Monday, November 17, 2014

States I have visited

I know I did this once before, but there is a new map generator out there:

Here is my map:

Create Your Own Visited States Map

It is pretty clear that I need to plan a trip north, and swing through those big states in the Northwest. That would just leave the "exotic" ones: Alaska and Hawai'i. Both are on my bucket list. 

Friday, November 07, 2014

Bourbon Street: A History – A book review

Bourbon Street: A History, Richard Campanella, Louisiana State University Press, 2014

I don’t usually do book reviews, but I felt compelled to talk about this one.

I love New Orleans. I lived there for four years, and that has certainly helped both develop my affection for the city and its people, but has also informed my ideas and opinions about the city. Prior to living there, I had visited the city about 8 – 10 times, always for a conference/convention. The areas I visited then were the French Quarter (including Bourbon Street), the CBD/Warehouse District and the Convention Center. Living there, and visiting since, I have seen much of the rest of the city which is different than the Quarter and has its own charms.

In the Preface, Richard Campanella notes: “And yet Bourbon Street has been almost completely ignored by scholars. Not a single book has been written about its history, much less an in-depth scholarly investigation.” This book fills that gap. The book is divided into three parts: Origins, Fame and Infamy, and Bourbon Street as a Social Artifact.

“Origins” sets the stage both in talking about the larger history, and some of the geography of the area. “Fame and Infamy” has a period-by-period history divided into six eras. The last part includes more interesting analyses. The book includes reproductions of maps and photographs, some from very early periods.

Part of the analysis of history and data that he does goes well beyond what I consider “geography” – a concept probably limited by my elementary school classes on the topic. Some of the modern data is based on research and data collected by the author: musical genre performed, volume of pedestrian traffic, numbers of men and women standing on balconies, origins of Bourbon Street pedestrians, and local versus out-of-state ownership of property

It is a fascinating history and discourse about the most famous part of New Orleans. It is a weaving together of tales told by history, and by data, along with anecdotes from the participants.

I had a chance to hear the author speak at the Louisiana Book Festival last weekend, and he was as engaging as his book.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Compassion, Punishment, and the Death Penalty

The recent conversations about the death penalty made me think ... and that is not a bad thing. It all started when one of my IRL (In Real Life) friends posted on Facebook one of the links about the apparently botched execution in Arizona. (Which link he posted is not important to this story.) The person who posted is someone I have known for quite a few years. He is a hard worker for the volunteer organization where we met.

In a prior life, he worked in the prison system. He retired from that position and began running a non-profit which helps to re-integrate people leaving prison into society. In my mind, it is important work.

Mind you, I am opposed to the death penalty on moral grounds. In a truly moral society, how can we justify ever taking another person's life. However, I recognize that not all agree with me on that point, and argue for the use of capital punishment.

My friend made this comment, the last sentence of which went straight to my heart:
"What John Q. Public fails to understand is that this penalty is carried out and witnessed by public servants (correctional personnel) who must deal with the memory for the remainder of their lives. I had a colleague who witnessed an electrocution in 1969 and never fully recovered from that trauma. Execution has devastating and hidden costs to the human soul."
 Execution has devastating and hidden costs to the human soul.

I posted on Facebook, and there were comments from a full range of my friends, family, and acquaintances. Many of them echoing my thoughts and feelings about the death penalty.

Then there were comments from another friend, one who has been on the other side of the bars from my first friend, mentioned above. Below, I have edited and combined two of his comments.

I know first hand what it is like to be in prison for multiple years. I gotta chime in on this one. I [want to] make two points: 1). It costs less to house an inmate for life than it does to go through the lengthy, automatic, mandatory appeals process for a death penalty sentence. 2) A mandatory, natural life sentence, with NO chance of parole, is a far more severe punishment than a quick and painless death. Let 'em rot in prison for all their days and think about what they did.

Death is the easy way out. Do away with the death penalty and institute mandatory life sentences. Save money and mete out a more severe punishment. It's a win/win. (And as an added bonus we do away with all the extraneous nonsense).
There is a perspective I had not considered. Death is the easy way out.

A third friend (who is a nurse by profession) commented:

I also don't believe this is the best answer for all of humanity, but it might be the best of no good options for the family members of the victim.
As a society, we can't afford to finance the multiple appeals and lengthy incarcerations for the worst of worst criminals.
At this point, my intellectual side comes out and it truly more expensive for the appeals than the incarceration assuming no appeals and parole? Will the certainty of a sentence of life without parole, and no appeals, help the families of the victims deal effectively with their loss? More for me to ponder.

