LOL Second Lifebrarians. Chill.

Ok, there were a whole bunch of people who rallied on my last Second Life post. (which was actually my second Second Life post). They brought some points that I didn’t address in my first or second post but Roy Tennant talked about on his Blog. I’ll address them all here or at least write until I get bored with talking about SL more.

The trolling nature of my previous post. Lol u mad bro? Really? Chill Second Lifebrarians. Seriously. But I will say that interestingly enough I wasn’t trying to troll, but rather just write something entertaining. I do want to point out that it was one of my most read blog posts and explains to me why people like the Annoying Librarian* an Dan Kleinman get so amped about their blogs. I just found that interesting as a passing thought.

What My Previous Post was Actually About
Here is why I have the negativity for SL. My SLIS made me partake in SL after spending tens of thousands of my tuition dollars on their “island.” ALA spent way too much money on SL (my dues). There are STILL libraries spending my tax dollars on Second Life. I’m negative because so much of my money has gone to support a failed endeavor. So basically after spending way too much of my money and forcing me to spend way too much time learning the interface I then had a number of experiences that would have been fine with a simple link in an email, tweet, FB, G+ hangout, or even myspace post. Hell… I would have settled for a flyer with a QR code on it! It would have been a lot cheaper.

The valuable “work” that librarians are doing there.
I don’t know. I haven’t seen any stats on that. My own experiences were disappointing. Anyway, I’m guessing those stats are not kept but I would say that they should be. Maybe I’d be surprised but I doubt it. The stats I have seen for second life overall are dismal at best and grossly inflated at worst. You can see them here.

I’d also like to point out that the examples of valuable work being done on SL were actually excellent examples of valuable things being done in SL, but really not library related at all. Some people built a car, some people made fractal art, etc… (that is very cool but this is a library blog) The things that people used as an example of library related work were also very cool, but again could have been accomplished by about a thousand other mediums with zero learning curve and as such could include hundreds (maybe even thousands) more librarians to really achieve something great. Instead, a few librarians encased themselves in a format that is an exclusive group by its learning curve, overly large necessary computing capacity, internet speeds, technical skills, etc… Well, I’m glad you could afford all that to create an exclusive group of librarians who loved SL before (and after) it was cool. But then again… As sjclarkfl pointed out, I’m the hipster.

The numbers
Linden labs juiced their stats to artificially inflate their numbers to a million active users. This number is world wide and only .002% of the population at their highest estimate of 15 million but the real numbers are actually around 800 thousand when not calculated by linden numbers (who inflated it to one million most recently). Someone made the ridiculous comment that if we’re going by stats then we should close libraries. Clearly this person didn’t see the numbers on libraries or a library’s ebranch. I guarantee that they are above .002% of the population. (hint- its around 60%)

As I said in my previous post, there are people who make their names in convincing other people (and themselves) of innovative library services. These people often talk about the great new things libraries can use. How great this or that new service, program, idea, or QR code is. But once again I’ll say, that part of being innovative is knowing what things need to just be dropped like a bad habit. (drop eBooks, get eReaders).

Better options
You know, I’m all about solutions and Craig Anderson presented what I thought was absolutely a much better option. Why not go were users actually are? There are tons of MUVEs with millions more active users than SL. Craig brought up the idea of a Library in WOW. I fully support this. I think that if we got a couple dozen librarians with Librarian Avatars in WOW or other popular MMORPGs running around and answering questions for folks, advocating for libraries, or even placing holds on physical books out and having them sent to their local libraries through Link+ or WorldCat. I think, then we would really have something.

I will admit that I don’t often participate in MUVEs these days but that is only because I have a hugely addictive personality and way back in the day I spent huge amounts of time gaming and participating in virtual worlds and now I just don’t have the time to give in to that as I did in the past.

