Monday, August 27, 2012

Setting up a library is hard work

Let's compound this with several other facts:

1. We don't have the most reliable power systems. Granted, it's a lot more reliable than the local system, on which you'll get about 20 minutes of power an hour. We have a generator to back-up, however, every time the power goes out and the generator kicks in, everything  has to reset. It's so frustrating to try and download updates for your computer when the power doesn't last.
2.Internets are very slow. We're talking hours to download something. It's not dial-up, but they just don't have the infrastructure to support high-speed, yet. Actually, there is a 3-G network being developed and one of the towers is being built here on top of the dorm rooms. When it's finished, we'll be one of the few who has such fast access (this is what happens when you work at a private school in a third world country).
3. Destiny, despite being the most commonly used school library cataloging systems, is a clunky mess. I tried to show the IT guy how to use it earlier, he was confused. Because, let's be honest, library cataloging is an outdated system. Basically, we built computer systems that mimicked how we do library cataloging when we didn't have a computer system. Now that we have these incredible tools, you'd think we would update our systems accordingly, or build more user-friendly systems, not so!
4. It's hot and humid in Bangladesh, not a friendly place for books we want to have for a long time. We're trying to stabilize the temperature in the library before we get the books on the shelves, but it's just really sad looking at a bunch of  empty shelves until then. We do have de-humidifiers, but they put out more heat, which makes the air conditioner work harder too. And then there's the lack of power at times, which means we have no A/C and no dehumidifiers, and it's just a bit of mess.
5. Jet lag is just the worst. It hits about noon and my body really wants me to go to bed already, because it's midnight where I'm from and that's what you do. Even now, I'm having trouble keeping my eyes open. They say it takes one day for every hour of time difference, by that calculation, I should be over my jet lag in about 3 days, we'll see what happens though.
6. Language creates barriers. Everyone in Bangladesh, or so it seems, speaks some English. If they don't though, they kind of act like they do and then just don't do what you asked them to. I have an assistant who I'm pretty sure only understands me half the time, however, she has been paired with me so that she can improve her language skills, and so she can help catalog the Bangla books. Fortunately, there are plenty of English-speaking teachers to bridge the need for adult conversation in my native tongue. Also, part of the contract includes the school paying for our admission to the American club, we're going this weekend, so we'll how that is.

Overall, I'm still slightly overwhelmed, exhausted, and really excited about the school year. I'm hoping to get the library up and running by the end of this week, but it all depends on how long it takes to import the catalog (first I have to download updates, then the actual MARC records, takes a lot of time!).

Sorry that this post was text heavy, I've not really been out and about to take pictures.

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