A final note....I found the whole conversation most interesting. Every single person who commented on my post is someone who is part of one or another of my real-life circles. They are people who would not necessarily know each other, and I am the only one who knows all of them. It was a respectful and thoughtful conversation. One I am glad I had especially since it is one which may not have happened without the technology of social media.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Vegas Wrap Up

[Ed note: I have changed the date on this back to just after the Vegas Conference. I left it sitting, unedited, for years, and decided to clean up my act!]

Thoughts about Vegas

More Thoughts on Vegas

My friend Ingrid is doing did a survey.

This overview is interesting:

Below is a simple paste up of what I did in Vegas in purely chronological order:
Thu Jun 26 EB Surviviors Dinner - Bahama Breeze, 375 Hughes Center Drive, Las Vegas -- in the Gazebo
Fri Jun 27 OCLC - Enhance Sharing Session - Las Vegas Convention Center N260
1:30pm – 2:00pm ALA-APA Board of Directors - LVH Ballroom D
4:00pm – 6:00pm ALAplay 2014 - Caesars Palace Florentine
Sat Jun 28 9:00am – 12:00pm Dewey Update Breakfast - Bally Hotel, Skyview 2 Room
10:00am – 12:00pm Data-Driven Decision Making: LRRT Research Forum - Las Vegas Convention Center-N235
12:30pm – 1:30pm Consulting after Retirement: Is it Right For You? - Las Vegas
Convention Center N231/233
3:00pm – 4:30pm Certification Program Committee - LVCC N211
5:00pm – 6:30pm Council/EB/Membership - LVH - Paradise North
5:00pm – 6:00pm Digital Inclusion - LVCC204
6:30pm – 7:30pm Membership Meeting - LVH - Paradise North
7:45pm – 9:15pm ASCLA/COSLA Reception and Awards - Las Vegas Hotel Pavilion 04
9:00pm – 11:00pm Reception to Honor Pat Schuman - Bally's - Skyview 5
12:00am – 2:00am Thank You Reception - ALA President Barbara Stripling - LVH Hotel - Presidential (Country Club) Suite #2989
12:00am – 2:00am Thank You Reception - LVH Hotel President-elect (Regal) Suite # 2983
Sun Jun 29
8:00 am (?) Alexander Street Customer Appreciation Breakfast - The Las Vegas Hotel, Ballroom A and B (3000 Paradise Rd)
10:30am – 12:00pm Certification Update - LVCC N252
12:30pm – 1:30pm Libraries and Digital Inclusion - LVCC N258
12:30pm – 1:30pm Creativity & Innovation: LRRT Research Forum - Las Vegas Convention Center -N263
7:00pm – 8:30pm RUSA Awards Reception and Volunteer Appreciation Party - Caesars Palace Florentine II-IV
8:00pm – 10:00pm UIUC Library School Party - Bally's Las Vegas,Skyview 2 (26th floor), 3645 Las Vegas Blvd
8:00pm – 1:00am Newbery-Caldecott Dinner - Paris Las Vegas - Paris Ballroom
Mon Jun 30
10:00am – 12:00pm Now Showing @ ALA Film Program - The Speaker - Las Vegas Convention Center N241
10:30am – 12:00pm 2014 Jean E. Coleman Library Outreach Lecture - Las Vegas Convention Center N231/233
12:00pm – 1:30pm Man on Wire -Philippe Petit - LVCC N241
3:00pm – 4:30pm Speaking About 'The Speaker' - Las Vegas Convention Center N253
4:45pm – 5:30pm Data for Librarians - LVCC N239/241
7:30pm – 9:00pm Library Games - Las Vegas Hotel Ballroom G

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Happy Birthday, Blog

It was nine years ago that I started this blog. Wow.  #568. A great deal has happened to me since then.

One thing which has not changed for me was the subject of my second blog post ever, on July 7, 2005. The title of that blog was: "Driving, Weather, and 'ALA Post-Partum Blues'". The first two are not issues for me today, but the third still is. Here is part of what I said then:
For many of us, we get to spend some concentrated time together working on important issues, thinking thoughts about the big picture and enjoying working hard on the process. We get to vote and make decisions. Now we are back home. For me, that means the every day realities... While we email back and forth between conferences, that personal contact is really important. ... I am very much in favor of having technology help us to do our work, but this "blues" I am feeling are clearly related to a sense of missing the personal interaction.
(I did edit some of the text.) While we have tools to use which are different than we did nine years ago, I am still a firm believer in the importance of personal contact. At this conference, I got to meet some friends whom I had only interacted with using tools like Facebook. Our future relationship will be able to be deeper having had personal interaction.

