The Power of Kindness

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The local YWCA in Titusville does a great job of spreading a positive message to all in our community.

I believe in the power of kindness. I believe that no matter what kind of evil or injustice we may face directly in front of us that the thing that’s gonna win out in the end is kindness. My statement may sound a bit naive, but after 36.5 years on this planet I haven’t found anything better than kindness. I’ve tried being angry, I’ve tried throwing punches, and I’ve tried to tapping into the dark side of things (you know, like Star Wars kind of stuff) and while those methods have produced results, those results did not last and actually cause more harm than good. With that acknowledged, I pledge allegiance to power of kindness.

With that said, I’d like to share a recent piece that I wrote for the LIANZA (Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa) Library Life publication titled Libraries: A Global Necessity (click here for the PDF and scroll to page 21). It nicely sums up my approach to the current state of the USA and public libraries in general and how I believe that through kindness and great customer service we will provide for our citizens.

I highly suggest you take the time out of your day and read the rest of the current issue of Library Life as well. This is my favorite Library related publication out there. It does a great job of inspiring me to be both a better librarian and a human being with every issue that is published. This month’s issue has some great pieces by Cath Sheard and Fiona Kerr to name a few.

 

My Great Grandparents

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Up until a few days ago I had never seen a photo of my great grandparents. I didn’t think I’d ever see a photo of them cause, well if I haven’t seen one so far in my 36.5 years I doubted I’d come across one now. I don’t know much else about it (date? their names?) but here they are on their wedding day. I’ll dig more into this as time goes on, but for now a few things stand out to me:

I see A LOT of my mom in my great grandma. It is like they are carbon copies of each other. Here are a few photos of her over the years that stand out to me…I see the resemblance in their eyes:

I also see a lot of my son Finn in my Mom, so it is very interesting to be able to connect these threads FIVE generations back now. Wow.

It is amazing to think about where we came from, and it is even more amazing to see this in a photograph. All of this couldn’t have come at a more interesting time for me, with the recent news being dominated by my home country’s immigration ban. Because of that this photo isn’t just a photo of my relatives to me. It is a reminder to me that we all come from somewhere. It makes me see how a positive and welcoming approach is what is best for our world. We should welcome others with open arms, give them a chance, and who knows…some amazing things may happen.

Be Kind. Be Positive. Make a Difference.

Over the past week I have been thinking about how every weekday at around 2:20pm EST between 2010-2013 that the Portland Public Library would fill up with anywhere between 30-70 teens. I recall the dramatic change in the library, and no I’m not talking about how the sound level would increase. What I’m talking about is the energy, the passion, and the kindness that came into the library every day with these teens. These teens needed the library to connect, to share, to socialize, and to learn. The library gave them a safe and welcoming space to do all of that, and that space continues to thrive and offer the same wonderful and excellent services to many new teens today. It is a beautiful thing.

Around 75% of the teen population that came into the library back in those days were not born in the USA. They came from countries like Rwanda, Ethiopia, Somalia, Uganda, and Sudan to name a few. They came from countries where their lives were torn apart, their families were displaced, and in the words of a former co-worker “they came from places where one of the first things they learned to say was “please don’t kill my family.”” The people that came to us needed the library but more importantly they needed the United States of America, a place where they had the opportunity to live their lives and pursue their dreams.

I have been thinking about about the teens I worked with at the Portland Public Library today all this weekend and today as I take in all of the news about the travel bans enacted by our government here in the USA. I think about those teens and their families and hope they are safe and well. I worry about them a lot these days. I also think about the future teens and their families from other countries that might come to the USA someday seeking a place to live their lives and pursue their dreams. I want to help them, but how?

It is a time of great unease and there is a lot going on is very troubling. Sometimes it gets to a point where it wears me down, but then I realize that I can’t let it defeat me. I have to stay strong….we have to stay strong. The way we can do that is to continue to promote kindness and positivity in all of our actions.  Kindness and positivity go a long way. This is one way we can help those that we care about.

Andromeda Yelton’s latest post (quoting the ALA Code of Ethics) reminds me of what I need to do every day as a librarian….I need to “provide the highest level of service to all library users.” I need to be there for everyone in my community. And I need to continue to be there for those that I worked with in the past and those that I will work with in the future. This is another way that we can help those that we care about.

We each have our own way of making a positive and kind impact on our own world. I urge everyone reading this to think about what they can do to make someone else’s life better these days. You can have an impact!

