33 and Sorting It Out

So, I’m about to turn 33 and I decided that for this birthday, I wanted to start making some changes as a kind of present to myself. Some of them are big, some are pretty small. Why did I pick this year to make this decision? You know, I have no idea. Jesus died at 33? But really I don’t know. This post is something I’ve been thinking about for a while, but I still don’t have it completely sorted out yet. And that’s ok, I plan on blogging my journey to figure it out as I figure it out.

First things first… Some goals
In case you read it before I had a bunch of goals that I set out to do about 3 years ago. Turns out, I didn’t do very many of them. I did some big ones, but kinda dropped off from doing some of the things that I just want to do.

Spanish
I really need to learn Spanish. I was studying really well for about a year, then I stopped. I’m going to study at least one hour every day from now on. I have plenty of books and workbooks and people to speak Spanish to so I just need to MIH.

Guitar
I’m going to practice my guitar again. This is another thing that I just kinda stopped doing. I would love to play guitar a lot better. Not really because I have any significant musical aspirations outside of wanting to do a musical storytime with my guitar. So, I will also practice guitar everyday. I don’t know for how long though because this will be the most difficult to make some time for. But Every. Single. Day.

Political Astuteness
As a board member of EveryLibrary, and as a librarian, and as an American citizen, I need to get my political game together. This is something I realized recently when I hung out with John Chrastka last weekend and listened to him talk at the CPLA workshop. He is real smart on the politics and I need to get there too.

Sail More
Basically, that’s all. Whether it’s for the Story Sailboat, for my own fun, in races, or whatever… I just need to sail more for my own health and wellbeing.

Reading More
I also need to read a lot more. I plan on reading every night before I go to bed. There are just so many books that I want to read that I get overwhelmed and stop reading. Luckily I have some good advice on what to read next.

Dropping Things
Just as important as setting goals to achieve is learning which things I need to drop. I have a bunch of habits and traits that I want to stop doing, but also some bigger things.

Coffee
I LOVE coffee, but I really started drinking too much of it. This wouldn’t be so bad except for all the things I put in my coffee. So I’m switching to unsweetened strong tea. A good strong dark tea is something I got into in Hong Kong and for some reason lost sight of when I came home. I already started this one and I love it.

Television and Movies
I spend too much time watching television shows and movies on my boat. If I cut these two things out, I’ll have much time for everything else. Maybe not completely, but a whole lot less.

Skipping out a little on the social medias.
I’d like to start by saying that I absolutely love talking to everyone on social media. But really, its become a bit too much for me to handle. Between Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, and *G+, its really just become more of an anxious tick than an enjoyable experience. So, because I use Facebook the heaviest and more twitchy, and also because it’s easiest to do, I’m going to drop my Facebook account but only for a couple of weeks in an attempt to try to reign that in. This is basically just so that I have one less thing to worry about. Anyway, I’ll still be checking the other things so we can talk there, but I probably won’t be there as much. Facebook has just kinda become… Too much for right now.

Anyway, that’s where I am now. If you don’t see me on Facebook or on the other social media for a while, it’s cool, I’m coming back! But I’m coming back better.

Announcing the winner of Round Two of the Great Librarian Write-out.

With much delay, we are very excited to announce the winner of the second annual Great Librarian Write-out. We had many fine entries this year and our team took longer than expected to make a decision. But no worries, we’ve made our choice of articles. This year’s winner was Anne Marie Madziak who published an article in Municipal World Magazine entitled Public Libraries: Helping Communities Thrive in a Changing World. Her award for this article amounted to 800 dollars thanks to contributions by LibraryAware, Andy Woodworth, Tina Hager, and Sue Anderson.

Municipal World is the oldest continuously published monthly municipal magazine in the world. Founded in 1891, the magazine is devoted to promoting effective municipal government.

Anne Marie Madziak is a library development consultant with Southern Ontario Library Service, an Agency of Ontario’s Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. In her work with public libraries she has trained both staff and trustees on a wide range of topics, assisted with board development, and facilitated planning sessions. She authored the SOLS publication, Creating the Future You’ve Imagined: A Guide to Essential Planning. More recently, Anne Marie coordinates the APLL Institute, a leadership development program for public library staff.

