Monday, January 25, 2010

My day in libraryland

This is part of the Library Day in the Life Project.

Before I got into work, I dropped off my son (Mr. 9) at his elementary school. Normally, I would read my email as soon as I get into work about 9:00am, but not today. When I was at the
Physical Society Publishers Oversight Committee meeting last week, the hard drive of my laptop crashed. When I got into work today, I decided to wait a little while to use a different PC to get to my email.

Our reference office is getting renovated, so we needed to clear out everything so that new cubicles with doors can be installed. Because I will not be at work for most of this week, I needed to finish the bulk of the move today. For over an hour, I moved many, many boxes, files, folders, books and other material to our reference conference room. At about 10:15, I talked to some people in our systems office to deliver the dead laptop, and to see if they had any advice. I dropped off two books that I needed to return to the circulation desk. I read most of The Case for Books by Darnton, but I didn't get a chance to read this one. From 10:30-11:00am, I hopped on a computer to read my email.

The Director of the DU LIS Program asked me to teach the Science and Technology Reference class (LIS4375) during the Spring Quarter on Tuesday nights instead of during the Summer Quarter. I had to pass that by my better half, and we approved of the change. I should be able to get more students that way. I was also told by a different colleague that I needed to have an updated CV on file. I told her that I could get it done by early February. I am preparing to go to the SLA Leadership Summit on Wednesday morning, so I just don't have time at the moment to update my CV. That will simply have to wait a little bit.

While I was reading my email, another colleague told me that the Dean and Director of the Libraries (my boss, Nancy Allen), wanted to get an update of the Multimodal pilot project. She recommended that a group of the reference librarians meet with the Writing Instructors (the ones who are teaching the multimodal classes) to make sure that our services are working out ok for their students. Eventually, one of the Writing Center staff said that we should wait to meet at the end of the quarter (Mid-March).

I also chair the Scholarly Communications and Open Access (SCOA) task force. We have a meeting tomorrow to try to finish up a draft of a PowerPoint presentation for the Dean and Director, since she will be speaking to the Faculty Senate about scholarly communication issues in February. I let the task force know that the meeting location needed to be changed.

From 11:00am till 1:00pm, I was scheduled in the "Research Help Center". Last year, we split the Reference desk in half. The front "Research Help" desk is staffed by graduate students, and they handle the quick questions. If someone has a more difficult question, the person is referred to the consultation room where the reference librarians can spend more time help the student with their research one-on-one. Today, I had a tough question on a quote concerning Shakespeare. After about 30 minutes of digging, we found that the quote was in this book, page 258.

My shift was done at 1:00pm, but a graduate student (Hi Natalie) asked me to post something to the RMSLA discussion list concerning a resume & interview workshop. So, I stayed on the computer to post that message. From about 1:20-1:40, I had lunch.

I had a Website Redesign Task Force meeting from 2:00-3:30pm. We are preparing for the external launch of the beta version of the new library website (and some new blogs) on February the 9th. After that meeting was done, I registered Mr. 9 for PASS Camp for a week in August.

I also worked on some other email. I found out that my hard drive might be dead dead. (I wonder when the last time I did a full backup was?...) Had some more back-n-forths concerning the multimodal pilot project. I let the SCOA task force know that a chapter from The Case for Books book is online. The chapter on "Open Access" was reprinted from The Crimson. Dr. Darnton presented his thoughts to the faculty at Harvard, and I would like the DU Faculty Senate to hear something along the same lines when Nancy Allen speaks to them in February.

I printed out some information about the SLA Leadership Summit, and I made sure that I had good seats in the plane to and from St. Louis. I thought a little more about how I might talk about the success of the STELLA Unconference to some of the SLA members at the Summit.

At the end of the day, I turned on my FriendFeed channel to see what was being discussed by librarians in and around the LSW group. Mary Carmen really brightened the end of a really long day for me.

Then I drove home.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Library Day in the Life Project

Yup, I signed up for it. Now, I just have to remember to record some/most/all of my day on January 25th. That should be a pretty typical workday for me. What the heck am I talking about? Bobbi Newman is the inspiration...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Draft Intro speech for STELLA

Hi Everyone,

[Should I yell STELLLLLLLLAAAAAAAA?] I don't know.

