Getting the Most Out of Your ALA Experience with Keanu Reeves

A couple of years ago I did a presentation to NMRT on how to get the most out of attending the conference. Besides all of the amazing presentations, SWAG, networking, vendors, etc… There is a lot that you can do to put yourself out there and take advantage of the many opportunities to get more involved in the profession. I’m going to rehash that presentation and give you some tips and pointers to be more successful at ALA in Vegas.

slide-1-10241) I used to hate ALA and conferences in general. When I started my career, I went to two conferences and decided I was never going back. I realize now that this was 99.9% my fault. One of the most important things you can do at the conference is meet people and make new friends. Having friends at a conference changes everything. So get out there and meet people to be their friends and not just professional acquaintances!

slide-2-10242) When you start talking to people, they are going to tell you about parties, presentations, ways to get involved and give you more opportunities to meet more people. In fact, the first time I had a good time at ALA it was because some great folks from Reforma invited me to hang out with them. Saying yes is how I accidently wound up on ALA Council. Aaron Dobbs told me to and I said yes. It’s also how I wound up in the ALA Think Tank house. JP asked me to try out this idea he had to stay in houses instead of hotels and I said yes. Don’t be shy about tagging along when people invite you to tag along!

slide-3-10243) Don’t mind the haters. There is always some kinds of drama, someone speaking poorly of someone else, someone expressing some kind of negativity. Its fine, we’re human, that’s going to happen. But try to avoid the negativity. If you don’t like something, just move on. There’s hundreds of things happening at any given time so find something you like before hating on something you don’t.

slide-4-10244) Likewise, project some positivity. Negativity gets a lot of attention on FB, Twitter, and maybe even your blog. But in person, it can be a lot different. Be sure to hype up people’s projects, thank them for their presos and time, and compliment people whenever you can. Be someone that people want to be around with your positive energy and smile and laugh a lot.

 

slide-5-10245) Showing up is so important. There are so many things happening at ALA that you can’t be at everything but this is your chance to try. Just showing up to the after parties and engaging people has been one of the best things for my career. You can go to bed early, but you’re going to miss out on the opportunities to sit and talk with you library heroes instead of just listening to them talk at you during their presentations.

 

slide-6-10246) Yep… After you show up, talk to everyone. Don’t be a wallflower. People WANT to talk to you. ALA is a great place where everyone will want to talk to you about whatever you’re interested in. Chances are that they’ll be interested in many of the same things you are. Librarians are all the same so if you talk about cats or Dr. Who you’re pretty much “in.” So while you’re sitting and waiting for that session to start, introduce yourself to the people around you. Ask them questions and get to know them.

 

slide-7-10247) One key to success is just finding that first person. The one other person in the conference who you can hang out with. Its much easier to engage with people when you have a buddy to do it with. Plus, you and your buddy can come and go together to events and that makes it much easier. You can also help each other find more people or introduce each other to the people that you both know and double your network.

slide-8-10248) What’s better than one friend? A dozen friends! Try and get a co-hort together. There are a couple of ways to do this through ALA like Emerging Leaders, running for ALA Council, but mostly its going to depend on you. If you’re having a hard time though, there are a bunch of ways to connect online before the conference. For example, follow the conference hashtags, the tumblarians on tumblr, or join one of the hundreds of FB groups for librarians like ALA Think Tank.

slide-9-10249) It’s easy to get involved and offer your hand in services. You can try to volunteer for the conference and connect with people that way. Offer to volunteer for one of the committees or do things that help people at the conference like Erica Findley’s party map.

 

 

slide-10-102410) Hey! You came to ALA and you put yourself out there. That’s the first risk you took. Now take another. Next year submit some program proposals, email people at ALA and ask them if you can help them with anything, do something big and exciting like organizing a meetup or a reason for a group of people to come together and do something in the networking uncommons.

 

slide-11-102411) People expect librarians do act a specific way or live up to some kind of stereotype. This is even pretty prevelant within the profession. If you’re out to get noticed, you have to do something unexpected. For example, Steve Kemple organized a huge and loud disruption at an ALA Conference and it was one of my favorite things to happen at that conference.

 

slide-12-102412) This one is easy. Start a blog or a tumblr or submit something to a professional journal to put your ideas out there and into the professional discussion. You have ideas and you should share them!

 

 

 

slide-13-102413) The authority at the conferences do things a certain way mostly because that’s the way they’ve always done it. But then some people came out and questioned why and help make the change. For example, this is how the Code of Conduct came about. People came together and questioned authority and made the changes they felt we needed.

 

slide-14-102414) People naturally gravitate towards people who aren’t afraid to make decisions. Even when those decisions might be bad ones. Of course, you’d never make a bad decision! But, if you have an opinion on something, don’t be afraid to share it. Get a dialog going and start a movement.

 

 

slide-15-102415) This isn’t always the easiest thing to do. So many people won’t give up their seats on council or on committees and some people are on a dozen committees. But there are opportunities out there like running for ALA Council, mentoring for NMRT, or getting a seat on a committee.

 

 

slide-16-102416) One of the best things you can do for lunch is ask around for people to join you for lunch. There is usually also a ton of great vendor socials or events for all of the meals of the day and the ones in between and you can typically find them using the conference hashtag. Or if you see a couple of people sitting around, ask if you can join them. If approaching a group seems intimidating, then try to find that guy or girl sitting alone in the dining commons and ask to join them. I’ve had some of the best conversations during lunch like this.

