Come see me at ALA?

I’m going to my first ever ALA Annual this year!

Want to say hi?

Come Ride with Librarians on Friday, June 26 at 2 pm (or just meet us for happy hour at 4 pm)

Everyone is welcome – librarians, those who love librarians, those who just like to ride bikes… No one will be turned away, and no rider will be left behind.

We’ll leave from the Moscone Center then: Ride to Mission Bay Branch Library/AT & T Park ->
Ride along Embarcadero ->Ride up Market Street ->Stop at San Francisco’s Main Library ->Ride along Market Street to Valencia Street ->Stop at Mission Branch Library ->Tour Mission Murals ->Ride back to Moscone Center and ->HAPPY HOUR! at Thirsty Bear

New Members Round Table 101 on Saturday, June 27 at 8:30 am 

New Members Round Table leaders and experienced members welcome current and prospective NMRT members to the NMRT 101 session. Learn about what NMRT does, NMRT events happening at the ALA Annual Conference, benefits of membership, and how to get more involved. This will be a great place to make connections and network with new members and experienced leaders alike.

I’ll be part of a panel discussion on topics relevant to new librarians.

Lessons From Hiring Librarians on Saturday, June 27 at 3 pm

Emily Weak, founder of the blog Hiring Librarians, will reveal lessons learned from interviews with hundreds of people who hire librarians and nearly 600 job hunters. The workshop will use the Hiring Librarians survey format to also look at the job hunting experiences of attendees, in order to help develop personalized strategies for finding work.

Silicon Valley Grows: Seed Libraries Unite on Sunday, June 28 at 12:30 pm

This poster session brings together librarians from Silicon Valley Grows, a multi-library project that takes the “one city, one book” concept into the world of seed libraries.

In case you don’t know, I look like this:


Out and About

I’m doing some cool things and going some cool places!

I’m ridiculously excited to have been a guest on the most recent episode of the Silicon Valley Beat, the Mountain View police department’s podcast.  If you’re interested in how police departments work, I suggest you check out the other episodes.  The one with Karla Knightstep, who handles dispatch and emergency calls, will blow your mind.

Last month I did a maker station at the California Museum Association Conference in San Diego.  I taught museum professionals how to make bike lights out of tin cans.  Notes from the first day of the conference are here.  Notes from the second day are…still being transcribed.

Next week I’m going to the National Bike Summit in Washington, D.C.  I have the chance to do a 10 minute Bikes + Libraries presentation, as part of a Big Ideas panel.

I’m working with two other libraries to present a webinar called Many Paths to Conversation: Techniques for Successful ESL Clubs.  Join us on April 8 at 12 pm Pacific.

I’ve been invited to present at the 2015 Symposium on LIS Education, taking place Friday April 10 and Saturday April 11.  My presentation will most likely occur virtually on Friday afternoon.  The conference is an interesting, progressive, student-led look at successes and challenges in LIS education.  What will I talk about?  It’s a fun mystery!  (seriously though, I take requests).

I *want* to present a conversation starter session at ALA, on Bikes and Libraries.  But, we need your vote!

Oh yeah and,

I got a knuckle tattoo:



(it’s itchy.)

Writing Round-Up

I’m not doing a lot of writing here, nowadays, but I’ve got some writing other places:

MVPL Bike Stop

I’m writing a series for BayNet, a local library organization, about a bikes-and-libraries initiative at my work.

Simple Steps to Starting a Seed Library

Print only, at the moment.  An article for Public Libraries Magazine.

seed liberry

What Candidates Want: How to Practice Compassionate Hiring

Some lessons from the Hiring Librarians job hunter survey.

Library Jobs Math

Refuting the idea that there will soon be a “shortage of librarians and sea captains.”  Numbers don’t lie folks.

and finally, not a piece of writing but a fun project I’m working on:

The Library-2-Library Bicycle Tour

Please join us for a morning of bicycles, libraries, and fun.



The Semiotics of Organizing

Librarian confessions time: we like to organize things.

