Venn Librarian

Reflections about the intersection of schools, libraries and technology.

  • Tag This!

  • March 2010
    S M T W T F S
    « Feb   Apr »
  • Prior Posts

  • Copyright

  • Advertisements

Archive for March 6th, 2010

Quick thoughts from #TEDxNYED

Posted by lpearle on 6 March 2010

It was a lonnng day, it really was.  Long and exciting and frustrating all at the same time.

Exciting because I heard some of the most inspiring passionate people (and not all were presenters: the between-time conversations were the froth on the latte).  Exciting because I wonder if this structure could be translated to other conferences, like AASL’s  2011 conference.  Exciting because there were ideas that would move education at my school forward in ways that would truly engage students (and, I think, faculty).

Frustrating because technology didn’t work as well as I’d have liked (bandwidth issues, but also I learned that my idiosyncratic note-taking method does not translate well to a type-as-I-go notes).  Frustrating because I think these types of conferences are preaching to the converted and to the possibly persuaded, while what we need to do is find ways to convince the naysayers and “old fogies”.  Frustrating because I know that some of the best ideas I got just won’t get put into action at my school (partly through academic inertia and partly because the technology just hasn’t caught up to my brain… yet).

I have pages and pages of notes all ready to be transcribed and put into some coherent format as I puzzle things out (you’re definitely welcome to read and comment!).  But that’s a job for another day… my brain’s just not up to it right now.


Posted in Conferences, School Libraries, Techno Geekiness, Work Stuff | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

‘Tis a puzzlement

Posted by lpearle on 6 March 2010

Two years ago, I was honored with an appointment to AASL’s Nominating Committee. Possibly as a result, I am now serving on ALA’s Nominating Committee. Instead of looking for someone to run for division president, and for others to run for Affiliate Assembly, this year I get to help convince people to run for ALA President and ALA Council. It’s a great responsibility, as you can imagine.

Much of our work is supersecret, and if I told you I’d have to kill you (since this is a blog post, that would mean killing a whole lot of people and while we are trying to get away from the librarian stereotype, I don’t think “mass murderer” is the way to go!). But there are some things that you should know, hence my writing. The official charge is to find two candidates for ALA President-Elect in 2011, and to create a slate of a minimum of 51 candidates for ALA Council. At the end of our deliberations, and potential candidate reflections and filings, the Chair of our committee (Robert Newlen, who in real life is Deputy Assistant Director of the Knowledge Services Group at the Library of Congress) will meet with the ALA Executive Board and present our slate. He’ll also talk about things like the number of people we originally approached, and the diversity of the slate.

Diversity here is complex. We’re talking about a diversity of type of librarian, of division members, of ethnicity and age (if we can determine that), length of membership in ALA, regional diversity and a whole host of other “subgroups”. Last year’s Chair shared some of the statistics with us at our first meeting, during ALA Midwinter. Here’s the one that shocked me: 7% of the slate came from the “youth services” divisions. SEVEN PERCENT.

I’m continually floored by the discrepancy between the combined membership totals of AASL/ALSC/YALSA and the numbers that actually vote in ALA elections. It appears that our willingness to serve is equally limited. ‘Tis truly a puzzlement.

Now, I get why it’s difficult to consider running for Council: it’s a multi-year commitment to attend two conferences annually AND stay longer than non-Council attendees. There are financial issues (for many, support from our employers is difficult to obtain), there are timing issues (can you really be away from your job that long, at those times of year?), and there’s the issue of “what’s in it for me?” A recent electee to Council confessed that thus far, very little of what she’s seen and heard pertains to our jobs as school librarians.

Here’s the thing: if we don’t run, if we don’t vote, we don’t get to complain about those things. We don’t get to moan about Council resolutions or lack of support for our causes, our issues.

There have been several wonderful candidates for both Council and for President from our Divisions. Because we don’t support our own by voting, they don’t get elected. They don’t get elected, we don’t have as big a voice as, say, the members of LITA or RUSA. If you haven’t gotten your confirmation e-mail about elections, get hold of the ALA Membership people. Find out why you didn’t. The election will open in another week or so, and you have until late April to actually vote.

Can you honestly say “I don’t have enough time to vote”?  Does the direction our professional organization takes that unimportant?  Given all the budget issues that we’re facing, with public libraries cutting staff and closing branches and President Obama’s education budget omitting the words “libraries” and “librarians” (have you signed the Twitter petition?), is now the time to not be a strong part of ALA and use the weight of our membership numbers to persuade local, state and federal officials that strong school libraries and strong public library programs for children and teens is essential?

Let’s surprise everyone this year by having a record turnout for AASL, ALSC and YALSA voters.

Posted in Professional organizations | 2 Comments »