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?

My Inspiration for the Beginning of a Redefinition of Librarianship (Part 1) #library

This is going to be the first of what will hopefully be a long set of blog posts. In the last couple of months I have been struggling with idea of libraries as a concept. It started with a presentation I did for our librarians in the library system where I work. The presentation ended with me questioning what it is to be a library. Here began a long list of experiences that are forcing me to rethink what a library is. I am going to begin by sharing some these experiences with you. The first is (while not really the first, but the most meaningful) was meeting Sarah at ALA Annual in DC. Sarah is the Itinerant librarian and goes by the name @librarian on Twitter.

The Itinerant Librarian was one of the most inspiring people I have met at a conference. This is a person who travels the world with a “library” in a briefcase. The story she told me is that previously she had no library experience and just thought one day that the world needed a traveling librarian. So, she left her home and had no job, no money, no financial support, no “real” library backing her up and created this “library” of books that she carries with her for people to check out. I truly regret not having my flip camera on me and recording the amazing conversation we had.

She explained to me that the concept of the library is that she goes to a coffee shop, restaurant, park, etc… and puts out the books she has in her briefcase on the table and signs people up for a library card. People can check-out the books as long as she is there. When she is ready to leave, you have to return your books and she moves on to the next place. When she needed a place to sleep she used to find a place to sleep and when she was hungry sometimes she had to each out of rubbish bins (she’s English and has a great accent and I could listen to her say “Rubbish Bins” to me for days on end). She has a uniform and the library has a set of rules and regulations that all the patrons have to follow to get a library card.

You can read the rules and regulations here at the “library’s” official website:

And her blog (that is no longer being updated) here

Follow her on twitter:

When I refer to this as a “library” instead of a library, I mean that as a compliment. I mean that this isn’t a library as we think about them in the United States. The rules are different (better), the concept is brilliant, it totally challenged my concept of what a library is and can be, and her project has set in motion hundreds of thoughts and ideas for me.

Most importantly, it made me realize the importance of libraries as a concept and the little importance that a building, management, money, organization, rules, etc… have on what it means to be a library. In fact, this might be the most pure form of librarianship that I have encountered.

Awesome Friday Library Fun! #library #ala10

Alright team… Say you’re sitting in your office or at home and need to waste about 30 minutes on some library “related” videos. For this, I have just the thing you need. May I present Silent Library? Silent library is a Japanese game show set in a library where contestants must partake in humorous antics without making any noise. Because… Ya know… They’re in a library. I’m pretty sure that it’s the least complex game show of all time and it will only take you a couple of seconds to figure it all out but this first video will give you the general idea.

This is my favorite one…

But for more hilarity and library antics here’s the link to the youtube search results for Silent Library. Have fun team.

Obligatory Twitter Blog Post: What Twitter has Done for Me – Thanks!

I was just thinking, as I was reading through the tweets from all you lucky librarians who are at PLA right now, that Twitter has so significantly changed my conference going, and professional experience that it deserves a little blog post tip of the hat. So while I know that there are probably a least a hundred thousand blog posts about Twitter going around the web right now, I hope that I can at least share my experience and what benefits it has brought for me.

Good times
First and foremost, I tweet therefore I have a good time. While at the first couple of ALAs, CLAs, and various other LAs in my pre-twitter life, I found that I had no idea where the fun and exciting people were. I didn’t know what was going on where, who I should be hanging out with and of course I had no idea where to go for all the after conference fun. So, I got an iPhone, started to tweet to find other librarians, built up a network of folks who seemed to be having a good time at the conferences and then I basically stalked them and followed them (in real life) to where the good times were being had. Every conference that I have been to since then has been amazingly fun and exciting and I’m surrounded by good people who are excited about the profession and having a good time.

Running for ALA council
At ALA midwinter this year I was following the council twitterers and on a break decided to peak into the Council Sessions to see what was going on. I had never seen a council session and embarrassingly had no idea what council was responsible for or what they did. It turns out… They’re responsible for lots of really interesting things that are directly responsible for what I am passionate about in librarianship. These people were basically deciding what my professional experience was going to be like. I don’t like other people telling me this and at the unmerciless hands of @awd, @infowidget and @tadawes I was gently encouraged to run for ALA councilor-at-large. So vote for me.

Beer and burgers with John Berry
I cannot even begin to describe this experience here. But have to say that it was all because of fellow twitterers @natenatenate
@phromberg, @hadro,
and @gcaserotti.

You can read about that whole night at this blog post .

Right places
As I mentioned earlier, following the twitter feed has allowed me to continuously be at the right places at the right times at conferences. By seeing what sessions that the most interesting tweets are coming from, I can make adjustments in my schedule. I even found that before a good session begins there is a flurry of posts in excitement. I haven’t had to sit in a dull or boring session since.

Besides the sessions, I have been to amazing pre-conferences, un-conferences, and conference socials as well as the amazingly fun Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and after dinner tweet-ups. This has been a cornucopia of meeting new librarians who I have become friends with and who I am excited to work with. I have met so many amazing librarians that I can’t list them here, but I’ll give you a start-
@jaimebc ,

You should check out who I’m following and you can find them all!

My career
One of the great things about this profession is how much we are all willing to help each other. I have found out about jobs that others have wanted and sent them on, and I have had people send some to me via Twitter. I have gotten all kinds of managerial tips from twitterers like @ pat2pattern and from many others.

I think this might be my favorite aspect of the twit-o-sphere. It seems like whenever someone has a good idea, they put it out to the rest of us and we can discuss, debate, and sometimes argue over various points that we might disagree or agree on. For example, we discussed police and library funding and it spurred @amandamcneil to write a great blog post response. And I think that’s the way it’s supposed to work sometimes when 140 characters just isn’t enough. So it’s become a great whiteboard where people write their ideas to share and can disagree and then take the debate off twitter to their blogs.

Hey someone reads my blog posts now! That’s a pretty nice feeling. But I also get an announcement whenever other people write their blog posts or when someone new starts blogging who I didn’t know about before and it’s always nice to read a new blogger.

For the future
I won’t say what’s coming for the ALA Annual in 2010 but you should be checking out in the coming months for details and other awesomeness. I absolutely acknowledge @justinlibrarian and @librarianjp for their great efforts in making ALA Annual something to really look forward to.

So what should you do? I would suggest that you get in on the dialogue and make your twitter account. It might take a while to make it fun, and the first couple of tweets while be boring and pointless but the effort is absolutely worth it and it pays off in the end. So, please join your potentially new friends in making Librarianship even more awesome and don’t forget to let me know when you join us so I can follow you!