I’ll be doing a lot of work-related travelling over the next few weeks. I encourage anyone who will be at any of these conferences to stop by and say hello.
- Wisconsin Library Association – I’ll be doing a digital divide talk and a tech tips talk this Friday. Possibly the best conference ever, according to one blog. It’s at a weird resort-like place. I will be met at the airport by someone in a safari get-up.
- Hawaii Library Association – Hawaii is the only US state I’ve never been to. The second to last one on my list, Alaska, I crossed off in 1997 sometime. I’ll be discussing high tech on a shoestring, and tech support tips for reference librarians on the 11th of November.
- Michigan Library Consortium – a workshop with Aaron Schmidt and Meredith Farkas about blogs, wikis and IM. I’ll be doing the blogs part on the 15th.
Yeah, it’s a lot of travelling. I even got a new haircut. After this I’m settling down and hunkering down for the winter and focusing on writing and planning for 2007.
I finally got to meet Anna Creech as well as a bunch of other great librarians when I was in Oregon. Anna has some notes from my talk as well as the two other speakers who gave presentations on the first day, Anthony Bernier and Rachel Bridgewater both of whom gave really interesting presentations that I was delighted to find myself sandwiched between.
All of us spoke a lot about recent data from the Pew Reports, many of which I was copying and pasting graphs from into my talk at the last minute [see geocities vs. myspace and encarta vs. wikipedia] and I even got to mention the Digital Divide a little. I was sorry that I wasn’t able to include information from Speed Matters, a site set up by the Communication Workers of American urging that the US develop a comprehensive broadband policy to ensure equitable broadband access for everyone. I just learned about the site from FreeGovInfo which discusses some of the different ways we still have a digital divide.
There is an income digital divide: more than 62% of households with incomes over $100,000 subscribe to high speed broadband at home while just 11% of households with incomes below $30,000 subscribe.
There is a rural/urban digital divide: only 17% of adults in rural areas subscribe to broadband compared to 31% in urban and 30% in suburban areas.
And there is a farm/non-farm divide: only 15.8% of farm households have adopted broadband.
Here’s some specifics about the Vermont situation and Verizon’s plan to sell off local access lines in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Here in Vermont that’s about 85-90% of the state’s phone lines. While I loved living in Topsham with our local telephone company Topsham Telephone, there’s a real problem when big businesses who were given favorable legislation to obtain monopolies in industries like telecommunications are then allowed cherrypick and jettison the less profitable areas.
This will affect me personally, as well as people in my town and county who are still waiting to have DSL available in their locations. As we learned from the Pew Reports, people who have faster connections do more online. More government information and resources are being moved online. More online content is becoming inaccessible to people who only have dialup connections. Getting broadband to the libraries is part of the equation, and an important part, but what are our other obligations to get our patrons and our neighbors on to the information superhighway at speeds that are adequate to do what they need to do?
I’m in the back of the room at the ACRL Oregon & Washington conference called Resistance Is Futile: Academia Meets the NeXt Generation. My talk Sensible Approaches to New Technology in Libraries, subtitled How do you work Library 2.0 into your 1.5 library with your 1.23 staff and your .98 patrons is online and it’s been updated since the last time I gave a sensible tech type of talk.
In the most recent Dispatches from a Public Librarian, Scott Douglas asks readers to “invent my life” on Wikipedia. By the time I checked out the Wikipedia article, which was not even linked from his essay, it had already been protected which is Wikilanguage for “we’re stopping you from editing this page until you monkeys quit messing with it.” A quick inspection of the page’s history, ah transparency, shows that the page was created by someone named Roboscott (which matches his email address) about two weeks ago and had a flurry of editing yesterday, the day the essay was published, culminating in it being protected about 24 hours ago.
I would like to direct your at5tention to Babes With Books. Subtitles “Smart girls are hot! — Nothing but pictures of attractive literate females. A book blog like no other.” it even has a post with (a few) scenes from libraries. [thanks paul!]