When you’re in the biz, occasionally a colleague will sidle up to you and whisper, “This weekend I alphabetized my spice cabinet.”  Then you’ll both sort of sigh contentedly at the idea of such domestic order.  It’s not just spices either. You might hear, “Last night I organized my spoons by degree of roundness” or  “My towels are now in thread count order.” It seems to run in the family too.  The proudest moment in the life of a librarian parent might be the day they walk in on their child pulling books off the shelf…and then putting them back, in subject groupings.

Although I was a messy child, I grew to love a well-ordered house.  I think it’s because my husband and I have spent most of our life together in tiny spaces, from our first two years sharing a single room, followed by five years in a studio apartment, then six in a one bedroom.  When you have very little space, order is a necessity.  This is where my love of organization was born, from the need to fit in comfortably.

Somewhere in the last six months though, I stopped feeling the need to have my spray cleaners lined up by height.  My books aren’t even in any particular order (other than the basic non-fiction/fiction separation of course).  Nowadays, I only organize things for money.

In my mind I draw parallel between the work my sister does, as a professional actor, and the work I do. When you start out in acting, you work for free all the time.  You’re building your skills and your reputation, your “chops.”  Then you start to get recognition, and courtesy money.  You get paid for acting – not enough to live on surely, but enough to call yourself a professional.  You get paid a little more, and then a little more, and maybe you find a side job teaching acting, and then finally it’s your living, and you only do it for free if it’s a really good cause.

It’s such silly conversation to have with yourself, but it’s a common one:  Am I a librarian now?  Does reluctance toward amateur organizing mean I am finally a professional?  Or is it merely the fact that we moved, and have a bit more space, and oh yeah, I’m working a lot and busy. Maybe that’s the true sign of a professional librarian.

organized neatly

PS Librarians, have you seen Things Organized Neatly?  I know many who find it very soothing.

Year in Review, courtesy of the FB

I FaceBook about my library experiences a lot, which means most of my bon mots are lost to the ether, except for once a year when the FB Bots troll my posts for my “Best of 2013.”

Here is the copy pasta of my 2013, with the more personal bits removed.

Jan 9:
Librarianing: in a teen program, trying to keep them from calling each other the n word and the f word while respecting their youthful exuberance.  

Jan 23:
Some poor saps drive to work in the morning…
Photo: Some poor saps drive to work in the morning...

February – Left Substitute Librarian Job (1 of 3)

Feb 20:
This is what I did at work last week.
Photo: This is what I did at work last week.

Feb 23:
Here is what I did at work today. The fine print says “if you would like to make your own paper pope hat, please visit the reference desk”
Photo: Here is what I did at work today.  The fine print says "if you would like to make your own paper pope hat, please visit the reference desk"

Mar 17:
One favorite at the reference desk today: the late 20s guy who came up asking if we had a Christian fiction section (we don’t). When we told him it was mixed in with regular fiction, and could we help him find something more specific, he said he was looking for Amish fiction. Now, Amish fiction generally means very sweet romance books, which seemed a little unusual for this dude but ok, I don’t judge. I showed him how to use the catalog to find some of it and he went away very happy. I then heard him say “Grandma, I figured out how it works!” and he came back and spent 20 minutes helping Grandma find her Amish romances. Be still my heart. What a lovely library moment.

April 2:
Hello, New Friend.
Photo: Hello, New Friend.

 June 17:
A guy at my library is using his computer time to watch Mork and Mindy. He is laughing out loud. For real. 

June 29:
Last night as I walked past San Francisco City hall, two men exited, holding hands and grinning, to the cheers and applause of a small crowd gathered outside. One of the most beautiful things about getting married is the joy that others, even strangers, express when they see you on your day. How wonderful to get married at a time when people all across the nation are rejoicing for you. How happy I am that every couple in my state can have this beauty in their lives. 

