What I wanted to be when I grew up

There was an interesting thread on ALA Think Tank where people talked about what they wanted to be when they grew up. I never wanted to be a librarian, though I liked the librarians that I knew. I wanted to be a writer though I wasn’t sure how you did that. I liked writing and I had the same name as a writer so I figured that would help. I was just digging through some old paperwork and I found my statement of professional concerns from when I ran for ALA Council. This is from 2002, so nearly 15 years ago

ala council statement

With the exception of the slightly over-the-top “family farms” aside, I still stand by this 100%, possibly even more now than I did then. And since then I’ve felt a lot more able to actually implement my ideas about the way the world of libraries and technology should work. I am very grateful that I work within a profession where I can be relevant and useful and effective in my late 40s and work with both older and younger members of my profession to create meaningful change. I even get to write a little as well. I’ve been updating my resume lately, not because I’m looking for work but just because it is a good thing to do, and will try to find a way to work this in there somewhere.

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My Values Workshop for LLAMA’s Career Institute at ALA in Boston

What Matters? A Workshop for Developing & Articulating Our Values

I went to ALA for the first time in several years last week. I don’t think I’ve been to ALA since the Think Tank has been in existence. It was a great setup. Conference was in Boston. I was giving a pre-conference. Part of my deal was that I’d get registration for the conference, and one night in a fancy hotel (and some $). It worked out great. Usually, I admit, I dislike workshops. I don’t like to be in them and I barely know how to give them. However, my feelings on this are not normative, so I tried to bring my education and my experience to an afternoon workshop for about twenty people and have some useful exercises and activities as well as some good discussion. I think it went well. My main self-critique was that I had made sure I had three hours of “stuff” for a three hour workshop and maybe didn’t leave enough time for people to just talk to each other. More blank spaces next time. You can read through my slides as well as see the handouts and exercises (and the image credits) at this URL: http://www.librarian.net/talks/llama16/.

ALA had a conference app that encouraged you to upload your slides to the application so people could have them. Great idea in theory, but in reality I didn’t see any privacy policy and was a little leery of giving up my content so I uploaded a single slide with the URL to my actual slides. Hope people didn’t feel that it was too cheeky. A few other photos of my ALA trip are here. Thanks so much to everyone who came to the pre-conference and especially to LLAMA who invited me and took very good care of me. They were a joy to work with.

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Todo: promote #1lib1ref project on Wikipedia

Wikipedia 1lib1ref logo

I am excited about the #1lib1ref project on Wikipedia. The goal is to get every librarian in the world (or a reasonable subsection) to add a citation to a Wikipedia article, just one. This helps make Wikipedia better in the process. I added my cite today to the Free Your Mind… and Your Ass Will Follow article. I’m not even trying to be sassy, that is just the page that was handed to me by this great tool that lets you know which articles need citations. I did some Googling, found a Google Book that had some supporting detail for the fact in question, used a book citation tool to turn it into Wikistyle and there you go. I might do two, just in case someone doesn’t have time to add a citation to Wikipedia this week. We have a facebook page and a lot of people using the #1lib1ref hashtag on Twitter. Join us!

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2015 reading list and commentary

IMG_8137

I started 91 books this year and finished 89. I’m now fully in the swing of reading at least 30 minutes before bed which has been great. Last year I had a lot of random low-level health issues which complicated matters a bit but I’m still pretty happy with how the Year in Reading turned out.

average read per month: 7.47
average read per week: 1.7
number read in worst month: 5 (Apr)
number read in best month: 11 (Aug)
number unfinished: 2
percentage by male authors: 59
percentage by female authors: 41
percentage of authors of color: 3
fiction as percentage of total: 73
non-fiction as percentage of total: 27
percentage of total liked: 90
percentage of total ambivalent: 7
percentage of total disliked: 3

The biggest issue this year was that I didn’t actively prioritize reading authors of color and so I just didn’t. No good. Must do better. Did okay with non-US authors but that’s not the same. I did a lot of social justice online reading and kept a bookshelf of worthwhile articles over at This.cm but I needed to translate more of this into book length reading and I did not. Digging into the Louise Penny series upped my percentage of female authors but I still need to work on that. I read a lot of books that I really enjoyed this past year including a history of spam and a photography book about large trees. I got a lot more suggestions from reading Library Journal than usual which was good and bad. I added a few books to my Best in Show shortlist. If you’ve made a reading list for last year, I’d love to read it. Happy New Year.

Previous librarian.net summaries: 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004. My always-updated booklist lives at jessamyn.info/booklist and it has its own RSS feed which is mostly not broken.

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2015 in libraries

a pie chart of the libraries I've visited in 2015

Again with the library tracking! This is now six years in a row. Previous years: 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and some reviews from 2003

I went to twenty-two different libraries in seven states and one non-US country for eighty-two visits total. Did not intend this but it’s the same number of visits (though many fewer individual libraries) as last year. A few things influenced this: I did a lot less distance traveling this year but did a lot of work in local libraries, I also taught at a college where the library was a major hangout for me (thanks VTC Librarians, you are the best) and I worked a lot at my local public library. Here’s the short annotated list of what I was doing in libraries last year.

  • Kimball Library – my local public library, I work here and I am a patron here
  • Hartness at VTC – the best academic library anywhere near here and I worked at VTC this year
  • Carney Library UMass Dartmouth – probably my favorite library building of all time (still!)
  • Chelsea VT – helping with tech planning and visiting my friend Virgil
  • Westport MA – the library where I summer, trying to warm up to this library
  • Fletcher/Burlington VT – did consulting here this year and spent more time here
  • Canada Water UK – the closest public library to where my sister and I stayed in the UK, nice busy library
  • Cranston RI – visiting my friend ed, great renovations!
  • Springfield MA – did some work on the way to CT, neat building with a weird vibe
  • Cary Library, Lexington MA – did a talk earlier in the year, really nice place and great people
  • Tiverton RI Main Branch – lovely new building across from the Sip n Dip, great to see it!
  • RUHS Library – high school library in my town
  • Bangor ME – a neat classic library which is getting renovated
  • Greensboro VT – the quintessential Vermont library
  • Roxbury VT – taught an ipad class and saw how it’s been growing and changing
  • East Granby CT – killing time bfore a CT talk, this was a great place to get some R&R
  • Pasadena CA – there was a fancy event here for CLA and we had a nice time hanging out and talking to people in the theater.
  • Bethel VT – another place I taught an iPad class
  • Springfield NH – did some consulting for a library having growing pain challenges as they make decisions on whether to automate or not
  • Kellogg-Hubbard VT – went to a slide show given by a friend of mine, great to be here again.
  • Norwich University, Northfield VT – sropped by and saw their renovations and excellent art exhibits.
  • Orono ME – a pretty and small library

The bigger deal was really the Passport to Vermont Libraries project, a summer program put on by VLA which got hundreds of Vermonters visiting their local libraries and getting passport stamps and other fun adventures. I worked on this with a team of a few other people and it was a very successful program and I think a chunk of that was all of our enthusiasm for our library visits. So I didn’t get my further in my personal project, but professionally I helped get this idea to take off. If you just like library photos, I have more on Flickr.

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