2022 reading list and commentary

s shelf with MAD paperback books of various titles

Here was the twitter thread of what I read last year. I’ll be posting on Mastodon this year instead.Find me there at https://glammr.us/@jessamyn. I read a lot of books this year but in many ways it wasn’t a great year for me (it’s improving) so I have mixed feelings about the sheer length of this list and am hoping to read LESS this year. I started to read 144 books and finished 142 but kept up with a few I maybe shouldn’t have. Here are stats for the books that I finished. Of note is that I’m lumping female and non-binary authors together only because I’m trying to read fewer books by men. I’m also retiring my “people of color/non-Western” category only because it relies too much on surface impressions/names. Continue reading “2022 reading list and commentary”

2022 in Libraries

looking up into the wooden dome of my home public library

Not a big year for libraries though I did get to one new one in Fairlee.

  • Kimball (56) – Once the library opened, it stayed open. This includes Drop-In Time shifts as well as work shifts and regular library visits
  • Chelsea (1) – Worked one fill-in shift here.
  • Fairlee (1) – I was in town for a conference and stopped by.
  • Hartness/Randolph (1) – Stopped by when I was on a walk I miss this place.

Previous years: 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and some reviews from 2003.

Ask A Librarian: Getting News to Our Patrons

black and white photo of Man sitting in a disarrayed newsroom, with newspapers scattered about

From our local librarian mailing list: Is it possible for library patrons to have free access to newspapers like The New York Times, The Washington Post, and those other big, famous ones? Or even little, non-famous ones?

I took this as a bit of a question about paywalls, though our State Library did chime in to say that there is some access available through Gale OneFile, specifically “the New York Times is available, while the Washington Post is not. USA Today looks to have a 3-day delay, and the Guardian has a 1-day delay.”

Paywall stuff is complicated! There are two basic answers to your question: an ethical one and a technical one. The answer to “Can I do this technical thing?” is quite often “Yes but you have to know how, and it might not be ethical.”
Continue reading “Ask A Librarian: Getting News to Our Patrons”

Oral testimony for the Working Group On the Status of Vermont Libraries

fred rogers testifying before a senate subcommittee

After submitting written testimony to the Working Group On the Status of Vermont Libraries, I was asked to come to the meeting to give oral testimony. I decided that instead of summarizing my written testimony, since there was only ten minutes, I’d do a bullet point style summary. This is that. I should note that while I do refer to the State Library, technically is is the Department of Libraries under the Agency of Administration. Below are my four points. Continue reading “Oral testimony for the Working Group On the Status of Vermont Libraries”

Testimony for the Working Group On the Status of Vermont Libraries

an older white man sits at a table behind a pile of books
[image credit: Library of Congress]

I was asked to give testimony about technology for the Working Group On the Status of Vermont Libraries. this is what I wrote.

My name is Jessamyn West. I am a librarian who lives in Orange County Vermont. I have a technology background, an MLIS, and I have worked for and with public libraries since moving to Vermont in 1997. I’ve written a book about technology instruction called Without A Net: Libraries Bridging the Digital Divide and I do public speaking on technology topics nationwide. I run the website and other technology for the Vermont Library Association, a professional association for public librarians in the state. I am the elected Vermont Chapter Councilor for the American Library Association.

My main work has been helping small rural libraries and their patrons learn to use technology to solve problems. I started as an outreach librarian at Rutland Free Library where I taught email classes using a flip chart and began my current work in 2005 when I was hired at the Randolph Technical Career Center as an Americorps worker. This is a regional tech ed facility serving many “sending towns.” RTCC wanted to do some outreach to those sending towns and so my job there was a combination of teaching local technology classes in their adult education program, doing direct outreach to the rural libraries in those towns, and what I called “Drop-In Time” which was an open session where anyone in the community could come ask technology questions on a weekly basis.

Drop-In Time started because we were finding that the people who signed up for our basic technology classes sometimes didn’t have the basic technology skills—vocabulary, mousing skills, keyboarding—to take those classes. We would also sometimes get referrals from the state’s vocation rehabilitation people and the local adult basic education program. Over time that job morphed into what I do now which is a similar Drop-In Time on a weekly basis as a library assistant with Kimball Public Library in Randolph Vermont. Since the beginning of COVID I will also occasionally do tech support email exchanges or Zoom/Skype/Teams/Hangouts technical support which the library employs me for, at library assistant wages.

I’d like to briefly address what I see as the main issues in the areas the Working Group on the Status of Libraries in Vermont has asked about. Continue reading “Testimony for the Working Group On the Status of Vermont Libraries”