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NJ State Library is ‘On the Train!’

I’ve just come back from the HRLC Annual Meeting up at the lovely Parsippany-Troy Hills library (I really like the library’s “opening doors to the world” logo and mission). I went as an employee of an HRLC member library, and as the Chair of the HRLC Technology Committee, and also as a representative from the NJLA Member Services Committee. This is the first year I’ve been able to attend the annual meeting and I have to say it was great!

Norma Blake, the State Librarian, was there sharing about the State Library and what it’s up to and where it’s going. I just want to quickly share that everything that Norma talked about was very exciting and really “on track” from my perspective of what libraries in NJ need.

(Apologies if I’ve gotten anything incorrect here or misrepresent anything – please put me straight anyone if so!)

This presentation was similar (though much shorter) to the one presented at NJLA last month by the State Library and seemed very focused and more specific. It was also clearly influenced by the Futures Conference which was what I was so excited to see!

I heard things that came directly out of the conference such as the fact that they will have a position for Urban and Adult services – they already have teen services and now they want to focus on the needs of urban libraries and of the needs of the increasingly older population – Norma specifically said they will be working with Americans for Libraries Council which was what Mary Catherine Bateson spoke about when she did her presentation on “active wisdom,” and the importance of the relationships and value that the older generations bring, and their worth and place in society. It was also what the demography program showed us – the boomers are getting older (sorry guys!) and they are a large population! Clearly, the State Library is paying attention and responding!

Norma shared that they are “reworking” some positions – since they can’t afford to just create and hire new people. For example, Peggy Cadigan’s role is going to evolve into an “Innovations” position where she will be a member of a futures group and attend conferences and meetings about the future that are held by not just libraries and librarians, but by other fields too so that we will know what’s ahead “down the pike” not just for us, but in other areas – areas and things that will certainly impact upon us! VERY exciting – for Peggy and for NJ libraries and librarians!

They are also going to have a Technologies position and want to create a help desk and have assistance available for libraries. This is all of course in addition to the great marketing and pr work they are doing, the other initiatives and efforts they are pursuing. This is by no means a comprehensive list!

I also think the idea of creating pilot projects in each region to demonstrate the value for the constituents is great – the pilot projects also aim to attract new users.

I spoke to Norma during the break to tell her that I am very excited by everything she talked about – she even has a plan for how to proceed following the Futures Conference! The New Jersians who attended the conference will be meeting up for an “After the Futures” meeting to continue to talk about what we heard and saw and brainstorm how specifically to proceed in NJ. From this brainstorming meeting we will see what ideas shake out and then we will invite input from all and develop some plans around the ones that get the most support.

I am really excited (did I say that already?) to see ACTIONS coming out of the Futures Conference – after all, it was called Imagination to Transformation, and transforming requires action! I am really happy to see the State Library taking a strong, specific leadership role for the future of library service in New Jersey!

There was more of course, and the Strategic Plan for the Highlands Regional Library Cooperative was shared and voted on – awards were given out and food was had! Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to take any photos what with manning the Member Services station and attending the meeting, but I left there feeling very energized! Hopefully we will find out more about all of these things soon!

P.S. You can now blog and read about reactions to the Futures Conference on that blog and there is a new flickr page for the photos! I also see a video posted with Peggy in it but I haven’t viewed it yet! Still looking around for those slides from the presentations though ….

May 17, 2007 at 4:26 pm

Twittering about Second Life

Monday I got this e-mail from my director:

Those of us at the Futures conference heard about the increasing rate of change
and how technology is central to it. So, do any of you read the Sunday Star
Ledger? If you do, did you notice the articles on pages 2 and 3 of the first
section (not buried somewhere) – Twitter and Second Life. When things like this
become news that’s prominently placed, you HAVE to sit up and take notice.

True, this past Sunday’s Star Ledger carried articles about Twitter and Second Life (actually, there were two about Second Life, there was also this one). Well those are the ones I found online, I didn’t actually see the print paper.

