means a whole lot of changes

Hi everyone!

So, looks like it's been a bit since I updated this.  Time to let you all know what's going on.  First off, here's just a little pic of a little old something I got about 2 weeks ago.

Pay no mind to my silly face on the left side of the picture.  The ring is what's important here.  That's right, I'm engaged to be married.  We're looking at August, but a final date hasn't been set yet.  We're still trying to figure out where we're getting married and who's marrying us.  However, I bought a David's Bridal dress for real cheap off Craigslist, got the shoes, got the veil, and got a great guy.  So, pretty much everything is set!  Scary to be getting married at the age of 35, but I finally got the right guy, so all will be well.

Also, in other news, since I am turning 35 in less than a week, my eyes decided that they had enough of me always reading, always on the computer working, and decided to let my head know about it.  So, after a month or so of really stinky headaches, I got a pair of glasses.  They are miracle workers!  I don't have headaches anymore and they're super cute.  Here's me on the day I got engaged:

That's me under the knee of a really huge statue near where I live.  This is what the whole thing looks like.

Lastly, my fiance got tickets to the St. Louis Wizard Con for next weekend and guess who's going to be there?  Matt Smith!!!  And Karen Gillan!!  Otherwise known as the 11th Doctor and Amy Pond.  Oh, I'm too excited for words.  I'm definitely going to dress up as Donna Noble, which I did for Halloween a few years back.  The following day, we are going hiking.  Best birthday weekend ever!

Otherwise, all is well at work and at home.  I'm plowing through "The Tudors" on Netflix and am obsessing a bit on the reigns of the Tudors now.  History has always really interested me.  I'll write again soon when I have more wedding news to announce. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Home in St. Louis in 2014

Hi everyone!  So, apparently I am a horrible person for letting this blog languish so long.  I've just had the craziest, weirdest, but not necessarily bad year.  So, I spent six months on a ship.  Who does that anyways?  I saw tons of awesome things, spent many hours missing my boyfriend, and helped countless of old people figure out Facebook and how to download books onto their brand new Kindle Fire.

However, six months was enough for me.  I made $50 a day working on a ship and sharing the tiniest cabin with another employee.  That was enough for me.  I was offered a second contract that would have started in November, but I ended up getting a paraprofessional position with a nice private university here in St. Louis, so I said "sayonara" to the ship life and headed back to the good ole Show-Me State. If you want to know more about the ship life, head over to where I just posted a blog about it all.

That website is where I do some volunteer work on the side.  Since November, I have served as the Head Editor of Nevada for (I Need a Library which is a great place to not only find jobs in the information and library sciences all over the country and the world, but also has great blogs written by a team of awesome people.  They're always looking for more volunteers so hit them up at if you're interested in contributing.

In terms of my personal life, things are going great for my boyfriend and I.  We are about to celebrate 18 months together next week.  A few weeks ago, he gave me a ring that belonged to his grandmother.  It will act as a promise ring until he gets me a real deal engagement ring.  Until then, we're not quite considering ourselves engaged yet, but it seems to be coming soon. I've never been married and it's taken me a long time to find the right guy, but things are looking really good and we are both definitely matured enough to take that big plunge soon.

Anyways, more coming soon about cool things like Sherlock, social media, and (hopefully) the end of a ridiculously cold and snowy winter here in Missouri.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Cruise Ship Librarian: Day 1

Day 1:
After a lovely night’s sleep in what is probably the swankiest hotel I have ever been in, I walked a block down the outer road in San Diego to get an amazingly quick breakfast at the local Denny’s. I always appreciate a server who is on his toes and this guy handled an entire dining room on his own like a champ.  About 20 employees of my new company, some new and most returnees, piled into shuttle vans to go to the ship.  Of course, the ship was massive!  Once we arrived, we all stood around for 15 minutes before being brought into the Port Authority building and go through a security check much like the one at the airport.  From there, we entered the ship on Deck B (aka the 3rd deck) but the lowest one that can be reached by elevator.  

Unlike everyone else, my “buddy” did not arrive right away, so one of the HR people came to show me my cabin.  It’s ridiculously small.  In fact, I was told that it might have been a storage closet at one time, and except for the bathroom inside, I would believe it. My roommate had the bottom bunk already so I psyched myself up for learning how to climb a ladder up to my bunk and how to climb down.  I’m actually scared of heights, although you wouldn’t know it since I have been up some pretty high places.  Sugar Loaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro is one example.  Essentially, I have to psyche myself up for the challenge and then I can do it.  I won’t have to get too used to being up on the top bunk however, because my roommate will be leaving the ship in 2 weeks when we get to Florida.  The key is to wake up early that day and, as soon as she leaves, move my stuff down to the bottom bunk.  She’s taking up more drawers than her fair share, but that will change soon enough.

