Friday, December 28, 2007

Humor: Unfortunately Named Athletes

Steve Cohen over on Library Stuff, linked to this great list of unfortunately named athletes.

I'm wondering if there is a list of unfortunately named librarians?

I do know that my father use to joke about the fact he should have given my brother Paul a different middle name so that his initials would have been PIG, and clearly my parents forgot when then named my youngest sister Helen (middle name Ann.....you figure it out) whose initials changed when she married. My initials are only kind of car tire (MAG), and I can live with that!

Camila Alire for ALA President

Here is why I am supporting Camila for ALA President, her most recent post called UPS and ALA. Given that the current President-Elect, Jim Rettig, has expressed similar thoughts about the need to change the profession.

Now, this is not to say anything bad about J. Linda Williams (the other candidate) with whom I have worked in ALA.

In any case, if you are an ALA member, please vote.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Away for the holiday


I am visiting my family in New England. I arrived last night at my sister's house in Western Massachusetts. This morning as I am reading email, reading blogs, and chatting with my brother-in-law he mentioned the phone. They have not just one, but two of these phones!

I had an uneventful trip from Minneapolis to Bradley, rented a car and got here successfully. Later this week I will be driving my brother-in-law to Maine so that I can visit my sister, and he can visit his parents and sister. We will then go to Northwestern CT for my family's annual get-together.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

An Anniversary

It has been a year (today) since I started work in Wisconsin. It has been an interesting year with challenges related to the fund raising as well as to the "new culture" of the upper Midwest.

One year ago today it was snowing in Eau Claire. It is snowing now. We had 6 inches of snow (which ended as sleet/rain) on Saturday night. The public works department has done a great job of clean-up. I'm guessing we are in for a spell of snow. One to three inches are predicted for today, and more on Saturday. One weather forecaster confidently predicted a white Christmas since he does not expect the temperatures to get above freezing this month.

I am glad I bought snow shoes, I think I see some adventures on snow in my future!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Book Review: A Good Match

One of the books on my sidebar for the past few months is A Good Match: Library Career Opportunities for Graduates of Liberal Arts Colleges. It was published by ALA as part of its "ALA Research Series" and was written by my first boss as a professional Rebecca Watson-Boone.

It is a serious research work.

Rebecca surveyed librarians whose undergraduate degrees were from eight smaller (my judgment) liberal arts colleges -- mostly in the Midwest. They are:
  1. Carleton
  2. Denison
  3. Earlham
  4. Grinnell
  5. Kalamazoo
  6. Lawrence
  7. Macalester
  8. Swathmore
There were 864 people who answered the survey which was 11 pages (in the book) and had a total of 82 questions, some of which were open-ended and others had multiple sub-questions. It includes a rather complete survey of the literature on career choices and paths.

She also compares between institutions and across the generations. There were some generational differences, as well as differences between the graduates of specific institutions.

It is *not* light reading. However, I think that the experiences of the alums of these selected colleges can be generalized to the profession. [I certainly can identify with many of the answers presented.]

It is an interesting work, well worth the investment of the time to read it.

In the interest of full disclosure, I worked for Rebecca at the University of Arizona in the mid-1970s. It was a temporary position as the Business Reference Librarian in the brand new Central Reference Department of the University of Arizona Main Library. Rebecca and I have stayed in touch over the years, primarily through ALA. She is now an independent scholar living in New Mexico (of which I am personally jealous).

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Giving Thanks

I know that I am late....but I went away for the Thanksgiving holiday, and turned off electronics for the duration. Yesterday (Monday) was left to catch up -- both at home and at work.

I have been composing this post in my head for some time.

This year I am thankful for:
  • Having a job which I enjoy and which has challenges
  • Having been accepted into a completely new and different community
  • The many adventures I have had over the past year
  • For my friends:
    • My new Rotary friends in Eau Claire
    • My friends from Leadership Eau Claire
    • The many friends I have at work
    • Friends in "the Cities"
    • My many virtual friends who offered support
    • My many professional colleagues (especially within ALA)
  • For my family:
    • My mother who survived a health crisis this fall
    • My brothers and sisters who are watching over her more carefully and keeping us all better informed
    • My kids (even when they don't answer my emails!)
  • For being healthy. While I have pus some weight back on, I am still close to my lower band of weight, and feel great because of that!
It has been an interesting and surprising year. It was just a year ago that I left Bridgeport to move to Wisconsin. It was the right decision.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Have you ever ...


ridden "shotgun" in a police cruiser? Until tonight, I had not. Now, thanks to Leadership Eau Claire (LEC) ,I have.

Part of Leadership Eau Claire was an opportunity for a two hour "ride along" with an Eau Claire Police Officer. I got to sit in the seat at the right, for what turned out to be a three hour experience with Officer Greg Webber. Greg was a great guide, and was (I think) disappointed that there was no chase, no arrest, and no official reason to turn on the lights. [He did turn them on once, in the City Garage parking lot just so we could see what they looked like from inside the car.] Greg was candid and an excellent guide.

I got there early, and got the "shotgun" seat. Our first call was to take a complaint of harassment from what was a domestic dispute between two people who had been divorced for two years. We heard her side first, and then went back to HQ to pick up my LEC colleague. From the parking lot, Officer Webber called him for a long, rambling conversation. He followed up with a quick call back to her as we cruised.

The next call was to serve as back up for a complaint about underaged drinking. Since juveniles were involved, my colleague and I spent considerable time standing and waiting. The result of the call was for Officer Webber to write a citation (not the first for the party cited), as well as notify the City/County Health Department of possible violations over the state of the apartment.
We sat for some paperwork, and to "look for a violation." While cruising, we got a third call of a possible suicide threat. In a neighborhood not far from where I live, a man was "breaking up with his wife" who then threatened suicide. It turned out to be more of a domestic dispute than anything else, and did not take nearly as much time as first thought.

Then it was time to gas up, and return the car to HQ for the next shift.

So what did I learn? Well, first that there is a whole lot more paperwork to policing than you might think. Second that cops often have interesting backgrounds. Officer Webber has a bachelor's degree in biology with a minor in chemistry (I think). He was a warden for the Department of Natural Resources and an officer in the County Jail before joining the police force. Third, that cops are often as much social worker as they are enforcement officers. It was an eye-opening experience. And I am glad I did not have to ride in the back of the car!!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Conferences and Meetings -- Physical and Virtual

I started to write about this before the Thanksgiving holiday when I came across a post from Beth Hoffman. She cites several posts from Jason Griffey in his blog Pattern Recognition including this one with guesses about the finances. I know I wrote a comment which showed that Jason's guess were not far off.

Today, I find that my friend Karen Schneider has ratcheted the discussion up a notch. These were follow-up posts to one on defining a meeting, and another on defining the notion of work (within ALA).

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Leadership

I have been posting infrequently lately (and no, I am also not the Annoyed Librarian), and was way behind on my blog reading. However, a quiet weekend has allowed me to get completely caught up on my Bloglines reading.

There were two posts by Helen Blowers which caught my eye and got me thinking. I am going to talk about them in the reverse order in which she posted them.

The first was about her motto on leadership. It is a great motto! Now, I know that at least one of my readers will not be able to see the photo with the handwritten note, so here it is transcribed:

To be a Leader: A Leader brings out the best in themselves by bringing out the best in others. [11-90]
For me, it is a fundamental truth in leadership.

The other post is about Jack Welch. It links to a page on the Stanford Graduate School of Business web site which quotes Jack from a visit there. The quote is a good one, and does have a lot to say about leadership. It got me to wondering about how much he really believes it.

