The days are getting noticeably longer in the Northwest, a welcome return of the light after a long period of leaving for and returning from work in the dark. It is also the time when a year’s worth of data comes to light as a reflection of what was accomplished in the previous twelve months. Although January 1st is an arbitrary blip in the continuum of busy activity, it is illuminating to look back and bask a bit.
WebJunction shines because of the participation and contributions from the library community. Whether you’re a registered member, a webinar attendee, a social networked follower or a visitor to the site, you a part of the numbers that add up to another busy and successful year.
As the online learning place for library staff, we strive to offer quality courses and current content. We happily share the credit with all of you who have contributed your knowledge to enhance the body of information housed on WebJunction.
As budgets tighten and the world gets flatter, it becomes ever more important to form new partnerships and solidify existing ones. At WebJunction, we value these relationships highly.
Perhaps the most significant and exciting growth around our office is the WebJunction kids.
We celebrated the one-year birthday of Veronica Rose Hill Briggs. We welcomed the arrival of Shepard Russell (Gesinger) Turnbull and Coco Marie Maddison. We await the imminent arrival of TBD (Van Noord) Peterson. And we continue to enjoy the adventures of Loren and Clara Peterson.
I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t feel like a “New Year”–let alone a new decade–right now. The economic crisis still grips us all, and libraries are still working furiously to serve the sea of patrons coming in for information, training and support, while simultaneously fighting for the funds, staff and resources needed to keep the doors open. At WebJunction, we are already neck deep in our 2011 plans, as we continue to adapt to respond to what our library community needs from us, right now.
Who has time for New Year’s celebrations, right?
But I believe that when we don’t feel like we have time to celebrate is exactly when we most need to do it. It’s one of those “red flags” that means stress is taking control. So, I’m taking a short breather to look back at what happened at WebJunction in 2010, convinced that this is a good way to maintain the healthy perspective that is required to keep us motivated and focused. I invite you to do the same for your year.
Looking at the pile of numbers my colleagues sent me, all I can say is: the WebJunction community was busy this year!
Here are some examples of what you did:
Plus, there are 1,246 Twitterers out there now following WebJunction’s Twitter feed of news and information about libraries; and 858 Facebook users are hanging out with us at Facebook.com/WebJunctionNews, discussing the issues of the day.
WebJunction started the year like many libraries did, with making tough belt-tightening decisions and reprioritizing around the essentials. We were pleased to see that despite having to work with reduced staff and resources, WebJunction content and programming actually grew in 2010. Some examples:
Libraries and Workforce Recovery
Mini Conferences & Web Conferencing
Legal Information Resources
Marketing the Library
Online Community Building
Services to Older Adults
Libraries and Access to All
Services to Spanish Speakers
Public Access Computers
Social Networking & Web Tools
Digitization & Preservation
Gadgets for the Library
Services to Teens
Rural Library Trustees
Tool for Job Seekers
Workforce Agency Partnerships
Support of Small Business
Finally, we ended the year by greeting our newest and youngest WebJunction member, Veronica Rose Hill Briggs, who was born on Dec. 19 to WebJunction Director Chrystie Hill.
Gee, that’s a lot to celebrate!
Runner Sam Thompson got his Seattle Public Library Passport stamped at 11 different library branches throughout Seattle yesterday.
“I heard about the library-passport program and thought it was really cool,” said Thompson, 28. “I love going to my library. It’s such an incredible resource. My goal is to get people excited about visiting their local branch.”
Thompson had originally planned to visit all 28 branches of the Seattle Public Library system in one day, but freezing temperatures and early library closures shortened his list. Besides the 11 branches he was able to reach before snow forced them to close, he also visited 6 more branches which he photographed.
To read more about Sam Thompson’s library marathon, see the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s article, A marathon task: Runner logs 50 miles visiting library branches in one day. Also see SPL’s recent news release on other locals’ programs centered around the Passport.
There isn’t a whole lot of visible Halloween spirit at the WebJunction offices today. No one dressed up and there isn’t a jack-o-lantern in sight. (Does it count that we all wore Hawaiian shirts and hula skirts last week as part of our team retreat?) So I was delighted to see Mary Beth Sancomb-Moran post to the St. Jerry’s Virtual Scriptorium discussion forum a great photo of herself and colleagues in costume today.
I was also led to this more librarian in-joke costume. Sheesh, good thing it was the concise AACR2!
Can you match that? Show us what you got.
The organizers of the global event OneWebDay took the concept of Earth Day and thought it was time to acknowledge the Internet in a similar fashion. “The idea behind OneWebDay is to focus attention on a key internet value, focus attention on local internet concerns (connectivity, censorship, individual skills), and create a global constituency that cares about protecting and defending the internet,” states their website. The first OneWebDay was in 2006.
The key value that is the focus for 2008′s event is “online participation in democracy,” in acknowledgement of the Internet’s substantive impact on this year’s U.S. presidential election. The big day is this Monday, September 22.
