on summer break(ing)…

I hope that this post finds you in a chaise lounge next to a pool with an amazing summer read, hiking in the woods, traipsing through a far-flung travel destination, or in whatever happy place you choose to be for the summer.

What I Did for My Summer Vacation… 

No exotic travels to far-flung corners of the world were in the cards for me this summer, but I did get to spend a wonderful month in Brooklyn. While in New York, I took the opportunity to invite myself to visits with two #Amazing AISL librarians. I had the chance to meet up with Karyn Silverman at the Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School, and with Suzanne Crow over at The Spence School. I love opportunities to see how other librarians set up their physical spaces and I find no better professional development than just getting to chat with other librarians about their successes, their challenges, and their programming. I’m incredibly grateful for both opportunities!

Thank you both for your generosity!

The Library at Elisabeth Irwin High School in New York

A view of Central Park and scenes from the library at The Spence School

I also made it over to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I am going to believe that this is the fountain where Claudia and her brother bathed and collected the “wishing coins.” Bonus points for those who can identify the book (which was my favorite when I was 10).

The fountain at The Met!

Summer Break(ing) Stuff… 

My colleague, Nicole, and I split our summer librarian coverage so she graciously took the first three weeks of summer school and I returned for my three weeks of summer school in July.

During the summer, I have the time needed to address the things in my library that get placed on the WAY BACK burner during the regular school year. Those two databases that don’t authenticate properly with EZProxy? That needs care. That database icon on the library website that is just a little smaller than the rest of the icons (which nobody else who uses the site ever seems to notice, but which TAUNTS me every single time I open the page and project it on the screen during a lesson? That needs care. That EBSCO Discovery Service search box code that our project manager sent me during finals week? That needs to be loaded and tested.

You get the picture…

Here’s the thing, though…

I’m not a systems librarian. I know what I want my systems to do, but getting them to do it? Well, that’s not my best thing. My work this summer has amounted to attempting to fix something; having about half the things on our library site break because of the fix that I applied; days of trouble-shooting to un-break the things I broke; then getting it pretty much back to functioning just like it did before I did the system update to “fix” stuff behind the scenes.

I don’t know how the rest of you feel about maintaining the back-end systems in your libraries, but I have to say, it’s not the most satisfying aspect of my work… #PaperCutsOnMyEyeballs comes to mind.

On Proxies, and Stanzas, and Config Txt, Oh My!

It started with a long overdue update to our EZProxy software. We’ve been comfortably running older EZProxy software for a while, but were increasingly having issues with https authentication which made an update imperative. The update ended up requiring us to reconfigure a good number of our database stanzas on the proxy server so tracking down the appropriate configuration stanzas and getting them installed took more time than I wished. I have to say, if you are like me and are learning your way through a systems upgrade, may you be blessed with a network administrator/IT guy who is as patient and accommodating as mine–there are always positive things to take away from every frustrating endeavor! #JustinRocks!

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Our database page



On the EBSCO Discovery Service Train… 

While my EZProxy saga was playing out, I was also attempting to get our EBSCO Discovery Service configured and up and running. It’s evident to me now, but for the uninitiated, trying to configure a search interface while you in the process of updating the access point to the databases that are searched by the interface (our EZProxy server) is a STUPID thing to do. DO NOT DO WHAT I DID! Part of the EZProxy upgrade involved installing an SSL certificate on our server (I don’t get all of it, but it has to do with our database vendors wanting to use https instead of http). Bottom line is that the code EDS sent me behaved very differently when it was built for https rather than http–maybe everybody else in libraryland knew that, but I didn’t because, well, I went to library school when we were still learning to build our websites by hand with html code and ftp servers and I was SUPER EXCITED about Netscape Navigator and my tangerine iMac G3 desktop.


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There’s still some wonkiness in our search box code, but we’re getting closer! 

We’re still working with our EDS project manager and the set-up crew, but progress is finally coming.

My class of rising 6th graders will arrive at the door at any moment so I will have to leave this here for now. We’re learning how to login to a school laptop and how to organize our Google Drives! Wish me luck!

Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, may your days of summer be filled with joy and lots of time to read whatever you want to read! Happy summer, all!

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