A great book on remote work is now free!

One of my favorite books about remote work, The Year Without Pants, is now free on Amazon Kindle at the request of the author, Scott Berkun.   You don’t need a Kindle to read it, just the Kindle app and an Amazon account. 

I liked it so much when I first read it, I even blogged my thoughts about it a few times many years ago. When I read it in spurts in 2013-2015, the book prompted me to think about libraries and support work, how we can change our mindset about our jobs, what we can learn from the WordPress creed, as well as librarian perspectives on telecommuting. I now want to re-read it and discuss with my newly-distributed teams . Book club via Microsoft Teams, anyone?

It’s a great read and highly recommended. However, webcams have advanced a bit since the book was published, so keep your pants on. 😉

Is this thing on?

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?

 

There’s hope for the future

 Google Music album cover of Pink Floyd's "The Wall"

 

When a student gets your reference to an “old song,” it gives you hope that these kids might make it someday.

An actual chat interaction with one of my students:

 

 

Student: Can one of us meet with you to ask questions? We’re looking to be helped towards the right direction

Me: are you guys in the library?
Me: ?
Me: do you guys have a study room?

[large block of time passes with no response]

 

Me: Hello, Hello, Hello, is there anybody out there?
Me: Just nod if you can hear me.
Me: Is there anyone home?

Student: Sorry we were away from our computer, we are researching in Copeland. Was that a Pink Floyd reference?
Me: yup

Me: I’m around until 4:45
Me: just let me know when you might swing by Me: I’m proud that you got the Pink Floyd reference. Shows some culture!

Student: We are in class until 5:00, if one of us is not permitted out, we will definitely find you sometime this week. Thank you for being so easy to contact! Also – I love my rock and roll

10 things to do on a long, snowy weekend

Best decision I ever made was buying extra snow shovels

Supposedly there’s a decent-sized storm heading this way.  All basketball games and kids activities have been cancelled for tomorrow.  The fridge and freezer are stocked.  The semester starts on Tuesday, and we’re off on Monday for the MLK Holiday.  Here’s a few things on my to-do list for the weekend:

  1. Finish Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.  Yup, I’m the only librarian who’s never read they entire series, though I’m hoping to remedy that.
  2. Balance the checkbook and pay the bills.  Santa’s check never seems to reach the credit card company for some reason.
  3. Edit some photos.  I have a bunch of Christmas pics from our holiday road trip that I need to edit and post, lest they get lost on the hard drive forever.  Along the same lines, I need to upload some of my Instagram photos to flickr, as the cross-posting stopped working a while back.
  4. Ride the bike trainer.  I ran the treadmill today at the gym, so tomorrow’s a bike day.  Need to queue up some good YouTube videos to watch,  or perhaps start a trial of Peleton.
  5. Play some Battlefield 1.  I haven’t played my favorite game since before Christmas.  It will be rough going for a while until I get my trigger fingers back.
  6. Probably shovel the driveway at least once.
  7. Do some snow building if the boys are in the mood.
  8. Work through a few lessons in the fingerstyle blues guitar course.  I’ve been playing more guitar than video games lately.  As a result, I also need to change my guitar strings. 
  9. Finish some work for the start of the semester.  I didn’t get to this at work today as I was distracted by other projects and issues (such as planning for staffing the library during snowmaggedon.
  10. Watch some movies and basketball games with the family.

What are you doing this weekend?  Have a fantastic weekend and stay warm and safe!

“Please” and “Thank You,” they are the magic words

Chad during a lunchtime run on the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway
Chad in a happy place

I posted this on Facebook, but figured I would also post it here to preserve it for good measure (plus I got an itch for actually publishing something on this cob-web-infested blog).    I received the following email from a student that I helped with some research:

Good Morning Chad,
Within 3 clicks I found exactly what I needed! Thank you so much for your amazing help and timely response during this stressful week! It is very much appreciated!
Happy Holidays!

