Bay Area Librarians are Partying Like Whoa!

One of the things I’ve been really excited to see is the growth of so many socializing opportunities in the Bay Area for librarians. Most of these gathering are organized on Facebook or some other social media but occasionally they’re posted on Calix (California library listserv). These kinds of events help bring together our community of professionals and paraprofessionals and I hope will allow us to come together when we need support from our peers. I wrote about how important this was a couple of posts ago and it’s great to see it continue with so many other groups.

Because there are so many groups of librarians (what do you call a group of librarians?), this time I’m going to give you some links to the organizers of these events. Here they are in no particular order.

Information Amateurs Social Club
The information Amateurs Social Club is not to be confused with the Information Professionals Social Club although I do generally confuse them. From what I understand, they were both created at almost the exact same time without any coordination and it just happens to be a coincidence. This social club though, focuses on gatherings in the San Francisco area while some of the others focus on other areas of the bay.

Information Professionals Social Club
This group was started by an SJSU SLIS alumna and student because they wanted to promote interaction among Bay Area Information Professionals. They are really striving to encourage some more networking between information professionals, new graduates, and students. They organize a lot of informal meet-ups that are designed to stimulate conversation, share employment experiences and educational advice, and above all make new friends.

Bay Area Librarians
I’m excited that I started the BAL Page on Facebook and I got to watch it grow to over 400 professionals, para professionals, and students. We have more admins now and quite a few different people starting meetups. Although, Facebook changed some of the settings for Pages and in retrospect I wish I would have made this a group instead of a page. Because I live in the Peninsula area, this group’s meetups are usually near me along the Peninsula. Specifically, we have meetups every Thursday in Redwood City at the Peninsula Yacht Club for anyone who is interested in relaxing and having a cheap drink. if anyone wants to take a swing at making another meetup elsewhere from this page, let me know and I’ll make you an Admin.

SLIS Students and Alumni
This page just brings people together who went to San Jose SLIS and want to connect. Occasionally I have seen some organization of some meetups and networking events. Typically, from what I’ve seen, these events focus on getting students connected with professionals to help them build a bigger network and gain some opportunities for mentorship etc…

Silicon Valley Librarian Network
This group is all about bringing together people in the Silicon Valley who are in the librarian profession. It’s a new and pretty loose group right now but I’ve seen them share some good stuff. Basically, they just want to create some opportunities for more folks to have some drinks together. I strongly support this of course.

Librarians Getting Down with Their Bad Selves
I love the title of this group. This meetup group focuses on South Bay Librarians who want to… Well… Get down with their Bad Selves. I don’t think I need to explain too much more honestly. This one is also fairly new so I’m excited to see what comes out of it.

Bay Area SLIS People
The problem people had with the San Jose SLIS Students and Alumni page is that San Jose SLIS students are spread out all over the world. This means that when you try to organize something, it goes out to librarians who couldn’t possibly make it from the east coast for an hour or two meetup. In fact, I got marked as spam for inviting those folks to some of my meetups (Oops, sorry team). Anyway, if you want a group that focuses on us locally, check out this page.

While I love that we have so many folks dedicated to having people come together to network and socialize, I am a little worried at the same time. There are so many niche groups networking here that we might be working counter to what I get excited about when I think of meetups. That is, I like that we are all meeting from across groups and organizations and across our niches and specialties. I strongly believe that it is really important that we all come together as one profession and work meet each other and create a stronger alliance of professionals. I would love to see all of our groups coming together more often and a lot more crossover from all the groups to create something awesome in the San Francisco Bay Area.

A Visual History of (Professional) Partying: For JP

I have many reasons to publicly thank JP Porcaro. Most notably, his philosophy on partying as a professional activity. In fact, its been such a significant influence on my professional career (ALA Think Tank, networking, conferences, in my community, fundraising, library programs) that I’m going to be presenting on the importance of partying as a professional activity at this year’s California Library Association Conference in Pasadena with Jill Sonnenberg and Annie O’Dea Hestbeck. This presentation will be the only one to cross the professional barrier between CLA and CLSA so if you’re in school libraries or public or academic come out and check out what we have to say. You brain will implode with awesome.

There will also be an EPIC afterparty (networking social) somewhere in Pasadena organized by Jill and myself.

So, to further the professional discussion, I bring you this history of partying info-graphic.

Going to ALA Conferences? You’re Doing it Wrong!