July 23: 
Yesterday I helped a woman get into her yahoo email. She said, “how did you do that?!” I wiggled my fingers and said, “Magic!” I also helped a woman find a Sylvia Brown book, by standing on a stool and looking on the shelf behind the books. She said, “Oh how wonderful, thank you!” I smiled and said, “Ancient librarian secret.” I’m a library wizard, folks, a library wizard.

July 28:
Oh yeah, the guy that’s been sitting in the library very very diligently working on job applications for a couple months told me on Friday that he got hired! Man, so pumped to hear it!

Aug 16:
Oh yeah, I starts my new job on Monday! Same place, new status: 30 hours a week, permanent. Get to stay on one day at the other lirbary, get benefits, get paid time off…life is good!

Aug 19:
My new cubicle came with a free poster!
Photo: My new cubicle came with a free poster!

Oct 7:
Offer on house has been accepted. We’re fixin to move, folks.

Nov 3:
Hello, new friend.
Photo: Hello, new friend.

Nov 16:
Today the intern said, “Can I ask you a quick question?” “Sure!” I replied. Then, a few seconds after he began speaking, I yelled “Not quick enough!” It’s important to teach interns about the proper way to conduct business transactions.

Dec. 14:
A few days ago, the intern asked me “when you guys bring carts of books back to the office, what are you doing with them?” Knowing the importance of being honest with people who are learning, I replied “Mostly rubbing them all over our faces.”

My Pretend Zeitgeist (linkdump)

You know how people do those “here’s what I’ve recently read on the web” posts?

Sonoran Man Pretending to be a bull

Well, I haven’t read or looked at any of this stuff yet.  But I wish I had.

Birmingham’s new library is a modern behemoth that encases the past

TWIL #101: Cyling for Libraries (Jukka Pennanen & Mace Ojala)

The Phantom Tollbooth: Beyond Expectations – Final Push

The Magic Vest Phenomenon and Other Tools for Talking to Strangers

Most of U.S. Is Wired, but Millions Aren’t Plugged In (Page 2)

Creating a Library/ LIS Feedback Loop | Office Hours & The User Experience

Things I read, and wanted to blog about, and didn’t:

weeding: how i did it

Does Customer Service Go Both Ways?

Here’s the link for a job I wanted to apply for and didn’t:

and a place I thought about moonlighting at:

A writing opportunity I wanted to take advantage of:

Become a Contributor to Public Libraries Online

Digital services I’d like to try:

Immersion: A people-centric view of your email life

Songza – Listen to Music

A TV Show I wanted to watch:

Family Tree

And a YouTube:

Popped in Oakland

Research I wanted to dig in to:

Planning for 2015: The Recent History and Future Supply of Librarians

What about you?  What haven’t you read or done around the web recently?

Projects, a list

I have a few interviews coming up, and so I am going to make a list of some of my past, present and future library projects.

