Cheers to my ALA friends

A hand holding a coffee mug

ALA annual is just not my cup of tea — this year

This weekend, thousands of librarians will descend upon the city of New Orleans for the American Library Association annual conference. It’s a big deal in our profession, and for the first time in ages, I’m not there.    There’s a number of reasons I decided not to go, but they all boil down to just needing a break from the mega conference scene.   As a budding guitar player I’ll miss the music scene of New Orleans, but I won’t miss the late-June humidity and heat.  I’ll miss my business librarian buddies and the various BRASS functions, but I won’t miss the feeling of going on a camping trip (and I actually like camping)  every time I  leave my hotel for the conference center.   I’ll miss seeing some of my favorite vendors and giving them an earful of how to improve their products.  This year I’m spending my time and travel dollars at smaller conference venues, and I’m enjoying the change of pace.  For those going, I wish you a great conference.  I look forward to following your experiences via your tweets, blog posts, and pictures.

P.S.  If BRASS gives out coffee mugs for the 30-year anniversary this year, can someone snag me one?  The 2013 cup is my wife’s favorite!   😉

Is this thing on?

a microphone at a podium in front of a classroom of students

I just published this blog post.  And it felt great.  There’s just something about logging into my WordPress installation, typing up my own words, and publishing on a site that is mine.  (after doing numerous updates of course).  I get the feeling a few times a year, often in the summer or at the New Year for some reason, to post something.  Each time, I think it would be awesome to take up regular blogging again.  Pretty much every time I post a few things, then the blog goes dormant for several months.

I miss blogging.  Back when I first started this blog, there was no Twitter and Facebook was still limited to people with a .edu email address.  Blogging was the social media that connected me with peers in my profession around the planet.  It was awesome to see when others linked to something that you posted or commented on your site.  It was awesome to play with the A-list bloggers, and equally as incredible to discover a newcomer to the blogosphere.  We were a community. I made new friends.

Like many of my blogging peers, my job has changed with different and increased responsibilities from when I originally started blogging.  I’ve had more kids.  My hobbies have changed.  My free time has dwindled.

This was originally a library, tech-focused blog.  That was my niche.   I was big into wikis and instant messaging and Library 2.0 and gaming in libraries and all those buzzwords.  I’m still into that stuff, but have since climbed my way into middle management.  I’m not pushing as much new tech as I used to, and the middle management stuff isn’t something that I feel compelled (or smart enough) to write about.  Hence the lack of posts here.  My boss has told me I need to take more time to reflect and write.  Perhaps I should do that here.

They say you must have a niche these days in order for your blog to be successful. I don’t have enough content in one particular niche to continue this as just a Library-tech-teaching-focused blog.    I’ve got another blog that I haven’t touched in years.  Perhaps I will delete and merge that blog (also originally a niche) into this one.

Possibly related to my recent interest in writing again is social media has got me down lately.  There’s lots of sharing but not much caring.  I’ve always liked the sharing aspect of blogging.  It’s rewarding to share some little bit of knowledge you’ve learned, or an experience you’ve had, or a skill you’ve practiced.  Reading that kind of content from others it what inspires me to try something new, practice harder at a hobby, or learn more about a topic of interest.  That kind of content can make the world a better place.  Maybe my content can inspire or help others in some small way.  We’ll see.

Edit:  I wrote all of this before reading Meredith’s post, in which she also ponders the good old days of blogging and community building as well as her dissatisfaction with social media.    Go read it.  And of course, just like the good old days, Meredith blows the rest of us away with her way with words.     It’s quite cool and interesting to know that others have the same thoughts about blogging.   FWIW, this is the first time I’ve linked to another library blog in years, and that feels great, too. I wonder if the old-school track-backs still work?

 

“Thanks” — it really does mean a lot

 

"Thank you" spelled in colorful magnet lettersThis made my week, and definitely goes in the “save for a rainy day” file:

I am writing to you to express my gratitude as a parent and my admiration as a fellow librarian. My son is in the business cluster this term and he shared your subject guide with me, because he knows I’m interested in that sort of thing. I am astounded at the complete and guided format… you really walk the students through everything they need to know, and help them to take advantage of every gem that Alden library has to offer….and Alden seems to be a treasure-trove of gems! As a librarian who will be doing an information literacy program for GED students who will enter college, I admire your professionalism, dedication to your students, and thoroughness. As a parent, I am greatly pleased at this level of service, and pleased with OU sparing no expense for library resources; you educate students in research method, OU really does seem to have every important resource a student might need, and I’m glad my son has access to it all.

 

Thank you, thank you!

 

Image CC via VistaMommy