On Hiatus

I am no longer regularly updating this blog, and am instead blogging at Foodie Librarian .  I think this page still pops up near the top of the list if you google my name, and there’s nothing worse than finding a blog that hasn’t been updated in ages.  So at least if you end up here, you’ll know where to go. I might come back to this blog eventually, but I found that I had more ideas for my food blog and have been having lots of fun with that.

Back from hiatus with Seattle update

This post is an example of how 2.0 technology doesn’t just make itself work. It has been probably four months since I have made any updates to the blog, and I have nobody to blame but myself. My late New Year’s Resolution is to keep my blog updated more often.

So I just got back from a very intense 5 days in Seattle. I was at the ACRL 2009 conference and my days were packed with library goodness. Some of the highlights of the first few days:

Thursday

  • When I found out that Naomi Klein was sick and wouldn’t be the keynote speaker, I headed down to Left Bank Books , the coolest independent bookstore in Seattle.
  • Went to the orientation for ACRL n00bs. I was overwhelmed by the amount of opportunities available to use the organization to grow leadership skills. Also overwhelmed by the number of young, talented, librarians out there.
  • Had Nutella Crepe from La Creperie Voila for dinner.

Friday

  • This was my first, but not last, trip to Top Pot Doghnuts. (Old Fashioned Glazed)
  • Went to first panel session We’re Not Playing Around: Gaming literate librarians = Information Literate Students
    This sessions was really great because it talked about how to use game design theory as a tool to help design information literacy classes. The materials don’t appear to be posted on the ACRL virtual conference website yet, but are available on presenter Nicholas Schiller’s website.
  • Went to panel session entitled Beyond Literacy: Are Reading and Writing Doomed?. This was by far the craziest session I went to. There were reference to the Borg Collective and Q Continuum. Also, not sure if I was hearing this right, but think cylon regeneration technology was mentioned as a possibility for the far future. I love dangerous ideas, and this panel session had plenty.
  • Lunch at Baguette Box. (Spanish Chorizo on Baguette with Harissa Oil, Aioli, and Caramelized Onions.)
  • As part of my continuing efforts to build leadership experience I went to Advancing Your Claim to Campus Leadership: Reaching the Summit One Toehold at a Time. I actually took a lot out of this session and found myself wishing that I could have applied things I learned to previous positions. But life is all about learning, so now I can take the info and apply it to current and future endeavors.
  • Went to Solve It!: Challenging students through puzzles. This session makes me wish I had gone to MIT. The library there created an advertising campaign that involved complex puzzles that could only be solved using library resources. They paid extra to have them put on the puzzle page of the student paper, and then offered a prize drawing for correct answers. PURE BRILLIANCE!
  • Sherman Alexie’s Keynote speech was awesome and we were first in line to get our books signed.

Changes

It has been a while since I updated, but that is only because things got crazy in the months of August and September. I’ve left Virginia and the Public Library for Ohio and an Academic Library.  I have recently become an Interim Liason Librarian at a small liberal arts college. I am very much enjoying all of the new skills I am learning and am especially enjoying the fact that I now get to teach Information Literacy classes.

I am also very grateful to be back in Libraryland other wise known as the State of Ohio. When I was away in Virginia, I really missed the way in which Ohio libraries work together to provide quality services to an entire state. On the Academic side there is the OhioLINK consortium that allows pretty much any academic library to borrow from any other.  Working in a small college, I recognize how huge this service is for our students.

On the public side, there are multiple public library consortia including MORE, CLEVNET,  and The Greater Access library card. All of these help patrons access the information they are looking for in a quick, efficient manner. Also on the public side are the OPLIN databases. Every public library card holder in the state of Ohio can access quality databases (Including many fabulous EBSCO resources)  from the library and from home.

I love that my home state is so progressive when it comes to librarianship.

Score one for gaming and literacy

Conversation in the Stacks today:

Patron: I’m looking for books on Mythology, can you tell me where to find them?

Me: Sure, let me walk you over.

[we walk over to proper section]

Me: Are you looking for any type of mythology?

Patron: I’m looking for Greek Mythology. I’ve been playing this game ‘God of War’ and it deals a lot with mythology.

So to recap: The patron came to the library looking for a book about Greek Mythology because his interest was piqued by a video game. I can now say with honesty that video games bring people to the library for books. I’ve seen it myself.

God of War Cosplay

God of War Cosplay

File under Personal Development

I’ve been collecting inspirational quotes lately. Probably due to the influence of The Positivity Blog.

Here are some of my favorites. Whenever I find myself in need of a little pick me up, I try to quote these in my head:

  • I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.’ -Kurt Vonnegut

KV often quoted this piece of advice from his uncle. I count myself amongst the lucky people who were personally able to hear him quote it at Severance Hall a few years ago

  • Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.-Minor Myers Jr (President of Illinois Wesleyan University 1989-2003)
  • Be the change you wish to see in the world.-Gandhi
  • The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience. – Eleanor Roosevelt
  • Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain
  • Out of clutter, find simplicity, from discord, find harmony, in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. – Albert Einstein
  • The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing but burn, burn, burn like fabulous roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww’ -Jack Kerouac

Library Gaming

This is a presentation I gave at the Chesapeake Public Library System Staff Day event in May 2008. It was geared towards the many staff members who had expressed doubt as to the relevancy of gaming programs in the library, and I think I was really able to get across the point that gaming is a cognitive activity that has proven benefits. (Of course, just because I made that point does not mean that it was universally accepted amongst the staff.)

Update: I forgot to mention that I posted this presentation to my blog using slideshare . With slideshare I can upload and share slide presentations in .ppt, .odp (OpenOffice), and .pdf formats. It is not currently compatible with Word 2007, but it gives easy instructions on how to make such presentations uploadable.

Management in the Knowledge Economy

The July-August 2008 issue of Harvard Business Review features a great article by Amy C. Edmondson entitled The Competitive Imperative of Learning.

In this article she discusses the importance of fostering an environment where learning is valued more than effeciency and argues that although it may not yield immediate results that it promotes success over an extended period of time. 

 A very useful chart shows that in the “execution as efficiency” model leaders provide the answers and employees follow directions. New work processes are developed infrequently and implementing change is a huge undertaking. Problem solving is rarely required and judgement is not expected.

In the “execution as learning” model leaders set direction and articulate the mission and employees discover answers. Work processes keep developing and small changes, experiments and improvements, are a way of life. Problem solving is constantly needed, so valuable information is provided to guide employees’ judgement.

As I read the article I couldn’t help but think how important the learning mindset is in the library. A library that values the “execution as learining” model of management will have much more room to be innovative and present patrons with new models of service and technology. We can’t be afraid to try new things and make mistakes because that is the only way we can learn what works and what doesn’t.  In my current situation I feel exactly how the “execution-as-efficiency” model can stifle the creativity and innovative ideas of employees. Without the support and encouragement of management at all levels, it seems like employees get frustrated and stop caring. In a work environment that depends on lifelong learning, such as the library, it seems like a death wish to employ the “execution as efficiency” model, yet I’ve worked in several libraries where this attitude was a prevalent one. I can only hope that as creativity and innovation continues to grow as valuable job skills, that directors and managers will recognize the importance of a management technique that supports it.