*I know its Annoyed Librarian but she’s pretty annoying*

Librarians Go Tapas! Bay Area Librarian Meet-up

This Saturday (July 30th) at 6:30PM is the fifth in the series of Librarian Meet-ups and the first to be on the Peninsula! For this meet-up we’ll gather at the Zambras Tapas Restaurant and Bar in Downtown Burlingame. This is one of my favorite Tapas bars in the bay area. They have a Grilled Dates dish that is Stuffed with blue cheese, walnuts and rosemary, wrapped with radicchio, port wine reduction and is one of the best tapas plates that I have ever eaten. There is also both red and white Sangria and many other amazing dishes to choose from!

So come down to Burlingame and go tapas with other bay area librarians. You can meet librarians from all over the bay area who are working on amazing projects, sit around and have a drink with some good library folks, or just relax and eat some good food while making plans for librarian world domination.

Let us know you’re coming on the Facebook Event Page

And don’t forget to like the Bay Area Librarians Page that makes these events happen!

Saturday Night July 30th at 6:30PM
Zambra Tapas Bar
248 Lorton Ave
Burlingame, CA 94010
Phone : 650-344-5655
fax : 650 344-5055

ALA Emerging Leaders; Eff the projects it’s about the people

ALA describes the Emerging Leaders Program as follows;

“A leadership development program which enables newer library workers from across the country to participate in problem-solving work groups, network with peers, gain an inside look into ALA structure, and have an opportunity to serve the profession in a leadership capacity. It puts participants on the fast track to ALA committee volunteerism as well as other professional library-related organizations.”

And while I believe it is all of this, there is so much more that it offers. Having gone through the whole program (I emerged in 2008), I’d like to give you my own review of this program.

EL is NOT about the Projects.
This is the most important thing you can know about it!  This is also the part of EL that I’ve heard the most complaining about.  I might seem like it is about the project at times and you’ll do a lot of work for it.  But, if you go into this program thinking that the whole thing is about the projects you’re going to be sorely disappointed.  I’ll admit, mine was ok at best, it definitely didn’t give me any new found leadership skills, I didn’t develop or learn anything from the project itself and I didn’t gain some remarkable problem solving skills or anything. My mentors were barely adequate and my project was never used by the sponsoring organization. But, it was very beneficial in that I met and worked with some great librarians on something meaningful and tangible and I did learn a lot about the ALA organization from the project. But EL is not about the projects anyway.

EL is about the people
What I did gain from my whole experience is an amazing “tribe” of people who I’ve grown to love and respect in many ways. Many of these people are a large part of my personal life, some are a part of my conference life, and some I only get to see occasionally. When I go to conferences I have a group of people to meet up with and learn from. When I have questions professionally, I have a group of people to ask. When I need some kind of support for a project or idea, I have a group of people to offer it. When I’m sitting around on my butt on a Tuesday night with nothing to do, I have someone to call and chat with for no particular reason.

EL changed my entire conference and ALA experience!
Because of the people that I’ve met through the EL program I have been able to run for ALA council, get involved in committees, and put together exciting and fun activities at conferences. Before EL, I was overwhelmed by the whole experience and it was originally through this program that I met JP and Justin who started the ALA Think Tank and moved me from just showing up to conferences to actually participating in them through their whole Partyhard and Makeithappen attitude. It is for the people that I owe my huge thanks to Emerging Leaders.

I highly recommend that you get involved in this program, do your project so you can makeithappen, and most importantly partyhard with your fellow Leaders!

Plus, it’ll look good on your resume.

New Orleans Annual, June 26, 2011: Flash Mob

ALA’s first ever Advocacy Flash Mob and Freeze took place in Jackson Square on Sunday at 5:50 pm amid a downpour that some participants dubbed a “Flash Flood Mob.” More than 50 library advocates gathered in front of Saint Louis Cathedral despite the rain to dance and sing “When the Saints Go Marching In” as a lead-up to the Freeze. Most wore t-shirts with library slogans on them to identify themselves as librarians supporting the New Orleans community, just as ALA did in 2006 when it was the first conference to return to NOLA after Hurricane Katrina. Libraries care about communities, and communities should care about libraries. The Freeze Mob was organized by the ALA Think Tank as a #makeithappen event.