(Oh, and Happy Birthday to Brian, my younger son, whose name is often mistyped by my clumsy fingers as "Brain.")

Saturday, July 05, 2014


No, I am not going to post about what is happening in my personal life.

Being at the ALA Annual Conference has put me in a reflective mood. One of the topics I have been thinking about the nature of personal relationships.

I love going to ALA Conferences, because I get to spend time with various folks who I do not get to see very often. For some of them, my relationship with them goes back to the mid-80s or before. (The mid-80s is when I began my active work in ALA.)

There are several folks with whom I have spent a great deal of time, in intense discussions, for a period of time. I am thinking of ALA Executive Board (EB) and ALA Council in particular. Service on the  EB is very intense. There are 4 - 5 meetings in person each year (Midwinter and Annual included) with almost monthly phone conference calls, and many, many emails. Catching up with those folks is important to me. This is the one time of year when that happens.

From among my "Council friends," one of the things I value is the ability to disagree on any given issue, but to still maintain a relationship, if not deepen it. Respect for a person does not mean you cannot disagree.Indeed, some of the folks I most respect on Council, are some with whom I disagree on one or more issues. We can disagree without being disagreeable. I have one friend (from Council and EB) who often says, what is most important is keeping an open mind and listening, especially to those with whom you disagree. She cites an example (I remember the event, but not the issue), when she and I were among a small group who stood in support of a particular motion with some of the folks with whom we most often disagreed. We had sat and listened to the arguments, and changed our minds! Getting to hang out with folks like that is part of what has enriched my life in ALA.

Facebook helps to maintain contact with many of my ALA friends, and, for me, enriches many of my relationships. At the same time, it is important for me to have the "face-time" or IRL (In Real Life) contact. That is and important part of what ALA meetings are about for me today.

I also had one of those "serendipity" moments. The first day of the conference, I had wandered through my hotel, and accidentally into the next one. I "saw the light" and was headed towards the street. Out of the corner of my eye, I notice someone else headed that way, but I was trucking on. Then, after having passed the person, I heard my name. It was someone to whom I had been introduced on Facebook, and with whom I had chatted a couple of times, but had never met (even though they were from New Orleans!). We chatted for a few moments, and after I mentioned I was headed out to find food, we agreed to go have breakfast. We wound up at the restaurant across the street, aptly named Serendipity.

For me, it was a great beginning to the conference. Many relationships were solidified, and others renewed. It is part of what I need on a periodic basis.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

More Thoughts on Vegas

One of my friends commented to me privately that she thought that my last post had been pretty negative and harsh about Vegas. Ant that could be true, and reflective of my mood at the time. Conference was not yet in full swing, and my comments reflected many of the comments I heard about the site.

Here are a couple of positive things:
  • People watching (especially outside the conference) is absolutely fascinating
  • There is an incredible mix of people just to judge the externals: ages, ethnicity, groupings mixed and not
  • People are often pretty happy-looking when they are not being amazed at the sites
  • Las Vegas is like no other place in the world
  • Here is (generally) an escape from reality
  • The Monorail is pretty amazing and wonderfully clean
  • Actually, given the volume of people and the activities they are engaged in, Vegas is a pretty clean city in terms of trash (at least on the Strip)
One part of Conference which helps to invigorate me, is meeting up with colleagues. That is a huge part of the experience. I get to see folks I have not seen in quite awhile (sometimes only a year, other times longer). It is also a chance to meet IRL (In Real Life) folks with whom I more often interact using technology.

Yesterday morning I was looking for breakfast and had that kind of experience. I was walking through a hotel/casino when someone called my name. It was someone who is a Facebook friend and with whom I had had some conversations, but had not ever met in person. We wound up going to breakfast -- Serendipity was the appropriate name of the restaurant -- which gave me a great beginning to the day.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Thoughts about Vegas

I have been in Las Vegas (NV) for about 24 hours now. I am here for the American Library Association Annual Conference. It is not my first visit to Vegas, but it is the first time I have been here for a conference. The last time ALA was held in Vegas was in 1973.

Here are some somewhat random observations about Vegas based on this visit. Some are about Vegas as a place, and others are about Vegas as a venue for ALA Conferences.

