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?

Patrick “PC” Sweeney for ALA Councilor at Large #libday4

On the last day of ALA Midwinter I thought I would check out the Council Session that was going on that morning. As I stood in the back of the room I watched the session and got a much clearer view into the inner-workings of ALA. While there I sent out a couple of tweets regarding decisions that were being made and much to my surprise I got responses back from councilors who were on the floor of the council right then. It was fascinating to interact with the councilors as they sat through the session and made the decisions that would guide our organization. However, I was a little disappointed because it seemed that, while I did get responses from almost a dozen councilors, this was just a very small percentage of the officials in the room and these were the only ones online that day. It seems to me that the organization can open itself up and use some of these new online tools to communicate and respond more freely with the concerns of the members.

So, with the “gentle encouragement” of Aaron Dobbs, who tweeted that I should come over and say hi, I am going to try to run for ALA Council and hopefully add to the voices and open the dialog with ALA members through online resources. I submitted my form electronically and I have sent my petition in the mail. In case anyone else is considering trying their hand at running for council, getting the petition signed is easy (you only need 25 signatures) and filling out the form is completely painless (basically, just a summary of my resume) and you’re on your way. For anyone interested here is what it all looks like. I’d love to hear anyone’s thoughts on running for ALA Council.

Degrees and Certifications:
Sacramento State University, BA Philosophy 2003 San Jose State University, MLIS 2007

ALA Activities:
ALA Emerging Leader 2008
ALA Committee on Professional Ethics: Intern 2010
California Library Association ALA Student Chapter

Offices Held in ALA-APA:
ALA Student Chapter: Co-Chair, Web-Coordinator 2006

Honors and Awards:
SJSU Student Association Award for Online Educational Outreach

As Library Coordinator of the Twelve Bridges Library I was given the opportunity to assist in the planning and development of the construction of a 40,000 square foot joint-use library (public, high school, community college) and managed the redevelopment of its website.

As a 2008 Emerging Leader I was given the opportunity to work with an outstanding team of new librarians to develop a mentoring plan for RUSA.

As ALA Student Chapter Co-Chair and Web-coordinator I was able to learn manage an organizations website to increase its visibility and value on the web.

As an elementary school librarian I was able to see firsthand the importance of the role of the school librarian and the services that libraries must provide to children and teens.

As manager of a volunteer program of over 250 retiree volunteers I was able to gain an understanding of the need to provide library services to the growing force of retired Americans.


Professional Concerns:
With the emergence of new technologies, growing information access points, and the loss of institutional knowledge through the retirement of large numbers of professionals, the ALA Council must be ready to critically analyze the changing forces of the organization and place ALA in a position to adapt to those changes quickly and efficiently.

As a Library Branch Manager, I have had opportunities to evaluate the change present in my profession. I participated in the construction of a state of the art library and implement programs and services that are reflective of the role of libraries as community resources. I am engaged in learning and evaluating new technologies that patrons are using to adapt their use to library organizations. I have worked with diverse groups of patrons to create services that suit their changing information seeking behavior. And finally, I have managed organizations to increase their visibility and value within communities.

Blogged: Beer and Burgers with John Berry at Bukowski’s in Boston (who says alliteration is dead?)

ALA midwinter brought about many great experiences and I met amazing people who I have admired for a long time. I saw a couple of great presentations, finally met many of the great people that I’ve been following on Twitter, and networked with people who are challenging me to be a better librarian. However, as the post #alamw10 excitement wears off, I’ve been struggling to find something to write about. While many of my experiences were fun and exciting and everyone I met was amazing, one of my favorite experiences was sitting with a man that some people in the profession love and a man that has ruffled more than one feather in the library profession; John N. Berry III

Before the conference I really had no concept of who John Berry was. I definitely knew his name, I’ve read his blog, read some his articles in library journal, and definitely know about him from some of the musings of other librarians, writers, and bloggers who have expressed both love and contempt for the man. But really, I never took the time to see who he was, had no idea what he looked like, why he is such a prominent figure in American libraries or why anyone even knows his name beyond his blog and articles. In any case, I hope you understand how embarrassing this is for me to admit that I didn’t know who he is now that I do know.

So, when I had the opportunity to meet him at the Emerging Leaders Reunion and Social at J.J. Foleys I was a little confused. One of the fantastic people who I had met at previous conferences was talking to an old man at a bar and when I came to say hi I was told, very solemnly, that THIS was John Berry! I was told this as if I should have some idea of who he was. I really had no idea who he was, not putting the blogger/writer (whose name I did know) together with the old man sitting at the bar (who I didn’t know) drinking hard liquor and happily chatting with everyone around him. So I stood there at the bar and patiently half-listened to him talk about whatever it was he was talking about at the time. After a little while he told me I should go to the reception for the Librarian of the Year that was happening the next night. Well, I smiled and nodded and pretended to put the information in my phone and walked away to meet some other of the Emerging Leaders at the social and didn’t really think about it again.

At least until the next day at the Tweet-up for YA and Children’s librarians when I saw him walk by and someone in his entourage turned to see me looking at him and said “Yes! THAT was John Berry!” Again, as if I should really know who this man was and admittedly I should have known by now. But I didn’t know and I was getting pretty curious as to why everyone else in the world seemed to know who he was. Luckily, I had yet another opportunity to meet him.

