the phoenix in the gulf

Last night I went to the Bloggers Bash/Reception for Gulf Coast librarians hosted by Leslie Burger. Over the past year, blogger gatherings have been among the most vibrant and memorable (and fun) parts of conferences. Blogger gatherings are where you get to meet your imaginary friends, talk shop with people who speak your language, eat and drink courtesy of people with more money than you have, and get stars in your eyes when one of the people you most admire recognizes the name of your blog

Last night had all of those features, but it had something else, too, and that something else, of course, was the librarians from the Gulf Coast. They were there, from New Orleans, from Louisiana bayou, from Mississippi. We heard some of their stories of loss and of renewal. We heard about what they need (money) and what they don’t (1980s encyclopedias, old books). We saw them, face to face.

On Friday, thanks to the great generosity of Beth Oliver, a librarian at Delgado Community College, Heidi Dolamore and I had the opportunity to see face to face some areas of New Orleans and Slidell that were hit by hurricane and flood. I haven’t begun to digest the experience yet, but you can see some pictures (more captions to come) on Flickr under the tag damage. I had a hard time deciding how to tag the photos of the effects of the hurricane: I need a word that describes both damage and the possibility of renewal, a word that shows an embroynic phoenix, rising from the ashes.

nifty stuff found while in the Denver airport

I’m en route to ALA and catching up with my feeds.  Sometimes I think I don’t do nearly enough spreading of link love, so here’s a little catch up.

Ack!  Plane about to board!  Must go!  See you in the Big Easy, or online.

library education discussions @ ALA

I’m still toying around with my schedule for ALA (if you want to see some of what I’m considering, head on over to my calendar), but there are a few places I’ll be for sure, including, of course, the bloggers shindig on Saturday night. If you see me drooping, please poke me–that’s way past my bedtime.

I’ll also be participating in the Library Education Discussions that Radical Reference is sponsoring. They’ll take place at the SRRT Booth (#3450) in the Exhibit Hall and will be lead by current students and recent grads. There’s a full schedule, with leaders and topics, at the RR events page. These discussions grew out of the Library Education Forum that took place back in March, just as I was getting started at my job here. I wasn’t able to make that forum, but I will be moderating a discussion from 4-5 pm on Monday, June 26th. The announced topic is “Practical Skills,” so please come with your laundry lists of Things I Wish I’d Learned in Library School–and with anything else library-related you’d like to discuss. If you’re not able to attend but have things you’d like to hear discussed, drop me a line or leave a comment here, and I’ll do my best to do your points justice.

love and blogging: a quotation without much comment

These days, I read The New Yorker two or three or four weeks after it comes out, because I get it second hand from my friend Jim.  Sometimes I wonder if that’s why I’ve felt so behind on everything lately, but most days I expect that it’s just a combination of laziness and of enjoying not being totally in the loop. 

Anyway, the Talk of the Town for June 5 contained a little squib about Jason Kottke and Meg Hourihan, who were profiled in the magazine in a November 2000 article (which I have not read) called “You’ve Got Blog.”  The original article detailed their meeting, online and then in person, and budding romance.  The new piece recaps that and ends with their wedding (“Most Flickr’d Ceremony Ever”), and the last line of the piece seemed worth sharing:

Jason and Meg agreed that living at least some of their lives online had been a positive experience, even though there were times when it was uncomfortable.  “If you are looking to make friends and have experiences, you have to be open,” Jason said, an observation that may apply as much to love as it does to blogging.

Welcome Laura!

Welcome Laura!

Originally uploaded by Meeteetse Branch Library.

Last week the Friends of the Library held a welcoming reception for me. You can’t really tell from this picture, but the cake is shaped like an open book. Rita, the woman who made the cake, is the wife of the priest at my church, and he’s also the mayor of the town. Lots of people wear multiple hats around here. Me, I’m just glad to be “the new librarian.”

across the great divide

If you haven’t already done so, take a few minutes of your continuous partial attention over to A biblioblogger visits the local branch library over at See Also. . . .  Really.  Right now.  It’ll be good for you.

I’ve been thinking a great deal in the past few days about what one might call the librarian digital divide: the gap, in Steve’s skit, between the way the biblioblogger talks and sees the world and the way the branch librarian does.  It’s a gap none of us has figured out how to bridge.

Here’s a small list of reminders I’ve been giving myself when talking to folks who may not be quite up to “Ajax OPML Creative Commons radical trust mashup widget!”.  Please add, edit, confront, what have you.

  • some people are going to be put off when I talk about the OPAC just by my use of the word “suck” (which has, at least in the biblioblogger world, attached itself to OPAC in an epithet like way)
  • just because I treat John Blyberg and Casey Bisson (to name just a few) like rock-star household names does not mean that everyone knows who they are
  • not everyone is ready or willing to treat blogs as a reliable and trustworthy resource
  • people who aren’t content creators on the web probably don’t get why I am so insistent that everything should have a permalink

Time for me to go swimming, but there may be more to come–and I’ll be interested to see what others come up with.  Only connect. . . .  (Hey, that’s another of those literary references!  Books!  Yes!)