- When nerds collide – some advice on managing groups of volunteers for one-off library projects
I failed to communicate the “why” of this project to the volunteers. Before turning my volunteers loose, I needed to explain the general workflow of the library. By saying, “here is a list of books to pull” or “adjust the shelves so they look like this” wasn’t enough information for them to grasp the bigger picture. Taking a moment to discuss how the library functions, sans library jargon, would have helped them understand the overall goals for the project.
- Highlights from Ian MacKaye’s Library of Congress lecture (video coming soon)
Every song I ever wrote, I wrote to be heard. So, if I was given a choice that 50 years from now I could either have a dollar or knowing that some kid was listening to my song, I’d go with the kid listening to my song.
- Publisher Threatens Librarian With $1 Billion Lawsuit for publishing this list of predatory publishers.
- Saskatoon Public Libraries have a contract – I was impressed by their silent protest/read-in at the City Council meetings.
- Forecasting Next Generation Libraries A Virtual Course-ference (Jul-Aug 2013, cheep!) – featuring a keynote by one of my favorite educational scholars Bryan Alexander.
Public domain photograph by: US Navy, National Science Foundation. Link.
I’m back at home after meeting with a lot of terrific librarians in four different states. March is the busy month and after last month my plan is “not getting in a plane more than once a month for work.” I’ll be speaking with my good friend Michael Stephens at the Indiana Library Federation District Six conference next week. I’ll do a wrap-up of the talks I’ve been giving sometime later but news for me is mostly having more free time to actually attend things and not just speak at them. Getting to go to programs at the Tennessee Library Association conference and the National Library of Medicine’s New England Region one-day conference about social justice has really helped me connect with what other people are doing in some of the same areas I’m interested in. It’s sort of important to not just be a lone voice in the wilderness about some of this stuff, so in addition to the SXSW stuff (and talking to a great bunch of library school students in Columbia Missouri) getting to attend library events as an audience member has been a highlight of the past few weeks.
However I’ve been backed up on “stuff I read that I think other people might like to read.” Try as I may Twitter is still for hot potato stuff [i.e. Google's April Fools Joke specifically, I felt, for librarians] and not for things that I think merit more thoughtful or wordy presentation. So, as I enter the first Thursday in over a month where I get to hang out at home all day, I’m catching up, not on reading because there is tons of time for reading while traveling, but on passing some links around. So, here are some things you might like to read, from the past few months, newest first.
- For Archivists, ‘Occupy’ Movement Presents New Challenges – becoming part of history includes keeping track of history. Howard Besser and others have been working to make sure that activism is archived. See his group’s website at Activist Archivists.
- Are Privatized Public Libraries So Bad? – an interesting look at the good and bad parts of privatized libraries. Not particularly compelling to me, but worth understanding the viewpoints of people who argue that this is where the world of libraries is going.
- Three cheers for the digital divide? Ann Treacy responds to a controversial Thomas Friedman post which said that we should spend less time trying to close the digital divide and more time getting super-fast bandwidth to “the top 5 percent, in university towns, who will invent the future” Treacy’s response is very thorough and very worth reading.
- Five things we can do in the US to support the public domain – as cultural stewards, we should be working more on keeping cultural content in the public domain.
- How Big Telecom Used Smartphones to Create a New Digital Divide – we hear a lot about how the increase in mobile broadband usage particularly among various minority populations is going to close the digital divide. This article examines how that’s not the case at all.
I was in Texas this past week, again. I was attending possibly my favorite library conference, TXLA. Part of the deal I worked out as a speaker was that I would be registered for the entire conference so that I could go to other panels and talks and events. I did. I also took in a lot of Austin sights, saw a bunch of people, participated in a rally and gave a pretty good talk. My inbox filled up with links for National Library Week while I was away and only paying partial attention to my email. I’ll make another post about the conference specifically, but these are the links that I wanted to pass around, late though they may be.
- Tell HarperCollins: Limited Checkouts on eBooks is Wrong for Libraries – a petition started by Andy Woodworth, with accompanying change.org blog post. I believe that time will show HarperCollins’ decision as misguided, but I see no problem telling them so now either.
- Gary Price let me know that he and his colleague Shirl Kennedy have moved on from Resource Shelf to a few new projects: InfoDocket and FullTextReports
- Remember The Library Guy in Florida, Paul Clark? He was named Florida’s Librarian of the Year. Congrats, Paul.
- Archives.org sent me a link to a nifty little infographic they made about the importance of libraries. Nice looking and informative.
I’m indoors refusing to move more than about four feet from the box fan. I am also attending to the last few emails in my inbox from people who sent me links or things they thought I’d like. Also I got caught up with my RSS feeds fairly quickly and now I feel like I’m reunited with a bunch of people. Not bad. Hi! Here are a few things that are worth passing on.
- BC Library’s AskAway program has gone away as of June 30th after four years and 130,000 questions.
