On the Road to LITA Forum

Today, I am getting ready to leave for LITA Forum. Leaving the house for a couple days and leaving Mr. Rochester, The Bairn, and The Dogs behind means a lot of extra preparation for me. I will leave them food and water so they should all be alive when I return, I hope.

I will be presenting on how to use the unconference concept for staff training. It should be interesting and very hands-on, so I hope if you are going to Atlanta for the conference, you will swing by Saturday afternoon.

Safe travels, LITA folks!


Notes from UnALA10

These are my notes on the presentations given during the Unconference at ALA. Here is how they came into being:

As a large group (we had over 50 participants!), we brainstormed trending topics in libraries. Topics generated during this ranged from the digital divide to services in libraries. Then, each person was able to vote 5 times for the topics they found the most interesting. They were able to use their votes in whatever manner they liked, all 5 for one, spread out or not at all. The top 8 made the final list and from there, we ended up with 6 groups.

The groups then had one hour to create a 7 minutes or less presentation, in the format of their choosing. Each group presented to the larger group after one hour.

The conversations that the groups had at their tables were wonderful. It was fun to observe and listen.

Below are my notes from the presentations. Each group’s topic is in bold:

Service in libraries
trending and service in libraries
pump it yourself (as in gas) generation – older who do not use technology and do not like it
mobile reference and things online – younger generations
the people that want the things online are the people driving the trend
checkout is going to go away, that is not the word, access is the word
library as place is still a thing that matters – people still want to do that
unique programming happens in libraries and this brings in different users
children’s services are more traditional and this has not changed much
literature services on the other side of the digital divide
we still have books
Book Well – librarians trained to use books as a healing process (I was unable to find the link. I think it is in Australia?)

Web Usability, Next Gen websites
single search interfaces
requires a change in thinking from catalog vs database
need info from proprietary databases
does not always return the best resources
librarians hate it student love it – shallow searches
branding and various flavors available
high transaction costs means no availability – hard to get to resources behind closed doors
Ex. XC Extensible Catalog, Summon, Follet One Search, WorldCat Local, EBSCO Discovery service
search indexes
pushing data out
The Newberry Library – pushing geographical information out with digital collections, using local history and adding the places onto
resources are too fragmented in too many places so do we need to gather them to one place or push them out to more places

SWOT – Library Viability

Space – the library is a space in the community
Why – complacency, bureaucracy, lack of staff
Threats – poor management/leadership, areas of change/fear of change, budget/funding, lack of community awareness
Opportunities – marketing, advocacy (we do not always do well but they are things that we have to do), better operating models and standing up to publishers that are causing price problems for libraries, digital resources, community outreach

One of the participants turned their computer into a big timer to keep the groups on time. I love unconferences

You Be the Change
how do we deal with staff,colleagues and the PUBLIC that are resistance to change
asking some people to change is like a natural disaster to them and then you are dealing with the unknown
tips for dealing with change
proactive vs reactive – be thinking about the future and not what we did not what we did in the past. There will always be change victims, figure out how to work with them and how to make them feel valued
Get data to support the change
take initiative – do not wait for someone else to do it
build relationships
what are the needs of people in the org
be flexible if you are the change agent
your attitude – be positive
mentor – having a mentor in your org or not that will support you through the process
Training opportunities – synthesizing new knowledge
Time – it takes time
You be the change, you can be the change, it takes, time, effort, persistent. Sometimes you are so close to the change that you can not see it, the forest for the trees, so remember to occasionally step back and see what is going on.
Good question on when you get rid of/fire people who do not get on board with changes.. govt agencies always have malcontents, part of performance reviews
q – have a list of shared values, find the motivators for different actors in the conflict, find the contribution that individuals are making to the org especially if they are resistors
conversations are important – talking AND listening with intent

Digital Divide – avoiding the #epicfail

this group had a presentation on the computer but we have a technology fail and they are going “analog style” and using their notes
information literacy
access to technology
interpersonal interaction
online vs f2f
generations compressing in staff and users
They ask the group what their libraries have done to bridge some of the divide
checking out laptops – in the library
tried to give an 84 yr old Nook and did not like it bc of packaging, feel of books, liked buying used books
in India – costs of textbooks issue for students, small loans for students to buy books, FlatWorldKnowledge, company that makes books available for students in multiple formats
circ Kindles

