Archive for October 2008

Shake it shake it shake it girl

You’ve probably seen this around already, but LJ’s “Movers & Shakers” deadline is fast approaching. And this, is cool — for those of you who have in the past complained about this not being open for international nominations:

Now accepting international nominees! If your nominee is international, or if you prefer email over submitting the form below, please email Ann Kim at the below information attached as a Word document. Thank you very much for your contribution!

Nominate early, nominate often!

Vote early, vote often

Yesterday I took advantage of early voting in Illinois — how cool is this option. Walked in, only had a 2-minute wait as opposed to the craziness of Election Day, and now I’m done done done! If you don’t have this option, though, I also just read about people offering free or half-price babysitting on Election Day — also very cool. (Hey, public libraries that are polling places: Have you thought of setting up stations to entertain kids while their parents are voting?)

The new launches — yes, finally!

Spread the word :)

For immediate release: October 24, 2008
Contact: Rachel Singer Gordon ( launches new website

Villa Park, IL — Visitors to will notice a new look and feel today as the newly-redesigned site launches. The redesign brings in line with current web standards and adds new content and features. Note that old links willl be broken; please update your links and bookmarks.

Highlights of the redesign include:

  • Better integration of the forum and other interactive site features.
  • Job ads that, as always, are free to both job seekers and employers.
  • New content on education and career development, including information on MLIS scholarships as well as on funding conference attendance and other CE opportunities.
  • A more standards-compliant and accessible design.
  • A new logo designed by Wendy Koff, Librarian and Web Designer.
  • Updated links to outside resources; all links were checked manually in October 2008.
  • Improved organization — information for both job seekers and employers is now easier to find.
  • Opportunities for sponsorship — relevant organizations can easily reach an audience of librarians and info pros.

“I’m excited to launch the new and improved to better serve librarians, library workers, and info pros at all stages of their careers,” says webmaster Rachel Singer Gordon. “Stay tuned for more additions and improvements soon!”

Love the new logo? Grab yourself a t-shirt at the new Cafepress store. Find a job on Join the Flickr group, upload your photo, and you could see yourself featured on the site. (Don’t have a Flickr account? Email your photo and story to offers:

Come, explore, join in, and become part of the community.

Internet Librarian 2008, post two = Innovation

Helene Blowers Preaches It

Originally uploaded by lib_rachel

Here’s Helene Blowers, who’s much more dynamic in person than my photography might indicate, speaking on “Innovation – From Best Practices to Fresh Practices.” If you have a chance to see Helene speak anywhere, do so. If not, or to whet your appetite, here are some highlights:

What is innovation? Basically, innovation = DOING NEW THINGS. Innovation involves taking a fresh set of ingredients, then coming back to your workplace and doing something with it.

This in itself seems easy, but getting someone within your organization to allow you to do it, may not be so easy. If you’re a manager, changing your behavior to allow people to do new things may not be so easy either.

innovation isn’t about best practice, it’s about fresh practice. It’s not about duplicating others’ success, but about looking at that success and seeing how it fits in your own organization with your own twist.

Seth Godin says that nothing is original, we’re all working with same set of elements and pieces. It’s the combination that creates remarkable. Innovation is about being remarkable, not about changing the world.

Books on innovation, see Godin, Peters, have to do with how to change an organization’s culture to allow it to happen. Seeds of innovation — creativity, strategy, implementation, profitability.

Creativity = ideas

Regarding ideas, focus on quantity, not quality. This is hard because we are a profession that focuses on quality. Don’t worry about ideas being crazy, start thinking about how many can put out, not how good they are. Become a collector of ideas. Get outside your comfort zone; you can’t generate ideas from routine. Bounce your thoughts around; don’t just record, share, and the best ideas are those that gain momentum. When you bounce ideas around you can see the ones that are sticky — they bounce back to you.


Being a strategist = being a change agent.

1) Make it believable. MVV — Mission, Vision, and Values — admins love that stuff, because that’s what they do. TIE YOUR IDEA to MVV, communicate it that way. Not “it’s just cool, our customers will like it.”
2) Create alliances. If you’re going to be a change agent you can’t work in a silo, you need to make connections now. Being a change agent is about making really good relationships. Bounce ideas off those people, get them involved with your ideas.
3) Don’t ask for permission, ask for support. Permission = I have a great idea, I want to give it to you and have someone else do it. Support = I have a great idea and am going to put my own energy and resources and passion behind it. If you’re in a culture when boldness not appreciated or rewarded, ask for support, build the leadership opportunity to take an idea and run w/ it.
4) Sell your vision personally. Make an appointment to share your vision with the most strategic person in your organization, a person who could champion that idea for you.
5) Find a champion. On the front lines, if you want a leadership opportunity, find someone in the organization who shares the same kind of thinking. Find a champion who will support new leadership. Someone who’s overburdened will support someone else doing it, if you wiling to take leadership and do so.

Implementation and profitability

Implementation is about projects and project management. Symbol of a triangle, because project management talks about resources, time, and scope — constraints on every project.

Profitability is about the change that is going to occur. It’s about outcomes, how to make it meaningful for your organization.

Innovation is iterative — it doesn’t just happen one time, it happens constantly. This can be incredibly messy, which we don’t like because there’s not way to know outcomes when we start. Also embrace constant beta — be comfortable delivering something at 80%, so you can refocus on the rest through that iterative process. You’re never at the edge, always changes to come.

