Mar 30

Writing an Introduction for 3k People

How do you write a 5-minute introduction for an award winning author and scholar for ACRL 2011? To say I’m a little nervous is an understatement, though I’ve done my homework.

I’ve known for several months about this introduction, and tomorrow is the big day to introduce Raj Patel. I read his most recent book, watched some video interviews, read a few book reviews, communicated with him via email, had a conference call with him to discuss themes, and made a few notes here and there. Despite this effort over a period of months it comes down to the night before and I’m actually giving the introduction some form.

I must work better under pressure. In my experience, when it’s real and the times up, then the creativity is released.

I loved the book. I love the themes. I’m a radical with socialist leanings. I’m deeply committed to equality, the environment, reducing consumption, and generosity. As a Buddhist, it’s easier to understand and embrace his solutions. Radical democracy, with full engagement of the population, is what we need and what is being proposed by the author.

Here’s the challenge. He’s speaking (and I’m introducing) in front of 3,000 academic librarians. Certainly a more liberal bunch than the average American but not uniformly so. I’m aware of this potentially more “general” audience and yet perhaps this isn’t necessary? Maybe I let it be what it is without any sugarcoating? After all, a few years ago we had John Waters give the keynote. It’s a librarian audience but the author has something to offer us that can be applied to scholarship and the dissemination of information.

I’m very excited. The introduction is written. I’ve rehearsed and will rehearse again few more times. Now I’d like to find a good iPad teleprompter app to scroll the intro.

Nov 24

Interview on Libraries, Social Media, Mediation

Thank you to Kate, the marketing intern at Santa Barbara City College, for doing such a great job across campus interviewing people and demonstrating the value of our campus community. I was honored to sit down with her to talk about the Luria Library, social media, and mediation. If you have ten minutes, I hope you take the time to watch the interview.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSbFJ-Ok8Zo

Nov 04

Game Changers for Community Colleges

I just returned from 2-days at OCLC where thirty community college librarians gathered to discuss the community college library environment. If I walk away from an event, conference, workshop, etc. with a list of action items then I know the activity was worth while – the OCLC sponsored event this week was definitely worth my time because I have a short list to work with now that I’m back.

This invite-only event came together around a series of OCLC-identified game changers for community colleges. They did a pretty good job of identifying themes in order to frame our discussion. As we sat around discussing these themes, a great deal of experience was brought into the room and we stepped in directions beyond the five game changers that were initially presented. The five brought to the table were (1) exploding registrations and student populations, (2) budgets, (3) eBooks, (4) working with faculty, particularly adjunct, and (5) leadership and succession.

The list brought to the table does encompass many of the common themes we are experiencing at the community college level. I found the discussion to be rich, informed, and enlightening. No answers were provided but awareness of these themes is important as we proceed in our libraries. My hope is that others can engage in this type of discussion in the future – perhaps regionally – to help frame our status in the academy.  Continue reading

Oct 19

When Ready, the Position Will Appear

I loved the brilliant blog post by Meredith Farkas over at Information Wants To Be Free. She explores the theme of management, upward mobility and sticking with honesty and candor. It’s important to see our strengths and where we might apply them in our work environment. I’m posting my thoughts here as well as on her blog.

My experience has been that one can customize the director position to be who we are as individuals; to be honest about our style and personality. I wouldn’t want to work for a disingenuous person, and I try to reflect that in my director role. Do I wear slacks and nice shirt? Most of time, but I like to look good. I also try to present myself professionally since I represent the library to many of our constituants. I don’t wear ties – don’t like them! My experience also tells me that when I was ready, the position appeared. For some this occurs quickly, others enjoy lingering in their profession by offering valuable service to their community in non-director positions.

This is good and needed.

I’m in my second Library Director position. In between the two, I worked as a classroom-based professor/reference librarian and as a systems librarian. Those two roles were just what I needed between the two director roles. I can honestly say that I’m a much better director this second time round; I needed more experience. Looking back, I’m not even sure I’d want to have worked for me the first time round but it did give some good lessons for this time.

Though Meredith was reflecting on moving from frontline librarian to director, I’m reading this with reflections of moving in other directions. As a Library Director, I periodically think about what it might be like to work as an non-library academic dean or vice-president. Could I ever leave librarianship?

I’m not ready now, but it’s fun to consider. When I’m ready, the position will appear.

Oct 13

Making Things Right

This year we launched a revised web site for the library and I decided to incorporate new elements that I thought would be beneficial to students. Other library staff were challenged by one of new elements and made their case for not moving ahead. I felt strongly about the element and decided to move forward anyway. How could I act counter to how I would like to lead?

I am responsible for the operation of a community college library. That responsibility includes vision, leadership, staffing, budget, and working directly with the students and faculty. Two important aspects of my job are (1) being able to communicate effectively and (2) being able to admit when I am wrong.

