Monday, December 25, 2006

5 things you don’t know about me

Jessamyn tagged me for this. But I am going to be careful with where I take this.

  • The first time I took the Myers Briggs personality test, I scored as an "I" not an "E"
  • I have been in four of the five "Commonwealth"s in the United States. I have not been to the one which most people think of first. I have relatives born in all four of the ones I have visited. (I'll reveal more at the end.)
  • The contintental states I have never visited are either in the south or the northwest. ALA Midwinter will get me to the Northwest for the first time. [I have never been to Arkansas, Alabama, and Mississippi in the South. I have not been to Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, or the Dakotas.]
  • The first time I was ever in Wisconsin, the state I now live in, was on September 28, 2006.
  • I have no real aunts, my only real uncle died in 1979 in Greenwich Village.

So, how about those Commonwealths.....goes along with my favorite trivia question about the three states which do not observe Daylight Savings Time. That answer is easy....Arizona, Indiana, and Hawaii. The states which are officially Commonwealths are: Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Kentucky. Puerto Rico is also a Commonwealth. I lived in Massachusetts for many years and six of my siblings were born there. My brother Paul lived in Kentucky when his son was born, and now lives in Pennsylvania where his daughter was born. My youngest sister lives in Virginia where her two children were born. So the only Commonwealth I have not been to is ...... Puerto Rico!

I'm guessing that since Jessamyn tagged me, I get to tag some others. I'm going to thank Tinfoil & Raccoon for alerting me, and tag her. I'm going to encourage my friends at Library Hacks to post (but since half the team is in Jamaica, that may take a few days). I think that the Free Range Librarian has done this, but I'm going to tag her again. I'm tagging fellow my fellow Councilor who writes so well in Library Dust, and finally, former Connecticut colleague and fellow library director Louise Berry.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Lacunae; Day 3 on the Road; Moving and photos

Well, it has been a bit. I finally posted the two post I had written about Day 2 on the road to Eau Claire. I have a photoset in Flickr with photos of the move including the first day at work (and more snow).

I spent the second night on the road with Nann Blaine Hilyard. I took a couple of photos of Chicago's skyline as I sat in rush hour traffic. I clearly need more practice at this type of photo.

The photos with the material in bins and on shelves were taken in her basement where she has an incredible set up for doing all kinds of quilting. She also has a great old card catalog cabinet which came from a library in Maine. She stores odds and ends in it. We woke up the next morning to the December 1 blizzard which hit Chicago and Milwaukee. You can see the car sitting in the driveway before we shoveled.

I headed out mid-morning, and drove through the snow. The Interstates were generally manageable. I stopped at one point, and wound up being interviewed by a Milwaukee TV station about why I was driving through the storm. Between Milwaukee and Madison, the snow ended, and eventually disappeared. I stopped at a rest area to brush off the trailer (and snapped a photo first). Next to me was a semi whose driver was from Coventry CT! We chatted briefly before heading out again.

There are photos of the sparsely furnished one-bedroom apartment with my stuff inside. The closet in the bed room is huge, and will hide a great deal of my "stuff." As of today, the bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen are in great shape. The large living/dining area is a mess! All I have there is camping furniture (two chairs, a table, and a cot as a "couch").

The final photos are from Monday morning, December 4, my first day at work. What else but snow!

It took me more than a week to organize getting phone/DSL service to the apartment. That is one of the two major reasons for lack of posting. The other? Not much time! Every new job has a learning curve, and I have been placed where I am literally overwhelmed by just the names and faces, never mind that the whole governmental structure is different, and there are critical differences in the legal requirements for meetings, etc. That plus, when I get home at night, there is the whole cooking/cleaning part of life.

This post is being done from Connecticut....yes, I am back for the holidays. While I have a list of "homework" tasks to do, I will post more frequently for the next week, because I will have more unstructured time to do so.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Blogging on Road: Highway 2.0

So, we all know about Library 2.0, right? Well when I hit the Indiana border, I found what I am calling Highway 2.0. The picture is small, but the sign says, "Animal on Road when Flashing -- Next 1 mile." There is a test stretch of the Indiana Turnpike where they have the signs, with solar panels and motion detectors, set up over a 15 or 20 mile stretch.

As someone who has killed two deer in his life, both times with a vehicle, I can attest to the problem. This is a great solution! It alers drivers to a potential hazard and uses current technology in an effective way. How 2.0 is that!!!

Blogging on the Road: Day 2

The trip from Youngstown to Winthrop Harbor (IL) was relatively uneventful. Rain in places, and heavy traffic through Chicago. The photo shows my first major reminder that I'd left the Northeast. We not only do not have "triples" but have very few "tandems." After all, the surface roads are so often narrow that even the long singles have trouble with corners.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Blogging on the Road: Writing about Writing

I'm killing some time before hitting the road...I don't want to be too early to my next stop. I printed out Walt Crawford's latest Cites & Insights just before leaving. I guess this in one of those times where I love that Walt designs this as a ".pdf" file with all the well planned graphic design for the physical printed page.

Let me start by saying how much I admire Walt, and his clear and concise prose. I get a personal ego boost that he even knows who I am, and even reads this modest collection of random thoughts. He has even said nice things about what I have written, and I take that as a huge compliment. (It may simply be that I have "self-esteem issues" about my writing and writing ability.)

I have heard many authors be asked by audience members about how they structure their day, and manage to write. Walt answers that question for his personal style in the latest issue. (And here is the html link, if that is all you care about ... but I cannot stress strongly enough, how important it is to read ALL of Walt's writing.)

It seems to me that every writer is different. Each successful writer has struggled with and found the way to write which works for her or himself. Walt is no exception. The one common thread I would note, is that all successful writers structure their day and their writing time. They have figured out what works, and just repeat it. I don't remember ever hearing an author say, "Oh, I just sit where ever I am and sometimes use my laptop, sometimes use the desktop machine, and sometimes write long hand." They all repeat the process.

I want to thank Walt for his piece. It offers me some insight (part of the goal of the title of his publication) and perhaps a model to use as I set up a new life. Perhaps writing will become more a part of my life, and Walt's clear and lucid explanation of what works for him, will help me become a better writer.

Blogging on the Road: Day One

My last day at work was actually at the first meeting of the Bridgeport Alliance for Young Children. It was held at the North Branch of the Library, and since I committed to it, I was there to open up for the caterer, and to do my part of the program. I was worried when I saw that gift basket carried into the building, and my suspicions were was a gift for me!

I headed out after the meeting with my packed car and trailer. After a short stop in Norwalk to say a last good-bye, I hit I-95 at about 12:15 pm. I was happy, only 15 minutes behind my self-imposed schedule.