I never used to enjoy going to the ALA Conferences and I’ve heard so many people say the same thing. They were always too big, too overwhelming, and just… too much. But, at the ALA Conference in Washington DC 2010 I was invited to stay at a vacation house with 11 other Librarians that was organized by Justin Hoenke and JP Porcaro. I was excited about this for a couple of reasons.

1) Justin and JP are awesome humans
2) It was way cheaper than the ALA hotels
3) It would be a totally new conference experience

So of course, I said yes. In the days coming up to the conference various emails were sent to introduce everyone to each other and to talk about anything that we might want to do as a group at the conference. Somewhere in these emails, someone, at some point, jokingly called the house the ALA Think Tank (because it rarely seems as if people are thinking at ALA) and the name stuck. This conference experience was amazing and I learned more than I could have ever hoped. By the end of the conference, I realized that this was the only way to go to ALA and the ALA Think Tank folks have done one Midwinter and two annuals like this. What follows is everything I learned about conference going from the awesome folks in this house.

Start a Think Tank.
I can’t stress this enough. The benefits of a house are HUGE! The full kitchen and communal living dramatically reduce the cost of conference housing and food. There will always be someone to do something with and you’ll be plugged into so many different things going on at ALA then you would be alone in your hotel room. It also makes a great space to have your own meetings and socials to meet even more people. You also get to hear about all the other things that your roommates learned at the conference and greatly increase the amount of take-away information you’ll get. I learned so much from my Think Tank folks that I’m still processing information from DC.

Get on Twitter, Facebook, tumblr, instagram
I know, everyone is saying this, you’re probably sick of hearing it. Why aren’t you on the social medias? By following the ALA conference hashtag or seeing what your friends are posting online about the conference you can find out about the best sessions, networking events, book signings, latest updates from ALA, where all the freebies are, blogs about what other people learned at the conference, tons of various tidbits of information from other librarians learning things, and you’ll get to find opportunities to meet more librarians. If you don’t know where to start:

1) Facebook – Join the ALA Think Tank
2) Tumblr – Browse the Tumblarians list
3) Twitter/instagram – Follow the hashtags (the official hashtag is #ala2013 but everyone is blowing up #ala13)

Meet Everyone
Meeting folks and networking with other awesombrarians is really one of the best things I get out of ALA. There are so many people doing rad projects at their libraries and meeting them at the socials and after parties gave me opportunities to find out what they are excited about. Of course, there are over 20 thousand people at ALA so meeting everyone is not at all possible but at least put yourself out there and talk to everyone you can! You would be surprised where a random conversation at a meeting or a networking event will take you.

Forget about the Sessions and Workshops
As a tie-in to the previous three tips, I think this has really helped me learn even more while at the conferences. I know it seems totally backwards but I learned so much more at everything else ALA has to offer that I stopped going to sessions and workshops. The problem is that the session proposals are written a year ahead of the conference and by the time you get to the conference (if you’re on FB and twitter) you’re going to be sick of hearing about whatever the session is because it will have been discussed and blogged about ad-nauseum all of the days to and following the conference. Instead, I recommend the following three tips;

Get involved… In something!
My own personal choice was Emerging Leaders. This was a great pre-Think Tank kind of group learning experience. Through Emerging Leaders I figured out how to navigate the ALA and first met many of the people that I currently work with in the ALA. While my experience in my EL project itself was less than stellar, I did meet a bunch of amazing librarians and got gently pushed into running for ALA Council. All of the committees and council stuff that I’m involved in keeps me learning and pushing me forward. If you don’t want to get involved in Emerging Leaders you should visit the ALA Office at the conference and they can explain how to get involved in ALA in many different ways.

Typically, I get up at 7-8am on conference days to get to the conference for my morning meetings and various obligations. This is rough considering I also typically spend most of the night out with librarians at various council forums, meetups, socials, and after-hours networking events. It’s during these times that I corner my professional heroes and talk to them about what they are working on right now. I’m interested in learning what the next big thing is that they are excited about. Also, I find that people are far more truthful about their previous projects over a beer then they are at the session they held. People are more open about their fails and how they overcame obstacles at these events then they are in the more professional conference setting. It’s also during these times that some of the best projects that I have been involved with in librarianship arose. Basically, by partying as much as I could with as many brilliant people as I can find, I have been able to learn more meaningful, current, and useful information in librarianship.

