Archive for December, 2011

2011 in libraries

As with last year and the year before, I tracked the libraries that I visited this year. I usually take pictures if I can. I use Daytum to track visits. The graph it produces is weird because the one big chunk is the library I work in but the other big chunk is called “twenty-four more items” which is sort of a weird way to display data. If anyone has a better lifetracker app they enjoy, please do let me know.

I went to forty-four different libraries for eighty-three visits total, I’m sure I have forgotten some. It’s a big increase over last year. Here’s the short annotated list of what I was doing in libraries last year. I have a few library photos in this Flickr photoset.

  • Kimball Library, Randolph VT – this is the library where I work as an on-call part timer since I live up the street, and also where I check out books
  • Hartness Library, VTC, Randolph VT – this is the good college library nearby me where anyone in the state can get a library card
  • Westport, MA – the library in the town where my father lived and where I still spend a good amount of time. Great booksale.
  • Fletcher Library, Ludlow VT – I was part of the e4VT program here and taught a basic skills computer class with ARRA grant money, a lovely old school library
  • Ann Arbor PL, MI – gave a few talks over a few days and got to hang out here, love this place
  • Milwaukee Public, WI – a library I hadn’t been to in a long time, an impressive building that maybe used to be a zoo?
  • Howland Green, New Bedford MA – one of New Bedford’s “not the main library” libraries.
  • Terraza PL, Austin TX – a cool little branch near where I was staying.
  • UNT – Willis – got a tour, enjoyed the open spaces
  • Hudson PL, MA – a small funky branch right by a river
  • Chapel Hill NC – in the mall for the time being, but pretty neat for a temporary library
  • Lubec, ME – lovely and small with great furniture and mosaics outside
  • Central Branch, Portland OR – long been one of my favorites
  • Marquette, Milwaukee WI – got a tour from a friend and saw the abandoned old entrance
  • SIBL/NYPL – the best place to check email downtown
  • Southworth PL, Dartmouth MA – another small branch in Southern MA
  • Emily Fowler Library, Denton TX – got some local history and learned about local architecture here
  • Central Branch, Austin TX – another perennial favorite – got some books for the plane
  • Ryerson Library, Grand Rapids MI – an impressive library with a lot going on inside
  • Pierson, Shelburne VT – underneath the town hall with a good board game collection
  • Kalamazoo Public – neat and fancy, got a tour of the basement
  • UNT – Eagle, Denton TX – checked out the new learning commons getting set up
  • Denton North Branch, Denton TX – a weird side-of-the-highway large branch
  • Kent District, Kentwood MI – neat suburban library with some cool public art and terrific views
  • Bar Harbor, ME – got a tour while they were setting up for the booksale
  • Lawler PL, New Bedford MA – another small New Bedford Library, sort of sad looking
  • Roanoke PL, Roanoke TX – a small library doing a lot with what they had
  • Twin Oaks PL, Austin TX – a fancy new little branch
  • Bailey-Howe, UVM, Burlington VT – one of my faves, especially the special collections in the basement
  • TWU, Denton TX – got a tour from my friend Greg and enjoyed the history and the air conditioning
  • Maine State Library, Augusta ME – a great hideout after a long day conferencing
  • Ransom PL, Plainwell MI – one of the little libraries we saw driving from Kalamazoo to Grand Rapids
  • Kilton PL, Lebanon NH – tour from my friend Virgil! Neat new branch.
  • Olin College, Needham MA – tour from the head librarian, neat materials science collections
  • Alling PL, Williston VT – a small library good for checking email when on the road
  • Hartland VT – my friend Mary works here!
  • Allegan District Library, MI – a pretty straightforward library
  • Parchment PL, MI – a diaorama of the parchment factory is hidden in the basement here
  • Peabody Institute, Danvers MA – a beautiful building with a lovely landscaped grounds, nice for hanging out
  • Putney PL, Putney VT – warm and small with a lot going on for a teeny place
  • New Bedford PL, New Bedford MA – beautiful old building sort of clunkily repurposed, always great for a visit
  • Ferguson Library Stamford CT – went to a CLA event here and bought expensive books from their booksale
  • Holland MI PL – fancy and with turtles
  • Brooks PL Brattleboro VT – some neat open source stuff going on there, got a tour after giving a talk

2011 reading list, a year end summary

Books
Image is by shutterhacks

I did a lot of reading-while-traveling this year. I got a lot of travel books from random library booksales. I’ve still been reading in paper-book form, as much as I see the compelling argument for ebook readers, I haven’t made the switch. Here are previous year end lists: 2010, 2009, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004. My booklist lives over on jessamyn.info/booklist and it has its own RSS feed. Here’s the wrap-up of what I read in 2011.

number of books read in 2011: 56
number of books read in 2010: 48
number of books read in 2009: 39
number of books read in 2008: 31
number of books read in 2007: 53
number of books read in 2006: 60
number of books read in 2005: 86
number of books read in 2004: 103
number of books read in 2003: 75
number of books read in 2002: 91
number of books read in 2001: 78

average read per month: 4.67
average read per week: 1.01
number read in worst month: 2 (Feb/April/Dec)
number read in best month: 10 (July)
percentage by male authors: 72
percentage by female authors: 28
fiction as percentage of total: 54
non-fiction as percentage of total: 46
percentage of total liked: 92
percentage of total ambivalent: 5
percentage of total disliked: 2

I read a lot of books by a few authors that I found and liked the year including Tana French, Geraldine Brooks and Connie Willis. Still not really on the ebook bandwagon. Still enjoying reading paper books in bed. Still finishing a few books I started in 2011, I expect this trend to continue. Wish me luck, and happy reading in 2011! Feel free to link to your own reading lists in the comments.

streamlined digital divide talk – 12 minutes

A few weekends ago I gave a talk at the KU Diversity Summit, an online conference that took place virtually, but also physically at the Kansas University School of Journalism in Lawrence Kansas. As you know, I have a soft spot for Kansas. As you may or may not know, I usually don’t do online conferences because I have a hard time dealing with the technical and social snafus that usually accompany them. I like to give talks, not be told I have to install Windows-only software or register for a site with sketchy privacy policies just to interact with listeners. I know other people can deal with this stuff gracefully and I happily recommend them when I’m saying “Thanks but no thanks” to people. I may be getting a little cranky in my old age, but I’m also just interested in giving higher quality talks less frequently. This is a goal for 2012.

Anyhow, the team from KU charmed me and assured me the tech issues would be minimal; I could do everything over Skype, have slides or not have slides and they’d field questions from the live audience and from Twitter. It went well. They had a tight schedule so asked me if ten minutes was okay. I said “Fifteen?” As it was I managed to do it in about twelve. The full video, all five hours of the conference, is available online here, but I’ve trimmed out the part that I did, short talk, short Q&A session afterwards and links to more information are at librarian.net/talks/ku. It think it’s a pretty concise summary of the major digital divide issues that I think are facing people and libraries.