Traffic was stop-and-go until Stamford, and then cleared out pretty well for the rest of the day. Because of the trailer, I could not take the Merritt Parkway, and took I-95 into New York, then I-287 (Cross-Westchester) across the Tappan Zee Bridge and on into New Jersey. I got to I-80, and that's what I'll be taking all the way to Chicago! (Go ahead, do a web direction search on a trip from Bridgeport to Eau Claire....of the total trip of about 1,100 miles, there are 727 miles on I-80, and another 239 miles on I-94 [that's tomorrow].) I'll be spending tonight with Nann Blaine Hilyard, Publibber and ALA Exec. Board colleague. Then on to Eau Claire!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Adventure Looms

It is only days to departure for Wisconsin. I go to my office twice more, and then the final day is with a meeting at the North Branch.

Thanksgiving was not quite as advertised in the "Farewell Tour." My son's fiancee did not make the trip from Maryland (which simplified the sleeping arrangements), and my brother Thomas did not come down with our mother. On the "plus" side, my brother Paul and his family did bring their dog, Rusty, the thirteen year old Chow mix. He is definitely getting old. He does not run up and down the stairs the way he used to, which was good for our cat who is terrified of him.

Contrary to Robert Putnam did bowling NOT alone. On Saturday noon time, we met my sister Sue and her family in Torrington for bonding and bowling. Some folks I know would find it strange to be in a crowd of 15, where you are related to all but three by blood and to those three by marriage, but that is how we bowled. My mother presided, and the siblings were Paul, Sue, and me. (In birth order that is #5, #4, and #1). Sue and I each have three children (who were all there), and Paul has two. Our spouses were the ones in the crowd who were related "only" by marriage. In typing this, it occurs to me that we were the first three to get married, also. I was first, Sue was second, and Paul was third. Hmmmm.

It was a nice holiday, and I am packing and finishing the house projects like a mad-man. Right now I am waiting to go to church before changing into work clothes and tackling the last of the wiring in the attic (for the new outlets) and then the sanding of the wall patches followed by priming to prep for painting. I'll do a little work at the office, too, just to finish up packing there.

U-Haul should call tomorrow to tell me where to pick up the 5-foot by 8-foot trailer which is what I'll be packing on Tuesday for the Wednesday departure. Wish me luck!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

A Pay Day

You do things in life because you think it is the right thing to do, and sometimes do not understand the importance or impact of what you do. Sometimes you find out, and that is a "pay day" for your volunteer service. Yesterday was such a day for me.

I received a wonderful card from one of the scouts I have worked closely with over the years. Here is what he wrote inside the card.

Dear Mr. Golrick,

Ever since I first joined Troop 68, you have been there. You've been there to teach and guide the troop. Your knowledge and wisdom have been an inspiration for all of us.

I will always remember how you helped my patrol fix the mess we were calling beef stew on our first trip to Webb Mountain. Our trip up to Maine was a great adventure that I will never forget. You were a major part of my turning from a troublesome boy into a leadership capable young man.

Your leaving the troop is one of the hardest thing to ever happen to it. Although nobody will ever fill your shoes, maybe one of these days we will find someone with the spirit to try.

I am sorry I wasn't able to come down to your surprise party last week.

You might be glad to know that all your grammar and personal management lessons haven't gone to waste. They have given me a leg up in my business classes. Hopefully I'll see you again real soon.

Yours in scouting.
While I think that there others who will step up and do the jobs I have done in the troop....I appreciate incredibly the sentiment. When I read this note (on a very nice card, I got a tingle through my body, and a tear in my heart. While I was trying to do something good, much of what I did was because I was having fun.

What a pay day!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Law Enforcement and Libraries

Well, first it was the FBI, now it is the local law enforcement officials.

Back in July of 2005, I was just back from ALA in Chicago. First day back (a Friday) and a got a call from one of my staff that the FBI were in the building. I dashed to the front desk, no FBI. I then headed upstairs to the Information Services Department, where the department head met me and introduced the two agents. They were not here over a USA PATRIOT Act claim or terrorism, it was a simple criminal case. They could have not been nicer, and provided all the paperwork I needed to help them.

Well, about a moth ago I heard from a Fairfield (next town over) police officer. He has a great name for a Detective: Peter Bravo. Lest you think I am making this up, look at his card. I blurred the email and phone numbers to protect him slightly. He was working on tracking down someone involved in credit card fraud who had used library computers to perpetrate the fraud. Again, he had his paperwork in order. (My Board President, an attorney, and another board member, a judge, checked it over.) We happily complied with the request.

Just a little more excitement in an otherwise dull [NOT!] week!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Update/Blogging Intensity

Another blast of posts. Why? Well last week I went to Eau Claire to find a place to live (Flickr photos to follow some day soon). As a result I had some airplane/airport travel time and was able to type up some pending posts. I've cleaned up my electronic notes, and now most of my print "save for blogging" items.

As one of today's three posts notes, the days are getting short. With the Thanksgiving holiday in the middle, I have only eight more work days before departure.

Meanwhile at home, live proceeds on a faster pace. While in Eau Claire, I ordered a new boiler. The plumber will come tomorrow to check for what parts he needs, and then will install it on Saturday. We've finished stripping and painting all the doors, and now the trim in the master bed room. I just need to pull some electrical wiring. Then it's time for scraping the ceiling and patching the walls before the final paint. Hope to get all but the scraping and painting done before I leave. If I am lucky, we might get the ceiling done. If I get the wall patching done, I can leave the wall painting to Jill and Brian. We'll see. Stay tuned here and for Flickr photos.

Research is Hard

I probably blew right past Steven Cohen’s blog post on encouraging librarians to avoid teaching Google search strategies. But I did pick it up in his wonderfully titled column in the September/October issue of Public Libraries. [link??]Steven writes the “Internet Spotlight” column, and has two and a half pages on the topic (p. 28-30).

Maybe I am just an old fuddy-duddy. I certainly learned Boolean searching very early in my career. I remember sessions with staff from Dialog, and from the New York Times product. In those days connection speeds were so slow, and the price for connecting was so high that we scripted our searches in advance. It was great practice to think out what exactly you were looking for. I remember the shelves of thesauri at Tucson, Bridgeport, and Wilton. We invested in the thesaurus if we used the database frequently so that we could produce great results.

With the “one box” search solution, I often find myself constrained. This is most often true when looking for a known item. That one simple little box doesn’t offer options. Even the file searching options which are part of Windows are often frustrating when looking for a document produced on a certain date (or set of dates) and in a known format, and with some known key words. I don’t know about your files, but at the moment I have 25,145 files in 1,461 folders occupying 32.0 gigabytes of storage space.

Steven also talks about stemming/truncating. Since I try to be consistent in my naming practices, being able to stem is really important, and not allowed in many of the simple “box search windows.” Go read both items.

Michael Golrick Farewell Tour

These days, I’m thinking I should have made up a t-shirt like those for band tours. It would be called the Michael Golrick Farewell Tour.

