Friday, May 14, 2010

Library Management Systems Maketh Not a Great Blog.

It may appear that I have abandoned my baby blog in its first days of life.

Shame on me? But I have an excuse. Excuses, excuses, excuses...

My time has been occupied by many things that are important to library development but are either not library blog-worthy...or TOP SECRET.

I attended a week-long training for the LMS/catalog which will be implemented in the museum library. I cringe at the thought of writing about cataloging. I just cringed while typing "writing about cataloging"...and again.

I will spare you the details of my other day-to-day activities while learning the ropes or however the expression goes, and I am happy to report that I have arrived at the blog-able part of library development. Or at least I am now adding it into the mix of tasks and goals.

I have begun collection development. That is, adding to organized lists/folders for potential book orders AND going through the existing collection. I have the help of the now curatorial staff member who was working on library stuff before Qatar Airways swooped down and dropped me on a sand dune.

I will be sharing interesting details about books in the near future.

Speaking of excuses, do you know the song "Excuses"? Last night, I discovered that my library predecessor and I share an affinity for it. So, while totally unrelated to the subject matter of the museum, library, and blog yet much more pleasurable than MARC records, I leave you with the happy live version:

Monday, April 19, 2010

Vagabond Family: An Introduction

As-Salam alaikum.

Peace be with you.

السلام عليكم

Welcome to the blog of the library of the Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha, Qatar.

You are probably not familiar with the museum because it has not opened yet. I arrived in Qatar less than two weeks ago, on April 9th. I was hired as the Head of the Art Library, and I am developing the library collection and services.

In addition to the books and resources to be acquired, I will "weed" a base collection of books and magazines donated by an art collector and patron of the arts who also happens to be a Qatari Sheikh. The collection includes a wide variety of books about art and culture both in the Arab world and abroad. I intend to use this blog to enable others to learn and benefit from the library and collection at AMOMA throughout its evolution from a room full of books into my favorite kind of space: a library.

I'm a bit of a strange character, so here's a little background on me. I am an American librarian. I worked for Brooklyn Public Library in New York City while getting my Master's Degree in Library Science until I made the decision to move to Lusaka, Zambia in 2008.

I helped develop a library for vulnerable children and street children. I had lived in Harare, Zimbabwe in 2003 and longed to return to the region. I kept an infrequent blog of my activities in Zambia because I had no internet access at home or at work. You can find it here: I ended up in Cape Town, South Africa. I was finishing my cultural studies research for an independent study on vulnerable children, attempting to surf, and dreaming of staying forever. Of course, I didn't.

I made a summery return to the States before heading south once again, this time to Buenos Aires, Argentina, a wonderful city. I searched for Latin American artist's books, taught English, met some lovely people, including a few talented artists, and I eventually landed a job as a Cataloging Librarian for a Latin American book company.

As these things often go, I was offered this fantastic professional opportunity in Doha at about the same time Buenos Aires began to feel vaguely like home.

I spent a couple of months visiting friends and family in New York City and my hometown in Pennsylvania, and here I am. Doha is treating me very well thus far. Estoy muy contenta.

In my reading and research on modern and contemporary artists of the Arab world, I learned about Iraqi artist Shakir Hassan Al Said (b. 1925). He created Vagabond Family [pictured] during his transitional phase from figurative to abstract work. Needless to say, it seems like an appropriate work to share in this introduction, although I don't have a family with me. I'm just a vagabond librarian.

It will be a great journey for the vagabond books who will find their home at the AMOMA library. Maybe someday I will find a home, too.


If God wills it.

إن شاء الله