I just made these cookies. Cowboy cookies courtesy of Isa Chandra Moskowitz. And the are vegan. And you bet your bottom they are good.
Don’t know if they are as good as the ones I made on Tuesday for a vegan friend’s birthday, but they are up there. I’ve been baking a lot lately. I love to bake for one. I especially like baking vegan goodies because people always seem so skeptical and then are always, always so amazed at how good they taste. The reality is baking is just chemistry with edible components. If you have the right ingredients to create certain chemical reactions, then you will end up with a cookie every time. That’s why the food industry can make good-tasting creations without using real food. In vegan baking (or cooking) you start with (usually) real food and then have an added bonus of cruelty-free. I’m not vegan and I have fallen from my vegetarian pedestal many times, but honestly vegan baking is just a win-win.
I also tend to bake when I’m stressed about something and this is where the library comes in. UNCG’s Chancellor announced a 15% budget cut yesterday. Terrible news for the library, the university, and for NC’s educational system. I’m not denying we could trim some fat, but we have been trimming like crazy since I became a librarian. We are also living through a few big changes in our library; some I think will be positive and others could have long term costs. We will work through the future, but no one can deny that change is stressful.
The thing I worry about for libraries, especially academic libraries, is that we tend to respond to our perceived failings and so rarely celebrate our actual successes. The reality of declining questions at the reference desk is a fact at UNCG. But focusing on the way things used to be ignores the soaring numbers of consultations, emails, and chats that our reference librarians are receiving. And no one seems to be examine why that is happening. Why, if reference is dead, do we still see a large number of people coming to ask for our assistance on their research? What is it we are doing right?
Maybe my library happens to be staffed by outrageously smart, personable and outgoing people who just bring in the crowds. I mean it is really, but something else is going on here. We’ve had instruction class numbers through the roof. The business librarian gets a crazy number of contacts from faculty and students (around 500 a year I think). And last year I hit my high of over 250. What are we doing right? What are the ingredients that make us still be part of the research process?
These are ongoing questions for me and I haven’t figured them out obviously. Maybe someday I should do a study. If you have ideas, leave them here. I’d love to hear them.
In the meantime, back to some vegan baking.