Thank You Texas Library Association

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I want to take a moment to thank the Texas Library Association for bringing me to their 2014 State Conference.  Over the past week, I’ve had the opportunity to spend some time in San Antonio (an amazing city) with some of the best librarians in the world.  We shared and learned together and it was a great week.

I also want to take a moment to point out just how amazing the Texas Library Association is to their guests.  From the moment when I agreed to present at this conference to right now as I sit waiting for my cab to the airport, the Texas Library Association has done everything to make sure that I had an enjoyable and exciting visit.  Every step of the way was paved with professionalism.  Well done, TXLA, and I hope many other conferences follow your model of excellence when planning their own.

To everyone that I met in San Antonio….it was so great to see you, catch up, and share ideas!

(UPDATE 4/10/14) TXLA Making Stuff with Teens

Quick post to share my slides!  I’ll update later with more context.

UPDATE: I wanted to add a bit more to this post since all that it is are a bunch of photos that really make no sense unless you were there.  Here’s the deal: the makerspace movement isn’t new.  Youth Services librarians have been making and creating for years.  It can be as simple as duct tape and construction paper or you can take it all the way to the 3D printer.  What’s true is this: Youth Services librarians have been doing it for ages in a variety of forms and this is a good moment for our population to stand up and say, “yes, this is what we’ve done and this is how we’re leading the change.”

Why is this important?  In my 8 (!) years in this profession, I’ve heard a lot of librarians who work with youth (ages 0-18) say that they don’t feel like they get the respect they deserve for the things they do, that so many people brush off their work as “well, they work with the kids and they love the kids and that’s who they are and that’s who they’ll always be.”  I’ve never bought into that in my career.  I’ve always believed that Youth Services librarians have been leading the change and pushing forward with innovation.  I believe that this is a great moment for youth services librarians: this is our moment to grow up a little bit and change the way we’re seen and the way we work.

The Guts

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Yesterday I took 15 minutes to put new shelf labels (made by Janice Keene, thank you!) onto our Tween book shelves.  I found myself really enjoying what I refer to as “the guts” of library work…the simple tasks that are necessary for the operation of the library.  I took great delight in putting up the signs, screwing every screw into the shelves, and stepping back to look at the amazing color selections.  It was nice to complete a job that so many people will get so much from.

As I move up in the library world, these are the little things that I miss doing.  What is clear to me now is that I need to find time to do these things.  I want to be a librarian that thinks outside of the box and does amazing and new things, but I also want to always remember that I am a librarian.  I think that’s important.


Greetings from the Year 2453!

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Hello Human Librarians! (I added “human”  because in 2453 most librarians are created in science labs using a chemical process which takes old Nintendo catridges and turns it into a soft paste which is then put into molds that create the shape/form/conscience what you know as “librarians”.  These things are hardly human if you catch my drift!)

THE FUTURE IS AWESOME!  I am writing to you, wait, I am actually just thinking these words and they’re showing up on my iPad 700!  It is so cool!  Don’t worry!  Libraries are still here!  Sure, most of them are run by genetically modified Nintendo cartridges but there are still some actual humans around!  Interestingly enough, the humans are the ones that get the most accomplished.  Why?  Because they’re connecting with their community!  YES!  In 2453 that is still a very big thing!  So to the librarians of 2̶0̶5̶6̶ (whoops my post ended up going back further than I thought!  Hello 2014!) keep on being awesome!  Your hard work will pay off!

Sorry I cannot tell you more.  I have to get back to our 816D printer.  I am finally going to print a real life Yoshi which will help me travel around Zorgblarf 26 (the city where I live, in the county of Xanadu 4!)

UPDATE! I managed to “hack” your modern YouTube and upload this video of my successful Yoshi! Don’t mind the video title!  That is rubbish!  2007!  What?Blame that video title on the hacking!

PS: If you are wondering why I am wearing a duct tape hat with a plug sticking out of it that’s because here in the future the internet is in our brain!  This is the cord that charges it!

Thank you University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Many thanks to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro LIS Alumni Association (and Lynda Kellam) for having me at their event today.  My slides for my speech are above and if you have any questions please feel free to contact me!

What Does a Librarian Look Like/Do?

I submit this for any past, present, and future THIS IS WHAT A LIBRARIAN LOOKS LIKE/THIS IS WHAT A LIBRARIAN DOES AT WORK blogs/tumblrs/contests/get togethers that happen.

We hang out.  We talk. We have fun.


Poke3I need your help!  I’m giving three keynote speeches in the next few months and I want to fill my presentations with awesome images of awesome kids/tween/teen library happenings, events, maker things, day to day interactions and more.

Care to share?  I hope you will!

If you’re up for sharing, here’s what you need to do:

  • Email your images to justinthelibrarian at gmail dot com
  • Include your name/twitter username/website
  • Give me a brief description of what’s going on in the photo so I can talk about it.
  • Include “Justin! Use these images in your presentation to share the greatness of working with kids/tweens/teens!”

I’ll be speaking in North Carolina, Texas, Alberta, and Baltimore over the next few months and I want to show them that Youth Services Librarians are doing some of the best work in libraries today.

Thank you so much!