the talk i meant to give

amy posted this June 26th, 2011 | filed under: discovery, ilovemyjob, innovation, inspire me!, moi, presenting, ranting | 13 comments »

whoa. that was intense. while i’m not happy with my presentation at TEDxLibrarians, i am happy that i accepted the challenge (doing things that scare me n’all). such a learning experience. rock.
the event, however, was wonderful. many thanks to the organizers for a such a thought-provoking day. shelley and fiacre – you guys are the best.

here is the talk i meant to give.


so when thinking about this talk, i started thinking about things i do everyday
i use and evaluate new technologies – from high speed book scanners to the semantic web
i educate my community – from finding accurate authoritative information to author rights
i design new service and spaces – both in meatspace and cyberspace
and where do i do all of this?

i almost never refer to this as the place where i work. because the library is a building, and what we do, what librarians do, is more than just what can be found in a building. in fact, the very reason most of us do what we do, is because we want to bring the library to the community, and not vice versa.
when people ask where i work, i typically say…

i like this term. this is what i’m passionate about. it’s… vast. it represents all the different kinds of librarians out there – public, academic, special.
it means more than just books on shelves in buildings. it’s more than bunheads and shelvers.
it’s a community of people who believe that helping people find and do things is what makes the world a better place.
it is everyone who wants to provide access to information, because…

because access to information is a human right. i believe this. librarylanders believe this.
we see this as a driving force for what we do and why for many of us, this is a vocation, not a job. i’m not a librarian for the bling. i’m a librarian because i fundamentally believe that i can help make society a better place to live by figuring out ways to provide better access to information. so when i’m having a bad day, and stressed about budgets, and policies, and workplace shenanigans, i remember: THIS IS WHY I DO IT.

librarians as thought leaders is a killer concept.
being a librarian, i know that there are many definitions of thought leader – from business literature, HR blogs, philosophy texts, and various talks given by people held at airport hotels on a saturday morning.
but when i think of librarians as thought leaders, i think of…

believing in access to information as a human right means fighting for our communities. fighting to make sure the digital divide continues to shrink. fighting for privacy for our users. fighting against the entire concept of censorship. and lately, fighting for libraries.
so this is my call to arms. librarians are revolutionaries, and society needs us. and no i don’t mean killing all the things with fire.
true thought leaders, true revolutionaries, are willing to overthrow the system, or join it, if that’s what works best for their community.

there is a long list of things that are worth fighting for, and worrying about.
but there are also things that i am not worried about:
the end of print books
the end of libraries
students using wikipedia
google replacing librarians (my brain beats a google algorithm in any street fight. please note: i fight dirty).
there are things that we should worry about – and as librarians are uniquely placed to fight for.

the scholarly communication system needs a complete overhaul.
scholarship has moved online, publishers need to adapt and change.
librarians are uniquely positioned to help fix scholarly publishing. we support research and publishing on a daily basis. allowing publishers to then charge us ridiculous sums of money to make this research, which we helped produce, available to our communities, is ludicrous. as one of my favourite librarians recently said “we don’t owe publishers a living”.
and as a librarian if you are not supporting the open access movement, ask yourself if you really believe that access to information is a human right.

another issue that we can help fix –
access to electronic content has been taken over by large corporations who ultimately care more about the bottom line, than the community. Harry Potter is coming to the ebook format. but only available through the publisher’s website, not through the library. this despite the fact libraries have build entire reading programs for kids around Harry Potter and are, i would argue, responsible for much of the success of the series.
and there is more, there’s always more. the fight for net neutrality – that is our fight.
it’s time for a renewal, and, okay, i’m going to say it… CHANGE?

there is lots to be fixed. revolutionaries are doers, not sayers. revolutionaries don’t make provocative statements, they take radical action.
they are always looking for ways to make society better. they don’t shake their heads and say “but this is how we’ve always done it”.

