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*

Save Oakland Public Libraries is AWESOME!!

Via the Amazing Rosario Garza

“Here’s a situation that has not gotten much attention at all: Oakland Public Library is slated to have their budget DRASTICALLY cut, by 85%. Fourteen branches will be closed, leaving only 4 branches open to serve a population of over 400,000. Those four branches will be understaffed. This proposed budget will surely devastate the public library system in one of California’s largest cities.”

So here is where is gets really good! Rather than lay down and take it, the fantastic librarians at Oakland Public Library deserve mad props for their outreach, advocacy, and awareness campaigns. Many of these are broadcast through their Save Oakland Library Facebook Page that has over two thousands likes! I’m showing your their Facebook event pages instead of all the media about it because THIS is how you run a Facebook campaign!! AMAZING!

I’m going to link you to a couple below. You should do some of these if your library is in danger too. (San Jose Public Libraries are your there?)

Zombie Crawl to Save Oakland Library

Purple Pajama Storytime–plus PIZZA!

SILENT Funeral Procession for the Library–at ART MURMUR

Save Oakland Libraries Bike Ride

Save Oakland Library: Guerrilla Storytime #2!

Save Oakland Library: Guerrilla Storytime #1!!

Be sure to look for all the news about that was generated from these great events too. They are receiving a huge amount of media attention and that is where their power is coming from.

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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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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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Partnerships = Library Awesome!

I’ve been thinking about some of our libraries most successful programs and services that we offer. I realized that almost all of the most successful ones have come from partnerships that have been cultivated by the staff. These partnerships have led to larger program numbers, a wider array of programs, and increased services and collections. Even more importantly, we are being offered money and resources to provide some things that we wouldn’t have been able to provide before. The following list are some of the partnerships we have at EPA Library.

Literacy Fair
East Palo Alto is holding its first ever Literacy Fair called Reading Rainbow in the Park. This came about through a partnership with the Stanford Alumni Association. We were contacted by a liaison from this group who had the idea for a fair and came to us for help. We are providing many of the books and giveaways as well as some of the entertainment and they are providing the organizing of the event itself.

Health and Wellness Programs
We have a local community health organization that provides a lot of the medical services in the area and we offer them a space for community outreach and education about health issues. They especially do many programs for our seniors. My librarians work with this organization to bring those presentations to our library.

Guitar Lending Library
This partnership isn’t complete yet, but it bears mentioning. I received a grant to circulate guitars at the library and one of my librarians brought in a band called the Vintage Music Collective to perform. One of the members of this group teaches music lessons in EPA through their non-profit called Live in Peace and we will be providing the guitars while he provides the lessons.

Catered Events
One of my librarians works closely with an organization called Jobtrain that provides vocational training in the Culinary Arts. The community members who are involved in this program need somewhere to showcase their culinary skills and talents and we have events where food is always welcome. So, these students “get to” provide food and food services to some of our larger events.

Seed Library
This is one of the few ones that I was the one who approached a local organization for. Our Library offers a seed library to the public that was modeled after the Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library. When I heard about the library in Richmond I looked around in our community and found the local gardening non-profit called Collective Roots that runs the Farmer’s Market. When I told them about the seed library they jumped at the chance and we now offer seeds for “check-out” from our library. We also have plans to expand to tools for gardening and they provide gardening programs from our library.

Poet Library
An organization called School After School for Successful Youth (SASSY) is an offshoot of the jobtrain organization. The students in this program create a large amount of art, literature, and poetry and they need a space to display their work within the community. We are simply giving them a wall to display the work of the community members. Eventually, (they don’t know this yet) I want to expand this partnership to bound and cataloged materials for circulation. Sort of, a local authors collection, but published and provided only by the library. I did something similar when I was an elementary school librarian and I think it would work well with this kind of partnership.

East Palo Alto History Project
We are working with Stanford students to create a history of EPA mural across the back wall of the library. This mural will show the history of East Palo Alto through the eyes of the library as it has moved and changed over the last 75 years. The movement and changes that occurred in the library parallel a lot of what has happened here and is very reflective of the changes in the community.

We have many more, but those are the ones that I am most excited about. Basically, I’ve figured out my job in this community is to find ways to say yes to as many things as I can then figure out how to make it work. While I might say “not yet,” I almost never say no to a community member unless the service they want to provide lies outside the scope of librarianship or community building.

What I want to know is-
1) What partnerships are you building in your community?
2) What would you say no to?
3) What are some of your dream partnerships?

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I’m Starting a Seed Library at My Library

This is the Press Release or this project. I will post more details for folks interested in starting one. But really, the best instructions for starting a seed library come from Richmond Grows. They have instructions, videos, and everything you need to put yours together.

Just as one seed can produce many seeds, one idea can change many lives. Free public libraries were revolutionary in their time because they provided access to books and knowledge that had not previously been available to a large segment of the population. A free seed lending library can also provide people with a chance to transform their lives and communities by providing access to fresh, healthy food that may not otherwise be available.