 

slide-17-102417) Even if you aren’t. Guess what? Everyone else isn’t that confident either. We’re basically all faking it so fake it with us until we make it. In any case, everyone likes you so go talk to them!

 

 

 

slide-18-102418) I’m not going to dwell on this one too much, there are SO many blogs and tumblrs dedicated to dressing for conferences.

 

 

 

 

slide-19-102419) There are so many parties and socials and networking opportunities at the conference. Go out to them. If you’re sleeping, you’re conferencing wrong. You can sleep when you get back to the reference desk.

 

 

slide-20-102420) No matter what you do, take this opportunity and make it happen. Whatever “it” is for you. If you’re just there to attend sessions, add to your tote bag collection, or meet John Green then don’t miss out on whatever it is you want to do.

The Slate Article, Campaign Math, and Why that Article Doesn’t Matter

yo JP

yo JPOk, I saw a lot of hate on the Slate Article about what librarians look like. The hate ranged from people being upset because the people were too diverse, to it being stolen from other people, to people being “over it” in regards to library stereotype articles. Basically, I think each of these are ridiculous for a bunch of reasons. The most offensive TO ME though is the people who hate it because they are over stereotype bending articles about librarians. Let me break it all down for you.

First, let me note that I am NOT hating on the article. I personally loved it a whole lot and this whole blog post is mostly about the fact that we need a lot more of them.

Diversity Issues
So these are really important things to talk about but I’m a mildly successful, middle class, fully abled, white guy with the difficulty level of my life set at “easy” so I’ll let other people make the arguments on this one.

Theft…
Ok, I know the article looks and sounds like a bunch of other things that librarians have done. But can we please just get over the victim mentality on this. I’m going to write a much longer blog post on this mentality now that I think about it more. It’s really so much more than I can possible talk about here. But I can sum it all up by saying that it’s all been done before. For example, there have been train libraries, there have been libraries on donkeys and on librarians backs and on boats, there are probably 30 organizations building libraries in Africa, there have been tiny free libraries before, there are a thousand blogs talking about a million things, and guess what? Your library FB page isn’t original either. So instead, how about we just give props when someone makes something cool happen even if you’re trying to do the same thing because what you’re doing isn’t new either anyway. Let’s get on the same team here people!!

The REAL Message
Ok, you’re probably already mad at me and I’m cool with that. But, if you got to this point, I’m going to explain why I’m REALLY UPSET by people hating on it because they are so “over it.” I hear this every time librarians try to get a new message out about our stereotypes or more honestly, try to get a message out about anything. So let me talk about why that really irks me and why this just proves without a doubt that we need a lot more political and marketing and advertising training in our profession.

Let me start with what I’ve learned from my work with EveryLibrary and EveryLibrary California about the message in a political campaign. In every single book about campaign messaging and in every campaign message training I have ever been to, I have learned that there are three key strategies to remember about messaging.

1) Say the message
2) Repeat the message
3) Repeat the message
4) *free bonus strategy* REPEAT THE MESSAGE

This article’s Message
In the case of this article, it looks like there are two messages being played out in complimentary ways. I think that a first glance it appears that the message of the project is that librarians don’t look like what you expect. But when you read the actual text of the article, the message that stands out is that libraries are highly important institutions that do a diverse range of public goods. It looks to me like the pictures of these diverse librarians was meant to reinforce that idea in the text. But let’s look at the one message that everyone is talking about and the message that librarians are so over.

“Librarians are not the stereotype”

I think that there are a couple of truths that we need to recognize here. The first and foremost is that this wasn’t an article written for librarians to read at all. Basically, we’re talking about breaking down the stereotypes of librarians in the minds of non-librarians and not do anything in the minds of librarians. The second thing is that this conversation about changing the stereotype of librarians has been going on for a long time and it seems that most librarians want those stereotypes to change. We can debate about whether or not most librarians want that change or not, I don’t really care. But enough librarians want those stereotypes to change that it’s a conversation that we’ve been having for a long time.

So how do we make that change?
Well, we begin with the message that librarians are not the stereotype. Then we repeat it. In fact, we repeat it so much that we are tired of hearing it. If this were a political campaign, we wouldn’t even be discussing the fact that we are tired of hearing. In a campaign, we’re supposed to be tired of hearing the message. If we’re tired of hearing it, it means that the public is just starting to hear it for the first time. If we’re just tired or “so over” our message we’ve only just begun to do our jobs. To prove why that is, let’s do the math on that article.

Campaign Math
Let’s be HUGELY optimistic and say that 1 million people read that article in just the United States. That means that after the views by everyone else in the world, and minus all the librarian views, that there are one million views by the public in the states. There are slightly more than 313 million people in the United States and lets just simplify that to 300 million. This means that just ONE THIRD of ONE PERCENT of the American Population saw that message. And finally, let’s be honest and say that in reality, probably only 100k people living in the United States saw the article. Guess what? We’ve only reached ONE THIRTIETH of ONE PERCENT of the population. So in these scenarios, to reach the entire US population, we would have to repeat this message 3 THOUSAND times at the million views mark, and 30 THOUSAND times at the more realistic hundred thousand view mark.

