You have probably heard the bad budget news for libraries in NJ.
Below is a message from Eileen Palmer about joining the advocacy groups that are already in place.
Please take a moment to join them if you haven’t already, and please be sure to talk about this issue to your friends, family, colleagues and patrons and have them sign up too!
To our many readers outside of NJ: If you have friends/family in the Garden State, please share the links with them.
Watch for more information and actions coming soon!
As NJLA prepares its response to the drastic cuts to statewide library programs proposed by Gov. Christie, and a renewed attack on the minimum library funding represented by A2555, please take a moment to join one or both of the following initiatives:
2. NJ Library Champions http://www.ilovenjlibraries.org/
Please reach out to Friends, Boards and patrons to become part of these initiatives so that we can get the word out as quickly as possible in the coming days.
Eileen M. Palmer Executive Director Libraries of Middlesex Automation Consortium firstname.lastname@example.org
I had the opportunity to go listen to Jack Dorsey, one of the creators of Twitter, talk the other night at The College of New Jersey. Janie Hermann found out about it and let me know it was happening, and we met up with Julie (Strange Librarian) there for the hour long talk. The talk was recorded by TCNJ and the video is posted here: http://www.tcnj.edu/~pa/video/twitter09/ .
I definitely recommend you take a look at the video and listen to Jack for yourself. Below are just a few of the things that stood out for me.
A soft-spoken guy, Jack talked about how he had the idea for what today is Twitter since he was 15. He said that when starting something the hardest thing to do is TO START, and I think we can all relate to that! He spoke about getting your ideas out of your head, onto paper and into discussions with others so you can find out if there really is something to the idea or not. If you don’t get the idea out of your head and start sharing and playing with it, then you’ll not only never know if that idea is anything, but it will be difficult to move on with the next thing, the next idea, that might be something!
This relates to the transparency and openness that Jack talked about a lot. Communication and fostering a community where ideas (and even mistakes and problems) are shared is really important to how Twitter has been able to grow and to become so successful. The best lesson he said he could offer is to start from a place of transparency and to be open to criticism and suggestions. Some of the best features of Twitter did NOT come from the company. The “@” replies feature, the retweet (RT), the hashtags, and even the concept of each update as a “tweet,” all came from the USERS! The awesomeness of Twitter today is all because they went out with an idea and said this is what we have. We’re not sure what it’s good for, but we think you’ll know! As a result, today Twitter is something they couldn’t have even imagined when they started it.
These days Twitter receives thousands of suggestions and ideas every day. As a company, their challenge is deciding which ideas to say no to, and then to actually say no to those things. Based on all of the input how do you decide? Jack said he realized that the business had to become a good editor. Company as editor.
As a business, Twitter has to choose what suggestions might add to the value and usefulness of Twitter. They would like to say yes to ideas that speak to 80% of the users and that sustain the technology and the company. They have to edit out those ideas and suggestions that will not improve Twitter. He also spoke about the business as editor when it comes to who works there – how do you choose who to hire and how do you decide when the relationship is no longer beneficial and it’s time to part ways? It’s all about editing.
He also said he isn’t interested in what market is using Twitter when a question came from the audience about how teens are (supposedly) not using Twitter. Jack said he wasn’t worried about what market uses Twitter, but about building a great product people love to use.
We also got a glimpse into what might be coming in the future when Jack talked about being really interested in immediacy and transparency and the health care and finance industries. He spoke about the fact that health and health care, especially one’s own health, is probably one of the most important things to and for us. However, most of us don’t understand what’s going on with health care. It is similar with global finance. This has a huge impact on all of our lives, but there are very few people who understand any of it. He said that health care and finance are two huge areas that he feels could really benefit from immediacy and transparency. I wonder what he has in mind!?
Check out some photos and more info here: https://www.tcnj.edu/~business/Twitter.html
You can also see the TCNJ press release for the event here: http://www.tcnj.edu/~pa/news/2009/dorsey.htm
Do take a look at the video – I would love to hear what you all think of his talk!
