Thursday, March 01, 2018

ALA Elections - 2018 Edition

It is that time of year again!ALA Elections.

I am asked about choosing candidates for ALA Council. Well, have I got good news for you ... one of my friends (and current LITA President) Andromeda Yelton has put together a tool to sort through the ALA Council candidate list. She has been doing it for a few years now, and it could be that this is the first time I have blogged about it, although I am pretty sure I have posted it on Facebook. Here is what she said:
Hi ALA people! Are you gearing up to vote in the ALA election. (<- answer="" be="" br="" here="" should="" the="" yes="">
This is my yearly candidate sorter. It lets you limit to people in particular divisions, round tables, ethnic caucuses, etc. (in addition to Cmd-F/Ctrl-F keyword search goodness). Hopefully it will make the job of finding people who represent you more manageable.
She also noted that there is a small issue:
(there's a javascript bug whereby if you have checked, then unchecked, a filter you end up with an empty page. you can reload the page to reset it. hopefully I will have time to figure it out and fix it, but if you know how, pull requests welcome)
 Here is the link:

More on the election when ballots are released in about 10 days. (I am on the ballot again this year, but not the ballot which Andromeda parsed!)

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Living in Baton Rouge, Living in the South, and Lent

I cut and pasted this link in the summer of 2017. It was a year after it was written. It was written just after the Alton Sterling shooting. Go read the Wikipedia article, then read the "everythingisfinehere" post. I'll wait.

It’s not getting worse. It’s been there all along.

I spent a lot of years in Connecticut. For many of those years while I lived in Bridgeport, I worked in the suburbs - first Wilton, then Hamden. Both of them are pretty white. My kids went to school where they were in the minority (but not, as in this article, THE minority). I saw some of the issues outlined here. In the North they are often masked by artificial political divisions ... the City/Town line between Bridgeport and Trumbull, for instance.

Now go back and look again at the map. Can you find Florida Boulevard? It is amazing to me how graphically prominent it is. I will also note, that when I drive North/South in the city (or the reverse), I inevitably spend at least a full minute, and often more, waiting to cross Florida Boulevard. There is only one intersection that I regularly use where that does not happen ... it is the T-intersection at River Road and Florida where Florida Boulevard begins. Let me also note that I have driven from that intersection, along Florida Boulevard to Airline Highway without having to stop for a single traffic signal! The road is not only a geographical marker, but an actual physical divide.

Finally let me note. When I first moved to Baton Rouge, I stayed in the same Congressional District as when I lived in New Orleans. It is an amazingly gerrymandered district, drawn to maximize the number of black voters. Look at the map here. I moved south in Baton Rouge, a few miles, and am suddenly in a different district! (Actually, at my old place, it was 0.75 miles to work, and work was in a different district!)

The two most poignant quotes, which resonate most with me, are these:
  1. "I had no idea the eye opening experience we had unwittingly signed up for when we agreed to move to Baton Rouge."
  2. "I never thought I’d see a city this segregated in my lifetime."
 Part of what I am (finally) beginning to realize is the incredible life of privilege which I have lived.

My challenge to myself this Lenten season is: What am I going to do about that?

Friday, January 12, 2018

Books Read 2017

Here is the list of books I read in 2017. (Note that until March or so, this list also appears as part of the Currently Reading tab.

    Retire in Luxury on your Social Security by Steve Garfink
    The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
    A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
    Heating and Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs by Beth Ann Fennelly LBF[2017]
    My New Orleans, Gone Away by Peter M. Wolf
    The great game : the struggle for empire in central Asia by Peter Hopkirk
    Electric Kool Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe
    Teach me to forget by Erica M. Chapman
    The Reasons You're Alive: A Novel by Matthew Quick ARC
    Undertow: A B.C. Blues Crime Novel by R. M. Greenaway ARC
    Behind Closed Doors by Miriam Halahmy ARC
    The Sunshine Sisters: A novel by Jane Green
    Get It Together, Delilah! by Erin Gough ARC
    Two from the Heart by James Patterson ARC
    Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean: Stories of imagination and daring edited by Kirsty Murray, Payal Dhar and Anita Roy ARC
    Afternoons in Paris: A Francis Bacon Mystery by Janice Law ARC
    Secrets in Summer: A Novel by Nancy Thayer
    Piper Perish by Kayla Cagan ARC
    Leopard at the Door: A Novel by Jennifer McVeigh ARC
    The Shores of Tripoli: A Novel (Lieutenant Putnam and the Barbary Pirates by James L. Haley ARC
    Aging Out: A true story by Alton Carter
    The Other Side of the Painting by Wendy Rodrigue
    The Accidental Data Scientist by Amy Affelt Professional
    Burning Bright: A Novel by Nicholas Petrie ARC
    Lucky Boy: A Novel by Shanthi Sekaram ARC

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Governance, Process

One of the things I get to do at ALA Conferences is to chat (at least briefly) with ALA's Parliamentarian. Eli Mina became the official, paid parliamentarian for ALA a number of years ago.

Among the important changes in the culture of governance at ALA which is a direct result of his actions is the level of civility, and spirit of cooperation on Council. (I still monitor the list, and usually attend at least one session of ALA Council each meeting.)

Among the key concepts he has taught me is one that applies to a lot of life: Suffering is optional.

An equally important concept is that the goal of Parliamentary Procedure is to allow business to be accomplished while protecting the rights of the minority. This latter is highlighted in one of the articles he has posted on his web site. He talks about it as "community engagement" while I think that there are bigger implications for decision-making at all levels.

In another part of my life, I am serving on a nominating committee. That is always an interesting process, and the person running this one is doing a spectacular job. He is doing what Eli suggests in his article about nominations and elections.

In my list of saved links, I have one more word of wisdom from him, and I really don't need to say much more than quote the title and give you the link: "Pause before pushing send"

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Reading to children, the importance of

Some time ago, a friend posted this story on Facebook. It just speaks so much to me about two things. First is about some of the ways that we as parents act in trying to ensure the success of our children. The other is the subject near and dear to my heart -- the importance of reading, out loud, to children. I think I am just going to leave this here:

Once one of the parents at my school noticed that V had good reading skills, and grabbed my arm in a quiet panic, wanting to know what my secret was. " her books?"

She was so disappointed, hoping I'd let her in on the strategy, the technique that would let her rack up points too in the parenting game I was winning without even wanting to play. Something quick and linear and effective, for people who don't have time to read bedtime stories.

(She and her husband both have incredibly intense, travel-heavy jobs that leave them with insane schedules. I like them both a lot, though I rarely get to see them. But no, I don't have the magic bullet, that isn't snuggling up with your kids and reading bedtime stories.)