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, 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 or Lois Ann Gregory-Wood, Council Secretariat, at
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