Finding, Getting, and Keeping Library Jobs

be open minded about your future including looking beyond the word library and librarianship
don;t fear the job description
RSS feeds, websites, job boards, but most people get jobs through people so do that as much as possible
Getting the job
be a good presenter of yourself
network, know people, communicate with others
move out of your comfort zone – be flexible about your job
frame what you have done to get what you want, frame it for the job
interview well
Keeping the job
holding something back to avoid burnout
get a mentor, they’re awesome
politics – learn how to deal with them well
get involved with a bog project, complete small and and keep them moving forward
be versatile in what you do, do not say, “this isn’t in my job description”
awesome, they sang a song!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

–Jane, has some new things to think about, thanks unala peeps!

Unala is now a morning only event… and you can still come

All my posts these days seem to be about the unconference at ALA. I am hoping to remedy that, tomorrow.

For possibly several reasons, the unconference at ALA has low registration numbers, compared to last year. Perhaps the largest reason is that Friday, and honestly every day at Annual, is packed with many, many great things with which you can fill your schedule. Setting aside an entire day for an event can be hard for many people. I also think that the unconference was not as high profile this year, not being an officially sponsored President’s Program. Whatever the reason, registration remained low and Sean and I decided to have a half day event instead.

We did not want to cancel the unconference altogether, we like the idea and the concept too much (I wrote a book about it for the love of chaos). We decided that with the handful of people coming, 21 plus volunteers at this juncture, we would shift the format and reduce the time. The unconference will now be held Friday, June 25, 2010 from 9am-Noon in 207A at the Washington Convention Center.

It is my hope that a morning only unconference will also draw in a few more people. If you hesitated to sign up for an all day event, please come join us for this new half day extravaganza.

We have a new format as well. Unless a participant comes up with something better (you never know at an unconference), the day will consist of the large group brainstorming trending topics in libraries, choosing the top 5 topics, dispersing into smaller groups, and then creating on the fly Pecha Kucha presentations. It will be a time to meet new people, learn new things, and share ways to make libraries and our profession better.

–Jane, everyone wants to change the world

Come unala With Us

Something that has the potential to be the most exciting and fun thing happening at ALA Annual this year still has a lot of spaces for people to attend. And it is a free event. And if you come, you will have a large say in what happens, what we talk about, and how what is shared in a few short hours could change the world.

Don’t you want to change the world?

Come to the Unconference at ALA Annual. Sean came up with the theme for the day: the theme is the number 9, the homophone for long lasting in Chinese. Long lasting friendships and long lasting impacts upon the library community.

Last year was fun, but this year could be better. We are mixing it up with flash debates, Pecha Kecha presentations, and a fishbowl at the end of the day. We are also in the conference center so there should be no wifi issues.

If you are looking at your schedule for Annual and thinking it needs some zip, some inspiration, or some fun, sign up to find all three Friday, June 25, 2010 from 9am-4:30pm.

By the way, if you have to duck out for lunch plans or have to miss part of the day, sign up anyway and indicate that you will be gone for part of the day.

–Jane, only you know the best way to save the world, come tell others about it

unala10 Registration Opens May 24th!

Another (Un)Official announcement!

ALA Unconference 2010 or unala10 will be Friday, June 25, 2010 from 9am-4:30pm in room 207A at the Washington Convention Center.

Registration for the ALA Unconference will open on May 24, 2010 at 10am EST/ 9am CST.Registration will be limited to 100 people this year. Once there are 100 people on the list, there will be a waiting list. Last year we were able to get everyone in on the waiting list, so do not be too discouraged if you end up on the secondary list.

The schedule this year will include 9×9 Greetings, Pecha Kucha presentations, Flash Debates, a Fishbowl, and group discussion times whose facilitation style will be decided by the group engaging in them.

You do not want to miss this day of creativity, sharing, and planning to change the world.