While I’m certainly not a “Twitter celebrity” I have discovered that Twittering is kinda’ fun. The first time I heard about it I thought it was ridiculous and didn’t even sign up for it – even though I am a major “joiner”! ;-) However, when a friend invited me to join and be his friend, I did it and then found out that getting little messages about what he was doing was kinda neat and fun. Then I added another friend. It also became fun to post little tidbits about what I was doing (you are limited to 140 characters). I am by no means “addicted” or “obsessed,” but it is fun.

The article calls Twitter a “booming new social networking site,” “micro-blogging,” “addictive and may just be the future of communication.” People are using it to find like-minded friends and connections without all the “noise” of MySpace. Especially funny tweets become popular and their posters gain visibility.

One day when I checked the public timeline I saw people posting to each other who were at some kind of conference and checking-in to say when/where/what they were doing – making plans about where to meet up and when to eat, etc….

At the Futures Conference Ray Kurzweil talked about things doubling very quickly. Well, according to one of the founders of Twitter, its users are doubling every three weeks!

Check out Twitter Map and Twitterholic if you’re into it.

As for Second Life, the first article offers a sort of “travel guide” to it with tips and a warning that “sex is everywhere,” hence the second article about someone offering child pornography there.

Again, I am not a big user of Second Life. I did eventually sign up but have only been “virtual” once. I just fumbled and stumbled around and ended up getting stuck on a fence somewhere. However, Second Life has more than 6 million registered participants (according to the article) and I have seen some interesting things on useful applications and results from Second Life. Of course, there is a library there and many “real world” things take place there – concerts, buying and selling, advertising, building or creating things, meet people, own land, etc..

Maybe I should give it another try. If anyone knows how to get off that darn fence in Second Life, Twitter me!

May 15, 2007 at 8:36 am 6 comments

Change and Growth – Amendment

Immediately after I posted that bit about “Change is inevitable. Growth is optional,” right before the Futures Conference, I realized it needed an amendment. It needed me to add that I am such a hypocrite!

I am a huge advocate of using “2.0” things for libraries – blogs, wikis, podcasts, etc… and not being AFRAID of CHANGE and of doing some different things. And here I am, NOT blogging really! I posted that post and then went off to take a shower and it was there that I realized that I have to admit and face up to MY fears and issues if I am going to be talking to others about CHANGE – FEAR – GROWTH and their issues.

My fear is of not being perfect; not being good enough – liked – accepted; etc…. That is why I have been avoiding blogging. This is a true soul-baring admission. I want to blog. I often think of things to blog. Yet, I allow my fears to hold me back.

Well, no more! I am realizing my fears, admitting them, and challenging them. Just as I want to be able to challenge everyone else to do! So, as I go forth and blog and challenge you (hopefully) you can know that I do so with a clear conscious having admitted this and having started to face my own fears!

At the conference Robert said to me that people appreciate honesty and that’s what is most important. Well, consider yourselves warned . . .

[Thanks to Robert and Pete for discussions surrounding this topic at the conference! It helped a lot!]

May 10, 2007 at 6:00 pm 16 comments

Library Futures Conference – some resources

Wow! How will I get the TIME to deal with all that happened at the Futures Conference? Time was one of the major themes throughout the conference: Time is “speeding up,” we have a “distorted sense” of time; etc…

Some of the other themes were:
Change (of course)
People – we need to focus on, not just books, information, etc.
Reflection – people need space/time to reflect on all the amazing experiences that new technologies allow us to have – the library could be the perfect place for that!
(I’ll add more later)

I am eager to get some of my notes and thoughts out there – I think Pete’s first post did a great job of capturing the “library spaces” program and I hope he’ll share more of his notes!

For now, here are a few resources, b/c I am eagerly awaiting the posting of all the presentations, podcasts, information etc. from the conference:

Ray Kurzweil’s site
Bob Treadway’s site
Joan Frye William’s site
Mary Catherine Bateson’s site

Those are the only ones I can put up quickly – I really can’t wait until all the materials are made available so that they may be shared as widely as possible with those who were not able to attend.