Here is what it might look like:

October 17 Trendspotting II (Connecticut Colleagues)

October 22-24 NELA, Burlington VT

October 27 – 29 Owaneco Lodge Fellowship – Final Cooking event

November 6 Bridgeport City Council Meeting

November 7 Last time to vote in CT

November 7 Pomperaug District Committee (Surprise dinner event)

November 8 Final FLAG meeting and lunch

November 15 Final Bridgeport Public Library Board of Directors meeting

November 16 BPL Farewell Party

November 17 Last Troop 68 Troop Meeting

November 19 Wood Badge Dinner

November 20 Final Owanceo Lodge Executive Committee Meeting

November 22-23 Thanksgiving in Bridgeport Guests include: all three kids, one fiancée, my mother, brother Thomas?, brother Paul and his family

November 28 Final Bridgeport Rotary Meeting

November 29 Bridgeport Alliance for Young Children

November 29 Leave Bridgeport – stay in Western PA

November 30 Chicago suburbs

December 1 Arrive Eau Claire WI

December 4 Start new job – Staff reception

Blogging NELA – Weeks Later

Life has been hectic, and I finally caught up on my electronic clippings for blogging (from September!), and now am working on my paper files. The fattest is the one for the New England Library Association (NELA). This year’s conference was held in Burlington VT (about 5 hours drive almost due north from Bridgeport).

Because of family commitments, I arrived just in time for the banquet at which Lucy Gangone received the Emerson Greenaway award. Lucy is a former NELA President, has worked in a number of libraries in New England including Worcester Public Library and Hartford Public Library. She was the brains and energy behind NELA’s leadership development program, NELLS. She moved to Florida earlier this year, and I am sure will soon be a leader there. There are photos from the event, and others have appeared in places like ConnText.

Maureen Sullivan – Leadership and Emotional Intelligence
I’ve known Maureen for many years, having first run into her when she was at Yale. I worked with her most closely during ALA’s second Core Values Task Force. (That is worth several posts, some day!) Maureen was the facilitator for NELA’s successful NELLS leadership event. She started by reminding us that leadership does not happin in 90 minutes or even a week. It is developed over time and needs the full commitment of individuals. Among other points she noted how many administrators use “evidence based management” in dealing with problems and complaints. She cited as an example dealing with complaints about “noisy teenagers.” How many complaints do we get compared to the number of people using the library? Does it really constitute a problem? One of her handouts was a great “Six Leadership Styles at a Glance” which we reviewed after rating our own leadership skills. I found it fascinating having used a similar instrument as part of the screening which the City of Eau Claire did for the candidates for Library Director. One great quote: “It is hard to speak truth to power.” Maureen noted that millenials are seeking more feedback than many of us are used to giving. We need to set some new ground rules. She also noted that there are regional culture differences. (This is something I will need to pay more attention to!) Also, there is regional cultural bias in management theories which tend to reflect the cultures of the coasts, and not the middle or southern parts of the country, Effective leadership is about building a relationship with followers. One of my new personal goals is centered around this: seeking to understand and be understood.

I did snag the handout for Maureen’s later presentation which I did not attend, called Nurturing Leadership within Your Own Library.Based on the handout, it was much more concretely focused on how to do this in your library.

Bottom line recommendation – if you ever get a chance to hear Maureen present on leadership (or anything else, for that matter) GO! It will be well worth your time.

Emily Alling & Maura DeedySocial Software: What you need to know These two recent library school graduates was focused on academic library uses of various social software opportunites. They showed several of them including discussion of myspace, Facebook, Flickr, and others. They noted that reference staff at some academic institutions have used these effectively to encourage students to call on library staff for help. In a way, it is finding students where they are and engaging them. They had some very interesting practical tips.

ALA President Leslie Burger presided over an ALA Forum. Most of the Chapter Councilors were present along with a number of other ALA junkies. We talked about a number of issues. Leslie was most gracious in giving me some of the credit for working on the ALA Council Photo Gallery [link]. She also credited my friends (and back row colleagues from ALA Council last year) Rochelle [link] and Jessamyn [link]. Staff continue to tweak how it operates, and so far about 120 Council members are pictured. One of the key tidbits I picked up was the spread of economic impact studies. I know that Florida [link] and South Carolina [link] have done surveys showing that the return on investment (ROI) of spending public tax dollars on public library services ranges from 4 to 12. Leslie noted that Pennsylvania is about to release a study which shows the value between five and six. She also noted that the New Jersey State Library has a calculator [link] vor valuing a library.

There was a great panel presentation on NELLS. One participant and one mentor from each of the two sessions talked about the incredible value of the experience. Having done the program twice, NELA has now committed to a schedule with will have NELLS alternate with Counterparts. Staff and member leaders have found it too difficult to organize both events in the same year, so henceforth, they will alternate.

Gregor Trinkhaus-RandallPrepared or Not, Here I Come: Disasters Waiting to Happen Gregor works for the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners and did a first rate workshop on disaster preparedness. I picked up a second set of the extensive handouts so that I can share them with both my current (Bridgeport) and future (Eau Claire) libraries. Great content!

Museum Reception (ECHO Center) There are many pictures of this event on my Flickr account. As I was waiting in the hotel lobby for the shuttle bus, who should I run into but, Jessamyn West! We sat together and even found Lichen and her mom (who is also a librarian). It was a nice opportunity to see a very nice museum which seemed to be aimed at young people, but also explained the geology and ecology of the area.

Nancy Davis Leading for Libraries and Leadership Does there seem to be a theme in my program choices? Perhaps. Some of the choices were affected by the knowledge that any of the place-specific programs would have less applicability in my immediate future. Nancy gave credit to Maureen for what Maureen had covered. Nancy also had a leadership skills assessment. Part of her message is to remember that we will use different styles in different situations. A really good leader will be aware of this and will change style based on the specific situation and needs of the individuals involved. This was a great follow-up to Maureen’s program.

Jessamyn WestWeb 2.0, Library 2.0, Librarian 2.0 I won’t say too much about the content here, since Jessamyn has it up on the web. This is the first time I have seen Jessamyn formally present. I have known her for a couple of years, and really like her on a personal level, and respect her knowledge and ability to communicate it on the web. In this presentation, I could see why she is rightfully beloved by the librarians and members of the public she serves in Vermont. She struck exactly the right tone of not condescending, but without making assumptions about the level of technical knowledge of her audience. And she did it with a wonderful light touch and sense of humor. I’ll even go this far: It was great!

Closing Lunch The closing luncheon speaker was Jack Canfield the creator of the Chicken Soup for… series. He is now a motivational speaker, and after he talked about how the series was started, he talked about his newest book, You’ve GOT to Read This Book. I had almost escaped the conference without buying a book, but the pitch he gave was just too good. The book has stories from notable people about books that changed their lives. So I bought one for me (and have only dipped into it a very little), and one for a friend who is going through a rough patch. I hope it is a help and inspiration.

Exhibits I did wander through the exhibits, not so much to plan on buying anything, but more as part of the Michael Golrick Farewell Tour. I talked with a lot of vendor representatives with whom I have dealt over the years,Some I will see again at national conferences, but others I may not (unless/until I return to the region). It was a bittersweet part of the conference.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The past 24 hours -- Leaving is harder than I thought

Whew what a day. Leaving a place is hard work, little did I know!

