Archive for the 'Blogs' Category

I’ve been building up to writing a few posts in a series for the past six months or so about participation in the Library Profession, making professional choices, getting a reputation, hard work, hope, despair and motivation. I know it seems like a tangle of themes, but they fit together, honest. It’s part confessional, part update, part desire to return value via this blog and part, well, me trying to say and show a version of “I love you, man!!!” to my profession and fellow professionals while not sounding like a goof or a beer commercial…and showing real ways YOU can make a difference…a very powerful and real difference…even when you seem or feel “stuck” or not particularly hopeful for your career or our most honorable profession. So whether you are stuck, or excelling, or under appreciated or just plain pis*** off about the state of libraries or your career, I’m hoping this may be of some use. I’ll give you some updates, show some progress and even point towards some things you might participate in or model for your own projects. Projects that are starting to do things you are likely desperate to address or can use to inspire and manifest your own ideas, plans and dreams.

I’ll talk more frankly here than usual and will try not to edit myself too much. This first post (it’s a series I’ll complete in the next two weeks), I realize may be pretty close to navel gazing in some respects, but its designed to share things I’ve learned from the evolution of my experience with and being know as “Libraryman” that may be useful for others to hear. It’s stuff I’ve wanted to share here for a long while at any rate.
moo card for consulting 1
To folks who have joined me here at for years, you have of course noticed it has become a much less regularly updated resource. Still hopefully periodically interesting and useful, but you heavy blog readers can tell I haven’t been scrambling to make and/or keep it as one of the top library blogs. It’s been interesting stepping back a bit (just from this part, but more on that later). Along the way several people have quietly approached me about this stepping back from blogging. Some were either worried about me or, for the more ambitious amongst them, simply wondering how the heck I could let something that had readership, had clearly returned huge benefits to my career seemingly “slip”? **It’s worth noting that for any library blogger the real value of our work and the part that is most important comes when we hopefully return value to this profession and to our fellow librarians and library staff as we work our blogs. Having that attitude and focus is also the best way to create a successful professional blog imo** So how could I do step back and what might it mean for you, whether you are currently a “popular” blogger, are hungry to engage with ideas and the profession via blogging or simply wanting to contribute and perhaps thinking that blogging is one of the only opportunities and glimmers of hope that you have seen pay off for people in our profession?

Over the past few years, especially in our active and highly intelligent and thoughtful profession, many of the reasons to blog, and the landscape surrounding blogs, have/has changed. Blogging clearly holds value and is a worthwhile and important activity for many. At the same time, for some of the more ambitious among us it is worth noting that it’s often harder now to boost your career in a deeply significant way via blogging. It is useful to do it and to know how to do it but it has become more for personal edification, professional communication that serves you and your “posse” as it were, and gives you a chance to think on and talk on things, while hopefully contributing something of use to the profession.

To some of the especially ambitious and strategic (nothing wrong with that and something I wish we saw more of in Libraryland, particularity from those fresh to the profession) there is something additional to frankly speak on as well. Fact is, getting “library famous” now is harder to do via blogging. There are more social tools to fold into your “persona” and maintain and, well, blogging is just less novel now. Honestly, in the early days I think many folks got a significant boost from simply know how to make a blog. They started early and got know for that (not to disrespect them of their work of course, but that boost just isn’t there for folks starting our now). Frankly, I’ve often wondered how much of that has factored into the traction I had with the Libraryman Blog. Its just that blogging has matured and expectations I believe are often higher. And few have or make the time and commitment and focus to pursue one of the the most ambitious potential career goals, that often elusive “library famous”. In some ways I actaully see this as encouraging, because frankly, “library famous” is a little ridiculous in many ways, often accurately and snickerifically being equated by many with being famous in a small town (aka who gives a ****).

And this of course fits into the narrative of this series of posts. First, they aren’t about blogging or the biblioblogosphere. And this is clearly not a “Oh man, I know I need to blog more” post. I don’t need to do that. Rather this is a series of posts about WHY I I don’t. And what I’ve done with the time I would have spent blogging. And how what I’ve been working on during those times. And how some of that can hopefully help inspire others to feel encouraged and hopefully and more willing to do *their* own thing.

