Archive for the 'community building' Category

book review #4

Thanks Ms. Welton for your very kind words!

Inside, Outside, and Online: Building Your Library Community. Hill, Chrystie (Author) Jun 2009. 192 p. ALA Editions, paperback, $48.00. (9780838909874). 021.2. In this fluently written how-to manual, author Hill makes a potent case for community building as an essential form of service in public libraries, both for their survival and relevance and also for the needs of those Americans who find themselves “bowling alone.” She outlines five steps in the process she recommends public libraries follow to build communities: assess, deliver, engage, iterate, and sustain. Explanation of the stages is clear, and examples from librarians in the field serve as dynamic illustrations. Although the book was researched and written before the current economic debacle caused library use to skyrocket, Hill’s model remains applicable—and provides libraries with a method for taking full advantage of increased foot traffic as well as connecting outside and online. — Ann Welton, Booklist

Welcome LIS 5937 – Libraries and Community Building

Welcome, Libraries and Community Building (LIS 5937) students from USF!

This is a special welcome to the students currently taking Kathleen de la Pena McCook’s course on community building and libraries. If you can believe it, Kathleen is using my book as her required text for the class, and this is such an honor for me because it is her book, A Place at the Table, that inspired me to pursue community building as library practice in the first place!

Kathleen has been in close communications as the class has started and then worked through the first few chapters of the text, and I’m just thrilled to have received some of the thoughtful comments that Kathleen has shared from her students. *Continuing* the dialog in our profession about community building was my primary ambition with this project, and I am so glad to see that happening in Kathleen’s class! Can I go so far as to say “mission accomplished”? I don’t think so. We need to keep the conversation going.

I would very much like to meet some of you (online or in person), and invite you to post questions, comments, or ideas on the blog here in the comments section, or send me an email to chrystie(at)itgirlconsulting(dot)com. I am thrilled to have you all engaged in the work and look forward to hearing from you.

brief break from blogging because

I’m on a brief break from blogging because I just had a wedding and have yet to find my way back to normal life where one reads, writes, blogs, and generally keeps up with colleagues in library land. It has even been hard keeping up with my day job, but oh so glorious to be spending big chunks of energy on the personal (and not the work). My mom tells me that you get to be a bride for a year (really? how weird!), but I don’t suppose I’ll be gone that long…I agree with Meredith that when we’re not here, I miss us.

I’m going to spend the next few weeks dusting off and clearing out my reader in preparation for some kind of comeback. Any suggestions?

Happy Birthday Rosie


a long list of things i’ve been meaning to say to you

1. the book that started this blog is sitting on the coffee table next to me as I write this post. ten copies, actually. each has a little post-it note with the name of a person who is also mentioned in the acknowledgments. next to that is a stack of 28 additional stickies that include everyone else in the acknowledgments, my boss, our new city librarian, and everyone who contributed selections within each chapter. this list includes, but should likely not be limited to:

Michael Porter
Roy Tennant
Sharon Streams
Rebecca Miller
Walt Crawford
Susan Hildreth
Jennifer Peterson
Rachel Van Noord
George Needham
Marilyn Mason
Helene Blowers
Brian Bannon
Zac Ray
Jenni Fry
Rachel MacNeilly
Rebekkah Smith-Aldrich
Brenda Hough
Cindi Hickey
Cynthia Fuerst
Catherine D’Italia
Joanne Roukens
Molly Rodgers
Jill Stover
Cheryl Napsha
Marlena Boggs
Valerie Wonder
Rachel Singer Gordon
Meg Canada
Steven Bell
Jeff Scott
Chris Jowaisis
Meredith Farkas
Sarah Reynolds
My ‘e-group’
Everyone at ALA Editions
Hundreds of you who responded to the LBC survey

And of course, Steven Cohen.

Thanks again to you all for your support and contributions.

2. Seattle has a new city librarian and I’ve been remiss in telling you how fabulous I think this is for us. I’m excited by the vision and direction that Susan Hildreth has for our city library and I feel that we are very fortunate to have her here in this fabulous city that loves its libraries! Read more about her appointment…


3. an unusual “living (or not living) online” thing happened to me this week. I’m checking my email and I notice a reminder from (which I usually like to see, truth be told). But this one said: Rose Hill’s Birthday is in 7 Days! Thanks Amazon, as if I wasn’t already thinking about that. A few seconds in my private settings and I realized that I could turn off the reminders without “deleting” her as my “friend”. This precious little wish list my sister left on Amazon I couldn’t bear to separate from, but the email? Too much.

4. WebJunction is six this month and (though unrelated to the birthday)

5. Nancy White is coming to visit our office in two weeks. She’ll be doing a webinar on Technology Stewardship and I strongly encourage you to register to attend if you’re into building online community of any kind, but especially if you’re working for online engagement on behalf of libraries.

6. I eloped for the “official” part of my July wedding in February. The video is now on you tube so I suppose that it’s not really a secret any more.