Eat and Drink for Free at #ALA11. #alaTT #ALAfree

Free stuff with #ALAfee
Going to ALA can be expensive and I know that there are many of you starving MLIS students out here who came to ALA on your own dime. There is also a buttload of unemployed librarians who paid their way to ALA, and even more folks whose library didn’t pay them for their trip out. There are many ways that you can save money at the conference by sharing hotels, taxis, and volunteering for passes into the conference, but did you know that you can also get books and prizes and eat and drink for free?

I’ve never eaten better than at an ALA conference and mostly I eat and drink for free! This is in large part due to my fantastic Think Tank team and the sharing of what’s happening at the conference. When one of use hears about something free we text each other and we all descend on the free goodies like a pack of vultures. Well… Now you can be a vulture too!

The vendors at the conferences want you to come and check out their products and they usually try to entice you with free food, drinks, and other good stuff. Mango Languages, for example, is keenly aware of the starving librarian and almost always has something delicious at their booth. However, the big problem is knowing where these events take place, so I am once again proposing a hashtag for all of us to share where we find the free stuff! So, whenever you find something free you can tweet about it and let some of these starving librarians in on the goods using the hashtag #ALAfree. Who knows? You might find out about some of the cool new stuff that our vendors are offering too!

If you are a vendor and want to let people in on the secret, don’t be shy about using the hashtag to entice these future customers to come and see your products and services with free good stuff.


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So the ALA Think Tank sold out. #ala11 #alatt

So the ALA Think Tank sold out.  But it’s cool, we do it for you.

Andrea Davis brought this to our attention.  Mango Languages is holding a Mango Mania Competition at ALA Annual 2011.  In order to enter the contest we had to submit a video all about where we would Mango.  Luckily, our group had a little “unconference” trip to Tijuana at ALA Midwinter in San Diego and I filmed some awesome footage of that trip.  So, basically, without even planning for it we already “Mangoed.”  It’s interesting how these past unplanned #MIH shenanigans come back to work for us in strange ways.  Here is our video entry –

I’m not going to lie to you. We do get some personal benefit out this competition. The swag and grand prizes are nice (iPad anyone?), but more importantly, the winning team gets credit towards our Mango Languages Subscription at our library system. In the financial state that we are living in now, I’m sure you can appreciate my desire to not get laid off and to be able to bring something back to my library system?

But anyway, down to the meat of this post… So how is this good for you?  Well, Mango Languages is giving us some cash for our trip to ALA, but since we all already paid for our trips we decided to spend it on our ALA parties and other off-the-books kinda ALA Think Tank events.  We want to make this the best ALA that we can for all the folks going out to the awesome city of NOLA so let us know what we can do to help make it EPIC for you!

We also wanted to get some good publicity for the Think Tank group that is doing all kinds of awesome stuff.  The folks involved in the group are fantastic librarians who are doing great things!  You can read about this group and what we want to do to revolutionalize from our manifesto.  There are many amazing people involved in this group who are working to make conferences more beneficial to the members of ALA and to ensure that the organization is working for its members.  You can be a part of this amazing group of awesombrarians by joining the ALA Think Tank group on Facebook.

If you want to follow our Mango shenanigans on the Facebook Fan Page (we had to make one as per the rules of the contest) you can check it out here – ALA Think Tank FB Fan Page

You can follow us on Twitter with the Hashtags #ala11 and #alatt or individually as
Librarian JP
Tiffany Mair
Jenn Wann Walker
Patrick Sweeney
Andrea Davis

ALA Think Tank events so far…
ALA Dance Party
ALA Flash Mob and Freeze
What else?  It might be a surprise!

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Rebooting Libraries Back to Issue #1

I was just thinking about DC comics idea to reboot all of their comics back to Issue number one. As part of the news they are also reissuing all of the #52 comics in the reboot in digital format starting with Justice League. Now, I was a HUGE comic book fan when I was kid, and my super hero of choice was Firestorm (also by DC comics), so this whole idea got me thinking about this concept for libraries.