I give you definition number 5 from The Free Dictionary by Fairfax
5. a person or thing on which one can always depend: your loyalty is a rock
-retrieved http://www.thefreedictionary.com/rock, 08/31/09, 3:46pm
They came to use the free Internet stations to communicate with friends and family back home, and to look for work and apartments. They came to our computer classes and created resumes and learned how to search in our databases and in our catalog for books, dvds, cds. Their children used the library after school to play games on the computers and to do homework and socialize with other students.
Rock Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/aeu04117/581816877/
Since Julie tagged us over here at LG in the Superstararchivists meme on ‘how you got into libraries’ I am taking up the keyboard! I’ve really been enjoying reading all the other stories and seeing the similarities and differences, and reading all the comments!
I’m sure I’ve told this story to several people, but I’m not sure if I’ve written it anywhere… my journey to librarianship starts out with me never having had any idea what I wanted to be when I grew up!
I felt supremely jealous of the people I knew who seemed to know just what they wanted to do for the rest of their lives. The college students who were getting degrees in something specific, something they could DO or BE at the end of four (or more) years … the classmates who were already planning to be pre-med, or go into business, or become teachers … the even younger friends from my early childhood (“I want to be a fireman!” “I want to be a chef!” “I want to be a mom!”) made me feel so left out.
Not having any plan in mind, I pursued “liberal arts” (like all other confused, direction-less sorts I guess) at a “liberal arts” college, hoping to stumble upon IT. IT, you know, what I would want to do or be forever! This allows one to keep all options open and to hopefully emerge as a well-rounded individual at the very least (though probably a very impoverished one).
I entered as “undeclared” my freshman year. I spent a brief time as a Sociology Major (until I found out we would have to spend a lot of time in a local prison for one course, and I was out of there). Then, not being allowed to return to “undeclared” status, I chose English (the safety net for all). This only lasted until I finished my first few Philosophy classes and found myself signing up for as many more as I could! I came to the utterly logical conclusion that if I were going to take so many Philosophy classes, I should major in it.
I love Philosophy classes.
I am going to take as many Philosophy classes as I can.
Therefore, I will be a Philosophy Major.
(Okay, so my Logic is a little rusty!)
Of course, this created the corollary:
So, I graduated with my Philosophy Major* and could not stand the thought of ANY MORE SCHOOL (bye-bye law school)! I went to work in the publishing industry in Manhattan for several years. When this was ultimately unsatisfying to me (especially the NJ-NYC commuting), I began to look around for another career. I was willing to go back to school, but only for something that I really wanted and would really love. I took a job as a administrative assistant at an engineering company close to home (no commute!) while I (again) searched for what it was I would BE.
Fully convinced I had NO INTEREST whatsoever in anything related to ENGINEERING, I decided to look for a similar office job in a different setting while I continued the search for my ultimate career.
On a regular trip to my local public library one day during this time, I noticed a sign advertising for an administrative assistant in the library! Ah, same “just a job” job, but more pleasant environment! Ah, I could go to the library everyday – wonderful!
Now, I had always been an avid library-user and read my entire life. My mother and brother and sister and I were regulars and would routinely leave with bags and bags full of books. I had spent many hours in the library – both for pleasure and for schoolwork, but IT HAD NEVER OCCURRED TO ME TO WORK IN A LIBRARY. NOT EVER. NOT ONCE. I had never thought about who these people working in the library were, what their qualifications or jobs might be. I had NEVER in my entire life of library patronage ever considered being a librarian. In fact, I had NO IDEAS about that job at all (something that makes me wonder to this very day how it could be so and what’s so very wrong with that picture, and what needs to be done about it…..)
I applied for the library office job (and didn’t even get a call actually) but I also started RESEARCHING what this librarian job was all about. The main things I found out were:
- It requires a Masters Degree, and is a REAL PROFESSION (what I was looking for)!
- It has to do with books, reading, AND COMPUTERS (things I LOVE)!
- It involves sharing INFORMATION and helping others FIND their INFORMATION (something I already did with a passion)!