Last night was the regularly scheduled meeting for the Pomperaug District Committee (Boy Scouts). But because the City Council meeting ran so late the night before (I got home at 10:30 pm), I had not completed my homework. It had been a busy day, and I toyed with the idea of going swimming, but it was not to be!

I got home just after 5 pm, to meet a plumber for an estimate on a new boiler installation. We talked, and after today's call, we have a deal. Then I went to finish stripping the trim in the closet in the master bedroom. For some reason it took longer than I expected. It was about 7:15 when I finished, and I needed to change clothes and eat. For some reason, Jill was particularly anxious about my being late, but I did not notice. I changed clothes, and ate. I almost went swimming instead of the meeting.

I got to the meeting place, and the District Executive was outside and said "Oh, the Boys and Girls Club is downstairs, we are up in the gym." Up I went. What a surprise when I opened the door. The room was full with somewhere between 100 and 120 people, all friends from scouts! I was speechless! [Mark the date on your doesn't happen often.]

It wasn't a roast, but a celebration. Mike Abrahamson did a wonderful slide show with many photos I had never seen. [I've been promised a copy ... DVD since it is a couple thousand photos over the past dozen years.] The Scouts from Troop 68 gave me a framed neckerchief which they all signed, and the adult gift was a James E. West Fellowship. The latter means that $1,000 has been given to the endowment of the Council in my name. Cool.

Needless to say, there were speeches, and little gifts. I was kind of embarrassed! I was impressed that they had kept it a secret...and my wife and son were both in on it and managed to keep their mouths shut!

Anyway, that meant that when I got home, I still had all that work to do. I fell almost caught up with that having stayed up until almost 1 am to get everything done.

Today, was up for swimming, more painting, and then off to work. There was a meeting of the informal steering committee for the Bridgeport Alliance for Young Children, whose first big meeting on November 29, will be my last act. I left that early to go to the Fairfield Library Administrator's Group which is the local group of public library directors. I value that interaction incredibly. That involved lunch. (Yes, a liquid lunch). Now, I've finished my last City Librarian's Report for the Board, and the agenda. Since tomorrow at a really early hour I head to Hartford to fly to Minnesota and Eau Claire. Time to find a place to live!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Here is a topic I am living. Again Stephen Abram Readiness for Change writes eloquently about change. He compares reaction to change and starts with the classic stages of grief [Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance].

He gives credit to Sharyn at Libraries and Librarians Rock blog who quotes "The Four Levels of People’s Readiness for Successful Behavior Change by James Prochaska from the University of Rhode Island.

Those categories are:

  1. Oblivious—can’t see the problem; deny that they need to change, resist change efforts.
  2. Contemplation—see the need for improvement and think about how to do it. They will talk about it but are not yet ready to do it. A person can get stuck in this phase for a long time just thinking about change.
  3. Preparation—focus on solution—action plan; aware of problem, see ways to solve it and anticipate doing it. May be propelled to this stage of readiness by talk with supervisor, disaster, personal crisis. This is the time for a detailed action plan.
  4. Action–visible change begins. The plan is embraced, practiced, and actions begin to change."

Read the post. It is illuminating.

Making the technology choice the wrong way.

My last catch up post is from Ellyssa and TechEssence.Info. She wrote 5 Reasons NOT to Choose a Technology Solution.

It is a long and thoughtful (and humor-filled) post and let me simply cite the highlights.

  • The IT department has worked with COBOL in the past and would LOVE to use it again.
  • They sure do have snazzy marketing!
  • Your boss heard about it at a conference.
  • Your friend told you it was 'da bomb!
  • It’s expensive, it’s cheap, it’s free.

I have to admit that I am guilty of advocating #3, and if it is free, I will often take a risk. Go read the full post.

Leadership and Management

With the list of Emerging Leaders selected for ALA’s new program imminent, it seems like a good time to talk about leadership and management. Helene B talked about it in Library TechBytes in her post called On control & empowerment ...

She starts “Lately, it seems that week doesn’t go by where I don't find myself in some discussion with a colleague over the topic of leadership vs. management.”

This is a critical and important distinction, not just for the issues of customer service (Library 2.0), but also for general library management. She has a great bulleted list talking about some of the questions she (and many of us) wrestles with. That list is: Are our services designed control? Or to empower the user with options?

  • Are our services designed to manage processes? Or provide our users with a rewarding experience?
  • Are our facilities built to contain the user’s use of areas? Or provide users with flexibility and options to collaborate and multitask?
  • Are our collections built on a formula to fill shelf space? Or designed to keep our shelves empty and ideas and thoughts circulating within our communities?

She continues with this comment: “The bottom to all these questions seems to come down to the distinction between the foundations of management and leadership. Management for the most part is based upon the principle of control (managing people, managing processes, etc). Leadership on the other hand is based upon the principle of ‘guidance’ and empowering others.”

One of the exciting things about ALA’s Emerging Leaders program is the vision that we need to invigorate our profession. Teaching the difference between management and leadership will be critical. Helene ends with this pithy quote: “In reality, it's not a choice that needs to made, it's a balancing act. And as libraries continue to transform and evolve, the goal should not be to weight the scales of control vs. empowerment evenly, but to ensure that we tip the scales as far as we can in favor of empowering the user - without falling over.”

[Edited to correct link -- thanks Helene -- on 11/8.2006]

How to Learn

My last cribbing from Stephen Abram is about what you need in order to learn. 12 Really Necessary Things to Learn

He gives credit to Guy Kawasaki for this list of twelve things to learn this year. Here's the list:

  1. How to talk to your boss.
  2. How to survive a meeting that’s poorly run.
  3. How to run a meeting.
  4. How to figure out anything on your own.
  5. How to negotiate.
  6. How to have a conversation.
  7. How to explain something in thirty seconds.
  8. How to write a one-page report.
  9. How to write a five-sentence email.
  10. How to get along with co-workers.
  11. How to use PowerPoint.
  12. How to leave a voicemail.

I am glad that several of these are skills I already have, and am working on the rest. (#7 is particularly hard for me!) Read the whole detailed post here.

Types of browsers (people not technology)

I have been hanging on to these items from my blog reader to post about. So since I have a little time to type while at a City Council meeting, I thought I would catch up. The first is from Stephen Abram. He started by giving credit to Steven Cohen for locating Suggestica.

While I don’t buy a lot of books, after all, I work in a building with over half a million books. But the categorization is important for library services, because while this is about book buyers, there is much similarity with library users. They broke users into four categories: Browsers, Trackers, Analyzers, and Seekers.

Take a look, it will inform our design of new libraries.

Monday, November 06, 2006

More on Trust and Radical Trust + SLJ Summit

Michael Stephens posted this great photo, "Trust Drives Change." What a great line. As I noted to him, my perspective as an administrator is that you can't have institutional change without the trust of those who actually work in the institution.

Michael also pointed to an interesting challenge from Brian Kenney of SLJ aimed at public library administrators. I posted a comment, which has never appeared. It certainly explains why there are no comments on articles, when the software does not take the comments and post them!