  • "The Strip" has a lot of vertical to it, but outside of it, Vegas is like much of the west, and very low to the ground.
  • Because of the many tall buildings along the Strip, you can't really see the mountains, and get a physical sense of place.
  • Vegas is loud. Very loud. Every hotel lobby seems to be a mass of binging, clanging slot machines. The noise permeates the place. Also, the ceilings are generally low adding to the volume.
  • Signage is miserable. The hotels want to trap you at the gambling machines.
  • Outside is a mass of signs.
  • Traffic on the Strip is pretty bad.
  • The hotels and resorts are very territorial:
    • Fences abound between properties;
    • There is no idea of having the flow of traffic (vehicular and pedestrian) be logical;
    • Perfect example: the "Sky Bridge to Hotel" from the Convention Center....not sure what it goes over, there are no windows in it, there is no mention on the signs of which hotel, and the inside part ends at an escalator down to an alley between the Convention Center and the Hotel
  • Within hotels signage is at best miserable, and more often non existent.
  • There is no such thing as a straight line path between two points.
  • Nothing seems permanent. One of my colleagues was here 18 months ago for a meeting. There are no longer buildings in some places where there used to be, and vice versa. Some buildings new then look very run down already.
  • Distances are vast.....Instead of "objects in the mirror may be closer than they appear" it is true here that objects (hotels) you can see are further than you think.
I'll post more later about my more specific conference experiences/days.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

ALA Conference 2014 - Calendar

I am going to Vegas. Since I was on the ALA Exec Board when we approved the location and dates, I felt a little obligation. It is not a heavy obligation, though.

So, if you are stalking me at ALA (and why not) here is my tentative calendar. In some time slots there are multiple events. It is a game day decision as to which event I may, or may not, attend. Remember, it is always subject to revision!

Dates for the Conference in Vegas are June 26 - July 2. Since this is Google Calendar, you may have to arrow over to the right week. (Or back if you are tracking me ex post facto.)

With any luck, I will get to blog some stuff. And I hope to write up a post conference set of comments.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Awful library book?

Recently, one of the staff brought me the book When the Wind Blows by Raymond Briggs. She noted that it had been featured on the web site Awful Library Books.

Don't get me wrong, generally, I think that Awful Library Books is a good source to remind librarians of some of the items which may be hidden in our collections which we should no longer keep. The tag line of  "Hoarding is not collection development" is an important concept. In many libraries, weeding has never been a priority...including those in which I have worked.

I brought the book home to read. Here is the posting on Awful Library Books: There are many insightful comments, and not all think that the book deserved to be featured on the web site.

As I read the book (and before reading the web review), I thought of what I have always considered the first graphic novel: Maus. Wind was published in 1982 -- although it seems older than that. Certainly, the attitudes expressed about mutually assured destruction seem much more like those I remember of a decade or more earlier. It may be that this (Wind) is really the first graphic novel.

I did some quick research about Maus. (Wikipedia has a nice summary.) While Maus was first started with a strip in the early 70s, it was not fully serialized until starting in 1980. The first graphic novel, the collection of the first six chapters, was published in 1986 -- four years after Wind.

What to do? I think that this work will stay in our collection, even after the Awful Library Books selection. Generally we use that as a guideline for weeding (and have even submitted items which have been selected). This is an important work, and is unlikely to be retained in other public libraries in this state.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

ALA 101 - Updates

Back in the day....(damn, I sound like a geezer), I posted a series of notes about ALA and its structure and governance. When I last changed format of the blog, I took the index to them and made it a "page."

Today, I updated that page to include a couple of new links. One is to a guide on the ALA web site which has some important definitions of terms, and the other is linked to a blog which aggregated some of the links commonly used by a Councilor.

Here is the link to the updated page:

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Louisiana Library Association Conference 2014 - Day 2

Google Analytics:

The program was presented by Karen Niemla & Cyndy Robertson (UL-Monroe). For some reason, I seem to go to the program presented by Karen at every LLA conference. She often talks about tech stuff that relates to my life.

You need a Google account to start. Either use your own account or make one for library use. Recommended that you create a library account rather than tying to a personal account. You can add other Google accounts so that they can see the data. It will change from time to time, since Google does that.

GA is designed for people who are trying to make money, so there are some things which will not make sense to us. There are even some metrics which have dollars attached to them.

The kind of demonstration of what you actually see is hard to capture for a blog report. The presentation is on the web:

Listening to Your Patrons

Samantha Becker is at the UWashington Information School. The Impact Survey is a tool to help libraries survey their patrons especially about technology. She will also talk about the EDGE Initiative, a library benchmarking tool, which allows libraries to look at how it provides services.

