OMG It’s a seed library!

A seed library! How awesome is this – you “borrow” seeds, plant them, grow some of the plants for seed, collect the seeds, and return them to be “lent” to the next gardener. Great idea, right??

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Library blogs

Library blogs are, for the most part, really boring.

I have about ten in my Google Reader, 8 of which I read for practical and immediate ideas for programming, library instruction, etc. The other two are actually interesting (I’m looking at you, Nicole, and your HackLibSchool bunch) but even then, I usually just skim. But sometimes, there is really good stuff out there. Really good stuff out there that reminds me why I want to be a librarian, why I should read more good, formally published library stuff (there is good, interesting library literature! Library Juice Press, I thank you for that!), and – most rare of all – that I should write. Advocate. Speak up. Because no one else will do it for me – I am out of school. It is I, and my colleagues, who determine what libraries are now. No more blaming someone else – it is up to US. We will become the future of libraries based on not only the decisions we make, but also how we feel, emote, and speak, amongst ourselves and publicly.

I went to the ACRL New England conference this last Friday. The closing keynote speaker was Umberto Crecna, an artist who was a major player in getting the arts back into downtown Providence, and therefore revitalizing huge sections of the city. He was awesome to listen to as a librarian. And he didn’t talk about libraries, at all. He discussed how he helped to create huge changes in the downtown architecture, culture, and feeling, through creating what he calls alternative spaces – spaces for unjuried, unjudged inquiry and exploration. Exactly what the library should be, right? What I would like to consider us to be? And yet, it is easy for the general public to see that in an artistic space, and difficult for them to see it in a library. Even Umberto, speaking at a library conference, didn’t really get the connection.

How did Umberto get his community to where it is? By being “loud.” His own words. He created the spaces first and then collaborated with everyone he could think of, to ensure that they could stay there. He didn’t whine, or complain – he took action and then he talked to everyone he could think of about it. Most importantly, he talked to people who might have hated his ideas or even him. Bankers, politicians (although it did help that Providence’s mayor was Buddy Cianci…). My favorite line from his speech?

“Act as if and you will think as if and you will feel as if and you will become.”

The blog post that inspired this was written here (section X is especially good). I started this blog knowing that I would write about libraries, because I can’t help myself, but purposefully not as a library blog. Mike and I share this space and it is about our lives (well, should be) as much as it is about either or our professions. I want to bring library discussions into these alternate, non-library spaces but I struggle with knowing how to do so. I want to speak passionately and meaningfully about why the library is important without using buzz words and a marketing plan.

Maybe I need to take a step back my from brain and act first, think later. I need to stop asking “how” and start asking when, where, why.


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Happy Anniversary?

Four years ago today, I threw a Marathon Monday Eve party. Some drunk dudes I didn’t know showed up. One of the three managed to not pass out on my kitchen floor, and I live with him now. Bizarre. Happy anniversary, Mikey!

We don’t really do anniversaries but in honor of our fourth year together, tomorrow we are going to finish our garden beds in the community plot and plant some seeds! What better way to celebrate, right? (Not that this isn’t exactly what we’d be doing, even if it wasn’t our ‘anniversary’, ha)

Kinda crazy to see the juxtaposition between now (gardening) and then (partying). I am so wholesome now. Still haven’t decided if that’s a good thing or a bad thing…

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Friday Reads

I love the trend of posting “Friday Reads” on blogs – and I intend to try and do it weekly here! Now that I am out of school (this is going to sound like a counter-intuitive statement), I am reading constantly again and it. is. awesome. I hope to never stop!

I’ve got two books going at the moment:

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, by Dave Eggers

I am like, the only person from my generation to have not read this book yet. I love Dave Eggers from McSweeny’s (and the column – he doesn’t write it but – Dispatches from a Public Librarian. It’s AMAZING) and from his work on the 826 Writing Centers. I started this book earlier this week and was crying before the end of the first chapter. I was thinking (and I don’t know why) that it would be funny so, uh, I’m hoping the whole this isn’t quite *this* heartbreaking. But it’s good. So. Yeah.

Performing Qualitative Cross-Cultural Research, by Pranee Liamputtong

This is the nerdiest book one could ever possibly read for ‘fun’ (as Mike likes to tell me every time he catches me reading it) but I am actually enjoying it. I am a co-chair for one of the training conferences for a unique study abroad program called InterFuture and all of the conference chairs are reading this book together (nerdy book club!!). We are having a discussion on it on Sunday so I really have to finish it soon. I am finding it interesting outside of InterFuture life, as well, as it provides tips that can be applied to both working with cross-cultural students and practicing the evaluation of library services (not specifically but things I’ve learned from this book can be applied there).

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signs of spring

Living in Boston, which certainly qualifies as a urban environment, I recognized spring by weather, leaves, and all the early flowers. While these are all clear signs, I am enjoying living in a more rural environment and experiencing signs that don’t really exist when concrete is the norm.

There are so many, but the two that jump out at me are 1) birds and 2) frogs. While there are birds around throughout the winter, the first morning that some migratory species arrived (I can’t tell a bird by its call, or else Id tell you who it was) and was chatting away and pecking at the softening ground (another sign, you can dig in the garden). Day by day the chorus grows, and now my mornings include at least five different calls, (I have seen robins, jays, morning doves and sparrows)

Tonight, as I was walking home from a wonderful 3rd birthday party for my nephew (we got him a kite, but the lack of wind made flying it running around laughing with a few near misses) I noticed the chirping of frogs from the mill river. While it is likely that they have been out for a few days building their ranks and noise making ability, I had not heard them, and quickly we went from silence, to what sounds like hundreds calling (for a mate?) as if someone flicked the frog ‘on’ switch.

I am looking forward to more signs, and have the good fortune of spending time outdoors tomorrow in both our community garden plot, and Good Fields Farm in Williamsburg where I can help a friend with her farm.

hasta pronto


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