Leaders are readers

The Executive Committee of MPOW Board met on Monday evening, the first meeting of the new officers for FY 2007. As a way of getting acquainted Teri, the new President, asked us to each introduce and tell something about ourselves. The first person up told us her name and that she liked to read. I asked her what she was reading, and she enthusiastically shared the title. Well, that started a trend and with each person, another book title was introduced, and many of us were writing them down.

What a great thing to find out . . . that our regional library Board is made up of readers. But then, not surprising. Written ideas and the reading of them is a cornerstone of culture. Harry Truman said: Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.

The inability to read is a handicap that I find unfathomable. Libraries are in a unique position to supply places and sources for reading. Libraries can also provide sponsorship for learning to read programs – as we did at my former POW.

President Bush revealed his most recent reading list in an interview with Brian Williams, and parts of the interview have been broadcast today on MSNBC and on the Today program (where I caught it this morning). Additionally, Wonkett blogged it and YouTubed it and The National Journal Hotlineblog published the following text of the interview:

On why he read Camus: “I was in Crawford and I said I was looking for a book to read and Laura said you oughtta try Camus. I also read three Shakespeares.”
Williams: “A few months ago you were reading the life story of Joe DiMaggio by Richard Ben Cramer.”
Bush: “Which was a good book.”
Williams: “You’ve been on a Teddy Roosevelt reading kick.”
Bush: “Well I’m reading about the battle of New Orleans right now. I’ve got an eclectic reading list.”
(NBC, 8/29).

quoted with no political opinion intended

Drafting fantasy teams

We had our draft party tonight for our fantasy football league. Some were really serious and studied the stat sheets for the best picks — and then some made some good guesses (we hope). All in all, the food was good, the company was delightful, and MB and B were great hosts. PB is a very patient Commissioner.

Are you ready for some football?

Summer’s all but over and the mall is full of winter clothes, which only means one thing – FOOTBALL! This post goes in my “somebody-please-try-this-because-I-don’t-have-a-library” category. Oh, wait, I don’t have categories either, since this is a “Blogger” blog (but the new Blogger, when it moves from beta, will have labels/categories). Anyway . . .

Football season is a great opportunity for libraries to offer service to what my friend and colleague Donovan calls an “underserved population” – men. I bet men or young adults have no idea what the library could have to enhance their enjoyment of the football season. Here are a few of the ideas I used when I was in a library, what I’ve seen my libraries do here in Minnesota, or some crazy ideas I’ve just dreamed up. (I won’t tell you which is which).

  • Displays – a search in the library’s online catalog will bring up all the books and movies with “football” in the subject headings. Incidentally, don’t forget baseball during the World Series this fall, or the European “football” – soccer.
  • Buy some new football books. Check out all the fun titles at Amazon
  • Host a library sponsored Fantasy Football League. You can set it up free on Yahoo Sports. http://football.fantasysports.yahoo.com/ You can probably find a volunteer to be the Commissioner (set up a league for the library). Have a draft party, then post standings during the season. You have to hurry on this one, before the season starts.
  • Become the sports authority. Build a webliography of stats sources like the Super Bowl History site. Display the Sports Almanac prominently.
  • Have a gameday tailgaters’ cookoff – proclaim a winner.
  • Sponsor a Football 101 class for how to watch the game.
  • Host gameday events – especially Monday nights. This year Monday Night Football will be broadcast on ESPN, which means that you will have to have cable or satellite to watch it. Not good for families who only have local TV. Here’s another chance for the community library to be a bridge over the digital divide. If you can’t do it every Monday night, do it when the local favorite is playing. schedule of all NFL games

And now, I’ll go re-read When Pride Still Mattered: a Life of Vince Lombardi, watch Remember the Titans for the hundredth time, and polish my cheesehead.

Motivational Splash

Reading USA Today, that ubiquitous hotel newspaper, is one of my vacation luxuries. I go straight for the Life section while my husband grabs the Sports. Then we trade and work our way through the rest. Some hotels bring USA Today right to the door; not so with this Holiday Inn Express (where you pick it up from the desk), so it was over breakfast that I found myself thinking about – what else . . . . work, and pumped by a new way of looking at a perennial challenge, staff motivation.

The article in the August 21st edition is also online “Training Workers the SeaWorld Way.” It features an interview with SeaWorld and Busch Gardens animal trainer, Julia Scardina (who is also one of my favorite guests on the Tonight Show.) Ms Scardina made the following points which I found particularly relevant to human relations and management. I even tried several of them on the 2 pint-sized people I’m spending vacation with, and they worked!