- Neat [and long] YouTube video about how the National Library of Australia’s Newspaper Digitisation Program has used volunteers to help them proofread and tag digital content. Here’s a short blurb if you don’t have much time.
- Have I already linked to the History of Reading website at Harvard? I don’t think I have. I also strongly suggest reading Gutenberg 2.0 an article from the Harvard Alumni magazine, talking about the role of academic libraries in a wired age. Many fewer platitudes than you’d expect, and a lot of real innovation going on there.
- Bookmobile porn: International Harvester, First American Bookmobile.
- I may not have linked to this before but I went to speak at the Library 2.0 Symposium at Yale last April. I gave a talk that I mostly forgot about, but just found it again ego-surfing. I make the same points I always make about rural access but I think it’s a good talk. Companion slides (all five of them) here.
- Karen Schneider makes a thinky pre-ALA post about Open Source. Money quote: [E]very librarian who engages in tool creation to any degree improves the state of librarianship for all of us.
- Five ways rural public libraries can position themselves to help revitalize and engage rural communities.
First off, I’d like to point out this question from Ask MetaFilter which asks the age old question “I am trying to automate my small school/church/club library. What software should I use?” I gave a few answers, as did a few other people, but the short answer is “There’s no good tool for this” as near as I can tell. Please let me know if I’m wrong.
A few more links people sent me over the last week or so.
- Toronto Public Library cutting service to Sick Kids [hospital] reading room saying that the hospital should play more of a role in the provision of library services.
- Phoenix is considering closing six public library branches prompting one columnist to ask “Cut all librarians before any cop?”
- Marilyn Johnson has written a book — This Book is Overdue: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All. Here is an interview with Marilyn and a good looking book review from the Boston Globe
As per usual I’ve returned from holiday travelling with a lot of cool links to share and the admission that I’m behind on my blog reading — and this is me who is never behind, this is all deeply distressing to me — and I bet you are too. Anyhow, some things I’ve enjoyed reading over the past few days. I’m putting a Computers in Libraries column to bed today and it’s talking about widgets. I like talking about widgets.
- Phone box becomes mini-library – small community in Somerset turns old phone box into a lending library/free box for books.
- Portsmouth (NH) public library is having a documentary showing of DIY Nation + artist get together this weekend which looks like fun and a nifty type of program to boot. Plus I sort of stupidly like that they can link right to the book in their catalog. It’s 2009, how many of us can do that yet?
- One line update/coda to the Des Moines photography situation from the DMPL marketing manager “At this month’s meeting, our board voted to remove the requirement that permission be granted for photos to be taken in our library.” Woo!
- Curious to know what’s going to happen at the Hayward (CA) libraries when they go to a Netflix model for lending [pay up front, then no overdue fees]. Looking forward to seeing the crunched numbers at the end of this.
- In another neat model, ArchivesNext reports on the Amsterdam City Archives’ “you ask we scan” approach to digitization. There are some linked slideshows and further data. Interesting model.
There was a while during which I’d pretty much only blog on Fridays. MetaFilter was a little more relaxed, I was catching up on things, I usually wasn’t working. The downside was that a lot of people weren’t reading many blogs on Fridays, so anything timely sort of seemed to fll between the cracks. Of course if I know it’s timely I want, Twitter and facebook have me covered. And yet, I really like having a blog. I like longer form explanations. I like telling you why I think something is intersting or special, more than just saying WANT. Anyhow, here are some links that didn’t fit in over the week. Certainly more than odds and ends, all of them worth a longer read.
- Sarah Houghton-Jan talks about what it’s like to live with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Not just an interesting outline of what it’s like to have a misdiagnosed disease for a long time, but also what it’s like to live with chronic pain and a busy life. Many interesting notes in the comments as well.
- Kevin Kelly writes about The Triumph of the Default. I’ve mentioned similar things before. It’s surprising to me how many novice computer users have no understanding that all software comes with a bunch of pre-set configuration options, all of which have a default setting, a setting that was chosen by someone who makes software. In many cases, these defaults affect our impression of how usable a piece of software is. Remember when the talking paperclip was the default help option for MS Word? Defaults are cultural choices, and most people don’t change them. we should learn more about them, as librarians, and think about our own presets (browser home pages, anyone?)
- Seattle Public Library is implementing some new charges including overdue fines for ESL materials and a whopping $5 fee for ILLs. Some interesting data in the article including “7 percent of library cardholders are responsible for roughly 45 percent of the hold requests” No official mention on SPLs website yet. You can read the complete policy changes in this PDF document.
- In another cost-cutting move, the state of Vermont is no longer going to be paying for our “branded” access to Webjunction. As near as I can tell, we still have access to all the same content, with the exception of continuing education classes, prompting me to wonder what exactly we were paying so much money for. The Continuing Ed discussion forums haven’t had a post made since November 2008.
