Tag Archives: librarianship

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??

http://www.richmondgrows.org/index.html

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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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I love when libraries and agriculture overlap!

And it happens fairly often, actually! Many libraries have accompanying community or library gardens – such a great way to bring in new patrons to the library and bring existing library patrons into the garden. Cool stuff, yo.

If you’re in Western Mass – the Springfield Public Library is holding a series of talks about starting an urban garden. I guess I’m no longer urban anymore (whomp whomp…I still haven’t fully copped to the idea that I don’t live in Somerville anymore) but it still seems interesting.

Urban Gardening

More info here.

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Real life starts tomorrow.

Tomorrow I go back to the 9-to-5 working life, something I haven’t done in a couple of years. I am excited (making money! Doing what I love! Working without the pressure of being in school! Meeting new people!), scared (what if I suck? What will I wear – all my clothes are still in boxes! Meeting new people!), and a little sad (goodbye, glorious freedom of the past six months).

Mostly, I am waiting in anticipation for normalcy. For having a regular schedule, coming home and making dinner, doing yoga, seeing friends, etc. It will take several months for this normalcy to appear and I am acutely aware of this (Christine’s honest opinion, which I love her for, “the next few months will suck. Suck a lot. But it’s fine”). And so tomorrow I will try to live what I would like a ‘normal’ day to look like – waking up on time, doing yoga before work, packing a lunch, feeling energetic through the work day, making dinner, speaking with a friend or two, chatting with Mike, going to bed at a reasonable hour.

Some times the idea of months and months of average days like this frighten me (ahh! suburban, coupled life!) but today I find it appealing in its simplicity. I think the crazy week of co-chairing the InterFuture conference and then moving is making me crave the basics. I appreciate the chaotic times and late late nights with friends when they are less frequent than the boring, normal days. The chaotic times have been more often than not for the past month and I won’t miss them as I recuperate for a couple of weeks.

On a side note – I am coming to Boston in a couple of weeks (Feb. 19th, I think?)! Boston folks (i.e. Kate and Kaitlin), I look forward to seeing you then!

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A moment of reflection

I am having a moment of mourning for the life I will shortly be leaving behind.

I like library school, I like my job, I love that I walk everywhere, I enjoy the independence and anonymity of an urban life. Soon, all of these things – the things that have made up my identity for seven years – will all be gone.

I already see differences. When I tell people what I’m doing, many make the assumption that I am becoming a farmer and leaving all of my library life behind. As if I cannot work on a farm AND be interested in returning to a professional life. But I am! I am so, so eager to be a professional librarian but I am also so, so eager to take a pause and do something different, first.

Today I walked from my school to my job, stopping halfway to eat lunch alone in Copley Square. I do this fairly regularly and it is one of my favorite moments during the week. I didn’t need anyone or anything to transport me, only my two feet. No one spoke to me or recognized who I was the whole afternoon. Sometimes that is so freeing and it is only something that comes with urban living. And in a few months, it will be gone. I think I will miss it.

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