challenge legacy processes.
all of them.
it’s a kickass time to be a librarian. so many opportunities to make society better. and that’s why we do this, right? we aren’t becoming millionaires. we aren’t going to rule the world (ok, maybe we will). so what are we?

we are educators (if you don’t think you are because you don’t do officially do “instruction”, just ask your friends. i guarantee you are the person that they go to with questions on a regular basis)
we are ninjas (no one sees us coming, and then POW we smackdown a school board who wants to ban a kids book about growing up in a gay family)
we are curious (that old adage about curiosity killing the cat? think about how curious librarians are. then think about librarians and cats. no killing happening there ; )
we are community-minded (you can’t have a properly informed citizenry without a library. point final.)
and we inspire each other.

this. everyday i aim for two things:
1. care about my community
2. do that well

Peter Brantley of the Internet Archive had a great post last year about leadership in libraries, and how we can’t let just those at the top determine the future for us. in it he quotes Faulkner’s “Them that’s going, get in the goddamn wagon. Them that ain’t, get out the goddamn way.”
so i guess what i’m trying to say today, is that on those days when this gig feels a bit too paper-pushy / reprimand-y / WAY TOO MANY MEETINGS ZOMG… remember: librarians are able to start revolutions, and that is a powerful thing. we can build the future of libraryland together and show the world just how awesome it is to call yourself a librarian. it’s not going to be easy, but it is right, and as crazy as it sounds, it will make the world a better place.

join me in the revolution. you won’t regret it.

hey, common sense, where you at?

amy posted this March 2nd, 2011 | filed under: discovery, ilovemyjob, innovation, inspire me!, moi | 3 comments »

the beauty of being a librarian (or perhaps the horror, depending on the day) is that you are always a librarian – no matter what you are chatting about, you always come back to similar themes: access, authority, and service.

awhile ago a little chat on friendfeed (which likely started nowhere near what it became) evolved into david developing a bit of a “manifesto” for what he calls (and i love) “common sense librarianship“.

go and read it. my favourite is the first:

The world of information has always been in a constant state of flux. As technology continues to changes the world of information, it is preferable for information professionals and the institutions they serve to adapt rather than perish.

and this is the thing, as much as i rant about how slow change is in libraryland, we are capable of doing it. think of the changes in libraries over the past 100 years!

  • open stacks
  • telephone reference
  • the automation of the library
  • electronic holdings
  • chat reference
  • online information literacy tutorials
  • (note these are not in a real order)…

our track record indicates that we are able to adapt and change, we just have to stop being scared to do it.

leaders, women, and why it’s okay to be awesome

amy posted this January 31st, 2011 | filed under: discovery, innovation, inspire me!, ranting | 1 comment »

last week there was a shitastic infographic making the rounds to help women determine what type of techy broad they are. my response (on ye olde twitter and facebook machines):

dear women in tech, i love you. i do not care about your hair, your purse, or who your dream man is. let’s take over the world. now.

and i meant it. we need to move forward, now.

to remedy my disgust, i recently watched Sheryl Sandberg‘s TED talk. she has three pieces of advice that i think everyone, even those of us in a “women’s profession” can benefit from.

  1. sit at the table
  2. make your partner a real partner
  3. don’t leave before you leave

i think it’s worth 15 mins of your time.

so let’s all do ourselves a favour, and just be awesome. the world can handle it.

fun thing: wordnik

amy posted this October 22nd, 2010 | filed under: 2.0 fun, booky things, conference-y, discovery, innovation, inspire me! | Tags: | 1 comment »

i have the good fortune of attending Books in Browsers at the Internet Archive (also known as the “fathership” – assuming the “mothership” is the Library of Congress). the conference was attended by librarians, publishers, authors, developers, and other people who are interested in making sure stuff that’s written gets read.
one of the presenters is none other than Erin McKean. if you haven’t seen her TED talk yet, i’ve embedded it below. one of my all-time faves.
Erin’s new project is called wordnik.