What you have to remember is that, while they are starting the comics at number 1, they are not republishing the first comics. They are retelling the stories in different ways. There will be new storylines, new ideas, and bigger and better concepts. Or, as DC Comics co-publisher Dan DiDio told USA Today;

“We really want to inject new life in our characters and line. This was a chance to start, not at the beginning, but at a point where our characters are younger and the stories are being told for today’s audience.”

So basically, they are not doing away with the core of their product. They are not changing Superman’s powers, or the speed of The Flash, they are just re-examining the story that they are telling.

What if we could reboot libraries back to issue #1? What would we change about our story now? If we could rewrite our library’s stories for today’s audience and inject new life into our characters what would we say?

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Guitars at the Library? Its Gonna Be Freaking RAD!!

I thought I’d share an update on the whole Guitar Lending Library at my library. It’s been a long journey but I think we are almost there. A whole lot of awesome has happened since we started this back in October. If you want to read about the genesis of the project you can check out the link to it here.

The first thing that changed is that we decided to not get our guitars from Guitar Center. I’d like to say that I love Guitar Center, but they didn’t really give me that level of service I was looking for when I went and told them I wanted to buy 15 guitars. I mean, I’m buying 15 guitars! At least sound like you want me to buy them from you.

So… I went and bought them from a great local guitar shop called Gelb Music. They totally bent over backwards to help me out. They sold me great guitars at a great price and I couldn’t ask for better service. I purchased Hohner Classical guitars, with a gigbag, tuners, extra strings, wall hangers, and I’m going go back and buy some capos too. I’ll let you in on a little secret too… They gave me a better price than guitar center!

I took the guitars up to the central library office and our great cataloger Ida hooked me up with the item record, and loan rules and all that. The guitars check-out for 8 weeks, they have a five dollar a day fine up to $50.00, and can be renewed, but can’t be put on hold. There are various reasons for all this, and if you’re interested in the finer details, I’ll lay that all out in a later post. (If anyone cares)

In preparation of the guitars arrival, we had county maintenance install the hangers. When the guitars finally came in after all the processing (RFID, Barcodes, etc…) we hung them up to be ready for our first round of guitar group lessons.

Our group lessons are being taught through a great partnership with a member of a local band called Vintage Music Collective named Justin Phipps. This partnership came about after their band played at the library and we found out that Justin taught lessons in the local schools. Justin was also the one who recommended the Hohner guitars and Gelb Music since that’s who he gets his guitars through.

Overall, I’m pretty stoked about this project so far. We don’t start checking them out until June 15th and I’m leaving a lot of details out of this post. In a future post, I’m going show you our loan agreements, staff guitar training guides, and various other details of the project.

-This project was made possible through the Eureka! program and an LSTA grant

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Jane Yolen Wrote to LAUSD: reposted here

I received this in my ALA council email. I’m passing it on so people can see what is going on. FYI- this was posted from my phone and I have a lot to say but I don’t want to write it from here.

“I wrote this yesterday, posted it on my FaceBook page with permission to send it verywhere:

Letter to the administrator in charge of firing LA school librarians who had the Board of Ed’s lawyers take the librarians into the school basement and asked them to prove they were teachers with such questions as “Do you take attendance?”.

Dear Mr. Deasy:

As the author of 300 published books (yes, that is not a typo!), many of them winners of the highest awards given for children’s and adult books, I have to commend you for closing libraries. You are turning out the lights in children’s minds. It will make them much easier to recruit as cannon fodder, much easier to move them on conveyor belts, much easier to treat them as cattle.

Of all the people who work in a school, teachers and librarians are the heart and soul of the place. Not administrators. My late husband
was a professor and later on an administrator. You should have heard what he had to say about top-heavy administrations. I suggest you
take the administrators (yourself included) and ask them the same questions the lawyers are asking the librarians in the basement: do YOU take attendance? Do YOU teach in the classroom? Perhaps you should fire the administrators first. And the overpriced lawyers. And when you do, you will no doubt find you have the money to keep the librarians.

And the library.