Now, let’s get even more serious. For campaigns, it’s widely accepted that for every 7 times a voter sees a campaign message, they register it in their mind once. At campaign trainings they also say that voters need to register it at least three times to be effective, and they need to register it ten times for it to be engrained. Ok… Are you following along? That means that we would have to put out this message AT LEAST 21 thousand times to register in the minds of US citizens just once at the million view mark and we’d have to write a similar article and put it out AT LEAST 2.1 million times at the more realistic hundred thousand view mark just to register it in their minds once. You want it engrained in their minds? Multiply those numbers by ten!!! Yes, we’d have to put out this message 21 million times to be effective.

More Like a Campaign
Luckily, in a campaign we typically only have to be effective with 50%+1 of the voting population. But even if we were to cut these numbers in half and add 1 to just the voting population like a campaign… Well, I think you still see how huge a national campaign needs to be. Now think of your state or town and how large even that campaign needs to be. I REALLY hope that one of the take aways you have from this is the size of a local campaign. Maybe a local campaign for your library?! This is way campaigns are so expensive and why EveryLibrary is so important.

I’m tired just writing this
So yes, you ARE tired of hearing messages about libraries. And you should be. And if you’re upset about a message going out once on an article like this one on Slate, just remember how little impact this one article actually has. It has, at most, 1/210th of a percent of an effect on the minds of Americans. So just be cool and praise the folks involved for getting it out there and then work on the message you want to get out. You’re going to need a lot of help on your message too.

EveryLibrary California
Since this is my blog, I’m going to have to throw out a pitch for EveryLibrary California and what we are doing to get the message out about the importance and impact of libraries on the lives of Californians. We are running a campaign for $50 contributions to our fight for California Funding and every $50 gets the message into the minds of up to 38 thousand Californians. Consider making a contribution today.

P.S.
I wrote this blog about the overall effect of this article on the profession in the minds of Americans.

WTF Was I Thinking Last Year?

Well, I’m kinda over blogging on my own blog in general but I’m going to write this one anyway. It’s my, “WTF was I thinking last year?” blog post. Basically, I’m just going to talk about all the stupid crap I did last year and then promise to try to do better this next year.

1) Internet fights and generally being a dumbass
Ok, this is the biggest and most on my mind and that’s why it’s first…. I’ve only gotten into internet fights with a VERY few people (like, less than 5). In the end, they were dumb, I feel dumber, and I feel bad about myself as a person. I also feel bad about anyone I made feel bad. Sorry about that, if I see you around in person, I owe you all a couple of beers (or whatever you’re drinking/eating) and/or at the very least, an apology in person for sure. Of course, none of you have to forgive me or be my buddy or anything crazy like that, just know that I plan to try to not be such an asshat in the future.

So, this next year, I’m just going to do my best to let it go when something that irritates me on the Internet happens. People do what they do based on their own experiences and it’s not my place to judge them especially when I have no idea what their experiences are in the world. So yea… No more Internet fights. Let’s just go back to having some drinks and hanging out, making things awesome, and living our lives.

2) Hating and Hating Haters who Hate
I kinda slipped into becoming this and living in this area of the world a little bit towards the end of this year. I let things get to me that shouldn’t have gotten to me because, honestly… Well, in the end it doesn’t matter at all.

So, instead of spending time and energy on hating things that I hate, I’m going to spend my energy on hyping the things that I love. Honestly, I’m worried it will be hard to start moving in that direction because I’m worried it’s become a habit. So, if you see me hating, call me out on it.

3) Being a better manager/librarian in my job
Honestly, this year has been rough for me personally and as a consequence of that I haven’t done as good of a job in my job as I would have liked. There are a bunch of things that I failed at for all kinds of reasons. I failed at looking at the details of some projects and I didn’t motivate my staff as much as I wanted to. To put it plain and simply, I didn’t do an awesome job like my amazing staff deserves.

So, in case you don’t know…. I’m a branch manager in charge of two branches in my library system. I easily have a better staff than just about any manager I have ever talked to. I never have to worry about my libraries and they just kinda do an amazing job all the time and they make me look good. What more could I ask for? They are the reason that I have been able to go to all these conferences and do the things that I do outside of my library branches. I should do better for them and that’s my plan in the next years going forward. I’ll start by publicly saying thank you!

4) Organize
Right this second, I am terribly organized. I have a disturbingly messy office with parts of projects scattered around and things stored all over it. Basically, it’s a disaster and I’m not sure how I got to this point but this next year, I’m going to take some time and figure out how to be better organized not just in my office, but in my whole life. Ugh… this one will take a LOT of work….

5) Do Something Awesome
Ok, as a guy who honestly has a lot of privilege in the world, I feel like its my responsibility to not just sit on the winning lottery ticket but do something meaningful and good and awesome with it. Of course, I’m not sure what I should do just yet. So for now, I hope to just try to suck a lot less as a person and see what that does. I’m totally open for suggestions if you have them though.

6) Follow Through
There are a couple of things that I failed at following through on this last year. There were a couple of promises I made that I didn’t keep, or didn’t get to in time, or that let people down in the professional world. If you were one of them, I’m sorry about that. This is going to go back to numbers 3 and 4 and 5 but anyway, I’m going to do a much better job and following through on my professional promises…. Umm…. I promise?

