Erin Dorney

Blogging life & librarianship

Posts Tagged ‘awesome


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listening // to get disowned by hop along, sports by modern baseball + npr.

watching // twin peaks + audrey hepburn.

reading // snowflake/different streets by eileen myles.

wanting // this sleeping grizzly bear bean bag + these baby skull earrings.

working // on signage for the new library, summer plans + a new writing gig (details soon!).

writing // blackout erasure poems from an old ornithology book.

thinking // about letting go of the life i’d planned to embrace the life in front of me.

What are you guys doing?

(inspired by Kara at I Just Might Explode)

Written by Erin Dorney

March 27, 2013 at 2:05 PM

Posted in Life

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What inspires you?

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Stuck in a rut? With crappy things being reported in the news and the end of the semester drawing near, it’s easy for the daily grind to take its toll. Technology can definitely help you get your inspiration back. You can use an app to receive daily poems on your phone, subscribe to the RSS feed of an insightful blogger, use Twitter to build supportive networks of colleagues and friends, follow Tumblrs featuring beautiful spaces or cats. These are all useful methods for getting back on track when it feels like every square inch of passion and motivation have been sapped from your body.

In addition to all of these channels, I find it extremely important to have non-digital inspiration around me. Which is why today I have decided to give you a mini-photo-tour of the things I draw strength from:

agate stonejonha smithcardscloset shelfpostcard & poemtony & kitten

Clockwise from top left: 1) Small, smooth egg-sized agate stone (gift from a colleague) for stressful times at work. 2) Amazing new artwork from my friend Jonha Smith. 3) Various items on a shelf in my closet, including a Christmas tree ornament from my mom, a thrifted framed print of a baby bird, two owls from a church rummage sale, a vintage Wilbur Buds tin & a salt shaker filled with blue sea glass from the shores of Lake Ontario. 4) Image of Tony & a kitten every time I unlock my phone throughout the day (okay, this one might not officially count as non-digital, but I had to include it). 5) Gandhi postcard (from my dad) and Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poem Ebb (typeset and hand-printed by yours truly) on the wall in my closet. 6) Rotating correspondence from friends and family around the country (holder via MoMA Store).

What gives you inspiration? Feel free to share in the comments. And have an amazing Thanksgiving – Among other things, I am thankful for all of my readers (that’s you!).

Written by Erin Dorney

November 23, 2011 at 8:35 AM

Tales from the trade show floor: NeoCon East

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On Wednesday I had the chance to attend NeoCon East, the “Premier Design Exposition for Commercial Interiors on the East Coast” in Baltimore, MD. I had fun checking out options for the library renovation, seeing design-y things, and experiencing my first non-library exhibit hall. Below are some observations and a few of my favorite things.

Library exhibit hall vs. design expo

  • There were definitely more men at NeoCon than I’ve seen at ALA/library conferences. The age demographic there seemed to skew younger as well (although I’m not awesome at guessing ages). Most booths had both male and female representatives available to talk to customers and walk them through the floor.
  • I almost hesitate to say this because I don’t want to offend anyone, but the NeoCon attendees were dressed a lot nicer than people I have seen at ALA/library conferences. I am generalizing here (on both sides) but I picked up on it right away. Maybe the designers/design students at NeoCon are more concerned with their visual aesthetic than librarians. There were also a hell of a lot more women in stilettos and other fancy shoes. Lots of suits. Lots of black.
  • At four PM, free booze magically appeared. Everywhere! I saw a keg on the exhibit hall floor and multiple tables of bottled beer and wine. I got carded (what the what!) when I grabbed a glass. It was pretty cool – once people started drinking, everyone was sitting in the different pieces of furniture talking and hanging out. It was almost like the “sales pitch” was over and everyone was just having a good time. You could really tell which seating options worked for social atmospheres – those were the ones people gravitated towards.
  • The NeoCon swag was pretty similar to ALA/library conferences. Lots of exhibitors had freebies – tote bags galore, stress balls, plastic watches, iPad covers, pens, candy, lip balm, etc. I didn’t see as many crazed people running around collecting ten of everything. People seemed a bit more reserved. That said, the one giveaway I really did want (a sweet canvas Herman Miller bag) ran out before I could get one. Luckily, our HM rep is awesome and is going to mail me one!

These are a few of my favorite things

Integra Bay Chair
Integra Bay Chair – My colleagues and I loved this seating option. It comes in 4 different seat widths and the tablet arm holds 300 pounds (their promo materials show someone standing on it!). You can add upholstered or wood arms, but I enjoyed the armless version. It’s fairly easy to push around and the cup holder feature is nice because it doesn’t eat up your limited tablet space (plus, you won’t accidentally knock your coffee over onto your laptop). I also really like the contrasting fabrics in this floor model. The pattern and solid combination seems to highlight the shape and accentuate the curves in this more fluid/free-form chair. I can see us incorporating some of these throughout our new library to offer a diversity of seating options for students. Maybe in bright accent colors?

