This is not my usual ALA report because the Council meetings at LibLearnX were brief and I was occupied with some legislation I’d been working on. Here are some important notes for those who are interested in ALA topics.
Here was the Mastodon thread of what I read last year. This is the thread of the books I am reading this year. My plan was to read LESS this year than last year and I did a good job. One hundred and fourteen books. I was busier, happier. I think I stubbornly finished every book I started in 2023 although some of them maybe I shouldn’t have. I did lower my “books by men” percentage an amount that felt good. I’ve been actively seeking out non-binary authors and trying to read print a little more.
Not a big year for libraries. I didn’t go to any new ones! This was partly because I had a regular shift at my own, and am also sticking to my mostly-no-travel policy.
- Kimball (79) – Most weeks I worked here one day and I stopped by a lot of other times, for sub shifts or just to get a book.
- Rochester (1) – I did one drop-in shift here.
- Kilton/Lebanon NH (1) – Jim and I stopped by when we were in NH. It’s a neat place, has a cool garden and place to hang out behind it that I had never been to.
- St. Johnsbury Athenaeum (1) – Should have stopped by her more often since my dentist is across the street but I rarely felt like it before or after and now the friend I had there doesn’t work there anymore..
- Hartness/Randolph (1) – I got some books out. I should go by this place more often, it’s such a nice library.
I gave my first talk in person to librarians since 2019 this week. I’d been traveling less for climate change reasons but also for “sort of tired of it” reasons before Covid hit. I’d done two talk to non-library groups–one about Fair Use for lawyers and one about Libraries of Things for recreation department workers–but NELA was my first library talk. NELA is always one of my favorite conferences. Good group of people, I have no governance/admin role, interesting programs. I’m also nearly always able to drive there.
This time I was able to check out the reports from the New England state librarians (mine was home sick, but Massachusetts seems like they’re doing great things), see Robin Bradford talk about romance novels (so informative), learn what Simsbury (CT) is doing for DEI programming, and then give my talk. The room was big and it wasn’t super full but I enjoyed it and I think my part of it went pretty well. It was basically the Fair Use talk, rejiggered to be relevant to library workers. You can read that talk here. I drove home same day which may have been a stretch since it’s over two hours each way; it’s been a long time since I was at a big event with library people, in person. I miss it.
The other big milestone was that I submitted my last column for Computers in Libraries. I’ve been writing this column either on my own or with other people for fifteen years. Since I’ve started my new gig at the Flickr Foundation I’ve had less time for all of my other paid and unpaid work and I’ve been gradually trimming back. I’ve loved working with the folks at Information Today, my editor Dick Kaser especially, but a nearly-monthly deadline was starting to feel like a lot. I loved the work I did there, even if you can’t find most of it on their website. I’d like to get back to my newsletter.
Next up will probably be pulling back a bit from ALA. I’ve been a Chapter Councilor for a long time. It’s a large commitment and I’m getting more okay with my status as someone who prefers to stay a bit closer to home for my professional development. ALA continues to be an organization that hasn’t entirely embraced virtual ways of working. My work with VLA continues to be pretty fulfilling and I intend to keep that up.
A friend writes in: What are you doing about the idiotic book bannings and attacks on Librarians and what can I do to help?
It’s a mess and part of the mess is that it’s really state by state, so what might make sense for you where you are wouldn’t be the tactic in Pennsylvania or Iowa or Arkansas.
The usual advice is still good. Consider joining your local school board or library trustee board. You could even pony up some money to your state library association and join (even as a non-library person) which would help them do this work. Continue reading “Ask A Librarian: Dealing with haters?”