Workshopping

I am always at a loss when I do things called “workshops” and people don’t have computers. Replicating the 2.0 world [or heck even the 1.0 world] using pens and flip charts seems a little silly, but I’m generally a tough one to please when dealing with participatory talks/events. I don’t mind interacting, but I like to think it will be worth my while and not embarass me. I like Andrea’s Blog Her “speed dating” idea. Gets everyone moving, a little, doesn’t embarass them, makes them think.

If it were my workshop I think I’d have everyone be in two lines and person #1 would say “I work at [$NAME_OF_LIBRARY]” person #2 would say “I know [$THING_I_KNOW] about [$NAME_OF_LIBRARY]” and then they’d move on, 60 seconds, bang. Point being, I think we sometimes have a hard time understanding what our institutions look like to people from outside them and from the outside it can be tough to know what things look like on the inside. I was showing off some Kansas libraries using Twitter this week and naming one library sent a few people in the audience into giggles. I had no idea why. They explained later that it was because of some recent drama concerning the library and the local consortia that I would have had no way of knowing about. Knowing about it was actually a neat thing, more stories, more data.

If anyone’s been in a workshop with an activity — offline if possible though online is fine — that you’ve really liked, please feel free to share in the comments. I’m always looking for new ideas.

Happy Birthday Andrea!

Thanks to MySpace’s birthday reminders, I can actually seem like an attentive friend and wish my pal Andrea a very happy birthday today! Like me, Andrea balances her professional time in both offline and online librarianish pursuits. She writes her own blog Library Techtonics and co-manages the PLA Blog while also working at the Reading Public Library where I am sure she was instrumental in helping them get their pictures on Flickr. We are in each other’s Top Eight how’s that for friendship? I hope you have a happy birthday Andrea.

first days of ALA

It’s been really great seeing all the activity at ALA. Attendance seems to be up from last year and the convention center, though far from everything, is a nice place to comfortably hold over 10,000 people. Here is a photo of most of them as they listened to Barack Obama yesterday. Here’s a quickie rundown of some things I’ve been doing:

  • Membership meeting has a quorum, which was immensely gratifying. There were a little under 200 people there. They introduced and passed a Resolution on the Connection between Iraq and Libraries which spoke to the incredible disruptions both culturally and economically of the ill-supported invasion and occupation of Iraq. My chapter councilor Trina Magi spoke to the resolution and it again made me happy to say “rah rah Vermont!”
  • Went to a Radical Reference meeting in the Chicago Temple. They have over 180 volunteers now and even though I’m only tangentially involved, it’s great to see that project growing and remaining useful even after the immediate task of doing street reference at the RNC is behind them.
  • I got to meet incoming ALA President Leslie Burger and just-about president Michael Gorman at back-to-back events on Friday. I think Leslie is going to bring some really interesting panache and energy to the ALA presidency. She talked about turning ALA into an “army of 65,000″ to really make libraries relevant to people, and useful to themselves. Michael seems to be speaking for himself just fine lately, but I have to say that blog comments aside I’m interested to see what his connections and dedication to traditional scholarship mean for the direction of his presidential term.
  • The PLA Blog has been getting a lot of good commentary, though it still needs to crawl its way up the Google rankings [so link to the PLA Blog]
  • The LITA blog is up, running, and really a great looking and well thought out contribution to the profession. I really hope that both of these blogs, contrasted with blogs like mine, Eli’s, Andrea’s Meredith’s and all the others, will show people the wide range of what blogging does, and how it’s just a medium for delivering all sorts of content.
  • On a related note, it’s been great having people come up to me, say hello, say they read this blog and tell me [sometimes] about theirs. ALA for me is all about meeting people and passing the introductions around.

Last night Eli and Laura and I went in search of a place to watch the fireworks from. We were heading to Andrea’s, but I’d confused the Hyatt with the Hilton and we were in the wrong one. We went into McCormick figuring there had to be some lakefront space somewhere and wound up wandering through a completely empty convention center that was sparsely staffed by some sleepy guards. We wound up on some outdoor deck area, far away from everyone, where we could just make out sounds of the band [Chicago?] and had an unimpeded view of the explosions over the lake. It was a high point of an otherwise already excellent day.

Today I’ll just be hanging out at the McCormick Center and the Hyatt, doing governance work and hopefully having enough energy to hang out and have a good time with the bloggers at the shindig tonight.

what quirky libraries have you been to lately?

Andrea visits the Fire Library

quoted librarian explains herself

My pal Andrea got quoted by the Houston Chronicle talking about what Laura Bush the former librarian, should be telling her husband. She explains herself further in this post.