i guess it’s really real

tonight I was playing around with WorldCat.org, which is something that’s not unusual for me on a Saturday evening, and wouldn’t you know it, my book is now cataloged there.  which made me think now isn’t that somethin’?

my editor was very kind and said my book was delightful. i hope she’s right. and i hope you think so too.

which leads me to the next logical announcement: i’m getting married. to a boy. and he’s from texas. and he’s delightful. and there it is.

and so, I will very not likely be at ALA this year.  our wedding plans will keep us at home the weekend of July 11. I’ll miss seeing many of you for our regular catch-ups, but I am also very much looking forward to re-directing some of my energies from the professional to the personal now that the book is on its way.

ten things i did today, online

1. came back from being out sick a few days (twitter)
2. uncovered the basics of ordering a pre-roasted organic turkey for nine people (whole foods)
3. listened to my customized “chet baker channel” (pandora)
4. bought two clamp lamps for my closet (target)
5. decided to try a new kind of cranberry sauce (after some time at cooks illustrated)
6. looked for acceptable slippers for my bf, since we have concrete floors and he’s a stupid vegetarian (i say that with love; nordstrom, macys)
7. listened to an interview that cindi trainor did with karen schneider, edited by david free (soon to be up on webjunction; gmail)
8. checked in on what i missed in Minnesota via live tweeting (search.twitter; friendfeed)
9. market research around online learning and education reform (OCLC library)
10. filled in a “my idea” form for Mr. Obama (barakobama.com)

the mortality of text (and other contributed content)

I have a flood of random high-level thinking that has been trapped inside my head, backed up behind the dam of finishing the book project. I’m going to take a quick break and just take the time to write it down. Who knows where this will go…

It started when @cindi (Cindi Trainor) published a tweet several weeks back about how a friend of hers had passed away this year. That friend’s flickr account was still online. She was grateful, she said, of the opportunity to be reminded of her friend every now and then. I responded that my sister, knowing she was dying, had methodically set about the task of deleting herself online before she died. Friendster: gone. My Space: gone. Website: gone.  I don’t think she was every on facebook, flickr, or other social networking sites, but she did delete herself from my online world far before she passed. In some way, it helped me prepare I think. Take, for example, the comment/testimonial she had left on my friendster account. “Chrystie is the first person I go to for any reason and on any matter,” she said, “for all of it.” When she deleted herself on friendster, her comment left my testimonial. I wish I had copied it. Printed it. Something. There are always regrets.

After Rosie died, I became somewhat obsessed with building her online presence back up. Memorials online included friend’s groups in facebook and flickr. People changed their avatars to include a photo of themselves with her; they published videos, pictures, stories, and all kinds of “this reminds me of Rosie” over the course of many months. I’m still getting some of that and posting it here. It’s all organized via delicious, flickr, and other memorial tags or sets. I lurk in facebook groups of strangers who have lost siblings and pour over memorials of the same ilk. Online condolences may be a metric of community health. Or, we just can’t help ourselves.

At dinner with Alane and George last month we talked about how our colleague Gary Houk still has a “presence” in our lives via his facebook profile. We wondered if it could be possible to request that dead people be added to a group, a social network of the deceased. So that you could go and visit them in their new context; so that we could mourn them more appropriately online. Last week I discovered the cemetery 2.0 website via attendees at #idea2008. It’s a little gadget that links to digital memorial from the site of your headstone – so that the deceased’s epitaph online is linked with the physical space. I wonder how these two ideas can mash up.

All this talk these last few weeks about publishing anonymously and how or whether the authenticated author and the text are connected, put together with the (culturally constructed?) impulse we have to associate them, has me wondering if it’s ever possible for us to allow an author, any author, to “die” and to also let their text/content be disembodied from them. If we were able to do so, would it change anything? In the case of the actual dead, probably not. But in the case of the living, the texts might be better off without their authors.

If this seems like a crazy turn for the LBC blog, perhaps it’s a sign of things to come. I do like to play in the theoretical space. It’s tangentially related to community building in that it considers the humanity of online content, and how important personal identity is/isn’t in the context of new media.