Over the past few years, Anne Marie has been busy consulting with municipal leaders and developing strategies and best practices for better positioning the public library in the municipal environment.

library advocacy 2

Introducing Library #MAYkerMondays.

3D Printer
Recently a lot of libraries have been developing ideas and spaces around the maker movement and the maker culture. We have seen a giant leap in libraries as spaces for makers to make and for the Do It Yourself (DIY) community to come together and learn. Of course, libraries have always provided the knowledge for these kinds of things through our print and digital collections, but now we are seeing an emergence of libraries giving dedicated space, programming, and occasionally the tools to help our communities make it happen.

One of the big complaints that I’ve heard from librarians is that they don’t know anything about maker spaces or communities or programming. I have to say that this is almost entirely untrue. I am not at all involved in the maker movement or the community and I only just recently realized how many maker programs my library does. For example, how many of us do programs with our kids and teens making duct tape wallets? What about jewelry? How about almost any kind of craft project? These are all maker projects although we don’t think of them that way.

While maker programs like these are not about computers and technology, there are a lot of programs that you can do that are. Some examples of those things are Jason Griffey’s Library Box, renting or buying a 3D Printer, utilizing Arduino, and something as simple as taking electronic devices apart. There are tons of cheap and easy things that libraries can do to take part in the electronic/tech part of the maker movement.

In order to help us come up with some great resources for library maker programs, I created this google doc called the Maker Cookbook that you can contribute too if you have some maker ideas of your own or need something to help you come up with new ideas.

Another problem is that we need to come together around the Maker Movement and give it a good try. In order to move that conversation along and get people motivated and into the maker movement, we presented an idea at the ALA Midwinter Conference. This idea stemmed from the Library Lab (library Boing Boing) group and became #MAYkerMonday. We’d love to have more people participate! Read the details below and click this link to the FB page to let people know that your library will participate.

#MAYkerMonday will be held nationwide in libraries throughout May on every Monday. The idea is to encourage librarians to host a program for the maker community on every Monday in May. This is will be a way for libraries to show that they are participating in the maker movement and for librarians to try out some maker activities that they may not have tried before. It’s also a great way to introduce your staff to the make movement if they seem skeptical. By doing these programs, hosting a maker meetup, or maybe staff training around maker spaces for your staff each Monday in May and by using the hashtag #MAYkerMonday libraries can promote the idea that they are community spaces for creativity and learning. Sign up and join in the fun!

As part of this, we would also love for our blogging, Tumblr, Twitter, and other posting communities to use the #MAYkerMonday hashtag to promote the maker movement in libraries on every Monday in May.

This should be easy because for most libraries there are only three open Mondays in May. The fourth and the last #MAYkerMonday will be a great opportunity for librarians to use their day off to do their own maker project and join in the fun!

We Can’t Help But Librarianing Challenge for #ALAM13

I was sitting in a car once with a bunch of great librarian when Toby Greenwalt said, in response to a conversation about librarians that “We can’t help but librarianing.” Well, I just thought about that because right now, I’m sitting in the airport on the way to ALAMW and just helped a lady get on the interwebs on her Lenovo tablet. I’ve been around many other librarians who do a lot of the same thing. For example I’ve been on an airplane when Andrea Davis did the mile high reference desk. And just now, when I got on Facebook, I read that Emily Clasper (that’s Emily FUCKING Clasper to you) left the following status:

“Shared a ride to JFK with a charming 81 year old man… a retired lawyer, library lover, using his iPhone like a boss. I showed him our app, helped him download sone ebooks, and helped him access Library of Congress digitized collections. The 24 year old driver was amazed. He’s stopping at his library this afternoon to get a card and learn this stuff.”

I realized that Toby is absolutely right! We just can’t help ourselves but librarian everywhere we go. I’m sure that there are a whole lot more stories about librarianing from many of the other librarians out there. So I’m setting forth this challenge;

  • 1) Librarian on your way to the conference, while you’re at the conference, and on the ride home. It only counts if you librarian someone who isn’t themselves a librarian.

  • 2) Tell the world about it with the hash tag #librarianing. Bonus points for pictures.

