30 June 2009


As a librarians, we don't often have the same gratification as professors. I feel fortunate to work at a small college where I form close relationships with a number of students. But sometimes, they don't come around to share their achievements. And while you see them succeed, our role is often more in the background than front and center.

But sometimes you do have moments when you see someone take something you introduced to them and take off. A close friend and colleague of mine recently did this with blogging. Gary travels a great deal for our college and a few years ago, I encouraged him to start journaling his travels on a blog so that his friends and family could share in his experiences. Who knew that he would take it so deeply to heart. As I read his blog today, while he is galavanting from China to the UAE to Austria to Turkey, I am amazed at how much of the world I see from his posts.

It's wonderful to see so much from so far away through a tool like blogs. And to see someone embrace something so fully as Gary has embraced his blogging. It's a special thing.

17 June 2009

Social Media, Iran, and You

It's an amazing time to be paying attention to social media. Over the last three days, Twitter has been one of the only places where accounts of the protests are coming in. The #iran and #iranelection have been blowing the mainstream media out of the water! People, USERS, are sharing content and building community at an unprecedented rate. All the terms we read about (social media, user generated content, read write web) are typified by this moment.

I can hardly peel my eyes away.

Here are a few articles and blog posts I've been putting into de.licio.us about it:
*The Inquisitor's piece is excellent in giving some context to how social media is over throwing some traditional media outlets.
*Excellent coverage from the New York Times on social media's role. To my mind, they are setting themselves apart with an article like this.
* The Huffington Post is doing great work on their blog. The Post at 2:42 am on 6/17/09 draws an excellent comparison to the Chinese's efforts to quell protest around Tiananmen. My only complaint here is that it is past tense. My excellent friend and mentor, Rob Williams, just returned from three weeks in China during which he and his team of mobile journalists were unable to Tweet, blog, or upload content as the Chinese "celebrated" the anniversary of Tiananmen. Their blog, China Mojo, is well worth reading for a variety of reasons. Check it out.
*Mashable has done an excellent job explaining what's happening on the social media scene and inciting action:
Social media comes fast, and because of that, the information can be overwhelming. Use filters and tools to help you understand what’s happening in real-time. If you’re looking for background on the situation, get yourself up-to-speed using Wikipedia (Iranian presidential elections 2009 and 2009 Iranian election protests are being constantly updated).
Finally, if you want to help bring awareness to the situation, then share! Share the videos you find via Twitter, blog about the situation, email your friends: everybody can play a part in this new media ecosystem.

So share, post, Tweet. This is an exciting moment for social media and a tipping point for the people of Iran.

10 June 2009

What I'd like to see. And you?

As you may know, I am an ACRL Legislative Advocate. I was recently asked to share some of the actions I have taken in the past year and what suggestions I would make. Below is the letter I sent:

As the ACRL Legislative Advocate for VT, I have been in contact with my senators and congressman (we only have one!) a number of times on behalf of ACRL. I have also posted on my blog and Twitter asking people to reach out to their representatives as well. I have also spoken on the phone with aids and staffers at Senator Saunders and Senator Leahy’s office on more than one occasion particularly in regards to Copyright, LSTA, and general support for libraries.

I would love to continue as a Legislative Advocate but I do have a few recommendations for really making this program more effective and targeted to ways that fit ACRL’s mission. Perhaps first and foremost, contextualizing issues in terms of ACRL. While your team has been tremendously supportive and informative, there have been a number of times when I wonder how the steps we are being asked to take impact college and research libraries? Is there a way to make the connection between the goals, needs, and expectations of higher ed libraries and those at the legislative level more explicit?

I would also love to see more active participation of this program in social media outlets. In the age of Obama, social media is a powerful force for engaging our communities (particularly information professionals) around issues and mobilizing. Can we invent a hashtag for ACRL Legislative Advocates on Twitter that allows us to share information more readily? What social media are our representatives paying attention to and how can we leverage our adeptness for technology to make a greater impact? Believe me, I live in a state where I still get a person and a person who is local and interested in what a Vermonter has to say. But I am not sure that is the case in states with larger and broader constituencies.

Finally, is there a way to deepen the community of ACRL Legislative Advocates? I don’t know a single other advocate and while I recognize that there have been a number of opportunities to meet face to face, in a time of slashed budgets, are there ways to connect, brainstorm, and coordinate successfully virtually?

I would be more than happy to discuss these idea with you.
Thank you for this wonderful opportunity and for the excellent work you are doing. I am proud to be a part of this endeavor.

What suggestions might you make for ways ACRL Advocates could engage more fully with our representatives? What ACRL issues do you think need hearing at a higher level? As an advocate, it is my responsibility to put your concerns and issues out on the table. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

08 June 2009

What am I doing this summer

Rudy posted this meme yesterday and I applaud her and anyone else who is posting their projects. But I am going to take a slightly different take on this meme. Rather than write about what I am doing for the Library, Info Lit, or Champlain, here's what I am doing this summer for myself!

* Gardening. I had a terrific conversation with David Silver last week and gardening was one of the topics of that conversation. He has some terrific pics up on Flickr of his garden and he asked me why I don't post more pictures. I didn't have a good answer so I went home and took some on the spot: This is one of our three vegetable beds and this one focuses largely on leafy greens. I am a pretty aggressive gardener and we just finished a terrific weekend in the garden so I will try to post more pics. And thanks, David, for reminding me one of the cardinal rules of blogging: blog the whole you. In the summer, my attention really does shift. I think I spend so much of the school year at my computer, in the classroom, in meetings, and thinking about logistics or lofty thoughts. It's refreshing and wonderful to ground down, to get dirty, and see the results of your labors. Or eat them.

* Reading. I am a voracious reader. Or I used to be. This being a meme, I remember this post into reading a the beginning of the fall semester. Sadly, with all the work I do, my reading has really suffered. NOT ANYMORE. This summer, I am reading. In the garden. I just finished reading Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. And I am now on to Eva Luna by Isabelle Allende. What else is on the list? Here's the stack at the library, waiting to be checked out:

Please notice: this is all reading FOR FUN. I also have a stack of articles and books for the library that I have going. But it is the reading for fun that makes me feel like summer is really here and I am meant to enjoy it.

*Being outside, preferably with Rigi. In case you didn't know, I have a German Shorthaired Pointer named Rigi (pronounced REE-GEE, with a hard G). In the summer, I bring him to the office on occasion. Here he is at work last Friday:
I love how the quiet summer and the relaxed atmosphere at my library allows me to bring him into work with me a bit more. It makes the work day so special. While he does well at the office, this is a dog that is meant to be outside. And I hope to spend as much time with him outside as possible. Burlington is incredible in the summer. Between the Lake, the music that comes to town, the outdoor cafes, and then all the things that take place out on the trails, Rigi and I will be out there enjoying it (with my husband too!).

So, while I have a lot of work to do, I am also focusing on one of the best parts of this time of year: the time to not work. The time to rejuvenate and recharge. So while I'd love to hear about your projects, planning, and preps for the year to come, what else do you have up your sleeves for the summer? What are you doing for yourself?