Sean, my partner in chaos for this event, will be the Man Behind the Curtain during registration. If you have questions or problems, he is the man with the power. I will be drinking beer in Amsterdam.

–Jane, proost to unconferences everywhere

unala10 (Un)Official Call for Volunteers

Can there be official announcements for an unevent? Perhaps.

Mark your calenders, oh you lovers of chaos and fun. ALA Unconference 2010 or unala10 will be Friday, June 25, 2010 from 9am-4:30pm in room 207A at the Washington Convention Center.

This year, I am planning the unconference with the amazing Sean Robinson. Last year, ALA was just getting their feet wet with the unconference idea. This year, Sean and I decided to kick it up a notch and give the crowd more power. Between our two brains, we have cooked up an exciting day of unconference fun. For a sneak peek, check out the preliminary schedule already on the wiki.

Announcements about registration dates will be coming in mid-May. Registration will happen shortly thereafter. Keep your eyes and social media feeds open. We will announce it in enough places that you will be unlikely to miss it.

Now to the true purpose of this post. Sean and I would like to have some volunteers for the unconference. These lovely, fabulous people would help us wrangle the crowd during the course of the day. You know how those crowds can get all chaotic and unruly. Volunteers will not have to compete for an official spot on registration day as they will have a special spot reserved. We would like our wranglers to be SLIS students. I know some of you seasoned librarians are a little broken hearted. I still love you.

If you are a current or soon to be graduating SLIS student, please email me at mboule at gmail dot com, DM me on Twitter, or send me a smoke signal. I only need three people so type fast.

–Jane, (un)changing the world

Coffee Makes Jane a Better Jane

Some days, I think the only things that remind me that I am, deep down, a nice person are a good cup of coffee and God. I came to the conclusion yesterday, and admitted it to the world on Twitter, that though I do not want to be, I am a morning person. I know; it is extremely disappointing to me as well. I just can not get much done after 1 pm. Perhaps it is a sign of my advanced age.

In sending out some emails for book related things, I am reminded, yet again, how truly remarkable librarians are as a profession. We love to help each other and we are excited for each other. It is so different from other professions sometimes. I suppose, since we are a service industry, I should cease to be surprised by this. I am glad that I can still recognize blessings when I see them. I love librarians, in a big group hug, squeeze you tight sort of way. I am really looking forward to Annual in June.

The book is coming along. All the chapters are written, but some have some gaping holes and notes like CITATION NEEDED. There are elves for those kind of notes, right? Chapter revision and cleanup are not fun projects and I really am not looking forward to it. Mostly, I think, because I will read something and think, “Who wrote this crap? Oh, yeah…”

There should be news about the ALA Unconference 2010 coming soon. Sean Robinson and I have been planning a day filled with some really cool and fun things. Keep your eyes peeled for that, ladies and gents.

Enough rambling. Back to work, everyone.

–Jane, one more cup of coffee before the pot is empty

OPALescence, fun for all

The lack of posting here is due to a bout of bronchitis the Wee Bairn contracted. He has been keeping my hands full of late. Full of his phlegmy sadness. Thankfully, he is on the mend and my time is again my own, off and on.

On Friday, I am moderating an Unconference session at OPALescence:An Online Library Conference for Everyone. From the OPALescence home page:

Has your travel budget dried up? Still want that conference experience of fresh ideas, lively conversations, and networking with colleagues? Participate in OPALescence, a free online conference for everyone. We’re planning a series of interesting and informative presentations and discussions spread over two days.

OPALescence 2009 is two online conferences in one:
A “traditional” conference with scheduled speakers.
An unconference with facilitators where you can discuss whatever topic interests you.

OPAL has gathered some great speakers which will discuss things like cloud computing, technology training, virtual libraries, and reader’s advisory. There are 375 people registered to “attend” from 13 different countries. When was the last time you were able to interact on this level for free?

I am glad to be a part of another unconference. I believe this kind of sharing and learning is the future of professional education. There is still time to join the fun if you want to come hand out with other smart, chatty librarians.

–Jane, definitely chatty