Temporary autonomous librarian zone – SXSWLAM recap

librarians are the coolest people at SXSW

It’s a pretty standard view of our profession that one of the things that makes a librarian a librarian is that they work in or with a library. That’s changing in weird and new ways, sort of. I just got back from SXSW and was really delighted to see a strong librarian presence in a number of new and useful ways. For people who are already part of the #SXSWLAM movement, you may already know this stuff, but for people curious how to make librarians into a presence, a terrific and “I want to hang out with those people and have what they’re having” presence, read on.

A lot of this stuff got started with a few high-traffic groups on facebook. I’ve been following along with ALA Think Tank for a while. They have managed to do the impossible: making the idea of joining ALA so that you could hang out with these folks seem like a really good idea. Nice work team. After SXSW last year, an event that had a really good turn out for a librarian meetup, a bunch of folks decided to really turn on the librarian energy and make a concerted effort to be Library Everywhere at SXSW. There was a group set up–#sxswLAM = Librar* + Archiv* + Museum*–a lot of scheming happening and some pretty amazing results.

There were a huge roster of presentations by and for librarians to choose from. I managed to go to a few and was happy to see both librarians and non-librarians in the audience. I enjoyed a solo presentation, The Great Library Swindle, by Carson Block and a really lively panel by some folks you know and love (Char Booth, Michael Porter, Nate Hill and Amy Buckland) called Making Stories: Libraries & Community Publishing (note: you can listen to this panel because the MP3 of the presentation is up already, how cool is that?).

There was also activity and liasoning with the library school at UT Austin. Paul Vinelli who has been blogging about the conference for ALA (posts: 1, 2, 3, 4) created a SXSWi primer for rowdy librarians which made the rounds beforehand and was a good guide for conference n00bs. ALA veteran John Chrastka, now doing his own thing at AssociaDirect did a little branding/fundraising and helped the crew get their own temporary tattoos and anyone who ran into one of the posse would get a baggie with some tattoos and other schwag. I wore my zebra stripe wristband the whole week.

There was also a meetup, a drinkup, and a lot of other activities where you could hang out with other librarians and just have a good time. A lot of this was coordinated through phone apps like GroupMe and the standard twittering and facebook. My two favorite parts of the whole thing (and as someone with a few different posses at SXSW, I didn’t participate too much but was cheering from the sidelines) were the upbeat energy and the inclusiveness. Anyone who wanted to be a part of it was welcome and the people involved were friendly, organized and fun. Big props to Andrea Davis, one of this years Library Journal Movers and Shakers, and Lisa Carlucci Thomas, who were two of the driving forces behind this year’s librarian surge.

Notes/slides/audio from my digital divide panel at SXSW

This year SXSW got the audio up from the panels very quickly. This panel isn’t mostly me, it’s mostly my two co-panelists Fiona Morgan and Justin Grimes talking about the other non-library issues surrounding how and why people can or can’t get access to broadband internet. If you’re interested in this sort of thing, you might like it. The panel went well, was well attended and started a lot of conversations that I think still need to be happening. I myself was without decent internet here at home for the past week since I got back from SXSW (I switched ISPs and had some in-between time where I “only” had access via my iphone and local wifi including, yes, the library) and it changed my life patterns more than I even thought it would. Interesting times.

Here are the slides (mine and Fiona’s and the text of my talk) and here is the panel page on the SXSW page which has the audio link after the blurb.

SXSW11 the year of the librarian say the Atlantic.

SXSW 2011 was the year of the librarian and I was glad to be a part of it. I’m still slowly heading homeward but you might enjoy this short Atlantic article.

while I was away – sxsw

So, I may have mentioned earlier that this is the month I’m away giving talks and talking to librarians instead of typing on my blogonet. I’m partway done. I’ve been to Florida and Alaska and Austin Texas and I’ll be stopping by Portland Oregon next week and then I’m pretty much done. I’ve done a few talks you’ve maybe heard before but the biggest news is the panel that NYPL’s Jenny Engstrom and I did at SXSW on Tuesday. It was called How The Other Half Lives: Touring The Digital Divide [link goes to our slides] and it was a look at how libraries are dealing with people on the other side of the digital divide.

Some of this is stuff you’ve heard before but some is newish. We were lucky enough to give our presentation after the FCC released the results of their broadband study but before they actually released their Broadband Plan, so there was a lot to talk about but not too much to fight about. The talk was well-attended, well-tweeted and folks asked a lot of questions and stuck around to talk more. I’ve just gotten back from Texas so I’ll save more links and discussions for a little later. Thanks to everyone who showed up and who supported us in our desire to get this talk on the roaster at SXSW. I think we gave people a lot of food for thought.

please help me get more library content into SXSW

I have proposed two presentations for the SXSW conference in Austin Texas next March. There is a complicated series of steps to determining which of the proposals will actually get picked. Part of this determination (30%) is a very basic voting thing where you can thumbs-up or thumbs-down a particular presentation. Voting is now open. We are encouraged to use our powers of persuasion to get you to vote for our ideas. I would like you to vote for my ideas. Here is a link to all of the proposals. There are over 2000 of them and 300 or so will get chosen.

