Yeah, buddy! Here’s to facebook username URL’s! As of this Friday night! W00t! Hey fb, what took you so long?

Here’s a FUN graduation exercise you can easily join in on! Send you congratulations to all the 2009 Library and Information Science Grads using the #infograd hash tag! The hash tag started as a part of the convocation address I’m writing and will present University of Washington’s iSchool this evening. But it sure would be nice to all celebrate together and send the Library and Info Science grads the world over good wishes here, on Twitter or elsewhere using that tag.

And all you grads, parents and friends on Twitter, please be sure to use that tag pre, post or even DURING the ceremony tonight at the University of Washington!

Congratulations all you fresh Library and Information Science Graduates! You will accomplish so many amazing things! #infograd

The Seattle Public Library system to close Aug. 31 through Sept. 7
The Seattle Public Library system will close Monday, Aug. 31 through Sunday, Sept. 6 due to citywide budget cuts. Please note Monday, Sept. 7 is the Labor Day holiday and all libraries will be closed. Regular Library operations will resume Tuesday, Sept. 8
. press release here

While I don’t know all the deepest details here, I usually advocate for very thoughtful, strong, quick, dramatic action when forced into situations like this. And I believe that closing the web site is a great idea! That might not be a very popular stance to take, but it does makes good sense if handled properly.

There is no getting around that fact that the reality of these situations makes us feel a bit queasy, but this really is a rare and (hopefully) unique teaching opportunity. As budgets get trimmed all over the world, libraries are chipped at bit by bit. It has almost become a sad tradition of sorts for many library systems. And in these systems we work ourselves silly with fewer resources and less money while trying to not show how thinly stretched we are. We keep doing more with less until…one day we wake up to find that we don’t have things like effective methods of distributing the most popular electronic content available on the web through the library(see Netflix, Amazon and iTunes) or that we aren’t the platform considered most seriously as new display technologies become closer to ubiquitous (see iPhone and Kindle). And we can afford smaller budgets? Well, ok, but there is a cost…and we shouldn’t try to hide that cost from the communities we serve.

So when the SPL site is down I’d advise them to have their page go black expect for a one sentence (linked to the press release) “The SPL and all its branches are closed from **-** due to budget cuts.” Under that sentence I’d have a link that says something like: “When a library is open it returns $$$ value for every $ spent. Click here to read the facts.” and link to solid/scientific examples and proof of the value/ROI of the library being open.

I know its is easy for me to say this since I don’t work for SPL, but I think this is the right way to go. If you get cut, make sure people can see how it hurts them. WE don’t do ourselves any favors by glossing things over and if people clearly understood the costs they might just prevent things like this from happening to libraries in the first place.

But what do you think?

PS-Some library ROI links for ya’. And another doozy!


Get Well Soon Chris!

Before you read this, if it is the first you have heard the news it will come as quite a shock. It was very unexpected and while it isn’t good news by any stretch, things are starting to look a little better than they were last week. Here’s what is happening:

Last week, Chris Peters, a very dear friend of Libraryland, employee at techsoup and MaintainIT, author, former Washington State Library and Gates Foundation US Library Program employee and all around good person, very unexpectedly had a stroke at his home in San Francisco. He has been receiving intensive care and observation for almost a week now. Happily, things are starting to look better. In fact, I very unexpectedly just got off the phone with him shortly after getting a text message from him (which had me very nearly squealing with excitement I must confess). His text and call demonstrate that, all things considered, he is functioning very well. It was a such huge relief to hear his voice and have a conversation with him! His parents and his sister are at his side now and he is in good hands.

And it even looks like Chris will be up and around enough in the not too distant future to share more info himself and reply to well wishes. In the interim we wanted to let folks know what happened and that he is doing better. It would also be nice if you folks out there in Libraryland would send him good wishes.

At this point we don’t have an address to share that you can send cards (or cookies, assorted treats or amazon gift certificates) to. I’ll definitely share that here once we have it. Until then, it would be good to drop him a good wish on his facebook page, in comments here or via an email. If you can view it, his fb profile is here and his email is chrispeters72**at s i g n ** gmail dot com. You might even consider sending @cpetersc a message on Twitter. I’ll be sending well wishes via all those channels and I hope you’ll join me!

If you don’t know Chris, believe me, you really, really do want him to get well. He has worked tirelessly for many years to share, support and grow libraries. As Brenda Hough recently said on the techsoup blog: “Chris Peters, MaintainIT Cookbook author (is) one of my favorite people to turn to when I need to better understand something about library technology. If he doesn’t know the answer to a question I ask, he sees that as a challenge and soon he does know and explains it to me, too.”

Yep, that’s good ole’ Chris!

Here is a little more Chris Peters goodness for you…

Lot’s of folks have loved Chris’s writing work on “Recipes for a 5-Star Library” which you can download and use for yourself via this page. And just so you know, he’s got more cookbook authorship under his belt that you can find if you poke around a bit (like here).

And here is some of what he are written and published online at work for libraries and non-profits:
Choosing the Best Internet Connection
Tips for Buying Refurbished Computers
Understanding Cookies and Their Effect on Your Privacy
Selecting and Configuring a Firewall
How to Extend Your Wireless Network
Choosing a Disk-Cloning Solution for Your Nonprofit
Tips for Hiring IT Staff: Balancing Skills and Communication
Managing Your Organizationís Technology Assets
Leasing Computers and IT Equipment for Your Nonprofit
Anti-Spam Solutions for Nonprofits

Here is a link to his blog on the MaintainIT site.