What do you need to know?
Need to align library resources and services to community needs. About 70% of those who use library technology have access somewhere else. One reason is that home internet connection is not good, so the library connection is so much better. Also "household competition for access" which means that there are multiple users competing for the one device.
People are going to library to do their jobs. May be normally working from home, but need personal contact in order to feel productive. "The library is a productive space." Is there anywhere else in the community where a person can go to use technology without being expected to buy something.
Need to show that responding to community needs, and figure out the areas for improvement.
Used a case study -- Altamont -- a fictional community with a number of challenges and based on a number of real communities across the country.

 Gathering Data
  1.  Assemble a working team
    1. Library managers
    2.  Board/Friends representatives
    3.  Local government
    4.  Peer agency staff
    5.  Members of the public/library users
  2. What do you need to know?
    1. What are the most important issues facing your community?
    2. What do your community members need to have, know, or do to be successful?
    3. What kind of community do you aspire to be?
    4. What kinds of programs can meet community needs?
    5. How well do our programs meet community needs?
    6. Who aren't we serving as well as we could?
    7. What's going on in your community?
    8. What are your community goals?
    9. What information would help you make decisions about programs to support those goals?
  3. Existing Data
    1. What existing data can tell you:
      1. Who lives in your service area
      2. What kind of lives they lead
      3. What they might need
      4. How patrons are using the library
    2. Data Sources
      1. Census/ACS
      2. Broadband USA
      3. Community indicators
      4. City/County Surveys
      5. Education agency
      6. Employment agency
      7. Library records
      8. Other research
    3. Compile into a community survey
    4. Compare to other research/surveys
    5. Needing, doing, being
      Theory of change says that you have an unmet need, the library provides services, which leads to people being able to do something that they could not do before.
    6. Data collection methods
      1. Community fora
      2. Focus groups
      3. Interviews
      4. Surveys
She presented a great deal of detail on how to actually do focus groups, community meetings, and interviews, along with the pro/cons and specific kinds of information from each type of data collection.

Data collected from focus groups and interviews is qualitative data.

Analysis and Reflection
  1.  Write up impressions of results from fora, focus groups, etc.
  2. Approach systematically
    1. write up brief summaries
    2. categorize
    3. look for themes
    4. look for alternates and exceptions
  3. Validate findings with other methods
Surveys aren't just for satisfaction. Libraries are victims of social desirability bias. Use surveys to validate findings from other methods. Use to understand the extent of the phenomena. Can learn about outcomes (how many experience a specific outcome, like "did you get your GED"?). Phone surveys are expensive, and may not be reliable. Areas with high cell phone use will result in results that are not accurate.

Library patrons are unusually willing to participate in surveys and to answer questions. Try combination of web and paper survey. If you mail, be sure to include a return envelope. Use PR to make folks aware of your survey.

Want to focus on factual information. But be careful how the question is worded. Limit number of open-ended questions. Avoid compound questions. Always pre-test your questions. Watch how much you ask. About 10 - 12 questions is ideal. You have to balance between limited number of questions, and analyzing the data. Ask multi-check questions (e.g., top three priorities). Use questions from other surveys.

What is the Impact Survey?

This is a survey tool to help libraries survey their users about how they use technology. Very simple to use list of questions, includes information on activities in core outcome areas. Includes tools to do analysis and professional-looking results. []

What is EDGE for Libraries?

Edge is a way to look at your library. Includes benchmarks and indicators. Has tools to analyze what your library is doing and how to do better. It has a toolkit. There is synchronous web-based training. There are many kinds of training available as part of it.

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Elizabeth Elmwood, now Meta-Data librarian, formerly Government Documents Librarian. In June 2013, Xavier University (New Orleans) left the Federal Depository Library System (FDLS). Reasons: limited resources and a duplication of effort.

Her full presentation is here. She looked for published accounts describing the process, and found little. 15 academic libraries left in 1998-2001. Most were smaller academic libraries located near larger libraries.

