I'm female and am not an active code4lib participant. I'm subscribed
to the code4lib listserv and don't religiously read the discussion but
do scan them every so often in case something in my area comes up. I
didn't take the survey because I didn't think it was aimed at me.
However, I noticed the survey summary indicated some distress about
women not considering themselves part of the code4lib community. I
don't know if it's helpful or not, but here's more about me:
Why do I subscribe to the code4lib listserv?
My main job in my library is to make sure the integrated library
system functions as well as it can. I read many tech and library
blogs and subscribe to several listservs in order to stay aware of
possibilities. While I don't consider myself a coder, I enjoy
watching the innovative projects various libraries have been working
on. If the projects look like they might work well in my library
environment, I bring them up with my manager and we discuss whether or
not it fits and, if so, what the best way to proceed is. Our emphasis
is on creating a stable and sustainable environment so if I get hit by
a bus, the library can still function. This means we don't do a lot
of customization which has both its up and down sides.
I don't attend the conferences, why?
I get one conference every year (or every other year? I lose track).
There are other conferences that are more relevant to me so those are
the ones I go to. If I had the extra time and money, I'd love to come
to a code4lib conference. They sound fun but not entirely practical
for my library.
Why don't I present at the conference?
Well, the obvious reason is that I don't go to the conference.
However, to be honest, I've only done one presentation for a local
users group. I don't present because most of what I do I've gotten
from somewhere else. My ILS is very stable and it has some custom
features but for the most part it isn't very innovative. I'm not
scared of presenting, I just don't have much to say**.
Do I feel intimidated being a woman in IT?
No. In my undergrad computer classes I was often the only female.
Occasionally there would be a female electrical engineer or two but I
was the only female computer science major (though, understand, I went
to a small school where class sizes ranged form 15-20 people). I
understand that some (many?) women have had bad experiences and that
is horrible. However, I have trouble relating because almost every
person I have encountered in my professional life has a driving need
to make the library the best possible experience for our users. It
doesn't matter if I'm female as long as I can fix the problem.
Who knows, at some point my job focus may shift and I may become more
involved in this community. We are looking for a new ILS with plans
to migrate in 2014 and that may open up a lot of possibilities for the
High Plains Library District
*To me a coder is someone who lives, eats, and breathes code. Yes, I
can code if I have to but I'm not passionate about it. I have a very
strong c++ accent with whatever language I use because that was the
first programming language I learned. I know enough to be able to
read other people's code and have a fair idea of what's going on. The
closest thing I do to coding these days is tweaking the XSL files for
HIP (annoying) or running SQL reports (which are really fun).
** Well, much to say that's actually productive. I can rant for hours
about the various peculiarities of our current ILS.