There’s some kind of strange magic* in the air at the Chattanooga Public Library. On floors one through four at the library I feel a buzz that I just can’t put my finger on. Let me tell you, it is awesome to be around.
Most of my life at the Chattanooga Public Library happens on the 2nd Floor. Right now half of our space is full of empty shelves waiting to be taken away. The other half is our makeshift tween/teen library. It hasn’t reached its full potential yet but like I said above, there’s some kind of strange magic in the air. It will happen in due time. Everyone is excited for it to happen.
I’ve always felt a strong connection to the teens I’ve worked with in every library I’ve been part of, but these days I feel like I’m reconnecting with something from my past. I stumbled upon this photo from my time at the Cape May County Library and in it saw a version of Justin that I hadn’t seen in awhile. I looked at the mirror a few days ago and you know what? I saw that Justin coming back to the surface. It’s all because of the teens….hanging out, geeking out, messing around…all happening in the library. It’s not a quiet kind of magic…it’s loud, smelly, a bit scary, and a lot of fun. It’s constant ideas immediately put into action. There’s no time to sit around and think about the best way to go about working with these teens. It’s all in the moment, being refined as we move along…and it is FUN. The day in/day out here with these teens is a magical.
There’s a strange magic happening between the community and the library. With every event happening on The 4th Floor (like this, this, or THIS!) comes even more community and library connection. When the community steps into the building, the connection is made: this is the place where lifelong learning and connection happens in Chattanooga. Like the work we’re doing with 0-18 year olds on the 2nd Floor, it’s loud, smelly, a bit scary, and a lot of fun. It’s real.
I love it here. I love the team here. I love the community. I love the strange magic going on.
*Yes, that’s supposed to be an Electric Light Orchestra reference
** Read this article, be inspired
*** This will be awesome very shortly
Posted in Libraries, Life In Chattanooga, Technology, Teens, TN
Tagged Buzz, Chattanooga, Community, Gig City, Less Talk More Action All Love, Librarian, Libraries, Library, Magic, Strange, Strange Magic, sustained effort, Team, Teen, teens, Tennessee, The 4th Floor, TN, YA, Young Adult, Youth
I have to something to admit: I had very little interest in 3D printing one month ago. Then, I tried it shortly after I arrived at the Chattanooga Public Library.
Now it’s all I can think about.
I made these Pac Man cookie cutters on the 3D printer and gave them to my wife Haley for Mother’s Day. Earlier today, she used them to make cookies with our sons Finn and Aero.
Libraries can do some awesome stuff.
You can find the 3D files for the Pac Man cookie cutters here
Here’s a link to stuff I like on Thingaverse
Posted in Libraries, Life In Chattanooga, Technology, Teens
Tagged 3D, Chattanooga, Chattanooga Public Library, CPL, Create, Librarian, Libraries, Library, Maker, Makerbot, Pac Man, Printer, printing, Technology
Kirsten Cappy and Michael Whittaker. Two of my favorite people in the world.
I wanted to share this set of photos I just stumbled across from Kirsten Cappy of The Curious City. I think they best sum up how awesome and fun the Ukulele Lending Library Project is for the Portland, ME community. I just love these photos.
Click here to check out the full set
Posted in Libraries, Life in Portland, Life in Portland Maine, Music, Teens, Ukulele Lending Library
Tagged Awesome, Books, Curious City, Fun, Lending, Librarian, Libraries, Library, Music, New, Teen, Uke, Ukulele
I have had a great deal of time to think these past few days: I’ve been holed away in my bedroom, doped up on benedryl and steroids to help with a nasty allergic reaction I had to some plant. I look sort of like this:
My wife Haley and I began talking about the process of experimentation and how beautiful it can be. This was in reference to the garden/small urban farm she’s building. I asked her if it bothered her that some things wouldn’t pan out as she planned it and planted her vegetables. She simply said, “no. It’s fun to try new things. It’s like we’re always in beta mode, which is always neat.”
I really liked this idea of being in perpetual beta. Testing out new things and tinkering is FUN and INSPIRING. What good is life if you’re not having fun? Work is just work when it’s not fun!
