Worst Library Survey Ever

I don’t know if you heard about the plight of Kentucky Libraries. In case you haven’t, basically the ‘any tax is a bad tax’ organizations started a lawsuit to roll back library funding across most of the state to funding levels from anywhere between 10-30 years ago. In almost all areas this will devastate the state’s libraries. As part of… well… As part of whatever it is that they’re doing in KY to open up a discussion about this, they made this survey to determine the need for libraries most horribly titled;

ARE PUBLIC LIBRARIES STILL VALID IN THE 21ST CENTURY?

There are some real gems of a question in this survey that show the agenda or ignorance of whoever made it. My favorite is number 9 that only allows you to give ONE answer-

9. What purpose do you see libraries holding in the future?

  • A place to borrow traditional books.
  • A place to borrow digital media.
  • A place for community members and families to come together and share new experiences.
  • A place that hosts computers and technology for those who don’t have access for educational or job-search purposes.
  • I don’t think libraries will be relevant in the future.
  • So even if you don’t want to take it, just looking at the questions will help you see what libraries are up against in KY and also across the country.

    You can bet this survey spurred by the any tax is a bad tax organizations is being passed around those online forums across the country and being filled out by just about every one of them with an agenda. If you’d like to take it and restore balance to the force, here it is.

    https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NKYForumLibraries

    This war in Kentucky is going to gear up to be one of the biggest fights in librarianship in years. If the libraries lose the lawsuit, there are going to be dozens of ballot measures to regain funding across the state and we need to be armed to fund those fights. If you want to know what else you can do to help, here are a couple of suggestions.

    EveryLibrary is watching the outcome of this debate in KY very closely and we are getting ready to take action as soon as an action becomes clear. So, you can sign-up to continue to get information about what EveryLibrary is doing here or, even better, you can support EveryLibrary with your contributions here.

    The best thing you can do is actually attend the meeting in Campbell County Kentucky to show the relevance of libraries in the 21st century. Libraries and Librarians NEED to have a voice at this forum. We need you to attend!

    Otherwise, you can share this survey or this blog post with your library supporters to ensure that the voice of librarianship gets heard over the grumblings of the anti-tax crowd.

    Library advocacy 3

    Announcing the winner of Round Two of the Great Librarian Write-out.

    With much delay, we are very excited to announce the winner of the second annual Great Librarian Write-out. We had many fine entries this year and our team took longer than expected to make a decision. But no worries, we’ve made our choice of articles. This year’s winner was Anne Marie Madziak who published an article in Municipal World Magazine entitled Public Libraries: Helping Communities Thrive in a Changing World. Her award for this article amounted to 800 dollars thanks to contributions by LibraryAware, Andy Woodworth, Tina Hager, and Sue Anderson.

    Municipal World is the oldest continuously published monthly municipal magazine in the world. Founded in 1891, the magazine is devoted to promoting effective municipal government.

    Anne Marie Madziak is a library development consultant with Southern Ontario Library Service, an Agency of Ontario’s Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. In her work with public libraries she has trained both staff and trustees on a wide range of topics, assisted with board development, and facilitated planning sessions. She authored the SOLS publication, Creating the Future You’ve Imagined: A Guide to Essential Planning. More recently, Anne Marie coordinates the APLL Institute, a leadership development program for public library staff.

    Over the past few years, Anne Marie has been busy consulting with municipal leaders and developing strategies and best practices for better positioning the public library in the municipal environment.

    library advocacy 2

    We Can’t Help But Librarianing Challenge for #ALAM13

    I was sitting in a car once with a bunch of great librarian when Toby Greenwalt said, in response to a conversation about librarians that “We can’t help but librarianing.” Well, I just thought about that because right now, I’m sitting in the airport on the way to ALAMW and just helped a lady get on the interwebs on her Lenovo tablet. I’ve been around many other librarians who do a lot of the same thing. For example I’ve been on an airplane when Andrea Davis did the mile high reference desk. And just now, when I got on Facebook, I read that Emily Clasper (that’s Emily FUCKING Clasper to you) left the following status:

    “Shared a ride to JFK with a charming 81 year old man… a retired lawyer, library lover, using his iPhone like a boss. I showed him our app, helped him download sone ebooks, and helped him access Library of Congress digitized collections. The 24 year old driver was amazed. He’s stopping at his library this afternoon to get a card and learn this stuff.”

    I realized that Toby is absolutely right! We just can’t help ourselves but librarian everywhere we go. I’m sure that there are a whole lot more stories about librarianing from many of the other librarians out there. So I’m setting forth this challenge;

  • 1) Librarian on your way to the conference, while you’re at the conference, and on the ride home. It only counts if you librarian someone who isn’t themselves a librarian.

  • 2) Tell the world about it with the hash tag #librarianing. Bonus points for pictures.

  • Basically, I want to see how many librarians can’t help themselves but librarian while at ALAMW and I want the public to know that we do so much great work off the reference desk and away from the branch. I would love for people to see that librarianing occurs while we’re at conferences, or on a plane, or a train, or wherever we are. So let people know!

