Category Archives: Libraries

“Don’t ever give up on life. Life can be so beautiful, especially after you’ve spent a lot of time with it.” —YOKO ONO

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I am getting older. I like this. I feel more comfortable in my skin. My brain hurts less. The things that people say don’t affect me as much. I can do whatever the fuck I want with my life. I got this chicken suit for the holidays. I can wear it out in public if I want. I don’t care what you might say. It is a comfy and cozy chicken suit. In other news, I spent most of December 25-27 in pajamas. It was glorious.

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I think I have a natural tendency to lead people. I could use this power for evil but I will never do that. It is fun to be able to recognize this and move on. I think growing older is great because you start to understand what you can and can’t do while you’re in this world. I could start a cult! But I won’t ever do that. Could I run a marathon or go jogging? Not at all.

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I used to worry about becoming a cyborg as I got older. The feelings inside of me calmed down a bit and I was legitimately worried I was becoming a cyborg. I could finally listen to Weezer’s Pinkerton  without tearing up! This was very cool, but I was curious about what was going on!

I’m here to tell you that you don’t become a cyborg as you get older! You calm down and prioritize what gets you worked up. Pinkerton won’t make me cry anymore. Death still makes me cry, but it doesn’t tear me up for years and years. I remember when my Pap Pap Pleczynski died in 1995. I thought it was the end of the world. I missed him for so many years and wondered about what life would be like if he were still here. These days? It’s ok! His physical form left the earth years ago but I have these awesome memories and vibrations of him still around. He lives! We all kind of live forever if we have someone who remembers us.

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Being a Dad is fucking awesome. The first three years are kind of rough and really weird, but after that everything moves a lot easier. Don’t get me wrong….the first three years are awesome too!  I like seeing these two little men grow up and bloom into their own unique and weird and awesome personalities. They are surrounding themselves and filling their brains with the neat things the world gives to them. Everyone should have that same opportunity. I think that is something the world needs to work on giving to everyone.

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Being married/in a relationship is awesome. I like and love Haley a lot. She’s the best roommate/life partner/tag team partner/friend ever. We have our ups and downs but as we both get older we understand how to deal with those ups and downs better. Life is full of those ups and downs. In the end, we stick together because we dig hanging out with each other. Haley is really good at kissing too.

 

A New Way of Connecting

I like to read. I’ve always liked to read. The Beatles Recording Sessions by Mark Lewisohn. I like to share. I’ve always wanted to share neat things, ideas, photos, and more. Social media enables us to do that.

What I don’t like is how much time I seem to spend on social media. I am one of those people that has to reply to every comment, like, or mention. I don’t like the idea of a comment not being properly recognized! And with that idea in my head, I go a little bit crazy. If my career was to be on social media to communicate and share with the world all the time, I would gladly do it. However this is not my career so I can’t do it all the time.

I think a lot about the David Weinberger piece Library As PlatformNate Hill was really the dude that introduced me to that piece. It was really his drive to turn the Chattanooga Public Library into the working example of the Library As Platform piece. But anywho…

I think about how much I’ve changed over the years and have started to see the online version of me as a very authentic platform. I am Justin Hoenke who is also Justin The Librarian who is also @justinlibrarian. These are all platforms which are used to share with the world. They’re all like my own TV station. You tune in and read and view the things that I share. TV stations don’t talk to you unless you in the moment. You have to make the motion to reach out to them. In the end, all of these things tie back to the physical form of Justin William Hoenke.

CONSUME
I will be sharing ideas, links, photos, and more through my platforms.

  • Facebook: facebook.com/justinhoenke
  • Twitter: twitter.com/justinlibrarian
  • This website, justinthelibrarian.com

 

CONNECT
I would still like to connect with you and talk about things! There are a few ways to get in touch with me:

  1. Email me at justinthelibrarian@gmail.com
  2. Facebook Message: facebook.com/justinhoenke
  3. Twitter DM: twitter.com/justinlibrarian

This is an interesting experiment and I am curious to see how it works. Try it out now! Send me a message. I really do like talking with you.

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I Just Don’t Know If It’s Going To Work Out

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Image by Ellen Forsyth via a Creative Commons License

Athletes are super lucky. If they go into professional sports, they can play 10-20 years, retire, and try another career. Or heck, they can just retire and do nothing. I wish librarians had that option.

I want to retire from librarianship but I can’t at this moment so I won’t. I’m tired of endlessly debating and wondering “WHAT IS A LIBRARY IN THE 21ST CENTURY?” I’m tired of the funding battles, the constant “we need to prove our worth” crusade, and the librarian stereotype. I’m just really, really tired.

I know there are a lot of libraries out there doing pretty good work. I am happy that those libraries exist! However, for every library that does pretty good work are another 100 or so doing average to below average work. It’s like the force is out of balance like OMG woah. We’re not all on the same page and it is tiring and frustrating.