Well… Dang… OK, there are like ten more things to talk about but I feel like you’re done reading and I’m kinda done writing another blog post. See you next year.

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

    Speaking at Your Library Event

    speakingAs a library subject-specialist, I can speak on a variety of topics for your library school, association and library system. Throughout my career I have been a featured speaker and keynoter for staff development days, in-services, conference programs, and pre-conference workshops. As a library manager I have the ability to relate to the workplace challenges and professional development goals of library staff, trustees, and friends. If you are looking for fresh and engaging presentation topics and styles, I have been providing these skills to libraries for the last 6 years.

    I have been a frequent speaker, presenter, and workshop leader at library conferences around the country as well as a participant in the Great Library Roadshow. My conference presentations are focused on supporting your conference theme with stories and data that are inspirational, motivating, and actionable for your attendees. I address individual outcomes as well as organizational engagement with relevant content to address your unique library community.

    My areas of Expertise and Experience;
    • Innovative technology
    • Program development
    • Library partnerships and collaborations
    • Collection development
    • Creative fundraising
    • Library management
    • Teen librarianship
    • School librarianship
    • Professional development and networking

    I also speak on behalf of EveryLibrary on the following;
    • Library elections and campaigns
    • Politics and libraries
    • Best practices in library advocacy
    • GOTV and info only campaigns
    • Campaign bootcamps, trainings, and workshops

    Please contact me directly for information about honorarium and travel expenses as well as my availability. Please note that if you choose me as your library conference keynote speaker or workshop leader, an additional conference program presentation or panel elsewhere during the session day is included, if desired.

    Previous Speaking Engagements
    Future of Libraries Conference 2010– Building Social Media Capital
    Internet Librarian 2010 – The Library eBranch: More Than Just a Website
    Internet Librarian 2012, California Library Association 2012 – Speed Technology Dating
    Internet Librarian 2012, Computers in Libraries 2013 – Teen Library Users: Engaging the Next Generation
    Library 2.0 – Making it Happen: Take Action
    Computers in Libraries 2013 – Ask IT (Honest Answers from your IT Department)
    ALA MW 2013 – Leading your Career: Stand Out and Be Outstanding
    ALA Annual 2012 – Professional Networking
    New Jersey Library Association – Me, We (a workshop on collaboration and innovation in libraries)
    Public Library Association 2012 – Engaging Customers in an Online Environment
    Public Library Association – What makes A Collection? Redefining Libraries through their collections.

    The big list of things everyone should do at #ala2013

    Think tank

    Once again, we have the obligatory blog post about what you need to do at this year’s ALA Annual Conference. If you want more information you can check out the official ALATT party list from Lauren Bradley and my partner Jp Porcaro already put together his list of things to do at ALA so check that out too.

    You should also just come and party with me and JP all over this town. We’re gonna have a really great time like we always do. We’re also doing tons of interviews with awesome librarians (again, like we always do) so come out and hang out with us!

    I’m excited about this year because we have the return of some great programs and events that started last year and we have some longer running programs and events that just keep getting better! So, if you’re wondering what you should absolutely go do at the conference, here they are!

      Thursday (Night)

    ALA Think Tank Thursday Night Meetup
    8pm-?
    Citizen Bar 364 W Erie St
    For all you early birds who Made It Happen and want to start out the conference with the party, this is your opportunity to come and party with the folks of the ALA Think Tank. Basically, it’s our bi-annual face-to-face meeting at the conference where we can have some drinks without having to post them to the FB page.

      Friday

    EveryLibrary Board Meeting
    9am-11am
    8 S. Michigan, Suite 2010
    This is the bi-annual public meeting of the first and only national political action committee for libraries. One of the biggest and most important things to happen to effect library funding and campaigning on behalf of libraries. Come hear what we’re working on across the country for libraries at the ballot box.

    Emerging Leaders Poster Session
    3-4pm
    McCormick Place Convention Center S405
    Come and see the outstanding projects that the future leaders of our profession have been working on all year. You’re sure to see something great!

    ALA Dance Party
    10pm-?
    311 W Chicago Ave
    There’s something else going on at this time, but this is the big party that happens every year! But as JP says- “the lifeguard librarian hooked us up with an hour of complimentary vodka at this one sooooo you decide which dance party to attend”

      Saturday

    Daylight hours: Interviews.
    From JP’s list of things to do – “please find me at any point at this conference and get a business card. i’ll be scheduling times for people to come up to where i’m staying and do a video interview with me and/or sweeney. we’re doing a sorta documentary on making-it-happen in/around libraries. we wanna interview only the young folks. we probably aren’t even gonna ASK anyone without a tumblr since they old, lol.”

    Ignite ALA
    Every afternoon Saturday, Sunday, and Monday from 11:30-12 JP and I are hosting the Ignite sessions at ALA. These are great five minute presentations that will inspire and engage you.

    ALATT For Council Shwarma Meeting
    1-2:30
    Oasis Cafe 21 N Wabash Ave Ste 11
    Join us to celebrate or commiserate the election of Caucus members Erica Findley, Mel Gooch, Martin Garnar, and Coral Sheldon-Hess to Council, Kate Kosturski to two other ALA offices, and commiserate over everything else.

    Stand out and Be outstanding Convo Starter
    4-4:45
    McCormick Place Convention Center S102d
    This is the highest voted session of the conversation starters!