I lived in Fairfield County Connecticut when Jack was the CEO of General Electric. GE's corporate headquarters are in the town of Fairfield, and if you drive the Merritt Parkway (which I did daily for almost a decade), you drive right past it. My first recollection of hearing about Jack was as "Neutron Jack Welch -- he leaves the building standing, but most of the employees are gone." Indeed, to check my memory, I went surfing and found this quote (yes, it is from Wikipedia) which matches my recollection:
During the early 1980s he was dubbed "Neutron Jack" (in reference to the neutron bomb) for eliminating employees while leaving buildings intact. In Jack: Straight From The Gut, Welch states that GE had 411,000 employees at the end of 1980, and 299,000 at the end of 1985. Of the 112,000 who left the payroll, 37,000 were in sold businesses, and 81,000 were reduced in continuing businesses.

It also notes:
Welch has also received criticism over the years for his lack of compassion for the middle class and working class. Welch has publicly stated that he is not concerned with the discrepancy between the salaries of top-paid CEOs and those of average workers.
I guess I worry that a true (good/moral) leader is going to show many of the qualities which Helene points to, but should also care about those s/he leads. That is the sign of an authentic leader.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Bad News from Boston

The latest edition of American Libraries Direct included what I consider bad news. Bernie Margolis, the President of the Boston Public Library [i.e. the library director there], is not having his contract renewed. On November 4, Boston.com (the online version of the Boston Globe) reported that the Board agenda included a discussion of not renewing his contract when it expires on June 30, 2008. Today's issue reports that one of the issues is about support for the branches.

While my current library has only one location, I have had experience with branches. One thing that annoys me about the article is the constant reference to the "main branch." That is an oxymoron! Either it is the "main" or "headquarters" or it is a "branch."

A key concept that people like the mayor of Boston clearly do not understand is that the health of a system is dependent on the main/headquarters location. While there are a few library systems without a "main" branch (Baltimore County comes to mind), for the vast majority, "main" is where the administration is, where technical services is located, where the historical archives, strongest and deepest collection, and most talented reference staff. If you do not support the central location, then the branches whither.

One analogy which occurred to me as I was stewing over this is to use that of the body. Part of what Bernie did with Boston was to do open heart surgery and made the Copley Square main library back into the key library it needs to be. What the mayor seems to want to do is to do major surgery on the arms and legs and leave the heart to disintegrate. (Yes, I may be over the top in the analogy, but I really believe that the mayor and library board do not understand this important relationship.

To me, it is sad because Bernie is such an articulate and thoughtful library leader. I know that he will land on his feet somewhere else. I have had a similar experience in the past and wound up in a much better place as a result.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

MNIUG - WALDO and Open Source ILS

John Stromquist represented WALDO which is the Westchester Academic Library Directors Organization. It is a multi-type consorutim, member driven, with library directors on the board. They focus on procurement. Incorporated, non-profit organization. All staff are contract staff and they have no physical office. They have 13 full members (who share an ILS), and 11 associate members (a shared union catalog). 400 limited members who are academic, and 400 plus public or special libraries.

WALDO arranges for partnerships including 9 New York Regional Library councils along with Connecticut, Rhode Island systems and academic networks in New Hampshire and New Jersey.

Provide overhead and management of procurement for members. Pass through all negotiated discounts. They add 5% administrative fee on the net price. There are 55 vendor contracts with over 1600 products. Annual growth over 25% ANNUALLY since 2000.

John discussed the history of WALDO, which used the MnSCU PALS system and was hosted at Westchester County and then at Mankato State. It was user governed, librarian managed, and had source code access.

Needed to leave Minnesota based system and had to create a new system. Old RFP system had massive meetings, choose a winner, and then try to negotiate a contract. So a new process was used. They assessed the marketplace for the top 2 or 3 vendors, interview current customers, and begin to negotiate contracts with top two vendors (ExLibris and Endeavor). Included provision to re-open negotiations with two years left (August 1, 2007). WALDO is completely uninterested in mastering technology. They have always purchased service. Negotiated a 5-year agreement. They began in January 2007 to look for a credible alternative to the current vendor.

That is when they began to look at open source ILS including the Georgia PINES system. They created a set of service requirements. Functionality of current system needed to be maintained. It had to be hosted, full software maintenance, and applications, plus a 24 x 7 help desk. They then created a 4 person technical exploration committee. They started with LibLime (KohaZoom) and Equinox's Evergreen. They found some missing academic functions, but in other areas had more that what they currently had.


John had some interesting perspectives on the legacy system vendors and the zero sum game which now exists in the library market place. He noted that III is the one financially sound legacy vendor. He wonders what will happen to the market as KohaZoom and Equinox get more market share. He outlined the full decision-making process. There was a detailed visit and process for looking at the system. They negotiated, and checked with other independent users on costs. Last month, they negotiated the final terms of the contract. On October 9, all concerned members agreed in writing to commit in principle.

WALDO got fixed pricing terms over the 5 year period. No annual increases, including everything in the price book. One-time implementation charges were spread evenly over the term. One-time development could be spread over the first three years. New orders have a 5% annual cap. There is a complicated multiple volume discount. All costs are included: migration, start-up, training, hosting, etc.

Core projects $282,000
Supplemental $210,000 [formerly known as "wish list"]
Contingency $200,000 [if not spent, will go to ILL system]

Total $692,000

Some items are currently being developed by others, and even the ILL may be developed by someone else, and therefore even that money may be saved. "You have to hang loose."

You have to support development. They have created an ongoing development fund. The funds collected may exceed a million dollars or more a year. 70% is earmarked for open source development, 25% earmarked for staff support, 5% is earmarked for training and education.

The project is scheduled to be completed in summer 2008. St. John's University (the largest member) is willing to stick its neck out, and do the pilot production. LibLime has signed a hold harmless, walk away contract. As a vendor trying to get into the academic market. They expect that the final migration will occur in the fall of 2008 and spring of 2009.

For the first three years of the contract, they will pay 20% of the one time implementation costs and 33% of one time development costs. Over the first three years, there is a break-even or minor savings. The savings in years 4-5 are 32% or more. After that the savings rise to 58%, for the largest library it is actually 88%.

MNIUG - Evergreen/Pines

Tim Daniels of the Georgia Public Library Service talked about the origin of PINES. Part of the inspiration was a solution to the Y2K issues along with a dream of the Governor to have a single state-wide library card.

It was developed, from scratch in just over two years. Has a large number of search features, clean look to the main page. Do allow customers to create own account and user name, plus change passwords.

For all member libraries to replace PINES would be $15 million plus annual maintenance costs of $5 million/year. And the PINES budget is only $1.6 million.

Got libraries to agree on a standardized set of policy rules.

Jason Etheridge of Evergreen talked about some of the details. The current OPAC is the third version, and they are about to trash it for a fourth version. The current version has code on the main page which lets you add Evergreen to the search box choices of search engines in Firefox (and other browsers?). It is open source, and others are making changes, and contributing back to the community.

He showed a search of a "meta-record" which had a single entry for all the various media types. Kind of like FRBR. He showed all kinds of records and examples and even the staff side of the system. Currently there is software which is resident, with much delivered over the web. They are moving to more web based.

The bibliographic record is a consortium record, but there are ways to add meta-data including local notes. Local and volume notes are not added as part of the MARC record. Can't answer question about authority control, currently based on matching algorithms.

MNIUG - Photo


Here we are meeting.

MNIUG - Federated Searching

First to present were Mike Bloomberg from Augsburg College and Katy Gabrio from Macalester College. The two colleges share a server, but have "different instances" on that server. Augsburg went live just before school started, and Macalester went live mid fall with a soft launch, and will begin promoting it with the next semester.

The hardest part of the set up was deciding which databases to put in which groups. It was the meetings and getting the staff to agree on the grouping. The technical part was very easy. The trainer was there for a day and it was ready to go at the end of the visit -- from a technical end.

There are few and fewer citation only databases, and more are full-text. Mcalester went live on October 1, and in the first three weeks, without publicity, data says 1,000 uses (which maybe should be divided by 6 for the six databases searched).

Why chose? Ability to have "save my search" and "save my database" along with the ability to customize.

