Upcoming events and reflections on newsletters

I’ve spread myself a little thin. Which is not at all bad but it’s been an interesting few months to try to sort out what goes where. This blog has been going since April of 1999. Since that time I’ve gotten socially active in a number of other places, notably Twitter and Facebook. I usually use that for real-time keeping current, event notifications and back channel discussions with peers. This space has always been for longer-form link sharing and essays as well as a central repository of all of my talks, FAQ and other things. When I’m busy sometimes it’s just a linkdump and I had started a few tentative posts just titled TILT for Today in Librarian Tabs. Then I started thinking they might be better off as a newsletter and so TILT-Y Mail was born. Please feel free to subscribe if you like that sort of thing (by typing your email in the box). You can read past issues and see if it’s your cup of tea. Or if you’re the sort of person who uses the Medium platform, I have a version which is over there. I write one 500-750 word essay a week, on Fridays.

What this means, though, is that this blog space is unclear. It’s sort of for essays, sort of for personal announcements, sort of for events. I didn’t talk much about the Librarian of Congress swearing-in ceremony which was last week, even though that may be the biggest things that’s happened in librarianship in my professional career. Next week is Banned Books Week where I always write something up, our goofy flawed holiday.

And coming up there is some stuff going on in my professional life.

I like having a newsletter. I like having a blog. I seem to have enough time to (mostly) maintain both but I do spend a lot more time cross-linking between my various streams than I used to. I think my next article for Computers in Libraries magazine will be about newsletters.

If I ran the zoo/world/library

st and Cab Vinton talk library stuff

I had a great time at the Hooksett (NH) Library talking with the Merri-Hill-Rock Coop about library stuff on Wednesday. Cab Vinton from the Plaistow Library asked me what I’d like to do. I decided to break out of my normal “Here are some slides, let me talk about them…” routine and do something a little different. So I spoke for maybe 25 minutes about some Big Ideas I had for library services and then Cab and I spoke together and took questions about actual practical ways library workers could maybe work towards some of those ideals.

It was a really constructive 90 minutes or so with a bunch of creative librarians who come from smaller libraries and are always doing more with less. We spoke specifically about trying to do things to make our buildings more available, lend and share more digital content, and getting outside our buildings somewhat. I stressed the point that sometimes you can’t change a thing immediately but you can advocate for that idea and support others who are able to make material changes. Having the library’s support for a thing is more useful and important than I think we sometimes appreciate. People trust us and care what we have to say.

Here are my slides (with apologies to Dr. Seuss).

slide from my If I Ran the Library talk

What I wanted to be when I grew up

There was an interesting thread on ALA Think Tank where people talked about what they wanted to be when they grew up. I never wanted to be a librarian, though I liked the librarians that I knew. I wanted to be a writer though I wasn’t sure how you did that. I liked writing and I had the same name as a writer so I figured that would help. I was just digging through some old paperwork and I found my statement of professional concerns from when I ran for ALA Council. This is from 2002, so nearly 15 years ago

ala council statement

With the exception of the slightly over-the-top “family farms” aside, I still stand by this 100%, possibly even more now than I did then. And since then I’ve felt a lot more able to actually implement my ideas about the way the world of libraries and technology should work. I am very grateful that I work within a profession where I can be relevant and useful and effective in my late 40s and work with both older and younger members of my profession to create meaningful change. I even get to write a little as well. I’ve been updating my resume lately, not because I’m looking for work but just because it is a good thing to do, and will try to find a way to work this in there somewhere.

My Values Workshop for LLAMA’s Career Institute at ALA in Boston

What Matters? A Workshop for Developing & Articulating Our Values

I went to ALA for the first time in several years last week. I don’t think I’ve been to ALA since the Think Tank has been in existence. It was a great setup. Conference was in Boston. I was giving a pre-conference. Part of my deal was that I’d get registration for the conference, and one night in a fancy hotel (and some $). It worked out great. Usually, I admit, I dislike workshops. I don’t like to be in them and I barely know how to give them. However, my feelings on this are not normative, so I tried to bring my education and my experience to an afternoon workshop for about twenty people and have some useful exercises and activities as well as some good discussion. I think it went well. My main self-critique was that I had made sure I had three hours of “stuff” for a three hour workshop and maybe didn’t leave enough time for people to just talk to each other. More blank spaces next time. You can read through my slides as well as see the handouts and exercises (and the image credits) at this URL: https://www.librarian.net/talks/llama16/.

ALA had a conference app that encouraged you to upload your slides to the application so people could have them. Great idea in theory, but in reality I didn’t see any privacy policy and was a little leery of giving up my content so I uploaded a single slide with the URL to my actual slides. Hope people didn’t feel that it was too cheeky. A few other photos of my ALA trip are here. Thanks so much to everyone who came to the pre-conference and especially to LLAMA who invited me and took very good care of me. They were a joy to work with.

Talks and talking in 2015 to date

Librarians need to know... how porn drives technology

This has been an odd year. Not only am I teaching college as my major job now (HTML and CSS, but I’m an adjunct so I swear I won’t be making a thing about it) but I’ve been doing a lot less of the usual talk circuit talk stuff. I just got back from CLA (California Library Association) which was a totally great time. I gave two talks (a major talk and an Ignite session which is pictured here) and won at Battledecks which was a dream come true. I enjoy the Ignite format and I’ve give three Ignite or Pecha Kucha Style talks this year.

One about Open Library that I gave at VLA
One at NELA about the Vermont Passport Program (and I swear I will write an article about it real soon now)
– The last one about porn driving technology adoption which is not only true it’s an amusing talk topic. That was for the CLA After Dark part of the program at a specific Ignite session called the Haters Ball including suck topics as I Hate Library Tours And You Should Too.extremal-board

I also spoke to my local Rotary club about the Digital Divide and got a good conversation started in my community about what we can be doing to help the people who need help. This is all coming on the tail of some aggravated shoulder stuff that’s been keeping me away from the keyboard for the past few months except when necessary (read: for work) which is finally getting resolved. So hey how are things?