This is where I keep my list of the projects (and passion projects!) I’m working on right now. You can also check out my bio on my about page.
Here’s what’s going on at the library:
- Collection update. After several years of very tight budgets, we were able to make a major new purchase of books at the end of 2013. I’ve been busy weeding hundreds of old books and cataloging hundreds of new ones. Don’t worry–the old books go to support the library in our book sale (❤). We’ve also finally dropped media on tape from our collection to make more room for books-on-CD. A major collection update takes a lot of effort, but it’s rare to have this opportunity in a small library. Thanks to our local community and the state of Florida for strong support through difficult economic times.
- Open source implementation. In 2012 our library, along with several other rural Big Bend libraries, moved from a closed-source integrated library system (ILS–that means the library’s group of databases and software) to an open source system to help save money. It’s been a good but complicated transition, and there is still a lot of work left to do in terms of updating databases.
- Science camp. Every summer I lead a week-long science and technology day camp for kids. We do basic experiments in chemistry, robotics, electronics, engineering and computer programming. Summer is not that far away, and this year’s summer reading theme is science, so I’m working on my camp curriculum right now. Scratch, Legos and Snap Circuits are what’s up.
- Learning @ the library. We’ve seen a lot more students (especially working parents) attending college full-time at the library in the last couple of years. I think this an important trend that’s here to stay as libraries take on some of the functions of neighborhood or community colleges. I also think it’s received insufficient attention from policymakers, educators and the media in general. I was also interested to learn that the public library in Los Angeles is now offering high school diplomas. Since our local school district is underperforming and we have a lot of older and non-traditional students, I’d love to be able to offer this at our library. A goal to work toward this year.
- Social services. There was bad news for the poor in my county as our Department of Children and Families office (which deals with all kinds of social programs, not just child welfare) closed due to a lack of funding. But the good news is that DCF now works out of the library! They join Career Source North Florida and the county health department in providing social services through the library. Having an integrated services location just makes sense. We are thrilled to have such strong community partnerships in a location that both assists and empowers people in poverty.
Here are some outside-the-library things I’m working on right now:
- Red Cross. I am a Red Cross DSHR volunteer, deployable nationally at pretty much anytime. The funny thing is, it’s a lot like the library, since I usually end up maintaining laptops and checking information technology in and out. I think librarians make great Red Cross volunteers; not only are librarians’ skills useful, but employers are often willing to work with you with regard to the time commitment (which can be significant). Several Florida counties have “disaster leave” for volunteering, which doesn’t count against your paid time off. If you’re interested in getting involved, drop me a line.
- Net neutrality. I was very disappointed to see that the FCC’s net neutrality rules were struck down in court in January. “Net neutrality” means internet service providers can’t discriminate against the kind of content they carry. Its end means a big risk to everyone’s right to access information. In order to preserve net neutrality, the FCC needs to reclassify ISPs as common carriers. That means it’s time for more letter-writing, petitions and public education.
- Editing Wikipedia. I am an active Wikipedian, helping to expand and develop articles about library science, information science and media literacy. Wikipedia editing is fun and can be professionally revitalizing. I encourage people who are interested in the topic and enjoy writing to get involved. A mention of this recently popped up in Public Libraries News (UK).
- Amateur radio. As an amateur radio operator, I am working on my disaster and emergency operations skills. I also use amateur radio to help connect my patrons, especially kids and young adults, with science, technology and engineering.
- Libraries Changed My Life. I developed this concept with Ingrid Abrams, the Magpie Librarian, as a library advocacy project designed to demonstrate how libraries impact individual people’s lives. LCML has been covered by School Library Journal and Bookriot.
- #Libchat. I am the founder and moderator of #libchat, a Twitter chat for librarians. Every week librarians get together to chat about current events and issues in the field and to ask for advice. The magic happens on Twitter every Wednesday 8-9:30 p.m. ET, and anyone is welcome to join.
- Writing. I dabble in fiction writing and am currently working on a scifi novel. If you’re interested, I occasionally tweet how that’s going on Twitter. As you can see, I’m making great progress: