Archive for the 'Fellow Librarians' 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 libraryman.com 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

In doing presentations of the years, I’ve been really lucky to make friends and stay in touch with a few folks out there doing the real work in the libraries I visit. We’ll occasionally exchange emails and ideas and just keep track of each other. Today I got a message on facebook from one of those friends who is now preparing to teach a class in his library that will be somewhat similar to the session I presented to their lib a couple of years ago. How cool is that?! :) At any rate, this person asked if I had any suggestions or topics that are top of mind for me lately that they might be interested in using too. But of course! Here is the email I sent my friend. Maybe you’ll find it interesting too? Or perhaps you might have other/different ideas? We’d love to hear them here if you have any different ones to share!

Oh, and ______, if you want to do a conference presentation like this *with me* some time just say the word, k?

Hey _______,

Always good to hear from you and glad we are keeping in touch as you keep things rolling with your library career. Super cool, man! :)

At the moment, I am especially keen on these things/concept. Not sure if they all fit your class, but they are all sparkly in my brain:

1. Ubiquitous computing
2. Mobile computing (not now but in 10-15 years)
3. Grooveshark.com (and its ilk like imeem.com)
4. freiendfeed as a model for the next iteration of social networking trends (this piggybacks on RSS in a way as I see aggregation being the thing will see this will all come together. I’ve been hollerin’ about aggregation being “it” for years, but until it get wrapped up in the right package it (and isnt called aggregation) it isnt gonna REALLY happen imo.
5. WebJunction, boyeee! lol
6. Acceptance of tools by wider society. It’s like the movies….before there were movies there was more live theater, right? The wider adoption of online tools is a similar sea change…but with serious implications for libraries in relation to:
7. Electronic content distribution and ACCESS. Media companies didn’t want libraries to circulate VHS tapes back in the day, right? Now they are finding and have found some ways (via hulu.com, netflix.com, amazon.com itunes, etc, etc) to effectively cut libraries out of the content distribution model on this “new” intwebs based platform. It is very disturbing and not being talked about or addressed sufficiently by our industry (and its something I hope to work on actually). Again, all my opinions here.

Hope that helps or at least sparks some thoughts. Always great to hear from you.

PS-I’m gonna blog this now. lol! :)”

Libraryman

We Are High Fidelity Libraries

A brief video snippet (with added graphics) that describes why the “hi-fi” in “hi-fi sci-fi library” is key to our present and future success.

Fighting the forces of evil and oppression with your high fidelity library/librarians!

    Video is up and linked below!

Song available for download very soon through a link on
David Lee King’s web page
!

There is a slew of Libraryland folks singing along in the video (mostly in the second half). Thank you guys!

Here is “hi-fi sci-fi library”…behind the music!

Several months ago LITA asked me to be one of their keynote speakers at their upcoming National Forum (October 16-19). This made me happy, proud, excited and, well, a little nervous. It also left me wondering…what should the theme of my presentation be? Hmmm… LITA, eh? The Library and Information Technology Association of the American Library Association? Well, lets see…I travel all over the place talking about libraries, library futures and emerging technology, right? And I believe we are in the midst of a sea change in library, culture, community and info services. And I am convinced there are things libraries need to do *right now* to ensure our relevance going forward. And while we are generally smart enough, we surely don’t get rich from our jobs…yet we keep at it. So we need some inspiration AND amusement! We all work so hard and we keep on believing that libraries will and MUST endure as society evolves. So why not talk about libraries present and future in light of current tech, future tech, academic futurism and, yes, science fiction! But what might get people’s toes tapping before the presentation? Yep! A groovy library song! A song that shares the same name as that upcoming presentation :”hi-fi sci-fi library”!

As far as I am concerned, what the world needs is a collection of “hi-fi sci-fi libraries”. And I was so excited about this idea that I just had to sing it out loud! But alas, I know how to play only the most basic of notes on the most basic of instruments. Soooo, I approached my most helpful and generous Libraryland buddy (and joint author of the “Internet Spotlight” column in each issue of Public Libraries Magazine), David Lee King. You see, before he worked in Libraryland, David worked in Nashville, in the music industry. And as you might imagine, David is also a fairly accomplished musician and producer (though he is far too humble to admit that to most folks despite his great talent and ability).