(title from Andromeda Yelton’s post, read it here: We provide the highest level of service to all library users. Thank you Andromeda for this post)

200 Albums That I Really Enjoy

(note: To be on this list, I have to like the album front to back. Some albums were left off of this list because they have ups and downs. I like a lot more music than this but those were left off this list because they were individual songs or moments on albums and did not represent a whole)

THIS POST is going to be a living document that will update as I come across more albums that I really njoy

  1. ABBA: Gold
  2. Andrew WK: I Get Wet
  3. Arcadia: So Red The Rose
  4. Arctic Monkeys: AM
  5. The Band: Music From Big Pink
  6. The Band: The Band
  7. The Beach Boys: Summer Days (And Summer Nights!)
  8. The Beach Boys: Pet Sounds
  9. The Beach Boys: SMiLE Sessions
  10. The Beach Boys: Smiley Smile
  11. The Beach Boys: Friends
  12. The Beach Boys: Sunflower
  13. The Beach Boys: Love You
  14. The Beatles: Revolver
  15. The Beatles: The White Album
  16. The Beatles: Abbey Road
  17. Bitchin Bajas: Vibraquatic
  18. Black Sabbath: Master of Reality
  19. Bloc Party: Silent Alarm
  20. Blur: 13
  21. Blur: Think Tank
  22. Blur: The Magic Whip
  23. Bob Marley: Legend
  24. Bob Marley: Rastaman Vibration
  25. Boz Scaggs: Hits!
  26. Brian Eno: Ambient 1
  27. Brian Eno: Ambient 4
  28. Brian Eno: Another Green World
  29. Brian Wilson: Presents SMiLE
  30. Buckingham Nicks: Buckingham Nicks
  31. Cake: Comfort Eagle
  32. Cake: Prolonging The Magic
  33. The Cardigans: First Band on The Moon
  34. The Cardigans: Gran Turismo
  35. The Cars: The Cars
  36. The Clash: London Calling
  37. The Clash: Sandinista!
  38. The Cure: Bloodflowers
  39. Cyndi Lauper: She’s So Unusual
  40. Daft Punk: Discovery
  41. The Darkness: One Way Ticket To Hell…And Back
  42. Hall & Oates: Rock N’ Soul Part 1
  43. David Bowie: All Saints
  44. David Bowie: “Heroes”
  45. David Bowie: Low
  46. David Bowie: The Next Day
  47. David Bowie: Blackstar
  48. Death Cab For Cutie: Transatlanticism
  49. Dexy’s Midnight Runners: Too-Rye-Ay
  50. DJ Shadow: Entroducing
  51. The Doobie Brothers: Best of the Doobies
  52. Eagles of Death Metal: Death by Sexy
  53. Earth, Wind, and Fire: Greatest Hits
  54. Electric Light Orchestra: Out of the Blue
  55. Electric Light Orchestra: Balance of Power
  56. Eric Clapton: The Cream of Clapton
  57. Faith No More: King For a Day Fool For a Lifetime
  58. Fantomas: Fantomas
  59. Fleetwood Mac: Rumors
  60. Fleetwood Mac: Tusk
  61. Flight of the Concords: Flight of the Concords
  62. Foo Fighters: Foo Fighters
  63. Foo Fighters: The Colour and The Shape
  64. Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons: Greatest Hits
  65. Genesis: Duke
  66. George Harrison: All Things Must Pass
  67. George Harrison: Cloud Nine
  68. George Harrison: Brainwashed
  69. George Michael: Faith
  70. The Good, The Bad, and The Queen: The Good, The Bad, and The Queen
  71. Iggy Pop: The Idiot
  72. Iggy Pop: Lust For Life
  73. Iggy Pop: Post Pop Depression
  74. INXS: Kick
  75. The Jackson 5: Greatest Hits
  76. Jane’s Addiction: Ritual De Lo Habitual
  77. Japan: Quiet Life
  78. Jeff Lynne: Armchair Theater
  79. Jimi Hendrix Experience: Electric Ladyland
  80. John Lennon: Plastic Ono Band
  81. John Lennon & Yoko Ono: Double Fantasy
  82. Joni Mitchell: Blue
  83. Joni Mitchell: The Hissing of Summer Lawns
  84. Joni Mitchell: Hejira
  85. Kanye West: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
  86. Kate Bush: The Dreaming
  87. King Crimson: Discipline
  88. KISS: The Very Best of KISS
  89. Led Zeppelin: Physical Graffiti
  90. Lindsey Buckingham: Go Insane
  91. Lindsey Buckingham: Gift of Screws
  92. Little River Band: Greatest Hits
  93. Liz Phair: Exile in Guyville
  94. Liz Phair: whitechocolatespaceegg
  95. Lost Earth Lock: The Air at The Edge of Space
  96. Love: Forever Changes
  97. Madleen Kane: Cheri
  98. The Mars Volta: Frances The Mute
