Hating Haters who Hate and the Haters who Hate Them.

You know, I’m pretty much down for just about anything, but recently I’ve been watching some things develop which just kinda bug me. So I’m gonna hate on some folks for a second. I’m gonna hate on the haters.

We are Awesome
We work in the best damn profession in the world so get happy or get out! If its too much for you to be happy about being a librarian and enjoying all of the diverse thinking, the lovely people, the great services and programs we provide, the fine folks around us, then maybe this profession isn’t for you. I mean, I know about the budget cuts, I know about the hardships finding a job, I know about the whole eBook thing, and everything else but really… It’s still a fantastic profession so get with the program and celebrate it with me.

People will Find Out
If you’re somewhere and you’re talking shit about someone, guess what!? They will probably find out. Our profession isn’t as big as it feels sometimes. We are more connected to our fellow co-workers and all of the people around us by so many different lines of communication now that just about anyone will find out what you said about them that one time at the Elsevier Reception at ALA in 1983. If you don’t like someone or something that someone is doing then you should do what your momma taught you and not say anything at all. If you have to say something, maybe you could compliment their shoes or choice of hairstyles.

What are they saying about you?
If you’re hanging out around people who are hating on folks, please just walk away. It may offend them! But don’t worry because that’s not comparable to as much as you will be offended when you find out what they’ve been saying about you. The deal with haters is that they hate. They don’t care what they’re hating or why. While your talking to them they might be hating on that guy over there, but when they’re talking to him, can you guess who they’re hating on? Probably you. The other problem is that hating is like herpes and its contagious so don’t be around a hater without protection. Get it? Hating = Herpes and that’s bad.

Negativity begets negativity
Even if you haven’t started as a librarian yet or in the library field or your struggling to find a job, you shouldn’t let it get you down. Having interviewed way more people than I ever want to have interviewed in my life, the one thing that’s easy to spot is a hater. They’re typically someone with some negativity hanging about them. People who hate professionally are hopefully going to do badly in the profession. It’s very easy to get down on things that are going on in the profession and bring that with you wherever you go. People will be able to see this and they’ll treat you accordingly and then you’ll get to be even more of a hater because of the way people treat you and then this cycle will continue until you spiral out of control with no friends and you’ll wind up alone with thirty cats alone in your apartment at Christmas wearing the sweater you knitted for yourself while scowling at me at my presentation. Just be cool.

I’ve done it, and I’m sorry
Ok, so here is my part. I’ve been a hater about some stuff before. Especially early in my career and I regret everything I ever said that was not nice. If you know I said something, I’m sorry and you can slap me in my face next time you see me. But then I’ll buy you a beer and we’ll be friends and do awesome stuff together like picking blackberries on warm summer days under a double rainbow while riding a unicorn. (or something similar)

Luckily I figured out how to get out of that vicious cycle and I’m going to share that with you in my next blog post. But you’ll have to wait until then.

The City Clerk of San Jose Killed Libraries (Get Him!)

If you want to read something that will really make you mad, read this article from the San Jose Mercury News about the City Clerk Dennis Hawkins’ major EFFup that will jeopardize the Library Ballot Measure. This means that many of the City Libraries will remain closed. If don’t want to read it, I’ll give you the major points.

The people of San Jose wanted to put a ballot measure on the November vote and went to the City Clerk named Dennis Hawkins. Dennis told them how many signatures they needed to have in order to put it on the ballot. The people then went out and collected the signatures but when they came back, they were told that OOPS! Dennis ROYALLY screwed up doing what amounts to a monkee’s job of telling them the correct number of signatures they needed.

See, they were told they needed 19,161 and they collected 40,000 but it turns out that the real number of signatures they needed was 57,483 registered city voters. That’s nearly three times the amount of votes they were originally told! How is that a possible “oops” mistake? I would understand if they were told some number even remotely close to 57,483, but no. This is an egregious mistake and smacks of some kind of corrupt back door deal.

This especially smacks of some kind of corruption since Mayor Chuck Reed and City Manager Debra Figone (Hawkin’s Boss) are both vehemently against the proposed ballot measure.

Now, let’s just say, for the sake of argument that this was an honest mistake. Even if this is the case, I would like to point out that even some of the simplest folks on the planet could take a second out of their otherwise useless life and look at what the actual numbers are for signatures. His complete ineptitude is just plain laziness and Dennis should be fired, suspended, or at the very least tickled until he pukes. Since they won’t do any of those things until we tell them too, here is his number. Feel free to call.