I also really love when different things start to “come together.” I found these things last night and they really relate to the conference:

Pushing Through The Dip and this via Helene Blowers on flickr
Google’s trend watch
Learning 2.0 Throughout the World and
Spring into Learning 2.0

Actually, I think all of those resulted originally from me looking at Helene Blowers’ flickr site!

I have already had to create a “futures” folder for myself for all the things that have been flying around today already as a result of the conference! That is probably one mark of an excellent conference!

May 10, 2007 at 2:39 pm

The Future’s So Bright . . .

Robert’s here!
Pete’s here!
Lots of friendly, happy, familiar NJ librarians are here! And lots of happy, friendly and not-yet-familiar out-of-state librarians are here!

The wireless here in The Borgata seems to be great in some places and not-so-great in others, despite the promise of free wi-fi all over the hotel! Tomorrow I have to conduct a webinar from here and I have finally secured a location but now need to confirm decent Internet access (more on that later).

The first session here was already inspiring – I went to Salvador Avila’s presentation (I believe many presentations and even podcasts and information is to be made available on the Palinet site) and already, from that session, I was invited to take part in some “brainstorming” for a project – however, I had previously arranged a brainstorming lunch with Pete so I’ll have to be brought up to speed on their brainstorms later on!

There’s tons of brainpower here! I started that post this morning at 9am and couldn’t get enough good online time to justify running my battery on the laptop down, so I took hand-written notes and will post those tomorrow – it’s 12:35am! – so that is today, I guess! I would have done it earlier tonight but I was very good and attended my online class from 7-9pm!

I have already posted my first set of photos on flickr - I’m exhausted though so more from my notes tomorrow!

[Note to Pete and self - we forgot to talk specifically about CLENE!]

May 7, 2007 at 8:22 am 4 comments

Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone who is going at The Futures Conference Monday and Tuesday!

I’m really excited that NJ is participating in this conference. To me it is a strong indication that librarians in NJ want to be at the forefront of things as time goes by. For too long we have been playing catch-up and have been behind. Thankfully, there are many librarians who have been stepping up to get up to speed and then sharing what they know with others, but we will all need to prepare ourselves as much as possible so that libraries and library services, and librarians, will hold their places of great value and importance in their communities and to society.

Things will continue to change and progress – of that we can be sure.

Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.
I saw that someplace recently and it really, really strikes me and stands out to me as the motto we should all adopt at this very transitional time! Change is difficult and can be traumatic. But it is going to happen whether we want it to or not; whether we like it or not; whether we try to stand still and let it roll over us; or we embrace it and hop on for the ride!

I think we should all just admit that change is scary and difficult – share the fears we have and understand that just because we may be afraid of something, that doesn’t make it bad or wrong or dangerous. Admit it and talk about it. Face it head-on and in the open – help each other to deal with the anxieties and concerns it can bring. Pretending change and fear and anxiety don’t exist can result in unnecessarily overly negative reactions to new ideas and suggestions.

In fact, of course, things have already changed and we have been behind the curve. I’m so glad we’re catching up now and having a futures conference is a great way to be more forward-thinking rather than backward-looking. I’m very eager to listen, think and talk about what will be happening in the future, not just in libraries, but in all areas, and how these things will impact us as librarians.

I’m looking forward to all the conversations that will result.

May 6, 2007 at 3:46 pm

5 Things I learned @ Conference

5 Things I learned @ Conference

  • Helene Blowers is sooooooooooooooooooooooo cool!
  • Running the NJLA Podcasting Station w/IT was even more fun this time around!
  • If you’re going to ask a speaker to come to said NJLA Podcasting Station, it’s best to be prepared, or they might just walk away!
  • If you go to a luncheon at Ocean Place, don’t order the vegetarian meal (or so I heard).
  • Pete is a snappy dresser!

    PETE!

If you went to conference and want to share “5 Things” on your blog then, “Tag, you’re It!”

April 27, 2007 at 3:41 pm

Conference Swag!