  99. Marvin Gaye: What’s Going On
  100. Michael Jackson: Thriller
  101. Michael Jackson: Off The Wall
  102. Miles Davis: Bitches Brew
  103. Miles Davis: On The Corner
  104. Mr. Bungle: California
  105. My Bloody Valentine: Loveless
  106. My Bloody Valentine: mbv
  107. Neil Young: After The Gold Rush
  108. Neil Young: Trans
  109. Neil Young: Prairie Wind
  110. Neil Young & Crazy Horse: Sleeps With Angels
  111. Neutral Milk Hotel: In The Aeroplane Over The Sea
  112. Nick Drake: Pink Moon
  113. Nirvana: Nevermind
  114. Nirvana: In Utero
  115. Pantera: Far Beyond Driven
  116. Patrick Cowley: Megatron Man
  117. Paul McCartney: McCartney
  118. Paul McCartney & Linda McCartney: Ram
  119. Paul McCartney: Chaos and Creation in The Backyard
  120. Paul McCartney: Flaming Pie
  121. Paul McCartney: McCartney II
  122. Paul McCartney & Wings: Band on the Run
  123. Peter Gabriel: So
  124. Phish: Farmhouse
  125. Phish: Billy Breathes
  126. Phish: The Story of The Ghost
  127. Pink Floyd: Dark Side of The Moon
  128. Pink Floyd: Animals
  129. Pink Floyd: The Wall
  130. Pink Floyd: Wish You Were Here
  131. The Postal Service: Give Up
  132. Prince: Controversy
  133. Prince: 1999
  134. Prince: Purple Rain
  135. Prince: Around The World In A Day
  136. Prince: Dirty Mind
  137. Prince: Sign O’ The Times
  138. Queen: Greatest Hits Volumes 1-3
  139. Queen: The Game
  140. Queen: A Night at The Opera
  141. Queens of the Stone Age: Songs For The Deaf
  142. Queens of the Stone Age: Lullabies to Paralyze
  143. R. Crumb and The Cheap Suit Serenaders: Singin’ in The Bathtub
  144. R. Crumb and The Cheap Suit Serenaders: Chasin’ Rainbows
  145. The Rentals: Return of The Rentals
  146. The Rentals: Seven More Minutes
  147. The Replacements: Let It Be
  148. Ringo Starr: Photograph (The Very Best of Ringo Starr)
  149. The Rolling Stones: Exile on Main Street
  150. The Rolling Stones: Tattoo You
  151. The Rolling Stones: A Bigger Bang
  152. Roy Smeck: Plays Hawaiin Guitar
  153. Sade: The Best of Sade
  154. Scissor Sisters: Night Work
  155. Sigur Ros: ( )
  156. Sly & The Family Stone: There’s A Riot Goin’ On
  157. The Smashing Pumpkins: Siamese Dream
  158. The Smashing Pumpkins: Mellon Collie and The Infinite Sadness
  159. The Smashing Pumpkins: Adore
  160. The Space Twins: The End of Imagining
  161. Sparks: No. 1 In Heaven
  162. The Special Goodness: Land Air Sea
  163. Spring: American Spring
  164. Squirrel Nut Zippers: Hot
  165. Squirrel Nut Zippers: Perennial Favorites
  166. St. Vincent: St. Vincent
  167. Steely Dan: Countdown To Extinction
  168. Steely Dan: Aja
  169. The Stone Roses: The Stone Roses
  170. Stone Temple Pilots: Purple
  171. The Stooges: Raw Power
  172. Sweet: The Best of Sweet
  173. System of A Down: Mezmerize
  174. T. Rex: The Essential Collection
  175. Talk Talk: The Colour of Spring
  176. Talking Heads: Fear of Music
  177. Talking Heads: Remain In Light
  178. Tears For Fears: Songs From The Big Chair
  179. Tegan & Sara: So Jealous
  180. Tegan & Sara: The Con
  181. that dog: Retreat From The Sun
  182. Them Crooked Vultures: Them Crooked Vultures
  183. Thin Lizzy: Jailbreak
  184. Tom Petty: Wildflowers
  185. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers: Greatest Hits
  186. Tool: Lateralus
  187. The Traveling Wilburys: Volume 1
  188. The Traveling Wilburys: Volume 3
  189. A Tribe Called Quest: The Low End Theory
  190. A Tribe Called Quest: Midnight Maurauders
  191. Van Halen: The Best of Both Worlds
  192. Various Artists: La Bamba Soundtrack
  193. Various Artists: Xanadu Soundtrack
  194. The Wallflowers: Bringing Down The Horse
  195. Ween: Chocolate And Cheese
  196. Weezer: Blue Album
  197. Weezer: Pinkerton
  198. Weezer: Everything Will Be Alright In The End
  199. Wilco: A Ghost Is Born
  200. ZZ Top: Greatest Hits

The Next Few Years #sharegoodstuff

Don’t worry: this is not a political post. I don’t care who you voted for, and I don’t care to discuss politics with anyone.

