Thursday, May 14, 2015

ALA Elections 2015 - Some Reflections

First of all, wow. It was an interesting election.

All of the results are posted on the ALA web site, here.

One of the documents that I particularly looked at was 2015 Election Response Rate by Ballot. With all the sections of divisions and all the round tables, there are 81 different ballots. (Yes, you read that right, 81!) Most people only get some of them. How many, depends on how much you pay in dues and how the particular division or round table is structured. What I was interested in was the participation rate.

Both for ALA as a whole (Ballot 0 - Officers), like in the local, state, and national elections, the turnout of voters is not always what we would like. It is usually lower. But, I am proud to say that the election in which I was a candidate had one of the highest participation rates.

My visual inspection (I could not quickly grab it an put it in Excel for sorting, but may try again) shows these as the top participation rate groups:


This means that ASCLA was the only division with more than 30% participation. It is the smallest division (615 members eligible to vote). But it clearly reinforces my contention that it is the easiest to get involved in - I believe that the voting participation rate shows that.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

ALA Elections 2015 - about me

Edited 5/11 - no part 2 or part 3!

If you have not received your ALA ballot, they are distributed over several days.

Some of you may have noticed my name out there. This went out to a discussion list a little bit ago:
ASCLA 2015 Elections are Approaching!
Please click on this link to view the following ASCLA members who will be running for election for ASCLA offices in the 2015 Elections. Please join me in thanking these members for agreeing to stand for election for an ASCLA office and be sure to vote in the Spring elections! Voting begins on March 24, 2015 through May 1, 2015 @ 11:59 PM CDT.
Because of my standing for election as Vice President/President-Elect of ASCLA. For those who do not know, ASCLA  is the Association for Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies, one of the divisions of the American Library Association.

It is the smallest of the ALA divisions. For more about ALA and ASCLA, visit the tab ALA 101 (on this blog).

So, here is what I said in my statement of professional concerns:

I have often recommended to new members of ALA to find a home in ALA with others whose work is like theirs. ASCLA has been ALA's smallest division and because of the small size, it is possible to get to know people and to become involved.

I did some simple analysis of recent membership trends, and plotting ASCLA's membership against ALA's membership shows that ASCLA has retained members better than ALA. That does not mean that we do not have to continue to work to recruit members, but it does show that ASCLA has value for ALA members. I have many contacts across the association, and want to leverage the knowledge those people have, to make ASCLA even more successful. Part of the perspective which I bring is from having been active in the larger organization. I believe that my experience, and contacts, will help position ASCLA for the future.
I ask for the vote for those of you who are ASCLA members.

I did stand for this office once before, in 2000. In that election, I was not successful. The difference was four (4) votes. In a way I was relieved. I changed jobs after agreeing to run, and it would not have been as good a fit as it is now. I also had a great deal less experience with ALA.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Cruise: Some thoughts

Two Carnival ships in CozumelGoing on a cruise has been a bucket list item for a while. But I had always resisted. I was concerned that I would feel trapped on the boat, and be unable to escape.

A friend suggested, and I wound up going on a cruise for Mardi Gras week. The cruise was on Carnival, and was out of Galveston. We stopped at Costa Maya, Cozumel, and Progresso - all in the Yucatan.

This was not a small ship. Most of my prior trips on a ship have been on ferries. I've been on several short river ferries, and on both the Point Judith/Block Island and the Nantucket ferries. Even the Nantucket ferry vessels are quite small by comparison! This ship had elevators going to 9 floors for most of the ship. In some places the ship goes to the 12th floor. Oh, the they count the decks the way the computer scientists do: starting at zero (the staff quarters).

The length of the ship was amazing. Some of the floors/decks had over 450 rooms. Because of the size, even with fairly rough seas, there was very little motion which I felt. There were, however, times when it was obvious that there was motion ... the water was sloshing in the pool.

It was a great trip. At two of the ports, I took excursions to visit Mayan ruins, which greatly expanded my knowledge of the culture and people of that area of the world.

Will I go on a cruise again? Probably. Here are the things I would do differently:
  1. Get an outside cabin. I think it will be worth the extra cost to be able to see. It certainly will enhance the experience of being at sea.
  2. Go as part of a larger group. I was surprised at the demographics of my fellow passengers. There were a good number of families - sometimes 3 generations. There were also more groups of young adults. (And by that I mean the 20-30 year olds.) They also tended to travel in "packs," and seemed to have a great time. There actually were fewer "old folks" than I expected. But even many of them were traveling in groups of 2 - 4 couples. Those "uncoupled" seemed to be lost in the shuffle.
  3. I would take more advantage of some of the entertainment options. I went to a couple of the shows, but I generally avoided them. The ones I went to were enjoyable.
  4. Bring more, dressier clothes for evening wear. I packed mostly for beach/pool and the "jungle" expeditions.
I did a lot of reading. That was one thing I did right, I brought more than enough books. (Always a concern for a reading librarian!)

Here are some of the photos from the cruise and land excursions.

I will enhance this post with photos (and will note that in an edited set of comments here).

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Book Review: The Girl on the Train

Front CoverAre you a closet voyeur like me? When I am driving at night, particularly on back roads rather than on the Interstate, I will pass a house with one light on in the window, and wonder what the story is for why that one single light is on.

Well, that is part of the premise of this new and popular (among my friends, anyway) novel.

Part of the plot centers on one of the main narrators talking about her thoughts as she watches a particular house on her daily train commute.

The story is much more complicated than that simple premise, since the first narrator used to live a couple doors down from the flat she is imagining the story of.

Hawkins uses shifting narrators (clearly labeled) and shifting time sequences (also clearly labeled) to tell an interesting tale.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Books Read 2014

    How We Got to Now: Six innovations that made the modern world by Steven Johnson ARC
    Hand to Mouth: Living in Boostrap America by Linda Tirado ARC
    My Sunshine Away by M. O. Walsh ARC
    Perfectly Miserable: Guilt, God and Real Estate in a Small Town by Sarah Payne Stuart ARC
    Small Victories: Spotting Improbably Moments of Grace by Anne Lamott ARC
    Hope and New Orleans: A History of Crescent City Street Names by Sally Asher
    America Anonymous: Eight Addicts in Search of a Life by Benoit Denizet-Lewis
    Land of Love and Drowning by Tiphanie Yanique ARC
    The Orphan and the Mouse by Martha Freeman, illustrated by David McPhail ARC - Holiday House party at ALA/Vegas
    The Girls of Gettysburg by Bobbi Miller ARC - Holiday House party at ALA/Vegas
    Mambo in Chinatown: A Novel by Jean Kwok ARC
    Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi ARC
    Begue's Recipies of Old New Orleans Creole Cookery by Elizabeth Kettenring Dutrey Begue, forward and revised recipes by Poppy Tooker
    Creativity: the perfect crime by Philippe Petit ARC
    At Night We Walk in Circles by Daniel Alarcon ARC
    When the Wind Blows by Raymond Briggs graphic novel [See blog post]
    The Poisoned Pawn: An Inspector Ramirez Novel by Peggy Blair ARC
    Zeitoun by Dave Eggers
    Minister without Portfolio: A Novel by Michael Winter ARC
    The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
    In Paradise: A Novel by Peter Matthiessen ARC
    Secret of Magic: A Novel by Deborah Johnson ARC
    The Panama Hat Trail: A journey from South America by Tom Miller
    The House on Coliseum Street by Shirley Ann Grau
    Some Nerve: Lessons learned while becoming brave by Patty Chang Anker ARC