Dr. Drew's Infrequent Blog

10 March 2006

Why I applied

I just received this e-mail from one of our California alumni, Dayni:

"I was surprised to learn that you were interviewing for another position on the mainland! I thought you were pretty happy in Hawaii."

I just thought I should share my response. YES, I am very happy here. My students and colleagues are treasures. And who would not love living in Manoa?! I feel somewhat disloyal to apply elsewhere. However, it is really hard to be so far from my family. Noriko and I have been together for more than 15 years. We are best friends and research partners in addition to husband/ wife. We also have a son and two cats. It is really hard to live so far away. Even when we call each other it is 4 or 5 hours difference. I know that many of you understand this problem.

This other university is located much closer to her. The position is also in an area that I love. I already know and respect the colleagues (and have a good feeling about the students). The school has a lot of potential for linkages on campus in disciplines that I study, and a great research library on campus. The town is a little small, but has nice bookstores, music, food, shops, etc.

The cost of living there is MUCH lower, so I could buy a condo or small home, which would be harder here in Honolulu on one income (especially since I am still helping with our Nebraska mortgage).

Nothing is definite, though. That school has not made me an offer (yet?). There also are efforts to recruit Noriko here to Hawaii. You should understand that this basically had stalled before I applied to this other position (for 3 years). I should know about things in the next few weeks, and will try to explain more later. You will have to understand that I can't blogcast or discuss negotiations until after something is decided. Thanks for understanding, friends.

09 March 2006

Are you a Revolting Librarian?

Recently I found a used copy of Celeste West's Revolting Librarians online. It is an interesting very-1970s collection of essays that sparked the social responsibilties librarianship movement. It was one of the books though that helped challenge/ shape my own library philosophy as well. Some activist librarians revisited this in the Revolting Librarians Redux.

If this social responsibilities stream interests you, you might be inetersted in ALA's Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT) or the Progressive Librarians Guild, which I noticed is interested in forming student chapters.

Other Interesting Stuff: BBC Report on blogs as civic democracy. (Analysis Program, BBC World Service THURS, 20 min.)

Interested in Media: On The Media (1 hour WNYC Podcast)

Current Clips from the Graduate School of Library and Information Science and the Library and Information Science Library, at the University of lllinois, Urbana-Champaign.

07 March 2006

Return Flight Entry

Flight 1/ Home

I [wrote] this somewhere over the Pacific on the way home. I really enjoyed meeting colleagues, students, and alumni at [XX] University. I might add that there was a lot of great food to be found in town. Gourmet soups (Cream of Portobello and Tuscan Tomato) were unexpected pleasant surprises.

No one said anything about my presentation, but it was not my finest hour. Sigh. I am still trying to work on lecturing freely and use PowerPoint. I decided to abandon a written paper and tried to bring out some local connections with this study. Jetlag also caught up with me. It is draining each time crossing the ocean. I love teaching, but am sometimes amazed that I became a professor. I used to be one of the shyest people, and would never have dreamed that I might be lecturing to a class for three hours at a time. I think about this each time I have my students do presentations since public speaking is both a skill and a matter of confidence. It is hard for people to discover their own presentation style(s).

Overall though things went very well, I thought. I already knew many of the professors, so it almost seemed natural to discuss aspects of LIS education and what classes I could teach, etc. At Hawaii I really realized how important it is for faculty in such small departments to be able to work together. I was really impressed by students and alumni, and their concern for the school's future.

I asked perhaps too many negative questions (as if searching for problems); however, I really came away most impressed by fine people and the school's potential and qualities. It was fascinating to compare this school with Hawaii or my experiences in Madison, Bloomington, and San Jose. This school and UH LIS have about the same number of faculty, but it accepts far fewer students each year. This presents different opportunities and challenges. Whatever happens the visit was really a precious learning experience.

The trip is even making me consider volunteering for ALA-COA Accreditation. I actually attended two training sessions, but that was mostly to learn more about the process since we will go up in a few years. I will listen to my better sense though, which tells me to postpone the thought until after tenure. My interests have already overextended my service load.

On the weekend I went out with a real estate agent to look at condos. He was one of the first agents who listened to what I wanted. We found two great places from $128K (1,340 sq feet; like a loft!) -- to -- $139K (1,391 sq feet in a wooded area 10 min walk from campus). Both were built in 1999 with 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, and indoor parking -- AND are in biking range of campus. Housing in Honolulu is depressing.

The return trip, though, was L--O--N--G. The school kindly bent over backwards to get me a flight (actually 3 flights on 2 airlines!) that would allow me to have interviews all day Monday, and then return in time for my Tuesday afternoon class. I was all set to race by taxi from the airport to class in about an hour. Alas… O'Hare's control tower had problems, so I ended up spending hours in two airports and the night in Chicago. I was so looking forward to returning home, but arrived in the late afternoon.

I am so lucky that Dr. Knuth had already agreed to be a guest speaker that day, and had encouraged me to leave her group discussion questions -- just in case something like this happened. I owe her big time. I regret that I could not hear the class discussion of Pawley's LQ article, combined with responses to the three papers from this year's Gorman's Forum on Library Education.

I usually pack several books and articles for these flights, but I finished everything that I had packed. I enjoyed a leisurely read of the New York Times, and watched Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. It's a cute film. I am happy that I no longer wear my grandfather’s wire rim glasses.