Skip to content

What happens when we participate in community

March 31, 2010

The last few days have been some of the most interesting and rewarding days of my career thus far.  I hope you have a few minutes to read about a fantastic experience I’ve had.

Last week, as I was planning my next “What’s Happening” video, I decided to step out of the library and into the community once again to highlight a Fort Wayne event and tie it back to the library.

Our Fort Wayne Museum of Art has been closed for a while for an expansion and renovation project.  I was so excited when I drove past the building a few weeks ago to see a banner outside the building proclaiming “Three Generations of Wyeth”.  I knew immediately what this must mean–that the museum would be featuring works by N. C. Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth, and Jamie Wyeth.

"Christina's World" by Andrew Wyeth

You have no idea how completely thrilled I was at the thought of being able to view any of the Wyeths’ art up close and in person.  I fell in love with Andrew Wyeth’s work back in college, when I went to an art print sale in the student center of the University of Kentucky, and found a poster of Christina’s World which I bought for roughly $5.00.  I hung it up in its cheap, plastic cover in my dorm room and emoted regularly as I stared at the girl in the picture, certain that she felt as desperate as I did, gazing hopelessly at her home and longing for something more, surely with tears streaming down her face at her empty, empty life.  Oh the drama of early adulthood!  I was surprised when later on, in my thirties, I discovered that Christina Olson was actually a 55-year-old woman who used to drag herself along the floor and the field for apparent lack of a wheelchair.

That did not stop me though, from exploring the art of the Wyeth family.  Since I worked with children’s books for many years, I regularly shelved classics illustrated by N. C. Wyeth, like Treasure Island and Pilgrims.  I also discovered Jamie Wyeth, whose paintings are so similar to his father Andrew’s,  and whose subject matter is equally captivating.

"Winter Pig" by Jamie Wyeth

So I decided to film my “What’s Happening” video at the art museum (hoping to receive their permission, of course), talking about the exhibit, and mentioning how the library has plenty of books of Wyeth art to check out and enjoy.  I would also talk about the library’s own Jeffrey R. Krull Gallery, where art exhibits are featured year-round.

I wrote on the ACPL blog about the whole thing, too, because I was enormously excited and couldn’t control myself–I had to write about it, too!  Following a new convention for blog posting, I signed my name, title and e-mail address.

But what happened next is where this story becomes interesting.

Within a half-hour of posting on the blog, I received an e-mail from a gentleman named Peter Ralston, who told me that he was a longtime family friend of the Wyeths, and photographer, whose photographs of the Wyeths and their art had appeared in various books.  Like a good librarian should, I went to Google and typed in his name to verify his identity, and I found that not only has Mr. Ralston photographed the last two generations of the Wyeth family, but his photographs of their work has appeared in no less than forty books.  In an exchange of e-mails, he told me about his close relationship with Andrew and then he proceeded to e-mail me 24 photographs that he had taken of Andrew, Jamie, and family.

I sat at my computer Friday afternoon with tears welling up in my eyes as I gazed at these photographs of a man whom I have admired above all artists for the past 20 years.  Mr. Ralston gave me permission to use the photographs as I wished, as very small jpegs.  So I put them in the video that I made.

"The Duel on the Beach" by N. C. Wyeth

I am looking forward to visiting the exhibit next week while I’m on vacation, with my 14-year-old son, and someday making a pilgrimage up to the Farnsworth’s Wyeth Center and Brandywine River Museum and the Olson House.

If there is one lesson I’ve learned from this experience, it’s that you should follow your passion.  When we talk about what we love, the results are always good!

Wifi printing signs

January 20, 2010

New tabletop signs are coming to ACPL branches and departments soon!  They’re small–about 4″ x 6″.

Thinking about leadership

January 20, 2010

This is the first year I have ever made any New Year’s Resolutions and actually carried them out.  We went to visit Helene’s team over at Columbus Metropolitan Library last week; and while I was there, I was thinking about how to be thought of as a leader, but came back thinking about the kind of leader I want to be.  There is a big difference between the two.  I had been feeling disappointed that people were not seeking me out as a resource in the library, but after digesting everything for a while, I remembered that I cannot change others’ behavior, only my own.