    What does it mean to lead and be recognized as a leader in the library profession? And what exactly is a rockstar librarian, anyway?

    This session will spark an exchange of ideas about what it means to stand out- and be outstanding- in the library field. A panel of motivated librarians who have participated in California’s Eureka! Leadership Program and/or the ALA Emerging Leaders Program will share their innovative paths to leadership, including strategies for being a leader in any position, taking risks, and balancing personal and professional priorities.

    8th Annual ALA Tweetup
    7:30-9:30
    Elephant & Castle 185 N. Wabash Ave, Chicago
    These tweetups have been going on 8 years? Man… I remember my first tweetup. This is your chance to meet your twitter friends IRL.

    Tumblr Meetup (set phasers to internet)
    I don’t have the details on this one but its 7-9pm somewhere in Chicago. Its where the cool kids are or so I’m told.

    ALA2013 After Hours – Local 22 – EveryLibrary and Librarian Wardrobe Party
    9pm-2am
    Blue Frog’s Local 22, 22 E Hubbard
    Bigger and better than a no-show celebrity rap party bar fight, ALATT After Hours is THE place to meet, greet, and strut your stuff at #ala2013. Hosted by Librarian Wardrobe and EveryLibrary on Saturday June 29th from 9pm – 2am at the Blue Frog’s “Local 22” at 22 E. Hubbard St. Chicago, IL 60611. Bring some cash and help fund political action for libraries. Bring your sass and show off your best dressed for fun and prizes.

      Sunday

    ALA Council
    8:30-11
    Come and visit me at ALA Council. I’ll be real bored and want to talk to someone. But, if you come, I’ll probably ask you to run for council too. I won’t be there until 10 this day because of the meeting listed below

    ALA LibraryLab Meeting
    8:30-10:00
    Join the ALA LibraryLab Member Interest Group business meeting to learn how you can get involved in any of our projects. Find out more about us at http://connect.ala.org/librarylab.

    Ignite Sessions
    Every afternoon Saturday, Sunday, and Monday from 11:30-12 JP and I are hosting the Ignite sessions at ALA. These are great five minute presentations that will inspire and engage you.

    LITA Happy Hour
    5:30-8
    Fado Irish Pub, 100 West Grand Avenue
    Please join the LITA Membership Development Committee and members from around the country for networking, good cheer, and great fun! Expect lively conversation and excellent drinks

    GLBTRT Social
    6-8pm
    Ann Sather 909 W Belmont Ave
    Come mix with the membership of the GLBT Round Table. $5.00 recommended donation accepted at the door.

    BiblioFollies
    8-10
    The Backroom 1007 N Rush St,
    This is the event that made the California Library Conference worth attending. The burlesque dancers are amazing and… Not to give it away… One girl does this thing with a book scanner… You gotta come!

      Monday

    ALA Council
    8:30-11
    Come and visit me at ALA Council. I’ll be real bored and want to talk to someone. But, if you come, I’ll probably ask you to run for council too.

    Daylight hours: Interviews.
    From JP’s list of things to do – “please find me at any point at this conference and get a business card. i’ll be scheduling times for people to come up to where i’m staying and do a video interview with me and/or sweeney. we’re doing a sorta documentary on making-it-happen in/around libraries. we wanna interview only the young folks. we probably aren’t even gonna ASK anyone without a tumblr since they old, lol.”

    Ignite Sessions
    Every afternoon Saturday, Sunday, and Monday from 11:30-12 JP and I are hosting the Ignite sessions at ALA. These are great five minute presentations that will inspire and engage you.

    ALA Battledecks
    5:30-7
    McCormick Place Convention Center N229
    Who will reign supreme in the 4th Battledecks competition at ALA annual? This year we will feature two rounds by having the first ever tournament of champions precede the regular battle. Who will become the Grand Pooba of Battledecks by winning the tournament of champions? Who will come out on top during the battle and win fame and glory? This is truly going to be a highlight of your conference experience as these courageous individuals compete for the honor of being crowned the next champs of the deck.

    Que(e)ry: Leather Bound in Chicago
    9pm-?
    Subterranean 2011 W. North Ave
    The NYC-based Que(e)ry is Chicago-bound for the American Library Association Annual Conference, and the library is open late for this dance party for queer librarians and those who love them, co-hosted by Chances Dances. Que(e)ry will feature DJs from Chances Dances, along with queer go-go dancers and a Librarian Realness Contest, with a live performance by Chicago-based queer rapper Big Dipper. Proceeds will benefit the Leather Archives and Museum and the Critical Fierceness Grant.

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    How to Never, Not Ever, be A Rockstar Librarian

    There has been a lot of discussion about being a rockstar librarian and what that means in the blogosphere. Mostly, I’ve read that its something to dread and to avoid. In that case, I wanted to give you this list of things to avoid if you don’t want to be considered a rockstar librarian by anyone.

    Are you a librarian?
    First of all, you need to realize that being a librarian is the best job in the world. Good for you. You’re helping people, you’re building communities, you’re doing things to help people get through rough times and prosperous times. But that’s not what we’re here to talk about. And anyway, just being a librarian won’t get you rockstar status, but it will get you halfway there so this is the first thing you need to avoid. If you quit your job right now, you can just stop reading this blog because you’ve already won the battle.

