Gaming, Gold Stars, and Birthdays

Another random update in-between tasks and projects:


Under the heading of “Wait, what?”: some gaming kerfuffle in Nebraska. The YouTube video in question led to a state investigation (complete with report) and, thankfully, an eloquent response from the Nebraska Library Commission.

A lot of ink has been spilled on libraries and gaming, and as a lifelong gamer myself, I’m just a touch biased. I do worry, however, that the opposition to gaming in libraries is merely one symptom of a larger cultural problem in America: the belief that we must always be working, all the darn time (which, alas, the shiny Web 2.0 technologies sometimes make it all too easy to do).

Life is so very short – don’t we all deserve fun, rest, and recreation? Are we really going to be on our deathbeds wishing we’d worked more? Methinks not. Maybe if more libraries embraced a healthier, holistic approach to work and play, we’d have a healthier citizenry. You work hard, you play hard, you go to sleep (for 8 hours, naturally, and please call your mom).

If that doesn’t convince you, doubters, chew on this: all those people you’re going to be asking for donations, in about 10 years? They’ll remember that you frowned upon them and their interests back when they were young, and will probably be less inclined to support the library. I’m just saying.

[Really, the only thing the Nebraska librarians did wrong was use "Yackity Sax" in the video. Can we say "earworm?" Quelle horreur! :)]

Moving on…

4 Gold Stars

I’m pleased as punch that CLP has been named one of America’s Star Libraries by Library Journal. To celebrate, I’ve put four gold stars on my badge – if anybody else in the building would like one, I’ve left the sheet on my desk (feel free to use your own, too). Next time, we could totally get five. I’m serious. Let’s get cracking!

Kudos also to the Sewickley and Green Tree libraries for earning stars! Who knew Pittsburgh-area libraries  were so great? Why, you did, Constant Reader!

Birthday Number One

Eleventh Stack celebrated its first birthday this week. I swear, I didn’t deliberately pick George Harrison’s birthday as the launch date, but am pleased as punch it turned out that way.

On a more serious note, I couldn’t be more proud or pleased about the way the project has turned out so far. You know you’ve been a good leader when the team doesn’t really need you to function. Oh, sure, I’m the one who gets to represent us at meetings and whatnot, but when it comes to the day-to-day matters like proofreading or switching days, the team works it out amongst themselves. We make our decisions by consensus and everybody is empowered to fix tiny typos or other troubleshooting issues. It goes without saying that everyone is also empowered to write about whatever they want, and they all know, instinctively, how to make the library look good.

At our last blog meeting, I asked the team if they’d be willing to share some of their “best practices” for blogging. I reprint the list here in the interest of Learning 2.0:

  • Have a planning process and write effective guidelines
  • Once you’ve done that, “Just do it!”  [It is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission]
  • Blogging does not necessarily lead to increased circ, so don’t make this a condition of a “successful” blog
  • Have a consistent schedule and make sure everyone knows what it is
  • Be realistic about the schedule you set
  • Readership can grow slowly, and people won’t always want to comment.  Don’t worry about this.  Just keep going.
  • Short posts and/or videos are good!
  • Steal ideas. :)
  • Proofread, proofread, proofread!
  • It’s okay to write about the familiar.  Sometimes it’s preferable.
  • When writing, leave plenty of time for dealing with technology glitches
  • Pay attention to what other team members are doing so you don’t repeat yourself [NB:  Three zombie posts is NOT excessive in Pittsburgh. :)]
  • Collaborative posts are good!
  • “Word of mouth” advertising can be really effective (Facebook, your .sig file, etc.)
  • Use your own, unique voice

 So, there’s that.  Why no, I am not misting up with affection.  That’s just something stuck in my eye, probably.

No.  I love these people.  I really do.  And I’m so proud of what they’ve accomplished, that my heart grew three sizes this day!

Ahem.  :)  Twitter training and number-crunching are in my future, but for now I’ll say, “until we meet again,” by which I mean, “probably next week,” as there will be much to tell!

Staff, developing

Yesterday, while the library was closed for Staff Development Day, Ryan H. led a team of people, including yours truly, in staffing two “Technology Playground” sessions. We ended up needing two because there was such an interest in the idea, which is neat!

So, CLP staff members got to play Rock Band and Wii Sports with Wes R., learn about digital video from Joseph W., get a peek at something I’m not sure I’m allowed to mention yet (heh), and practice downloading various items, under the eagle eye of Amy E., from our eCLP collection.

Several brave souls also opted to blog along with me, although most of the folks who stopped by the station really wanted to talk more than type. They had questions about blogging, why the library does it, how it works, etc., that I answered to the best of my ability. You can read the writings of the hardy souls who chose to participate here.

I’m going to leave that page on the blog permanently, hoping it will encourage others to participate. Already I’ve had a few offers for guest posts, and several folks asked very good questions about how to go about starting their own blogs. I made sure to stress that good goals and objectives were the key: why do you want to do this? How would your branch/department benefit?

I wish I’d had the chance to go to some of the workshops, as I heard second-hand they were interesting. But it was a privilege to be able to, once again, teach. I really miss it, sometimes, and I hope I’ll be able to develop my library career in such a way that teaching and training become a larger part of it.

Then again, my dream job right now is “library imagineer.” We shall see. :)

I’ve had a draft in the hopper for a while about failure, as it’s something various biblioblogosphere pundits have had opinions on, ones which set my brain a-pondering. We’ll see if said draft, tentatively called “Failure is Okay,” will be squooshed by library reality, or allowed to come to fruition.


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