Yet Another #libday4 Blog Post…

I noticed this day in the life of a library thing going around on Twitter and thought I’d take a couple stabs at it and see what happens. However, while I love being a librarian I don’t really think it defines me, nor do I think it defines all of us librarians out here. So I’m going to include my whole day and not just the part where I’m a librarian.

Unlike most folks, Mondays are probably my favorite day of the week. I’m well rested, I don’t have to be at work until noon because I work the late shift on desk, and I get my week all set up. So the day started around 7ish because I completely lack the ability to sleep in (even on weekends, when I feel I should). I typically don’t get out of bed for a while and this morning was no different. Instead I lay around and catch up with all the blog posts from the East Coast librarians, check my Facebook account, scan through some tweets, and finally get out of bed after thinking really hard about writing a blog post of my own.

This morning I went to the gym after not going for the last month which was really nice. I figured out I could read while using the elliptical because there’s a place that holds my book fairly securely. Today I was reading “Cape Horn: The Logical Route” by Bernard Moitessier and this book was blowing my mind (for anyone who doesn’t know, I’m a big sailing fan). I almost didn’t get off the gym equipment because it was so good. I’m not a book reviewer so I won’t try to say much about it except that if you’re a sailor, you should check it out at your local public library.

After the gym I walked back to my apartment reminding myself that I need to cancel my 24 Hour gym membership because this gym is in my apartment. But of course I haven’t done it yet. Instead, I sat around for a couple hours and played guitar a little louder than my neighbors would appreciate I’m sure. I also thought real hard about kicking my roommates cat around (I’m NOT a cat loving librarian) but I decided we can just maintain our uneasy North Korea style truce instead. Besides, he has stayed to his side of the room for most of the morning. But, I KNOW he’s planning some kind of tactical assault and I still don’t trust him.

Anyway, after our stare down I did all of the get ready for work stuff and finally made the drive in to the library where I am the branch manager of a small library in East Palo Alto. Because its Monday, I had a couple of specifically managerial tasks to complete like approving time cards from the last week, signing reimbursement forms, approving trainings, and reading through some of the stuff in the Branch Manual because I’m fairly new to this library system and I’m still learning a lot about everything that goes on here. I also spent a couple hours answering emails, planning the redesign of our staff workroom and coordinating a couple of aspects of that large project. And finally, I did some research for the guitar class program I want to hold here in the summer. Throughout this time I also check Twitter frequently because everyone I follow is a librarian and there are so many librarians doing amazing things and I like live vicariously through them by reading about it in the twiterverse. The other big project for me is that I am running for ALA Councilor this year. So, to make it official, I walked over to the post office and dropped off my petition and submitted the rest of the forms electronically.

What is nice about this job is that my staff speaks Spanish and most of the patrons here speak Spanish too. So I always try to squeeze some time in to study a chapter or two of a Spanish textbook that was dropped off at the library. I also have my headphones on and a Spanish audio book called “Cajas de Carton” playing while I do my work. I always think I’m doing pretty well until someone who really knows how to speak Spanish starts talking to me and I realize I’m not very good at Spanish at all.

So now, I’m spending the last two hours of the evening on the reference desk, answering patron questions (in Spanish when I can), ordering DVDs, using our online Spanish Language tutorial, and straightening up the library shelves whenever they need it. So far… A pretty fun day! And I still get to go home and play some more guitar and listen to some good music with my roommate.

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.