Happy National Library Week. This is the week that encompasses a few more days worth celebrating including National Library Workers Day on Tuesday, National Bookmobile Day on Wednesday and Support Teen Literature Day on Thursday. Oxford University Press is giving away free access to the OED for folks in North and South America through Saturday. That’s sort of neat. I just got back from a very fun time giving a keynote speech at NETSL (more on that later) which was the first talk I’ve given all year. This was after Flavorwire’s “Coolest librarians alive” list which made me go “Who is Flavorwire again?” and then “Oh, neat” But my favorite thing about that accolade was what happened afterwards. A bunch of people instead of being normal crabby internet people in the comments section, actually started naming other librarians who they thought were cool, or great, or excellent, or important. And people talked about it online in the usual places, a lot. The article (more of a listicle really) was so popular they added a second set of librarians a Readers Choice with 10 more cool librarians.
And that, in a nutshell, is why I become a big goofball during National Library week and bug all my friends to get cards and take themselves to the library and why I stopped at the Somerville Library to check out their Awesome Box yesterday when I was nearby. Because I get to work with and around a lot of neat people and in many ways we’re a team. Sure there are some showboats and various rockstars in various areas and niches, but it’s great to see people being not just happy for whoever some website thinks is cool but also to talk about the other cool librarians that they know and why they’re people you should know. It’s a great group of people.
So National Library Week starts today which is complicated because it’s a Sunday and most libraries are closed on Sunday. It’s also Easter which means some more libraries are closed on Easter. So this is good news if you’re scheming for stuff to do over the week, less good news if you’re a patron wanting to celebrate. This year’s theme is “You belong @ your library” which continues with the @ motif that ALA has been using since 1997. The actual national event has been going since 1958 and the first year’s theme was “Wake up and Read.” ALA has been the sole sponsor since 1974. If you want to get something started today, ALA has made some fairly nifty facebook “cover art” that you might like. Me, I’m waiting for the State of America’s Libraries report that is coming out on Monday because I always use those statistics in my digital divide talks and I’m always curious about trends in connectivity and tech use at libraries. Also who doesn’t like National Bookmobile Day?
This has been a tough year to be a library in many places. A friend sent me the video below where the Troy Library (MI) went all out with a “Okay you want to close the library? Let’s burn the books!” hoax campaign that actually got people thinking about why it’s important to keep the library doors open. While some folks might consider this an epic troll, I also think it does a good job redirecting people’s concerns from the Tea Party message of “money money” to the broader concern of “community community” which I think is a helpful shift and the social media angle is interesting. However not everyone thinks that this sort of stunt is helpful. As much as it was a fun jape, it doesn’t seem like any of the other library workers or supporters were in on the joke which turned into a bit of a PR mess. I’m not sure if the website for the Book Burning Party wasn’t as clear about their goals as it is now.
The ironic thing about National Library Week is that many of the librarians are so busy doing programming that there’s less going on than usual in the blogonets. I’ve been scanning some nifty little projects as they’ve come down the pike here, figured I’d share them.
WeAreFree2 – not only is the library free as in no cost, it gives you the freedom to… do lost of things. This nifty little project from the San Francisco Bay Area Libraries marks the 50th Anniversary of NLW
This is something that’s been in the “to post” hopper for a while. Kevin Kelly (of Wired fame) has a great report on his blog about a colleague who took a tour of the World’s Largest Audio-Visual Archive, the just-opened National Audio-Visual Conservation Center at the Library of Congress.
I went to see Meredith give a talk at a local library the night before last about Web 2.0 and the Future of Libraries. It was a small crowd, but decent for rural Vermont, and it was sort of neat to see the librarians I usually only see at conferences just getting to hang out. Meredith gave a good talk and the follow-up questions were, somewhat predictably, “Well what can WE do?” and I thought she had some decent concrete suggestions, one of the main ones was redesign your website. I’ll be talking more in a future post about things small libraries can concretely do with technology but this “what can WE do” is a question we should always be prepared to answer.
Between taxes and travel and houseguests and springtime, I’ve been reading less and posting less than usual. This week is National Library Week. Is there a good-looking National Library Week website that you’ve found? Post it in the comments please. I’ve been enjoying the AL Focus NLW videos which you can find on AL Focus and also at their account on blip.tv.
My “to post” bookmarks list is longish and though I try to spare you just a del.icio.us linkbarf, here are some links I’ve liked.
More from me on this weeklong library celebration this week, today I’m tired from helping install library printers, teaching email to great-grandmothers [there are two in my email class!], helping senior citizens buy laptops, and reassuring a librarian that she wasn’t breaking the law by making a replacement casette tape for one of a four-tape set that had broken.