  • Basically, I want to see how many librarians can’t help themselves but librarian while at ALAMW and I want the public to know that we do so much great work off the reference desk and away from the branch. I would love for people to see that librarianing occurs while we’re at conferences, or on a plane, or a train, or wherever we are. So let people know!

    Library advocacy 5

    My Blog Post of Awesome Things for #alamw13

    Its not long before we’re all at ALA Midwinter and Making it Happen and Partying Hard. As usual, I have a long list of meetings to attend all day, every day. I won’t bore you with all the details of my entire schedule, but I will give you some highlights of things that you should know about , that are open to everyone, and that you might want to add to yours. You should know that many of these links are to Facebook Events because that’s the only place they exist but you can find many of them on ALA Conference Scheduler (which is awesome for putting together your conference schedule)

    Think Tank Thursday Night
    For all you folks who Made it Happen and came to ALAMW13 on Thursday night, this event is for you. This is the ALA Think Tank meetup and social event to start out the conference right. Come out to Linda’s Tavern at 7pm and have a drink and meet other folks from the ALA Think Tank live and in person and some of the Seattle Natives at this neighborhood dive bar.

    LITA Happy Hour
    LITA is always one of the best networking opportunities at ALA. It’s happening at the Elephant and Castle from 5:30-7:30. The librarians involved in LITA are doing some of the most exciting and innovative work in library technology. You probably read their blogs or follow them on twitter or you might have read their books! Come out and meet all these fines folks in person.

    Emerging Leaders Social
    This is a great opportunity to join Emerging Leaders past and present at the Emerging Leaders Meetup at the Elephant and Castle from 8-10pm right after the LITA. This is an excellent opportunity to network with other ELers who are emerging, have emerged, or will emerge eventually. If you haven’t been an emerging leader and you’re interested in learning more about this program, or if you want to just come and have some drinks with some excellent librarians, you are also welcome to join us.

    Tumblr Meetup
    What is Tumblr? Do you Tumbl? No, I don’t get on it much neither and I don’t actually know a whole lot about it. I do know that a lot of awesome people are on Tumblr and I want to meet them all. If you want to meet all the Tumblarians IRL then you should come to this event.

    LBB Meeting
    If you are a fan of BoingBoing.net you should come to a meeting that showcases the ALA and Librarianship’s involvement in this great blog. You can meet fellow Happy-Mutants, get involved in building up this group of librarians, and hear about great things in libraries around the world who are doing wonderful things and popular culture-related issues (such as net neutrality, steampunk, etc.), as well as makerspaces and digital learning labs. We guarantee you’ll hear about at least one great project another library is implementing that will inspire you. This meeting happens early on Saturday at 8:30am so get ready!

    Ignite
    This year at Midwinter, the ALA Think Tank is excited to announce the first ever Ignite ALA! It will be held in the Networking Uncommons from 12-1 on Saturday. If you’re not familiar with Ignite, Ignite is a geek event that is being held in over 100 cities worldwide. At the events Ignite presenters share their personal and professional passions, using 20 slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds for a total of just five minutes. Many of these presentations are recorded live and broadcast or archived to be shared around the world. This will be ALA’s first ever attempt to Ignite our passions for our profession!!

    NMRT Social
    If you are a new member to the ALA or this is one of your first conferences, I know it can be overwhelming. The New Member Round Table is here to help you out. This social event at the Dragon Fish Café from 5:30-7:30 will help you find out more about the organization and meet some great people.


    Tweet-up

    This year’s tweetup will happen directly in-between the NMRT Social at 5:30 and the EveryLibrary/librarianwardrobe.com After-hours party at 10pm at the Baltic Room. Come and hang out with other Twitter folks and have a drink and maybe dance a little.

    ALAMW Afterhours
    This is one of the most entertaining nights of the conference when everyone comes together and has a good time. You have a great opportunity to meet a lot of fun people who are just out to have a good time. This event is brought to you by EveryLibrary and Library Wardobe at 10pm at Linda’s Tavern.

