Salem Press Library Blog Awards

Salem Blog Award First Large I am very pleased to say that this blog was awarded First Place in the “Public Library Blog” category of the Salem Press Library Blog Awards. Considering the caliber of the other blogs nominated in the category, I am very humble to receive the award. I’d like to thank the people who nominated me, Salem Press for running the contest, and everyone who has been kind enough to compliment my writing (whether you agree with it or not). It’s the last of these things that gives me the confidence to keep writing; and for that, I really can’t thank those people enough.

State of the Blog: Thank You

Movers & Shakers sign

(Taken outside the Library Journal suite where I had my picture taken.)

Today, I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of congratulations from the online library community at being named a 2010 Library Journal Mover & Shaker. It’s an honor and I am humbled immensely to be included with such a gifted group of fellow librarian professionals.

About a year ago, I started this blog. It has a different focus back then. There were more posts about politics and social issues, as I thought it was where my writing interest lay. Over time this was not to be as I wanted to write more and more about what really stirred my passions: librarianship. In the intervening months, I have found that it is not the technology, the customer service, the life of a public servant, the evaporating funding, nor the smaller professional squabbles that really truly compel me (though I will certainly write on such things at length); what really intrigues me is the soul of librarianship. The ideals, the emotional core, the spark that makes thousands of my fellow professionals get up in the morning and love what they do (even if they don’t always like the circumstances). The physical structures, technology, materials, and models are but temporary in these changing ages, but what impassions people to take up the mantle of librarianship is more intriguing and, with the way in which things are changing, vastly more important.

My success did not occur in a vacuum. It is the culmination of many people and events that have put me to where I am today.  Unlike the Academy Awards, I’d like to take some time to thank everyone.

First and foremost to my wife, Kathy, for without her, I would not be a librarian today. She talked about it, we did the MLS program together, and here we are now both working in public libraries. Next, to my parents, as they supported us through graduate school and all of the other steps we made. To my brother, for being an equally creative force (and the guy who came up with the name “Gooey Decimal System”).

To the people who nominated me, Laverne Mann, Peter Bromberg, Janie Hermann, Lisa Coats, and Julie Strange, I cannot thank you enough. Your professional encouragement and personal friendship have helped me grow within this field. While we may not cross paths as often as we’d like, each time results in a new idea, insights, or approach to something on my mind. That’s pretty stellar, in my book.

I’d also like to thank Blake Carver. If he hadn’t bumped one of my blog posts to the front page on LISNews, I would not have considered writing more than just passing thoughts. His support for my writing has boosted my confidence to take on bigger issues and to delve in the hearts of matters facing the library community. For his continued support, I thank him heartily.

In addition, and perhaps unknown to Blake, he has also given me a gem that I wanted to include in any professional biography I ever need to write. (Thanks Robin for letting me use this screen shot.)


To the people of 8bitlibraries (JP, Justin, Erin, Laverne [again], and Craig), I’m pleased to be part of a group of people looking to change a facet of the library. Gaming has moved from the lonely dark basements into the mainstream, and I’m glad to be part of the team that work for its inclusion and use in library programming and collections.

To my everyday librarian “braintrust” (Buffy Hamilton, Bobbi Newman, Amy Kearns, Karen Klapperstuck, and Julie Strange [again]), these are the fun patient people who keep me afloat with links, ideas, and conversation during the work day. These are the people to whom I can inquire and get inspired, and they have shaped more blog posts than they would imagine. (Also, to Steve Lawson, for entertaining lots of wacky ideas that always start off with something akin to “Hey Steve, quick question” when it is neither quick nor usually a question.)

And finally, thanks to my colleagues at the Burlington County Library System. It’s a privilege to work with them and I’m glad to be a part of something that makes a difference in people’s lives all over the county every day.

This has been a great past year.


Budgets, Banners, & Blogs

With the recent library budget cut proposals announced in New York City, it inspired me to do a new banner for the blog. If you liked the last one (or future ones), you can grab them for yourself off of my Flickr account. I’d like to thank John LeMasney for indirectly pointing out Inkscape to me. It’s been a fun program to fiddle around with. You can check out John’s blog project, 365 Sketches, and see what things Inkscape can do.

State of the Blog Address

So, I’ve been plugging away at this blog for a month. I know, what a noob, right? Well, it’s not my first stab at blogging and I’ve maintained a personal journal over at LiveJournal for a couple of years now. I guess that’s technically a blog, but since it has the word “journal” in it, it gets me all caught up in semantics. At any rate, this is my second attempt at having a completely public blog (my LJ is private and limited to family and friends).

In looking back at the past month of entries, they started off very serious, very link laden, and a mix of fact and opinion. As time moved on, I got away from that format. As much as I like trying to provide a complete picture of some of the issues that I support, it can be very draining. More draining than I thought it would be since it doubles the writing time as I collect and paste links and edit heavily. Don’t get me wrong, I like being able to provide the whole picture and cite my sources; it’s the right way to present the underlying facts that support a position. But, as the month went on, I have found that my interest was waning due to the high standards I had set for myself.

And hell, this is not supposed to be work, this is supposed to be something that I want to contribute to on multiple levels. So, the course has now changed (or, as I like to imagine it, “I am not lost, it is that path that has wandered”). I’ve always had the impulse to write, but not always the willpower to follow through. Right now, I have the willpower so I might as well take it where it is going and not stifle it by setting an unreasonable standard. I like writing about library science, religion, politics, goofy stuff in my life, and stuff that just pops in my head and demands to be recorded online.

More importantly to me, I like telling a story. I come from a long line of storytellers who savor the experience (much to the chagrin of my wife who hates waiting for joke punchlines and/or anything long winded).  I have many happy family memories involving people gathered around a dining room table or scattered in the family room or patio telling tales of their life experiences. More often than not it was something funny, but there would be stories of the somber times of World War II, Depression, and the intervening years of personal tragedies and other close calls. I’ve always known I was a storyteller. And though I prefer the spoken word to the written one, this is as good a medium as any for sharing most stories.

And so, I will see in another few months whether or not I stuck with the current format. It’s nice to see how certain things evolve over time. I’m looking forward to where I’m going, wherever that may be.