City Clerk
Dennis Hawkins – City Clerk, Office of the City Clerk (408) 535-1260, cityclerk@sanjoseca.gov,

Or his BOSSES who all hide behind the email – webmaster.manager@sanjoseca.gov so you should call them at these phone numbers

City Manager Debra Figone (408) 535-8100
Assistant City Manager Ed Shikada (408) 535-8190,
Deputy City Manager Norberto Dueñas (408) 535-8180

A More Positive Solution
Ok, so since I’ve calmed down a bit more, the amazing Derek Wolfgram dropped this link in the comments below. Its the great social solution that I was hoping for! Basically, all you have to do is sign this petition to convince the folks in charge in San Jose to put it on the ballot! Help them reach as many people as you can – http://bit.ly/40000voters

*my opinions are my own, my employers probably don’t think anyone should be tickled until they puke*

How to be Awesome at Going to Library Conferences

I’m sitting here at the New Jersey Library Conference (fist pumping) and I was thinking about how much my conference experiences have improved the last couple of years. I also saw a bunch of recent tweets about newbies going to ALA. So, I thought I would share my own experiences about what makes an awesome conference experience. This is going to be ALA heavy since it’s coming up, but everything here can be adapted to your local conferences as well. So, here they are in no particular order-

Get involved
This is probably the most important. ALA is all about involvement. The greater part of the organization is run by volunteers. There are a bunch of ways to get involved in it but if it’s your first time to ALA I would recommend going to the ALA Scheduler and taking a look at what isScheduled for New Members at the conference. They can give a bunch of good information about what kinds of things you can do to be involved. There are a bunch of committees, roundtables, interest groups, etc… that are looking for interns or people to just help them out with whatever they might need. The best thing you can ever do is ask “How can I help.”

Bonus Tip- I also recommend running for ALA Council for the bitching rights but that happens in Midwinter. For Annual you can sit in a Council meeting and see what happens there. I’ll be there so don’t be afraid to come up and say hi!

Meet Everyone
My favorite thing to do at ALA is meet people. The people that we work with in the profession are absolutely amazing! There are so many great people doing such fantastic things that I love to talk to as many people as I can about whatever they’re passionate about at the moment. I actually learn far more from these conversations than I do at a lot of the programs and I also have a large network of friends and mentors that I can rely on for whatever questions I might have or inspiration that I might need. The biggest problem is remembering everyone’s name (hi Veronica!) but that’s something that I’m working on.

Be social
Just as a step beyond meeting everyone, it’s very important that you practice your social skills at ALA. This was the hardest thing for me to learn because I was a pretty intense introvert for most of my life but it’s something I’ve worked to get over while at conferences especially. Remember, this is the largest gathering of people in your profession in the world and you should be taking advantage. This isn’t the time to hide in your hotel room, eat or drink alone, or otherwise have any kind of anti-social tic whatsoever. So don’t be shy. If you’re eating lunch, ask strangers to join you, if you’re in an elevator talk to the people around you, if you go to a program talk to be people sitting next to you, and if you hear about a meetup or tweetup or dance party then you should go! You can find out about many of these opportunities on Twitter or on the conference scheduler.

Find a group
This is probably the hardest part and the one thing that made ALA better for me. When you’re out and about and being social you should try to get in with a group of people that you think you might like. At my first awesome ALA experience I was running around with some great folks from Reforma (I’m not even a member). After that I started meeting more and more people and now I have a really cool groups of folks that started by renting a house together for conferences instead of a hotel by myself.

Get Free Stuff
Find a totebag, put stuff in it. You can use the hashtag #alafree if you want to let other people know about it. Besides totebags and more books than you can carry there is always a ton of free food and drinks all over the conference. There is no reason to go hungry or spend money on food or drinks. Once again, you can find out a lot about where and when this happens on Twitter and the Scheduler.

Dress Casualish

You will walk. You will walk A WHOLE LOT. Be prepared for that. I see a lot of folks wearing some pretty nice clothes that look like they would be a pain to wear. Wear something comfortable and especially wear comfortable shoes. If you want to get an idea about what to wear to ALA then you should check out the Librarian Wardrobe Tumblr and see what other folks wear to conferences. Bobbi also wrote a great blog post with some tips for packing this stuff too.