Second to present was Suzanne Conboy from III who talked about Research Pro. She had trouble logging into the interfaces at various libraries because of authentication and firewall issues. It makes me wonder about how hard we make it for our patrons at times. She went back to Power Point to show what options are available.

Carolyn DeLuca from the University of St. Thomas set up Serials Solutions (360 Search) at the beginning of the summer, and spent the summer tweaking the installation. There are a huge number of options for the pull down menu. They made their decision based on the fact that they are primarily serving undergraduates. The boxes are simply HTML which can be placed anywhere. They have over 300 databases, and tried not limit to the 75 most used. They kept access for the "native" searching primarily for the libarians. They took out the descriptions on the web page, and just added a clickable "i" icon which pulls up the description. It is a fairly clean looking product. Chose this product because it works well with the existing products and services which they already had.

Faculty were happy to see it, but don't know if the faculty are using it, or if the students are. Individual students are often thrilled. There are no usage modules, and they only get statistics from the original data base vendors.

Lindy Finifrock from Bethel University talked about WebFeat, where they have the Express version rather than the customizable version because of price. She showed their "Quick Search" which is a basic federated search. There are a limited number of choices for templates. Results appear as they are found, and you do not have to wait for the complete search to be completed. Can do relevancy ranking, and other sorting after the fact.

It was quick and easy. Choosing a book, opens a new window which then let's you have mjultiple windows open. Undergrads really like to use this, because they can quickly get the sources they need for their reports. They chose Webfeat in 2006, and chose it because of the great functionality and the price (i.e. low). Students have found it on the web page and/or portal, and seem to use it. [She noted that it was working more quickly at St. Olaf than it does on campus!]

MNIUG - Opening Session

I am at the Minnesota Innovative Users Group fall meeting at St. Olaf College.

The first presentation was an III Corporate Update from Bill Easton, Customer Sales Consultant and Suzanne Conboy, eProducts Specialist.

First to speak was Bill Easton. I was not life, so created these notes in Word and have pasted them here.

What does Rock Solid mean?

  • Strong Foundation
  • Growing
  • Stable
  • Independent
  • Financially Sound
  • “Rock ‘n’ Roll Edge”
  • cool technology

Past year: grow number of systems 1250 servers/4000 libraries; percentage of libraries selecting Millennium 55+%

New Products developed: Circa – replacing the wireless workstation, inventory; can do quick check out, connected to server; Research Pro – replaces meta find federated search engine; Program Registration – calendar for programs and registration; Single Sign On – only have to sign on once (academic); Express Lane – self check; Article Reach – search and find articles and have them faxed (academic); Encore – starting to install, sold 70 systems so far; over 250 enhancements including printing and web management reports, new look and feel of client.

Rock Solid Tour: T-shirts for each IUG meeting

Top in ARL…positive cash flow; because healthy financially, can remain an independent company (privately held still) [Did he “protest” too much on this topic??]

“An alternative to vendors who change their tune”

What’s New in 2007

Web Management Reports: Circulation, Patrons, etc.; easy to run; direct export to spreadsheet; can use old reports

Program Registration – powerful software web based tool; can limit by type [if entered]; details; calendar view; can do listing

Path Finder Pro: any url address can be linked to by specific rules, example: every time you find DVD can automatically point to IMDB

Research Pro [Later]

Encore: demo – Link+ also federated searching of outside databases (Amazon, Google images, etc.)

This is Innovative’s answer to the “OPAC is broken”

Express Lane: GUI self check product [My Millennium]

Printing: new printing architecture for selected printing jobs; can control look, add logos, and export to PDF; using 3rd party template editor

CIRCA: Inventory control and will use any Windows compliant hand held wireless device

CS direct: http://csdirectiii.com/ppt/iug#15 (presentations from last meeting)

Suzanne Conboy's presentation was on the variety of eResources available.

She began with some statistics which were drawn from the OCLC 2005 Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources which has a wealth of data, aggregated across age, geography. ONe conclusion is that it is overwhelming to find information on a library’s web site: too much information, too many choices. Libraries rate high in trustworthy and accurate. We need to improve in easy to use, convenient, and fast. Need to become “mother of all search engines.”

Discovery to Delivery Chain

Discovery

Research Pro

ERM

Encore

Pathfinder Pro

Discovery to Delivery Chain

Web Bridge

ERM

Pathfinder Pro

Research Pro: Searching across multiple databases. Need to make it more convenient for our users. “Only federated search tool which you can place anywhere you want to make it easier for your users.” Completely customizable. Can easily save results and save favorite databases. West Bloomfield Township (MI?) intermingled format and subject. Can add any text anywhere on the page. Results are immediately presented, do not have to wait for all results to be returned and sorted. Enhancements planned: faceting of results; sorting of results; spell-check for search; toggle between languages; further integration with Webbridge LR and Encore

ERM (Electronic Resource Management tools)

Generally, these are staff tools. It can be used by the public as a discovery tool. So, they created a public web interface. You can use ERM to dynamically create information for web presentation. Use ERM to put much information in a single place. Examples: Cornell University “Find”; University of Colorado at Boulder [catalog = Chinook]; University of Arizona; Yale Law School; Leeds University; University of Queensland; Sonoma State University (California State University at Sonoma); Washington State University.

Showed staff views. No additional server needed; staff already trained on Millennium; customer support; IUG support

Easy to implement: comes pre-installed with resource records, no need to manually enter; comes the training and Quick Start; includes database free for the first year (CASE); already live in 29 ARL Libraries, 200 other libraries.

I've Got a Secret

Actually, I don't really. But last night I went and heard Frank Warren, the author and complier of Post Secret. While the web site is incredible, and the books are great, if you get a chance, you should go hear him. It is an incredibly powerful presentation. There are more dates on the tour.

The new book is A Lifetime of Secrets. Once I leave my meeting today, I will begin reading it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

ALA Elections - Nominating Committee Candidates Announced

The ALA web site has announced that my friends Camila Alire and Linda Williams are running against each other for ALA President.

They have also announced the list of ALA Council candidates.

My list of endorsements will follow the close of petition nominations. It only takes 25 signatures to get on the ballot, and that is pretty easy to do at the Midwinter Meeting. More to follow!

WLA Conference - Summary Redux

The conference is over, but the association web master (web mistress?) has created a page with links to many of the presentations. So, if you want to check my report, or read about a program I did not attend, you can visit the 2007 Conference Page of the WLA web site.

Friday, October 19, 2007

WLA Conference - Summary

Well, it is over. I am about to power down and head back home.

I learned a great deal at this conference. Some was about the local scene and the rules in Wisconsin. There were some great authors (that is always a good part of conferences). I also learned more about technology.

Of course the networking was important. Some of the best ideas come from the informal meetings and discussions that take place outside of the formal sessions.

WLA Conference - The 411 on Mashups

Julie Fricke of Lawrence University (Appleton) did a great job of explaining mashups. I was standing for the beginning, and the PowerPoint will be on the WLA Conference Web site.

Among others she talked about:
Facebook (and Facebook apps)
Book Carousel
Chicago Crime Statistics
Housing map (from Craigs List)
SuprGlu (and Frickeglu) (seems like a place to have a bunch of your own stuff come)
Frappr

How do I make one: add this app (point & click...like Facebook, iGoogle); clone (Pipes); program (server side --to do some programming need to request and get a key).

When is it OK to mix? Many have creative commons copyright licenses, but other have limitations (like Google Maps). What is the provenance (the Wikipedia problem)? What is its authority? How simple and what support will you get? Will there be upgrades? What happens with changes in software.

An account for the presentation has been set up:
http://del.icio.us/wlamash
(password is web2.0)

Another interesting site is mashable.com (inlcudes news related to social networking software), can subscribe to an RSS feed. There is more an more info on mobile computing.

Others are listed on the PowerPoint (which I will try to add as a link). Now the question and answer session is going on, but I am going to post anyway.

