But, of Course, J'adore Libraries, Mon Amie

A colleague posted this link from All Things Mothering and I can't help but agree. Especially about the water. So true...and it's magical too!

Image: 'What’s cooler than being cool?'  http://www.flickr.com/photos/31246066@N04/4345271118
Found on flickrcc.net


#MakeItHappen But Don't Implode

Meredith Farkas in her most recent American Libraries column really encourages to people to #MakeItHappen. That Twitter hashtag, first invented by  librarian J. P. Porcaro, is, to quote Farkas, "a rallying cry for librarians new to the profession to let go of whatever is keeping them from taking professional risks and creating change".  It got me thinking - alot, because I will be part of a panel with two other librarians (well into our careers) who make it happen all the time. Our presentation focuses on achieving professional and personal balance despite unbelievable commitments.

Farkas discusses that old "pay your dues" and don't step on toes approach to library work giving way to a model that invites young librarians to push the envelope. I love it.  But librarians in all stages of their careers need to push that envelope. Lots of people have great ideas and passion and pour it on.

But in that passionate pursuit of awesome, how do we stay balanced?  When I was a fresh young thing I would have killed to be as over-committed as I am now - connected through professional associations, social media, email, blogs, the internet; spreading the good word through workshops, consulting and now as an online associate lecture at my alma mater...oh yeah and working 45-50 hour weeks.

Back in the day, when I was single, I was partying hard and that DID take up a bit of time. I was breaking into professional association work - running for office and losing often - but still serving on committees.  I had time and lots of it. I'm sure it's because it was a pre-internet time and the fact that I lived in a pretty isolated area (I'm back here again as an old guy and don't feel that isolation at all which speaks volumes about how the web and social media has lifted us from feeling disconnected) along with the fact that I felt 30 years ago I had to wait and "pay my dues" that I didn't grab that brass ring.

I stopped waiting about twenty years ago and have never looked back. It's been great fun to plunge in and make change happen in youth librarianship - in my own job; in our state and nationally.  By throwing my hat in unreservedly; paying my own association dues and networking with others to produce change &  persuading people about the importance of new ideas and initiatives, I, my community and my colleagues have all benefitted. The gestalt is so fun, I can barely say no to stuff so I need to keep it balanced as I #makeithappen.

I have lots of ideas for that panel on how that balance happens. I asked the ALA Think Tank on Facebook what ideas they wanted to share and after 40 comments, the suggestions keep rolling in: sleep, exercise; eat well; prioritize; drink adult beverages; focus; plan; delegate; carve out time for family; meditate; laugh; focus on the positive and more. I think that for me being passionate about my work life, my home life and my play life #makesithappen. Stay tuned for more after the program presentation!

Image: '. . . . .'  http://www.flickr.com/photos/52122658@N00/2375204702 Found on flickrcc.net


Librarian Stereotypes - Myth Busting

Stephen Abrams shared Kelly Allen's (a Texas University LIS student) Prezi on the depiction of librarians in picture books.  We recently did some youth librarian myth-naming and myth-busting in an online graduate course I'm teaching.  Allen's observations and the illustrations chosen are an interesting eye-opener when you consider this is what our clientele is seeing!


Aaaargh! Five Years Old! Aaargh-some!

I'm celebrating Talk Like a Pirate Day today - and the blog's fifth anniversary! 

What a fast year - hard to believe it's already time to celebrate such an argh-picious occasion!  When I looked back last year, it was with amazement and surprise at how the blog has grown.  Only a year later, and the pageviews for the blog have gone up over to 83,000 views (from 32,000 over the first four years!). That astounds me.

Thank mateys for sticking with the blog and being part of my library family online. It means the world. Now back to plank-walking!

Image: 'http://www.flickr.com/photos/95492938@N00/3519678477   Found on flickrcc.net


Who Are You Really?

Kelly over at Stacked recently wrote a post on authenticity and blogging that perked me up. She spends time exploring why we blog, how to be true to yourself and your voice and how to let the outside clamor stay outside while you follow your own path. Putting pressure on yourself about how you blog, how frequently or what your content is leads away from authenticity.

Her thoughts resonate with me. I have heard many bloggers over the last few months feeling publicly bad about not blogging enough or feeling like they are being neglectful. I always chalk this up to the pressure of summer reading months. No matter how swell things are, these months are very intense and take the creative juice right out of you. It's tempting to put just anything up on the blog to let people know you aren't dead - yet.

But I find that lack of posts from bloggers I follow doesn't bother me. I know life happens. And when they return with a post it is often thoughtful and something they feel passionate about - it is authentic in a way that those who post frequently rarely reach.

I tell myself that as I go through dry periods too (sometimes I must speak sternly to me).  I write what I care about. I write what I believe in.  But there is a special children's librarian muse who simply must visit me first.  The blog waits for me to hear the muse and write. And I hope my readers will as well.

Image: 'Incognitohttp://www.flickr.com/photos/22074118@N00/997415862 Found on flickrcc.net


I Want to Tell You a Story

We have a favorite partnership in our community. It's with our La Crosse Storyelling Festival.  As part of my job, I represent the library on the planning committee for this annual festival, held the first weekend after Labor Day for over 800 avid storytelling fans. The festival features tellers from our local guild, from the state and national tellers.

The library began as a partner years ago by sponsoring children's crafts during breaks in the children's tent storytelling. When I started work at the library four years ago, the fest steering committee asked me to serve on their board - they are all storytelling colleagues that I had known for years in my storytelling circles. Our library wants library staff to serve, on library time, on local organizations and boards (Rotary, Jaycees, Optimists, Earth Day planning committee) so this fit right in with the library goals. And it was storytelling. As a free lance storyteller, it was a great fit!

As a board member, I've been able to work on behalf of the festival - but also on the library's behalf.  I look for ways to make our contribution meaningful and to highlight the library beyond having our logo displayed. The library now co-sponsors the Friday night spooky tales. I host the evening as the "Wizard of Reading" and get to plug the library and reading.  Anyone who shows their library card gets $3 off their admission. The library, pays the difference - we consider it part of our programming.

The Saturday craft area that we sponsor has mellowed into an activity area with one or two book-related activities (bookmark making, writing or drawing activities) and a space for reading and books.  I also do storytelling in the children's tent off and on during the afternoon. It's also a great chance to spend time with folks who are regular library users, chatting about their thoughts on the library;  promote our services to non- and new- users and be there for support of literacy through storytelling.

So the twelve and fourteen hour days I work at the festival are about as fun as they can be for work hours. And the partnership between storytelling and the library...well, it's perfect.


Ooooh, Got It!

Finding ideas is always a challenge. I love checking up on my blog roll of buddies; trolling through Pinterest; seeing what my peeps have to say on pubyac; keeping half an eye on my twitter feed - all for that "Aha!" moment. The other day, Amy over at The Show Me Librarian shared more great spots for ideas that I had never seen.  Thank you Amy!

Any other tips for inspiration out there? What are we all missing?