I returned my attention to a concept I had read about last year, servant leadership.  To understand this idea, think of this ancient concept of the Good King.

“the king [leader] shall consider as good, not what pleases himself but what pleases his subjects [followers]” “the king [leader] is a paid servant and enjoys the resources of the state together with the people.”

The highest type of ruler is one of whose existence the people are barely aware. Next comes one whom they love and praise. Next comes one whom they fear. Next comes one whom they despise and defy. When you are lacking in faith, Others will be unfaithful to you. The Sage is self-effacing and scanty of words. When his task is accomplished and things have been completed, All the people say, ‘We ourselves have achieved it!’

While I am not a king, I can certainly follow these leadership ideas.  I am attracted to these qualities of the good king:

  • fosters
  • serves others
  • supports
  • encourages
  • listens
  • empathy
  • healing
  • awareness
  • persuasion
  • conceptualizes
  • uses foresight
  • stewardship
  • builds community
  • committed to growth of others
  • trustworthy
  • self-aware
  • humble
  • caring
  • visionary
  • empowering
  • competent
  • communicator
  • compassionate collaborator
  • systems thinker
  • unleashes the energy and intelligence of others

So I am trying to consciously think about these qualities in my behavior and work.  I hope to let you know how it’s going, but remind myself, it’s a journey!

Whiteboard, two years later

January 14, 2010

Since our fantastic, energizing visit to Columbus Metropolitan Library earlier this week, I’ve been thinking about how I want this year to go.  I’ve been able to put my thoughts onto the white board this morning, and by the end of today I plan to have a vision statement and a roadmap.

IOLUG Panel: Personal Experiences with Digital Identity

November 16, 2009

Last Friday I was a panelist with three other library professionals at the Indiana Online Users Group fall meeting, where we spoke about our personal experiences using Facebook, Twitter and more.  It was an interesting discussion about a controversial topic.  Talking about social networking always leads me to reflect on what I’m doing right, what I’m doing wrong, and how I define “friendships” online.  I use Facebook for three different reasons:

  • to stay in touch with family and friends
  • to network with other library professionals
  • to network with other business people in the Fort Wayne community

I have basically three types of “friends” on Facebook: family, friends, colleagues.  The first two are self-explanatory, but my colleagues consist of people in the Fort Wayne community and library professionals outside of ACPL.

Since the official communication channel for ACPL is our interlibrary e-mail, I don’t feel like I need to keep connected with most ACPL staff via Facebook.  Certainly lots of ACPL staff use Facebook, but I’ve had to ask myself how many ACPL are friends that I share interests with outside of work.  Keeping in touch on Facebook doesn’t seem like a good way to communicate with other ACPL staff.  Also, I am afraid that having a conversation via Facebook excludes other ACPL staff, who are not using Facebook, from the conversation.

I do think that making and keeping friends on Facebook with other library professionals and community professionals is valuable.  I like that I can pop into Facebook for a minute or two, check and see what people are talking about, and pop back out.  One audience member seemed a little shocked that librarians use Facebook during work hours, but not having used Facebook herself, she was under the impression that people are looking at it for hours at a time.  This is simply not the case.

Making connections with people in our community is one of the most important uses of Facebook on the job.  I am friends with newspaper staff, city government staff, other IT professionals, and other nonprofit professionals.  It’s important and valuable to understand what people are talking about.  Just this morning, I saw that our local PBS station had send out a tweet about a program that aired this weekend, and referred Twitter followers to the library to get the book!     pbs twitterI was able to re-tweet their post to our followers.  And the relationships formed and grown between myself as an individual and other individuals in my community–not their institutional personas–those are gold.  Because of these relationships, I’ve helped arrange a book signing with a book editor and I’m filming a video with a library user this afternoon.

When I was a branch manager, I felt it was not only friendly, but my responsibility, to get to know the people who walked into my building every day.  I learned their names, asked about their families, chatted about work, discussed books…every day.  It wasn’t unusual for me to spend several minutes in conversation, walking around with patrons, talking about our day.   Serving your community is about more than checking out their books.  It’s about forming relationships.  So we should do this any way we can.  Even on Facebook or Twitter.  The rewards are endless, I promise you!