Hello! The ‘gardeners are just back from the NJLA Conference, and what a wonderful conference it was!!! (And some of us are off to another conference – The Mid-Atlantic Library FUTURES Conference, May 7th and 8th at The Borgata in AC!)

I don’t know about anyone else, but I sure have a lot of stuff, or swag, from it! Plenty of free pens, notepads, lanyards (even flip flops – really!) abounded in the exhibit hall from the vendors.

And, of course, t-shirts!

Well, if you have too many t-shirts, here’s a fantastic thing to do with them! My friend Beth Cackowski (go NJLA IT Section!) reminded me about a book called Generation T: 108 Ways to Transform a T-Shirt, by Megan Nicolay.

I had seen this author on one of the morning shows once – Martha Stewart I think actually!

Check out this book and, voila! there you have it – something to do with all those free conference t-shirts!

  • Make it into a skirt!
  • A bikini!
  • Turn a regular t-shirt into a tank or tube top!
  • A handbag!
  • iPod cozy!
  • Leg warmers!
  • and more…………. (yes these are all real patterns in the book)!

I’m so glad Beth reminded me of that and I am passing the tip along to you! If you actually DO turn any of your conference t-shirts (or any other t-shirts) into something else, let us know! Beth was wise enough to choose t-shirts in larger sizes so she would have ultimate playing-around room with them!

However, I myself will not be taking scissors to my beautiful purple SUPER LIBRARIAN shirt!

April 27, 2007 at 2:13 pm

Friday Fun!

This really has nothing to do with libraries, but I found it amusing… and it is interactive between an agency and the public, which is social and so sort of related to my interests in social software and technology and libraries…. and, anyway, it’s Friday, so… check this out:

You can vote on which Star Wars character will have his/her/their/its own sheet of stamps! You can vote once a day and you can vote for different characters each time. I’m not a big Star Wars fan even, but I have been having fun voting and I’m leaning toward Yoda myself!

Apparently, the USPS hasn’t been too keen on getting the public’s input in the past – according to the site, this is only the second time in history that fans will make the decision about which stamp will be issued.

The choice is in your hands. Time is running out.

April 20, 2007 at 11:15 am 6 comments

I’m off to see the conference…

It’s that time of year: The NJLA Conference!

The conference is one of my very favorite things! Last year was the first year that I found myself “behind the scenes” and I had the best time! I experienced the conference in a completely different way and got just as much, though different, things out of it! I had attended a few years prior to that strictly as an “attendee,” but last year, due to my involvement on the NJLA Information Technologies Section, and the NJLA Member Services Committee, I found myself much more involved.

I spent a lot of time welcoming people at the Hospitality Table – boy, that was fun! And a lot of time at the Podcasting Station, which was also fun and very exciting!

I hope you’ll stop by either one of those places, or both, if you’re coming to conference….

I’ll also be blogging the conference here for NJLA (really, I WILL! Which I intend to use to get back into blogging and stop being so lame!) so check it out! Really!

I hope to get to at least SOME of the programs – I am especially excited about:

  • Of course, the IT and YA Programs, particularly Cool Tools and Just Push Play! with Steve Garwood; Let’s Mambo at the Library, with Robert P. Rynkiewicz; and Harness the power of Social Software @ Your Library, with Liz Burns and Sophie Brookover!
  • Our own Janie L. Hermann will be presenting 15 Fantastic Freebies in 50 Minutes, which I’m sure is going to be packed!
  • And, especially the Helen Blowers presentations, Core Competencies, Core Values in the Era of Library 2.0 and Discovering Library 2.0 (Can you tell I’m a little bit tech-oriented!?)!

Gosh, I hope I can get to everything! That is usually the only criticism I hear and feel about the conference – too many good programs competing against each other in the same time slots!

One more invite: Lynn Schott and I will be hosting “Lunch Buddies” again at the conference – if you want people to eat lunch with, we’ll be gathering people at the Hospitality Table – so come see us!

April 20, 2007 at 10:44 am

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