Job Title: Director of Libraries, IT Manager
Institution: Center for Inquiry
Job Duties: As Library Director, I do all the duties related to the running of our libraries, archives, and AV collections. This includes acquisitions, cataloging, subscription maintenance, donor relations, PR and speaking, and research for staff, the media, and our constituents, based not only on our collections, but whatever is needed. As IT Manager, I manage the day-to-day running of our 5 physical servers, and 5 virtual server networks, and our printers, scanners and computers. I was involved with the creation of our network here from a peer-to-peer shared AOL account system to what it is today.
Current mobile device(s)? I have unlocked, rooted and flashed the custom ROM CROMBi-kk on my Asus Transformer Infinity (TF700t) tablet. My phone is an HTC One M7 that is stock, not very many changes here.
Current computer(s)? At work, I have an HP Compaq Elite Tower (Win 7 Pro) with added memory, dual 22” monitors and several USB hubs to archive files and troubleshoot equipment. I have an HP Deskjet for color printing, and an HP All-in-One for laser printing and scanning. I also have a “docking station” set-up to recharge the 3 iPads we use here at CFI for events (mostly credit card charging via Square). At home, I have an HP Pavilion DV7 notebook (Win 7 Pro) that acts as a desktop replacement for writing, web development and work-related stuff. I also have an HP notebook for family use (Win 8.1 Home) and an HP desktop (Win 8 Pro) being used as a file and media server.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without? LastPass Password Manager Program and app. It is free to use unless you want to utilize it with Android, then it is $12 per year. It integrates all my passwords under one master password and helps me remember those super obscure accounts I only use once every year. Also, Google’s integrated suite (Gmail, Docs, Drive, and Calendar). We use this as our e-mail system at CFI (under an educational license) and this provides cloud-based mail and document sharing that is used company-wide. I also use Fing for wireless network troubleshooting at both work and home.
Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without? My Asus tablet. I use the Nook reading app for all my books, play casual games, research quick things, check e-mail, check calendar, check wireless connectivity, etc. We also use a ChromeCast at home, and I have connected my Google Play Music account to it (you can upload up to 20,000 songs to it, access it anywhere), plus have various content providers linked through it for viewing on the television.
What’s your best productivity/organization/time-saving trick? In addition to regular accounts, my wife and I also have a shared Google account at home and use the calendar from it to manage our family-related things. I have attached our other calendars (my work ones, her work ones, etc.) as read-only to it so we can get a snapshot of each-others day in case plans change. We also get e-mail from my daughter’s teacher every day, so it helps us stay on track. I have made a stand-up desk at work, which keeps me on my feet, and helps when I am working with someone on a ready-reference type question. This helps keep me a bit more alert. Finally, I use Rainmeter to customize my desktop and include apps that watch e-mail, RSS feeds, task management, calendars, and system processes.
How do you manage your to-do list/workflow? I do not remove any e-mail from my inbox until it is dealt with, so this acts as a to-do list for me. I then store my email in an Outlook .pst file at work for archiving. I do not like how Google handles e-mail storage and folders and have my system of folders going back to 1997, and from when we used to have an Exchange server.
What resources do you use for professional development? I mostly follow listservs and RSS feeds to keep up with online resources. I take courses, when I have time, from WNYLRC. I have been experimenting with a Khan Academy course as well. I also try to network with the WNYLRC members as much as I can.
What are you currently reading? Theodore Rex by Edmund Morris, rereading the Vlad Taltos series by Stephen Brust, and Digital Libraries by Jessica Littman.
Is there a website or blog you’d like to recommend to your fellow librarians?
I follow all the popular technology websites and feeds, such as Engadget, LifeHacker, Gizmodo, The Verge, to try and see where tech is heading and to see where it will intersect with libraries and information in the near future as well as long term.
Where do you see your job/career 12 months from now? I am not sure. In most ways, I see things the same as they are now. However, I am looking to reorganize my position here at CFI and look at information needs for the company from a wider standpoint. How can we share the unique information we have here more quickly than we do now? How can I anticipate information needs better?
Any other projects you’re working on that you’d like to plug?
My blog, Access Points ( http://www.centerforinquiry.net/blogs/timbinga ), discusses various items of interest to folks who are aware of our libraries. We are finishing up the redevelopment of www.skeptiseum.org which should be completed soon. I run the website www.joenickell.com, the Man of 1,000 Personas, plus he is a paranormal investigator and research fellow at CFI.