a few unrelated talks & travel

The interesting thing, to me about being known as an “influential librarian” is that sometimes when life gets busy people still know you as a blogger even if you’re not doing much blogging. I’m in the process of selling my house/barn–not the place where I live, but the “camp” of sorts that I have in northern Vermont–which has meant an awful lot of finicky projects and less leisure internet time. Not complaining, just explaining. Combining this with May/June being one of the busy times for public speaking and I’m becoming one of those can’t-wait-til-summertime people.

I’ve also been doing more work at MetaFilter. You might have read about a particularly weird event on our site in Gizmodo last week. Most of that happened while I was on the road in various places. I know we talk a lot about the “library anywhere” model, but with the funding structure of libraries, that sort of thing is really tough/complicated/impossible though it’s a vision of mine, right up there alongside, ironically, living inside the library. The two trips that I took were short ones. Here’s the description of the trips and talks.

1. I went to Montreal to go to the Mixmedias conference which was all about online community. I was invited to speak to talk about how I do what I do on MetaFilter. It was a small newish conference, but happening alongside a larger web conference and one all about smart televisions, something I know very little about. My talk “Markets are Conversations: creating and managing desirable online communities” was pretty well received and it was neat to be someplace where I got to talk to a lot of other people concerned with and working on online community ideas.

2. I went to one of my perennial favorites, the Maine Library Association conference in Orono Maine. I did a keynote/luncheon speech called Achieving Tech Literacy which was sort of the “Where do we go from here?” talk. It’s all new, not really a digital divide talk per se but more how to we get to the point where we have a rising tech tide that really DOES lift all boats, not just wash some of them entirely downstream, to strain a metaphor. I was very pleased with it and with the conference generally.

Both the drives allowed me to do something else I’m working on which is taking photos of more of Vermont’s 251 towns so that I can complete my “plus” membership in the club. Not that I get anything special from this, but I’m a completionist and this has been a fun project. I’ve been to all the towns but only photographed less than half of them. Upcoming talks include the LACUNY Institute next week, a NELA-ITS event (another perennial fave) and Charlotte/Mecklenburg County. This was all looking like a nice fun schedule a few months ago, now it’s looking a bit hectic. Please say hello if you see me zipping by.

Library Camp!

I went to library camp in Montrèal and had a very good time. This was the second library event that I’ve been to recently where I stuck around for the whole thing and I’m glad I did. I even woke up early so that I could see John Fink and Jason Hammond’s talks which were before mine and worth getting up for.

The promo materials said I was going to be “inspirational” so I tried my best. I basically did an anti-pecha-kucha talk with six pictures slides that were each on the screen for about eight minutes each. And I wrote out a talk, with all the words not just my usual “now talk about the digital divide” notes. I was pleased with it, though the informal no-podium nature of the event meant that I still wound up riffing a fair amount and doing weird things like this. Plus it was 100 degrees [37.7 C] but people were nice and stayed awake. The Library Camp event was in the Cyberthèque in the basement of a McGill building which was an awesome place to have an event. Big tables, lots of computers, working wifi, nearby bathrooms and snack machines, good screens and projectors and AV. Big big pros to Amy Buckland and Amanda Etches-Johnson for creating a terrific event and to everyone else for coming out and participating.

My talk — NOW I WILL INSPIRE YOU — is available in a few formats.

  • The main page where slides are available in various formats (not super helpful)
  • The actual words from the talk itself
  • some live-blogged goodness which I had to make a real effort to not read while I was talking

Notes from Montreal talks

I managed to do two talks in two days from the same set of slides that were, in many ways, totally different.

I talked about Library 2.0 stuff to McGill SLIS students on Thursday and then to professional librarians (mostly) today. Good talks, interesting people, all followed up with some delicious food and grand socializing in Montreal, one of my favorite places. If anyone would like to see my list of links and handout, you can see them on this page: Library 2.0 – links & resources. The pdf is sort of large, but the list of links goes to almost all the websites I talked about, and the handout is the standard “places to find me online” if you want to explore a little but don’t know many people using the tools yet.

Thanks to everyone who came out and listened and responded and limboed and chatted with me.

Welcome to the Big Bibliothèque

Montreal gets a big downtown library, to house the public library collection as well as Quebec’s National Library collection. Not as fancy outside as, say, Seattle Public, but pretty feature-rich nonetheless, lots of nice photos. [thanks aaron]