Reasons for discontinuation:
  • Tangible item use was low
    • fewer than 1 item per month re-shelved
    • technology requirements barely met
  • Limited staffing
    • 1 librarian with other duties
    • No support staff, spotty student worker coverage
  • Use of space
    • Library reconfiguration in process
    • Extensive print weeding of entire collection
  • Cost of ownership versus use of collection
Reasons to keep:
  • Intrinsic value of an informed citizenry
  • Enhances library prestige, and is unique to libraries
  • Your documents collection may have its own specialties
  • Your collection supports a department, major, or program of instruction
  • Leaving FDLP does not yield instant savings in space labor or money
Process (mechanics)
  • Consult with regional coordinator, then write a letter (library director/agency head) to the Superintendent of Documents
    • Physical mail is irradiated
    • May need to scan and send
  • Expect to list everything (!) as usual for documents disposition
  • Consider the regional depository library's workload when submitting items
  • Pulling data from ILS into an editable file to upload into the disposal database
  • (PPT has a crosswalk from MARC to ASERL DDD fields) / Note 074 is the shipping list number, can be a good field to look at
Xavier Library after withdrawal
  • Collection remains on the shelves during disposal
  • Librarian became Meta-data Librarian
  • Unclaimed items offered
  • Student workers did the grunt work
  • Government information accessible via LibGuide
  • Did some uncommon listings (e.g., Foreign Relations of the US from 1915 +  offered on Craigslist)
Recommended reading list (from PPT)

If were to do it again, would double check list from ILS against shelf for actual format. Once offered and not claimed the library can keep the material, and it becomes a regular part of the collection and does not have to be offered again through the disposition process.

Celebrate the Freedom to Read @ your library

Attendees were welcomed as "Intellectual Freedom Fighters." Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to read, rather than celebrating the banning of books.

Judy Krug Grant: there are 5 - 8 grants awarded each year, since  2010, and last year, for the first time ever, two libraries in the same state won the grant: LaFourche and Livingston Parish Libraries.

LaFourche Parish Library received  $1,000 plus ALA Graphics supplies. The funding was used for programs. The LaFourche program was aimed at teens. Livingston's program was aimed at adults. The Livingston program focused on Southern literature.

Next round of grants is open until April 30, and is not overly difficult to apply for.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Louisiana Library Association Conference 2014 - Day 1

Benefits after BTOP Laptops

The program was a panel of library directors who talked about the success of the program. They included stories about people sitting in the parking lot to use Wi-Fi. One even mentioned that they received phone calls from people in the parking lot asking them to re-set the router!

The best of the stories was from one library director who went out to retrieve an overdue laptop. She walked up to the trailer where the person lived. With no argument the woman gave it back. As the library director was leaving, the patron said: "Oh, would you sign me up so that I can borrow it again when it comes back."

One of the directors noted that the BTOP-funded classes were very popular, and that he would willingly take more laptops.

[Cypress - software for writing resumes - more to come]

Patron on the Edge: Customer Service in Difficult Circumstances

Sarah Creekmore, Admin Assistant to the library director in Lincoln Parish presented the program. Prior to her current position, she had worked in reference, and had an extensive experience in customer service in banking and retail. She notes that one of the differences is that in public service, we are the product, and we need to focus on delivering the best possible product.

React v. Respond
Reaction is generally negative "gut feeling" "not thinking, feeling"
Respond, thought out, have a plan, able to see alternatives, logical tools in advance of the situation
Observe behavior, and respond in a way that is most effective

Mood Swings
  • Anxiety (necessarily a problem....)
    • Give them your undivided attention
    • Speak more softly and calmly
    • Let them vent (don't interrupt)
    • Make it right (if library is wrong)
  • Belligerence
    • Acting Angry
    • Accusatory
    • Bad language
    • Take control quickly 
    • Keep eye contact (otherwise may think trying to get away, but don't look down -- submissive look)
  • Control (Out of)
    • Communicating threats, intoxicated = call the cops
    • Get additional staff/co-workers for back up
    • Safety is paramount
  • Calm
    • Not usually a problem (unless, just out of control, if this happens don't fall for it)

Attack Strategies
  • Bullying/Manipulating
    • Sometimes need to think through to figure out what they want
    • Critical to find some truth in what they say
    • Disagree without arguing
    • Ask for input
  • Smarty Pants-ing
    • Patrons who know the rules better than you do
    • Attempt to overwhelm with information
    • Energizer bunnies -- going and going and going (try to paraphrase briefly)
    • Ask specific questions, the more specific the better
    • Thank for input
  • Back Stabbing
    • Call them out.....ask for their direct input/opinion
  • Gloom and Dooming 
    • Eyore - perpetual pessimists
    • Acknowledge the part which is true
Derailment Tactics (deny, defend, or counter-attack)
  • Broken Record
    • Repeat: "Really sorry you feel that way, but this is our policy"
    • Can apologize for the inconvenience (not necessarily effective)
  • Fogging (for manipulations and counter-attacks)
    •  Acknowledge remark (take the meat of what they are saying)