All said, I go back and forth between the extremes on this one. To write, or not to write. Is that the question?

something lovely

My friend Kelly sent me this video with this note: this reminded me of Rosie. I hope you’re well.

I wanted to post it here because it captures the creative possibility of the social changes we’re all a part of right now. Whether you find some way to contribute to exisitng projects, or you find some way to start a new project – don’t you just want to put your arms around this wonderful social thing and just give it a big hug?

speaking of movers & shakers

Meredith Farkas and I have an article coming out in Library Journal next month that reveals the findings of our recent survey to Movers & Shakers (the cohort from 2004 – 2007).  Here’s the background behind our article:

In 2007 Meredith and I happened to sit next to each other during the Mover & Shaker lunch at ALA. It’s a nice thing that LJ does for people who have been recognized and I appreciate hearing from their guest authors at every one I’ve been to. I also appreciate the opportunity to connect with some of my colleagues just as ALA is getting underway. Anyway, Francine Failkoff spoke at the event, noting that we were now 250 strong – the lot of us – and that we should consider what we might want to do together.

Later that same conference, Marilyn Mason (my boss at the time), Meredith, and I were talking at the Blog Salon and I mentioned that I had heard from a number of my “mover & shaker” colleagues that they had not been well-received by their local colleagues and/or library directors when they received the Mover & Shaker recognition. I was so surprised by this because my employer (OCLC) had been absolutely supportive of me, very congratulatory, Jay Jordon (our CEO) asked me to his office and called me “our little rockstar”. I have to say, it was nice. But I also think that they were genuinely happy to support the recognition of my accomplishments. They also knew I wouldn’t have been able to do as much without the support I’d received at work, so why wouldn’t they be happy for me? It was recognition for them too!

I mentioned that I wanted to delve further into these mysterious reports I’d heard. Why do some institutions welcome this particular reward or recognition when their employees receive it, and some others don’t? Meredith immediately said: I want to work on that with you! A year later, here we are.

I’m happy to report that we didn’t stick with that question exactly. Instead, we went about it another way: by asking Movers to tell us about their experiences across the board. They shared with us their career goals, their visions for future libraries, and their needs as employees of their organizations and as innovators in their field.

The results led us to findings that we can all draw from. For example, whether we’re “official” movers & shakers, or just simply moving and shaking on the home-front, there are some things we can all do to “pitch-in” when times are tough for our organizations – it’s not always about innovation. For our colleagues and mentors, there are things we can ask you to do to ensure we don’t lose sight of both the practical and the possible, but also in supporting us as we’re thinking “outside” of our daily tasks or roles.

Altogether, we can make libraries more relevant and sustainable. I’ll post a link when the full article’s out.

Shorts: Librarians

Here’s one series of videos I shot (somewhat experimentally, as I am not a “video” person!) while visiting Australia earlier this month. These short videos each tell the stories of the fabulous librarians I met along my trip, all doing incredible work in Australia. It was a pleasure meeting all of you and I thank you for your time.

(And to those of you who hijacked my camera for secret ‘thank you’ messages, you’re sweet, but don’t think you’re off the hook! I’ll get your spots the next time around.)

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.

i’m a happy person

this is what i talk about on twitter:

passion quilt meme: connect



image: ecstaticist
tagged by: helene
tagging: blogjunction

cooking for one + deadline

I’ve been in Columbus for work, and haven’t put much thought to text this week as a result. Still, the deadline is looming. And I don’t know, as it is looming so, whether or not I’ll be able to use this space to work out my thoughts as much (too late for that!). We’ll see how the next month or so plays out. I may just use the space here to get some reprieve from the serious word crunching I’m now doing over in Google docs.
In that spirit, I’ll simply share that I just ate a single portion of penne pasta with canned (although very good – and spicy!) spaghetti sauce. And yes, I could barely spare the time to transfer this gorgeous feast from saucepan to pasta bowl. But did it do the trick? Yes. I’m rejuvenated and looking forward to finishing up another chapter this weekend (she says as she knocks on wood).

BTW, it has been fun reading all your fave non-lib blogs. Thanks for humoring me! Yarnstorm is amazing! But does this mean that my friends at WebJunction are no longer ego-surfing? No! It can’t be so! 🙂

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