This post leaves me dissatisfied with pie chart makers and is as much a note to myself as anyone else who will read it. Last year was a weird year for work. I picked up a bunch of odd consulting projects, I left my job at Open Library, and I started teaching graduate school on an adjunct basis (and they’re having me back this year!). That big pink chunk is the part I’ll be looking to replace this year. I’m looking for a part-time, mostly telecommute job doing outreach/community work with a library or library organization, or possibly a regular writing job since I liked my last one. I’m interested in doing more teaching. I have a good solid resume which I’ll be sprucing up.
I’ll continue to write for Computers in Libraries, staff drop-in time in Vermont, do public speaking and consulting, and pick up the odd consulting gig. I’ll write my labor of love newsletter which is one of the best things I started doing last year. It’s a little weird to not have One Big Job, but it’s preferable to having One Bad Job. Wish me luck and if I can help you get where you are going on some random way, do let me know.
I started 71 books this year and finished 68. I feel good about not finishing those three. I should really not-finish more books to be honest. I try to read most evenings and most mornings with varying success. I also read a lot on planes and I was not on so many planes this year.
average read per month: 5.67
average read per week: 1.3
number read in worst month: 2 (Jun)
number read in best month: 10 (Oct)
number unfinished: 3
percentage by male authors: 62
percentage by female authors: 38
percentage of authors of color: 7
fiction as percentage of total: 63
non-fiction as percentage of total: 37
percentage of total liked: 87
percentage of total ambivalent: 10
percentage of total disliked: 3
Not as many books this year because I read a few really BIG books (Stephenson and Howey I am looking in your direction) Another year where I read a lot of genre fiction which interferes with reading more by authors of color. A lot of non-neurotypical folks in there, and non-US folks, but that’s not the same. Need to find a way to make this a genuine option for me somehow. Slowly balancing out my male/female reading. I’ve started the Maisie Dobbs series which I like pretty well (though do not love) and read a bunch of “moody seashore” books which were terrific and I’d love to find more. If you’ve made a reading list for last year, I’d love to read it. Happy New Year.
Previous librarian.net summaries: 2015, 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.
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I’m a firm believer of eating your own dog food. Meaning if you say stuff about libraries (and I do), then make sure you go to them as if going to them was your JOB (and I do). Don’t just go to the one library where your job is, though that helps.
Every year I make a list. Every year I reflect on that list. This year I went to forty-five libraries in nine states and one non-US country. Eighty-six library visits total. Many more different libraries than last year, but just a few more visits overall. With all this, I only added two new libraries to my Vermont 183 project even as I hand out awards to people who have been to over 190 libraries in Vermont!
Seven years in a row I’ve been keeping this up. Previous years: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and some reviews from 2003
Libraries I went to more than once include.
- Kimball (VT) – my local and one of the best libraries in my opinion.
- Hartness (VT) – my local academic, bigger collection and longer hours but further away
- Westport (MA) – my summer local, don’t love it but do use it
- Tiverton (RI) – the library in the summer that I go to more often even if I can’t check out books
- Carney/Dartmouth (MA) – local academic, another great library, well-loved, well-used
- Harvard Law Library (MA) – where my fellowship is and where I can go work
- New Bedford (MA) – used to be a museum, I take guests here
- Hookset (NH) – here for work, twice, always enjoy it
Libraries I only went to once
- Gutman (Harvard) – part of an attempt to go to all Harvard’s libraries
- Winooski (VT) – doing some Passport work here
- Oak Lawn IL – stopped & checked email on our #WestOn20 trip
- Library of Congress (DC) – always a favorite
- Stowe Free (VT) – participated in a panel for their anniversary
- Newton (MA) – stopped to chill after a long ALA week
- URI/Carrothers (RI) – gave a talk, visited friends
- Claremont/Berkeley (CA) – hid out avoiding a kid birthday party
- Southworth/Dartmouth (MA) – great place to work, lovely art
- British Library (UK) – got to take my sister to this great place
- VT Law Library – MontP (VT) – a farewell to a colleague
- Lamont (Harvard) – so stoked to finally get in here!
- Aldrich/Barre (VT) – visiting a friend doing some visioning
- Belchertown (MA) – what a gem! stopped by on the way home from friends’
- MIT/Hayden (MA) – what a treat after Harvard’s closed system
- Ames/Easton (MA) – stopped in before a wedding next door
- Former War Library (DC) – this is basically IN THE WHITE HOUSE, omg
- Harold Johnson Library, Hampshire (MA) – my alma mater
- Montpelier (VT) – stopping in before seeing a friend
- Goddard (VT) – was on the radio!