It was at this point in the past that I would ask the question “Well how can we all get on the same page?” but you know what I’m going to do now? I’m not going to ask that. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that if we wanna beat this and truly evolve we’ve gotta stop calling this thing a library. We need to think of it in another way. We don’t need to focus most of our energy on being a place that lends out stuff. We need to focus most of energy on being a place that is a destination or a shared experience. You can easily say “well a library has always been about that” and I agree. But try telling that to the average every library user non-librarian type person. They still see, and will continue to see, a library as a place where you get stuff. Same thing with our funding agencies.

So how do we break away from the past and truly evolve? I’d like to see a “library” break away and become a place that focuses most of our energy on being the destination and shared experience center. It shouldn’t be called a library. It should be called something else. I don’t know what that something else is. I do know that if it is called a “library” we’ll all be reading a Library Journal-esque piece like this and then spending our nights endlessly debating it on the Library Facebook Group of the Moment. And we don’t want to do that because we have other things to do that are a lot more fun.

 

If we continue our current ways,  I just don’t know if it’s going to work out. Let’s look at what we do, blow it all up, and start over! EVOLUTION!

(image by Ellen Forsyth, found here https://goo.gl/6DwWhk)

2015 Year In Review

PLAY

LISTEN

READ

WATCH

THINK

  • Be nice to each other.
  • Library. What a weird name for what public libraries actually do in 2015.
  • Have fun.
  • I want to stay at home with my family more.
  • Hi There.

Travels/Growth/Future Stuff

The past month of my life has been pretty awesome.

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I’m back from my travels, most un-jet lagged, and ready to take on the world again.

Long before libraries came into view my wife and I spoke about New Zealand a lot. We wanted to move there so that she could go to midwifery school. To us, it was a magical place full of wonder, beauty, and kind people. Well, I’m happy to report now that I’ve been there that everything we thought was true. The people, the views, and the atmosphere in New Zealand is top notch.

If you were to analyze this blog you’d see that the most frequently used word is community. That’s the word that comes to mind when I think about New Zealand and the LIANZA 2015 conference. Even though there were well over 500 attendees at this conference it still felt like a family of like minded individuals coming together to share and learn from each other. It was a beautiful thing. No other conference that I’ve been to starts with a pōwhiri. Imagine about 500 people gathering outside of the conference venue and then being led into the space by Maori leaders. There was singing! There was storytelling! There was dancing! It was the coming together of amazing people to share an amazing story. I’d post a video but it wouldn’t do it justice. You had to be there.

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If you have the chance to visit New Zealand DO NOT TURN DOWN THE OFFER. Go there, soak it in, and grow a little bit. It’s even better if you can go to a LIANZA conference while you’re there. Yes, I did just say that. An actual library conference with true, genuine worth. LIANZA is it my friends.

I just have to put out some love before I move on from NZ: Jerome, Rachael, Ned, Ines, Jess, Sarah, Michael, and all of the other people who I spent a lot of my time with: FAMILY AND FRIENDS! That’s what we are now. Thank you for everything.

Next on the agenda was Australia, where I spent 8 days in Sydney and Brisbane. I was a guest of both the State Library of New South Wales and the State Library of Queensland. I gave a few talks (I’d post my slides here but what good are slides without the stories?), met a load of amazing people, saw some amazing libraries (the State Library of Queensland and the Edge are BEAUTIFUL!), and in general my head and my heart grew. I caught up with my good friend Warren Cheetham in Brisbane. It was so wonderful to see him and walk around the city. That man is my Australian brother and no matter where we are it will always be great to come together. In Sydney, I finally met my longtime Twitter friends Ellen Forsyth, Mylee Joseph, and Katrina McAlpine. In person, they were just as lovely and amazing as they were on Twitter. Authentic, real people. That’s what I am talking about. Isn’t that emerging as a theme in this blog post? That’s what this trip was about. Authenticity. The people of NZ and Australia are about as authentic as you get, and I think all of us can learn from them.

And libraries! Of course I visited libraries. The Katoomba Library was one of my favorites. Why you ask? Well because it showed me physical proof of something that I’ve been thinking about recently…public libraries need to breathe! It was refreshing to see a building that was not super heavy on packing physical items into the library and instead focused on providing PEOPLE with the space they need. Chairs, desks, tables, couches, and more were EVERYWHERE. The collections on the shelf had space…for more materials and for easier browsing. This is the way public libraries are going. They are a place for the people to visit, share, and connect.

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Traveling always leads to personal growth. If you’re not getting that out of your travels, you must be doing it wrong. You’ve gotta look around at all the little things: the signs, the trees, and the birds. You see just how small this world that we live in really is. We’re all connected. Some of the details may be a bit different but in the end you start to see that this is all the same. We are one.

 

I came back to Titusville, PA with nothing but love waiting for me inside of my home. As much as I enjoy traveling, there is no better place to be than in the arms of Haley, Finn, and Aero. Life is awesome. The biggest thing I learned on this trip? These three and our home is all that I need.

