Library plastic for a ride

Here’s a great idea — in Rapid City, South Dakota, you can get a ride to the Rapid City Public Library on the Rapid Ride bus by showing your library card. It started with a summer promotion, and has been extended through the end of 2007. article in Rapid City Journal

Rapid City card holders can also get a discount from several local businesses by showing their library card during September. wish I had a B& L Bagel right now

Happy Library Card Sign-up Month!

A view from the front lines

I’ve received lots of good wishes on the new job. Thought I’d share a photo of what we’re facing here (a picture’s worth a thousand words, right?)

and even more
and this is only one of 14 branches

We’re in the midst of bringing a new integrated library system online. This is happening following a major system failure, caused by the perfect storm of circumstances that resulted in significant data losses (defined as re-cataloging bunches and bunches.) Hats off to one terrific cataloging team! . . . . as well as the entire dedicated, hard-working staff. This is a good place to be.

Happy Birthday, Blog!

2 years ago today, I got brave enough to make my blog public. This is the 193rd post since then. My Blogger profile says I’ve been on Blogger since November 2003, which is when I came back from Internet Librarian, inspired to blog. There were lots of posts back then, but one day I (foolishly) deleted them, thinking I didn’t have anything worthwhile to say.

Lots of studies have been done on why people blog. Just today, the venerable Michael Stevens of Tame the Web wrote about the ideology of blogging. I identify with the comment in his post: “It amazed me how ingrained in my life the act of blogging had become.” I am often aware of how what a great blog post a certain experience would make. Now, if only I had time to act on all those inspirations.

I recently said to a colleague that blogging was so “yesterday.” I guess what I really meant was that blogging has become so mainstream that it’s hardly a phenomenon any more. We just accept and expect that the voices of our culture are heard through the blogosphere.

I think librarians as a group blog more than any other profession — maybe it’s a perception thing, since I know more librarians than anything else. Or maybe, it’s because we’re information professionals, and blogs are about information. Some of us blog because we believe we have something philosophical (or pithy) to say. Others use blogs as a super-easy to create marketing tool or billboard for what’s happening at the library.

Blogging was a natural progression for me, since I started writing for my adolescent self in a little pink diary with a teeny tiny ineffective key. I don’t write anything very controversial (witness the lack of comments), but I’ve sure made a lot of friends through this blog. While my blog is largely related to my professional life, it also reflects my whole person.

Wonder what this blog will have to say in another 2 years.

The War

Ken Burns’s film The War premiered tonight. I’m looking forward to the next six episodes, three more to be aired this week and three next week on PBS. I recommend it. There have been many reviews even before the first episode aired – everyone has an opinion. I probably won’t critique it – but it totally captivated me.

A number of my family members are WWII veterans, and they have shared virtually nothing about the war. I was in Washington D.C. shortly after the World War II Memorial opened, and shared pictures when I got home. While Dad and others are not able to travel, they were pleased that there is a memorial. Even those family members who were not in uniform were profoundly affected. Many of the things said on The War, I’ve heard from my mother, who was a college student at the time.

New perspective

A new job! What a humbling experience. As I accepted the master keys to virtually everything in the building from my administrative assistant, I felt the weight of the responsibility of my new position. On the other hand, shortly thereafter, on my way back from the bathroom I lost direction and momentarily forgot where my office was. That’s the kind of couple of days I’ve had this week, one moment answering questions about how I would like something done, the next being totally baffled by the most basic task, like how to listen to my voice mail.

Yesterday I started the next phase of my career as the Director of the East Central Regional Library, a consolidated library system comprised of 14 branches (15, counting the bookmobile) north of Minneapolis and St. Paul. While it’s been a long time in preparation, it seemed to happen in the blink of an eye. My interview with the hiring committee was July 20th, followed by the waiting, then the offer, then the deliberation and acceptance. Four weeks notice with my previous employer flew by, two weeks off filled with a family vacation, and all of a sudden – here I am!

Sunday I packed all the household goods I could into an SUV and headed north two hours from my home for over eight years. A “For Sale” sign now sits in the front lawn — as friend AJ is fond of saying “good luck with that.”
Reality check

For now, home is a very small basement apartment a new acquaintance was kind enough to rent to me on a month-to-month arrangement, in hopes that when the house sells, I will find a more permanent home.

Basement seems to be a recurring theme. In the morning I leave my basement apartment (well really, it’s the lower level of a walk-out rambler) to go to my office in the regional headquarters, which is in the basement of one of the libraries. My previous corner office had two huge windows. For the moment, my new office, which has no windows, is cheery with flowers sent by the predecessor director and his wife, the Friends group, and friend MB. Besides that, there is a coffee gift basket from my new staff. When the Board President came in today, he was quite impressed.
My welcome

As if starting a new job isn’t stressful enough, I’ve walked into a library world in the midst of an automation system crisis. The libraries have resorted to pen and paper procedures after a system failure over two weeks ago. We’re bringing a new system up, through the Herculean efforts of an incredibly committed and hard-working staff and SirsiDynix. In fact, I spent the afternoon of my first day in training, learning the circulation system, along with many of the branch managers.

As I’ve talked with our leadership team, we’ve all agreed that it’s the beginning of a new era. And I’m sure will provide much inspiration for this Blog. Stay tuned ;^)