This made my day. Sincere gratitude can go a long way, especially when you really mean it. Be nice. Pass it on.

On Organizations and French Fries

4-15-07_20

I finally just finished reading Scott Berkun’s wonderful book “The Year Without Pants:  WordPress.com and the Future of Work.”  I’ve been reading it for a while, and even re-reading some parts.

At my library, we are planning on changing and consolidating some service points over the next few years, which has some folks concerned over the future of their work.  Berkun has a nice analogy of organizations, rules, and side dishes that I think applies to almost any organization undergoing significant change.  He writes:

Organizations become bureaucratic as soon as people define their job around a particular rule, or feature, rather than a goal. For example, if you tell me my job is to cook the French fries, I will resist anything that threatens the existence of French fries, since when they go away, so does my job. But if you tell me my job is to make side dishes for customers, I’ll be open to changing from fries to onion rings or other side dishes, even ones we’ve yet to invent, since my identity isn’t tied to a particular side dish but instead to the role side dishes play.  pp. 187-188.

Image hat tip: Scary Fry Guy by fschroiff, on Flickr

A decade of hits and future directions

Things have changed a bit in 10 years
Things have changed a bit in 10 years

On January 5, 2005, I stepped out into the blogosphere with my first post here at Library Voice.  My intention at the time was to use my blog to keep up with my professional community of librarians and technology enthusiasts, while also contributing to the conversations among those groups.  Through my work on this blog, I’ve managed to meet a bunch of great people, learn a lot, and share quite a bit as well.

With Facebook and Twitter and other social media apps, blogging has fallen by the wayside, especially in the library blogging community.  Many of us who were blogging like there was no tomorrow back in 2005- 20010 just aren’t blogging that much anymore.  We’ve decided it’s easier to participate in the community via  140 characters, pictures, or status updates.  Some would argue that the library blogosphere is largely dead.  Others have said the same about blogging in general.

My lack of blogging over the years can mostly be attributed to my professional and personal busyness, as well as changes to my roles at work.  I’ve historically blogged about the projects that I was working on at my library, but with moving into more of a management position, there’s only so much that I can really blog about.  With less library-specific content to write about, Library Voice has gone largely dormant.

My blogging slowdown has nagged me quite a bit over the years.  I’ve thought about taking the blog down, but then have also found the historical record of past projects or events very helpful.       I also know that there are topics that I still want to write about or things that I want to share that are best done in a longer-form venue.  I find there is something really awesome about putting your words to paper (albeit virtually) and hitting the publish button.  It is something that I have missed quite a bit.   It’s especially awesome when the content you publish on the open web helps someone out or gives them joy.

My most-popular posts on this blog cover a variety of topics.  While more library-focused content tends to get the most hits, I’ve found that many of the more-general topics are appreciated as well.  For some reason I used to think that if a topic couldn’t be tied back to libraries, I really didn’t need to write about it here.  I was censoring myself largely because I had a self-imposed niche for my content (largely driven by my domain name and original purpose back in 2005).  However, over the years I’ve developed multiple interests including gadgets, gaming, the great outdoors, photography, music, fitness, and much more (my wife jokes that I change hobbies every week) that fall outside of just libraries.  I also know that many of my librarian friends also share my many interests as well.  As such, I’ll be using this blog not only to continue writing about issues in my library profession, but also to share things I have learned through my other hobbies and interests.

If you’ve been reading my blog for the last 10 years, or just the last 10 minutes, I hope you’ll stick around for what’s to come.

 

This post as well as the TL;DR version below , was inspired by Jason’s Revisiting my Medium post as well as the first #blogging101 assignment.

It’s hard to believe I’ve been blogging for 10 years.  To keep this blog, and my online presence, going for the next 10 years, I’ll be branching out beyond just libraries and tech to write and share about many of my other interests including gadgets, gaming, the great outdoors, photography, music, and fitness.  I hope you’ll find what I share informative and fun.

 

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