What is a Seed Library?
A seed library is a lot like a traditional library in a number of ways. Patrons of the seed library need to sign up, learn how to “check-out” seeds, and, of course, the library is free! The big difference is that instead of checking out books or DVDs like a traditional library, patrons can check out seeds to grow in their gardens at home. While, we don’t expect anyone to return the seeds to the library, we do hope that the residents of East Palo Alto learn to grow and share their fresh fruits and vegetables.

How Did it Start?
The East Palo Alto Seed Library began as an idea spurred by the Richmond Grows Seed Library at the Richmond Public Library. You can check this library out at The EPA Library partnered with a great local non-profit called Collective Roots to bring a similar idea to the residents of EPA.

Who is Our Great Partner?
Collective Roots is a local non-profit that “seeks to educate and engage youth and communities in food system change through sustainable programs that impact health, education, and the environment.” This group is also responsible for the East Palo Alto Farmer’s Market that is held every Saturday from 2-5pm in front of the EPA YMCA. They also work with youth and adults to design and sustain organic gardens on school and community sites that are linked with kindergarten through 12th grade curriculum provided by Collective Roots.

The East Palo Alto Seed Library will be open to everyone starting April 22nd. It will provide, in addition to seeds, education about growing healthy and sustainable foods and gardens. The Seed Library is open to all residents of East Palo Alto, with no charge. It is maintained by EPA Library staff, Collective Roots, volunteers, and supported by donations.

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Punk-Ass Book Jockey
Librarians Against DRM
The Dark Ages Began With Closing A Library

National Library Unconference Day (Will be EPIC!)com

So I’m not sure how many people know about this, but I hope that every librarian does. I’m talking about national library unconference day on May 22, 2012. This is your chance in you state, or region, or county, or library system, or just library, to hold your own unconference. What’s an unconference you ask? Well… I’ll let Allen McGinley and JP Porcaro explain it for me.

Personally, I love unconferences for a whole lot of reasons and there is talk of putting one together in my area (the San Francisco Bay Area) on the same day so I’m pretty stoked because some of the best experiences that I have had in librarianship have been at unconferences. For example, I met some amazing people, I gave my first professional “presentation,” I got the courage to talk to directors and high level administrators as equals, I learned about the programs and services being offered at other libraries, and I learned what kinds of ideas other professionals had about the state of librarianship and its future in the United States.

So this is our chance to have an excuse to #makeithappen in our locations. JP and Allen are basically calling for unconferences to happen all over the country on the same day. This will be a day of learning, sharing, and growing for anyone and everyone participating.

For even more information on the Unconference you can visit the 8bitlibrary website. If you’re a librarian and you’re not reading the 8bitlibrary blog, what are you doing on the internet?

An EPIC Uncon at #intlib10

I woke up on Wednesday morning at Internet Librarian to a text from Nate Hill who said that he was organizing a road trip down the gorgeous California Coast with Toby Greenwalt, Loida Garcia-Foibo, and Andrea Davis. It was early, but there was no way I could say no.

This trip turned out to be a lot of work actually as we talked about all kinds of library stuff. As Toby said “We can’t help but librarianing.” So, while this video that Loida made doesn’t capture all the ideas we came up with for the next Internet Librarian it does capture a really great aspect of the trip. BTW, if it did capture everything awesome on that trip, it would be hours long. 🙂

Internet librarian “Pre-Conference” #intlib10

Librarians on a boat
Internet librarian started for many people on Saturday at the Monterey Conference Center in California. For me though, it started on my sailboat in San Mateo on Friday afternoon. In fact, I never even went to a preconference workshop, which is too bad because I really wanted to attend the WordPress workshop. Luckily it was blogged by Polly Alida and you can read it here if you want. I don’t think I really regret not going to any workshop because my “preconference” was pretty awesome anyway.

I have been inviting some of the librarians I’ve met at conferences and around my area to my boat for a day of sailing in the California Bay for a couple of months and Andrea, Lisa, and Nate took me up on it. Unfortunately, this was the one time my engine didn’t work. That was fine, there was no wind and it was raining anyway. So we sat on my boat having drinks made by my roommate bartender and her cousin (also serves as my crew) and I listened while the smart folks on my boat talked about all kinds of library related things until it was time for dinner in the yacht club where they continued to come up with all kinds of library awesome.

It would be difficult to explain some of the great ideas that came up on the boat and I won’t really try but it was a great creative thinking experience free from the constraints of library system’s rules and regulations. It was amazing to listen to these intensely smart folks talk about libraries on my boat. My big realization was that we need to do more to create these kinds of freeform opportunities for librarians to gather and socialize and just brainstorm possible innovations.

At the end of the night, most of us passed out on the boat listening to the rain on the deck and the wind in the rigging. I hope everyone had as great of a time as I did. Next year, “librarians on a boat” will be bigger and better. You’ll be invited, so don’t miss out!