ALA loves to say that they are your organization. This is a lie. You are ALA’s organization. You are the one who has the ability to make your conference experience as amazing as you want it to be. It is your duty and obligation to get out there and make whatever you think should happen at a conference happen at the conference. For example, JP Porcaro, Amanda Pilmer, Justin Hoenke, and Jenn Walker decided to make an ALA Dance Party happen so they organized it and it was epic. If you think your conference experience would be better if there was a QR code hunt, you can make that happen. If you would like to help other people make awesome stuff happen at the conference you can join the group on FB called the ALA Think Tank and see where you can help #makeithappen. Overall though, it’s your conference and if you don’t get everything you can out of it, you have no one else to blame. Don’t complain, #makeithappen.

Bonus tip – Friend JP Porcaro on Facebook and Twitter. (and google+)
Trust me on this one.

Greg’s (My boss) New Orleans Recommendations #ala11 #alatt

I got this email from our assistant director in the library system where I work. His name is Greg Bodin and he used to live in New Orleans and really knows all about where to eat drink and what to see in New Orleans. This list was really good so I thought I would share it with more than just our staff.

From Greg:
These are just a few recommendations.  Having been to many conferences, one never really has time to see lots of things but I suggest these as worth your time while visiting New Orleans.  Of course, please contact me if you have questions or would like other recommendations.

Things to see
The conference takes place at the Convention Center, which is in the Warehouse District.  The Warehouse District is adjacent to the French Quarter, the Garden District, the Central Business District and Uptown.  Lots of things are walking distance or an easy cab ride.  I indicate if things are a bit farther afield.  Below are things I enjoy.

Warehouse District:
Contemporary Arts Center
This is New Orleans’ main museum for contemporary art – also a really cool space.

World War II Museum
A really great museum – even if you aren’t a history buff.

Ogden Museum of Southern Art
This is one of my favorites – it is a collection of traditional and contemporary art from throughout the South.

French Quarter:
Jackson Square
This is the center of the City.  While New Orleans is a very French city, it’s design and architecture reflects it’s time as a Spanish colonial city.  Jackson Square is reminiscent of the plazas and zocolos in Latin American counties.  Central to the square is St. Louis Cathedral.  The Cathedral is flanked by the Prebytere (originally a residence for the Bishop) and the Cabildo (originally the main government building).  On either side of the square are the Pontalba Apartments.  All of these are worth a visit.

Directly in front of Jackson Square, the Moonwalk is an elevated walkway along the

Mississippi River 
You get a great view of the Mississippi and a pleasant walk that can take you from Jackson Square back to the Convention Center.

Algiers Ferry
The Algiers Ferry connects downtown New Orleans to the Algiers neighborhood across the Mississippi River.  The Ferry is free for pedestrians and is a great way to experience the River.

Royal Street
A stroll on Royal Street is a lovely way to see beautiful architecture and do a bit of window shopping.  Royal Street is the traditional shopping street in the French Quarter and is filled with art galleries and antique stores.  Check out the beautiful Supreme Court Building on the walk.

Bourbon Street
Bourbon Street is best experienced in the evening.  Even if you are a teetotaler it is worth checking out the spectacle.  If you aren’t a teetotaler there are plenty of places to quench your thirst.  Be warned that Bourbon Street gets touristy.  If you want to go where the locals go, head to Pat O’Brien’s.

Historic New Orleans Collection
A wonderful little gem of a museum, archive and library.  This is one of the principle repositories for historic New Orleans documents, ephemera, books, etc.  I highly recommend it.

Uptown/Garden District:
St. Charles Streetcar
The oldest continually operating streetcar in the county.  Both locals and tourists use and love the streetcar.  I highly recommend getting on Downtown and heading Uptown for a ride.  Warning: it isn’t air conditioned.

Magazine Street
This is the main shopping street for Uptown New Orleans.  It is really long and filled with lots of cool stores and restaurants, ranging from funky to high-end.

Audubon Park/Zoo
One of the most beautiful parks and zoos in the country.  You can also take a boat from the French Quarter to the Zoo and get a ride on the Mississippi River.

New Orleans Public Library: Latter Branch
Sadly, the New Orleans Public Library is a poorly funded institution that has suffered from years of neglect.  Visiting New Orleans Public libraries will make you realize how lucky we are at the San Mateo County Library.  However, a visit to the Latter Branch is always a treat.  The branch is located in a beautiful old mansion in Uptown New Orleans.


French Quarter:
Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop
A great bar for ambiance.  The building is one of the oldest in New Orleans.

Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone
A fun bar in a beautiful old New Orleans hotel.

Napoleon House
This is one of my favorites in the French Quarter.  You can’t beat the ambiance.  Order a Pimm’s Cup.

Frenchman Street
This is where the locals hang out (as opposed to Bourbon Street).  Lots of clubs and bars and lots of good live local music.  Frenchman Street is located just outside of the French Quarter.