    What gender are you?
    One of the biggest indicators of your rockstar status (according many of the blogs/comments I’ve read) is your gender. You should check this first. If you have some kind of gender assignment and you are a librarian, you are probably a rockstar. You should also check to see if you don’t, if its ambiguous, if it’s in the process of changing, or you have any kind of gender identity or nonidentity. Basically, if you’ve ever thought about your gender or anyone else’s in any way, shape, or form, you might be a rockstar librarian. So be sure to never, ever, have any genderish thoughts.

    What Race are you?
    After your gender you need to check your race. Where do your parents come from? Do they come from some landmass on the face of the planet earth? If that is the case, then you need to be sure you hide that as deep as possible. People will judge you on your race and your gender (and possibly on your sexual preference or religion or socio-economic status or political beliefs or color and style of your t-shirt or your tattoo). Basically, if you’re human then you could get in trouble. So let’s just scratch these last two and save some time and just say that you should just pretend to be some kind of animal. Maybe a dog or a hippo or something. Just never pretend to be a cat. Cats are a dead give-away. Never try to be a cat.

    Do you do things?
    When you go to work, do you actually perform any work? Do you do storytimes, or outreach, or programs, or services, or basically any of the things that you are paid to do while you are at work? Well, you might be a rockstar librarian. Sorry. You could always try working for the DMV.

    Are you excited about what you do?
    This is where people just begin to get themselves into real trouble. Some librarians get all passionate and excited about what they’re doing. That’s ridiculous. You absolutely can’t do that if you don’t want to be a rockstar librarian. What you need to do is sit quietly in your cubicle and be angry about what other people are doing. Unless you get good at being angry. In which case you could become a rockstar librarian for your passionate hatred and anger. For example, The Annoyed Librarian. Maybe, if you don’t want to be a rockstar librarian, you should just sit in your cubicle and think about Unicorns or squirrels in the most non-librarianish way possible. Just don’t think about cats. Once again, cats are always a dead give-away. Never think about cats.

    Do you talk about what you do?
    Here’s where it really breaks down. After being a librarian, your gender(ish), your racish, and doing the things you’re paid to do, you might want to consider not talking about what you’re doing if you want to avoid being considered a rockstar. Please, whatever you do… If, for some wild reason, you do something that you’re excited about and passionate about for the love of god… Don’t share it! I really mean it. Don’t share anything with anyone. In fact, if you go out into your community don’t tell anyone that you’re a librarian or that you work at the library. That’s how rumors get started.

    Also, don’t answer the phone or questions at the reference desk.

    Get off Social Media
    Completely disconnect. I mean everything. Don’t answer email, get off twitter, facebook, youtube, and even myspace and G+. If you talk to someone somewhere about libraries, someone might get wild the impression that you care and then they’ll start talking to you. Or even worse… about you. Getting talked about is even worse than talking about what you’re excited about in your profession. You can’t control what people are saying about you. They might be saying you like your job or something. That can only lead you astray.

    Don’t go to conferences
    I mean ok, this is a dead give-away. If you’ve ever gone to a conference of any kind that has any kind of remote or obscure connection to libraries, you’re messing up. But here’s the kicker, librarianship encompasses so many aspects of modern life that just about any conference will have some kind connection to your job. Its best to just sit at home and watch TV on your off time. Although, even here you have to be careful not to watch Doctor Who or Game of Thrones. Only librarians watch Doctor Who or Game of Thrones (at least according to my twitter feed).

    Don’t google anything.
    If someone asks you a question, use Bing. Nobody uses Bing. Nobody will believe you’re a rockstar or even a librarian if you use Bing.

    Do you do things outside of work?
    Here’s the problem… Librarians have hobbies. All kinds of hobbies. If you have a hobby or craft or activity that you do outside of work, you run the risk of wanting to talk about it. If you talk about something like that, you run the risk of having friends who might talk about you and maybe even mention that you’re a librarian and we already discussed where that would lead. Even worse! If, for example, you’re passionate about something like beading you might decide to run a beading program for teens. This will be the death of you. Never have a hobby or, as previously mentioned, do anything at work or outside of work and try to avoid being human.

    Ok, clearly this is satire. Basically, everyone just chill out and enjoy your job and relax with the labeling of everyone around you. Do your job, love your job. Its the best and most important fucking job in the world.

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    Teaching My City to Build Us a Bookbike

    So this is my latest project and I’m really excited about it. Excited enough to blog! Which is something I haven’t done very often the last couple of months. But, anyway… We are going to be building a book bike for my library and I’m far more excited about our process for building it, than the actual bike itself. Let me tell you all the details.

    1) Genesis
    I’ve seen a bunch of book bikes in other library systems and they seemed like a really amazing idea. I was especially excited because in the community of one of the branches that I manage it would work out perfectly. You see, our bookmobile is too big to get down some of our streets, our community is only 3-4 square miles large, and its really really flat. There are also about a dozen charter schools in the area and small places that only need something for an hour or so and not long enough to necessitate an entire visit from the book mobile. There are also a bunch of small fairs and festivals and parades that happen in the area that the bookmobile is unavailable for. The bookBike would be perfect.