Unfortunately, on Saturday I had to work but that was fine because I love my library! So I drove my motorcycle through the rain to Monterey right after work in the dark and after finally finding my hotel and warming up, I found myself in the lobby bar of the Portola Plaza with even more library awesome! How is that possible? I have no idea. But once again a whole lot of smart library folks were blowing my mind with creative ideas. Some of these ubersmarties were Stephan Abram, Roy Tennent, Marshall Breeding, Lisa Carlucci Thomas, and Nina McPhail, who just sat around with some good drinks and once again said the kinds of things that need to be said about libraries. So, once again I just sat and listened and had my brains blown out with awesome bombs until I had to finally sleep.

This was a tourist day for me and I went on an amazing drive with Lisa and Nina down highway one in the rain and checked out the pacific coast. If you’re reading this and you’re at the conference, I really suggest you take a couple of hours and make the drive south to Big Sur and see some of the gorgeous coastline in our great state.

Afterwards, my roommate (And bartender from my boat), who had heard about my conference good times, came down to see how the librarians party. We went out to eat with so many great folks and stayed out way too late (of course). Once again, being that we are librarians, there were many great discussions about libraries and librarianship in general and I heard some heated and intense debates between fantastic library folks on issues that I never even thought existed! I now have so many new things to think and lots of new motivations to get out and do something about some of the things I’m concerned about.

I simply could not have learned more (or had more fun) by attending the preconference. Instead, having my own little “preconference” where I sat and listened to the brilliant people in libraries say amazing things I was able to hear some ideas from people that could not have occurred in a structured or more restrictive environment. And… Of course it was awesome!

Are Guerrilla Libraries Saving the Soul of Librarianship? Redefining Libraries (Part 3)

For this third edition of the redefinition of librarians I would like to point out that there are quite a few librarians (and non-librarians) creating libraries in areas where other libraries can’t (or refuse) to reach. These are normal people who believe so wholeheartedly in the benefits of libraries that they are going out into the world and creating libraries. These people are the Johnny Appleseed of librarianship and without their work many people wouldn’t have the opportunity to have access to a collection of information or literature. These are also not collections that are maintained or controlled by an entity or a formalized organization. They are more like an anarchist’s library as many don’t have any rules, regulations, or memberships. What is great about this is that I have noticed more and more people taking up the cause as libraries around the country falter and I’d like to point out a few guerilla libraries that have been put together around the world.

Mick Jones Library
Mick Jones of The Clash and various other bands has created a Rock and Roll Library. This library features rock memorabilia from his own personal collection and contains nearly 10,000 items. From what I gather this is not a quiet library (it is rock and roll after all) and since its punk, you know it will tear down the walls of the library and scream with a rebel yell at the establishment.

Telephone Booth Library
Here’s another one from the UK. This is one of Britain’s old red phone booths like you see on Harry Potter. It has been recycled into one of the country’s smallest lending libraries and only stock around 100 books. Since this library employs zero librarians, the Villagers from Westbury-sub-Mendip in Somerset can use the library 24 hours a day. The library’s “Patrons” simply replace the books they take, with books they have read thus keeping the library’s collection well stocked.

Payphone Library

Of course, America has its own version of this but maybe it’s not quite as elegant. It does work however. The concept is basically the same in that it’s an old public phone that has been re-commissioned into a self-service library that is available to the local community 24 hours a day.

Ikea Beach Library

Alright, this one really gets me mad. It was set up by Ikea to celebrate the 30 year anniversary of the Billy Bookcase. I’m mad because absolutely love it and it should have been done by someone other than Ikea. I would however, like to point out that I LOVE Ikea so don’t think I have anything against them. It’s just that I really feel like a guerilla librarian or even a regular library really dropped the ball on this one. But maybe we can get some folks to replicate it somewhere else in the world. Or… There’s an Ikea right down the street from my library actually. Hmmm…

Library In a Locker
Here is a kid that is full of awesome! Apparently when he found that his school library had a bunch books that had been banned, he decided that he would offer these books from his school locker library. Here is his quote “…I now operate a little mini-library that no one has access to but myself. Practically a real library, because I keep an inventory log and give people due dates and everything. I would be in so much trouble if I got caught, but I think it’s the right thing to do because before I started, almost no kid at school but myself took an active interest in reading! Now not only are all the kids reading the banned books, but go out of their way to read anything they can get their hands on…”

CSULA Guerrilla Library
For my last entry, here is another set of kids with their own Guerrilla Library. The California State University in Los Angeles, due to budget cuts, closed its library during FINALS!! Does anything sound more asinine that that? I don’t think so, and neither do the students at CSULA. So they built their own library to study for finals and they did it Guerrilla style!

Books and Beer
My Last one is my favorite but it isn’t really a Guerrilla library as I have defined it here because its done in cooperation with a city and a library system. This library is a pub in the Yorkshire Dales may be a vision of the future for many communities. The awesome villagers of Hudswell have bought their local pub to save it from closure and have now set up a small library in part of the bar! There is nothing I love more than reading a good book with a beer in a good bar! I mean that seriously! Here is the video

Now I ask you… If libraries are going away, or aren’t necessary, why is it that so many people take the time to create their own personal libraries at home OR take the time and effort to create guerrilla libraries in their communities? I’ll tell you why! It’s because people still love libraries in all of their forms and won’t let the man hold the library back!