Wordnik is a place for all the words, and everything known about them.

in her presentation she explained that since dictionaries try to cover the most useful words for the largest group of folks, they frequently leave out the newest and rarest. Wordnik does the opposite. essentially it is a crowdsourced dictionary (including real-world sentences) that aims to have all of the words in the English language. amazing. a context-driven dictionary? i think i’m in love.

but the best part? IT HAS AN API. (and soon there will be an iOS SDK.)

LibraryCamp Monterey v.2!

amy posted this October 1st, 2010 | filed under: conference-y, innovation, inspire me!, presenting | Tags: , , | 1 comment »

cc licensed flickr photo shared by Jenica26

i’m thrilled to be the facilitator for LibraryCamp Monterey at Internet Librarian 2010.
last year’s camp was a great success (pic above), and can we get a round of applause for the Info Today peeps for making librarycamp part of their regular conference schedule?

here are the details:

who: anyone who can make it
what: librarycamp/unconference/generally awesome gathering of librarylanders
when: october 23, 2010 from 9:30am to 12:30pm
where: Monterey Public Library, 625 Pacific Street, Monterey [map with directions from conference centre to library]
why: because it will an opportunity to learn from each other – be ready to get your think on
how: maybe we just need the 5 Ws for this…

if you have any questions, leave a comment, shoot me an email or tweet me @jambina

can’t wait to see all of you!

yarn bomb!

amy posted this June 4th, 2010 | filed under: ilovemyjob, innovation, inspire me! | no comments »

i <3 halifax public libraries for this positively genius idea to draw the community’s attention to the planning process for the soon-to-be-built central library.

if you’re in halifax, be sure to attend the public consultation about the new central library on june 10, 2010.

copyright bill c-32 just dropped

amy posted this June 2nd, 2010 | filed under: discovery, ilovemyjob, innovation, open access | Tags: | no comments »

and it’s really REALLY important that everyone read it.
i’m going to spend some time with it (me = not so good with legalese) and then post some thoughts.
you should do the same!

Copyright Bill C32

i’m live-blogging #ePubMcGill

amy posted this May 28th, 2010 | filed under: conference-y, general, ilovemyjob, innovation, inspire me!, open access | Tags: | no comments »

check out the McGill Library Blog where i’m live-blogging ePublishing in the Scholarly Community. there will be webcasting this afternoon as well.

ePublishing in the Scholarly Community

amy posted this May 17th, 2010 | filed under: innovation, inspire me!, moi, open access | Tags: , , , | no comments »

McGill is hosting a great event on May 28, 2010 – the folks from the Public Knowledge Project will be around to give demos of their great software, and John Willinsky will be featured on a panel in the afternoon looking at New Models for the Scholarly Monograph.
if you’re interested – you can register below – but please go read the full details first!

libpunk is as great as it sounds

amy posted this April 28th, 2010 | filed under: discovery, innovation, inspire me!, moi | Tags: | 1 comment »

cc licensed flickr photo shared by sashafatcat

libpunk was a term coined by kathryn stemming from jim’s term edupunk. she has a killer definition on her blog – so go check that out.

i took it to mean “building libraries out of whatever you have handy”. be that wordpress, scraps of paper, or just a really smart dude who is willing to connect folks to information. voilà – library!

i have to say that i’m less concerned with the mechanics of libpunk. you don’t need to hate corporate ‘Merica to be libpunk. some library vendors give a damn. you don’t have to hate tenure, conferences, or the boringest parts of your job to be libpunk

what you have to be, to be libpunk, is willing to critically evaluate everything and look for non-libraryland answers that suit your needs. other folk have solutions to our problems, just as we likely have solutions to some of theirs.

i see libpunk as the opportunity to break-free from libraryland-only talk. break-free from reinventing the wheel. break-out of silos. break-up with partnerships that don’t help our users. but mostly, BREAK THINGS AND MAKE THEM BETTER.