  • Bargaining
    • Alternative solutions
  • Defusing Triggers
    • Triggers are personal (bad bullies will find them and poke)
    • Sometimes you need to have someone else intervene and deal with patron
Keeping Cool
  • Avoid losing control
    • Accepting emotional responsibility
    • Find the trigger
    • Put things in perspective
    • If necessary, use an exit line
  • If you lose control
    • Interrupt yourself
      • (scream stop inside your head...take a breath and tell patron what is going on)
    • Communicate your feelings (no blame or apology needed*)
    • Continue or reschedule as needed
    • *Unless actions were negative, i.e. throwing or yelling
 Examples/Real Life

ADA does allow you to ask for service animals to leave if they urinate or defecate in the building or if they are creating a disturbance. Can ask if a service animal and can ask what their function is. Can ask the animals to leave, cannot ask the patron to leave.

State of the State Library

Presentation is on the State Library web site. Full presentation is here.
The good news? The current budget proposal includes $1.4 million in State Aid. This will help the State meet the federal MER (Minimum Expenditure Requirement).

Overview of the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act (UELMA)

States used to produce their own codes. But then they came to realize that there were companies that were doing it, so they chose a private publisher to do it. In Louisiana, West Publishing is the official publisher. Many states have moved to online to "save money."

There is a site which AALL maintains which indicates sources of online codes and whether the online copy is official and the copyright status. (List is state by state.)

In 2007, NCUSL (National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws) approved a study explore digital authentication. in 2011, the new legislation was approved.

UELMA definition is narrow: constitutions, session laws, codified laws, and administrative rules. States may expand the definition if they want, but it is a local decision. The act applied to electronic legal material that has been designated official.
  • Official designation
    • Must name and agency or official as the the "official publisher" for each set of materials
    • No definition of relationship between state and commercial publishers
  • Authentication
    • Provide a method for the user to determine that the record is unaltered from the official version
  • Preservation and Security
    • Publisher shall ensure integrity and preservation of the record
  • Public access
    • Should be permanent
    • "Reasonably available"
Adopted in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, Nevada, North Dakota, and Oregon.

There was conversation that AALL was going to target Louisiana for enactment, but searching for bills does not find any proposed legislation. will come to be that the online version will be official.



(Re)Organization: Recruiting, Training, and Retaining a Diverse Library Staff

State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton, and LSU professor Robin Kurz did an excellent presentation on the topic of diversity. Full presentation is here.

LLA Book Dinner

Richard Paul Evans was an absolutely captivating speaker. I only took notes on my phone, and here are a couple of gems:
  • He told a very humorous story about how one day he appeared for an early morning talk show (Atlanta?), and there was a dispute between his publicist and the show's producer. The result was that the station agreed to promote his book signing, and he came back the next morning. While being set up with his microphone the next morning, the technician let slip that he had been "bumped" the previous day. For whom? Elvis Presley's podiatrist. Who arrived with a container of Elvis' toenail clippings!
  • "The map you see is not the road. The way you see the world is not how the world really is."
  • Every revolution started with a book.
He talked extensively about his philosophy about life as contained in his book on the "four doors."

It was a great end to the day.

ALA Executive Board Elections

There has been a recent discussion on the ALA Council List about parts of the process for electing ALA Executive Board members. Anyone can read the postings. Go to the ALA List of discussion lists and look under Governance for the Council list. Once you click on it, look for the box on the left side of the page for Archives, or look here for the threaded discussion.

As background, you may want to read Bobbi Newman's wonderful post The First Rule of ALA Executive Board is You Don’t Talk About ALA Executive Board. It gives all the foundational documents (and links) and some insight on her experience, which is more recent than mine. I highly recommend that you read the comments also, not just because I commented. Peggy Sullivan, who was both on the ALA EB as President and as Executive Director, offers some perspective as well.

In the comments I said a couple of things that I want to repeat for those who don't bother to go there:

I served on the ALA EB from 2003 – 2006, and started my blog most of the way through my term. I did talk some about being on the Board, and certainly on the blog have talked about service on Council. ...

One of the wonderful things that happened when I ran was that the six of us nominated by the Committee on Committees all went out to dinner at that Midwinter. It was a very congenial group. Two of those six were elected (the other person elected was nominated from the floor and could not join us for dinner). Of those not elected two were elected in later years.
One of the important points that Karen has raised, is the fact that it is easier to publish, even share, intentions today than it was. It is also true that there was (I am no longer a member of ALA Council, so I can't judge the current climate) a climate of this election being one of "standing for election" unlike for President, Treasurer, or even Council itself, of "running." After all, I have helped candidates with handing out flyers, talking up platform issues, even doing electronic mailings. I did so gladly when I felt that I could, and that it did not compromise my position.