We need to use social networking tools without fear.  Really, it’s OK to Facebook!  Of course, this is only my opinion. :-)

Anyone can make a video

November 12, 2009

This is the video that made me want to start making my own.  It’s about eating haggis; it’s interesting, short, decently made, and shows anyone can make a video! (Don’t worry, no preaching…)

I should also mention that today Sean showed me an easy way to shoot myself on video while walking.  Simply attach the camera to a tripod, hold the tripod up with the bottom of the legs wedged into your hip, and go!

IOLUG Fall Conference

November 11, 2009

I will be attending and sitting on a panel at the Indiana Online Users Group fall meeting this Friday.  See you there!

Fall 2009 Program

Hot or Not: Managing Your Digital Identity

iolugfall09
November 13, 2009

Plainfield Public Library

Have you Googled yourself lately? What do others see when they check you out? What does your Web presence say about you? The IOLUG fall program will focus on managing your digital identity and organizing your personal, professional, and organizational roles.

Register Now

Schedule
9-9:30 Registration—with continental breakfast.
9:30-9:35 Introduction to the day by Tom Smith.
9:35-10:30 Morning Keynote – Yes, You Are Speaking In Public: The Implications Of Building a Personal and Professional Online Presence (1 Technology LEU) – Jenica P. Rogers, M.L.S., Director of Libraries, State University of New York, Postdam, New York.
10:30-10:40 Questions
10:45-11:45 3 Breakout Sessions

 

Online Public Identities: The Unexpected Dangers (1 Technology LEU)

Jenica P. Rogers, M.L.S., Director of Libraries, State University of New York, Postdam, New York

Tips and Tricks (1 Technology LEU)

  1. New Friend Request: Managing Personal and Professional Contacts on
    Facebook – Jason Fields, M.L.S. Chief Operating Officer, Hancock County Public Library
  2. Search Engine Optimization Michael Witt, M.L.S., Interdisciplinary Research Librarian, Purdue University
  3. The Website with a Face: Digitally connecting to People Where They Are Richard Bernier, M.L.S. Reference and Electronic Services Librarian at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
  4. Virtual Venues and Collaboration: Strenthening your staff and services using Facebook Misti Shaw, M.L.S. Music Librarian, Depauw University

Facebook Basics (1 Technology LEU)

Hands on computer lab on setting up Facebook and learning a few of the “ins and outs of social networking. Twitter basic will also be integrated into this session.
Daniel Nguyen, M.I.S, M.L.S. Web Developer, Indianapolis Marion County Public Library and Bill Helling, M.I.S. Assistant Director, Crawfordsville Public Library

11:45-12:30 Lunch and Biz meeting
12:30-1:20 Afternoon Keynote – Organizational Digital Identity (1 Technology LEU) – Toby Greenwalt, M.S.L.I.S., Virtual Services Coordinator at Skokie Public Library
1:20-1:30 Questions
1:30-1:45 Break
1:45-2:45 3 Breakout Sessions

 

Funneling Social Media Feeds (1 Technology LEU)

Toby Greenwalt, M.S.L.I.S., Virtual Services Coordinator at Skokie Public Library

Tips and Tricks (1 Technology LEU)

  1. New Friend Request: Managing Personal and Professional Contacts on
    Facebook – Jason Fields, M.L.S. Chief Operating Officer, Hancock County Public Library
  2. Search Engine Optimization Michael Witt, M.L.S., Interdisciplinary Research Librarian, Purdue University
  3. The Website with a Face: Digitally connecting to People Where They Are Richard Bernier, M.L.S. Reference and Electronic Services Librarian at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
  4. Virtual Venues and Collaboration: Strenthening your staff and services using Facebook Misti Shaw, M.L.S. Music Librarian, Depauw University

Facebook Basics (1 Technology LEU)

Hands on computer lab on setting up Facebook and learning a few of the “ins and outs of social networking. Twitter basic will also be integrated into this session.

2:45-3:45 Panel on Personal Experiences with Digital Identity

 

Melissa Kiser, M.L.S, Information Technology Librarian, Allen County Public Library

Kayla Gregory, Libraries Marketing Associate, Purdue University.

Malissa Hostetler, Graduate Student in Library Science at IUPUI

Lisa Lobdell, Graduate Student in Library Science at IUPUI

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.