Party hard
There are so many parties and opportunities to celebrate our profession and get away from all the doom and gloom and end of time prophecies that we keep hearing. You should take advantage of them. We get to work in the best damn job in the world so this is a great opportunity to celebrate that fact. Be positive, enthusiastic, fun, excited, passionate, and everything else that comes with a good party mentality.

Make It Happen
You are responsible for your ALA experience. If you think that the conference needs a dance party then make one happen, if you think it needs an unconference then make one happen, if you think it needs a QR code hunt then make one happen. There are so many opportunities to make something happen that you want to see at ALA that it’s ridiculous. So I’m telling you, don’t complain about there not being something that you want there (I won’t listen), you can make that something happen if you really want it.

Advice for Choosing a MLIS Program

A couple of weeks ago, someone asked in the ALA Think Tank about what MLIS program they should enroll in. They wanted to narrow down their search to a school that would allow them to do well in a museums and archives library. It didn’t take long for many people to answer her question in a few different ways and it got me to think about what made my Graduate program as San Jose State so successful for me. I thought I would share a longer post about my thoughts on getting the most out of your MLIS Program for your future career.

Don’t Pay Too Much!
I know a couple of librarians who paid to go to private institutions or otherwise very expensive schools to get their MLIS. I would advise you not to do this. The MLIS that you receive is pretty much the same no matter where you go and the big difference is the dept you have when you’re done. You probably won’t get paid more if you go to a prestigious school and the starting salaries for librarians are pretty sad. However, you might come out feeling well trained or that you got a good education, but most librarians I talk to and many of the ones that paid for those expensive schools said that they learned more in their first week on the job then their entire academic career. I would suggest (as sad as it is) to select your library program on price.

Meet People
So what do the big schools have to offer if they’re so expensive? Well, a lot of those schools have professors or other contacts within the profession that will help you out later in your career. For example, Pratt has John Barry and his words of wisdom and mentoring have helped more than one librarian I know out of that school. But I’ll tell you this, many of these same people go to conferences and other events where librarians gather and you’ll do just as fine meeting them there. So the money you save from not going to those expensive schools can take you to conferences around the country where you get the same perks and the option to meet even more people!

If you can’t afford that then I would suggest joining Twitter, youtube, starting a blog, joining the ALA Think Tank, or another Facebook group, and connect with people there. In the end though, I would always suggest that you back up your online persona with your real one so at some point meet people face to face.

Make It Happen
Still don’t have the money to get to conferences? No problem, start your own meetups and gatherings for librarians in your area. For example, in the Bay Area there are three Meetup Groups for librarians. There is the Bay Area Librarians Group, the Information Amateurs Social Club, and the Information Professionals Social Club that put on events. But beyond just meetups and socials etc… you should just generally try to make it happen wherever you go. If there is something that you think that profession needs, just go ahead a do it! For example, Andy Woodworth created the People for a Ben and Jerry’s Themed Ice Cream Flavor, a bunch of people in SLIS made a Librarians do GaGa video that gained them notice in the profession, and there many other example. Basically, I’m saying make something awesome happen!

Get Involved
Schools typically have a student chapter of the ALA or various other leadership opportunities that you can take part in. These kinds of things look great on your resume and show that you’re taking a serious interest in your profession beyond the day to day job. If they don’t have one of these you can make it happen and start one.

Find an On the Job Opportunity

I know a couple of folks who didn’t work at all during their SLIS program and once they got out where surprised to find that employers want someone with some kind of experience. Please, I’m begging you, if you don’t take any of my advice, at least take this one! If you don’t have library experience prior to enrolling in your SLIS program then you need to volunteer, do an internship, find a library job as a page, or at the very least offer to wash a library’s windows or something! Here is a cool tip BTW – go to your local elementary or highschool districts and offer to volunteer in their libraries. Many of these are closing and you might get some pro-points by voluntarily running one. This is a rocky subject because these libraries SHOULD NOT be run by volunteers, but at least both parties get a little something out of it. If there are school librarians on campus they are usually way over worked, way underpayed, and in some cases they are not even librarians so they are even way undertrained. This place is a goldmine for exciting work that can show how important libraries are to these communities of students (but that’s another blog post)

In end, let me just reiterate what I said at the beginning – It doesn’t really matter what school you go to, but what you do with your time there.