[An aside: I spent my first two terms on Council as a Chapter Councilor. I perceived my role as that of representing my state, and of representing ALA to my state. For Presidential and Treasurer elections, I was (well, tried to be) as even-handed as I could. The only opinion I would offer would be a private one, privately. As a member of the Executive Board, I felt that I could not in good conscience campaign since I would wind up serving with the successful candidate, and if I had vocally backed the "other candidate" that would have felt awkward to me. That is a statement of why I acted the way I did. As a Councilor-at-Large, I did as I wished, and did publicly endorse and actively support candidates.]

A part of me agrees with the idea that there should be more discussion prior to Midwinter, and more opportunities to interact with the candidates. When I "stood" for election, I did not really stand still. I made it a point to talk to fellow Councilors at the reception (Midwinter only event) for new Councilors. I chatted with them before and after sessions, each meeting of the Council Forum/Caucus, at the Chapter Councilor meeting, at committee meetings, etc. I did ask those I knew to vote for me. As many know, I am usually vocal, and did not silence myself during the period. Today would be different.

There is also not always someone nominated from the floor. There was the year I was elected, and that person was one of the successful candidates.

ALA Elections 2014 - My list

Some years I have written more about this, and other years less. This year is going to be a minimal post. Below are listed the folks for whom I will vote for ALA Council. I am still undecided about ALA President, I know both candidates slightly, and am still trying to make up my mind -- unlike in some past years where I had a clear favorite.

Not making the list does not mean that I dislike or disagree with a person. More likely, I just do not either know them well enough or know their work well enough to support them. The list below is alphabetical, because that is the way my ballot is/was.

Vivian Bordeaux
    I worked with Vivian at the Bridgeport Public Library. She is very thoughtful.
Matthew Ciszek
    I met Matthew through working on Council. He is very well-spoken and articulate. (Plus usually agree with him!)
Emily E. Clasper
   Emily is a dynamic library trainer from New York. I think she would be a great addition to Council.
Roberto C. Delgadillo
    Like several of the folks on this list, I met Roberto through Council. He brings a wealth of knowledge to Council.
John Desantis
    Like several of the folks on this list, I met John through Council. He is in tech services which is a part of the 
    profession often under-represented on Council, and John is articulate on the issues he chooses to address.
Ed Garcia
   Ed has been the Rhode Island Chapter Councilor, and is articulate and thoughtful.
Rhonda K. Puntney Gould
   I have known Rhonda for a number of years. She is active in ALSC, and has worked with the Wisconsin Library
   Association prior to her recent "removal" to Washington (and a different WLA).
Dora Ho
   Dora is a former ALA Exec Board member. I worked with her on the Membership Committee. She has the 
   broad perspective that is important on Council.
Em Claire Knowles
   Em Claire is a former ALA Exec Board member. She has the broad perspective that is important on Council.
Susan L. Jennings
    I met Susan as part of my work on Council.
Margaret L. Kirkpatrick
    Margaret is a long-time support of Youth Services issues. She has a long and distiguished record on Council and, 
    I think deserved to be elected.
Charles E. Kratz
   Charles is another former ALA Exec Board member. He has the broad perspective that is important on Council.
Rodney Eugene Lippard
  Rodney is a former Chapter Councilor who is also thoughtful and well-spoken.
Mike L. Marlin
   Mike is a vocal advocate for people with disabilities, and I have come to respect his expertise in this area
Dale K. McNeill
   I have known Dale electronically for many years, initially from the PUBLIB discussion list. He would be a great 
   addition to Council.
Michael J. Miller
   I have worked with Michael on several committees over the years. He is thoughtful and articulate
Jerome Offord
   I got to know Jerome primarily through his work in diversity at OCLC, and our overlapping group of friends. He is
   thoughtful and well-spoken.
Andrew Pace
   Andrew is a well-spoken and thoughtful person who also is an advocate of appropriate use of technology.
Kevin Reynolds
  Kevin is another former ALA Exec Board member. He has the broad perspective that is important on Council
  He previously had served as the Tennessee Chapter Councilor. It is important for the Chapter perspective to 
  be represented by more than just the official Chapter Councilors.
Jules Shore
   I know Jules mostly from social media. He is a medical librarian, and as such, would represent a segment of libraries
   which is under-represented on ALA Council.
Christian Zabriskie
   Christian is one of the founders of the Urban Libraries Unite, an important new library advocacy group. 

So...that is my list.