My two proposals are linked here

- How The Other 1/2 Lives – Touring The Digital Divide
- Curating Cultural Content – Libraries Save Your Ass & Etchings

Voting involved signing up on the website and then clicking the thumbs up. I’d appreciate it if you’d consider doing this. I’m pretty into both topics but the first one is nearer and dearer to my heart, while the second one seems to fit in more nicely with the SXSW gestalt. A few other library-themed things you shoudl check out

- David Lee King presenting on Designing Your Customers Digital Experience
- Heath Rezabek’s Connected Youth: Austin Public Library Teens Get Mobile
- Cecily Walker’s Can I Reserve This Book With My iPhone?
- Jason Schultz’s Reading ReInvented: Can You Steal this Book?
- Tiffini Travis’s Librarian Glasses or Stripper Heels about information fluency.
- Brian Rowe’s Digital Accessibility on Ebooks and Phones : #$@^ Kindle
- Bill Simmon is also proposing a panel which I may be on: Hyperlocal Focus: Growing A Vibrant Community Media Ecosystem

And a few presentations about books more generally…

- Allen Weiner’s Publishers Look To E-Reading to Reach Digital Consumers (curious about this one)
- Travis Alber’s The Future of Reading: Books and the Web
- Dharmishta Rood’s Networked Reading: Viewing as an Act of Participation
- Aaron Miller’s Books and the Twenty-First Century – The New Realm of Reading
- Bradley Inman’s Too Busy To Read? The Future Of Books
- Two related seeming panels: Kindle 2020 and The Book in 2050

Please vote early and often and for as many ideas as you like. There are a lot of great ideas in there on related topics like gaming and accessibility and web standards. Even if you’re not even considering going to SXSW, please take some time to vote up ideas you think should be getting exposure at a web geeks conference. Thanks.

SXSW bound? Me too!

For any librarians attending SXSW — which I’m gathering will be at least a few judging from the chatter I’ve been hearing — I’ll be there starting tomorrow night. Here is the short list of events I’m committed to

  • Librarian meetup at the Iron Cactus on Saturday at 12:30 – more details, or here
  • MetaFilter meetup Saturday at 6:30 at Mother Egan’s – more details
  • The panel I’m on about community moderation — with folks from Flickr and YouTube and Etsy and CurrentTV — Sunday at 3:30
  • Fray Cafe Sunday night from 8 – midnight. I’m a featured performer, come hear my crazy story.

I leave on Tuesday. Monday is an open day and I may go to the Ransom Center to see what’s nifty there.

While I was away at the tech conference

card catalogs

Hi. It’s been a while. I was out of town at the SXSWi conference in Austin Texas. I was on a panel and hung out for a few days on either end. I went to a few libraries while I was out there. I also got to spend some time with David King who was the only other librarian I crossed paths with besides the gals at the librarian meetup which I missed because it overlapped with the MetaFilter meetup. David and I took in the exhibit floor and spent some time trying to explain to vendors why they might want to exhibit at a library conference.

I talked about “user revolts” on the panel I was on which included Gina from LifeHacker, Jeska from SecondLife and Annalee from io9 and many other locations in the blogoverse and elsewhere. The notes for my seven minute talk are here, just some backgrounder on MetaFilter and a timeline of some things that happened. I was surprised how many people who are newer at managing online communities (I’ve been working at MeFi since early 2005) were still grappling with how to deal with comments and user civility issues. I got to talk to people at Dogster and YouTube about what works and what doesn’t work to keep things under control. I also got to hang out with a lot of my “old school” blogger friends — where old school means you started your blog last century — and catch up with a lot of people who rarely come to my neck of the woods.

There were keynote talks by Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook (which went quite badly, check YouTube or the blogs for specifics), Frank Warren from PostSecret and Jane McGonigal from The Institute for the Future. Henry Jenkins and Steven Johnson gave opening remarks and talked a lot about how the nature of information and how we learn is changing and how we are shifting towards “lifestyle democracy” towards openness in more of our lives and shared experiences. It was good food for thought, especially as I tangle with tech issues and the digital divide here at home.

And, there was Twitter. When I’m at home, I like to keep an eye on Twitter because I like feeling there are other people working when I’m working, and I like to keep up with Libraryland and Bloggertown and my sister and random internet celebs in small doses. When the Eliot Spitzer news hit, I heard about it on Twitter first. Twitter told me when the parties I was walking towards were already filled to capacity. And, when I left my camera in a hotel lobby my friend who found it Twittered that he’d left it at the desk within ten minutes of me noticing it was missing. Now I’m home where my cell phone doesn’t work and catching up on news and bird feeding and teaching a Getting Started with Excel class. I’m heading to Michigan on Monday to give a talk at a Teaching Technology in Libraries workshop and then turning back around where I’ll be home in Vermont for most of the rest of the month. My Austin photoset is here and includes many nifty library shots (oooh Gutenberg) in addition to the standard “this is me at the hotel bar drinking with geeks” sorts of things.

I’m putting together a few more posts, one about SWIFT and one with the links I’ve seen that were worth a mention over the past week. I realize this blog is sometimes turning into “hey I was gone and now I’m back again but I’m leaving soon…” and I’ll try to do something about that.

off-topic: see me be revolting at SXSW

South by Southwest is a big conference thing in Austin Texas in March. It’s made of music, movies and something they call “interactive” which is basically Internet. It’s an interesting conference that I went to once in 2000 and it changed my life pretty much forever. I met a bunch of early bloggers in the flesh and we became friends and the rest is pretty well trod-upon history. During SXSW since then I was often petsitting for my blogger friends while they went to Texas. This year I may be going. There is a panel called Social Network Coups: The Users are Revolting! put together by Annalee Newitz who is all sorts of excellent. There is a good chance I will be speaking on that panel in my role as moderator of MetaFilter. IF… if the panel gets chosen. Fortunately, SXSW is a pseudo-democracy so you can vote for panels you’d like to see. And I say pseudo because you can also implore your friends to vote for you and/or your panel and it’s all kosher. So, if you’re picking up what I’m laying down here, please consider voting for my panel, or any number of interesting panels you’d like to see, whether you’re going or not. And the title of the panel? Pure coincidence.