7. tonight i had dinner at the FareStart in Seattle and witnessed the graduation of two individuals from this intensive 16 week program that was obviously transforming for them, all while eating an exceptional meal from Seattle’s famous Little Italy chef Luigi. I admit I cried while listening to the graduates talk about the incredible community they had been a part of in this program. It reinforced what I said several weeks ago about what I’d read recently in Made to Stick. You want stories? They got stories. It must be so rewarding to go home every day from a job where you are visibly and dramatically changing people’s lives. I know I help the people who help the people, but right this minute I feel very far away from the real stories about where it has helped and why it matters. if you’re a big WebJunction fan and are reading this, drop me a line and tell me why WJ matters to you – I’d love to hear *your* stories!

moving to LIS host is easy!

thanks Blake for all of your help. everything looks in order.

well, well … it’s ‘done’

Last week I sent a first and what I hope will be ‘final’ manuscript to my publisher. So far, so good. He says he likes the book, that ALA Editions wants to do a Janurary article about me and the book, and they’d like me to start thinking about “web extras”. They also asked for Rachel MacNeiley’s info so they could contact her about a program book. Go Rachel! That story just keeps getting air-time, but it’s because Rachel is such a kick-ass librarian. Back to the book: aside from this blog, it’s hard to imagine what else the web extras should contain. Perhaps links to everything digital that I mention in the book? Back to the kick-ass: listen to my outright expletive in my latest post on BlogJunction. Could I get in trouble for that?

Meanwhile, I’ve been working on a second project. There’s the movers & shakers survey for LJ and I’m thinking about expanding this into a larger research project for all library professionals about innovation and institutional support for it. For those M&S’s who took the survey, or worked with me on it,  or are simply interested in the topic, would you like to expand this project with me?

Third, with a few other folks, I’ve started an oral history project called “Community First” about mentoring, community, and library leadership (through technology). The first few pieces of the project are published here: Please visit the site and let us know what you think and/or if you’d like to join the effort. The folks at LITA National Forum seemed engaged in the topic but one audience member said to me “young librarians don’t need our permission to innovate. why do you care what we think? just do it!” I agree that sometimes that’s necessary, but the purpose of this project is to keep that from being necessary.

In other news, Francine Fialkoff took note of my commentary on the LJ+AL controversy in her editorial Librarians Too Annoyed. I couldn’t agree with her more.

What will Libraries Build Communities become now that the book upon which it was based is done? I’m not sure, but I’m currently reading Management Gurus and Blue Ocean Strategy. I’m hoping to avoid business school, but learn all I can about business practices on the side and on the job as I work my way towards some next step view of how community building and business practices can come together for libraries and for general social good.

See. Still lots to think about…

Power of Place (Tamworth)

Though it’s a little late in posting (finally starting to catch up from being away – whew!), here’s a link to my country public libraries conference presentation in Tamworth, NSW. The conference theme was “power of place” and I talked through some of my research and discoveries around the libraries build communities project in the context of space and place as it pertains to libraries.

I am so thankful to everyone for the great feedback I’ve received thus far. From inspirations to start new library blogs all the way to re-engaging with local councils to get or retain access to the participatory web, I think it was a great match, and great timing, for me to share some of this work. As for my end of the learning, I am so grateful to have met so many committed and insightful library professionals and supporters, and to have learned about the unique challenges and opportunities (not to mention successes!) already underway in New South Wales.

Have I already thanked the State Library? Yes I think so, but I’ll keep on about it for awhile I’m sure…

still feelin it

I still feel a little like I’m not quite myself. I have reentered libraryland slowly since my sister passed away, my latest visit (to OCLC) another round of audible, tangible extensions of support from my colleagues there. I love it, I’m so grateful; it’s also hard. One of the hardest things for me to track during this time is who I have talked to, what I have on my project list, and within what schedule I am working on them. Similarly, I can’t always remember how to behave, or should I say, how I “normally” behave, when I’m talking and working with those I see and interact with daily. The only way to describe it really is that I still feel a little like I’m walking through jello, or at least an intense fog, just about all the time.

Meanwhile, when things happen, big things, sometimes I react strongly, more strongly than usual, like when my friend and colleague Liz Kellison announced she was leaving WJ for fantastic new job at the Gates Foundation. I burst into tears on the spot and had to leave work for the rest of the day. And then other times I don’t react at all, like when my friend and mentor Marilyn Mason announced she was retiring. I just sat there and looked at her. I think we talked about her grandkids. Either way, it’s just not like me, and it makes me feel highly abstracted from myself and my work experiences.

Why am I saying all this? Well, today was one of those days. We implemented a major reorg, the first time I’ve been through anything like it, at WebJunction this week and although I am very certain that we did the right things and that we did them the best possible way and I’m even proud of the entire team for the thoughtful input and care literally *everyone* put into the process, I still feel, well, sort of numb.

But wouldn’t you know it. Something saved the day.

First, the background. I posted this sweet little post over at BlogJunction about shoes and community building (what else!):


Second, I noticed this delightful little comment (but thought to myself ‘hm. wonder what they mean by that):


Third, today, I finally click the link to find this perfect little online community gift:


And so I leave my desk tonight with a smile on my face and a big old thank you to library land.

collaborative writing

my colleagues at WebJunction published this wonderful article about Rachel MacNeilly’s fabulous children’s programs at the Mission branch of the San Francisco Public Library. they kept my name on the article because I met Rachel last fall, was so impressed with her work in the branch, and blogged about it here back at that time. this article is based on that post.

let’s give credit where credit is due: rachel (herself), along with jennifer, emily, and tim at WebJunction made this wonderful success story much better than i could have done on my own. here’s to collaborative writing, and editing, and all other forms of contribution!

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