Small World

When I used to talk to Library School classes, I always mentioned that this is a small incestuous profession. This was brought home to me yesterday. I was at a networking part of the Conference, when someone said: "Oh, you are the Michael Golrick, I have heard a lot about you!" Well, it turned out to be someone who worked in Tucson after me, and had heard about me. Likewise, I had heard of her from our mutual Tucson friends.

Ironically, after I moved East (to Connecticut), she moved to New York (Westchester County). As we sat and talked at breakfast this morning, we both moved to Wisconsin on the very same day last December, and started our current jobs on the same day.

For some reason our paths had not crossed until now, even though it has been 24 years since I left Arizona.

WLA Conference - Wisconsin Public Library Standards and Certification

Panel discussion:

First presenter was David Polodna (Winding Rivers): Certification in Wisconsin started in the 1920s. In 1965, state library re-organized, and certification went to DPI. In 1975, expiration dates for certification and renewal required continuing education. In 1980 Certification Manual was published. In 1985, new higher level added, and limited to directors. In 1995 new ranges of population established. Changes since, refinements.

Panel: Where do the Standards help in providing good public service? Excellent libraries and staff in the state. There are areas where we do well, and others where we need improvement. ILL is one area of excellence (including delivery), support of intellectual freedom is also high.

Discussion on certification and standards. Certification is one of the requirements to belong to a library system. The Standards are simply voluntary, and have no enforcement value. We have some fabulous people running very small libraries in Wisconsin. Many directors in small towns have lots of community connections. There was much discussion on the very small libraries in the state. Issues of community of identity, and funding.

There was much discussion about professional versus non professional, salary levels, changing roles and job descriptions. One panelist reminded us that libraries expend 60-70% of the budget for salaries. Economic constraints should not drive the discussion of deprofessionalization of any position. There needs to be a Board and community commitment to library training. Discussion about job ads and include requirements for 2-3 years experience.

How do Standards help? How will they help make sure we do well in the future? Provide a target for library development. Assist library boards to assess the quality of their own programs. Provide benchmarks and positive reinforcement for library activities. Ther may be too many categories in the Standards. For small libraries, the number of hours open helps a great deal.

How do we measure quality? Are we even counting the right things? If you measure people's expectations and the service you provide, for many small libraries the gap is small. Can we meet the expectations of a changing population (growth, influx of immigrants, etc.)

The program was more diffuse than I expected, but there were some interesting discussions.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

WLA Conference - Thursday Afternoon

No blogging this afternoon.

Lunch was an inspirational speech from Kevin Reilly, President of the University of Wisconsin system.

After lunch I was part of the panel for WLTA entitled "Library and Community Involvement."

After the break I attended the WLA Legislative update on state and federal issues. No predictions were made about when Wisconsin will have a state budget. Rick Grobschmidt did a great job on the budget issues. Paul Nelson covered the other state issues, and Jessica McPhail covered the the federal agenda.

What follows is the Annual Business Meeting, and then the Annual Banquet and Awards.

WLA Conference - Non-Profit Marketing

Don McCartney, UW-Green Bay

What is marketing? Any/all activities that help to facilitate and expedite exchange relationships. It is manipulation, but can be in a good way. Can't control the relationship.

Factors for exchange: must have more than one entity; both entities must have something of value; both entities must be willing to give up their something of value; both must be able to communicate all of the above.

What does this mean? What do we have to offer that is of value.

Market segmentation: Who are your customers? What does your customer want? Have to be careful how to segment, you can cut the market too small. There is difference between mass and targeted marketing. Mass marketing has a lot of overkill. There are internal and external customers. Pay attention to trends.

Social identification: perceived oneness with or belonging to an organization or group. A higher perceived identification results in

Social identity: classification based on demographic categories, social class and membership in organizations.

Self concept: combination of personal identity and social identity. People participate in activities that improve their self-concept.

Organizational membership helps define our self concept. What can your organization offer people, in various segments. People who are passionate about their organization forget that not everyone knows all about that organization.

Perception of prestige increases members' feeling of identification. Has to be prestigious not elitist. Prestige is meant to imply that there is something of value.

The extent to which offerings confirm what the member expects to receive, the higher the level of identification and therefore commitment. Frequency of appropriate contact with the organization will increase member identification.

Participation with similar organizations decreased the depth of identification with any single organization. Level of education impacts identification negatively. More highly educated people tend to be involved in more activities and organizations.

Free is not the reason people become members. Intangible factors like enhancement of self concepts and identification with the organization's mission, are primary reasons for identification.

A strong and visible mission statement is important. Keep it where people can see it often.

Increased contact must occur to increase identification.

Projecting an image of prestige without being elitist is critical to fostering identification and affiliation. Ask both your users and non-users. Could use the University to do a survey at a lower cost. Can tout openness and friendliness, which builds prestige.

Reality is that getting people involved is harder than most people understand. The theory of publics states that communication behaviors can be best understood by measuring how they perceive situations which have organizational consequences.

Only 7% of the general population will ever become an active member of a non-profit organization. [Based on survey, on campus, over 10 years.] Those 7% will do everything for you. Need to pay special attention to this. It is a group which is literally dying.

Need to think about how to position the organization and have a strong mission statement. Can't take anyone for granted any more. People will often stick more with the organization which has built a personal relationship. Solicit ideas from volunteers, even if you may not be able to do everything. Build affinity.

Effective communication creates awareness by the relevance of the material to the person. Latent readiness is subconscious and developed through experience. Each time they hear about the organization they make a positive or negative association.

Knowledge of what an individual has to lose if the organization does not have their support can build latent readiness. Triggering events provide an opportunity to act. It is essential to solicit feedback.

Each time you communicate, decide what the intended results, and figure out how to measure the success.

Must constantly adapt and change based on changing needs. Feedback is the way to figure out what people want and need.

Resources and hints
Journal: Marketing Library Services
Wilson Web: Electronic services won't sell themselves
What do we say to our user, what makes an effective message?
Be graphic............
ProQuest: Promoting Library services in a Google world
www.olc.org/marketing [Ohio Library Council?]
www.librarysupportstaff.com (special issue?)

Establish a "marketing board" and ask for advice.


Dynamic interactive talk, used PowerPoint very well, as the launching point for his talk.

Milestone - Post 260

I was reviewing and editing and noticed that this is post #260.

WLA Conference - Open Meetings

Krista Ross did a great presentation on the Wisconsin Open meeting laws. She originally did it for her library system's board of directors.

The open meetings law creates a presumption that meetings of governmental bodies must be held inopen session. The Open Meetings law applies when there is a purpose to engage in governmental business (including discussion, decision or information gathering on matters within its realm of authority) and the number of members present is sufficient to determine the governmental body’s course of action (i.e., you have a quorum).

The two most basic requirements are to give advance public notice of each of its meetings, and conduct all of its business in open session, unless an exemption to the open session requirement applies.

Notice must be given to:
  1. The public (as a general rule, in 3 different locations where the public is likely to see it.)
  2. Any member of the news media who have submitted a written request for notice
  3. The official newspaper, designated pursuant to state statute, or if none exists, to a news medium likely to give notice in the area.
In general the notice must give “time, date, place, and subject matter of the meeting, including that intended for at any contemplated closed session. Governmental bodies may not use general
subject matter designations such as “miscellaneous business” or “agenda revisions” or “such matters as are authorized by law” as a way to raise any subject.

There are four open session requirements:
  1. Accessibility: A meeting should be held in a place reasonably accessible to members of the public and open to all citizens at all times,preferably in a public place such as a municipal hall or school, rather than on private premises.
  2. Tape Recording and Videotaping: Citizens have the right to attend and observe meetings that are held in open session. They also have the right to tape or videotape open session meetings as long it does not disrupt the meeting.
  3. Citizen Participation: The law does not grant citizens the right to participate in the meeting. The governmental body itself is free to determine whether to allow citizen participation at its meetings and may limit the degree to which citizens participate.
  4. Minutes of meetings and records of votes: Requires that a governmental body keep a record of the motions and roll call votes at each meeting of the body.