In that I note that while the challenge to public library administrators is great, but there are a few flaws in his argument.

First, as an urban library administrator, my budget has been flat in nominal dollars over the past three years. This means that to just stay open, I need to give something else up each year. Never mind adding a new service! Any new service also will require giving up something.

Second, I have survived being a boy, and in my non-work hours do some work with young men between the ages of 11 and 18. I can tell you that after spending the day cooped up in a box, with rules and rules, that the last thing that a boy wants is to come to another box where quiet and subdued behavior is expected.

Do libraries really need to be in this business when we have such limited resources? In my community, there is an emphasis on OST (Out of School Time), but some of that is driven by NCLB (No Child Left Behind), and the politically driven drive to improve the "failing schools." What that has resulted in is decreasing amounts of physical activity for students as the schools are spending more and more time teaching to the d--n tests!

Is this an opportunity for public libraries to do better? You bet it is! But for many of us, it means we will be asking, what are we giving up to do this!

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Trouble with Leaving + Friday Funny!

Leaving somewhere is bittersweet. I've started packing at both home and work. Folks at work are beginning to realize that it is real. After today, I have only 13 more work days. I'm going to Eau Claire to find a place to live and taking 2 days off for that (plus the Veteran's Day Holiday) plus have 2 days for the Thanksgiving Holiday. It is coming soon.

Here is the Friday Funny:

A recent email to "all staff" asked: If you get a scrape, a cut, a boo boo, or whatever you would call it....which is your preference to use? Rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide?

My answer:

Well the hydrogen peroxide does that great foaming thing....that is a wonderful effect, but for patient reaction, alcohol is better. So, it depends is the cut on me, on someone I like, or someone I don't like?

A quick witted fellow staff member also replied:

Yes, but on the western movies they DRINK the alcohol and use the branding iron for the woundÂ…Â…

I'm going to miss this staff and their humor. I'm sure that the folks in Eau Claire will be loads of fun. One of the things I am doing on my visit is joining their Reference Department's "annual game night." It sounds like fun, and I'll have a chance to get to know some of the staff.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Site Stats

It turns out that it was a year ago that I added a counter to the web site for this blog. Just by chance I looked at the stats today.

In a year, I have had just over 10,000 visits. Is that good or bad? I don't know. I suspect that after the first visit, some folks add the web address to their aggregator for regular reading. That is what I do for most blogs. The only ones I actually visit any more are ones whose entries show up truncated in Bloglines.

Here is a chart of some of the simple data from the free counter:

Total Page Views


Total Uniques


Uniques / Page Views


Counter Start Date

October 31, 2005

There was a pie chart, but at the moment that is too much like work to add.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Diet Update

It has been a while since I talked about this.

I have been under 200 pounds for three or four weeks now. That is not bad. I've even sometimes had seconds, and had more than one drink in a week, and still stayed at that weight. Maintenance is good, even if I'd be happier with a slightly lower weight.

I've been pretty good about the exercising, although with the cooler temperatures, bike riding has suffered. I have been swimming 4 or 5 days a week. I've been doing the work out on the Nautilus equipment either Monday, Wednesday, and Friday or Tuesday and Thursday, and alternating the 3 day a week work out with a 2 days work out.

With the changes coming up in my life, my goal is now to get to a steady 190 pounds by the end of the year. If you count the start date of this adventure as February 1, that would be 80 pounds over 11 months, or almost 30% of my body weight in that time. Seven and a quarter pounds a month is not too bad, and certainly a slower pace than on shows like The Biggest Loser.

I have made lifestyle changes. I want to keep the weight off.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Stress management

I clipped and saved this from somewhere.....where? I don't remember. But I have decided to post it here just to save it. Remember, these are not my words, but I like the thoughts behind them.

A lecturer, when explaining stress management to an audience, raised a glass of water and asked, "how heavy is this glass of water?" Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz. The lecturer replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it.

"If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance.

"In each case, it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes."

He continued, "And that's the way it is with stress management. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on. "

"As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden.

"So, before you return home tonight, put the burden of work down. Don't carry it home. You can pick it up tomorrow. Whatever burdens you're carrying now, let them down for a moment if you can. Relax; pick them up later after you've rested."

Life is short. Enjoy it!
And then he shared some ways of dealing with the burdens of life:

* Accept that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue.

* Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.

* Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.

* Drive carefully. It's not only cars that can be recalled by their Maker.

* If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.

* If you lend someone $20 and never see him again, it was probably worth it.

* It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.

* Never buy a car you can't push.

* Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.

* Since it's the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.

* It's the second mouse that gets the cheese.

* When everything's coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.

* Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.

* Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once

* A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.

And finally:

* We could learn a lot from crayons. Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull, some have weird names, and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

This weekend's adventure

Well, it started out simply enough. I agreed to serve as the Head Cook for the Owaneco Lodge's Fall Fellowship. It had an interesting theme: Monty Python. All I had to do was cook. It was an event all about fun. It would not be huge (about 60 - 80), and would be held at my favorite Scout Camp: Deer Lake.

Friday went well. Shopping was not a problem. I got everything I needed. I was all set to have food on the table when I was expected to. "No problems, mate."

Saturday's weather was predicted to be bad with rain and high winds, including High Wind Warning for our part of Connecticut. Breakfast went fine. We started working on lunch, and at about 10:30 or so, the power went out. We sat a waited for a bit. The Camp Ranger (lives on the property) came by to report that a falling tree had brought down the power line. No idea on when it would be fixed, he had cleared the road, but the power company needed to fix the line.

We re-grouped. Several propane lanterns were located, and lunch prep continued. Fortunately the stoves were all gas (large propane tanks), and we could see enough to cut and cook without too much problem ... Except ... NO WATER. Since the Camp is on a well, with no power there is no water. We started by collecting rain water -- that was enough to finish the soup, but we would need more.

Once the road was cleared, two expeditions headed out for water, and we kept going.

Thank goodness the lights came back on at about 4:30, so before dark, we were set.

Food went well, all the boys were happy, and my "swan song" as the Head Cook ended happily!

Love is the most personal form of Radical Trust

A friend of mine recently confided that she had her heart broken over a love affair. It set me to thinking.

There has been discussion over the past year about radical trust. The conversation began with Darlene Fichter, was refined by John Blyberg. Ria Newhouse expressed the angst that many feel over trying new things and finding institutional resistance. Michael Stephens recently talked about radical trust among other Library 2.0 issues in the Culture of Trust.

What is love but the most personal and intense form of radical trust. You entrust another person with your deepest feelings and emotions. You invest yourself in their lives and let them invest in yours. Then when that trust is broken, for whatever reason, you feel hurt and abandoned.

Radical trust in a work relationship is important. Administrators, particularly, need to trust members of the staff to do the right thing. Whether that right thing may be forgiving a fine for a second grader who has no money, has returned the books, and now needs to check something out, or it is to let the web master redesign the web site. I have found that often times, I don't get exactly what I want. Actually, if truth be known, it is usually better than what I have asked.

