Wednesday, December 22, 2010

End of the year links

It is the end of the calendar year, and I have personal plans to travel during the end of the year holidays. I will not be around, and for at least a week, will not even be checking my email or any other electronic device. Right about now, completely unplugged is sounding good! is a last batch of links that I found of interest:

First, tax forms...and the federal forms have not arrived here yet, I am wondering if the IRS held back printing some because of the possibility of changes (or no changes) to federal tax law. I find the ordering system initially simple, but more complex as time goes on. Brian Herzog (Swiss Army Librarian) made some comments under the clever title/quote: You May See an Increase in Patrons. Let me note here, the irony was not lost on me that the IRS announced that they were not sending forms only after the TFOP (Tax Forms Ordering Program) deadline for libraries (and others) to order forms for this next year. I expect to make numerous supplemental orders!

What every Library School Student should know

Back in November, a series of posts caught my was about what Library School students need to know.

Jill Hurst-Wahl's post is from the viewpoint of a faculty member. In addition to being up beat, she has a few key words of advice which I am excerpting here:

  • Your coursework won't teach you everything you need to know.
  • Every information professional you meet during your graduate program is a person who can connect you to a job.
  • Your reputation, CV/resume and portfolio matter.

She then followed up (in a different forum) with some comments and links to the other posts on which I will comment below.

Bobbi Newman gathered together a number of posts which address the topic under the title "Is She Crazy to Want to Work in Libraries?"

Her post was succeeded on Will Manley's blog with two posts:
“Any Advice for an Aspiring Librarian?”

“Do Grade Point Averages Make a Difference in the Hiring Process?”
I suggest that you read both, and the comments...

Finally, Roy Tenant added to Jill's post by noting several points that I am highlighting by pasting below:

  • No matter how close to graduation you are, your education has only just begun.
  • Although it might sound like work, constant learning is fun.
and in practical advice:
  • Find someone in the profession you admire, and offer to take them to lunch or drinks or dinner at a conference you are both attending.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


As I pulled into the parking lot at work today my almost 3 year old car turned 98,000 miles exactly.

What does that have to do with writing and blogging?

I got to thinking about some of the work-related writing I have done over the years, and this blog as well. Back when I was first a library director, I had not yet begun the habit of writing monthly reports for my Board, but I did have to write for the Annual Report. It was not a difficult task, and only occurred once a year. But then, after almost a decade I changed jobs.

I became the Executive Director of the Southern Connecticut Library Council (SCLC), a multi-type, cooperative library organization with schools, academic, public, and "special" libraries as members. [SCLC no longer exists.] There were two parts to the writing. First was a monthly report to the board. That was not so difficult, and my audience was only a dozen or so. However the monthly newsletter was different. The Director's column was on the front, and we printed multiple copies to send to our 300+ members. It scared me at first. However, I soon got used to it.

It was interesting to find out what people reacted to. During that time I also served a year as the president of the Connecticut Library Association. For the newsletter I had to write a column also, and it had to be different than the SCLC one, since most of the SCLC members were also CLA members. That is where we loop back to the opening of this post about my car. In both of the columns I wrote that year, I included occasional persona snippets including about the car which I was then driving, and turned 100,000 miles. I told stories about driving and the car at the end of some of my columns (in both publications). I was amazed at how many people commented on those remarks.

It occurs to me, that the reason is that so many own a car that they can really identify with the situations I described. (BTW, I did talk about driving in earlier posts (in chronological order): July 2005, and again, June 2008, August 2008, March 2009, and August 2009.

Now, in thinking about the writing thing, it occurs to me that blogging has helped to channel what has become a need to write. It was stirred by my SCLC/CLA experience. What I did not note is that starting with the SCLC job, and continuing through my next two directorships, I instituted a monthly written directors report. In both of those cases, I wrote the initial part, and then compiled from the reports which I requested from each of my "direct reports."

Interestingly, I was recently catching up on links and blogs and found that Andy Woodworth also wrestled with the issue of "why do I write" in a recent post.

Unlike some colleagues, I am not a trained writer. [I am thinking in particular of Karen Schneider who has an MFA in writing.] And I would note that I am not even as talented a writer as Walt Crawford who often downplays his talent in this area. Here is a link to his "writing and blogging" category. In so many ways I am a hacker at this writing thing. I know that I am more unpolished as a blogger than I was as a column writer or even as a library director reporting. In all those cases I had editors and someone to review and make suggestions for editorial revisions. At the same time, for me, and many others, this is a great outlet.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The future (of libraries, of library services)

OK, so we had videos (Betamax then VHS), and then moved to DVDs. What will be the next technology? "Streaming" is what I had been told. Certainly that is the way folks like Netflix and Hulu are moving. This may be a way for libraries to deal with the "streaming" issue, or may be an interim step. I am not sure which. Flix on Stix

Mita Williams (New Jack Librarian) from Canada has a long and thoughtful post about the future of libraries. She called it The future of libraries is what we create in the present. She closes with the following, pithy statements:
When I talk about the future I really mean this afternoon.
When I talk about the present I really mean this morning.
Eric Hellman has a post called Lots of Markets, Lots of Business Models. In it he talks about the structure of the book publishing industry and starts off with this interesting analogy:

The book industry is a lot like the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union consisted of fifteen ethnically divergent states (soviets) stitched together by a highly centralized government model. When that government model weakened, it turned out that there was little holding the soviets together. The Soviet Union no longer exists.
He goes on from there to talk about the shift in book publishing from print to digital and compares the book industry with the music and film industries. It offers some interesting thoughts.

Happy Birthday Mevil Dui

Stephen Abram reminded me with his posting that today is the birthday of Melvil Dui (as he preferred to spell it). He had a long and interesting career. Some is posted on the OCLC web site (they sell the Dewey Decimal publications).

I also found the New York Times obituary, as well as his entry in Wikipedia.