5th Birthday, chrystie, Community Building, Online Collaboration, Online Learning

building community with pictures of shoes

By chrystie | May 13th, 2008 | 5 Comments

I admit it. I like shoes. They’re fun. It’s one of my little things that keeps me going – when otherwise things might feel a little blah, a cute pair of shoes (on me or someone else) literally makes my day. Voila!

Personal faves from around the office? Kathleen (yellow sling-backs or teal clogs, I can’t decide). Jennifer (the ones that go perfectly with the plaids!) Dave (the old ones). Rachel (black sandals or red patten flats, I can’t decide). Michael (I can’t decide). Laura (plum ankle straps, hands down).

For WebJunction’s birthday, I decided to highlight my five favorite WebJunction moments *that have to do with shoes*. Whatever does this have to do with supporting libraries, you ask? Read on…

1. The photo you see here is me, Rachel, and Laura from the audience at CIL 2007. We were listening to the librarian from the National Geographic Society library talk about some cool 2.0 stuff they were doing with their intranet. Thanks to Rachel, we visited their library later that day.

2. This photo gives you a glimpse of one of our card-carrying shoe-lovers here around the office, and one of the 365 Days at WJ set that we started last year (before we started really planning for the new WJ in earnest, which is why we haven’t kept it up…shame on us!)

3. On the way to Midwinter Meeting in San Antonio 2006 I found myself without anything to wear but tennis shoes because my luggage had been lost on the way by United. Luckily, the conference center was practically attached to a mall and I was able to get some cute metallic silver flats to wear to my fancy dinner with Patrick Hogan. These shoes remind me of the shoes Sharon Streams is wearing this very minute! (This is also the blog post where I suggest that OCLC pick up Library Thing. Hmmm.)

4. When visiting the bay area just before the Online Community Uncoference in 2007, I sent a tweet about a cute pair of shoes I’d just bought. Colleague Dave Ungar (located in Dublin) picked it up and asked for a picture, which I posted on flickr. Several days later, our online exchange culminated in a spoof on some secret brand stuff another colleague had going on at work. :D You cannot hide on the tubes!

5. Finally, Michael Porter blogs his first (or was it second?) post at BlogJunction after accepting a transfer here from OCLC Western. In the post, libraryman admits to having purchased shoes from his WebJunction desk’s internet connection. It was after-hours, so we gave him a pass, but it brings me to my point about what any of this has to do with libraries…

We all work in or around libraries. We often struggle through the same challenges and share similar joys or successes. But we often don’t know each other personally, mainly because we work in diverse locations, and not just geographically. We can get together at library conferences, meetings, trainings, workshops, or other convenes, but even that’s limited by our niche in the library space, or our availability to physically get together; it’s never all of us.

Connecting online is relatively new to our profession, considering our extremely long history of shared professional practice. But by now most of us have felt the power of making those connections. Together we support and rely on one another, on everything from printers to politics. Once you’re online (not under-estimating how difficult that can still be) it’s possible to cross the boundaries that typically keep us from connecting with one another.

One key to making meaningful connections possible online has been revealing who we are as the people behind the text and even the avatars. When we open up and talk about otherwise superfluous things like shoes, we show that we are real people, and we build trust and connections that support the rest of our work, and perhaps more importantly, connections that will likely last far beyond our day jobs, whatever they be.

Happy Birthday WebJunction. Here’s to many more…