Many of the discussions have been about taking radical trust to the next level, of going past the co-worker level, and to the public. It is part of what is at the heart of Library 2.0. The Ann Arbor Public Library, with the help (inspiration?) of John Blyberg have taken the lead in trusting patrons.

Personal radical trust is both similar and different. Partly it is because it is so personal, and we all have feelings which can be so easily hurt.

Just some random ruminations after a weekend away! (See next post....)

Note: Links to radical trust posts added 10/31/2006.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Embracing Change

There has been a brief hiatus, with the last post being done while at Library Camp East 2.0. No, I did not run out of things to say, indeed I have a very long list.

However, as some of my readers who are either in Connecticut or on ALA Council know, I have accepted a new position.

As of December 4, 2006, I will be the Library Director (I think that is the title) of the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. After six years as City Librarian, I am leaving Bridgeport for a station further west.

The last ten days have been a whirlwind. I went for the interview in Eau Claire on September 29. (Note that was a Friday.) On Monday morning (early) I was called an told that I was a finalist. Well, by 4:30 pm Eastern Time, I was offered the position. After two days of negotiating the salary and other compensation, I accepted. It took a bit for me to contact all of the Library Board members and tell them, and then break the news to my staff. All this was done while at Boy Scout camp as a staff member of Wood Badge Course NE-II-163. Whew! Monday was a holiday here, and Tuesday I announced to the library community. The avalanche of emailed congratulations was overwhelming to me.

So.....On Wisconsin.

One of the cool parts of the trip was seeing Rochelle Hartman, and having dinner with her boss, Kelly, the "Goddess Director" (or is that Director Goddess) of the LaCrosse Public Library. You can see the photo Rochelle's husband took of the three of us on my Flickr account. [And yes, Rochelle is having more fun than would appear.]

So, the fun of moving begins. More to follow!

Monday, September 25, 2006

At Library Camp East

I'm sitting in the back of the room. After I got here, I uploaded the photo I took of the group dinner last night, and then two shots of the room. What's really cool is that Lichen (who is sitting half way around the room) already beat me to blogging it!

When I logged in the Darien wireless network, there were already nine other users.

More to follow.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Library Boot Camp East 2006

Michael Stephens won't be there but I will.

I'm not talking about the Connecticut State Library Board meeting (which interrupts my planned day), but I am talking about:

I'm hosting Jessamyn tonight, and we'll drive to Darien in the morning. I have to leave in the middle of the day for the State Library Board meeting, but will be back for the end.

I look forward to meeting so many of the folks whom I only know electronically!

[I originally put the wrong link for Michael Stephens. He quietly kept me honest about it! Thanks Michael!]

ALA Council Facebook

It's official! There is now an a photo directory of the members of ALA Council. Technically it is a "photo gallery" since I think that "facebook" is a trademark of someone.

Leslie Burger took the lead last spring to start this. She enlisted me along with Rochelle Hartman and now former Councilor Jessamyn West to work with wonderful ALA staff members Lois Ann Gregory-Wood and Liz Dreazen to pull this off.

Not every one is there yet, and when I saw me, I realized that I need to send Lois Ann a new photo. (But we already had that conversation.)

If you are a Councilor and read this, and your photo is not there yet....send one to Lois Ann! Please!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Birthday Ruminations

Well, it is not only the beginning of Banned Books Week, but it is my birthday.

It is not a major milestone this year. Since last year, I have found that I have a colleague and friend who not only shares my exact birthday, but was born in the same hospital, and with the very same obstetrician! More amazing is the fact that it is not where we currently live! It is kind of cool to have that "brothers seperated at birth" thing going on! We joke about it constantly. Did I mention that he is the deacon at my church where I am a Lector and Special Minister of the Eucharist? About a month ago, we found that one of the altar servers was born on our 40th birthday. This particular young man is also in the Boy Scout Troop where I am one of the Assistant Scoutmasters. I find it reassuring to find compatriots, and sharing a birthday is a special connection.

On a more sombre note, I did some math recently. On April 1, 2007, I will be exactly five years older than my father was when he died.

We all have different relationships with our parents. I am blessed that my mother, at 81, is in reasonably good health. There are times, and recently they seem more frequent, when I really miss my father. He died when I was 21. I really did not have a chance to develop an adult relationship with him. But at the same time, I miss him. One of my friends was talking about the fact that her father died when she was in her mid-twenties, and that she never knew her grandparents very well. She also only has one sister. My life has been similar, but also opposite. My father died six weeks after I graduated from college and was not yet 22. I have seven younger brothers and sisters. My youngest sister was nine (9) when our father died. At the same time, all of my four grandparents were alive for my wedding, and three of the four met my eldest son, their great-grandson. One of my grandparents was alive to see all three of my children born, and when my beloved Grandpa Fitzgerald died he had over a dozen great-grandchildren. His eldest great-grandson was an altar server at his funeral.

I've been paying more attention t my health recently, and it occurred to me, that at this point I am more active than my father was. My father faced some of the same weight issues I have been wrestling with. I remember some vague discussion of that in my distant past. But up until his final fight with cancer, he was out there wrestling with us boys (I have three younger brothers) and throwing around the football and baseball. Those have never been skills of mine. However, I can swim a half-mile in 30 minutes, and can ride (on a bike) 20 or so miles in an hour. Two summers ago, prior to my current fitness craze of mine, I managed to keep up with six teen-aged boys and canoe over 70 miles in a week. Eight or so years ago, I swam a mile, straight, in open water. At the same time, while working to keep myself in better shape than my father, and visiting the dermatologist regularly, I still miss my Dad.

Diet update: I've been hanging around 200 pounds for about the last week. That is not bad since I have taken up adding some drinks to my life again ... for good or ill.

A birthday is a good time to sit back and assess. My physical health is better than it has been in many years. My blood pressure medication has been reduced for the first time in 30 years of taking it. My cholesterol numbers are great. My blood sugar is below the threshold for diabetes (which runs in my father's family), and my PSA numbers are normal. My mother and I both look good, and we feel good.

Monday brings the Library Boot Camp East. I'm looking forward to it. Jessamyn West will be spending Sunday night at my house (and I am glad to offer the hospiality). I expect it to be one of the best birthdays recenty. Certainly better than my birthday in 1989 which was spent at the calling hours for Grandpa Fitz. That was the last time I spent a birthday with my siblings.

Enough blathering. More professional thoughts to follow.

Why is Library 2.0 so hard?

I'm going to be judicious in what I say here since some of my staff actually read this.

First of all, I am reading Michael Stephens LTR on Web 2.0 which I received as a blogger. I admit that I am not far into it, and will do a later post on the whole issue of trust and radical trust. But that was the section I had just read before having a meeting with the Library web committee. After all, I'm not about to do a huge web site like the Library's. There are many staff who know so much more than I both about creating the site, as well as about the content.

This time we were talking about Flickr and blogging.