So, after a safety meeting, I was taken upstairs to my supervisor’s office by one of the entertainment staff.  I was only there for a couple of minutes before my buddy arrived.  Today was a crew inspection and immigration also boarded, presumably to make sure the staff is all well, not bringing anything into San Diego they shouldn’t, no stowaways, etc.  My ship just came back from a 28 day South Pacific cruise, so I suppose that sort of thing is necessary.  My buddy, as it turns out, is the current Librarian aboard the ship.  Her contract ends when we arrive in Florida.  Like me, she has her MLS degree, and so I’m really lucky to be trained by a real librarian for the first 2 weeks of my cruise.  When I told her I also had a degree, she hugged me.  Like I had figured, a lot of the librarians in our fleet have no degree and no real aspirations to be librarians.  However, she’s only been on this particular ship since January and she’ll be moving to a different ship after she leaves here.  That means she’s yet to get the library into the best shape it can be.  I hope to leave it in much better shape when my contract ends in September.

I still have some stuff I need to do on Day #2 including getting my nametag.  I have a badge/cabin key, but no nametag.  I also need to get my uniforms which were delivered, or so my supervisor said.  Finally, I need to get internet up and running ($40 for 460 minutes, which is much better than what passengers pay $55 for 100 minutes) and to be reimbursed by the purser for the meals I ate while in San Diego.  

There’s so much more I can say about what I did today.  It was extremely long and exhausting and all the back and forth between decks made my feet hurt horribly.  I don’t need to use the gym; I can get all the exercise I want simply by climbing all the stairs.  Tonight, I went with the other librarian to stand on the stage of the big Showroom and be introduced to all of the passengers who attended as the new librarian.  It looks like it’s a thing they do on every cruise, so I guess I’ll have to get used to being in the spotlight once in a while.  

I was in the library when the ship cast off and began to move.  I didn’t really feel it, however, until I went down to my room to get changed for dinner.  That’s when I got some major dizziness, but it passed eventually.  My stomach has held up pretty well with being at sea, kind of like I knew it would, but my head is a different matter.  Sometimes I lose my equilibrium, but I think that’s all part of gaining my sea legs.  In bed, I worried that the sway of the boat would cause me to fall out of the top bunk, but I was fine and I soon fell into a very deep sleep.

It is actually Day #2 now, about 6:20 in the morning and I am sitting in my library writing this and hoping I can get my internet going today so I can transmit this.  If nothing else, we will be in Puerto Vallarta on Monday, where there is supposedly a Wal-Mart within walking distance of the dock.  There are a million more things I could write about my first day, but it will have to wait.  I missed my boyfriend at least twice and hoped he was doing well.  I’ll write again soon. 

Sorry there's no pictures.  I haven't had the time but I promise to do so sometime next week.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Big Rush; Or, How Cruise Ship Libraries Differ From Your Average Run-of-the-Mill Library

Wow, the last couple of weeks have been busy!  As I sit now, I will be winging my way to San Diego exactly three weeks from today.  From there, I will get on a big ole' ship and start my first post-graduation job.  For six months, I will sail the high seas and provide books and information to an ever-changing group of people.

That's going to be the weird part.  Although I have been assured by different mentors that this job will help me obtain a professional librarian position elsewhere at some point, I am worried that there's a lot of differences between your average public library and a cruise ship library. 

First, I will not be serving a diverse population

Oh sure, I expect to see patrons from all sorts of countries and from various parts of the U.S., but the average age of those who cruise with Holland America tend to be older.  Furthermore, these are people who can AFFORD to sail on cruise ships, so I will not be serving the economically disadvantaged.  I doubt anyone on the ms Statendam is going to be particularly smelly or mentally unstable (although mental issues don't go away just because you've got money, there are plenty of crazy rich people out there I'm sure) or unemployed.  Retirees perhaps, but unemployed or underemployed, not so much.  People won't be asking me about how to apply for a job or file for government assistance.  At most, I might have to worry about having books in other languages for our international guests.

Second, I will not be actively looking to promote or market the library

Face it, I'm sure Holland America would like for their libraries to be used, but it's really just a service they provide and it's no sweat off their nose if passengers do not step foot in the library.  Holland America has their money regardless.  I'm sure I will be promoting the book clubs discussions that I will be leading on the longer cruises, but that's about it.  This is so unlike public libraries that are trying so hard to stay relevant and become an integral part of the community so they can continue to receive funding.

Finally, I will not establishing long-term relationships with my patrons
Cruises, by their very nature, are a revolving door.  The longest cruise on the itinerary of my ship will be 19 days.  Every 7, 14, or 19 days I will be seeing a new group of passengers as the old group disembarks.  Unlike a public library, there will be chance to really get to know my patrons' reading habits, no way to anticipate what they should read next, or just to get to know them as people.
However, there are some points that I think will really work in my favor.  Those include the ability to work long hours with no days off, running a library completely on my own, working with my employers to develop the book and resource collections, devising library programming including book club discussions, and teamwork with other members of the Entertainment Staff.  That's right folks!  I'm in the Entertainment division!!

I promise to update again one last time before leaving for San Diego and I will start posting pictures as soon as I can!  Thanks for sticking with me and I hope to provide a clear picture of what life is like working on a cruise ship.