First, I would like to thank everyone who is here. We have some people who traveled a long distance to get to this unconference. There are people from Maine, NYC, California, Canada, Florida, etc. I would also like to really thank Jill and Jeffra for being co-organizers.

Thanks to the financial sponsors.

As you know, there are a lot of science and engineering librarian groups, but most of them are tied to larger organizations, such as PAM, ST, the Engineering Division (and others) within SLA. Then there is STS within ACRL within ALA. There is the Engineering Libraries Division (ELD) within ASEE. Then there is MLA, and ASIS&T, and some others. There is no single place for science and engineering librarians to hangout. With social software and loose networks of people (such as the LSW here, here and here), librarians can organize without the organization. [Mention Clay Shirky and his book here.]

Don't get me wrong, I really like the SLA (I am the Chair-Elect of the ST Division) and the other organizations with their diverse membership, but I also wish there was an organization that just had science and engineering librarians. Maybe this could be it?

Who has attended an unconference before? Even if you have, this one might be different than the others, and that is ok. Here is some background material. The basic idea was documented (in this PDF) by Kathryn Greenhill and Constance Wiebrands in Australia.

"Unconferences are gatherings of people united by a passion, where the content and structure of the day is driven by the participants. An unconference is often facilitated using the Open Spaces Technology model. This uses the four flow principles:
• Whoever comes are the right people
• Whatever happens is the only thing that could have
• Whenever it starts is the right time
• When it's over, it's over"

Let me repeat. If we end up having 40 or 60 people attending instead of 75 or 80, that is OK. If a session runs late or finishes early, that is OK. If a digital projector explodes, and the Internet is fluky, and you need to improvise in a session, that is OK.

Note: Remember the Law of Two Feet: if you’re in a session that you’re not interested in, feel free to leave and join another session in progress. This is your unconference -- not DU's, not Joe's, Jill's, Jeffra's or Bob's -- make it what you want.

Second, I would like to thank some people who were not able to come. These are the people who gave me the inspirational spark. They are Meredith Farkas [see her column in American Libraries and the stuff on her blog (This post was the bomb for me)], Steve Lawson, Laura Crossett, Joshua Neff, and many others in the LSW. See this presentation for more info. Explain more about what the Library Society of the World is and their policies.

In addition to Here Comes Everybody, Some other good books are from Tara Hunt who wrote The whuffie factor: using the power of social networks to build your business, and Don Tapscott (and Anthony D. Williams) with Wikinomics: how mass collaboration changes everything and Grown up digital: how the net generation is changing your world.

Third. What's up with the name STELLA? Well, a lot of science librarians know the acronym STEM, and if I wanted to start a new library organization, I didn't want the acronym starting with STEML... But, if I dropped the M, then we would have STEL. Hummmmm, how about STELLA, but then what should the second L and the A be? As I was trying to sleep one night in December of 2008, I thought -- "Library Leaders in Action" -- sure, that will make a great Acronym!

Thanks to Stella Ota for letting us to use her first name.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Mini book review -- Love is the Killer App

I just finished reading most of Love is the Killer App. I thought about writing a good long review of the book, but then I figured, there are already 144+ reviews out there on it, why bother. The book came out in 2002, and it seems like it was way ahead of its time. This was written before social networking services came into vogue, and he (the author, Tim Sanders) advocated radical sharing of business ideas and thoughts -- gasp, even with competitors.

I liked his idea of jotting many notes about a book within the book. I don't know if I will do that, but I might jot more notes down in different spots to jog my memory of the gist of the books I read. It seemed strange that he doesn't like magazines or newspaper articles on business topics. Perhaps he is just reading the wrong magazines, journals and newspapers... He likes to hand out lots of hardback books to colleagues as gifts. But, I would guess that more and more people today would prefer gift certificates so they can get an ebook version. It is the thought and the love that counts.

As a librarian, I think I could always share my love and compassion with my coworkers and my patrons a little bit more. Maybe I will make that an unofficial new years resolution.