First the good news, there is now a group of us who are going to start the Library's official blogs which will be integrated into the next version of the web site. I firmly believe that you cannot "make someone do something." And that is particularly true with blogging. If you get someone who is enthusiastic, the job will be much better done than if the person doing it is reluctant.

The more difficult was about Flickr. The Library has a Flickr account now, and yes, we sprung for a "pro" account so that we can have more than three sets. That is great, and the staff member who has taken hold of this is doing a great, and enthusiastic job. If you watch the site, don't be surprised to find that over the course of the next few months you see several thousand photos from the past four years added. We've had a digital camera that long, taken lots of pictures, and not been dealing with the collecting/archiving part very well.

The concerns expressed by staff were about the fact that we are putting up photos without collecting releases from those in them. Look at the September 11 Observance set. There are patrons doing activities. The only people identified by name are staff (including the staff member who has taken charge of the account.)

The other concern was about our pool. [Of course there was the whole discussion about "sets" versus "pools."] Most of the photos there are ones from my Flickr account. "Who can contribute?" "Who controls that?" "What if they have something inappropriate on their site?" All those questions which involve trust and the social networking part of Web/Library 2.0 were brought up.

I, as the administrator, and the one whose job is on the line, am willing to take a risk here. Why are others so risk averse? It costs us very little. Other libraries are doing it without problem, we are not first, and I'll be blasted if we will be last!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Banned Books Week

I love that ALA always celebrates my birthday. My birthday falls in Banned Books Week! It always does. (My birthday is September 24.)

Karen Schneider picked up this icon which I love so much I am putting it here, and at the top of my side bar (for those who actually visit the blog, not just read the aggregator. It is from a blog called "" Visit them!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

What is a Spa?

Sturbridge 001
Originally uploaded by Michael Golrick.
Well, in Central Massachusetts, don't expect to get a back rub, or exfoliated there. I grew up just outside of Worcester, and in that city an the surrounding area, a "spa" was what many would call a convenience store or variety store. They are often on the bottom floor of a building which included housing (often with the store owner living above). They are neighborhood stores.

We were visiting Old Sturbridge Village later in the day, but forgot to bring sunscreen, so went out to get some. While driving back, I saw this and just had to take a picture. In Flickr, you can see some other photos in Sturbridge/Southbridge as well a large number of the photos I took at Old Sturbridge Village. Jill says, "I think I created a monster when I bought that digital camera for Christmas!"

Friday, September 15, 2006

Coaching and mentoring

In this profession it is really important to find a coach and/or mentor. I've been lucky to have several over the years, and I still even look for advice from others.

When I am asked to help a Library School student, I try to help. One such request came this week from Jennifer Macaulay. I don't think I have ever met Jennifer, but she is a student at nearby Southern Connecticut State University, and I have been reading her blog for a bit.

She asked me some questions about management, and then distilled my sometimes rambling answers for her assignment which she posted here.

Thanks for asking Jennifer....and she did let me see what she wrote before she posted. She linked to I have linked back to her.

[Note....September 17, I edited the title when I realized that I really blew it when I typed this on Friday!]

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Blogging Directors

I want to thank Jenny Levine for calling this out. There is now a wiki which lists blogs by library administrators!

It is part of the Blogging Libraries Wiki, and lists blogs written by library directors/administrators specifically from an administrative view. So visit the Library Director page.

I looked at my blogroll on Bloglines and added Jim Rettig's Twilight Librarian and Christie B's Travels with the State Librarian. If you know of others, it is really easy to add them to the list!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Getting to ALA -- For free or reduced prices

John Chrastka, ALA's Manager for Membership Development has completed a labor of love. He has gathered all the information on travel grants to ALA Annual Conferences together into one location, and posted them on the ALA Membership blog. His note to me said: "Most of the awards have a December 1 deadline (which will be before the wiki and such gets up) and I'm
hoping to get the word out more widely this year. "

Now remember, these are grants to travel to Annual in Washington DC not to Midwinter in Seattle WA. My guess is that the winners are chosen at Midwinter.

Get your applications in!

More on September 11

At the Bridgeport Rotary meeting today, I was called upon to give the invocation. Here is what I said:

Five years ago, we were all in a state of disbelief and confusion after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, as well as the plane crash in that Pennsylvania field.

I lost one of my professional colleagues, Margaret Orloske, who was a librarian in the World Trade Center.Let us start with a moment of silent reflection, each in our own tradition, to remember those who died that day.


Dear Lord, we gather in safety each week to enjoy the friendship of Rotary as we try to make this world a better place for ourselves and those who will follow us. Bless this food and the hands who made it. Bless us as we try to do your work in Bridgeport and the world.


Monday, September 11, 2006

Library Technology Reports - Web 2.0 & Libraries

You could have knocked me over with a feather a week or so ago, when I got my copy of the new Michael Stephens authored issue of Library Technology Reports on Web 2.0 for Libraries. I have not read it yet, only glanced at it. Here it is as I was running a back-up tonight. Sunset photos (current desktop) will go to Flickr eventually.

You can get your own copy from ALA.

Five years ago

So where were you five years ago, and what did you do today?

Early that Tuesday morning, I had taken my year-old Hyundai Elantra car back to the dealership service department over something that had not been done correctly the day before. That's when I heard the news on the television which plays incessantly in the customer waiting area. I had a hard time believing what I saw.

When I got to work, after both towers had been hit, but before they crumbled, we turned on radios, and like so many Americans tried to figure out what was going on. Being as close to New York as we are (60 miles), city offices and schools closed. I had a hard decision: close or stay open. I went with my gut instinct and stayed open. For me, a part was to give school children a place to go while waiting for parents who might or might not be able to leave work. The public library was something of a safe haven.

It was later reflection that I began to realize the other part of why I made that gut decision: I didn't want the terrorists to win. Disrupting normal daily life is the goal of terrorism. By keeping the public library open, I was taking an active stand to not let the terrorists control my life -- and the life of others. It is a decision which I do not regret.

Here we are five years later. Freedoms have been lost. Flying on an airplane nearly requires a strip search of each passenger who can not even carry hand lotion any more.

The Bridgeport Public Library observed the key times of the morning with a bagpiper at the base of the flag pole at our main library. She piped Amazing Grace at each key time. This evening there is a book discussion at the North Branch Library. And we have book displays, of course.

Take a moment and reflect. Remember those who were killed that day.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Communicating in the 21st Century

The front page, above the fold, left-hand column in today's Connecticut Post caught my attention. [If you get there today, September 3, the home page has the graphic from the story].

The title "Talk just isn't what it used to be" is certainly intriguing, and talks about a subject which has certainly attracted a lot of attention in library circles, communication style differences between generations of library users.

I first really began pondering this issue when the ALA Executive Board [EB] heard a presentation at the 2004 Annual Conference in Orlando. Ria Newhouse and April Spivak presented to the EB some of the information they had gathered from their cohort of recent Library School graduates. Mary Ghikas [The Green Kangaroo] had heard them present at the PLA conference in Seattle in March of that year, and as the Senior Associate Executive Director of ALA, she brought them to us because the topic has huge implications for the Association and how it does its business.

