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I’m super excited because Ruth Dukelow from the Michigan Library Consortium has asked me to keynote their annual meeting this year (October 5). It’s our first speaking engagement that’s directly related to the blog and this project – so I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to transfer some of the ideas we now have down on paper to a new format. MLC is doing some exciting things that fit into many of the things I’ve blogged here, so I it seems like a nice chance to share ideas and take the collaboration forward well beyond this project! (Thank you Ruth for making this happen!)
And because it seems that I just can’t escape the personal || professional convergence lately, I’m also excited about visiting Michigan because it has a special place in my family history. Hopefully I’ll get out to see a farm or two while I’m there.


inside and online

Have others been watching the il2006 wiki come to life in prep for the conference next week? It’s a great example of using a collaborative online space to set the stage for a physical gathering. Creating connections between physical and online gatherings (before, after, during) can be powerful testimony to the fact that the tech tools we use make new things possible – and also to the fact that it is always so much more about the connections we make through them. I’d love it if someone would set up an IRC chat during the sessions so that we could provide commentary & annotations to the speakers in the sessions as they go on. We did this at the last two online community summits I attended and it was pretty cool – though you do have to get pretty good at partial attention! Does anyone else know if this is planned for IL already? I don’t know how to do it (as I’ve only joined IRC, not set one up) but I’d be happy to try this if anyone else is game.

internet librarians

Steven and I will be together again (first time since San Antonio last Jan) at Internet Librarian in Monterey next month and would love to host another dine-around on community building in libraries. If you’d like to join, comment here or send an email and we’ll send out deets as the dates get closer.

Libraries Build Communities — at ALA — no kidding!

Thanks to ALA & NOPL for the fantastic experience I had helping out the Children’s Resource Center (links to flickr mix) branch of the New Orleans Public Library during volunteer days at last week’s conference. We spent Friday moving books, shelves, and painting. Other teams worked throught the weekend to complete the renovations. I went back on Monday to check out the opening – and the fruits of all our hard labor. My lessons: (1) Never assume that you know what other people need. Being there, listening, and then deciding what action to take is what really makes the difference. Knowledge is power. I know it’s cliche and I’ve already said it elsewhere but I can’t stress this enough. (2 – this is a super personal one) Stop being cynical about ALA. Our presence in New Orleans and on these volunteer projects are enough to make me think twice the next time I’m tempted to spout off about this, that, and the other. Critique is good, but so is active participation. (3) When literally hundreds of people get together at one time and in one place and decide to do something, it feels a bit magical. Do this more often. 

Many, many thanks to our colleagues in NOPL’s and at ALA for the opportunity to take in all this, and more! And finally, thanks to Leslie Berger for making sure bloggers were encouraged to reflect on all this (at her reception) – and that my treo didn’t get paint on it during our painting project.

Building Better Communities

SirsiDynix just announced the 15 finalists for their Building Better Communities Awards (thanks Kelli). Congrats to all the finalists – we’d love to see your nominations as a supplement to our online survey data! Please just send us an email if you’re interested & willing to share. I’ll be on-hand at ALA to see which five will be the lucky winners of your cash award, but each of these libraries is well deserving, I’m sure.

Speaking of, I am just about to do my ALA schedule and would love to join you for dinner or drinks to talk about your libraries & community building projects.

Who’s gonna be at ALA? Shall we have another community building conversation?

Community Building at ALA

Is it mid-April? Steven and I have bee working on our first chapter – and a final online survey for the library community. We hope to post the final survey next week (here, there and everywhere) and then send our first chapter off to our editor by the end of the month (yikes!). Meanwhile, we’ve been scheduling interviews with library staff doing unique community building projects in their libraries. So far we have lots of public, government, academic, and a few school/special libraries in the mix. I’m really happy to see all types of libraries getting involved in the project. On top of it all, there’s ALA coming. Already? Yes. Already.

If you’re going to ALA annual, it looks like there will be a number of events that bring in community building themes for library staff.

First, the WebJunction member reception is set for Friday evening. Not to be missed if you want to connect with other library staff doing the online community thing.

Second, I hope to host another “Libraries Build Communities” conversation – much like the one that Steven and I hosted at ALA – MW. (We’ll miss you this time Steven!) This is a no-host open-invitation to gather for coffee or tea and talk about what’s happening in libraries. I was thinking of doing something like this on Sunday or Monday evening. Any preferences?

I’ll also be doing some New Orleans volunteer work with a WebJunction team on Tuesday. Check out the ALA volunteer page for more info on this opportunity.

I’ll post more CB related stuff as I get closer to planning my own schedule! If you’ll be there and you want to connect, let me know.


Midwinter Wrap

ALA Midwinter was so busy with so many things that I had a hard time separating out my experiences into different buckets. One for OCLC, one for WebJunction, one for Libraries Build Communities, one for … etc. (Feel free to sift through my two posts on BlogJunction for lots of relevant community building stuff that I encountered there.) Besides these posts and a few short emails sent last week, I am dreadfully behind on all of my follow up – but will get there!

Speaking of, I would like to thank Cassandra, David, Jessica, Beth, Heidi, Andrea and Meg for the delightful coversation we shared over dinner on Sunday night. I was very impressed with the diverse experiences you all brought to the conversation, and the willingness to dive in and explore community building in libraries from those many angels. I have many pages of notes to get through, and several new resources to explore (thank you!) and I look forward to following up with everyone as the project progresses.

Now, apparently, it’s time to actually start writing this thing.


Join us in San Antonio

If you’re going to ALA Midwinter, and are already reading this new little blog, you may be interested enough in libraries and community building to join Steven and me for dinner on Sunday evening, around 8.30pm. We’ll be chatting with whoever’s interested about our topic – just getting the ball rolling and taking advantage of some face-to-face time. Please let us know if you’ll be in San Antionio and would like to join us – we have a few spots reserved and can put your name on it!

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