Closed session:
  • Dismissal, demotion, discipline, licensing, and tenure
  • Compensation
  • Conducting public business with competitive or bargaining implications
  • Conferring with legal counsel about litigation
Notice must indicate the subject of the closed session. If vote unanimous, do not need a roll call. Must announce in open session the nature of the closed session.

All voting should be in open session, unless doing so would compromise the need for the closed session. Should have minutes of closed session which become public after the issue is resolved.

If you do not re-open in open session, you cannot meet or do any business for at least 12 hours.

Enforcement: Attorney General and the District Attorney have authority.

Penalty: any member of the body who "knowingly" attends; fine is $25 to $300 for each violation.

Other sites:
  • League of Municipalities web site: www.lwm-info.org
  • Wisconsin Department of Justice
Can go into closed session, without advance notice, but only for an item which is already on the agenda, but cannot come back into open session. If you put times on the length of closed session or on agenda it will limit the length of the session.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

WLA Conference - Flash! The Future of the talking book

Marsha Valance from the Regional Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped talked about the new device for blind readers. The new device will begin arriving in mid-2008 for digital talking book machine.

Priority is for veterans, centenarians, and students. It will be 2012 before everyone gets the new hardware. They will maintain cassettes as a format until 2012.

The hardware is 2/3 the size as cassette player. The digital device is about the same size as a cassette with whole in one end to both distinguish end, and for the device to be removed from machine. It weighs only 2 pounds compared to the current 7 pounds. The battery life is now up to 23 hours. You can place up to 1,000 bookmarks. If you push a button on the machine, and nothing is in the machine, it will tell you what that button does.

They are not using the MP3 format, instead they use AMR-WB+. An entire book will fit on a single chip. There will be no more flipping sides. A VictorReader Stream will play NLS digital talking books, and content can be downloaded. A VictorReader Stream costs about $300. IT is sold by HumanWare.

Must join the Library for the Blind. Can sign in to download. User name is the person's email address. Contact by phone (800/242.8822) or email lbph@milwaukee.gov. You can also visit the web site.

The presenter talked about other items available widely on the web. These include Overdrive, Playaways, Baen Free Library, Guttenburg. She also covered the Web Accessibility Initiative. and Section 508.

The web site for the Library has a great page of links for blind readers.

WLA Conference - Learning Games and Simulations

Ulrikr Dieterle who is a health sciences librarian is doing a great presentation on gaming and what we need to know. Right now she is talking about the demographics of gamers. I will later add a link to her presentation on the WLA web site -- she notes that it will be there.

She notes that some of the first simulators include "Rescu-Annie" used to teach CPR and flight simulators for pilots and astronauts.

She has talked about the early games like "Sims" which date from the 1980s and ran on DOS. The military is the largest producer of games in the US.

An interesting presentation and introduction. She presented a good reason for using games as part of the educational process, with many specific examples from the health area.

WLA Conference - Applying Survey Methodology in the Real World

Thomas Walker, Associate Dean, UW Milwaukee SOIS)

Teaches Research Methods, the room was very, very full (about 45-50).

He noted that UIUC also does library research (part of where he learned about surveying), for a fee, as will other consultants. He promised to also talk about the way research reports are reflected in the media. Below is a rough transcription of his presentation with some additional notes.

Introduction to Surveys
  • What are they?
  • How to plan a survey
  • How to collect data
  • Sampling
  • Questionnaires
  • Questions
Surveys: a formal method of gtathering informationk about a group of poeple through a sample, A carefully chosen sampl can be used to project results to a larger population

They are NOT collected from 100%; from a self selected group; collect from a group njust because that "sample" is easy to get data from

Data is gathered systematically using standardized procedures, not associated with individuals, but creates a composite profile of the whole group

Library Surveys usually are to assist in the planning process: identify needs, perceptions of what libraries are and should be, etc.

Surveys and methods of collection:
  • telephone
  • mail
  • in-person at the library or other location
  • website or email
  • while methods of data collection can be used to describe the type of survey, methods should not be the main reason a sample is chosen
Planning a survey
  1. Development [establishes parameters]
  2. Pre-test [important step]
  3. Final Draft Plan and survey
  4. Implementation
  5. Coding
  6. Analysis and reporting
Development: define budget, staffing, time; define outcomes; broadly define population and sample; draft data collection method; draft questionnaire

Pre-test [should this be one word or two?]: More clearly define population and sample; refine questionnaire; pretest again; evaluate pretests and continue or pretest again

Final draft of plan and survey
  • Finalize population and sample
  • Prepare final questionnaire
  • Organize logistics of implementation
Implementation: select sample; collect data

Coding: evaluate the validity of data (remove invalid responses and otherwise clean up); prepare data for analysis (code)

Analysis: prepare data sets and subsets; analyze data

Final reporting: contextualize data in pre-established framework of survey plan; prepare report

Two Critical Tasks

  • Questionnaire Design
  • Sampling
Questionnaires: define what kind of information is required and from whom do you need data;break down complex problems into very simple ones; create clear simple questions, not complex ones; may be self administered or done by an interviewer; should be introduced to let the respondent know what the purpose is, who will analyze it, and whether the results will be made public; should conclude by expressing appreciation; should be written at an appropriate reading level

Confidentiality: statements assuring confidentiality are desirable and may be required; inform respondents that responses are voluntary; if children are involved, extra precautions must be taken

Clear simple questions: scales may be useful (on a scale of 1 to 5...); multiple choice may be clear, if all possible choices have been anticipated; open-ended questions can yield rich data, but are difficult to analyze or quantify; questions should be pre-tested; special terms should be defined

How to Sample
  • Define overall population
  • Determine accurate ways to sample the population
  • There is not one magic formula for determining sample size
Confidence level is important.


  • Factors include how exact data needs to be, budget, time, ease of administration

Wisconsin Library Association Conference - Keynote

Today was the beginning of the WLA Annual Conference. I'll blog what I can. For the opening session I could not blog live (there was access, but I did not yet have the password). I do now, and these notes are adapted from what I typed in Word and pasted here. It is not all complete sentences....be forewarned.

The keynote was delivered by David Maraniss.

He is a writer from a Madison family and grew up in Madison. He was a writer for the Washington Post and won a Pulitzer Prize in 1993 for articles on Bill Clinton, he has been a finalist at other other times.

He notes that he used to start speeches with his connections to librarians, including aunt, uncle, cousin, and sister (Jean Alexander). He said that he has stopped doing that after hearing his sister come back to his home after a DC conference.

A writer’s life is incredibly boring, about 50-60% is just sitting in a chair writing. He has spent thousands of hours in libraries doing research. Started on Clinton when elected. Living in Austin, found Oxonian, an obscure journal for alumni at UT, and found class notes written by Bob Reich (later Secretary of Labor. Also found 1972 Texas campaign info (Clinton was Texas co-chair) on meeting between McGovern and LBJ at LBJ Presidential Library.

To do the Clinton book, spent time in Arkansas. First day in Hope (Ark) found that half the people claimed to be related to Bill. Motel clerk was great-aunt, invited over to house. Had boxes in attic, effects of grandmother on his mother’s side. Included stash of letters from Georgetown U (1964-68) written to grandmother, also a diary. At University of Arkansas in Little Rock were papers including papers from Fulbright and his last senatorial campaign. Documents from 1974 campaign for Congress.

Hard to find governor documents. Kennedy Library is the tightest and of all the Presidential Libraries, Gerald Ford was the most open.

Moved to Green Bay for 4 months in the winter to work on bio of Lombardi. Deeply Catholic person. Trained by the Jesuits at Fordham. Needed to spend time at Brown County Library. Always go there, is a cardinal rule. Needed to live here to write the chapter on the “Ice Bowl.” Local paper did an article which included phone number. Got lots of calls. Some resulted in contacts that would not have been made otherwise.