In the next couple posts I’ll show you some of the things I’ve been working on since I’ve been blogging less. You’ll see why it was the right thing to do. And along the way you’ll have some opportunities laid at your feet to join in, to affect the change you are hungry to see, to work around any limitation you have because you may not be high ranking or “well known” or able to move, or whatever. I’ve seen some things, people, and I want to share them with you. So stay tuned.

School Library Journal Illustration


Big Announcement

It is party time ‘round Libraryman way my friends! And it’s a community party, which means that you are invited (see the next to last paragraph of this blog post for you invitation details). At this party, you get to tell me a story or two…..and I get to write. A book. For ALA Editions!
Libraryman Celebrates
While I’m bursting to tell you about my first book deal ever, Jenni Fry, Editor at ALA Editions tells the story in a much calmer and more reasonable voice:
“At Midwinter (2007) in Seattle, no fewer than three people sought me out, one even stopping me on the street, to tell me that “Michael Porter’s got an idea” for a book. Never one to be too slow on the uptake, I made sure to talk with him at a reception we were both attending. Several conversations and one contract later, I’m thrilled to say that Michael (aka Libraryman) will be writing for us.

Just what is this big idea, you say? Michael will be interviewing and gathering stories from individuals and institutions that have become leaders in successful electronic community engagement. He will use these stories as the basis for real-world lessons that libraries can use to more effectively engage the communities they serve. The work will be many things: part historical snapshot of this transition period in library service, part motivational storytelling, part benchmarking, and part practical handbook.”

Of course, Jenni is being a generous friend and editor because as I remember the story, it was I who tracked her down, two minute book pitch/elevator speech on the tip of my eager tongue. Regardless of how it happened, they did actually sign the contract so it is now legal and everything. In fact, I’ve taken a couple of stabs at an intro. Here’s one that is close:

“This is a book about effective and practical electronic community engagement. It is a book bursting with valuable, moving, entertaining, exciting and often times unusual stories and ideas. The stories all have lessons that center on people engaging with electronic community in ways that make the players more human. Each centrally themed collection of stories concludes with lessons learned, ideas and action items you can put to use in your library, business or personal life.”

I hope you like it, ‘cause unless the ALA folks say no, that’s how the book will go.
Now I get to thank a few folks that made this happen and then I’ll give you the official Michael Porter invitation to the party. Here goes:
Thanks to Jenni Fry and Patrick Hogan at ALA Editions for making this happen.
A whole slew of thank you’s to Chrystie Hill, who has a book coming out very soon herself and who also really helped align the stars that spelled out Y E S to this book proposal.
Also, thanks to Janie Hermann, who unbeknownst to me, also smiled upon this project.

The biggest thanks however go to the audience for and major subject matter of the book, that is, the inspirational and motivational colleagues I am blessed to know and work with. Does it crack anybody else up that simply thanking all the Jennifers’, Davids’, Michaels’ and Karens’ out there in Libraryland covers half of us?  Seriously though, thank you for helping to make this the most exciting time ever to work in libraries. This project will succeed because of you. Which leads me to your invitation to the party!

Your invitation:
This is my first public request for both library and NON-LIBRARY stories of community engagement. If you have had a story the has sprung to life from a single, or series of electronic community building tools and would be willing to share, please let me know so others can learn from it in this book! The more dramatic, intense, moving, informative, useful, practical and entertaining are obviously desirable. However, the beauty of subtlety is appreciated here as well. Even sending a one or two paragraph summary of a noteworthy community engagement story in your life could be a genuinely helpful inclusion in the book. So please think about your stories and consider sharing them with this book’s future audience. You can e-mail them to me at: michael.libraryman at sign

I have some good content, substantial ideas and leads already, BUT we really need lots of stories like the ones described above from all over. In fact, they do not have to come from just library staffers. Non-library stories of electronic community engagement will make up the majority of those exemplified and examined in this book. That means if you have friends or family with stories that could enhance this book, I would LOVE to hear them!