Heck, he was even very recently was shown some love on the Google blog.

As you can see, Chris is thoughtful, informed, curious, engaged, and generous. It would be good to drop him a line of support during this difficult time.

Chris, we all wish you a speedy recovery and send you mad love, my brother!

PS- Here are some shots of Chris in action. The good stuff above is part of why Chris is our friend, but the pictures help tell more of the story. For one, Chris loves snacks. :) He shows great restraint or course, but my man loves a good snack:

Chris Loves A Good Donut

This was a fun night for geeking out:
Chris and I work on our presentation.

Chris presenting with me at last years Internet Librarian conference:
Chris Peters at IL2008

Chris charming an audience at WLA in 2008:
Chris @ WLA/OLA

Hangin’ with his homies:
Happy Seattle Party People

Chris Headshot


A Tricky Facebook Background

Admittedly this post is more for geeks who like to jazz up their facebook profiles and can also do a little photo editing. Even if that isn’t you it might be mildly amusing to see. :) Usually your profile image on facebook fills a little box that sort of floats there in the upper left corner of your profile. But with a little photo editing you can make a pretty spiffy “floaty” profile image. You don’t have to do the first step yourself because you can use this image for your background (be sure to click on it to get the largest size for your background):
fb empty background
The next part takes a little bit of experience photo editing but it really isn’t too hard. What you need to do is layer a picture over the background above. It will look like this after you have completed the layering:
second image layered on transparent backgound for fb
Then you just upload that pic as your profile image on facebook. On your profile page you’ll look all floaty:
floaty facebook profile image
People will say “Oh wow! That’s cool!” Or not. Either way, you can do it yourself if you really want to. If not, you know, thats totally cool too. :)
Thanks to Katie for having this on her profile. Such a neat idea!


Killing Our Libraries

A motivational poster of sorts. Large size is the only way to really see it.
killing our libraries - mini-poster 2009

It is slightly freaky that six years ago there was a post here about another scary bug floating in the air, eh? My advice? Between chicken club sandwiches and checking cnn for panicky hybrid bird/swine flu updates, why not take a moment and just have some good ole’ geek fun and change your facebook interface to Pirate? Avast! It be simple, matey!

Here’s what it will (partly) look like after your customization
(Click the pics for access to larger versions):
Pirate facebook Interface

Here is another image with clear instructions on how to make this simple customization:
facebook Pirate Instructions

Your pandemic stress can walk the plan and be well forgotten. Besides, scurvy is worse than swine flu, right?

PS-Check out, my latest tech crush, for seemingly endless eternally glorious musical distractions.

Now playing: Don’t Touch Me (Rock mix)

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. (and its ilk like
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,, 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! :)”


Computers in Libraries 2009: Personality

For some time now I’ve wanted to go to a library conference and try and capture the spirit of a single, recurring and highly enjoyable event. So last night I got my camera batteries ready and went to the Speakers Reception at Computers in Libraries hoping to accomplish this mission. My objective was clear: show what folks in Libraryland are like when they let there hair down a bit and are with their friends. I wanted to try and get folks to reveal their personalities as much as possible and be with me and each other and make a record of that in the moment. It is an uplifting experience to celebrate with like mined colleagues, new and old, knowing that we respect each other and face so many similar challenges. At these sorts of events it has always seemed clear to me that people are very grateful to be together and are finally letting themselves relax together, in person. Hopefully this set of images will help tell that story. Libraryland is full of amazing folks and this may show pieces of that more clearly.* Many more pics will go up in the next few days but I had to get these up tonight, fresh off the plane. :)
cil2009 flickr Group
*thanks to everyone who took and endured all the snapshots. I’m very grateful to have pictures with so many of you! If you aren’t in this batch, perhaps next year?

PS- Please and tag, names and any other data that is missing to the photos!

A Dorks Grooveshark Freakout

Libraries have to get people what they want, when they want it, and in the format they want it. People care about content, not container. And libraries have to figure out how to do better. Why with the ranting on this same topic?

In chewing it over the past few days, I realized that I can count on one two hands the number of times I remember being really stunned by something on the internet. A moment of “a-ha!” or “YES!” or “I had no idea this could be done” and even a couple “I KNEW it would happen!”‘s. Last week I had one of those moments. I have to admit that I was disappointed in myself for not knowing about this service sooner considering that I have subscribed to similar (as similar as possible) services for years to test their functionality and content libraries. This, though, well, this freaked me out. Think about library circulation in the face of THIS content distribution model: “Any song, any time, for free”. Hummina hummina hummina! It isn’t perfect, but I put it through some paces for a couple of hours and am very impressed. I still heart Pandora and getting CDs from my local library, but still…. Even if it is made to go away for legal or copyright issues at some point in the future, think about functionality. This, well, this just blew my mind:

The functionality isn’t really *that* different, than services like Rhapsody, MusicMatch (RIP),, etc, but the model of input into the stream seems to be tweaked a bit. And the pure joy of instant music gratifications will hit you on the head in the most glorious way. It’s funny how looking at something you know fairly well, through a slightly different lens can focus you minds eye more clearly and even turn your attention and work in different directions. Maybe grooveshark won’t freak you out too, but my mind has been all atwitter this week because of it.

And speaking of atwitter…..

Love Twitter? Sick of Twitter? Don’t care about twitter but heard about it a lot? Watch this!

Now playing: Solex – Athens – Ohio

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