Andy’s Library Shirt Giveaway Contest!

A month or so ago, I had an idea for a t-shirt design that I thought ALA could like and use. I contacted my friend Jenny Levine and told her what I had in mind. After talking with ALA Designs and bouncing it back and forth, I’m pleased to say that they will be turning my design idea into a t-shirt! Behold!


The design won’t be available at the ALA store until December 20th, but the good folks at ALA have been nice enough to offer me some t-shirts to give away to my blog readers. So, here’s the deal: between now and 11:59pm on December 20th, you can submit an entry via the link below for a chance at one of five t-shirts. The link only asks for your email. On December 21st, I will choose five numbers via random number generator and contact those people by email as to what size and where they want it sent. Limit one entry per person, US residents only. (Sorry, my UK buds.)

Andy’s Library Shirt Giveaway Contest Entry

[A link because free WordPress hates iframes]

Big thanks to Rachel Johnson and Diane Buck at ALA Graphics for their patience with the design emails and offering t-shirts for a giveaway. You can “like” the ALA graphics Facebook page if you want to get the latest news on new and upcoming ALA products. (While you are there, you can also “like” my author Facebook page.)

Good luck!

[Note: the design itself does not have a black border to it. I just turned on the border on the picture embedding because the background is white as well. Click on it for the full non-black border effect.]

State of the Blog: Google Reader

I thought a little “behind the scenes” look would be a fun change.


For those who may have a curiosity as to where I get some of my content, that’s my running thirty day total in Google Reader. To be fair, not all of the Reader items are library related. I have a couple of Google alerts for specific terms and subscriptions to some pop culture and technology feeds. This also does it represent combing through a half dozen other news sites that I look through for tidbits that might spark an idea for a blog entry. I also comb through Twitter and Facebook for additional ideas.

When it comes to library and librarian blogs, I like a wide range of voices to choose from. I’ve started incorporating blogs from other library types (academic and school, mainly) and specific library aspects (reader’s advisory, cataloging) so as to broaden my world view. I won’t say that I’m able to understand everything I read, but I’m working on it slowly.

In sharing some of my own continuing education, my question to my readers is this: what online (or offline) sources do you use to get news in the library world? What works for you?

Vacation Mode: Oct 2010

I'm not there. I wish I *was* though.During this vacation week, I’ve been relaxing, visiting friends, doing some writing, and playing a lot of video games. Sure, it’s a staycation, but I’ve been looking forward to some unstructured time. I have some things I’ve been wanting to work on, so it gives me some time to do so.

One of the things I’ve been playing with is a Tumblr blog called “Idea Lab”.  It’s hooked into my Twitter feed so that any updates I make on it are tweeted; I’ve refrained from integrating it to Facebook since it doesn’t feel like a proper fit to it. Plus, I’d like to offer people a filter for how much content from me they get.

A couple of features that I like about the blog so far:

  1. It’s more personal and spontaneous than this blog, allowing me to send pictures, record audio, and dump whatever articles and links I want to share.
  2. It has a feature to let people ask me any question. I’ve left the option on to allow for anonymous questions so I’ll have to see how well that goes. If you want to give it a go, try it out here.
  3. It gives me a nice place to store idea seeds for further posts and hopefully (maybe) ignite someone else’s creativity. I do enjoy a nice discussion.

Since the Tumblr interface so damn easy to use, I have some other collaborative blogs in mind to make. When I put them out there, you’ll be the first to know. If you want to suggest one, I’d love to hear it!

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.