    Young Turks UNITE!
    Young Turks Unite! is an anti-reception for the critical thinkers, the up-and-comers, and the true movers and shakers (LJ ratings do not apply) of the library world at the Diller Room at 9pm on Sunday. If you have a fire in your heart and want to shake up the universe of what we call librarianship, you are invited to join a group of like-minded, passionate professionals for an evening of conversation, provocation, and perhaps even revolution.


    Maker Monday

    Maker Monday is an exciting day filled with all kinds of events and activities to help you get informed and involved in the latest from the makerspace movement in librarianship. It also provides a chance for successful programs to share their stories and for librarians to meet fellow makers.

    Every Library Board Meeting
    As a Board Member of EveryLibrary, I highly encourage you all to attend our first Board Meeting. If you’re not familiar with EveryLibrary, “it is the first and only national organization dedicated exclusively to political action at a local level to create, renew, and protect public funding for libraries of all types. We provide tactical and operational support to local voter awareness campaigns, seed and sustaining monies to local ballot committees and PACs, as well as conduct direct voter advocacy in support of library taxing, bonding, and referendum.” Basically, its the very first library PAC!


    ALA Council

    I do have to plug ALA Council too. Even if you’re not officially on Council, you should remember that ALA is a member driven organization. If you want to see who’s driving, you should come to council and watch how it works. You can see memorial resolutions, dues increases, and a variety of other issues being discussed. I promise that only half of the councilors will try to talk you into running for council.

    ALA Council Forum
    I know that Aaron Dobbs would say that everyone should go to this so I’ll say it too. The Council Forum is the behind the scenes and nitty-gritty of ALA Council. This is where a lot of the real debate and the real compromise happens. If you really want to see what makes ALA Council run, you should check this out. It would be absolutely amazing to not just have ALA councilors here so that they hear some voices of reason! Come in a speak your mind.

    That’s my list of stuff that I’m inviting you to join me at. What are you doing?

    library advocacy 2

    What to do at the California Library Association Conference!

    The California Library Association conference is coming up in just a few days and this year it looks like there’s going to be some great stuff happening there. If you’re not from California or you don’t know about the conference, it’s going to happen on November 3-4 in San Jose at the convention center. I’ve been planning my time at the conference and I wanted to share with you some of the awesome things that I found that were happening there. I would almost always say that you should be following the twitter hashtag for more conference details, but it looks like they don’t have one and the CLA Twitter Account isn’t using one either. Rick Thomchick did have one tweet about CLA and used the Hashtag #cla2012 but I just found out that the actual conference hashtag is #calibconf please feel free to join in the conference back chatter there with us!

    Friday Night Preconference Social
    A lot of people are coming into town the night before the conference and probably trying to figure out what to do with their Friday night. Why not come out and socialize and network with some local library folks? So, I’m putting together this meetup for Friday night at the Tanq bar which is conveniently located in the official conference Marriot Hotel. All local library staff who aren’t attending the conference can come have a drink and network with those of you who are coming out! It’ll be a great time and a good opportunity to make connections and plan your conference experience with some good people. To see who’s coming or for more details you can check out the FB Event Page.

    Battledecks
    Battledecks is a fun competition between presenters at a conference. The first time I saw it was at Internet Librarian where it went to ALA and then I brought it to CLA about two years ago. I’m excited to see the tradition carried on and I’m also excited because I don’t have to organize it! Basically, what happens is that presenters go on stage to make a presentation out of a deck of powerpoint slides that they’ve never seen before. The slides are often fun or funny and it usually makes for an entertaining presentation regardless of the skill of the presenter. You can check out the Facebook Event Page for more info or you can just know that the battle begins Saturday at 8 in the Marriot Salons 1 and 2.

    Biblio Follies: Books Booze and Burlesque
    Paul Sims put together a great night of librarians just for fun and networking at the Blank Club on Saturday Night at 9pm. There is also a Facebook Event Page for for information. So, if you’re in town for CLA or just want to party it up with some awesome librarians and catch performances by Bunny Pistol & Barbary Coast Cabaret with DJ Tanoa “Samoa Boy”, then you should come out and have some fun with all of us. It’s a great way to get together and celebrate our profession.

    BTW… This is also a fundraiser for EveryLibrary the brand new Library PAC so come out and support libraries at the ballot box while having a good time!

