THREE THINGS 2017.1 (Mini Deluxe Edition)

  • I am very uninspired with library work. I have two major projects in my mind for the Benson Memorial Library but I feel stuck. The projects are: bringing high speed fiber internet into the library and repairing and renovating our Community Room. Both of these projects are much needed and would be well received by the community. I am having a hard time finding the funds to pull these projects off which then leads to a general malaise inside of me that festers with time. Money and the lack of it really holds things back. My brain then reacts to being held back in a negative way. I want the path forward to be clear and positive, yet money is always standing in the way. I’ve researched grants, foundation money, and other paths but nothing is clicking. Maybe it will click soon enough. In the meantime, I am right here sitting at my desk feeling like the end of libraries is right around the corner.
  • I am still very excited by disco. When I use the term “disco” what I really mean is the following: Music from the NYC club THE SAINT, Sleaze/Morning Music, Italo Disco, and everything else in between.
  • I have signed a contract to provide a library related news platform with 6 articles/pieces from now until June 2017. Writing is something that I enjoy doing and the challenge to come up with a 2,000 word piece has been tough but ultimately rewarding. I’d love to write more of these. Heck, maybe someday I would like to be my full time job. I enjoy the opportunity to craft all of the thoughts inside my brain into well structured sentences. I also enjoy talking to others, getting their insight into the topic I am writing about, and sharing their story. There are so many good people out there.
  • One of my favorite things to do on the weekend is to do our laundry.I have developed a system in which I tackle certain segments of the laundry one at a time. It helps me manage the flow of work to be done and provides a good feeling once each segment is done.
  • I am not happy with my weight. I am over 200 lbs for the first time in my life and my body does not feel good. While I do not have the world’s best eating/exercising regiment, I feel as if I’m doing pretty well. There is room for improvement and I will get there.
  • I am well over 50 hours into The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for the Nintendo Switch and I still cannot recommend this game enough. It is what I’d call a perfect video game: a marriage of great gameplay, visuals, sound, and experience. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing or where you are headed in the game. You will be amazed every step of the way.
  • And finally, the rehabbing of Fidelia Hall continues. At a recent auction, we acquired 8 radiators, 3 steel doors, 1 set of track lighting, and 1 hot water heater for $125. My mother and father also made one of the nicest donations to us: they got a furnace for our downstairs space. Both of these things were so very inspiring in the restoration process. The next steps look something like this: repair and paint the tin ceiling downstairs, repair and varnish the floor downstairs, install and hook up gas pipes to our new downstairs furnace, build a bathroom downstairs, repair/install new outlets and light switches downstairs, and finally rip out the upstairs radiators and install our newly acquired radiators. The work never ends, but the end product will be glorious for our family and the community so I am OK with the process.
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“Don’t talk, take my hand and let me hear your heart beat” -Brian Wilson and Tony Asher

 

Ditching The Hype and Focusing on The Community

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This is where I live. This is the community I serve.

Like a computer our brains need to be restarted every once in awhile. Events and shifts over the last few years of my life have made me realize this. I no longer work to only serve kids, tweens, and teens. I no longer live in an urban area. I no longer live in a world which I fully understand. My life these days is very different than what it used to be, and with that I feel the need to reset myself. This post is an attempt to put this reset into practice using words to coalesce my thoughts into one coherent belief that moves me forward in my work as a librarian.

I believe that a strong part of the future of public libraries will be in focusing our efforts and services on a hyperlocal level. This differentiates from where I believe public libraries are focusing their efforts now, which is looking outwards towards everyone else in the profession to see what they are doing before acting themselves. No more is this apparent to me than the recent effort for public libraries to shift a lot of focus towards STEM/STEAM/Makerspace/Coding efforts. Please do not get me wrong: I believe in teaching and exposing citizens to things such as these, yet at the same time I do not believe in a one size fits all solution that can be applied to every public library. This is the case here, as it was with eBooks and any other “trends” in recent history.

The idea that we should be focusing our efforts and services on a hyperlocal level instead of looking outwards towards everyone else in the profession is doing became clear to me when I was completing a survey sent to me by our State Library. In that survey, participants were asked about STEM/STEAM/Makerspace in public libraries and nothing else. I understand that the point of the survey was to better understand the libraries in my state, but while reading it I thought of the following scenarios as I imagined another librarian in my state reading the email:

  1. The State Library is focused on STEM/STEAM/Makerspace in public libraries and we’re not doing this at all so we must be very behind.
  2.  The State Library created a survey about this, so it must be very important and I must get behind this trend even though I do not know if it is right for my community.
  3. I need to learn more about all things related to STEM/STEAM/Makerspace in public libraries and if I do not I risk losing patrons and support.

I understand that not everyone will follow one of the paths that I laid out above, but many will.  Human beings are creatures of habit and enjoy following the leader. There is probably something embedded into our DNA that makes us this way.

The problem with following the hype and trend of the moment is that it is usually fixated on something that worked well for one particular library and that it does not translate well to other libraries. When I lived in Portland, ME I felt like my library was focused on what happened everywhere else and the idea that “if they’re doing, we should be heading that way too.” In reality, Portland was its own very unique community that needed a specific set of programs and services. A huge part of why I moved to the Chattanooga Public Library in 2013 was because they were looking (and still do) at their programs and services on a hyperlocal level. Programs like DEV DEV, The 4th Floor, Makeanooga, and many more worked and continue to work because they are programs for that community, not programs that were copied/pasted from what someone else in public libraries was doing.

Why are we at where we are now? I believe that social media, large organizations, and large publications have led the charge towards public libraries focusing outwards towards everyone else in the profession instead of inspiring those in the profession to think for themselves and focus inward on their communities. A culture of “here’s how to be successful with your public library in 5 easy steps” combined with ego boosting catchphrases like “rock star librarian” have not helped us but instead presented public libraries with the path of least resistance.

How do we change the conversation? 

  • We need more public librarians out there willing to share their stories about how their focus on a hyperlocal level is benefiting their public library and their community. To start, I recommend following the work of librarians and libraries in New Zealand and Australia. You can do that by starting here with this Twitter list that I have compiled. The work done by the people and organizations is focused, inspiring, and uplifting.
  • Share through any platform that you feel comfortable with. I personally would like to see an increase in public librarians writing more and maintaining their own blogs or Medium profiles
  • Remind each other that our communities come before everything and to keep the message positive. Support and reminders from other public librarians is one way that we can spread the message that we need to focus our work locally.

Ditch the hype. Don’t copy and paste. Focus on your Community. This is what I believe to be the path forward.

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.