Innovation is about risk taking. You have to be comfortable with risk — you’re going to fail with some things.

Lots of libraries have lifelong learning in MVV — look at in terms of innovation, because innovation goes hand-in-hand with learning.

Seven steps to highly innovative people (except I missed step 7!)

1) Persistence. To move an organization forward, it takes a lot of erosion to create landslide of change. Don’t try something just once — we often have an idea, get shut down once, give up.
2) Remove self-limiting inhibitions. Biggest barriers to innovation come from ourselves, our own limitations, when we don’t put forward ideas, don’t build alliances. Start with yourself to become a change agent/innovator. Kids teach you this — to change their behavior, you need to change yours first.
3) Take risks, make mistakes. You learn something from every mistake.
4) Escape/explore new angles.
5) Collect ideas, write them down, find patterns, create connections.
6) Don’t focus on outputs when innovating, focus on inputs. Stay curious. Ask WHY.

Slides: — I don’t see them up yet; check back after the conference.

Something that does NOT make me crotchety

Joel & Kids

Originally uploaded by lib_rachel

…Is being able to see family (my brother and his kids, here) when I go to Internet Librarian every year. Which makes it worth now paying the extra $15 for baggage, running from one end of the airport to another when connecting through Phoenix, and the $2 (!) US Airways now charges for beverages on flights. I also noticed in the USA Today, today (which seemed just like I was in Chicago reading the redesigned Trib!) that United is no longer flying its one daily direct flight to Spokane from Chicago, so seeing my folks will now necessitate a transfer.

But wait, this is turning crotchety again — and it’s too beautiful in Monterey for that. So enjoy my beautiful niece and nephew, and, if you’re not at Internet Librarian this year, I’ll vouch that it’s worth the hassle of travel.

Internet Librarian 2008 post one of…?


Originally uploaded by lib_rachel

So I was going to try the whole liveblogging thing at Internet Librarian this morning, but I couldn’t get a connection (nor could anyone else, so I don’t feel slighted). So, first impressions: Apparently attendance is down from last year, but last year was record-breaking and you wouldn’t know to walk around. Could the economy be hurting conferences already? Although I’m assuming people made their plans for this before the complete craziness hit.

Went to the Howard Rheingold keynote this morning, and was somewhat disappointed — most of the content was rehashed from his old Smart Mobs book, and the speech seemed both dated and recycled. Although he did talk at the end about an interesting new initiative called The Social Media Classroom and Collaboratory, and invited librarians to participate as educators. Also, this is available as both a free download and as a hosted service, so it might be worth playing with.

Did you find your job on

Did you find a job on Join the Flickr group, post your photo and story, and you could show up on… :) .

The crotchety librarian

Smart? I don't THINK so

I’ve been meaning to post more lately, but it all wants to come out crotchety. (Maybe I should roll with it so LJ could hire me back as the “Even-more-annoyed-librarian” — but who can sustain that, really.) Besides, LJ itself is annoying me with its new “BookSmack” business, but maybe that’s because I don’t read enough “Books for Dudes.”

The Chicago Trib's revamped automotive section
But, I guess this is the way we’re going. Not only did LJ revamp itself, but The Chicago Tribune launched its own redesign a couple of weeks ago. In addition to lots o’ pictures, less actual content, and hardly any margins, it now features sections called “Smart” (ya THINK?), and “Rides” (AKA, the automotive section). Maybe I’m not the target audience, but I’m almost ready to jump on that “dumbing down of America” bandwagon. It’ll be interesting to see if the cost savings and change in focus will help or hurt both LJ and the Trib.

Anyway. I’ve been working on the long-neglected redesign, and plan to launch, if all goes well, on Friday. I’ll keep you all posted, and hopefully the changes won’t be as… well… annoying!

AL froze over!

American Libraries, that is, not the Annoyed Librarian:

American Libraries, the flagship magazine of the American Library Association (ALA), celebrated the first Open Access Day, Oct. 14, by opening up its content on the Web and making its companion weekly e-newsletter, American Libraries Direct, available to anyone for the asking.

“Opening up American Libraries’ searchable PDFs at is just the first step toward making all future features and columns available on the site in HTML format in 2009,” said Leonard Kniffel, editor in chief. The current issue of the print magazine will be open to all, as will back issues through 2003; they were all formerly accessible only with a member log-in. — American Libraries Lifts Access Restrictions.

Well, good for them! (Even if their stupid ebrary reader plugin doesn’t work in Firefox on Vista.)

Call for collection development articles, The Tech Static

The Tech Static, a new technology-related book review outlet and collection development resource for librarians launching this November, is soliciting article queries. Current needs include:

* Advice on weeding technology-related titles
* Overviews of “hot” new technologies, software, applications, certifications, or new releases for which libraries should stock updated guides
* Discussion of ways to fund useful collections of technology titles
* Suggestions of what types of professional technology titles to stock for staff’s reference and development
* Series overviews and recommendations for library purchasing
* Any other advice, how-tos, or “how-we-did-it-good” articles related to collection development in the area of technology.

Experience with collection development in this area, or with newer technologies, library tech support, or other technological background a plus. Email your queries to

The Tech Static does not at this time provide monetary compensation for reviews or articles. The Tech Static asks for first electronic publication rights; the copyright and reprint rights for your work remain with you.