Kimball Fit ChairErin in Kimball Fit Chair - this is love, people

Kimball Fit – Oh. My. Last week I was reviewing the furniture drawings for my workspace in the new library and our furniture supplier showed me the Kimball Fit “sling lounge” as a potential option (we also looked at the Herman Miller Tato, Tatino, Tatone and the Fatboy original beanbag). I’m looking for some fun pieces to use in my co-working space for creative group brainstorming sessions with library student employees/staff. I was really looking forward to testing a Fit at NeoCon and was getting bummed out as we walked through and didn’t see any. Then, at the same time, my colleague Greg and I spotted three of them. We pointed, looked at each other with glee, and headed over to test them out. You can probably tell from the huge smile on my face – I loved it! It was awkward sitting down the first time because you’re not quite sure it will hold you, but the material is stretchy and supportive. It feels almost like you are settling back into a hammock, really fun. Lightweight, can nest together for storage, and as we were leaving, we even saw two people sitting in one together! They do have a larger footprint, but I certainly think I could squeeze one of these into my new workspace!

Leland Ebb BenchLeland Brit Bench

Leland International – This was a really fun booth and I saw two of my favorite pieces there, the Ebb Bench (hollow) and the Brit Bench (blue). You can use connectors for both of them to hook up multiple pieces in different shapes, but I honestly liked them both as single, standalone pieces. The Ebb bench is very minimalist and modern. It would be great for hallways and the representative said they have done some in airports (although then they have to cap the ends). You can get it entirely upholstered, in wood veneer, or in wood veneer with upholstered “pads” (my fav). I was thinking this would work well in the new juvenile/curriculum center section, although we might have an issue with small children trying to climb inside. The Brit bench was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. I think it would be perfect for the library entryway, where we are putting in a media wall with digital signage and inspirational quotes. This type of sculptural bench doesn’t lend itself to long waits, which is fine because it will be somewhat drafty in the entryway. At the same time, it provides a perfect spot to rest with your bags to meet someone before heading into the library. I love the three “prongs” too, it gives the bench a more social feel because you’re facing someone else any way you sit on it.

izzy+ Dewey 6-Top Table

izzy+ Dewey 6-Top Table – I mean, it’s a whiteboard-topped table, what more can I say? Awesome.

I took a bunch of other photos at the show which you can see on my Flickr page. Leave a comment here or there and let me know which items you love, hate, could envision in libraries. Have any of you been to a trade show/exhibit floor beyond library conferences? Did you enjoy it? What was different and what was similar?

* A big thanks to Supply Source for inviting us to and escorting us around NeoCon!*

Written by Erin Dorney

November 5, 2011 at 11:04 PM

“There’s the silver lining I’ve been looking for”

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Real Life:

  • 3-8 inches of snow predicted for tomorrow.
  • A Very She & Him Christmas.
  • Jack Frost Tea (African Red Bush, Vanilla, Peppermint & Spearmint).
  • Ventriloquism zine by Prathna Lor, courtesy of meg woog via Portland, OR.
  • Evening agenda includes baking an apple pie & writing an essay about my personal library. Rock.

Work Life:

  • Massive technology outage on campus killed our library website, which has both positives and negatives. Get excited.
  • Got to work with our awesome reps from Supply Source on the design for the Outreach Team Work Space for the new library & am attending my first “design expo” next week with them – NeoCon East. ::swoon:: Check back for pics of sweet furniture!
  • Invigorating conference call with co-presenters/facilitators for our LJ/Temple Future of the Academic Library Symposium panel discussion.
  • Invited to do a session for students on how to be wise with social media for the Office of Experiential Learning & Career Management.

What are you looking forward to?

Written by Erin Dorney

October 28, 2011 at 6:07 PM

Posted in Libraries, Life

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I’m nothing without my people. Congrats!

