Friday, April 11, 2014

Daily Thoughts 04/11/2014

Daily Thoughts 04/11/2014

This morning, I checked the Twitter and Facebook for the library before I went to the conference. I spent quite a bit of time reading Smarter on the way there and back.  I am reading about different ways to improve fluid intelligence like exercise, playing a musical instruments, brain training computer programs, and mindfulness meditation.

It was an odd feeling to go to Brooklyn Public Library for the Urban Librarians Conference which was in the Steven Dweck auditorium.  This was not there when I worked in Brooklyn.  There was also no Information Commons.  It was a different experience.  I have not been in Brooklyn Public Library for almost ten years.  Even the cafe had a different feeling.

I had also had a brief chance to talk to some of the folks from the Urban Librarians Unite group which was interesting.  They seemed to be following what was happening at Mount Vernon Public Library very closely.   They did a lot of work in support of New York Public Library.

I took notes on the conference and ran into a number of people including Tamara Stewart who wrote the article on the library vote in the Mount Vernon Inquirer, Stephanie Gross who runs the New York Librarians Meetup.  It was the first time in a long time that I had lunch with people from the New York Librarians Meetup.  I also talked briefly with the assistant director of Yonkers Public Library.  There apparently is a shortfall from the school budget which may affect their library.

Most of the people I did not recognize. It was a very different group than the book oriented groups I am used to going to.  This conference had a focus on change and advocacy.  It was very interesting hearing some of the things which the attendees had to say.  The group had a very strong political feeling to it.  Many of the people were very involved in community outreach and creating partnerships for libraries.

It made me a little nervous and stretched what I am used to which is reference, collection development, and digital media.  Advocacy is becoming an every day thing.  There was a nice reminder by one of the attendees in library school who said that they don't teach advocacy as part of your coursework in library school.

There was an after party and I had a drink, something which I have not done in a while.  Also, I talked to a lot of librarians who were just starting their careers or who were facing some interesting challenges.  It felt a bit like a generational divide.  Many were talking about how difficult it was to find work as a librarian. 

There was also a sense that many of the people were newly minted library managers who had moved from being frontline people to more administrative roles which required them to do outreach.  They had to go to their community board meetings in Queens and Brooklyn for example.  This meant showing up consistently even if they did nothing except to say hello to the local politicians.

 A lot were from Brooklyn Public Library, Queens Public Library, and New York Public Library.  But there were also some from academia and other states as well.  Some of them talked about more radical librarian groups like Radical Reference, and Radical Archives conference in New York.  The Radical Archives conference was held on April 11 and April 12, 2014.

I took notes on the different sessions which I will rewrite tomorrow.  There is a lot to think about.  I came in early enough where I had a bit of breakfast and some coffee at the beginning of the conference.

I found what the PAC, Political Action Committee, Everylibrary had to say was quite interesting.  They are also following what is happening with Mount Vernon Public Library very closely.  It is good to know that there are people checking on us who are supportive.  It reminds me that there is some hope for the upcoming vote.

On the way home, I passed where I used to live on Eastern Parkway directly across from the Brooklyn Museum.  The whole neighborhood is going through a lot of gentrification and it looks a lot more diverse than before.

I did not get a chance to read any magazines today or look through library websites.  What I did is more important in many ways.

I also did not grab a bunch of links and a picture to throw on the website.  Today was a day for a little reflection.

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