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ChurchHouse HouseChurch is now Fidelia Hall, which will eventually house the Titusville Creativity Center. Like any good idea these days, we’ve already got the Facebook page all set up and ready to go. Winter is here and it’s time to heat the building. That’s the first step. You’ll be hearing more about this in 2016.

The cold weather and snow also gives everyone a good time to hunker down, put on some pajamas, and prepare for 2016. I hope all of you reading this can do just that. Enjoy Thanksgiving and all of the other upcoming holidays. We all deserve to slow down a bit.

 

 

 

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The answer to the question “Are you excited to be visiting New Zealand and Australia” is yes, I am excite. However, being a human being makes the situation more complex. I have thoughts and feelings about traveling so far away from my family. I am going to miss them a lot. Think about how much growth and fun my family will go through in 2 weeks. I won’t ever get to have a chance to experience that. I am dealing with that mentally right now.

I have also watched the entire series of the TV show LOST and I know that they’re flying into Sydney from the USA on that show. While I am open about possibly landing on a time traveling island, what I really want is to get home to my family.

What does one do on a flight that leaves the USA on Thursday and arrives in New Zealand on a Saturday? I have a list.

  • Play Animal Crossing: New Leaf
  • Possibly communicate with my family (right?)
  • Watch stuff (the list!)
  • Figure out how to sleep on a plane
  • Drink water
  • Use the restroom
  • Eat vegetarian meals
  • Select a book or two to read
  • Finish writing a piece for Information Today

I hate to get morbid and everything but if I don’t make it back to my family and my life, please take care of Haley, Finn, and Aero for me please world please please do that for me. I don’t know how but I know you can pull together and do this. Make sure they are happy and healthy and at the ChurchHouse and everything is good. This is all that I want in the world and I love all of you and I know you can make this happen.

Haley! I love you very much. You are the greatest person that I have ever met.
Finn and Aero! I love you very much. You do know that you two are gonna change the world, right?

These are the songs you can remember me by:

I know! I sound paranoid! I am!

If you are in NZ or Australia and are reading this, I do want to meet you! Let’s share ideas and have great memories and do positive things for the world.

NOTES
8720 (miles from Titusville, PA to New Zealand)
9657(miles from Titusville, PA to Sydney Australia)
9344(miles from Titusville, PA to Brisbane Australia)

The Next Few Months

Over the next month of my life, I will be visiting some amazing places to talk about libraries. Next week, I’ll be in Lake Placid, NY for a few days to present at the New York Library Association Conference. After that, I’m home for a week and a half or so and then I’m off again. I’ll be speaking in Wellington, NZ at the 2015 LIANZA Conference and then after that at the State Library of New South Wales in Sydney Australia and then at the State Library of Queensland in Brisbane Australia. I’ll return home right before Thanksgiving, eat a great meal with my family, and that’ll be that.

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I’m posting this picture because I think it is a good example of how my brain feels right now. I am here but I am not here. I am staring into space but at the same time very grounded by the things, people, and places around me. I am very happy but at the same time not happy at all. What is going on?

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I think this is it for me…”it” being a librarian who travels, speaks, goes to conferences, and does all things library outside of their own library. I do like Twitter and this website, so I ain’t giving that up. I like to share ideas and have conversations. But it just feels like the library speaker/conference attendee jig is up. I’ve done it, I’ve enjoyed it, and it is time to move on. I’m at this place mentally where I feel happy about this decision. I’ve been some awesome places, made some awesome friends, and I’ve said what I can say about libraries (tldr: they are awesome, we should focus on our community, and we should continue to try new things that best suit our community).

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I want to be at home more so I don’t miss moments like these: Aero going on a 2 week “I’m going to be a hockey player like my cousin Andrew so I’ll wear hockey outfits everyday” and Finn in his “Five Nights at Freddy’s scares me but all I want to do is play it, watch videos of people playing it, and come up with my own Five Nights at Freddy’s stories while at the same time attempting to play trombone.” These are the days of our lives and I do not want to miss them.

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I think libraries have done a great job at reinventing who they are. People still see us as the place to get books but we’ve also managed to expand our palette. We are community centers where people come together to share. We are lifelong learning centers, committed to helping everyone in our communities grow. We still have some work to do, but when I look back on things I see just how far libraries have come. We are doing it! We still have a ways to go on reinventing ourselves in many other areas: funding, how we organize our staff, our governing bodies, and how we just simply do our work. These are great things for libraries to focus on next. Libraries will get there. I just won’t be as a big part of the conversation.

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This website, my Twitter, and these other “outlets” that are in my name have changed over the years anyways. It’s called Justin The Librarian, but read back and you’ll see just how much the main topic has deviated from libraries. These days it is more about looking at life as a whole, understanding myself, being present in the moment, and being the best human being that I can be. If I were to do it all over again it would be Justin The Human Being or something like that.

Stay tuned. This isn’t the end because it never really ends. It just changes a lot.