Fordham Library was incredibly valuable born Sheepshead Bay, lived in Brooklyn, coached in high school, assistant at Army, assistant for NY Giants. Turned legend on its head: big city kid goes to little town. One of “Seven Blocks of Granite.” Fordham has the actual scrap books from that era. Writers who covered Fordham in that era were Damon Runyon and Grantland Rice.

They Marched in to Sunshine

Protest at UW, and then battle in Vietnam. In 1967, first major war protest which resulted in violence. Asked at Washington Post morgue what was going on in Vietnam that day. Found very small story, where battalion on search and destroy mission where 60 killed, 60 wounded of 140 men. Among those killed was Terry Allen (son of a WWII general), Don Howlett(?) (football player recruited to Army by Lombardi). Then went to LBJ Library to read minutes of meetings LBJ attended. At the very moment of the Vietnam battle Johnson turned to McNamara and asked “How are we ever going to win?” [silent moment.] Also in LBJ archives are the reports from the situation room. It was lied about and presented as a US victory. Also was note from Joe Califano (an aide) about the Madison protest.

State Historical Society has the best collections of alternative newspapers in the world. In danger, and archivist just retired, partly in frustration. Also have archive of other materials including a collection on the San Francisco mime troupe which led the students up the hill. Also, military historians keep very good records. Carlisle PA. Fort McNair found the most important. Interviewed all the survivors could find. Can’t always trust memories. Can trust miniscule, but important details. The rest of chronology can be in error. Military investigation done two-three days after including tape recording of survivors. Wrote report, buried by authorities. Wheaton IL archive operated by Col. McCormack. Includes all the medal winners from 1st Infantry Division. Found papers on commander (general) getting silver star.

Roberto Clemente book

Papers of Branch Rickey are in LoC. After Brooklyn (Dodgers), went to Pittsburg where he got Roberto Clemente. Had male secretary who took notes as Branch Rickey talked at baseball games. Clemente died en route to Nicaragua after a devastating earthquake. Found in National Archives and found State Department papers. Looked at relationship with Samoza government. Nixon concern that there not be a revolution, and good health of Howard Hughes.

Clemente tried to get aid because he had been there a few weeks before with a Puerto Rican team.

Lombardi trove from son – water logged boxes.

Clemente book – lawsuit on the plane crash. All the legal documents were missing. Finally found a lawyer in DC who had three cardboard boxes of documents including depositions about the suit.

Next book, coming out next year: World changing in 1960 with the Olympics: race, cold war, women sports (Wilma Rudolph), television, doping scandal, etc. Began right after Gary Powers spy trial. First black African got gold medal as African nations began independence. East and West Germany competed on a combined team. This time able to ask, “How would you like to go to Rome?” Then went to Lausanne Switzerland to Olympic headquarters and archive.

Owe all librarians a debt of gratitude.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Dark

The last weekend in September, I was back in Connecticut to visit my mother. She lives in the northeast corner of the state. It was when I went to bed, that I realized how dark it was there. I began to think about dark, and the qualities of darkness. I have lived most of my life in larger, more urban areas. In most places I have lived, when the lights go off at night, there is still a fair amount of light. It comes from the street lights (or currently a parking lot light). Almost always there is at least a glowing clock in the room.

However, my mother lives in Connecticut's "Quiet Corner," and I don't think there is even a street light in her neighborhood. Her house is shaded, and the bed room faces west. I haven't checked the phase of the moon, but I am thinking it was probably close to new moon (dark).

I turned out the light, and found myself in complete darkness -- it seemed as completely dark as in a photographic darkroom! It was unnerving at first.

Normally, when I wake up at night -- even in the days when I was camping, and in the wilderness -- there is enough ambient light to at least see outlines of nearby objects. Here, there was not even that very small amount of light. I found it disconcerting.

In my undergraduate studies (Religious Studies at Brown University), there was much discussion of the theme of light and dark in the writings of the Early Fathers of the Church. Was this a realization of some deeper issues? I'm not sure. I don't feel a "darkness in my soul" currently. As a matter of fact I am pretty content. That is why I can wax philosophical.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

A Book for Parents

I guess that I am feeling a little like Steve Oberg (Family Man Librarian) having read a new book by someone I have met here in Eau Claire.

Maureen Mack is a professor at UWEC (University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire), and teaches in the education department. In that respect this post veers from the professional (just a little) into the more personal and advocacy. Her book is Finding Center: Strategies to Build Strong Girls and Women. It is published by New Horizon Press in Far Hills NJ.

The book is an interesting mix of analysis of research, personal stories, and checklists/tests which will allow parents to create a better world for women. As someone who is a parent to both young men and a young woman, I learned some things I wish I had done differently. I also read about what I did correctly.

Much of what Dr. Mack has written is aimed at helping us to build successful, confident women who will, ultimately, determine our society' s direction. Those who are parenting young women must read this book. There are numerous suggestions about how to help girls develop into the confident women we need. It is sometimes incidental that the book talks about how to help our sons become the kind of people who value women, respect women, and support women.

I work in a profession which has many more women than men. My inspirations for becoming a librarian were influential women in my life. I feel that I have a duty to pay back that inspiration. At the same time, I am the father of two sons and a daughter. The two sons have finished college and are now beginning their careers. To me, they seem to have successful lives and successful relationships. My daughter is still in college, and to me, still a work in progress. However, she is completing a double major at a large, major university. She seems to be on a good path professionally and personally. At the same time, when I pause to reflect, there are things I wish I had done differently. There are times I can point to when I wish I had spent more time with each of my children [I just can't call them kids -- i.e. young goats]. They have turned into great adults with the help of both parents, and at times I think, in spite of both parents.

Having read this book, there are things I would do differently if given the chance. In a way, that is my pledge.

Bottom line: if your library does not have this book, buy it. Read this book!!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Everything is Miscellaneous

Having finished reading Everything is Miscellaneous some time ago, I have had the book sitting around with some passages marked for a blog post. My personal and work life has been careening along the road at such a rapid pace that I have not had the time to sit and write. Today, I am carving out that time.

One part which caught my attention was in the chapter "Messiness as a Virtue." (pages 173 - 198) He talks about the issue which so many of us face with our digital photos. He uses the analogy of a shoe box of physical photos as a "first-order mess." If you create an index of the photos, you have a "second-order mess" because you can only find photos if you look under a term which has been assigned. Digital photos (with or without metadata attached) are a "third-order mess" only because there is no physical item which can be in only one place. It is an interesting concept.

As we digitize more and more, I think that we may be creating a "third-order mess" -- which is not a bad thing. Having just had the newspapers for Eau Claire digitized up until 1923 (copyright rules, you know), we are taking our "first-order" mess of microfilm, and skipping the "second-order mess" of an index and gone straight to a "third-order mess" (well, if I understand David Weinberger correctly). It is an interesting concept to ponder.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Library 2.0: A list of sources

Jennifer Macauly over at her blog, Life as I know it, has a great list of blog posts and other information on Library 2.0. She notes that it is a work in progress, but it looks pretty good to me! Thanks Jennifer!

Meanwhile, I can't see my blog because Google is giving me a "403 Forbidden" message with the text:

We're sorry...

... but your query looks similar to automated requests from a computer virus or spyware application. To protect our users, we can't process your request right now.

We'll restore your access as quickly as possible, so try again soon. In the meantime, if you suspect that your computer or network has been infected, you might want to run a virus checker or spyware remover to make sure that your systems are free of viruses and other spurious software.

We apologize for the inconvenience, and hope we'll see you again on Google.


It is happening for every Blogspot/Blogger blog I try to get to. I did go through the Google page to get to Blogger, and then here. Am I going crazy? Not only that, but is doesn't seem like you can talk to anyone (or email and get a response) to a problem like this. I know it is not just my PC since others in my building (i.e. on my network) cannot get to these blogs also. Curious!