    2) 99 Problems but a Boobike Ain’t one

    I had been trying to find someone to build us one for a while but ran into some problems. I called quite a few custom bike builders and never heard back and from others I got some outrageous prices. There are a bunch of custom, kind of fun digital things I want to incorporate into the bike like Jason Griffey’s Library Box, wifi, usb ports, solar panels to power it all, and a bunch of other ideas. Because of all of that, and the complexity of the project, I kinda just put it on hold for a while.

    3) Solutions are Always Good
    A couple of months ago, I went on a tour of Techshop San Jose organized by Paul Sims and Ann Awakuni and then I organized a tour for just my library system. At our tour I met the manager of the shop and one of my staff started talking to him about a bunch of different projects (secret projects that I’ll tell you about later). We started talking about the BookBike idea. The manager said something to the effect of building it there. That discussion led to an idea of having our community come and build the bike! Two of my staff members were so enthused about this whole thing that they went and took some metal working and welding classes and are now the real leaders behind this project.

    4) The Moderately Well Thought-Out Plan
    We thought, what if we taught the community members to build the bookbike? Tech Shop has all of the tools, another organization unofficially (I’ll tell you who when its official) has said they’d be interested in donating materials, and we’d just need to pay for short memberships and classes from Tech Shop to cover their expenses. By doing this, the community members would learn to weld, solder, work with lasers, and learn a bunch of other skills and tools and we’d get a bookbike for free! It was a win, win, win!

    5)The Execution of a Fail and a Win
    Here’s where there is a slight fail and a slight win. About two months ago we put together some flyers, about two weeks ago we sent out a bunch of press releases, it was on our website, on our social media, we used the #maykermonday program as a kickoff point, we talked to a bunch of people, and just about everything else we could think of.

    Well, only one person showed up. But it turns out that he was an architecture major, recent grad, and his thesis project was designing a library! He seems to be really excited about the project and we have three staff of mine, plus two of techshop, and he wants to get a couple of his buddies involved. In the end, I think this will be a really great project for our library and we’ve already thought of some other ways we can make some future ones even bigger and better! I’ll let you know how it goes.

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    30 Awesome things I’ve done for #30awesome (June 30th)

    Photo credit: John Lamasney
    So, I can’t let my last blog entry to go without my own example of self-promotion. There are links to most of the stuff for more information, otherwise there is a summary of what I’ve done below the title. So, here are 30 Things I’ve Done that I’m proud of for #30awesome.

    1) Elementary School Volunteer Team

    My first job was as an elementary school librarian. To this day, this was the best job I have ever had (except for the pay of course). While working at this library, I created a volunteer team of students who ordered my books, shelved my materials, helped with storytimes, and did many other things. This was the start of my ideas around the importance of community member involvement in libraries and collection development. (more on that later)

    2) Co-Chair of ALASC

    While in Library school I was the co-chair of the Student Chapter of the American Library Association. This was a fun job where I blogged about the work that we were doing, helped organize social events, and first got involved in ALA.

    3) Associated Students Award for Social Media Campaign

    As Co-Chair, I created our social media presence online. This was back in the days of Myspace and youtube dominance on social media. We even won an award for my work on our social media.

    4) Coordinated the Opening of a Library

    After working as an elementary school librarian, I got job coordinating the opening of a 40 thousand square foot, joint use facility. This was an amazing experience where I got to hire my own staff and create my own policies and procedures for not only a library, but the beginnings of a library system. There was only one library previously and this library made two and therefore a library system lacking all of the procedures and policies that a library system needs. It was great fun and long hours.

    5) Innovative collection development strategy

    While creating this library, we had to fill it with materials and books that we didn’t have. Because we didn’t know what books to order for a library so large, we opened with a modest collection and allowed the community to decide what books filled it. Each staff member (and some volunteers) were taught how to order books and if anyone asked for anything, we simply ordered it immediately. So, the library was filled with the community’s books!

    6) Volunteer Program

    At this same library I developed a volunteer program that boasted over 150 volunteers with over 1200 hours of volunteer time each month. It was the only way we could maintain a library and while it was successful, I have some pretty mixed emotions on it.

    7) Started a Teen Advisory Committee

    At this same library, I created a group of teens who advised the library on the kinds of things that teens wanted from their library. Not much to say here, there are lots of examples.

    8) Redesigned a workroom

    At my current library, our workroom needed a redesign badly. It was poorly organized and the workflow was terrible. All the staff gave input and the aides especially assisted in creating the final plan. It was a fun process!

    9) Built a Library website

    I built a library’s website. Pre-Drupal. It sucked, but we did it and it worked for what it needed to do. I probably won’t ever do that again.

    10) One of the first 6 folks in the original ALA Think Tank.

    One day JP Porcarro called me and asked if I wanted to stay at this house for ALA. I said yes and I have been there ever since and eventually springing out of this house came the online version of the ALATT.

    11) Seed Libraries

    We have a seed library to help combat the food desert that is the East Palo Alto Community.

    12) Nooks

    We check out eReaders because fuck eBooks.

    13) EveryLibrary

    I am a board member of the nation’s first and only Political Action Committee for libraries. Its an amazing experience and I’m learning a ton of great things about American Politics and how it really works.

    14) The Story Sailboat

    This is a library and literacy advocacy campaign by sailboat in the San Francisco Bay funded by a kickstarter project. We deliver books to communities through book seeding after the Urban Libraries Unite model and other guerilla advocacy techniques.