I look at the things going on at my new library and I see perpetual beta. We are trying new stuff out, seeing how the process works, and refining it as we go to make the experience better for the public. Whether it be the 4th Floor trying out new things like hi-res scanning or just emptying out a room on the 2nd Floor for teens to meet, hang out, and define by what they need at that moment, we are constantly tinkering, playing, having fun, and meeting our community wherever they are.
The future of libraries lies in our ability to connect with our communities through this tinkering and fun. Have an idea? An impulse? Give it a shot. Nothing bad can happen. If it doesn’t work out perfectly, keep on tinkering.
PS: Thank you to the team at Chattanooga Public Library for being brave and bold and for encouraging me to get back to that way of thinking.
Posted in Libraries, Life In Chattanooga, Technology, Teens
Tagged Always, Beta, experimentation, Growing, Growth, Learning, Librarian, Libraries, Library, Perpetual, teens, testing, tinkering, YA, Young Adult, Youth
You’ll have to forgive my lack of posts in the last three weeks. I’ve been settling in at my new job at the Chattanooga Public Library, taking everything in, having programs, meeting some amazing people, and thinking a lot about the future. Life is good and I can’t wait to really get into the nitty gritty awesome work that Team Chattanooga Library is aiming to do. It’s gonna be amazing.
- Me and a bunch of awesome Teens on the 4th Floor making a chair train
THING #1: THIS PLACE IS AWESOME AND IT IS JUST GONNA KEEP GETTING BETTER.
It’s only been three weeks but one can tell a lot in that short amount of time. There’s a buzz in the air about the library and the city as a whole and it is a good feeling. Things are changing all around and people are just generally excited about the change. Every once in awhile I spend a bit of time on The 4th Floor at the Library. It’s a huge wide open room that does so much. Python Classes. 3D Printing. Community Happenings. It’s all there and it is inspiring.
- A bunch of Tennessee Librarians on The 4th Floor. This was my third day at work.
So much of what the 4th Floor is about is what we’re aiming for with our transformation of the 2nd Floor. It’s the floor for ages 0-18…kids, tweens, teens…whatever you want to call them. It’s a giant open space, a blank canvas, that we get to transform. Right now there are some adult books still hanging around, some tables strewn about the floor, and some older bookshelves with teen stuff on them. Pretty soon, everything will be moved around and transformed into something like this world has never seen before. It’s going to be a wonderful place for the kids/tweens/teens of Chattanooga to spend their time.
THING #2: THE PEOPLE HERE ARE SUPER AWESOME
- Seen on The 4th Floor, Chattanooga Public Library
Everyone I’ve met in Chattanooga, both at the library and out in the community, have been some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. They say hello, listen to you carefully, and take their time with you. For someone who’s never been to the South before, this place is a bit of a culture shock for me. Luckily, everyone has been kind and patient and helpful. It’s been wonderful.
The staff at the Chattanooga Public Library have embraced change with open arms. Whether it be the 1st floor staff who works nonstop at moving all of their stuff from the 2nd floor so the kids/tweens/teens can have their space, the Friends of the Library who moved out of their space just so I could have an office (thank you!), the administration who have trusted and believed in me from the start, and the Youth Services staff who have basically embraced me with a big giant bear hug of support, I have to say that overall we have quite the amazing team here at the Chattanooga Public Library. It’s a team that works together as one giant unit towards one goal: doing amazing stuff for the community.
THING #3: I AM FOCUSED
I have an awesome family that I love to hang out with. We live in an awesome house that we can make our own little world. I have an awesome job where I work with an awesome team and we get to do the most awesome and fun things ever. This is all that I have ever wanted. I am focused on the goal.
Time to get to work. See you around.
Posted in Libraries, Life In Chattanooga, TN
Tagged CHA, Chattanooga, Gig City, Librarian, Libraries, Library, Teen, teens, YA, Young Adult, Youth
Lindsey Wesson, Nashville Public Library
I got to meet Lindsey Wesson of the Nashville Public Library this past Thursday and she showed me her latest tattoo…this time, library related! I love this tattoo of Little Bear from Maurice Sendak. It has such great detail and just looks rad. I bet the kids in her library will dig it.
Thanks for sharing Lindsey!