  1. Made a seed library, made a website for it, and am doing on-going programming:
    • Plant Exchange as kick-off
    • Intro to Seed Saving, with BASIL
    • Starting from Seeds
    • Walking visit to the Fire Station’s vegetable garden
    • The Modern Kitchen Garden: Enjoying a year-round harvest
    • Also marketing the seed library, in the library, through a passive program: leaves with the question: “If I Could Grow Anything, I’d Grow…” and the instructions to drop off at the seed library
    • Also solicited donations from patrons and Seed Saver’s exchange
  2. Food-related programming, mostly for “Eating is So Delicious” summer reading (author programs all had tasting element):
    • Cookies and Tea with Donia Bijan
    • Cheese, Please with Laura Werlin
    • Taste What You’re Missing with Barb Stuckey
    • Working on “How to Read a Recipe,” and, if logistical morass can be sorted out, a knife skills program with Peter Hertzmann
    • A Taste of the Wedge with Rainbow Grocery cheesemonger Gordon Edgar
  3. Managed the 200s for the past six months+, including weeding the entire section and using the extra room to have face-out books.  Circulation increased.
  4. Created displays, with associated dynamic bibliographies using the tagging feature in Encore: “Foodie Books by Local Authors”  “Pride” (with co-workers), “Her Story” (biography and autobiography of women), “Jazz”, “Oscars”, “Abraham Lincoln/Vampire Hunter” (not my original concept), “Hispanic Heritage Month”, “Autumn Feast”, “Gore Vidal”, “Making Change, in Ourselves and in Our Communities”
  5. Comprehensive weeding of Adult books, primarily non-fiction, at a branch library.  Some shifting in collections, and reorganization.  Weeding J Fic (chapter books) at another branch.  In another system, participated in weeding of stored collections in anticipation of opening new branch libraries.
  6. Bibliographies, mostly using Encore tagging:
    • Urban fiction for teens and adults (also static list)
    • Read and Watch Elmore Leonard
    • Choosing Cheese
    • Would You Like to Know More?  Weekly lists based on current events.  On-going as of June 24, 2013.
    • Earthquakes (for two different libraries)
    • Hot Romance
    • Kristin Wiig
    • Paranormal Series Starters
    • Voter’s Relief
    • Women of SNL
    • Election Fiction
    • Astronomy for elementary school teachers
    • Waste Worries for elementary school teachers
    • Organic, Local and Delicious for elementary school teachers
    • Award winners tagging projects in Encore: Hugo awards, Newbery/Caldecott, National Book Award
  7. Passive programming:
    • Ball of String
    • Mystery Mystery
    • Asanti’s Lucky Pick
    • Craft Station
    • Viewfinder Station
    • Type-spiration Station (for Poetry Month)
    • Your Library Fortune
    • Pope Shelf
    • Book Crush (and Blind Date with a Book display)
    • Question board (first question, “What would you buy?” to get suggestions on how to use possible grant money)
    • What am I? tags for displayed natural history specimens
  8. ESL Conversation Club – trying to find intern/volunteer from local TESOL program to develop and run the club
  9. Social Media and Blogging:
    • Facebook posts and events
    • Blog series: Spotlight On, New at the Naturalist Center, Who Pooped, Ask a Naturalist
  10. Developing two Squishy circuits programs
  11. Information Literacy/Library orientation program for museum docents
  12. Storytimes: Toddler, Preschool, 0-3, Science Story Adventures (targeted at ages 4-6, in reality delivered to 3-9)
  13. Teen ‘Scape: supervised video game program (around 30 12-16 year olds)
  14. Specimen talks to drop-in audiences of 5-30 people of all ages
  15. Peer mentor for class on online social networking, for new library school students
  16. Research on: Text message reference (especially teen use of ), chat reference consortia, on-call librarians

Things I’m interested in: 36 hour programming festival, bike programs (fix-it night, tune-up station, sponsored rides), cottage food/cottage industries, more “field trips”, drop-in crafts, DJ talks/music making classes, community skillshare night, library booths at community events, community booths at the library (the doctor is in, sewing/mending, poets and artists), current events book display, seed library programs for teens or kids, e-origami (holiday cards and crafts), marketing fiction – faceouts, signage, shelftalkers, job hunters club.

Problems I want to solve: How people come in for their book club book at the last minute and its checked out with 30 holds, college students hoping we’ll have their textbook, jobhunting for all skill levels, in-depth, regular, reliable help using computers, particularly for those with low digital literacy.

Who am I and why am I here

So I turned 30 last year. In the pursuant naval gazing, I decided that although I really liked kicking around at the natural grocer’s where I’ve been for the last eight years, 30 year olds should really have something like a traditional career.

You know that part in Say Anything where John Cusack says:

“I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You now, as a career, I don’t want to do that.”

That’s how I feel. So couple that with my love of books, and I figured being a librarian would be a perfect career. You just give people free stuff all day, right? How perfect is that?

So last semester was my first, and of course I learned librarianship is a little more complicated, but I’m still really glad to be in school. I still do admin at the grocery store, and I live in SF with my dear Xbox addicted hubby, and when I’m not up to my ears in school work I like cooking for my friends and stuffing myself with cheese. And that’s me.