    SLISconnect/ALASC Happy Hour
    While the one big school in California is San Jose SLIS, there are many librarians who went to other schools or librarians who are currently enrolled in other programs. So, really… If you’re a student, were a student, or one time met a library student you can come and meet up with students and alumni at the SLISConnect/ALASC happy hour and make some new friends! Once again, you can check the Facebook page for more info otherwise the event will be at the Tanq Bar at San Jose Marriott 301 S. Market St. from 4:30-6pm.

    My Presentations
    Of course, I’m always one to self promote! So I have two things going on at CLA this year. The first is a poster session for the Story Sailboat that you should come check out. If you’re not familiar with our project, Joey and I are running a Library and Literacy advocacy project in the Bay Area by sailboat that was funded by crowdsourcing on IndieGoGo. You can come check out all the details in the Exhibit Hall. The second thing I’m doing is a presentation with Andrew Carlos and Brooke Carey Ahrens called Expand Your Mind that will show off 30 different emerging technologies that you can implement in your library cheaply and easily! It’s a kind of Speed Dating for Technology so come and find a tech to fall in love with.

    Speed Technology Dating Slides at Internet Librarian

    These are the slides from our presentation at Internet Librarian 2012. Toby Greenwalt, Jeremy Snell, and Patrick Sweeney compiled a list of 30 new kinds of technology that can be easily and cheaply implemented in your library.

    The Biggest Thing to Happen to Library Advocacy EVAR!!

    Chrastka is a baller
    Unless you’ve been under a rock the last month or so, you’ve heard about EveryLibrary. This is probably one of the most exciting developments in library advocacy since Andy Woodworth got the Old Spice guy to talk about libraries.

    EveryLibrary is a PAC (Political Action Committee) that functions to support library initiatives at the ballot box. In case you don’t know what a PAC is or the larger Super PAC, you can watch Stephen Colbert brilliantly explain it on the Colbert Report and the Daily Show. If that’s not your thing, here is a video that explains them.


    THIS WILL NEVER WORK WITHOUT YOUR SUPPORT

    Basically, what this means for us librarians is that we can now have the power of presidential election kind of money and resources behind our ballot initiatives for our libraries. Can you imagine what would happen if we raised millions of dollars for our campaigns like the Presidential Super PACs do for theirs? We would most likely never have to worry about another underfunded library again.

    You might ask yourself though… Why doesn’t ALA do this? Or doesn’t ALA already do this kind of lobbying? Well, the short answer is no, they can’t and because I’m not smart enough to explain it all myself, I copied the information from the EveryLibrary website below to explain it.

    EveryLibrary grew out of the need for a politically active organization dedicated exclusively to supporting local library initiatives at the ballot box. Many library associations – both at the national and state level – are organized as 501(c)3 educational associations. Current law and regulations prohibit these associations from engaging in direct voter advocacy or funding political campaigns. As a 501(c)4 organization, EveryLibrary can act where these associations cannot. The opportunity to fundraise and directly support library ballot initiatives will be unique in the library world.

    In each election cycle, tens of millions of dollars are at stake for libraries. From bonding for new or remodeled building projects to changing milliages, levys, or tax rates that impact staffing, collections, programs, and services, libraries are on the ballot. EveryLibrary needs just 50K to Make It Happen, they need our help!

    EveryLibrary will help libraries:

  • Assist libraries in both the pre-filing and campaign stages of an initiative.
  • Provide strategic consulting services, voter segmentation advice, and assistance in developing ballot language.
  • Conduct feasibility studies and assist in setting up a local committee or PAC.
  • Develop a fundraising strategy for your local committee or PAC.
  • Train volunteers in voter education and get-out-the-vote techniques.


  • During the run of a campaign, EveryLibrary can:

  • Continue technical and capacity-building consultancy.
  • Provide direct financial support to the local committee or PAC in seed-stage or sustaining levels of support.
  • Conduct direct voter education and get-out-the-vote efforts.


  • So what can you do to help out?
    There are a lot of things, but really, EveryLibrary needs to raise 50k to start the PAC and start helping libraries by November. This is the most important thing you can do right now. Give $5.00 if you can. Give more if you can do that! Share the links with your friends if you can’t give money. Ask your friends and family to give or maybe host a fundraiser. Remember that politicians who oppose libraries are raising MILLIONS of dollars. EveryLibrary is just asking for 50K. We have the power to make this happen.