Two recent blog posts inspired me to reflect on the second aspect on making things right. I’ll save my reflection on communication for another time because I believe that “right speech” is probably the most difficult precept to practice. Roy Tennant covered Managing Personal Change with some great strategies that can be applied in many circumstances. In particular, I like learn as you breathe and be grateful. The second post by Seth Godin, Demonstrating Strength, reminds readers to apologize and to offer kindness.

Continue reading

Sep 14

Web Redesign Efforts: Luria Library

Web site redesign efforts are important for any organization if you want your www presence to remain fresh, creative, and functional. This past August, we launched a new web site for the Luria Library at Santa Barbara City College. We don’t have a large staff to create, implement, and manage the library web infrastructure. In fact, all the work has typically been my initiative and been my responsibility. Probably because of our size, on our campus we have relative autonomy in what we do with the web as long as we follow some basic guidelines established by the College.

In 2006, when I put the last redesign in place, we took the big bold step of implementing a blog-based web site. Out went the traditional web and in came something unique and different. At the time, both Moveable Type and WordPress were viable options for backend software. We decided on Moveable Type. In the following four years we innovated with using Twitter, GetSatisfaction, Flickr, Meebo, and ultimately settling on LibraryH3lp (a chat service). In hindsight, these were good years for our web presence. It brought us attention both locally and nationally. We had fun and we felt creative. But times change.

Continue reading

Aug 17

Hiring Library Workers

Aerial photo: Santa Barbara, California
Image via Wikipedia

There isn’t much turnover at the Luria Library, so when we have the opportunity to bring on a new person, we have to consider someone for the long term. Up until four years ago, the average length of employment in the library was probably around 16 years. The longest term employee in the library is also the longest term employee on campus – 45 years! Of course, this can’t be maintained forever and our average has gone way down because three of the nine employees have retired, including the most recent vacancy. This time we were hiring for our evening circulation person.

We didn’t hire because of growth, though we certainly could justify that, but because of necessity. Without this position, the library would not remain open in the evening. Continue reading

May 27

Wired on the iPad, My Experience

As you may know, the June 2010 issue of Wired magazine is available as an iPad version. It will cost you $4.99 to try it out. I’ve been a subscriber and reader of Wired since its founding in the mid-90s, and continue to be a subscriber. I had already read the print version of the June issue before the release of the iPad version, so in reviewing the new product I primarily looked for added features. Here are my thoughts.

Continue reading

May 13

To Check-In or Not to Check-In at ALA

I’ve been pondering the use of location-based social networking tools. For ALA Midwinter, there were a handful of people using these types of services. But, with the huge media coverage after SXSW Interactive this year, I’m expecting more adopters in Washington D.C. for ALA Annual. In fact, we may see some contests organized by ALA staff using one of these services. ALA Staff will be doing some things with Gowalla because that company has been responsive and interested in doing things with the Association. If you haven’t grabbed Gowalla yet, give it a try. Here’s something small to consider before you go…Washington DC Trips.

I’m giving my heavy use of Foursquare and Gowalla until the end of June. Part of my decision to continue using the service will depend on the ALA experience. Though I’m somewhat impartial to Gowalla, I’d like to use the service most widely used by ALA attendees. Please help me out and share, retweet, post of Facebook, etc.

Which service will you use, if any, in Washington DC for ALA Annual?

For the record, my user name on all the above services is kenleyneufeld.

Apr 09

Revisiting Books

On my 1-hour flight home yesterday, I used Instapaper Pro to go back and read a web essay from last month by Craig Mod (and type this post in the WordPress app). The essay is called Books in the Age of the iPad.

It seemed important to revisit the article now that I have an iPad and to see if I read the ideas any differently. Two quotes stand out:

When people lament the loss of the printed book [what are] they talking about. My eyes tire more easily, they say. The batteries run out, the screen is tough to read in sunlight. It doesn’t like bath tubs.

and

In printed books, the two-page spread was our canvas. It’s easy to think similarly about the iPad. Let’s not.

This raises two concepts. The reading of print material in the digital format and how the digital for at could look in the future. I read a lot of digital material, but have not ever read an entire novel or book digitally. Portions yes, but not the whole thing. I have loaded on my iPad, You Are Not as Gadget, that I hope to read soon. I’m intrigued and not fearful of digital novels and non-fiction.

I’ve had the iPad almost a week. I’ve done some reading of long pieces. Most of it is fairly traditional in nature. Read, “turn” the page, read some more. Much like the book reading experience. That’s all good.

I like the second concept that Mod presents in his essay. The idea to repurpose and reconceptualize the medium, and even to allow and build value for the print medium too. The ipad does not change anything yet, at least not with its ibook app. It is a nice interface, but it does take what we know and simply make it digital (with some minor tweaks). I look forward to what other producers and artists can create.

I encourage you to read Mod’s piece and reflect. What kind of reading experience do you value? I always thought we’d keep the paperback because it’s cheap and disposable but maybe that content is better suited for the digital environment? For librarians, we’ve already seen this transition for magazine content. Does the iPad pushes further into the digital?