So I said to David: “David, I want to make a song and a video for this LITA presentation I am doing in the Fall. Something that both you and I could do together and can both believe in and get behind. I’m slightly nervous about this presentation for some reason, but I also see it as a GREAT opportunity to help get the word out about what we both believe in when it comes to society, library futures and technology. I have some basic song ideas and all the lyrics ready. Would you like to help me make a song and a video?”

And David, being the generous and thoughtful friend that he is said “Of course!”. Actually, he said something like “Well I like the idea for sure. Why don’t you write down your ideas and lyrics, send them to me and we might be able to work on it once things settle down a bit.” And, of course, things never did settle down, for either of us. So, slowly but surely we worked on it like a hobby for a few months.

Over the course of those months David and I sent musical ideas and lyrics and rhythmical concepts back and forth. Then, I arranged to spend a day with David in Kansas recording our song. No, it wasn’t easy. But yes, we actually DID IT! And lo and behold, one day of recording later….we had our song. AND a few goofy video files! So..we were really on our way!

With the song complete, it was time to make the video. And since David had done 85% of the musical work, it seemed only fair that *I* (non-Mac owner that I am btw) handle the video making responsibilities.

So I dove in. And, well, it took a couple of weeks. Actaully, it took almost a month. And it took contributions from librarians all across the planet. Literally! BUT…we now have a video. And it is, in my opinion, a pretty decent video. Sure, it is goofy! But it is also just as hopeful and honest as it is goofy.

And let me tell you…it was quite a project. A project involving weeks of editing and nearly 100 different video and audio files. Is it perfect? Nah! Is it a labor of love for Libraryland? Completely. And heck, some of you folks reading this might even be in the thing,lip syncing along to the jaunty little “hi-fi sci-fi LIBRARY!!” chorus.

So, on behalf of David and I, THANK YOU! Thank you so much to the folks that contributed to this video! We both hope it provides some inspiration and energy to the quest we are all on as library professionals as we strive to help libraries realize their unparalleled potential in this crazy, cool and even sometimes scary, hi-fi sci-fi world we all now live in.

Rock on, Libraryland! We hope you enjoy it!

-Michael

—————
Now playing: David Lee King & Michael Porter – hi-fi sci-fi library

From the last post you can see that David and I recorded a snappy little library song last week. We are really proud of the work we’ve produced and now YOU get a chance to be in the video!! It is jumpy little ditty about library futures, technology and how we will succeed as libraries.
Please listen to this short snippet and then…..shoot a brief video of you singing along! Thats all it takes! You can use a web cam, or any other camera you like and send it to the email below. It should really only take a few minutes on your end, and after we get the videos, we’ll take the best and put them in the video we are hard at work on! Of course, please also feel free to send other video that might go along with the title/theme of the song “hi-fi sci-fi library” (costumes are very welcome by the way!:)
So join in the fun and star in a video with us! This is your official invite! We are looking forward to seeing YOU in our upcoming video!

Here is a link to the very short snippet to sing along with (you can download it even if you want). The “hi-fi sci-fi library” part is what we really need to see you singing.

If you have you have a webcam, you really should be emailing your video to: michael.libraryman *At Sign**gmail.com

Please send your clips in to the above address no later than August 24th, 2008.

We are really looking forward to seeing you in the video with us!!!!!!!!!

-Michael Porter and David Lee King

—————-
Now playing: David Lee King & Michael Porter – hi-fi sci-fi library

This years Computers in Libraries Conference was another wonderful flurry of ideas, conversations and connections. Highlights for me included:
1. Seeing old colleagues and friends.
2. Meeting new colleagues and making new friends.
3. Hearing what everyone is working on and thinking about.
4. The Gaming Event. W00t! Even if you don’t play games, please consider swinging by this event at future conferences. Community in ACTION.
5. One word: karaoke

It was a real pleasure to present a couple sessions with the amazing Helen Blowers. The real Helen Blowers! :) One of our sessions was a preconference called “Avatars to Advocacy“. We also did a shorter regular session called “Innovative Marketing Using 2.0 Tools” (you can find those slides by following this link).

And now for a few photographic highlights:
RH SL MP CIL2008

Josh Neff’s cil200 photo link

Cil2008 Gaming Event with Tongue link

Cindi’s Cil2008 photoset.

All flickr photos tagged cil2008, ranked by “interestingness”.

Happy unrelated observation:
Say what your will about Chuck Norris but Mr. T is the only guy that can REALLY bring people out of comas. Note to Libraryland: If I’m ever in a coma, please send Mr. T to snap me out of it.

Libraryman

Sing A Song Of Innovation

My friend and fellow practical library tech booster, Steve Campion, sent me this message on facebook today:
Hey Michael,
Is singing in your new job description? Someone suggested that either you or I need to sing this song at ALA Midwinter. I’m not going, so it might be up to you.
~Steve

His post says:

To the tune of “The Major-General’s Song”
With apologies to Gilbert & Sullivan… and you… :)

I advocate creation of a social network library,
Dispense with thoughts a-plenty in my blog much like a diary,
And show how common MySpace is, it dominates the territ’ry
‘Cuz people like to share their lives; it’s really quite extraordin’ry.

I upload pix of our events on a communal Flickr page,
And make it easy to YouTube; that latest clip is all the rage.
Encourage interaction for our young and old of any age,
Makes working here as fun as anything they do at Cam-ba-ridge.

I recommend Delicious, Facebook, wikis, Ning, and R-S-S,
Use tag clouds, gaming, apps and widgets, and I twitter to excess.
It matters that our patrons are involved with our transparency.
I advocate creation of a social network library.

Well firstly, I wish you were going to be at Midwinter. Secondly, while I’d be willing to give this my best effort, you must know the outcome would likely be more in line with Homer Simpson’s performance cited below:

Homer: Well, here I am, right on time. I don’t see Barney “Let’s
crash the rocket into the White House and kill the President”
Gumble…
Assistant: Actually, he’s been here since sunrise.
[Barney works with a punching bag]
Barney: Hi Homer. Since they made me stop drinking, I’ve regained my
balance and diction! Observe: [does backflips] “I am the
very model of a modern major general, I’ve information
vegetable, animal, and mineral.”
Homer: Oh, that’s nothing. Watch this: [does cartwheels] “There
once was a man from Nantucket, Whose –” [smashes into a
wall]
*link to full episode script*

homer and bender
In related news, the new Futurama DVD was released today. W00t!

In completely unrelated news: Pretty song, pretty books, pretty people

October 2007 SLJ: We're In There!

Our Posse in the October Issue of School Library Journal. Well, teeny parts of our posse. Also, SLJ staff tells me: “we’re sending a special edition newsletter on 2.0, that includes this short piece”. The posse approves.
Original pic they so politely asked to use. Hi Rochelle!:
ALA 2007 218

DK and MP Fake Rock
Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep…..This just in…. Jenny Levine, Aaron Schmidt and I will be hosting an Open Gaming Event after the Sunday preconference on, well, gaming, that Jenny and Aaron are doing. We’re happy to say that this is being brought to you, in a fairly informal way, by ALA and WebJunction, courtesy of Information Today. Cooperation is Goooood. :)

Here are the details:
This Sunday, Oct 28, starting around 4:30 p.m. in the Colton I room, we’ll have Guitar Hero (PS2), Dance Dance Revolution (PS2), and Wii Sports going for open play. This is your chance to beat your favorite blogger at any one of these games. I have been honing my Guitar Hero chops and will be happy to take on all comers, though Jenny, Aaron and I are mostly there to watch help and watch you all have fun.

We’ve got the room until 7:00 p.m., and as Jenny says: “I can pretty much guarantee a lot of laughter, finger wagging, trash talking, and general merriment.” Oh, and Flickring, too, since we’re also counting this as a Flickr and Twitter meetup. Heck, why not throw video in there too? You know it goes without saying that we will be hitting the town after the session, right?

I’m bringing a prize for the greatest Guitar Hero of the evening. Rock!
You have new Picture Mail!

Testing the new Jib Jab “Starring You” tonight was partly fun and partly a chore. There are a few steps you have to go through to make the heads work and look “right” which took a bit of the joy out of setting things up. It is interesting to see this sort of technology interface being sold as something the public will latch on to. It is a stretch at the moment, but think of the promos libraries could do with a carefully planned marketing program using something like this (perhaps embedding letting patrons stick themselves in a famous book setting, etc?). The video I made is really just for fun and isn’t meant to be too awfully serious. You know, I must confess that upon seeing the results I couldn’t help but wonder “should I have just read a chapter or two in a book instead of making this?”.

Naaaah, who am I kidding, this time was time well spent! Enjoy:

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