Governor Brown’s Proposed Budget for FY 12/13 has no money for public libraries

Governor Brown’s Proposed Budget for FY 12/13 has no money for public libraries. We’re asking the State Legislature to restore $15.2 million in funding.

You can help:

  • Register today to receive legislative alerts here
  • Mail or fax letters NOW to the members of the Senate and Assembly Budget Subcommittees on Education Finance and other key legislators listed here
    A sample letter can be found here
  • Go with other library advocates to visit your state legislators in their district offices during the months of March and April. You will receive another message soon with a link to the CLA member who is CLA’s legislative contact for each legislator responsible for making appointments. You can contact that person to learn the time and place of the appointment. Talking points for those meetings are on the CLA website here
  • Be sure to add what the impact on your community is of losing all state funds for libraries and the double whammy of losing federal funds because of lacking the required matching funds.

    Act today – You can make a Difference and Save State Funding for Public Libraries!

    Two Awesome Internet Things that Libraries Should be a Part of

    Last week I took a good look at two different websites that I think could help libraries out quite a bit. Take a look and tell me how you feel about it.

    LoudSauce
    Is a crowdfunded media buying platform that lets people spread the word about things that they think matter. They’re vision is “to transform the medium of advertising from one that primarily drives consumption to one of civic participation. What if we had more power to shape which messages were promoted on our streets? What if our billboards inspired us toward a future we actually wanted?”

    Basically, this is just like the Kickstarter website that I’ve written about except for advertising through various multi-media things billboards, radio commercials, televison ads, etc… Since, I know that libraries spend almost nothing on advertising everything awesome that we provide, this could be an amazing way to promote our stuff! All you have to do is put together a campaign, let your friends know about it, and hopefully get them to give a couple bucks to make it happen. My big complaint here is that there is no way to search the campaigns that are going on now. I wanted to search for library campaigns but I couldn’t find any. Its a brand new website so maybe that’s coming.

    LiquidSpace
    “ Book last minute or plan ahead. Browse, reserve, and check in to space immediately at hip coworking venues, high-end business centers, or handy hotel lobbies or libraries. With LiquidSpace, choose a better space for what you need to do now.”

    In the Silicon Valley there is a huge movement towards these kinds communally available workspaces for local start-ups and business meetings. In fact, there are some businesses that cropped up that ONLY provide a comfortable workspace and what’s worse is that people are actually paying for what libraries already offer!

    Almost all libraries have rooms and workspaces available to the public for free but don’t have an efficient way to manage them. This would solve that problem since this also works as a great online room reservation system. There is a mobile app and a web version. I set it up for my libraries and it only took a couple of minutes. All you have to do is put your library or its meeting rooms on the website and people can reserve the meeting rooms, or they can find out about your library as a workspace in the community.

    These Kimbel Library Instructional Videos are Filled with AWESOME!

    So, I thought I had a good idea once. No, it wasn’t a jump to conclusions mat, it was a library CREATING content for their webpage. We talk a lot about libraries allowing users to create content, or re-purposing libraries as a space for our patrons to create, make, innovate, and as hacker spaces. But what about the librarians themselves creating informative content? I thought I was on to something awesome!

    I started with this thought when I came across some amazing YouTube videos. There was the one about the best way to tie your shoes, how to properly peel a banana, and most importantly about how to open a bottle of wine without a proper opener. It occurred to me that the library should be creating these videos that are informational and educational and present creative solutions to real everyday problems in our patron’s lives.

    Wow! I was really on to something. I was totally going to come up with something awesome that hadn’t been done before. This is totally going to help our patrons in a great way! They would use this, they would enjoy this, they would use our information in their day to day lives! I thought about presenting my idea to director, going for some kind of grant, using the patrons for video ideas (or even to create the videos), and eventually presenting my idea at conferences, writing articles, blogs etc… I realized that Fame, fortune, money, alcohol fueled parties with rock gods and movie stars, and houses on the Riviera!! It would all be mine AT LAST!! (Because that’s why I got into librarianship in the first place) But then…

    I saw this EFFING brilliant site posted to the ALA Think Tank page by Kyle Denlinger.

    Click image for AWESOME!


    I guess it’s all been done. Kuddos to you Kimbel Library… Kudos.