The Only Online Platforms you Need (part two)

I recently wrote about dropping everything but email and FB for your online strategy but I thought I should also mention some thoughts on everything else. I’m absolutely still advocating for your library to focus its use on just those two things, but of course there’s a bit more to it then that.

Name Registration
While you should focus your library’s resources on these two platforms, you should most definitely claim your library’s name across as many as you can. This is mostly because we may one day find a use for things like G+ and you don’t want someone else to have your name claimed. It’s also almost always free to sign up for a social media platform and at the very least capture your library’s username so why not do it. There are sites like http://www.knowem.com that will do the work for you if you want.

The other reason you should capture your library’s name is a bit more sinister. As Jason Griffey pointed out when Dale Askey was being sued by Edward Mellon Press, the law firm that was performing the lawsuit starting buying up any version of the URLs that could be associated with his name. This is just part of the due diligence of lawsuits in information age. We have also seen political campaigns buy their opposition’s URLs and claim usernames on social media as part of their counter campaign. This is not something that you want the opposition to your library or library campaign to do. Might as well get them while you can!

Using All the Others
Am I saying that you should NEVER touch another social media platform? Well, no. Not exactly. My post was about the most effective platforms for advocating for your library whether you’re in a campaign or just want to tell people about your library. There are ways to use other social media platforms that you might find useful. Here are some of the ways that I’ve seen social media platforms be used in a meaningful way by librarians-

  • Pinterest– You can find great Arts and Crafts, DIY program ideas
  • Meetup– Find local groups of people interested in specific topics that you can promote programs too
  • Twitter– Online reference. You can search by location and for people asking questions and then answer them. Think of it like digital roaming reference
  • Flickr– For the love of GOD!!! Please stop using clipart. You can find really good creative commons pictures for your signage and displays and ads.
  • Goodreads– I have seen some libraries do excellent reader’s advisory or organize book clubs
  • Instagram– It is so quick and easy to connect your Instagram account to many of your social media accounts if you want to share pictures across them. Why not?
  • LinkedIn– For your own career or to find quality and experienced presenters in your community on a variety of topics
  • Tumblr– It is a newer and younger growing community and I think it’s still best for librarians to use it for themselves as a kind of professional portfolio more than anything else at this point. But we’ll see what happens.
  • Second Life– LOL!! Just kidding.

 

PLAY!
Whatever you do, you can still play with all the others. There’s no real harm in it after all. You might find something fun and exciting to use them for and you’ll be learning some new skills and how to critically apply new tools to your library.

library advocacy 2

The Only Online Platforms you Need (right now)

I recently gave a webinar on social media and I thought I would write a bit about it even though I’m pretty tired of talking about social media. But, I think there is something new to say here. The talk stemmed from noticing that so many library campaign committees and librarians running their organizations social media have fallen into the trap of trying to identify the next big platform to use. They’ve joined everything from Snapchat to Pinterest to Facebook in search of some kind of social media nirvana that will solve whatever problem they are trying to solve. I don’t think this is a good use of our time or resources so instead of asking you to join and use more social media platforms, I’m going to ask you to ignore all the social media static and only focus on what we know works (for now). We are going to step away from focusing on being as social as possible, to being as effective as possible.

We have seen libraries ineffectually chasing social media as fast as that social media comes and goes. If you remember the clamor to get on to MySpace, Second Life, Friendster, etc… and then next big rush to get onto Pinterest, Goodreads, and G+ you’ll also remember how fast some of those faded away. This is basically the fishing net method of social media marketing. Libraries are throwing the biggest net possible and hoping that they catch something they want and throwing the rest back instead of using the bait that works to get exactly what they want.

All of this is largely because we are looking at using these tools backwards. For example, our organizations get on Twitter and then try to figure out their Twitter strategy. But this doesn’t work because there is no such thing as a Twitter strategy. Twitter is a tool to help you achieve a strategy. What is more effective is to ask what the library’s goal is in building a relationship with the community, then figure out how to measure it, then figure out which tools satisfy your requirements and use those. Remember that for an election or advocacy standpoint, our goal is to get our message out to as many people as possible as effectively as possible.

With that in mind, I’m going to argue that the only two online tools that you really need right now to win a library election or advocate for your library are Facebook and Email. These two platforms can be used effectively in conjunction to build the relationships that your campaign is looking for in a more focused and streamlined fashion. These are two complimentary tools with enough depth, scope, and longevity to take the time to invest resources in and they connect with each other in a way that supports both.