Finally, this is my first book deal, so I am especially excited. I believe there is real benefit for Libraryland in the subject matter and approach here, which makes the project really pop for me as a librarian, practical tech advocate and author. But frankly, I don’t plan on trying to write a huge number of books. That means I truly believe in the idea and will work hard to make this useful, practical and helpful for us all. So for me, it is a big deal. And while it is a very happy project with lots of interesting work in store, I would like to end this announcement by thanking my dear grandma, Irene Porter-Baer. Grandma passed a way a few years ago but she was always one of my best friends, closest allies and strongest champions. I wouldn’t have been able to attend college or grad school without her help, so this opportunity would not have come to pass without her. I miss her and think of her often. I also try my best to make a proud legacy for her with my work. It is just another motivation to make this book be the best I can make it for us all. So either in the books’ introduction or conclusion I will thank you folks in Libraryland, and I will also thank my inspirational grandma that I owe a huge part of this current opportunity to.

Now please send me your stories of electronic community engagement, people! 

ALA Editions Book Deal Blog Post
PS-I’ll bet my editors are quaking in fear the the entire book will be as turgid as this blog post. Hey, at least I used the word “turgid”! :) <–Note to self, no emoticons in the book.


It’s An Honor And A Responsibility

Woo hoo and Holy Cow! I had hoped to hit 400 Bloglines subscribers at some point during 2007 and it just happened this morning. I know there are plenty of folks that sub and don’t always read, but still, having such a group of people subscribed to this RSS feed makes me feel very responsible for providing content worth the subs. If you are one of these folks, thank you very much!

An Honor and A Responsibility.  Thank you guys!

PS-Feedburner has about 100 subs for last time I checked. I wonder about other library bloggers out there. Do you ever pay attention to this info? Do you ever post it?


Hello Goodbye Hello

Well, well, well! It appears that the Gremlins that visited last week have finally been run off to go pester someone else. In other words, the site is now totally back up (and even slightly improved). There have been a few blog posts that couldn’t be added over the last week and I really hope to get them up over the weekend. A couple pretty nifty things have happened ’round libraryman way!

In the meantime to give this post a bit of content, here is my updated upcoming presentation schedule (more are in works too. Wo hoo!). It seems appropriate to send out some genuine thanks to both the institutions that have hosted (or allowed me to:) speak with/to them. Also, a huge thanks to the overwelmingly patient, responsive and truly impressive audiences I have been so fortunate to engage with. It really is an honor each and every time and I always strive to do my best so your time and attention is honored. If you’ll be around for any of the following, I look forward to meeting you!


NWEG -Northwest Endeavor (Ex-Libris) User Group -June 7
Emerging Library Fulfillment: Challenges and Opportunities for Libraries and Patrons
Keynote – Spokane, WA


Brooklyn Public Library Emerging Technology Conference -May 7
Practical, Fun and Easy: High value emerging library technologies you can use now.
Keynote – Brooklyn, NY

Santiago Library System/MCLS -May 2
Los Angeles, CA


Washington Library Association Conference -April 18-21
Libraries, Portable Electronics and Media Access Futures
Tri-Cities, WA


iEdge @ UW -March 28
Research Shapes WebJunction: Web Design and E-Learning
(with contributions from Rachel Van Noord and Chrystie Hill)
Seattle, WA
(Just took part in this one Wednesday and big kudos go out the the UW folks that put this surrisingly valuable, informative and effective conference together. I hope you continue to do it as it is a high value proposition imo).

*A gigantic thank you to the always helpful and amazingly savvy, Kris Bell for helping sort out what happened to the site and how to approach a solution. He also talked me down from my expletive riddled tirade, which was sorely needed as I was in the office at the time. (Not really!;). Anyway, thanks again Kris, you are solid gold.*


Ch, Ch, Ch, Changes.

Ch, ch, ch, changes, I choo, choo, choose you. is evolving! New blog software, a new look and new information. Some info has gone away but new material will be regularly popping up. Things are a bit fluid at the moment so please bear with me. Blog content and RSS feeds should work just fine now and going forward so you might not have even noticed. Thanks everybody!