PERFECT!!!!! I had found IT. IT – the thing I wanted to DO and BE for the REST OF MY LIFE!
I found out how to become a librarian (step 1: take the GRE – yikes! – step 2: commute to Rutgers for a long time) and started telling friends and family of my PLAN! The reaction was the same from almost every single person I told:
(Oh, duh, of course, well why didn’t any of you let me know sooner?!)
I began my library studies and soon after got a part-time job as an intern at the wonderful Clifton Public Library. (I had been hoping that I would LOVE the public library, even though I knew there were other possible types of libraries to work in, but public was what I wanted to love and, lucky me, I DID!) This position soon wbecame full-time while I continued with school, and then become a full librarian job upon graduation! I have since worked at the also-wonderful Paterson Free Public Library and now work for the really wonderful central regional library cooperative!
So, there really was no “one thing” that led up to my self-discovery that I was really a librarian deep down inside all along. It was just a series of regular little steps along the path of life that only prove to have been heading in an ultimate direction once you’ve arrived at the end and look back.
And, just to be clear, I do consider myself to BE a librarian. Even though my current job title does not include the word library anywhere in it, it is what I am, it is who I am, and I am so glad!
* Actually, I have since found MANY librarians with B.A.’s in Philosophy. Also, my sister went on to major in Philosophy and is doing just fine, thank you very much!
I just received an interesting email indicating that I could have the opportunity to ask a question to Bill Gates.
Well, there is a small catch (of course). I (and everyone else on the planet) can submit questions and the “best one” will be chosen and asked of Mr. Gates….
I have no idea what criteria will be used to determine “the best” question…. but I thought it might be an interesting chance to recommend a question.
Another interesting aspect of this that I didn’t realize until I followed the link, is seeing what others are suggesting…. Some are serious, some are funny.
I thought it might be interesting if it happens that A LOT of LIBRARIANS suggest questions. (Who knows, maybe one will even be the “chosen” one.) I think it would be interesting if there were so many suggestions by librarians, on this otherwise non-library-related site, that the general public (or readership of this site) noticed. I wonder what they would think. I wonder what, if anything, would happen.
We out here in library-land have had our own “dealings with” Mr. Gates and we may have some specific questions we want to ask him…..
This is all taking place over on FastCompany.com – a magazine and site I really like. In fact, I have been thinking about doing a post about their site ever since I joined it because I think it is an interesting approach and one that libraries should consider.
It is a very “social” site, but it is a specific social site and not just a general social site for the sake of being a social site, such as facebook and/or MySpace*. What I mean by this is that you can sign-in and personalize your whole experience and use of this site. There are specific categories and interests (for this site they include “leadership”, “management”, “technology”, etc. all related to business… but things that I am interested in nonetheless). When I log in this is what I see:
Some libraries ARE doing things like this on their website, or on another virtual presence, and I am certainly not the first or only to call for this. However, not enough are doing things like this. As I was signing up for my account on fastcompany.com I couldn’t help but think about library websites as I went through all of my options and interests…. What topics am I interested in? Which newsletters and updates would I want to receive. What do I want my “homepage” to look like when I come here and sign-in… these would all be great features on a library website.
Look at this particular part of my page on fastcompany.com:
I know it might be small here, but in that red box I’ve drawn I have all these MY things, and they literally say they are MY things: MY contacts, MY bookmarks, MY feeds, MY settings, MY network, MY recommendations, etc…. this really makes this MY page to me, for me, when I come to this site.
It also makes it much more specific, interesting and useful to me. I have already narrowed-down what aspects of this page/company I am interested in… and it is all ready for me right on the front page FOR ME when I sign-in here.
Additionally, right above that are the general topic areas for fastcompany.com – Innovation, Technology, Leadership, etc…. all interesting and attractive (to me) to click on and go right to what might be of interest. I can also easily find people, groups, and blogs, of interest to me. This provides me a chance to create an even more specific, smaller, community within this community for me. I joined the Leadership group and the Technology group here, and even started my own, called Librarians just because I am like that! ;-) I like to put libraries and librarians in wherever ‘technology’ is. So far, no one has noticed it, but I wonder what might happen if they did. (“Librarians!? Technology and business?! Huh!?”)
