misbehave with me

amy posted this May 19th, 2013 | filed under: ilovemyjob, inspire me!, library skül, moi, ranting | 1 comment »

But sometimes… sometimes what’s happening in the world around us is just so egregiously bad that there’s no choice but to misbehave.

one of my favourite librarylanders, dorothea salo, gave a commencement speech today to a group of babybrarians. please read it. then start some trouble.

when i grow up i wanna be like…

amy posted this May 17th, 2011 | filed under: ilovemyjob, inspire me!, library skül, moi | 1 comment »

cc licensed ( BY NC ) flickr photo shared by jambina

new grads frequently ask about my career path, about how i managed to move up the food chain quicker than most, and, in some awesomely awkward instances, they actually word it as “what is the secret to your success”.
this is the secret/my career path/how i macgyvered my way up in libraryland:
i reach out to others in libraryland and ask questions all the time.
that’s it.

this pic is of krista and i on our four year “anniversary” of rooming together at CiL conferences. how did it start? four years and a few months before CiL2008 i called her and said “hey, you are doing cool stuff. when i graduate from mcgill library school i want to do similar stuff to you. also, i want to go to CiL and i see you are speaking there, any chance we can split the cost of a room?” she said yes.
for the record:
1. i do not recommend asking to bunk with someone as your first foray into meeting other librarylanders.
2. #1 could work but is likely not something you can use in a “how did you guys meet” story.
3. sorry krista, for blogging about how we met!

but i did learn to always ask. if you want to go to a conference but can’t afford it, talk to the organizers and volunteer your time in return for free registration. even if it means only getting to see one session, the time spent networking with others at the conference is well worth it.
in the same vein, if you want to learn about a project/figure out how something works, just ask. you’d be surprise how nice librarians are… mostly. ; )

since then, i have found myself a group of mentors. some i work with, most i don’t. what’s most important is that i went out and built a network for myself – a network of people that i admire, and want to be like “when i grow up”. these are librarylanders with drive, ambition, perseverance, awesome ideas, and the guts to go for it when the haters are in full-on hate mode. these people? these are the ones i turn to for advice, comfort, comiseration, or a good kick in the ass. i also will eternally have their backs, as they have mine. some of them might not even realize they are mentors to me, but they are. (and for you mentors who don’t like it… sukkit. <3 jambina.) build yourself a network. it's not hard, but you have to be fully invested. if you do, i promise it is well worth it.

so you think you wanna be a librarian

amy posted this November 9th, 2010 | filed under: ilovemyjob, library skül | 3 comments »

then please please please check out this great slidedeck by Ned Potter first.

(thanks to kendra for blogging this first!)

the rest of my #libday4

amy posted this January 31st, 2010 | filed under: conference-y, library skül, lsw, meme, moi, ranting | Tags: , , | no comments »

cc licensed flickr photo shared by jambina

[well, at least i posted something this week!]


since i try not to schedule meetings on mondays, my tuesdays tend to have at least two of them. i think i run fairly productive meetings. i always have an agenda, take minutes, and rarely go over time by more than a few minutes. i’m also a big believer in only having meetings when there’s something to discuss – i’m not a fan of the standing meeting. but then, i don’t run every meeting at mpow.
these meetings had to do with sorting through work needing to be finished by the digitization team. my ABSOFRICKINLUTELY amazing programmer has created a database that queries both our catalogue and Sherpa/Romeo while tracking the process of depositing items into our IR. it is a thing of beauty and when we’re done testing it i’ll tell you more about it.
i also met with my direct supervisor to update her on the the past month and to sort out priorities for now until may 31 (end of fiscal year, chez moi). we’re going to focus on our new “on demand” service – printing on demand and digitizing on demand. (will post more about those when they go live.)
over lunch i rewatched larry lessig‘s talk about copyright in higher education – cuz sometimes librarians need to be reminded that they ARE fighting the good fight. also, i’m a huge fangirl of his, so watching a talk is never “work”. while watching larry, i took my first stab at a packing list for my trip, based loosely off of jessamyn’s (i know i talked about her in the last post. deal.)