In Process
Thanks also to Kris Bell, my main man behind the scenes. He’s the brains of the operations don’t you know.


Weblogs and RSS for Non-Profits

Scoop! If you are into blogs and RSS you’re really gonna dig this one! The amazing kables has a great presentation entitled “Weblogs and RSS for Non-Profits” available via this post. His PowerPoint notes are hi-larious and his content is grade AAA. He gets the Libraryman seal of approval for the day. As someone on tv once said: “Listen to me now and believe me later”.


Promoting a Blog About Promotion

?Because libraries need love too?, my good library pals Donna and Claire have recently started the ?Promote Your Library? blog. These ladies have carefully thought through the theme of their blog and I believe they?ll be posting at a ?reasonable? pace for quite some time. If you like the theme, check it out!



I just wanted to take a second to thank all the new people who have been popping in to the Libraryman blog lately. We?ve had a couple of plugs recently and have also seen some attention from the Libraries and Librarians photo pool that Amy and I started on flickr. I try to post around once a week, sometime more sometimes less. If you are interested in libraries and what they are doing and where they might be going you have come to one of the right places. Periodically these are some interesting non library things that get posted here too.

Thanks also to the old faithful readers of the blog. Many of you have been kind enough to read the blog and websites I?ve had for the last several years and it totally makes it worthwhile, fun and exciting. Thanks again, and on with the library goodness!


Apparently I’m an 8.19

So the Libraryman Blog is an 8.19? With 178 votes. Wow! So how does your blog rate?


A Vacation From the Internet

My vacation from the Internet was alternately frustrating and refreshing.

Have I mentioned that I?ve been teaching classes and lecturing about the Internet, computers, information and libraries while I?ve been away from the US (and the blog)?

During the last four months of traveling and teaching in Asia and Polynesia, there was surprisingly little Internet access. At least where I lived. That meant a life with no practical access to email, news (tech or otherwise), Internet reference or blogs (mine or yours:). Certainly a challenge when one of the lectures you give deals with ?how to keep your computer safe?.

In relation to work, lack of practical Internet access is definitely a special challenge when your patrons/customers know you are a Librarian and they want you to look things up for them. Sure! I can help you! Sort of. You see, dear customer, dial-up speed satellite Internet access for you onboard (when it is up) costs 50 cents a minute. On top of that, private lessons from me are $50-$75 an hour. Not a bargain in the traditional sense of the word. And as most of you Librarians know, a large percentage of the people that want our computer assistance really just need a class or two about how to use computers, access the Internet and use email (and about three hours of mouse practice). The problem is, at the prices listed above, most folks wanted me to show and teach them everything in as short a time as possible, and then for free at that! Now I?m a nice guy, but I wasn?t there to work for free. I?d cut them a little slack and stay 10-15 minutes extra and be extra patient and kind, but don?t then ask me to not charge you after you agreed in advance how much you would pay. See why I love non profit work?

After that story I should mention that most of my students were a pleasure to teach and were pretty low maintenance. However, in regard to me helping them with the Internet for their email folks generally weren?t so understanding. In the ?regular? pay classes though most of the students were gems. And in the free lectures they were great without exception (well, there was this one guy who was amazingly obnoxious, but that?s a story for another day.). Makes you think about how people respond to things based on what they are paying for them, eh?

On another more personal note, I found a lack of practical Internet access made me realize how much it has become integrated in my everyday life. From news to trivia to contact with friends and colleagues, the thing might as well be plugged into my head! A little disconcerting! After several tries I was usually able to get messages out to a few people, but it was often a lot of work. Those of you that received a one or two sentence email from me while I was sailing somewhere in the Pacific Ocean know just what I mean.

All in all, it was sometimes frustrating, but often quite refreshing to be practically disconnected from the Internet for four months. I?d actually recommend it to most folks, especially those of us that seem attached to it at the hip. I?m not saying I?d prefer to be without it, but it wasn?t so bad most of the time.

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