    Library advocacy 5

    The Biggest Thing to Happen to Library Advocacy EVAR!!

    Chrastka is a baller
    Unless you’ve been under a rock the last month or so, you’ve heard about EveryLibrary. This is probably one of the most exciting developments in library advocacy since Andy Woodworth got the Old Spice guy to talk about libraries.

    EveryLibrary is a PAC (Political Action Committee) that functions to support library initiatives at the ballot box. In case you don’t know what a PAC is or the larger Super PAC, you can watch Stephen Colbert brilliantly explain it on the Colbert Report and the Daily Show. If that’s not your thing, here is a video that explains them.


    THIS WILL NEVER WORK WITHOUT YOUR SUPPORT

    Basically, what this means for us librarians is that we can now have the power of presidential election kind of money and resources behind our ballot initiatives for our libraries. Can you imagine what would happen if we raised millions of dollars for our campaigns like the Presidential Super PACs do for theirs? We would most likely never have to worry about another underfunded library again.

    You might ask yourself though… Why doesn’t ALA do this? Or doesn’t ALA already do this kind of lobbying? Well, the short answer is no, they can’t and because I’m not smart enough to explain it all myself, I copied the information from the EveryLibrary website below to explain it.

    EveryLibrary grew out of the need for a politically active organization dedicated exclusively to supporting local library initiatives at the ballot box. Many library associations – both at the national and state level – are organized as 501(c)3 educational associations. Current law and regulations prohibit these associations from engaging in direct voter advocacy or funding political campaigns. As a 501(c)4 organization, EveryLibrary can act where these associations cannot. The opportunity to fundraise and directly support library ballot initiatives will be unique in the library world.

    In each election cycle, tens of millions of dollars are at stake for libraries. From bonding for new or remodeled building projects to changing milliages, levys, or tax rates that impact staffing, collections, programs, and services, libraries are on the ballot. EveryLibrary needs just 50K to Make It Happen, they need our help!

    EveryLibrary will help libraries:

  • Assist libraries in both the pre-filing and campaign stages of an initiative.
  • Provide strategic consulting services, voter segmentation advice, and assistance in developing ballot language.
  • Conduct feasibility studies and assist in setting up a local committee or PAC.
  • Develop a fundraising strategy for your local committee or PAC.
  • Train volunteers in voter education and get-out-the-vote techniques.


  • During the run of a campaign, EveryLibrary can:

  • Continue technical and capacity-building consultancy.
  • Provide direct financial support to the local committee or PAC in seed-stage or sustaining levels of support.
  • Conduct direct voter education and get-out-the-vote efforts.


  • So what can you do to help out?
    There are a lot of things, but really, EveryLibrary needs to raise 50k to start the PAC and start helping libraries by November. This is the most important thing you can do right now. Give $5.00 if you can. Give more if you can do that! Share the links with your friends if you can’t give money. Ask your friends and family to give or maybe host a fundraiser. Remember that politicians who oppose libraries are raising MILLIONS of dollars. EveryLibrary is just asking for 50K. We have the power to make this happen.


    You can hear the Founder of the Library PAC, John Chrastka, talk about EveryLibrary with Steve Thomas on his podcast via the link below.

    John Chrastka Talking about EveryLibrary

    Afterwork Library Meetup at the Yacht Club

    These meetups are weekly events so feel free to come out every Thursday! I promise to only invite folks every other week from now on since I got marked as spam for these invites. If you don’t want to be included in these community building and networking opportunities, please let me know and I won’t send you an invite anymore.

    Once again we’ll start by having our drinks at the Peninsula Yacht Club and see what happens. Last two weeks we wound up at the Living Room doing some Karaoke and the week before we moved over to
    Palo Alto’s Rose and Crown to meet with some other librarians where we joined forces and had a great time. There’s plenty of places within walking distance if we get hungry or want to party in a different scene and we can always order something at the club.

    These events help us build some library community in the Bay Area so we can do awesome things in the future.

    For those of you who don’t know about PYC, its pretty much a dive bar. The best dive bar in the bay area though! While it is usually
    a private club, you don’t have to be a member to come because you’ll be my guest for the meetup. Just show up, let me know your there, write your name on the guest list, and have a drink!

    You can just come as you are and drinks at PYC are $2-4 and there’s no tipping because I’m bartending. It’s gonna be fun and cheap – everything a librarian loves.

    If we wind up moving on to somewhere, we’ll post something to the Facebook page so people can find out where we went.

    Peninsula Yacht Club
    1536 Maple Street
    Redwood City, CA 94063

    Facebook Event Page

    Partying = Library Community

    Since I’ve been banned from Facebook because someone marked me as spam for sending out too many invitations to library parties. I’m going to defend myself a little bit here.

    I’ve been thinking more and more about partying as a professional activity so the next few posts that I do are going to be about how partying Makes It Happen. This post is going to be about communities of Librarians.

    We desperately need a more closely knit library community. One of the best things I’ve learned from JP, Allen, and the ALA Think Tank is that if you want to build a community, you have to party. Partying builds social connections, strengthens our relationships, allows us to get to know each other without a Robert’s Rules Agenda, and because partying is a positive activity, it allows us to come together in a way that meetings about budget cuts or trainings just can’t.

