Category Archives: Librarians, Libraries & the Profession

Six Tips to Enjoy Computers in Libraries 2005

I am really looking forward to this year’s Computers in Libraries conference at the Washington DC Hilton March 16-18. This will be my sixth trip out to DC for this conference! I’ve been reading Chad’s writing at Hidden Peanuts and was happy to see he found a way to attend CIL this year — his first. I would recommend this conference to any librarian interested in learning more about what is happening in that space where technology and libraries meet.

For those going, have fun! Here are Six Tips to Enjoy Computers in Libraries 2005:

1. Six Feet Under: Don’t miss the TechForum 2005! It’s Wednesday night, after a reception when the exhibits open so you get some food, some “festive” beverage of your choice and a couple of hilarious hours with some presenters discussing dead and emerging technologies moderated by Mr. D. Scott Brandt. And my friend Aaron is on the panel this year!

2. Dine Dine Around : Look for announcements about dine arounds and choose one or two and go! A Dine Around is sort of like a hungry community of interest that goes out to eat together and discusses a particular topic. Last year’s blogger’s dinner was a HOOT! This is a great way to meet like-minded/focused folks and do some networking.

3. Plugging In: Speaking of networking, don’t miss time in the exhibits to meet vendors, publishers, authors and other people who may give you info or insight into your own projects. The receptions are particularly good for rubbing some librarian elbows.

4. Unplugging: While in DC, break away during down times. The Metro can take you anywhere. My faves? National Cathedral, the Mall and the Smithsonian. Also take advantage of what DuPont Circle has to offer in the way of dining and shopping. You’ll find cuisine from around the world, unique gifts and some nightlife right down the hill from the Hilton. The coffee place (XandO? Cosi?) right across from the Church of Scientology had 5 wifi networks covering it, good tea and food as well.

5. Don’t be too shy! If you see someone at CIL that you’ve read/heard and you’d like to ask him or her a question or make a comment — go for it! Librarians are pretty darn approachable, and if someone isn’t – shame on them!

6. If you love it – COME BACK! Have something to say? Propose a talk. Guess what? Speakers get their conference fees waived! :-)

See you in DC!

Roy Tennant Inspires

Here’s that quote I alluded to in the TTW Podcast:

?Learn all the time without even thinking about it. We are born to learn, but somewhere along the way many of us pick up the idea that we must be taught in order to learn. We think that if someone doesn’t stand up in front of us and talk to us with either a chalkboard or PowerPoint slides, we cannot learn. We must regain our sense of wonder and our desire to learn.?

Thank you, Roy Tennant.

Tech-Savvy Administrators

Oh Librarian in Black! You said it!

How?? Be involved on technology listservs.? Read the “tech” sections of library publications.? Read some good library technology weblogs or online publications.? That’s where the good ideas have been coming form as of late.? Administrators don’t have to know every little thing about technology, but at least (pleeeeeease) be familiar with it and discuss it with your staff.? If you don’t, you are turning a blind eye to a huge area of librarianship.? And your staff will know.? Believe me.

Sarah also states that admin do not have to live and breathe tech but they should be able to carry on a conversation about trends and practices. I have met with a lot of librarians and more than once has someone taken me aside and said “How do I get my (director, boss, supervisor) to get this stuff?” That’s the nice way of putting it. The other side, as I pointed out and Sarah agreed, are the librarians who joke about adminstrator X at the water cooler and the fact that he or she “can’t even open an attachment in e-mail” It happens, as LIB wrote… “believe me.”

The BALANCED Librarian (Updated)


scitech library question linked to my 12 Things and 6 Things and makes a point that I didn’t in my writing…

When all of “it” comes at us at such a relentless, never-ending pace, we need to find downtime for processing, without feeling guilty that we will miss something, an important post on one of the 225 blogs we monitor daily. The downtime consideration is perhaps the one thing Michael might consider including in his lists. Without downtime, burnout sneaks up and bites us hard. Oh, and of course, some consideration must be given to our lives away from work. Simply put, we need time to stare at the wall, the sun, the tube, the movie screen, the musician or the actor we are watching perform, read our books, and listen to our CDs. Or go for a bike ride or a walk.

I agree wholeheartedly. I should have included “unplugging” — which I am a champion of — here and here.

Please library folk… don’t live and breathe all the stuff I write about here. UNPLUG. Last fall I was working intensly on SLIS 6700 for UNT, blogging, working, writing and getting ready for two conferences: one in the UK and IL out in Monterey. By late November I was having an MRI because of neck pain… guess what? I had herniated a disc in my neck. NOT FUN. The cause: too much LAPTOP.

Now, I unplug. I take breaks. And I’m doing workouts 4 days a week — plugging in only to my iPod.

I also think we need to be carerful to pick and choose our interests. I have realized I can’t do everything I want to do in libraryland… Choose a handful of your favorite feeds/blogs/news sources… and RELAX!

Here’s a post from the OLD tame the Web… it still holds true:

February 9, 2004

Career Development: Seeking Joy & Carpe Diem
Via the Seattle PI:

Still forming my thoughts on this one but it came out of the blue into my aggregator and I gotta tell you, it really hits home. I’ve been looking at the big picture for a few months now. Talking with valued colleagues and pondering the

Marilyn Gist writes:

Some describe the past two decades as years of rampant commercialism, materialism, and even greed in our country. The stock market rose in a seemingly endless climb, and we believed technology’s promise of economic prosperity and improved quality of life. As consumers, we grabbed for the good life as much as we could. Today, we are seeing an important shift. Many have begun asking, “Is this all there is?” We also suspect technology is a mixed blessing. It increases our options and our efficiency, sometimes fueling economic growth. However, technology also intensifies our pace of life so much that we now lack that irreplaceable resource: time. Without time, our quality of life suffers. We feel more stress. We struggle to balance family and work demands. We feel less connected to community, and we have limited opportunity for leisure activities and personal development. Yes, we have been successful, but many of us feel unsatisfied.