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Photo of a celebration

CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 by pierofix on Flickr

Working in libraries and meeting amazing people seem to go hand in hand. I want to send a big CONGRATS to the following individuals, all of whom have been (knowing or unknowingly) positive, supportive, and inspirational friends. They have all (semi) recently landed post-MLS, professional librarian positions and I know they’ll be doing awesome work for their lucky institutions.

starKaren Cawley
School Media Specialist at Bolivar-Richburg Central School

Karen and I were undergraduates at St. John Fisher College and worked in the campus library together. We also both went through the Syracuse iSchool program (although a few years apart and she went the school media route). I have had the good fortune to spend time with Karen outside the library through a few mutual friends, and I must say, she is a riot. I know that her kindness and creative spirit will serve her well in the school librarian role.

burstJason W. Dean
Cataloger & Technical Services Librarian at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Jason is another Syracuse iSchool grad (2010) and in January of 2011 he started working at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. I could try to tell you more about what he does, exactly, but it would be much more interesting for you to hear it in his own words over at The Dean Files. Meeting Jason and his lovely wife Jen at ALA in DC was one of my highlights of 2010! They definitely class my friends list up a few notches, and are always there with ideas for collaboration, words of wisdom, and priceless gems of sarcasm and wit.

heartLindsey Main
Technology & Public Services Librarian at Champlain College

Lindsey was a student employee when I worked as a staff member at Rochester Institute of Technology’s Wallace Library. We were in the Information Delivery Services (IDS) department and I guarantee it was the most rocking-est department there. We developed a strong friendship and Lindsey went on to earn her MLS from UNC-Chapel Hill this fall. This woman is truly phenomenal, bringing constant smiles to my face with her thoughtfulness through handmade letters, hilarious interweb exchanges, and unending planning for meet ups that inevitably don’t work out (one day we will see each other in real life once again). When I think of Rochester, I think of Lindsey Main. I know that as a librarian, she is going to BRING IT and make many awesome technology things happen at Champlain.

cameraAmy Pajewski
Adjunct Reference & Instruction Librarian at HACC-York

Amy has been a rock for me ever since I moved to Pennsylvania in 2008. As my first undergraduate library intern, she taught me so much about the institutional culture at Millersville University and has given me the courage to initiate change many times. I am amazed by her unending stamina as a mother, writer, photographer, future-resident-of-Montana, scholar (finished her MLS in 2010 and just started her MA in English), librarian, wood-chopper, and friend. I have it on good authority that her unique skill-set is already proving to be visible and valuable in the community college setting.

booksChristina Steffy
Research and Instructional Services Librarian at Dickinson College

Christina interned with me earlier this summer while she was finishing up her MLS from Rutgers University. Not two weeks after she completed her degree, she was offered a position that’s giving her valuable, real-world experience. Highly organized and motivated, Christina has one of the best work ethics I have seen to date. She knows how to assess a situation, fill the need with a solution, and make it all work to her professional advantage. Whichever direction she decides to take after this one-year appointment, I know she will be successful.

I can’t wrap this post up without also saying congrats to Tina Hertel, the new Trexler Library Director at Muhlenberg College. Tina is the enthusiastic force behind much of my involvement with the Pennsylvania Library Association and is certainly someone I aspire to emulate. I’m really looking forward to her continued vision of leadership within PA.

These congrats are well overdue. So pleased to count you all as colleagues!

Written by Erin Dorney

September 23, 2011 at 12:03 PM

Posted in Libraries

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Want some mail?

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christmas cat

CC image courtesy of Keeki on Flickr

Inspired by Lisa’s post at the lisa chronicles, I have just (at this very moment) decided to do a holiday card exchange! If you’re interested in sharing some winter cheer via post, send me an email or post a comment with your address. I promise to send you a non-religious card before December 25th.

I love getting & sending mail. I hope you’ll join me! Any and all are welcome to participate 🙂

Written by Erin Dorney

November 15, 2010 at 9:02 PM

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Inspiration Pad Giveaway Winner!

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Thanks to all of the 18 people who left comments on my last post for a giveaway drawing of an Inspiration Pad!

And the winner is….

The very first commenter, Rachel!

Blast, I really wanted the kitten. I’d say that the thing that inspires me most is music. There are billions of songs and you can always find something to suit your mood. Because of my music background, I’m more likely to notice unique chord changes or quirky melody ideas. So, yeah, that’s my inspiration.

I totally agree, and music is always an inspiration to me. So, Rachel needs to email me because she didn’t leave an email address and then I can mail your package to you next week 🙂

But oh, what is this?! ANOTHER BONUS GIVEAWAY YOU SAY?!! I was so pleased with all of your inspirational comments that I decided to give another inspiration pad away (you lucky bastards!). The winner of this one is….

The eleventh commenter, rachemus! Hmm… its very freaky that the random number generator chose two people with Rachel names… weird!

I’m inspired by vintage typesets, clean design, smart and funny writing, and vegan cookbooks.

Yes! Again, I agree. I just took a class in the spring where I got to set type and it was so much fun. Very relaxing. Rachemus should email me with her contact info so I can pass this little item along. Thanks again to everyone who commented! If I don’t hear from either of the winners by Wednesday (August 11th) we’ll redo the random number generator and find new winners.

Written by Erin Dorney

August 7, 2010 at 1:21 PM