Posts belonging to Category Observations from Work

Minimum Skill Example: MCRD Library

After yesterday’s riff about minimum skills, I figured I’d better give a nice thorough example. And where better to demonstrate a range of minimum skills than to look at what’s expected of the friendly neighborhood Marine library technician?
Needless to say, there are the standard requirements, the kinds of things you’d expect from a library employee [...]

Secondary Purposes, or Why E-Books Can’t Replace a Library

It started with my boss worrying about the future of the library as a viable structure again. It’s not the first time, it won’t be the last, and I’m pretty sure the fear is unfounded, but it got me thinking about why I’m so sure the library isn’t on the way out. And that why, [...]

Those Who Once Dared

In any setting where there are battles to be fought and adventures to be undertaken (and in how many settings is this not the case?), there will be those who once dared. The ones who went out and came back, whether they’ve decided never to go out again or are just waiting for the next [...]

So What’s It Like Working Here?

A little over a year ago, I talked about heroes/adventurers and their day jobs; not everyone can support themselves by adventuring, and not everyone wants to. The problem with these sorts of jobs is that many people just don’t find them interesting; they might take time away from a game group, seem “too much like [...]

Sounds of the Depot

Just because humanity depends on its sight doesn’t mean writers have to—and what better way to learn than to listen? Here’s what I tend to hear on an average day on the job.
It doesn’t just look like a regular library here; much of the time, it sounds like a regular library. The checkins and the [...]

MCRDSD: A Portrait of a Military Library

When I was first hired on, I’m not sure what I was imagining a military base library to be, but I didn’t expect the interesting range of similarities and differences to public libraries that mine had. And between the fact that not everyone who reads this is going to have seen a military library, and [...]

On the Differentiation of Libraries

Do you want a way of explaining where characters acquired or could acquire knowledge without having to worry about where they keep the books? A point of contact for academics, with each other or possibly even with everyone else? A way to make sure that knowledge in your setting, be it facts or stories or [...]

Groups and Liminality

Inspired by yesterday’s observations.
Looking at it now, I don’t think there’s any situation in which there’s a clean divide between two groups, even when one is clearly demarcated as Not-[The Other], when the groups have different amounts of social power or when in any way you’d expect a clear boundary. You’ve got one, and you’ve [...]

A Teachable Moment

And now, for something a little different.
0800 hours on MCRD San Diego. I’m sitting in the food court with my mother, looking out the window at the roiling mass of families here for graduation. By now, the crowds are something I’m used to. They’ve turned on music in here, loud enough that I’m not sure [...]

Genre-Bending the United States Census: Undefined-Fighting Census Listers

Last week, I demonstrated genre-twisting even the most unlikely subjects by getting a suspense plot out of the United States Census. This week, the genre-jump is going to be a bit more extreme.
Once, there was a country, not too different from any of the ones we inhabit. Except for [...]