other stuff done during the day:

  • realizing that we need to get better support from a hardware vendor, and trying to figure out the best way to get what we need. they are a new company, and have great customer service, but they’re still growing so only just now figuring out all the demands of their users.
  • answered a survey sent out by a library considering using one of our products, to help them make the decision.
  • came to terms with the fact that my office is a berloody mess and i really need to do something about it before i lose my mind. note: this will probably be repeated in #libday5.
  • thought about downloading some reading material for my travels tomorrow, but then realized that because i use zotero, i had all the PDFs/screenshots with me already. in my world, zotero = productivity.
  • once home, worked for another few hours finishing up emails and letting folks now that i wouldn’t be back in the office until next monday.

finally fell asleep around 2am. i was restless thinking about going to the SLA Leadership Summit and seeing some great friends (who i only see at conferences due to geographical shenanigans, but who i talk to daily.) also, St Louis has ribs and blues bars. sweet.

wednesday to sunday

i’m at the SLA Leadership Summit in St Louis, MO.
i decided to come because i’m the Communications & Social Media Chair for both the IT and Academic divisions. being on the advisory boards means getting to help plan future directions for the divisions, which is interesting because i get some insight into the organization.
the leadership summit is very different from the annual conference. there are only about 250 people who attend leadership. they are all on chapter or division boards and are really the folks responsible for implementing and “living” SLA. thanks to the tiny size, it’s dead easy to meet folks.
leadership is also different because the summit is about developing the leadership capabilities of the attendees. we skillshare on topics like recruitment & retention. board meetings look at programming for the annual conference. the invited keynote is always someone that has an interesting take on organizations and how best they can serve their members. essentially, it’s about developing SLA leaders (both those who are appointed to boards, and those who self-identify as leaders) to ensure the association can respond to its membership.
this was my first leadership summit and on the whole i found it a good experience. it was great to hear what other folks have planned for the annual conference in New Orleans. it was interesting to hear about, and then really think about, the concept of loyalty when it comes to large organizations, and even further, what this means in academic libraryland.
and of course, SLA events are made for networking. some people i know i will only see at SLA events, and i’m always eager to catch up with them. the LSW had a sizable cohort at leadership, so much so that there was talk of having an LSW caucus – if only to have some beer money for the meetups at annual!
i’ve been a part of a number of library organizations since first starting library school – SLA, CLA, ALA, QLA, LSW – and to be honest, SLA has helped me the most in terms of growing into a professional. [i don’t want to sound like a shill, because this is all very sincere.]
for any LIS students reading this, think about the associations to which you belong (and if you don’t belong to any, you are missing out on a crazy opportunity to network and gain insight – especially since students dues are usually insanely cheap) and be sure the association is working for you. can you find mentors? are there free resources available to you? are there scholarships available to cover your expenses to the annual conference? library schools can only do so much – becoming an information professional is all about being resourceful, both in terms of finding answers to questions, and seeking out opportunities for yourself.
to students who complain that their school “does nothing” for them, i say two things:

  1. that sucks. a lot of us have been there. it’s frustrating.
  1. do something about it. host a conference (those who are “big namesin libraryland love talking to students and will come to your school in the middle of the winter when it’s crazycold out and speak because they love LIS students). join the local chapter of whatever association seems to be the best fit. hop online and join in the discussion about libraryland (and no, I DO NOT MEAN NEWLIB-L.) reach out to info pros in your area that have jobs you want, and take them for a coffee to pick their brains. whatever you do, do not expect someone to do this for you. it’s your career – own it.

things i didn’t learn in library skül

amy posted this January 20th, 2010 | filed under: general, library skül, moi, open access, written by thumb | Tags: | no comments »

i’m currently taking a course to familiarize myself with copyright since so much of my day involves depositing work in the IR, digitizing & printing rare texts, and publishing scholarly journals.