Technology is a mixed blessing! I love what I do…love the gadgets and stuff i get to mess with to help people learn and do their jobs better. Librarians have long discussed “technostress” in their work lives…. “infostress” too. I guess what I’m saying is I’m all about the untethered, techno-library type…I’m one myself….but I hope that person also balances out the rest of their life: love, family, spirit, health, joy.

Gist states: Many of us think achievements at work are significant because we work very hard and stay very busy. Sometimes work achievements are significant, but work is a domain in which we can often confuse “success” and “busy-ness” with significance.

Frances Mayes wrote about being busy in Bella Tuscany .

“I’m so busy…” Mayes comments.

“Maybe living life is so important that we shouldn’t be busy. At least not busy with that buzz buzz sound. Ed tells his students to figure out how many weekends they have left, given the good fortune of normal life expectancy. Even to the young it’s a shock to see there are only 2800 more. That’s it. Done for. Carpe Diem, Si, Si. Grab the Days.”

WOW! I’m glad I found this today…

(*Spider Lake Sunrise, August 2004 – while unplugged in Michigan!)

The Up-to-Date Techie Librarian: Six Resources Every Techie Librarian Should Use (Updated)

Last week I wrote about 12 Techie Things for library folk to be aware of — to be in the know about in planning meetings and staff meeetings. Nothing pains me more but a bunch of blank looks in a meeting room when someone says they learned about some new technology at a recent conference.

Here’s an addendum:

Six Resources Every Techie Librarian Should Use:

1. LIS and technology blogs. Oh yeah! Use these directories of LIS Weblogs to locate useful library and librarian?s weblogs that speak to you or focus on interests.

Library Weblogs – Peter Scott?s directory of LIS Weblogs -LIS Weblog author Amanda Etches-Johnson?s list of LIS Weblogs

The Internet Courses: Weblogs – Dr. Laurel Clyde?s directory related to her work with LIS Weblogs

2. Use an RSS Reader to gather the above and MORE! I get loads of feeds from libraries, higher education sites, Wired amgazine, all the big newsfeeds, some info literacy resources and some fun stuff from Apple, etc. Choose the ones you like and monitor. Check in once or twice a day.

3. Download and read the Pew Reports! The Search Engine report was just released — it’ll be HOT for the next few days. But take a look at all of the reports. I’d even suggest printing a copy and sending it around the circuit at your library or ask each of your librarians to choose one and report on it at staff meeting. Pew is tapping into OUR USERS folks.

Search Engines
The State of Blogging
Instant Messaging
The Internet in Daily Life
The Future of the Internet

Wouldn’t you want your staff to be up on these topics?

4. Participate in Community

This might be online — WebJunction — or physical, such as various consortia and organizations that might offer learning opportunities for librarians.

5.Professional publications and Databases

At IL 2004, Darlene Fichter and Frank Cervone chatted with me over dinner about “evidence-based decision making” for librarians. That’s basing plans, initiatives and new procedures on data — not “everyone does it this way” or “all of our patyrons expect this…” I like this concept and I think reading the big names in library magazines — you know what they are — and searching for cool articles in the literature via online databases is a positive thing to do when planning or making decisions.

Hmmm… searching for’s not just for students anymore!

6. Your Brain: Never stop learning. :-)

Techie Circulation Job at SJCPL

I’ve been at SJCPL almost 14 years and I’ve seen a lot of changes. We just posted the Head of Circulation job and it really strikes me how much this particular job has “shifted.”

The Job description is here.

Lok at these excerpted techie duties:

4. Develop and maintain circulation training materials for system-wide use and oversee training procedures of all new Circulation staff.

5. Manage Innovative/Millennium circulation products systemwide, including recommending new products, working to implement software and hardware changes, helping to develop training and communicating changes to library staff.

9. Evaluate trends in circulation services and recommend policy changes as needed.

10. Evaluate technology and electronic resources in the department, making recommendations as needed such as RFID technology to the SJCPL system.

In 1994, stuff like training staff on circulation modules wasn’t really included in descriptions — I’m sure it was done but training was more catch as catch can and “Hey, Trudy, can you spend 20 minutes training the new person before lunch on the catalog?”

Now we write jobs to reflect training duties, “keeping current” duties and define positions as playing a key role in technology planning. How many job descriptions have you all written that seem so DIFFERENT than just a few years ago!

Having Fun (VIA Weblogg-ed)

This resonates with me this morning while I pack to go to Texas and await a snowstorm:

Will Richardson writes:

Sometimes I really marvel at how fun this all is. It’s fun to:
be almost constantly learning, not only by pushing my limited envelope with the tools but reading and thinking about intruiging ideas from really smart people.
watch the tools evolve in ways that teachers and students can put them to good use without spending hours and hours to master them.
be a part of a really amazing community of educators who are constantly challenging me.
have an audience.
see the ways in which other teachers and students are kicking their own tires with these concepts.
fail, try again, fail, try again, and finally get it right. (Add more failures as necessary.)
watch society and the world change from technology in important ways.
have big ideas.
have relevant information come to me.
know some things a whole bunch of people don’t know, at least for now.
think about what the future might hold.

Every now and then I feel the need to bow down and thank whatever is out there for my good fortune, especially when world events rightly remind me just how lucky I am.

Change the “teachers” and “educators” to librarians and this little post fits me to a “T”. I am so lucky to work in a progressive public library, to study with a neat group of folks at UNT and to get to present and write about libraries. WOW.