Fixed as of 2:30 pm CDT. MAG

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Talk Like a Pirate Day

Avast, mateys! Today is the day. One of my staff has been pushing this, and has sent two sites:

International Talk Like a Pirate Day

and

Pirate Treasure (a place to buy "stuff).

Have fun!

Additional info!

The wonderful Wikipedia article!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

What exactly does "Library 2.0" mean?

My friend Karen Schneider posted a comment on my recent ramblings on this topic. In it she says "I've commented on my blog, but basically I've concluded, well, you're wrong and I'm right. ;-)" Well, I went off to look at what she said, because Karen is not only a friend, but a great writer, and often makes me think enough to sometimes change my mind.

First, let me note that she only really comments on the second half of my post, the part about the Annoyed Librarian. I posted to her blog that I think we actually agree. Her comments about the "us/them" language are very compelling, and is a perspective about which I had not thought. She is correct in that using that kind of inflammatory language sets up the kind of false dichotomy that makes it harder to build any kind of team.

She also includes a great quote from a mutual friend, Sara Weissman [Sara and Karen are the co-moderators of the long running PUBLIB electronic discussion list]:
If you want an enterprise-wide initiative, if you want everyone to be involved, at some point, as leader, you have to accept a certain bumpy, uneven quality of work and just lead them through it to comfort and consistency.
I sure have thought about Sara's words, and even acted in that way at times without having had the ability to put the thought into words.

I still maintain, that while some focus the Library 2.0 discussion on "only" the technology aspects, libraries that are genuinely "2.0" libraries will address all of the customer service/user-centered issues. That is among the places where I think that Karen and I agree.

Back in the Saddle

I am back to work. What an adventure: six different beds in seven nights; drove 8 different cars registered in 5 different states mostly in two towns!

When I first got the phone call, the hospital staff said "We're trying to keep her alive until everyone gets here." She went home from the hospital a week ago today, and by last weekend, several of us were itching to leave since she was back to her feisty self. I'm now thinking that there was a possible mis-diagnosis. My mother has had a blood disease for a number of years. She wound up in the hospital dehydrated and almost in septic shock. But after a couple of days of treatment which included IV antibiotics and some blood transfusions, she pulled out of it.

I am happy to be home, and able to sleep in my own bed. (I think we all underestimate the importance of that.) The experience of pretty much living with my brothers and sisters as adults was very different than when we were younger. While we often see each other, we are usually also surrounded by spouses and kids. This time, for most of the time, it was just us. That created a different dynamic. The age difference of 12 years from eldest to youngest is also no longer as significant as it used to be. In group dynamic we became a "high functioning team" as we wrestled with some pretty important issues. It was really good.

While it was incredibly disruptive to each of our lives, I think we all also walked away with better connections to each other.

Stay tuned for some posts on the reading I completed while traveling and while there. Those posts will be very different than this.

Finally, I want to thank those who sent me personal notes. The level of support I received from my staff, board, and electronic friends was heartwarming. Thanks.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Away for a bit

I've been in Connecticut since Monday afternoon. On Saturday, I was by a lake in Wisconsin, blissfully without my cell phone. Sunday when I got service, I checked, and there was a voice mail from a sister and a son, and a text from that son. I started calling and found out that my mother was in the hospital and was in serious shape. So, the calls to the airlines started, and I was on a mid-day flight on Monday.

Since then, I have seen all my siblings (there are seven), numerous nieces, nephews, and spouse-in-laws, and vast numbers of my mother's friends. My mother is now at her home with hospice care and a schedule of her kids and their spouses who will be with her.

I have limited Internet access, and will certainly not post again for at least a week, unless the truly dire happens. I am now scheduled to be back here in late September/early October for my turn on the care/watch schedule we have developed.

This is an adventure, but one I do not want.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Library 2.0: Different visions

In reading my Bloglines (no, I have not looked at Bloglines Beta yet), I found two interesting and contrasting posts.

David Lee King proposes a revision to his visual presentation of a Library and Library 2.0 ideas. While his first showed a spectrum, and placed people and ideas along that spectrum, the two dimensionality of the line does not reflect what the whole Library 2.0 movement is about.

At the same time, the Annoyed Librarian writes her posts under an anonymous pseudonym. [This bugs John N. Berry III, and I guess that is why I like it!] Some of Annoyed's posts are about the public, and there is more than a little sarcasm thrown in. On the other hand, how many of us, at one time or another, have not had (but not expressed) thoughts just like Annoyed? Not so many hands raised. This time Annoyed hits the mark (or at least a little closer) with "The Cult of the Twopointopia." It is not "either/or," I like to think of it as "both/and." We have new tools, we need to use them.

I will note, that Annoyed does use a healthy (well, maybe even more than a healthy) dose of sarcasm in her writing. But don't let that put you off. I think most folks dealing with Library 2.0 issues are somewhere between the two extremes of feelings on the topic.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Incredibly funny video

Michael Porter (aka Libraryman) posted this incredibly funny video clip under the title: "Disco Dancing for Peace in the Biblioblogosphere."

There is music, and be prepared to laugh!

Addicted to Blogging

I picked this up from Stephen Abram. I am surprised that I am only 1% point lower than he is!

84%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

Mingle2 - Dating Site

[I tried to add an tag, unsuccessfully, so....it says "I am 84% addicted to blogging."]

Why ban Harry Potter?

[Minor possiblity of a spoiler here....don't go on if you are concerned. Details are not revealed.]

As I was finishing the latest Harry Potter, I got to thinking about the themes. I have read the many news reports about those who want to ban the series from libraries, particularly school libraries, because of the "witchcraft" setting of the books.

I got to thinking about the themes reflected in the series. The overarching theme is about the victory of good over evil. The quest and the battle in the book reminded me of the mythology of many cultures. Now, I am not an expert in mythology, and perhaps it is the heritage of many who live in my new neighborhood, but certainly the Norse and Viking legends include many battles and quests. Indeed, what is considered the first literary narrative (Homer) is the story of a quest and is peppered with battles, and obstacles. These are even themes repeated in the Bible.

In a more modern comparison, the Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis are thinly veiled metaphors for the messages endorsed by so many of those who want to ban the Harry Potter series. Why is C. S. Lewis permitted but J. K Rowling not? Neither present a reality.

Some random thoughts as I head into a weekend.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Open Door Director

I had been very, very far behind in reading blogs....I started falling behind just before ALA Annual, and it got worse as the summer wore on. I have finally caught up.

One post caught my eye, and it is a LJ [that's Library Journal not Live Journal] column by the blogging Michaels (Casey and Stephens). It is called The Open Door Director.

It is so much the truth when they say "It's no longer enough for the library director simply to keep the place running. Today's director is politician and lobbyist, fundraiser and spokesperson, juggling all of these titles while administering a library." And that sure is true.

They cite Jackson County (Oregon) libraries which recently closed down as one example of how public libraries cannot assume that funding will continue. (The last interim director, Ted Stark arrives to start in nearby Menomonie at the beginning of next month.)

What they talk about is what I have always tried to do as a library director. Be out in the community. Make the community feel like they can have a say in the library. By making all parts of the community into "stakeholders." [Interestingly my new library has a recent tradition of doing "Stakeholder Events" to emphasize that feeling.]

I'm still working on getting all aspects of Library 2.0 into my head and heart. But it is reassuring to read that I am doing some of the right things.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Giving up -- No, not that way

One of the non-library specific blogs I read is a Wisconsin-based blog I picked up on before I even moved here. Can't tell you where or when, because I don't remember. I just added it to my Bloglines account. The blog is: 800-CEO-READ.

Monday's post is great and is called "Ending." It quotes that wonderful book Up the Organization by Robert Townsend which was originally published in 1970, and has been recently re-published.