That night a few of the people I knew at the conference told me that they were going to the Librarian of the Year social and since I had heard about it from so many other people at this point, I thought that I might as well go. Because so many people had told me about it, I was surprised by the low number of librarians present. It turns out that this was a fairly exclusive party and in all honesty I really had no business being there at all. In fact, one of the people at the party made it a point to figure out why I was there, and when I could produce no real reason she glared at me as if I had just crashed a reception at the white house. So I stood, off to the side, trying very hard not to get kicked out, and there was Mr. Berry talking to >Josh Hadro who is the associate editor of Library Journal and Nate Hill who runs the blog for PLA (who I name here because I feel I should thank them specifically for this opportunity). Luckily, before I could really embarrass myself these two good folks filled me in as to who exactly I was talking to and finally everything made sense, except for why I hadn’t put together who this man was before I started talking to him.

As the night progressed I had the immense opportunity to really meet John Berry. We talked about my thoughts on Library 101, who should be asked to write for Library Journal (as if I have any idea at all), who we all thought the Annoyed Librarian might be, and generally what we all thought of the profession as a whole. He challenged my opinions, joked and poked fun (in a good way) at my inexperience in librarianship, said some things that I know where just said to ruffle some feathers and make the conversation interesting, and throughout the entire time he was more than an interesting person. So when we had the opportunity to move the conversation and eat burgers and drink beers at a dark hole in the wall called Bukowski’s (thanks entirely to Nate) I jumped at the chance. And, for the next two hours I sat transfixed by stories and opinions about everything from librarianship and politics to Allen Ginsburg, Malcolm X, and so many others that I lost count or reference. I’m not going to pretend I can remember or retell any of the stories he told us that night and I’m ashamed to admit that I don’t remember every word he said but he was wealth of institutional knowledge and it was a night of live oral history as I’ve never experienced.

So, while you may have your own (good or bad) opinions of the man from his blog posts and articles I encourage you to take the time to meet him (buy him a drink) and listen to the story of librarianship as told by John Berry. I just hope someone takes the time to write a book about this historical archive of our profession.

The Unabashed Fervor Surrounding #alamw10

The unabashed mounting fervor surrounding ALA midwinter is about to crash down on Boston like an Avalanche. I’m not going to lie, I’m one of the conference fanboys, but I feel like this conference is already off to a kind of insane beginning. As I’m watching the twitter feed it seems to be exploding with just about every kind of activity that makes these overly large conferences such a good time. I’m going to share with you some of this craziness in case you’re missing it.

1) Librarian Tattoos
Inspired by Andy Woodworth’s campaign for a Ben And Jerry’s Library Flavored Ice Cream, there has been a call for all librarians to get tattoos at ALAMW. Or, as the creator of this campaign (Justin Hoenke also from has called the campaign – “Project Brand Yourself.” Yes, this is as crazy as it seems. Librarians are going to descend on Boston area Tattoo parlors and get branded with the library logo. Now, I’m a big library fan and I would love to just go and watch librarians get branded with the library logo, and I even want a tattoo, but I’m not sure this is going to be my first. If you get one, let me know when and where so I can watch or at least post a photo. I support this project and support everyone who gets a tattoo. Go get’em!

2) The Socials
By following the twitter hashtag #alamw10 I’ve decided that librarians drink the highest amount of alcohol per capita vs. just about any other profession anywhere. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at the socials and happy hour events going on at ala. It’s going to be hard on my liver.

  • LITA Happy Hour
    YALSA Happy Hour
    GODORT Happy Hour
    ALA Emerging Leaders Meetup
    ALAMW Tweetup for Newbies
    ALA After Hours Social
    LibraryThing Party
  • 3) The Twitter Feed itself
    Already, the hashtag #alamw10 is on fire with content and information. I’m excited to see how this plays out over the course of the conference. It’s possible, that like #CLA09, the feed will die out once the conference begins but with the number of power tweeters attending this conference I’m not sure that will be the case. If you’re new to Twitter or just need some good folks to follow for this conference, I’d like to recommend a couple to you (there are far too many to list them all, these are just a few);


    And of course the Official Tweet of ALA Midwinter

    4) Bloggers
    With the high number of power tweeters comes a high volume of power bloggers. What’s nice about these folks is that they almost all have a Twitter account and you can find them via the conference hashtag. One exception, of course, is Annoyed Librarian, but nobody likes her anyway. But, in case you’re not a twitterer I’ll give you some of my favorite bloggers just in case. Here they are (in no particular order);

    5) The Conference
    Of course, let’s not forget the reason we are all here in the first place. This conference is huge. Perhaps this conference is not as big as ALA annual but it is still very large. ALA reports an average attendance of 11-12 thousand librarians. While this conference is mostly a business meeting, there will be some really great institutes, meetings, discussion groups, and other events covering everything from web 2.0 to such staples as Library Management. With so much going on it’s hard to decide what to do first. But everything you need to plan your ALA conference is available online via Twitter, Facebook events, Organization Blogs and websites, and at through their event planner, and ALA Connect. Take some time and check them out.

    6) ALA Secrets…
    For those of you who want to know what really happens at ALA midwinter, or those of you with secrets to share I’d like to introduce you to You can submit you own secrets, trysts, misdeeds, and misfortunes at the conference anonymously for the rest of us to live vicariously through. This twitterfeed is absolutely entertaining and so are many librarian’s reactions to it! I love that it causes such a stir that it was hacked and brought down at the last conference. I hope that everyone can be cool and have a good time checking out what’s really up with librarians (even if we’re lying about it).

    Have fun team!