Decatur Street
There are two parts of Decatur Street – the upper part near Canal Street which is touristy and filled with tacky t-shirt shops.  The lower part near Esplanade has numerous bars that are lots of fun and definitely funky.  Molly’s on the Market and Coop’s are my favorites.


The Columns Hotel
A beautiful, old hotel on St. Charles Avenue.  Have a drink on the front porch.


Warehouse District

Really good New Orleans cooking that is walking distance from the Convention Center.

This was Emeril Lagasse’s first restaurant in New Orleans and it is still a great place to visit.

My favorite Cajun restaurant in New Orleans.

French Quarter

Café du Monde
An absolute must-see.  The place to get coffee and beignets (French doughnuts).  Great any time of the day or night.  Filled with tourists but worth the experience.

Central Grocery
A take-out sandwich place.  They invented the muffaletta sandwich.

Emeril’s French Quarter restaurant.

Really good food – kinda pricey but worth it.

Really good food – Stella’s cheaper sister restaurant.

A beautiful restaurant on Jackson Square in the French Quarter.

Kind of a dump but really good food.  One of my faves.

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National Library Unconference Day (Will be EPIC!)com

So I’m not sure how many people know about this, but I hope that every librarian does. I’m talking about national library unconference day on May 22, 2012. This is your chance in you state, or region, or county, or library system, or just library, to hold your own unconference. What’s an unconference you ask? Well… I’ll let Allen McGinley and JP Porcaro explain it for me.

Personally, I love unconferences for a whole lot of reasons and there is talk of putting one together in my area (the San Francisco Bay Area) on the same day so I’m pretty stoked because some of the best experiences that I have had in librarianship have been at unconferences. For example, I met some amazing people, I gave my first professional “presentation,” I got the courage to talk to directors and high level administrators as equals, I learned about the programs and services being offered at other libraries, and I learned what kinds of ideas other professionals had about the state of librarianship and its future in the United States.

So this is our chance to have an excuse to #makeithappen in our locations. JP and Allen are basically calling for unconferences to happen all over the country on the same day. This will be a day of learning, sharing, and growing for anyone and everyone participating.

For even more information on the Unconference you can visit the 8bitlibrary website. If you’re a librarian and you’re not reading the 8bitlibrary blog, what are you doing on the internet?

Top 8 Tweets from #cla09 #library

All-time 8 best tweets from the California Library Association #CLA09

The CLA conference was an interesting weekend of technology deficiency and lackluster participation from both the venders and presenters. Unfortunately there was a sadly insignificant amount of tweeting going on and this is probably due mostly to the fact that there was no Wireless Internet available anywhere in the workshops. However, a HUGE thank you must go out to @strategicimp for providing the one wireless area at the conference and for providing (in my opinion) the best part of the conference, which was actually the Unconference.

I won’t go into too many details, but truly, I’m not sure what I would have done had that area not been set up. There were a couple of good discussions and quite a few great librarians (and librarians to be) hanging around the unconference “stealing” the internet and networking with each other. I hope they continue this event next year and get even more participants.

Although the tweets were few and far between I did manage to find a couple that I thought had some significance. The following are (in my opinion) the top eight tweets from #CLA09 and most came from the movers and shakers presentation that I had to miss.

@derekwolfgram “sometime you just gotta do stuff, and it pisses people off” -Lisa R

@joycenlee Think about how to leverage your past experiences. Just b/c they’re not directly related doesn’t mean they’re not relevant.

@jdscott50 “Gain a broad perspective of the organization, own your job, your role, be accountable, create mentor relationships.”

@tiffanylora “Leaders motivate others to create their own vision and together we can affect change.” ~Cindy Mediavilla

@sudofonik Think and be positive; don’t assume you won’t get an interview. There might only be a handful of applicants

@kgould “policy is the history of bad behavior” (the Unshelved guys)

@strategicimp focus on the experience u want to create – them design services and environment to make them real. ABA !

@bibliotechnical: Step 1 for digital collection make friends with political figures in community

There were some other good ones, but there were some even better tweeples present at CLA. While I couldn’t list great tweets from every single one of them I did want to mention that the following listing of librarians on Twitter are awesome people for twittering about the conference and being cool! I was just going to make a list on Twitter, but that feature needs some work and you should probably just follow these kickass folks anyway so….


And if I left you out of my CLA tweeples list, it was a mistake. Let me know that you were there and tweeting and I’ll add you in! Good times team 🙂