- Brown/Northfield (VT) – passport wrap-up
- Cambridge/Central Branch (MA) – can’t even remember this visit but I am sure I liked it
- Boston Public (MA) – saw my friend Tom, got a cool tour
- Schlesinger/Harvard – saw my friend Jen, got a cool tour
- Lewisham (UK) – a great neighborhood library
- Watson Retreat Center (NY) – a funky special library
- Internet Archive (CA) – they say they are a library, so they are
- Girard (PA) – a round library, part of #WestOn20
- Caird Library (UK) – at the Naitonal Maritime Museum, not as friendly as I’d hoped
- Howe/Hanover (NH) – always a favorite
- MLK Branch (DC) – saw movies about black history and drank it in
- Weissman/Harvard – a rare open house, I was not allowed to take photos
- Cazenovia (NY) – a mummy!
- Manor House (UK) – a library having hard times but doing ok
- Fairfield/Millicent (MA) – another great library to take friends to
- BU (MA) – gave a talk, stuck around to see the basement
- Pollard/Lowell – a great old classic library
I’ve had an average of 80-ish visits per year for a few years now so I think that is my new normal. So a library every five days. A new library every eight days. Maybe when I hit ten years I’ll do a decade long wrap up. I wish this data was all in standard form….
I am very thankful my work takes me to all of these lovely places. Thanks to the librarians who graciously showed me around.
I put it on my newsletter and up on TILT (my online magazine? Whatever that is) but I left my job at Open Library this week. This is bittersweet since I left because I could not get the hours to pay me for all the work that needs doing there. I was paid for ten, looking for (at least) twenty.
Open Library is a bit of a singular beast. They lend ebooks worldwide for free. It’s a grand experiment that’s so far been going pretty well. I like using it because I can search for keywords inside of millions of books and because their reading interface is one of the best there is. I use their public domain books to find illustrations for the talks I give (either on the site or from these five million images on Flickr) and shared out some of my favorites on their Twitter account. So now that I’m not doing that, I can share out some stuff I find here…
Like a neat-looking bookplate, and then doing some research to figure out whose it was. And learning a thing as a result. Here is a bookplate that pointed me towards knowing more about Robert Lowie an early social anthropologist. The book it’s in is actually a book about old books and so has some great illustrations.
I’ll also miss learning more about librarianship as it was once practiced. This Union class-list of the libraries of the Library and Library Assistants’ Associations looks fascinating and yet I’m not even totally sure what it is. Its companion book, the Bibliography of library economy is 400 pages of Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature type of things only for libraries. I’d almost be reading it for fun but I couldn’t help picking out a few keywords and browsing.
As library topics remain prevalent in the news, everyone likes to thing that being good at Google makes them a proto-librarian. But the longstanding traditions of this institution are more than just finding things. It’s so much more about linking people to the information they want. Every book its reader. Every reader their book. I’m 100% down with digital librarianship being an efficient and effective way to do this, I just need to orient myself to doing that work in more of an actual digital library.
(note: this idea is not mine, I am merely running with it after it was mentioned on a mailing list I am on)
In these weird times where people are very unsure who to trust and even less sure how to feel about the government, the Library Freedom Playbook should exist and doesn’t. We have a few directions where we should be highlighting the important role of libraries.
1. The library is authoritative
2. The library is safe
3. The library is also the government
The last message is tricky. Many if not most public libraries are municipal organizations. The library is for everyone in the good ways that government is supposed to be but increasingly is not. Blind hatred/fear of government can keep people from getting services they deserve. We need a nuanced message here. I am aware this is not simple.
It’s important to get things ranging from EFFs advice which is useful but not always practical for an average person, to stuff like “Hey print this zine and give it to kids!”
Things like Tor are a huge deal for libraries because the libraries can do the work one time but ALL the patrons benefit. Raising awareness for libraries why this is useful is part of it (like Library Freedom Project). Giving talks that outline practical approachable solutions that aren’t overwhelming. Building plug-ins for common software like Chrome, WordPress, Firefox and common ILSes.
I remember when there was some weird post-9/11 concerns about certain publications from govdocs organizations being possibly “dangerous” and tried to recall them and then-head of Boston Public Library Bernie Margolis basically “letter of the law” complied (took them out of govdocs) but “spirit of the law” did not (put them in circulating collections). That highlights what high profile librarian actions can also
do for morale in addition to access, both of which are important parts of this.