Hi there, I spent a chunk of my weekend selecting images from the NYPL digital valentine gallery and sending them around. Hope you had a decent weekend. I’m heading to San Francisco this week for the MaintainIT steering committee meeting. Should be an interesting time, the MaintainIT project has been an interesting one and they’ve produced some great information, but the funding cycle is ending and the big question is “What now?”
With that in mind, here are a few things I’ve been reading online over the past few days that didn’t hit escape velocity enough to merit their own post but that I thought you’d like.
- The Future of Reading – a NYTimes article about a school librarian that doesn’t resort to the usual cliches and drives home the point that I like to make – in the age of information overload, being able to separate good information from bad is more important than ever and librarians can help you do that.
- YANAL stands for You are Not a Lawyer – one of my favorite blogs, Freedom to Tinker talks about the difference between technology being able to introduce doubt into a legal proceeding (hey you have no idea if *I* was the one who downloaded that movie illegally) and what would happen to you if you’re even suspected (i.e. a world of hurt) so why you should understand the laws.
- CRS Reports to the People – part 1, part 2. The Congressional Research Service writes white paper style reports for Congresspeople. These are generally not made available to the public despite being paid for with tax dollars and being incredibly useful and well-researched documents. FreeGovInfo has been agitating for them to be made publicly available as a general principle, not just continually leaked via Wikileaks or Open CRS
- A portrait of Spencer Shaw, the first black librarian in Connecticut, who received a lifetime achievement award from the Black Caucus of ALA in 2005.
- Freedom to Read week is next week in Canada. I like this idea of a readers’ holiday better than Banned Books Week.
- TicTOCs a table of contents service. I was reading about this in Computers in Libraries and it’s great. RSS feeds of Tables of contents for many many journals. A great project.
- Library phobia – my goal in my professional life is never to be the sort of librarian people are afraid of.
I’ll try to write some actual longer posts this week but I wanted you to know what I’d been reading
Again, here are a set of things that maybe don’t need their own post but are worth letting people know about.
- Literal videos? Have you seen these? They are remixed videos where instead of the lyrics, you see captions or hear lyrics that describe what is happening instead. Very amusing. The first one I saw was AHa’s “Take On Me” but now they’ve done the Tears for Fears “Head Over Heels” video which is one of the classic videos that takes place in a library. Enjoy. (and of course there’s this)
- Sarah Houghton-Jan and Laura Crossett presented The Broke Library’s Guide to a Better Web Presence at IL2008.
- Dan Chudnov has a great set of slides form a talk he gave at MLC about free software. Many slides, easy to understand.
- Some discussion about Library Journal’s decision to bring eyeballs to their advertisers in the form of hosting the Annoyed Librarian’s blog. Free Range Librarian, David Lee King, Walt Crawford. My feeling is that I wasn’t payign that much attention to LJ anyhow and will probably continue to do so, though I really do like a lot of the people that work there.
- LISJobs has a lovely redesign.
- GODORT — the govdocs people — has a custom search engine that searches 611 government document sites simultaneously.
I’ll be doing another post on blogs added to my feed reader lately. I had organized and culled and plumped up my feed reading list a few months back [down time on an airplane] and was all pleased but then the hurricane that was my HD crash set me back to the beginning. I’ve been reading some neat stuff that I’ll be sharing with you.
As you know, I usually post the list of what I’ve read at around this time, but I haven’t read enough this year by my own admission so I will be adding a few more leftover links in this space and posting a “best of” list in a day or two. First of all check out what I saw in Boston.
It’s an ad for Sony’s “Reader Digital Book,” one of a zillion plastered all over the subway and train stations of Boston. I find it vaguely annoying, mostly because I find the commodifcation of reading annoying. The implication that some stupid computer is sexier than a real live person to help you with all your information needs? Stupid. Here are some other things left over from my inbox.
- Well this was in my literal mailbox… I never renewed my ALA membership after 2006. Last week I got a “Hey former member, maybe you’d like to reconsider?” piece of junk mail from them. I’ve been very happy with my VLA contributions and interactions, moreso than I ever was with ALA. While I’m happy to see the good things that ALA is doing, the fact that I basically did everything I could to get off of spammy mailing lists and emailing lists only to continue to hear from them is a bit disheartening. That said, my ALA website logins still work despite me not having paid them a thing. It all balances.
- The Michigan University Librarian has a blog. Not a lot there but I really enjoyed the first post: Being in Bed with Google.
- Washington state is the latest battlefield in the “let’s cut library positions in schools to save money” debacle. There is a very organized group called Fund Our Future Washington that is trying to stop this problem before it starts. Here’s an LA Times article with more information and a good recent supportive editorial from the Seattle Times.
- I am revising my review policy. People mostly don’t read it anyhow. In short, I am reading less and have less time for unsolicited books. While I still like to receive books that people think I may like, I do not want to set expectations inappropriately. The short form is: if you will be upset if I do not read your book, please do not send it to me.
That’s it until the booklist. Happy New Year!