I think your situation in your library is a very common one, most likely
more common than being a "coder" in the sense of creating new software
or adding functionality to existing software. In fact, in every office I
have been in, including ones not in libraries, many people who didn't
start their careers with computer science in mind are the ones
maintaining systems, creating reports, running queries.
In the library world I think we have an obligation to provide as much
support and encouragement as possible for library employees who perform
these tasks. As you imply, oftentimes these employees (librarians by MLS
or not) have been kind of thrown into the job and have few places where
they can go to ask questions, get needed training, or have a shoulder to
The code4lib list and the two related IRC channels (both on the freenode
network), #code4lib and #libtechwomen are good places to start. If you
need help setting up IRC, contact me off-list and I will do my best to
walk you through it. Also, there may be similar lists specifically
addressing the library management software in your institution, and the
experts in that particular system probably hang out there.
On 2/21/13 7:57 AM, Greenspun, Cindy wrote:
> Hello -
> I'm a newbie to this listserv. I'm not a librarian, nor am I a coder. I primarily do systems related work with our library management system, run SQL reports as needed and project management. I also work for Access Services and even though I'm considered IT, I'm not in the library IT department. This is a new position in my department and we're still figuring things out as we go along.
> I work in one of the many libraries at Yale University. In the department I work in, we have three busy service points - two circulation desks and a privileges/registration office. There are about 50/60 staff members and roughly 50+ student employees who rotate at these service points. There are times when there are students who are late reporting to a service point, no-shows, or suddenly there's a long line and only one person at a staffed service desk. At a meeting recently, I was listening to a work leader lament how, if she is the only person there, she is just too busy to make a phone call or send an email asking for help - a common occurrence. After I heard her, I wondered how possible it would be to create some sort of desktop 'app'. One that requires only one click and is smart enough to know its service desk location and is sent to the right folks who could come assist right away, upon demand. These would be on Windows workstations.
> Recently, I've seen many encouraging responses to the latest 'getting started...' emails and feel motivated to write to this listserv as I'm eager to learn and to try to do this myself. I hope that this will be a simple enough project for me but I'm just not sure where to start or what I should be looking at. So, here I am, not a librarian, nor a coder. I write to this listserv seeking suggestions, ideas and encouragement. :)
> Thank you -
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