I also just happened to see my.barackobama.com . If you check out this site you can again see that this is the Barack Obama site for YOU. Here is what it can look like:
It can have everything for ME – My People, MY Network, My Blog, etc… I keep finding that sites like these provide people an opportunity to have a blog right within them – on this topic of interest to them. They don’t need to go to any specific blogging site (like blogger or wordpress or whatever – not that there’s anything wrong with them). These sites are providing them with blogging spots, on sites of their own interest, where others come who have the same interest, thus providing a built-in readership for their individual blog. I think a lot of people wonder who would read their blog and why. People hear about “blogs” all the time, but maybe they aren’t ready to actually GO to a blogging site, sign-up and start blogging. But maybe on a site they like and use, with an easy way to blog right there, they might just do it. This is something libraries could provide…
Maybe these are not earth-shattering things, but it seems to me that I am seeing more and more websites like these. Library websites are already, for the most part, behind the times, and as more of these sites go to more and more personalized interfaces, we don’t want to be another generation behind.
So, anyway, submit your potential question for Mr. Gates (by posting it in a comment on the post) and also take a little tour around FastCompany.com … and my.barakobama.com, if you’re so inclined.
* Don’t get me wrong, I (of course) think you can create for yourself and have a very personalized and meaningful experience on facebook….. but again, that happens when you create a “community” within a “community,” which is what I feel happens within fastcompany.com
So, if you’re a facebook user like I am you probably know about the “status updates” feature.
This is a little section on facebook where you, well, update your status. The status can be funny, sad, serious, a joke, for real, etc. You can change it as often as you want, and it shows when you last “updated your status.”
Here is an example of what my page looks like right now:
However, earlier today my status was “Amy needs to buy a new digital camera!”
Which is true.
Here’s where you find out what your facebook status can do for you…
Quick story. I was in Princeton today to run a program that CJRLC held on Open Source with LibLime’s Nicole Engard. Afterward, I had the pleasure of going to lunch with some colleagues (including Janie). On our walk back to the parking garage, I was talking about how I need to go buy a new camera.
My camera died right in the middle of PLA much to my dismay (hence my desperate status update on facebook). Nicole took out her camera to show it to me because she likes it. All of a sudden I heard a great booming voice shout, “Is there an Amy Kearns here?!”
Turning around, I saw our very own ROBERT LACKIE! (Phew! I was scared there for a moment!) We all had a good laugh and then tried to piece together how he had come to be standing right there behind me!
(No, Robert isn’t a stalker.) Apparently, Robert had been walking in a group not far behind us and someone overheard the part about “need to buy a new camera,” and Robert knew my facebook status stated that. Then they heard the part about “mine died at PLA” …. and Robert knew it had to be a LIBRARIAN who needed a new camera! He connected these things together and determined that I was nearby! ;-)
[As best as I can tell, this is basically what happened. Robert, you are free to contribute to this tale!]
So, you see, your online facebook status can have an effect in the “real” world! I update my facebook status on a fairly regular basis, and I know that sometimes people do notice it and sometimes do send me a message about it, but I usually really just do it for myself in a way. It never occurred to me that someone might actually apply it to the “real” world (which, I suppose can be good or bad, but that’s another post).
This is a silly and small example that didn’t end up having any great consequences (other than the fact that I got to see Robert, have a good laugh, and have everyone see me nearly jump out of my skin upon hearing my name called out like that!)
But, you never know when something like this may happen and have bigger implications.
For example, Nicole added her own story telling us that she once gave a colleague a ride after seeing their facebook status updated as needing a ride and being nearby! Others probably have similar stories of real life encounters with facebook status updates.
I’m always interested and pleased when my “virtual” life and my “real” live overlap. Especially if it means seeing Robert! :-)
So, what will YOUR facebook status do for YOU?