    So, here are all the reasons we need to party to build our local communities of librarians.

    The world works on Social Connections
    As I get older and watch the world around me I’ve come to the realization that the only reason that some people get ahead and others don’t is because of their social connections. If you look at people who are considered great and take a step back from the person, you’ll quickly see all the people around them that help them to make it happen. Nearly everyone, from politicians, to business owners, to movie stars got their start because of the people around them. If we want to get our start and get ahead as a profession, we need connections. No man is an island, Entire of itself.

    Mentorship
    I’ve been involved in a bunch of mentorship organizations for libraries and usually it’s extremely difficult to be a mentor when we live hundreds or thousands of miles apart and never met. If you want to be a mentor or if you want a mentor, getting involved in a community is a great way to do that. In fact, all of my mentors have been people that I’ve partied with at conferences, gotten to know, and been a part of my community of professionals.

    Advocacy
    Did you know that other, more successful, professional groups who are vying for tax money have very organized local communities? The police, for example, when general fund money is being discussed, have a large group of people that they can call on locally to go to city council meetings, run from a script, and help advocate for the money. We are much more powerful in large numbers and we desperately need those numbers.

    Celebrate your Profession
    While this is more about the party than the community, I want to point out that having a large group of local professionals that you are friends with, that you can text or email or call when you’re feeling down about what’s going on in our profession, is so extremely helpful! I have a quite a few librarians that I can get a hold of at anytime if I want someone to help me celebrate all the amazing things we do for our citizens.

    Inspiration
    Have you ever run out of ideas? Don’t feel bad, that happens. But how do you get new ideas? Well, if you have a community of professionals around you, it’s easy to find out what they’re doing and get some inspiration. We are all surrounded by so many great librarians and we hardly ever get the opportunity to see what the people working in the library down the street are doing. Having a community of professionals around you that are part of other organizations really helps!

    Organizational Blues
    Sometimes we get stuck in a rut and we look at our own organizations through the lens of the employee who has been there for so long that we forget about the excitement. Getting out with a community of people who work in other organizations might get you to find ways to energize your own library, or it might make you realize that yours isn’t so bad after all. Either way, that’s a win!

    Collaboration
    One of my biggest frustrations in our profession is that we don’t collaborate enough across our organizations. For example, Cheryl Lee is a fantastic librarian who does some amazing work at a library about 2 miles away and I really want to work with her to do something awesome (I don’t know what yet). The only reason that I know that she does awesome stuff is because she is part of our small but growing local library community. If we had a better and closer community, we could potentially do more together, share costs, and just generally be more awesome.

    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 Play in the Library

    The idea of Play in libraries isn’t a new concept and it was talked about quite a bit in my MLIS program so long ago, but it is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.  There are a few librarians that I can think of that are doing playful things in their library like Justin Hoenke and Kirby McCurtis. But it became even more apparent as a legitimate concept after the visit to the ImaginOn library on the Great Library Roadshow.  I just wish I was in the design phase of a library remodel or construction project since I would love to incorporate these concepts into the facility itself.  Since I’m not in the position to bring embedded play in my library, here is my list of resources for just playing in the library.

    http://www.deepfun.com/
    This is a blog all about fun.  It could be useful for future programs and the development of programs.  The blogger (Bernie) writes about the ways the people play around the world and about many different games and activities with videos, pictures, and descriptions.  He also talks about the ways that people use play to solve social problems like littering or hack their environments with play to make them better.

    http://playfulplace.wordpress.com/
    This one takes playing to a very academic level and legitimizes it as a valid social discipline. From the description “Play is the vigorous force that drives children to explore the world around them. It is an instinctive curiosity that motivates them to test their surroundings for their usefulness.”  How is that perfect for libraries?

    http://www.streetplay.com/
    If you would like to take the library to the streets for some fun and playful activities, this blog is a great resource with many example of street play, rules, concepts, etc…  “The variety of ways we’ve found to amuse ourselves in the streets is amazing. At the drop of a hat, we invent games and through sheer determination make them indispensible and legendary. Using whatever is at hand–bottlecaps, a stick, or the ubiquitous spaldeen–city kids though the ages create games that are the envy of any sportsman or marketeer.”

    http://www.ultimatecampresource.com/
    This is a serious resource for camp councilors with games, crafts, etc.. but it could be pretty awesome for librarians too.  I was thinking about the concept of a library camp.  I mean, why not?  A lot of the same things are done at both the library and at camp.  We tell stories, sing songs, play games and make crafts just like they do.  What if a library made a summer camp centered around literacy and learning?  Oh wait… We already do that at my library!

    ImaginOn
    If you want to see some of this in action you can check out this fantastic library in the Charlotte Mecklinburg library system that partnered with a Theatre Company to create a dual space. “From Page to Stage.”  I had the opportunity to explore this concept in person on the Great Library Roadshow and you can see one of the videos on my youtube channel.

    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!