    You can hear the Founder of the Library PAC, John Chrastka, talk about EveryLibrary with Steve Thomas on his podcast via the link below.

    John Chrastka Talking about EveryLibrary

    Libraries are So Important Some People Will Risk Death…

    You know, I don’t really know anything about the whole Cuban Librarians thing that’s been happening. I’ve caught bits and pieces of it from people who have strong opinions about it and learned only a little bit. That’s probably why I was so caught off guard by what was posted on Calix this morning. It was truly horrifying and saddening. I’m going to do some more research about all of this and see what else I can learn. For those of you who aren’t on the Calix listserv here is the text with links –

    http://www.friendsofcubanlibraries.org

    Kindle Users Arrested

    HAVANA, Aug. 24, 2012 (Roberto de Jesús Guerra Pérez/Hablemos Press) – On Friday the Cuban secret police pursued and arrested librarians who had attended a technology workshop at the U.S. Interests Section in Havana.

    [Note by the Friends of Cuban Libraries: the Obama administration recently enacted a program to donate hi-tech equipment such as Kindle e-book readers to Cuba’s independent librarians and other activists. This move greatly expands Cubans’ access to banned materials and evades the occasional seizure of bulky printed materials carried in the luggage of volunteers arriving at Cuban airports.]

    The arrests occurred in the streets adjacent to the Interests Section when the librarians, about 20 in number, were returning to their homes.

    “The workshop in which we were participating was on how to use an Amazon Kindle,” commented Lázara Mijan, who was able to escape the police roundup, together with Magaly Norvis Otero and Julio Beltrán.

    Among the detainees are Juan Antonio Madrazo Luna, Julio Rojas Portal and Mario Echevarría Driggs. Two Kindles were confiscated from each of the latter two persons, in addition to cameras, personal documents and user manuals for the Kindle DX….

    “The police operation was big, very big. Many State Security agents were scattered in Ladas [Soviet-era cars] and motorcycles everywhere in the streets near the Interests Section; it was a miracle that some of the librarians were able to evade arrest,” said Driggs, after he was released from custody….

    The Cuban regime classifies the independent librarians and dissidents as counterrevolutionaries at the service of the U.S. government. In 2003, more than 20 librarians were arrested and sentenced to prison terms of between 5 and 20 years, and their library collections were confiscated and burned.

    POSTSCRIPT: In a related incident, Alejandro Tur Valladares reports that on Sept. 4 independent librarian Eduardo Ramos López, while using a public telephone in Cienfuegos, was forced into a police car (license plate number: FDD 154) and taken to the local State Security office, where the two Kindles in his possession were confiscated. He was booked on a charge of “subversive activities” and released. Ramos López rejects the charge made against him by the secret police and said he would demand the return of the seized Kindles.

    Sources: (http://www.cihpress.com/2012/08/arrestan-bibliotecarios-independientes-html), (http://www.cubanet.org/noticias/detienen-a-bibliotecario-independiente-en-cienfuegos)

    WikiLeaks: Mob Attacks Librarians

    NEW YORK, Sept. 21, 2012 (Friends of Cuban Libraries) – INTRODUCTION: In 2006 the Friends of Cuban Libraries webpage published a brief article on a mob attack directed against Orestes Suárez Torres and Nancy González García, independent librarians living in rural Ranchuelo, Villa Clara province.

    A Google search of WikiLeaks documents has now disclosed a lengthy confidential memo on this subject by Michael Parmly, the chief U.S. diplomat in Havana. The confidential 2006 memo, an excerpt of which is published below, discloses grim new details on the government-directed attack on Suárez and González and the injuries they suffered.

    So far as we know, this press release by The Friends of Cuban Libraries is the first article drawing attention to this WikiLeaks memo.