UofT LIS students make my day

amy posted this November 4th, 2009 | filed under: general, inspire me!, library skül | 1 comment »

i love dares. doing scary things (hello battledecks…) is fun.
University of Toronto library students seem to like dares as well – and have taken it to the next level by publicly documenting their dare in order to raise money to fight AIDS in Africa.
the dare? take photos of strangers holding a honkin’ huge “i <3 librarians” sign. the flickr stream is filled with great pix.
guerilla marketing for a good cause.

end of times beginning of i heart librarians 094

(thanks Aaron for posting about this!)

update: these photos would be extra awesome if they were licensed under Creative Commons (hint! hint!)

hello SLA2009!

amy posted this June 14th, 2009 | filed under: conference-y, discovery, general, innovation, inspire me!, library skül | Tags: | no comments »


i’m in town for the SLA Centennial Conference. i love the SLA conferences – it’s always wild to meet librarians who work in “non-traditional” gigs. this year i’m on the boards of two divisions – IT and Academic – so i’ll be getting my first glimpse at the inner machinations of things.

more soon!

fun thing: picnik

amy posted this June 10th, 2009 | filed under: 2.0 fun, library skül, moi, silliness | 4 comments »

i am addicted to modifying photos using picnik – especially since every social network requires you to have some kind of avatar for you profile.

picnik is free and doesn’t require you to register (though there are some perks if you do). you can crop and rotate and fix colours (you can even use curves), as usual, but picnik also allows you to add filters to your photos, text, funny pix, and frame things in a bunch of different ways.

so you can make a boring picture like this:


look like this:


(there’s lots more you can do – i just wanted to give you a rough idea. this was cropped, rotated, had the Orton-ish effect applied, speech bubble and text added, and i gave myself a loverly ‘stache.)

adieu uncontrolled vocabulary

amy posted this February 24th, 2009 | filed under: inspire me!, library skül, moi | 1 comment »

the awesome Greg Schwartz has decided to put his show, Uncontrolled Vocabulary, on hiatus.

this saddens me because the show was one of the first LIS-related but non-library school things i discovered out there on the intertubes. talking about real life LIS issues! getting the dirt on new tech and how it might actually apply to librarians! listening to LIVE LIBRARIANS! amazing!

so to Greg, i have this message: i owe you much. listening to that first episode of UnVocab was one of those “OMG i made the right decision in becoming a librarian” moments.

you rock.

do things that scare you

amy posted this February 13th, 2009 | filed under: 2.0 fun, discovery, general, inspire me!, library skül, moi, presenting, Second Life, silliness | 2 comments »

such as present at a workshop where you’re on the slate with seasoned veterans like Stephen Abram and Michael Stephens.

i would say that i am fairly comfortable presenting in front of a group. we do a lot of teaching at my branch, so i have had a lot of practice explaining somewhat complicated things to folks.

i also read up on presenting (slide:ology and presentation zen are two recent faves) and while i don’t consider myself as proficient with powerpoint as Larry Lessig, i certainly don’t force my audience to suffer “death by powerpoint”. or as Dorothea puts it, “i don’t think i’ve ever wasted the audience’s time”.

so though i’m okay speaking to  people, and know that my presentations are, for the most part, not-so-bad, being asked to speak at this workshop was still scary.

scary because…

  • both Stephen and Michael know how to engage an audience.
  • i wasn’t presenting at some far-off  conference to peeps that i will only ever see again at another conference. i was presenting to local librarians and library school students – my colleagues and friends!
  • i didn’t get to rehearse nearly as much as i had hoped (note to self: your procrastinatory skills are epic. you must fix this).

but scary is good. scary makes you try harder. scary makes you prepare better (plz to disregard my 3rd point above). scary makes you try things. scary pushes you to do something!

and then the next time you do it, it’s less scary. and then the next time, even less scary. and so on, and so on…

so how have you scared yourself lately? (alright alright, use “challenged” if that sounds better in your head.) i am well aware that it is easier to say you are going to do something new than to actually do it.

what if a double-dawg dare you?