Go to their simple yet cool website to learn about the scheduled events around the world and how you and your library can participate. I would suggest contributing to the e-Democracy Time Capsule (hurry, only a few days left to add content!).
I fell off the turnip truck in June of 2003, stumbling in the door to join the WebJunction project with little idea of what I was getting into. There are way more than five things I have learned since then, but here are the biggies:
1. It’s not about technology. WJ is successful because we have great people and we work with great people–and those people make great things happen. That is our not-so-secret weapon.
2. Hang in there. There are few virtues as valuable as persistence. There have always been and will always be tons of new and creative initiatives in libraryland: I think what sets us apart is that we just keep at it and keep at it and find ways to keep it stable and keep it going. I love that!
3. Take the middle path. It’s not content or community, it’s not big libraries or small libraries, it’s not folksonomy or taxonomy, it’s not top-down or bottom-up. Balancing seemingly irreconcilable opposites is one of the main keys to our character and our strength.
4. If it’s going to be difficult, it might as well be fun. Humor has saved us from ourselves over and over again. This is a high-stress business and it helps enormously to find and enjoy the absurdity of it all. I am so grateful for the amazing collection of funnybones that I’ve been privileged to work with.
5. We’ve only just begun. As our Seattle staff has grown from 3 to 30 and our network of partners has exploded exponentially, it’s become ever clearer that WebJunction has the potential to represent and support the consciousness and vitality of the library world in even greater ways than we have so far. Building on our considerable success so far to realize WJ’s potential as a comprehensive platform for library staff–that’s what keeps me excited and motivated and passionate about WJ.
OK, I am an old-timer so I will maunder on a bit more, as old-timers are wont to do. Here are a few select memories from my five years at the WJ:
2003. Writing my first Crossroads newsletter in June 2003 a few weeks after I started at WJ (Web-what?), and getting markup from Chrystie Hill on my copy, in which every instance of the word “you” was crossed out and replaced with the word “we”. The beginning of my online community education.
2004. Putting the one-year anniversary cupcake on the site in May 2004, one of our first custom home page graphics, I shudder to admit, but at least it was a small step toward the much more graphically dynamic site we have today.
2005. The first OCLC blog salon at ALA 2005 in Chicago, when it seemed like we really hit a new critical mass of awareness and interest. There were people who actually recognized what we had started writing on our baby-infant blog. (And I got inspired to write my very first parody song ever, “The Blog Party“.)
2006. Getting a fresh round of funding, validating the work we’ve done and propelling us into the future. “You mean we’re for real?” Boy that feels good.
2007. Presenting the Government Documents librarians workshop in Denver in spring 2007, and seeing the palpable excitement in a room of a whole new type of mostly non-WJ-savvy users about the possibilities for the site. Something clicks: hmm, maybe this really is real.
2008. Welcoming an influx of dedicated, professional, committed staff who see WebJunction as, yep, a real thing, not just an idea. This is great–they actually know what they’re doing AND they think WJ is a cool place to be? Wow, that is an accomplishment!
And the best is yet to come…
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!
Each year in the Spring, Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream runs a “free cone” promo at their stores. Kids (and parents) line up around the block—last year my two ice cream junkies waited 40 minutes—40 minutes on line and the cone was gone in five! Luckily, the goodies from Free Comic Book Day should last quite a bit longer (and could bring returns for years).
All you need to do is stop by a participating comic store and make your free pick from a selection of titles like Archie, Superman, Hellboy, World of Aspen, X-men, Tiny Titans and many more. Seriously. These are free. I know you are thinking: “What’s the catch?” Nothing is free, right?
It is with great sadness, but lots of well-wishes for a bright future ahead of her, that we bid farewell to Program Director Liz Kellison. Liz was our first Content Manager and the third WebJunction employee EVER. She’s been with the project since before it began – quite literally! – as she was one of the authors of our original grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, along with our Executive Director Marilyn Mason. Largely responsible for the initial vision of our service, Liz is famous around the office for promoting “read, learn and share” – i.e., bringing together courses, discussions, and articles all together on a single WebJunction page. Liz has been fun to work with, inspiring as a leader for us and for libraries, and a tireless advocate for our programs and the people we work with. We will miss her dearly, but hope you’ll join us in wishing her well in all her future endeavors. (sniff. sniff.)
Tuesday is National Library Workers Day!
You’ll get no argument from me on the the premise of this campaign: “Libraries Work Because We Do.” I love my library and all my library friends and invite you to pat your co-workers, friends, employees, or (even yourself) on the back today.
If you have an library appreciation /awareness event in the works, we’d love to hear about it. If you don’t, well, never fear; ALA/APA has your back with some quick celebration ideas. While you are on their site, take a gander at the map of library stars. You may find someone you know.
Finally, don’t forget to share your plans for this and other events you are running during National Library Week! We’d love it if you’d share your thoughts in the blog or our Library Week discussion in the WebJunction community forums.