Here is the key quote they excerpted which could apply to almost every library, government, or non-profit organization:
It's about eleven times as easy to start something as it is to stop something. But ideas are good for a limited time--but not forever.
If only we all could learn to LIVE this rule, not just we who are administrators, but our customers (that's what we call them in Eau Claire), or users, or patrons. There *always* seems to be someone (and it is often only ONE) who objects to an organization stopping doing something that is no longer needed or no longer part of the core mission.

Got the new Harry Potter

I have the new Harry Potter and am reading it.

Enough said! [And the weather here -- rainy, dreary -- has been perfect for it!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Long Tail

For those who read the blog directly you will note that The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More by Chris Anderson has moved from the "Currently Reading" to the "Recently Read" section. It took a while, partly because I dipped into it from time to time (until recently) and did not concentrate on reading it. I found many parts of it interesting and applicable to libraries, both public and academic libraries in particularly. There are also some sections with implications for providing excellent ("world class") customer service.

I did find parts of it over-long, but many of the examples were fascinating (to me) only because of my omnivorous taste for facts (aka trivia).

If I feel inspired, I may write more on this topic, but my personal life is disjointed enough that sitting and thinking clearly is difficult for me at the moment.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Names, Nick

The Well Dressed Librarian has a great post with this title! As one who is a "Michael" not "Mike" I can very much identify with him! I can tell a sales rep who has never met me is calling when he says "Hi, Mike!"

One of my email accounts has a sig file with "My friends call me Michael!" as the end. Remember that!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

A New Adventure

I'm in a new city, and there is a lot to learn. Fortunately I was accepted into the Chamber of Commerce' program Leadership Eau Claire. I expect that it is similar to the program in Bridgeport called Leadership Greater Bridgeport, and the Eau Claire experience comes with high recommendations from those who have participated in the past.

The end of this month will see the two day retreat. Then it will be once a month through the fall, winter, and spring. I expect to get a lot out of the experience, and to learn a great deal more about my new hometown.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

ALA's Call for Committee Volunteers

Have you ever wanted to serve on an ALA Committee? Well, now is the time to get your name in for committee appointments which begin after ALA Annual in Anaheim. Most member are appointments for two years, and chairs are appointed for one year as chair (and may or may not already be members of that committee).

So....what committees are included? Well ALA has a page listing all the association-wide committees. There are two kinds of committees: Council and Association. The only difference is who decides. The Committee on Committees (elected by Council from its membership) appoints to the Council committees. The Committee on Appointments appoints the other committees. The Committee on Appointments is made up of the President-Elect of each division. You can fill out one form for both committees at once, and it is now an interactive form. Here is the text of the email which has begun to make the rounds:

ALA President-Elect Jim Rettig is seeking applications and nominations for appointments to 2008-2009 ALA and Council committees.

He will fill slots on the following committees: Accreditation; American Libraries Advisory; Awards; Budget Analysis and Review; Chapter Relations; Conference; Constitution and Bylaws; Council Orientation; Diversity; Education; Election; Human Resource Development and Recruitment Advisory; Information Technology Policy Advisory; Intellectual Freedom; International Relations; Legislation; Literacy; Literacy and Outreach Services Advisory; Membership; Membership Meetings; Nominating (Deadline for Nominating Committee applications is September 1, 2007); Organization; Orientation, Training, and Leadership Development; Policy Monitoring (current Council members only); Professional Ethics; Public and Cultural Programs Advisory; Public Awareness; Publishing; Research and Statistics; Resolutions; Rural, Native and Tribal Libraries of All Kinds; Scholarships and Study Grants; Status of Women in Librarianship; Website Advisory; ALA-Children's Book Council (Joint); ALA-Association of American Publishers (Joint) and ALA-Society of American Archivists-American Association of Museums (Joint). Committee charges can be found in the ALA Handbook of Organization.

All applicants must complete and submit the electronic 2008-2009 ALA Committee Volunteer Form. The form is available on the ALA web site. The deadline for submission of committee volunteer applications and nominations is Monday, December 3, 2007, which the exception of the Nominating Committee, with is September 1, 2007.

Geographical location, type of library, gender, ethnicity, previous committee work (not necessarily with ALA), ALA and related experience, and other factors are considered when the committee slates are compiled in order to ensure broad representation and diversity on all committees. The ALA Committee on Committees and Committee on Appointments will assist ALA President-Elect Jim Rettig in making appointments. Committee appointees will receive appointment letters after the 2008 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia, PA. Appointees will begin their committee service after the 2008 ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim, CA.

Questions concerning appointments can be directed to ALA President-Elect Jim Rettig at jrettig@richmond.edu or Lois Ann Gregory-Wood, Council Secretariat, at lgregory@ala.org
Go for it. If you don't ask, you don't get!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Bridges -- Money can solve problems, how does that help libraries?

I've started (again) to catch up on reading blogs through my aggregator.

One of the first I always look at is Free Range Librarian. Karen is a good friend and a great writer. One of her recent posts led me to Garrison Keillor's article "Bridges aren't supposed to fall down." At one point he says, "The way to get money to fix a bridge is for it to collapse and kill people, and so Congress promptly awarded Minnesota $250 million for the fallen I-35W." And he is right.

I guess there are several things that bug me about this: first, a bridge collapsed in Connecticut in 1983, and I have seen very little reference to that. (Here is the Wikipedia article, which is pretty good. Note that one of the links at the end is to the NTSB report on the collapse. Note that it was a full year after the collapse before a report was issued.)

Second, the solution is to throw money at the problem after the fact. Fat lot of good that does for those who died.

The third thing is that libraries are always looking for money. Most libraries are either underfunded or limited in what services can be provided because of funding restrictions. For those working in areas with strict "tax caps" one of the (I believe, unintended) consequences of voter imposed limitations like Proposition 13 (in California) and Proposition 2 1/2 (in Massachusetts) is that library services compete with police, fire, and other social services. Part of the bigger picture is that funding libraries will reduce crime and the need for social services, it will create more jobs and a better economy. We, as librarians, just have not made the case well enough, yet.

My rant for the day is over....who know what is next.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Books Read -- January - June

To clean up my sidebar, I am cutting out and pasting below the list of books I read between January and June 2007.

  • Village of the Dammed: The fight for open space and the flooding of a Connecticut town by James Lomuscio
  • The Turkish Lover: A Memoir by Esmerelda Santiago
  • Plum Lovin' by Janet Evanovich
  • Bake Sale Murder by Lelsie Meier
  • Calling it quits: Late life divorce and starting over by Deidre Bair
  • The handmaid and the carpenter: a novel by Elizabeth Berg
  • What my mother doesn't know by Sonya Sones
  • A practical handbook for the boyfriend: for every guy who wants to be one, for every girl who wants to build one! by Felicity Huffman & Patricia Wolff
  • The Dewey decimal system of love by Josephine Carr
  • Death of a maid : a Hamish Macbeth mystery by M.C. Beaton
  • Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury [for the Big Read in Eau Claire]
  • The Last Town on Earth: A Novel by Thomas Mullen
  • BITCHfest: Ten Years of Cultural Criticism from the Pages of Bitch Magazine by Margaret Cho, Lisa Jervis, and Andi Zeisler
  • The Land Remembers: The Story of a Farm and its People by Ben Logan
  • The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron [The 2007 Newbery Medal Winner]
  • Lord of the Libraries by Mel Odom
  • Reptiles in Love: Ending Destructive Fights and Evolving Toward More Loving Relationships
  • Get to Work: A Manifesto for Women of the World by Linda R. Hirshman
  • Mating in Captivity: Reconciling the Erotic + the Domestic by Esther Perel
  • Truck: A Love Story by Michael Perry
  • The Mermaid Chair by Susan Monk Kidd

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

2007 Survey of the Biblioblogosphere

I don't know how many of you missed Meredith Farkas' new survey. Please respond if you have not!

[And this may be my shortest post ever![