The ones who turn on lights in children’s minds and guard the flame in their hearts. With or without taking attendance.

Yours very truly and to tell the truth angrily as well,

Jane Yolen

Today I got this letter in return. Blame the system, the budget, the unions. Not my fault. Etc. But who, I wonder, twisted his arm to send the lawyers down into
the basement to interrogate the librarians.

THIS just arrived in my email: Thank you for your email and sharing your thoughts. As you are most likely aware our school district, state, and nation are currently facing a serious budget shortfall. While librarians and library aides are extremely important, there is not an area in the school district that has not been cut. If all Unions agree with the Furlough Agreement, we may be able to rescind notifications.

Thank you,

Patricia Carranza on behalf of
Dr. John E. Deasy, Superintendent
Los Angeles Unified School District
213) 241-7000

Anything more I can do for ALA, just ask.

As ever,

Jane Yolen”

So just so folks know, there’s people
on out side.

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Seth Called Us Out On Our Bullshit And Folks Got Mad

Ok, yeah, I was going to just ignore this whole thing, but then a couple of other blog posts from librarians kinda got to me (Librarians I love and respect BTW). So, I’m going to throw my two cents at this whole debate since just about every other person in the library world has. And, I’m going to say this – Seth is Exactly Right!

The thing is that librarians are debating about how Seth perceives the library. Some librarians are making this statement;

“the article reinforces Godin’s belief in the stereotype of librarian as clerk, declaring that films are “a mere sideline that most librarians resented anyway”, exhorting us to stop “defending library as warehouse”, and arguing that”what we don’t need are mere clerks who guard dead paper” – absolutely right Mr. Godin, but then this ceased to define a librarian many, many moons ago.”

Or this one;

“Godin then addresses access to information:

‘Wikipedia and the huge databanks of information have basically eliminated the library as the best resource for anyone doing amateur research (grade school, middle school, even undergrad). Is there any doubt that online resources will get better and cheaper as the years go by? Kids don’t schlep to the library to use an out of date encyclopedia to do a report on FDR.’

He’s right, they don’t schlep to the library to use an out-of-date encyclopedia. They schlep to the library to use a current, up-to-date online one, and databases to write that report on FDR. Online encyclopedias and databases that the library pays for.”

The problem is that the real root of this article, and the aspects these good folks are arguing against, are problems of perception. Of course, we all know that the library isn’t just a “warehouse of books” and we know some folks use our databases, and we all know that kids shouldn’t use Wikipedia. But unfortunately Seth’s statements are exactly what a HUGE percentage of the population believes. This is our fault. This is the brand that generations of librarians have been reinforcing for years. In fact, some of my favorite library marketing has been about the book brand of libraries. Seth is merely calling us out for not doing our jobs to ensure that we are adequately re-branding libraries.

In this sense I think Godin hit it just right. Seth is pointing out what a library is in the minds of the average public non-user. Maybe that’s what’s ruffling some feathers? Remember that this guy isn’t a librarian at all. He is library user and an advocate for libraries. He is exactly the kind of person who should be telling us what a library is. He is Joe Public and he has very Joe Public perceptions of the library.

What we need to do is listen to him, listen to what he says a library is, then talk to the public and see what they perceive the library to be. I bet you’ll get a lot of the same answers. I know that I get these answers when I talk to non-library users. When I talk to people who haven’t been to a library for a couple of years, I usually get the response “it’s a shame people don’t need libraries anymore, all the ebooks and Wikipedia have taken its place. I used to love the library when I was kid.”

So, to all the librarians who are arguing with Seth (who probably won’t read your blog anyway), I’m going to tell you to do something more productive and market your libraries better. Spend some kind of money on library marketing. I mean real marketing that sends the message about what libraries are in the 21st century. Because a lot of us are what Seth says a library should be. We’re already doing a lot of the things he says we should be doing. We just haven’t told anyone yet, and that’s our fault. Thanks for pointing that out Seth, kuddos to you good sir.

If you want to win some money by doing this marketing and telling folks what a modern library is…

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