The most important thing I learned in political advocacy is that its all a numbers game. As of 2013, the only two online tools with a high enough usage to be advantageous are, in fact, Facebook and email. According to a Pew Study, around 85% of Americans have email and around 74% of Americans have Facebook. The next highest user percentage rates are less than 25% of the American Public with Linkedin at just 22%, Pinterest at 21%, and Twitter at 18%. What this means, is that if you capture every Twitter user in your area and win them over with your message and they are all registered voters and they all go out to vote, you’ll still lose the election because that is just 18% of the public. Yet, 58% of Americans report that one of the first things they do in the morning is check their email. So, where do you want to be?

A much better strategy would be to go with the tools that you know have enough market saturation to get your message out in a high enough volume to really help you get your message out. Those are email and Facebook. There are some strategic differences in how these two platforms work and how people engage with them, but that will be a post for a later day.

library advocacy 1

Sorry Librarians But Your FB Likes Don’t Matter Anymore

I know we all spent so much time cultivating the likes on our library’s FB pages but guess what? That’s so over. Facebook killed likes. But don’t worry, I’m going to talk to you about why they don’t matter and why I think that killing likes is a fantastic thing and what you need to do.

Page Likes Don’t Matter
In case you haven’t heard, Facebook throttled down the number of times people see your posts on your library’s page. This means that only around 2% of the people who like your page will see your posts. For most libraries, with around 1k-5k likes this means that only 20-100 people will see whatever it is you post. Because of this, you might draw the conclusion that you need even more likes than before to get more out of your page. Instead, I’m going to just argue that page likes just don’t matter now because the cost of boosting your post is so cheap and easy that you’re going to learn that you should have been doing this all along.

Fundamental library issue
You need to advertise. Why don’t libraries run ads? I’ll never figure it out. Libraries need to be running ads and have an in-depth marketing strategy just like every other organization in the country. For example, I’ve heard from everyone in a library from directors to pages who complain that nobody uses their databases and I always ask, well… How many people did you even tell that you had a database? The answer is typically something like, we made an 8.5×11 printer paper, comic sans, and clip art poster and scotch taped it to the stack for a few weeks. Ugh… That’s not marketing.

Now, with the magic of the internet, you can run a $25 ad a week to just about everyone in an average sized community regardless of whether or not they’ve liked your FB page. You can tell them all about your databases, your storytimes, your outreach, and most importantly… Your impact in the community. Depending on where you live and how you’re directing your ad, you can reach a couple thousand people with $25-$100. Whereas before, unless something went viral, you’re reach was just the people who liked your page. That is why like don’t matter.

But I know you’re thinking that if FB didn’t throttle down their reach that your page would reach a couple thousand people anyway. But I’m going to say that the people who like your page don’t matter that much, they already like the library. You need to reach the rest of the people in the community. The people who don’t like your FB page, the people who don’t come in every day, the people who need to be told to come in and use the library. That’s who you can reach with really cheap ads.

It’s a learning experience
What is great about FB ads is that they are so cheap and easy to manage. You can see your data in real time and see exactly who and how someone interacted with your ad. Over time you can see what makes people click like or interact with your FB page and improve all your stats. I’m not going to go over how to make your ads more effective, or how to direct them, or how to actually run an ad because I’m going to bet that there’s a book on your shelves right now that will tell you in great detail exactly how to do that.

Don’t Pay for page Likes
While I think that all libraries should pay for FB ads, I don’t think that anyone should pay for ads just to boost likes. Since, as I said earlier, likes don’t matter at all. But what if you are still really concerned about page likes? Then it’s time to start not caring about page likes. Because, running a good boosted post acts in the same way as an ad for likes anyway and there is also the outcome that people find out something about your library. For example, instead of an ad that says “like this FB page,” you’ll have an ad that says “come to the library.” Which do you think is better for the library? After all, you’re not running ads to support your FB page, you’re running ads to support your library.

The Money Issue
But I don’t have money for FB ads!! YES!! Yes you do. Instead of paying for a database that nobody is using, why don’t you drop the least used one and spend that money on an ad that will make people use the rest of the databases? Instead of spending money on a program that nobody is coming to, why don’t you spend that money on ads to make sure that people come to all the others?

But if I didn’t spend money on a database, I’d use it somewhere else because I have better things to spend it on than FB! Are you really going to tell me that you have a better and more cost effective way to tell thousands of people in your community how amazing the library is? Do you have a cheaper way to tell thousands of people how much the library matters? Have you figured out a less expensive way to tell thousands of people about how many wonderful things your library does for your community? If so, I’m all ears.

If not, good luck in the next election or bid for funding. If nobody knows about you, why would they pay for you?

To conclude

  • Facebook page likes don’t matter
  • Learn marketing from a book on your shelf
  • Run ads for your library

  • I’ll Leave You with an Ad for Kitten Mittens

    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.

    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.

    library advocacy 2

    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.

    library advocacy 1

    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.

    Library advocacy 5