What I’m gonna talk about is the next few years and what I believe to be one of the biggest things all of us in this country (and the world to a greater extent) need to practice and learn more about: how to be kind to each other, how to listen to each other, and how to make real and positive changes in our world.

I believe that all of this starts in our heads and in our hearts. First, we must be willing to see the positive parts of our daily lives. When we see those, we see hope and love all around us. Our world changes and instead of being a place where the day-to-day slog happens, it becomes a place of opportunity.

Once this is established, we can have better interactions with other people from day to day. They can be kinder and more focused. We can have the patience to listen to each other and try to understand each other. When we try to understand each other we contribute to a bigger picture: a kinder and more understanding world.

Every action we take creates a ripple. If we act in a more positive and understanding way, I feel like the sum of all of these actions will add up to something great. It is a big thing to think about, but I believe in it. I believe in it because I’ve seen it daily in the public libraries where I have worked. The sharing and borrowing of information creates positive ripple in the world. When you say the world library, most people smile. They see it as a safe and welcoming place. It took years and years of these positive actions to build up those smiles. These positive ripples work.

I’m just one human being, but I promise to be kinder to everyone I met. I promise to listen more closely to everyone that I interact with. I promise to take more actions to make real and positive changes in our world. I promise to #sharegoodstuff.

 

Play Video Games With Your Family

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My son Finn turned 8 on January 17 and one of his gifts was his very own copy of Animal Crossing: New Leaf. My wife Haley and I have been playing the game for over three years and haven’t stopped enjoying it. In those three years, Finn has created his own character in each of our towns and dabbled in the game here and there. As he got older and started learning how to read, one of the things we told him was that he could get his own copy of the game. His eighth birthday seemed like the perfect time to get him his own copy: he’s a pretty great reader, he’s got his own Nintendo 2DS, and it just felt right. We snagged him a copy of the new Animal Crossing: New Leaf Welcome Amiibo game and last night dove into starting up a new town for Finn.

He decided to call his town “Finntopia” and that his in game character would be known as Finnix because “I just like the letter X.” We cozied up on the couch as a family (minus his younger brother Aero, as he went to bed and this was a special Mom/Dad/Finn night) and helped him through the setup process of getting into his own town, finding where to put his house, and more.

Once  all of the setup was complete, Finn opened his town gates and invited Haley and I into his town. It was like the “Mom and Dad, I’d like to invite you to my first apartment/home” moment, but this time it was when he was 8 and it was in Animal Crossing. He showed us around his town, pointed out that he had some pear trees, and introduced us to some of his villagers. We then headed back to the train station but before we left did the parent thing and left him with some gifts and money to help him start his new life in Finntopia.

After playing for about an hour, it was 10pm and we told Finn we were getting tired. He said he was getting tired too. But he had a glow on his face that I will never forget: he finally got his own Animal Crossing town and he also got to spend some time with his parents playing video games. It was a great night where we all got a chance to enjoy something fun, learn something together, and best yet….hang out as a family.

Video games can be awesome family and community building tools!

I’ve written about how fun, learning, and community can happen during gaming in the past. You can read all of those here or head on over to Medium and read this collection on Nintendo games.

“The Importance of Connecting” over at the State Library of Queensland Blog

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A panoramic view of the first level of the State Library of Queensland. This is probably my all time favorite entrance to a library. It perfectly blends the outside world with the inside world of the library.

I was super honored to be asked by the State Library of Queensland to write a guest blog post for the new blog. I got a chance to visit their amazing library in November 2015 and I was blown away! Not only is the building amazing, but the people working inside it are some of the kindest, most forward thinking people I have ever met.

Here’s my favorite part from that piece, and you can read the rest of The Importance of Connecting here.

Just look at your local library and the slate of public events happening there: story time, crafts, book groups, and public art events. The specifics of these events are what bring people into the library, but it is the connection to each other that is the important thing that community members take away from these events.

These connections come in all forms: the parent who meets another parent at a story time and is able to share the joys and frustrations