    To see the diplomats’ photos of the facial injuries inflicted on Suarez and Gonzalez, go to: http://www.flickr.com/photos/45759814@N06/4199660251/

    Here are excerpts from the newly-discovered WikiLeaks disclosure, with a link to the full text at the end of the memo:

    “Subject: CUBAN MILITANTS PUMMEL INDEPENDENT LIBRARIANS
    “Origin: U.S. Interests Section Havana (Cuba)
    “Cable time: Thurs., 10 Oct 2006
    “Classification: CONFIDENTIAL…

    “Summary: Cuban communist militants brutally attacked two dissidents in Villa Clara province on October 10, the opening day of an extended ‘Congress’ of independent librarians. The attack, which lasted more than an hour… left a man of 53 and his wife, 39, with black eyes, deep bruises and cuts. The man also suffered broken ribs; his wife had her trousers virtually ripped off….

    “Orestes Suarez Torres, a welder whose dissident views cost him his job, and his wife Nancy Gonzalez Garcia, a cigar roller, met with Pol[itical] off[icer] on October 18 and described a vicious October 10 attack that left them both bruised and battered. Suarez and Gonzalez… operate an independent library (illegal, in the regime’s eyes)… [When Orestes Suarez and Nancy Gonzalez left the Oct. 10 librarians’ congress in Santa Clara] a large crowd of communist militants stood outside and staged an ‘act of repudiation’… [A]round 12 militants grabbed Suarez and Gonzalez and forced them into two cars. Inside one, three female militants yanked on Gonzalez’s long hair and rained blows on her face, chest and legs… Inside the other car, five male militants took turns pounding Suarez…

    “The militants then drove the victims toward Ranchuelo… Stopping en route beside a stream, the attackers splashed water on the dissidents, removing some of the blood that had discolored their clothing…. Finally, the couple was driven home – only to find a crowd of some 80 people outside their home, staging an act of repudiation and yelling ‘Viva Fidel.’ ‘All Party militants,’ explained Gonzalez. After confiscating the victims’ notebook, shoes and lighter, the militants let the dissidents enter their home.”

    While writing this memo and viewing the “clearly visible wounds” inflicted on the two librarians, diplomat Michael Parmly noted that Orestes Suárez and Nancy González “vowed to continue their peaceful opposition to the regime….”

    SOURCE: http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/10/06HAVANA21636.html

    Indie Libraries: “An Exercise in Obscurity, Persecution”

    BOSTON, July 3, 2012 (Public Radio International) – With travel restrictions easing, more Americans can go and see Cuba themselves….

    [Officially-approved used booksellers in Havana’s Plaza de Armas] are part of Cuba’s state-controlled book world. There are no independent bookshops…. Books are curated by the government….

    But there is a flip side: a small literary underground, led by defiant Cubans with private libraries and e-books swapped on flash drives….

    In another part of Havana, Gisela Delgado, a computer technician [and director of Cuba’s Independent Library movement], runs a private library from her small apartment. In 2003, the government cracked down and jailed 75 of the island’s dissidents, including independent librarians. Delgado was spared, but remains monitored….

    For the government, the sore spot is how books get here: through foreigners, from exiled Cubans and sympathetic diplomats…. [Editor’s note: Access to the World Wide Web is banned in Cuba, except for tourists and a few Cubans considered “trustworthy,” making it difficult to bring uncensored information into the country.]

    And what the Cuban government deems inappropriate is arbitrary. When state police raided her library during the 2003 dissident crackdown, Delgado remembers asking agents how a book by Gabriel García Márquez could be confiscated.

    They said, “The problem isn’t the title of the book. It’s you,” she recalled….

    “Cuban publishing houses would like to have more titles,” [said Rafael Hernández, a government official.] “The main problem is the money.”

    Delgado, the librarian, doesn’t buy that. Money will not put books critical of the Cuban government on the shelves, she said.

    At issue is what her books surely symbolize: a thorn in the government’s side, dissent – and support from the outside world.

    Source: http://www.pri.org/stories/politics-society/maintaining-a-library-in-cuba-an-excercise-in-obscurity-persecution-10526.html

    Internet Radio Interview: Cuba’s Indie Libraries

    HOUSTON, March 17, 2012 (Silvio Canto) – To hear an online blog radio interview with Robert Kent on the subject of Cuba’s independent library movement, go to:

    www.blogtalkradio.com/cantotalk/2012/03/17/today’s-message