I've learned a lot since then. I have an AIM account (and use it periodically, often to talk with my kids), have been blogging for over a year now, have a Flickr account with a not inconsiderable number of photos and a growing list of contacts, and recently changed my phone service to be able to have text messaging at a much cheaper cost (because I was using it so much).

As a matter of fact, today is the annual bringing stuff to college. My daughter is at Band practice, and we will meet her in Boston. Our specific instructions are to text her when we leave home so that she can be ready to meet us at her dorm when we arrive. We'll also call when we get off Storrow Drive. It is a tool. It is how we will communicate in this part of this century!

All of this is to say, even for us "old folks" it is a matter of Change or Die.

Change note: Added links for Ria Newhouse and April Spivak at 1:20 pm

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Baseball and Libraries

Last night I had an incredible opportunity. It was the opportunity to throw out the first pitch at the Bridgeport Bluefish baseball game. September 1 is the anniversary of Bridgeport's "Orator Jim" O'Rourke who is in the baseball Hall of Fame (Coopertown). It was also "Library Night" with staff from the Bridgeport Public Library and the neighboring Fairfield Public Library in attendance. I had the opportunity to throw out the first pitch.

I took a bunch of pictures, and Jill even got a couple of me. There is something about a baseball game, even a minor league game, when you are there in person.

The baseball field is just down the street from the main library facility. Our address is 925 Broad Street, while Harbor Yard is at 500 Broad Street. Whenever I go there, I park in my spot at the Library and walk under the highway.

The Bluefish have helped to re-vitalize downtown Bridgeport. Over the past eight years or so, they have brough almost 750,000 people from all over the state into the City.

I stayed through the end of the eleventh (yes, 11th) inning. Unfortunately the Bluefish lost in the 12th. They are still leading the Atlantic League's Northern Division for the second half of the season. If they win, they will enter a playoff, and, with any sort of luck, they will end up the winners. They are the winningest team in the eight year history of the Atlantic League.

A New Car at my house -- and I did not have to pay!

Brian's Car 004
Originally uploaded by Michael Golrick.
My younger son bought a new car this week. There is a set of photos on Flickr to show it getting prepped, and then as he got ready to go off to practice driving some more. He now has transportation independence. Some of us are very happy about this turn of events. [That would be most specifically my wife who has been driving him to work every day since July 10 when he started work at Sikorsky Aircraft, and then picking him up at the end of the day.]

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Library custodians are bar coded

BPL Custodians
Originally uploaded by Michael Golrick.
Years ago, on the PUBLIB list there was a discussion about barcoding and patrons with out their cards. Someone (Karen?) suggested that we bar code our patrons.

The other day one of the custodians came into my office, and I saw the tag with the bar code and joked that we are now bar coding our custodians so that we can track them. Brought back memories of that PUBLIB discussion, which I haven't the time or energy to find.

As a reality check, the bar codes are on the uniforms and are part of the uniform service's tracking system so that we get the right items back. The uniforms look good, and I am glad that we are finally there!

A REALLY, REALLY, bad day in the life

Well, yesterday was one of those days. It started with the phone call from my Library Maintenance Manager that the rainstorm of the night before (over 4 inches) had resulted in water leaks in the Main library building. One photo is here. There is a set on Flickr with more. And I'll mention more later.

That was 7:15 am. At about 8:30, I got into my car to drive to Westport Library for my morning meeting which was a session on some personnel principles. Of course, my son had driven it last, and the gas light came on. to the gas station in the drizzle. Then to the highway. The first route I was going to take was still flooded from the rain the night before. Detour. I'm getting to be late, and then I hit I-95. It was gridlock. Bumper to bumper all the way down. It took a whole CD to get the less than 15 miles from my house to the Westport Library. The presenter was even later than I was! I did get some good shots of their donor wall: River of Names.

Many phone calls were made on the break. After all, we had a program scheduled that evening which had been moved downtown from the North Branch because the North HVAC system was blown out during a storm this summer, and still has not been repaired. Photos from that are linked later.... I dashed back for a very productive meeting with the City's new head of ITS. They do not manage our systems, but we may be partnering for some acquisitions.

It is now after three pm, and I have barely checked my email, or anything else. I did that for about an hour, and decided I needed some down time. The pool at the Bridgeport and Stratford YMCAs are both closed for maintenance, so I drove to Milford. What a gorgeous pool. I swam about a half mile, and came back. Ate a little, and then the program.

We were hosting a program which featured three of the Ron Brown Scholars. One of those who came to speak was Carmelle Norice who is pictured on the cover of the book. The turnout was modest, but the program was a success. The local daily covered it, and I expect to see an article with photos over the weekend. (The article is being written by one of my favorite free-lancers.) Photos from the event are here.

Then it was check email, and stuff....I was at my desk until almost midnight. A long day. Bad and good. On to tomorrow....

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Firestorm over Forbes' Sexist Comments I've been behind on reading blogs. I am nearly caught up on email after almost 10 days away, and a week back. The blog reading suffered. So, on a rainy, wet, Saturday morning when the stupid paper delivery did not double bag, and left the local rag in the puddle at the bottom of my steps, I started to read my Bloglines list (with now, over 1,000 unread posts).

What catches my eye? A topic near and dear to my heart. So....the draft post will wait. The E-Rate post will wait. We'll do Forbes Magazine incredible insensitivity post. I got to Solvitur Ambulando from my friend Michelle Boulle (Wandering Eyre) with whom I have a date in Seattle for a single malt, my treat. My fellow Nutmegger (or at least she is a student at a Connecticut School) had some words on the topic. Then my attention was dragged further by the inimitable Walt Crawford (who has my utmost respect) in his post on the topic. One of the last comments on Jennifer's blog was particularly pointed.

Here is my semi-personal experience. I am not a woman, but I am married to one. She also happens to be a librarian. We moved about 23 years ago so that I could take a position which was a promotion, and allowed us to expand our family. When we moved, we had an almost three-year old. My wife's career had been good, she was tenured in her academic institution, and, may I add, vested in her pension plan. After we moved, we made a family decision and she CHOSE to stay home. We had two children in the next three years, and three years after that, she CHOSE to take an opportunity to go back into the work force. She recently complete 15 years of work as a part-time staff member at a local institution. While she is less than full time, for many of those years, her salary was reasonably close to mine. It is still not inconsiderable. If she were to work at the same pay full-time, she would be close to my salary as the head of the largest public, municipal library in the state. We have put two children through college, and one half-way through. (Junior year looms large!) It has been a struggle, but the editor of Forbes has it all wrong.

For statistical purposes, I'll note that I have seven siblings. Two of my three brothers are married to women who have professional credentials. The one who is divorced was married to someone who graduated from high school. Of my four sisters, all graduated from college. My one divorced sister was divorced long before she earned any of her advanced degrees (she has one and is almost done with her Ed.D.). Forbes got it wrong!