  • Pay attention to good behavior
  • Set the person up to succeed
  • Reward a good displayed attitude even if task is not completed
  • Not giving any attention is an effective form of discipline (no punishment)
  • Keep positive environment
  • Challenge animals or people to greater achievement and higher competency
  • Provide immediate rewards or a communication bridge as a promise until reward is given
  • If there are 4 whales in the pool and 3 of them did the right thing, give your attention to those 3 (and ignore the other one)

Pig-wrestling fund raising

Believe it or not, this has something to do with libraries (I think). Day 2 of vacation. Today finds me at a pig-wrestling match. Not just any wild west pig-wrestling, but a fund raiser! Non-profits put together a team of 4, and they wrestle a pig and put him into a water tank. The winner takes home $1,000 for their organization. The place was packed – lots of interest for the 3 non-profits tonight: a children’s service organization, a working against violence team, and a high school basketball team.

Hmmm . . . . I wonder how this would go over for Minnesota libraries . . . . or not. I’ve got a contact for someone to provide the pigs, if anyone is interested.

Pig Wrestling as a fund raiser

On weeding and saving

This post is not about anything library or web or anything 2.0 – it’s about books. Yesterday I received in the mail my first E-Bay purchase – a book from my childhood (a long time ago). As librarians we all recognize the question, and in truth, probably run from it. It starts out with “Uh, there was this book when I was a kid, and it had a pink cover, and it was about little rabbits, and the grandpa died, but it was OK because the little rabbits saw the rainbow he painted.” That was the sum total of my memory. Well, enter my colleague Aurora (aka superturbo), a former children’s librarian who’s really good at this sort of thing. She found it! Through creative searching at abebooks.com, she found it, despite the misspelling of “grandpa” as “granpda”.

I’ve thought about the book occasionally growing up, as I’ve watched a generation die and tried to explain death to little ones who don’t understand. And I’m amazed at the glut of books, heavy on theology, or denial of afterlifeness, or . . . . This simple book with gently drawn non-human characters spoke when my Grandpa Joe, a rough Norwegian who fixed my trike, died.

And now, as I hold the book in my hand, I wonder what is the responsibility of libraries. Do we preserve the history of the culture? We weed to make room; we weed to keep a current collection with a recent average copyright. It doesn’t serve us well to become a museum of old memories – in fact we’re working hard to shake that image. But is there a place to keep the memories, especially the picture books of childhood, in (perhaps) a special collection area.

And what do I do with my special treasure? Looking on WorldCat, I find 14 copies. For now, it has a place on my special bookshelf and I will scan and preserve it digitally. And read it, to anyone who needs its message.

I’ve also learned that the book was based on a 1934 Disney short “Funny Little Bunnies.” And, I’ve also found the mp3 file of the “Funny Little Bunnies” by the “Cricketts” on Lee Hartsfeld’s blog.

Walt Disney's Grandpa Bunny

Happy Birthday, Packers!

Go Pack Go

For all of us with green and gold blood, today is a special day in history. The Green Bay Packers were founded on August 11th, 1919 by Curly Lambeau and George Whitney Calhoun. According to Wikipedia, the town team had been playing since 1896 – 110 years ago. Lambeau solicited funds for uniforms from his employer, the Indian Packing Company. He was given $500 for uniforms and equipment, on the condition that the team be named for its sponsor. Today “Green Bay Packers” is the oldest team name still in use in the NFL. Wikipedia

Common sense with time restrictions

A friend called me late this afternoon while I was driving west on I-94 and said, “you’ve gotta do something about this library.” Well, he is in the middle of Wisconsin and I’m in Minnesota and I have no power over libraries anyway, but if his experience teaches us librarians anything it will go a long way to removing barriers for other library customers.

My friend is filling out an application for a great job. The online form requires an updated version of Word that he can’t afford, given his recent graduation and student loan payments. So he went to his local very small public library to use a computer. By the way, kudos to the library for having updated software.

He signed into the computer and began filling out the form, noticing that the time started ticking down showing “59:30” when he logged on. After an hour of work, he was almost done, when – guess what – his time was up! He ran for a library staff member, pleading for more time to finish. The staff member made a feeble attempt to help him save, but said she could do nothing. Poof! All his work was gone.

Tomorrow he will try again when the library opens at 1:00. Maybe he’ll get the application in on time before the position closes on Friday – or maybe he’ll miss out on the opportunity to get the job before he even applies.

Listen up, libraries! Access is important. Connectivity is critical for job seekers. Help him (and everybody else) out! Give ‘em a break, and a little extra time.