I think there’s still time for one more Top 5 list as we come to the end of Birthday Week. Heck, my 3 year old still thinks that any package that comes in the house is a “present”, even though he celebrated his birthday at the end of April. So here are a few thoughts on the Rural Library Sustainability Project and five points to ponder:
1. It’s about connecting. The one thing that stands out from the hundreds of workshops and thousands of library staff coming together over the past few years, is that the connection is everything. There is no magic potion to address the sustainability challenges and struggles that libraries face around the country, but learning from colleagues and knowing that others face similar challenges is comforting and empowering. The Library Connections Brainstorm lists many of the ways our workshop participants decided they would stay connected to colleagues and information. Take a look and see how many of these you use.
2. Are we on the same page? No two towns and no two libraries are alike. While one town may have tons of community support but not enough space, the other may have a brand new spacious facility, but an indifferent community. The Rural Library Sustainability Continuum introduced common language and levels at which a library can begin to assess where they stand, and more importantly, which areas of sustainability they may want to try to address.
3. Just Act. John Wood, in his PLA address, talked about his staff living by the philosophy of GSD – Get Stuff Done. The Action Plan we introduced in the workshops was built off this same mantra. There’s no need to create elaborate plans that take days to develop and months or years to come to fruition. Start with the baby steps. Success begets success. However, you want to look at it, there is huge truth to the notion that just moving and “showing up” creates amazing results.
4. The Beat Goes On. When 6,000 individuals take a day out of their lives to connect with one another and strategize on the futures of their communities and libraries, the results are impressive. All of the Brainstorms from those workshops are available today and are ripe for the picking. Also, the Online Course, which replicates what we tried to do in the live workshop, is available for free and can be taken at any time. Lastly, the Association for Rural and Small Libraries is now actively involved with our Rural Community of Practice, and will continue delivering fresh content, and encouraging lively discussion and sharing of best practices for years to come.
5. It really comes down to the people. The best part of my day is gaining inspiration from all of you. Getting to work with the Brenda Hough’s and Carla Lehn’s of the world is a great fringe benefit. Seeing our workshop participants nudge the trajectory of their communities by implementing a small tip or strategy introduced to them in one of our workshops or webinars is what it’s all about.
I thought it might be fitting to end the Happy Birthday celebrations this week with a link (right here? from the blog?) to a clandestine view of the new WebJunction home page. Cleverly titled “sneaky peeky” this is the view that WJ staff have themselves been playing with in our “sandbox” for the last couple of weeks. It’s not nearly ready for beta release yet, but as you can see, My WebJunction is right there at the top of the page, along with our fancy new brand, just waiting for me/you/us to populate it with whatever i/you/we care about. It’s gonna be rockin’ and we can’t wait to start evolving this with more than just a few of us with our eyes on it.
Next week we get together with all of our current community partners for some good old fashioned f2f training, and this will be our first chance to show off and gather input on the new system with people outside of the WJ staff. Next? Our WJ Advocates will get a sneak peek and they’ll tell us what they think. Then? Well, by that time I think we’ll all be ready for a broader audience. And that’s where we all get to tell each other what we think. And it will grow from there.
Has anyone seen the celebratory cake and ice cream? Maybe my co-workers are hiding it from me…
TechAtlas (WebJunction’s free technology planning and management tool) hasn’t been on the scene for libraries as long as WebJunction, but we are definitely excited to be part of this five-year celebration. For the past few years, the team at TechAtlas has been working with libraries, spreading the word about our tools and listening to the feedback from our users to help improve what we offer.
A big part of this work includes offering webinars and trainings to provide quick demonstrations of TechAtlas tools and resources. And course, as part of the 5th year celebration, we have a list of our 5 most popular webinars. Here they are (in no particular order):
1) An Overview of TechAtlas
2) TechAtlas Inventory Tools
3) Using Event Tracker as a Help Desk tool
4) Technology Planning with TechAtlas
5) TechAtlas for Grant Applicants
You can catch one of these great webinars in just a few weeks. The “Using Event Tracker as a Help Desk tool” webinar will be held on May 28th at 10am (Pacific)/1pm (Eastern). Details about the webinar and a link for how to login to the session are available at the TechAtlas site. Hope to see you there and at our events in the future!
In keeping with our fifth birthday theme, here is a list of the five trainers in the Spanish Language Outreach Program who inspire me the most. It was no easy task to choose just five from the group of over 100 incredibly talented trainers who have taken part in the SLO program over the past four years. I could have come up with many other lists (five funniest, smartest, most dedicated) but I am sticking with the five, that by their example, make me want to work even harder for libraries and Spanish speakers. To read more about these and our other talented trainers, visit our Trainer Spotlight section. Happy Birthday WJ!
Yolanda Cuesta – hands down the winner. Yolanda has been with the SLO program from the beginning, serving as our master trainer and curriculum developer. The long term goal of the SLO program is to increase usage of public access computers in libraries by Spanish speakers. Yolanda taught me that in order to achieve this goal, libraries must first build relationships and trust in the Spanish-speaking community – that and pretty much everything else I know about library services to Spanish speakers.
Bertha Huertero – When Bertha first started working in libraries in the San Diego area years ago, her fellow librarians told her “there are no Latinos in this community”. She didn’t simply accept what she was hearing from those above her. Instead, Bertha set about developing programs and marketing practices that brought the Latino community into the libraries in droves.
Shelly Quezada – I’d like to be Shelly when I grow up. Her path in libraries has taken her amazing places (from the Bookmobile in Watts to the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners and to libraries in Brazil, Mexico, Java, Borneo and Sumatra! She approaches her work with passion and determination to provide information and outreach to populations who are most in need of the services libraries can offer.
Miguel Vicente – How can you not be inspired by Miguel’s story? In 1994 he left Cuba on a raft. He learned English, earned a Masters Degree in Education, and became the library manager of the Pinewoods Library and Learning Center in Athens, Georgia. He is currently working on his MLS and he is thrilled that his position at Pinewoods allows him to help other Spanish-speakers to realize their own American dream.
Kim Iraci – Kim lives in a rural area of upstate New York that has recently been besieged by immigration raids. Through her work with community leaders (using our handy Community Leader Interview Guide), Kim gained their trust and eventually learned that there was a whole underground network of people and organizations providing services to migrant workers in the area. As a result of her outreach efforts, Kim’s library is becoming part of this trusted network.
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. 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… (more…)
I love working with WebJunction’s Community Partners, and here’s why:
We invite you to share your memories of WebJunction from the distant or not so distant past. Comment here in the blog or add your list of five to the memories discussion thread.
Monday WebJunction turns five! In this web-based world where the shelf life of blog posts and RSS feeds is measured in hours, five years is a major milestone that we couldn’t have reached without all of you.
In honor of the occasion, we thought it appropriate to share some of our memories, invite you to share yours, and generally enjoy a fun week of both looking back and looking forward.
Where shall we start?
We’ve also thought it would be fun to share our personal memories of WebJunction and related library experiences. We’ve created a discussion forum where we hope members will share some of their favorites. Already we have well wishes (thanks Maddog!) and a few WJ team recollections. Please add yours!
Also this week WJ staffers plan to share some of our personal “top fives” on the blog. The scuttlebutt I hear around the office hints at topics like favorite programs, shoes, WJ member milestones, memorable meals, conference swag, stories and more. I can’t wait to see what surfaces.
If you’d like to get in on the action and share a five (or two), I invite you to either drop us a note in the blog comments or add your list of five to the memories discussion thread.
It should be fun week. Stay tuned!