    15) The Great Librarian Write-Out

    So far we have given away $1,050 to two people who write about libraries in non-library in-print publications.

    16) Librarian’s Maker CookBook

    The Librarian’s Maker Cookbook is a google doc that any librarian can contribute maker program ideas to and learn from.

    17) MaykerMondays

    This is the nationwide program that’s happening in May to get librarians to promote their Maker Programs and share them with other librarians in social media using the hashtag #maykermonday. In retrospect, I would have called it #maykermonth

    18) Bay Area Librarians

    One of the first geographical library pages on Facebook created to help librarians interact with each other online. It was created before FB changed the way Pages work, if I did it now, I’d create a group and not a page.

    19) Meetups and Socials

    Out of this page came a bunch of great meetups and socials in the bay area that are getting librarians to grow their social networks and meet and create some great stuff together.

    20 ) Emerging Leaders

    I was in Emerging leaders for ALA. It was fun, you should do it too. Not for the projects, but for the people you’ll meet.

    21) Eureka! Leadership Program

    This is basically the same as Emerging Leaders, but it was a lot more powerful for me personally. I spent a lot more time with CA Librarians and had some great times.

    22) Guitar Libraries

    The Eureka Leadership Program allowed me to create a guitar library. Now our library circulates guitars and folks get free private guitar lessons when they check them our for 8 weeks. Its rad.

    23) ALA Council

    I’m on ALA Council… Again. I’m not sure if this is a brag or a complaint yet. Even after the last three years.

    24) Great Librarian Roadshow

    Lisa Carlucci, Josh hadro, and myself had an amazing opportunity to travel the east coast of the United States and visit libraries in order to show off all of the amazing things that they were doing. We had a fantastic time doing it and all of our videos and information are still available on the Library Journal Website.

    25) Zombie Month

    Our library had a month dedicated to Zombies in October. Basically it was public safety information that was framed around the context of zombies to get our kids interested. We had huge turnouts for programs that, I believe, would have not gotten as many kids involved.

    26) Social Media Plan

    I created our library system’s social media policy. I don’t have a whole lot to say about that, if you want to see it, I’m more than happy to share it.

    27) Lots of Presentations

    I present at conferences… A lot. I recommend that all librarians do this. Its very good for your own confidence and self-promotion. Get out there and MIH!

    28) Mural Arts Project

    At our library, I collaborated with the Mural Arts Project to create large graffiti murals across our back wall that says our library system’s vision statement. It was a great collaboration with an amazing organization.

    29) CLA Conference Committee

    I’m currently working on the California Library Association’s Conference Committee. If this year’s conference sucks… It’s probably my fault. If it’s great, give Derek Wolfgram full credit.

    30) ALA Flash Mob
    At ALA in New Orleans I organized a flash mob to get people excited about libraries. It was a lot of fun dancing and singing in the rain. We had a really great time.

    You are more than welcome to steal anything I’ve done. If you have any questions or want to learn more, I’m always around to give you more info. If you want me to speak on any of these subjects, I’d be more than glad to! (except social media, I won’t talk about social media anymore, you should just be doing that already). But the real point is that you should start talking about what you’re doing.

    Bonus- I also made this store to raise money for library advocacy projects.
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    Shamelessly Self-Promote Yourself #30awesome

    Sometimes I feel like librarianship is one of the weirder professions. Not for all the reasons that you’re probably thinking of, but because of the part of our professional culture that has a kind of disdain for success. Its not hard to point instances of this out. If you look (and you don’t have to look too far) there are a bunch of blog posts that basically just hate on how successful other people are. There are a bunch of people in ALATT who hate on people’s project’s when they get too successful (“OMG, if I have too see this video of ___ library one more time,” etc…). Or, you can just look at people’s reaction to Library Journal’s Movers and Shakers award, or the way people comment when you promote your awesome stuff. My big fear is that this is causing professionals to keep from promoting their awesome stuff for fear of appearing too successful and getting that hater backlash.

    This is why I love this #30awesome project. You all are doing rad things and you need to talk about them… Shamelessly. This is the best fucking profession in the world, tell people about it.

    Let me just mention my experiences real quick… I ran a contest called the Great Librarian Write-Out where the winner would get $800 for writing about libraries and librarianship in a non-library and in-print forum. I only had 4 legitimate entries after a year. I’ve only had 6 in total after two years. Also, Librarians have a direct line to one of the world’s largest online blogs (boingboing.net) where we can write articles about the amazing stuff that libraries and librarians are doing. The great stuff that you are doing!! We’ve had 23 articles when we should have had a hundred. What is up with this? Am I wrong? Do we not fear shamelessly promoting ourselves and I’m totally mistaken?

    Even if I’m completely wrong about the culture of our profession, you are all doing awesome things and you need to promote it far more than you do already. Because the deal is, that by promoting yourselves and your work as a librarian to the world (and to the profession) you are actually helping librarianship as a whole. This is largely due to the fact that according the PEW Internet Research Center and OCLC the number one most effective technique for building library support is creating a relationship with your community as a librarian. Even if you disagree with that, you still help the profession with you self-promotion because we will all learn about the awesome things you’re doing and get better at our jobs.

    So, while I completely support this #30awesome project, I really hope that it is the the spark of a fire of the shameless promotion of librarians, libraries, and everything that we do. Now, go out and tell people that you’re awesome and why.

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