some library love links from astronauts and actors and poets and fans

Sometimes it’s a good thin to remember that libraries have big imacts on people who do big things. The ripple effect is hard to quantify, but it’s a good thing to remember. From my inbox

  • Ronald McNair was one of the astronuauts killed in the Challenger explosion 25 years ago. There was a piece on NPR about his brother reminiscing about how McNair was adamant about using his public library in South Carolina despite the fact that it was supposedly for “whites only”
  • Wil Wheaton, actor and blogger shared a short bit he wrote for a literacy project explaining why he thinks librarians are awesome.
  • In the comments of that post is a link to this poem published in Library Journal: Why I Am In Love With Librarians.
  • Another booster site that I forgot to mention earlier is the Library History Buff site. Larry Nix is a retired librarian and library history enthusiast. I’ve linked to his library history page many times over the years, but I’m not sure if I’ve linked to his blog. He recently did a post wrapping up the work he did in 2010 and pointing to the page he created for it. Good stuff, worth reading.

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gaming for everyone

I have really been enjoying Library Journal’s column on games and gaming in their print magazine and should probably be adding Liz Danforth’s blog to my “to read” list. I enjoyed Allen McGinley’s post in 8bit Library talking about gaming for kids with special needs, with computer and non-computer games. Good list for a starting gaming program.

I made the cover of Library Journal for no reason whatsoever

Hiya. I’m preparing for a talk on Social Software that I’m giving in Utica, New York next Friday. I’ve been travelling significantly less and staying home writing much more. It’s been going well. I noticed last night on facebook [thanks Trevor] that I appear to be cartoonified and on the cover of this month’s Library Journal. Of course this is the post-Reed Business LJ, so I can’t find the cover on their new website and Trevor confirms there’s no actual mention of him or me in the actual article, but hey why pick nits? Interested folks can head over to his facebook profile and ID all the other luminaries on the cover including Emily Sheketoff, Nancy Pearl, Toni Morrison, Ginnie Cooper, Jill Nishi, Salman Rushdie, Mario Ascencio, Trevor Dawes, Camila Alire and Keith Michael Fiels floating away holding on to some balloons.

Library Journal on Libraries in Crisis

A friend who is working with the Save LAPL campaign has also been actively paying attention to all of the other libraries in crisis stories that Library Journal [itself newly for sale and purchased] has been writing. Here they are.

LIBRARIES IN CRISIS

Boston:
http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6719906.html
http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6725545.html

Charlotte, NC:
http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6723200.html
http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6724087.html
http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6723882.html
http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6726630.html

Florida:
http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6723308.html

Houston:
http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6726308.html

Indianapolis:
http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6725481.html

Lexington, KY:
http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6723655.html

Los Angeles:
http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6727913.html

Massachusetts:
http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6727650.html

Michigan:
http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6721718.html

New Mexico:
http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6720424.html

NYC:
http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6726822.html
http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6726822.html

Ohio:
http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6725584.html
http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6727977.html

Portland, ME:
http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6725481.html

San Francisco:
http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6722800.html

San Jose:
http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6722394.html

Tennessee:
http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6722036.html

on defaults, and design

Aaron Schmidt has a column in Library Journal about user experience. Here is his first column. The ideas of design and user experience seem sometimes orthogonal to what we do in libraries. We are concerned with content not containers, you know “judging a book by its cover” and all that. Aaron explains why design matters and how it pervades many aspects of what we do. Sarah got the best pullquote out of it already

Every time librarians create a bookmark, decide to house a collection in a new spot, or figure out how a new service might work, they’re making design decisions. This is what I like to call design by neglect or unintentional design. Whether library employees wear name tags is a design decision. The length of loan periods and whether or not you charge fines is a design decision. Anytime you choose how people will interact with your library, you’re making a design decision. All of these decisions add up to create an experience, good or bad, for your patrons.

This comes up in my technology-instruction world quite often. Many things about how a user interacts with a computer are pre-determined or at least have a default setting. So the talking paperclip? Someone made a choice that you would see that, instead of having it be a turn-onable option. The “your computer may be at risk!” messages? You can turn them off but the default is ON. These are all choices, actively or passively made. My feeling is that the more we explain to people that they can re-make some of these choices [get the talking dog away from the search box!] it empowers them to envision their computing experience the way they might want it to be, to know they have choices.

Library 2.0 and Jaron Lanier and You

I interviewed Jaron Lanier for Library Journal between Holidaytime and New Years. An excerpt of the interview is now in print and also available on Library Journal’s website: Jaron Lanier on the limits of Web 2.0, intellectual property, and libraries as a place of refuge. You can also read the unabridged interview with Jaron Lanier on my site.

To me there’s clearly something missing in the formula that we’re developing for civilization. There’s something missing and I think that the library will naturally come to fill that gap. And making the library into some sort of alternate facebook access point is exactly the wrong way to achieve that.

Give someone else a chance to move and shake….

Library Journal Mover and Shaker nominations are open until this Friday. I have to say that being in the first group of Movers and Shakers back in 2002 gave me a sort of boost of recognition in an otherwise large and sometimes overhwlming seeming profession. I try to nominate someone every year if I can and I’m set for this year. Have you nominated anyone? Go do it!

what’s going on with koha and liblime

“Meanwhile, if there is high ground to be had, I doubt it is currently occupied by LibLime.”

Roy Tennant explains what’s been going on at LibLime and links to a longer post at Library Matters. LibLime’s version of this announcement, on their news feed, is not very encouraging. As someone working with a tiny library and a free version of Koha, I’m particularly disappointed in the libraries that are helping bankroll this and are not pushing for more openness in terms of release dates for code and better communication all around. Meanwhile Nicole Engard whose work I respect a lot has taken a job at Bywater Solutions. They are lucky to have her.

missing ALA this year

I sort of have a “How can I miss you if you won’t go away” feeling about ALA most years. I went when I was a councilor. I went when it was near me. I went when I was speaking at it. This time, none of these things were true and I was still a little exhausted from ALA Anaheim last year where my credit card number was skimmed and I had to drive an hour to get a decent restaurant. This year ALA is sounding fun, from the reports. ALA is always a better time when it’s in Chicago. More of the staffers can go and more people are used to the location and can get decent hotel rooms and the weather isn’t horrible. At least that’s been my experience. My work travel this month is going to consist of a trip to New Orleans next week [another popular ALA summer venue] for MetaFilter’s Tenth Anniversary where I will be paid to drink beer and eat alligator and wear a catchy t-shirt. Here are a few links I’ve been seeing about what I feel I’ve been missing at ALA.

It’s just like being there, only I’m still in my pajamas, and I slept til 11.

can you loan out a kindle?

Library Journal announced last week that Brigham Young University had received a verbal okay from Amazon to start lending Kindles in their library. This week it appears that they’ve suspended the program until they can get written permission. While I totally understand the concerns on both sides here, I’d really like it if libraries sometimes erred on the side of continuing to do whatever it was that they were doing, in good faith, and let the vendors let them know if they’re not doing something correctly. It’s a little weird to me that Amazon has invested all this time and money into an ebook reader and has no policy about what the legal/copyright concerns are with using it in a library. Can someone please force this issue?

update: There is an interesting story making the blog rounds about just how much of the Kindle’s policies and DRM weirdnesses remain mysterious, even to the people who work at Amazon.