Books read, 2013

December 23rd, 2013 Comments off

This seems to be the only thing I do consistently, and GoodReads has made it easy, so I may as well continue.  Here goes:

  • The Magicians, by Lev Grossman
  • The English Patient, by Michael Ondaatje (I do not see what all the fuss was about.)
  • Makers, by Cory Doctorow
  • The Life of Pi, by Yann Martel (Endlessly amused that the former IT director at Harvey Mudd College was called Richard Parker.)
  • Last Night in Twisted River, by John Irving*
  • In One Person, by John Irving (I’m disappointed that I remember very little about this book.)
  • Angelmaker, by Nick Harkaway
  • The Magician King, by Lev Grossman (I hated this book. It’s not at all clear why I read it twice.)
  • Neuromancer, by William Gibson (Still amazing.)
  • The Golem and the Jinni, by Helene Wecker (Want to re-read without the notion that it’s the next Night Circus. Cause it wasn’t.)
  • For the Win, by Cory Doctorow (I read this one and Ready Player One about the same time. I can’t remember which is which.)
  • Ready Player One, by Earnest Cline
  • The Light Between Oceans, by M.L. Stedman*
  • Wool #1-5, by Hugh Howie (Nice, fluffy, post-apocalyptic sci-fi)
  • The Casual Vacancy, by J.K. Rowling*
  • Tinkers, by Paul Harding (More stubborn New Englanders. I’m sensing a theme, here.)
  • The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, by Jan-Philipp Sendker
  • The Beans of Egypt, by Carolyn Chute (set in Maine but could have been KY)
  • The Bone Season, by Samantha Shannon
  • The Gone Away World, by Nick Harkaway*
  • Year of Wonders, by Geraldine Brooks*

*These were the ones that stayed with me longest.

Currently reading:

  • Master and Commander, by Patrick O’Brien
    • I’m probably not going to finish this. It’s only served to cure my insomnia so far. Sorry, John. :(
  • The Crane Wife, by Patrick Ness
    • I’m sure this is terribly interesting; I just can’t seem to get any momentum. It’s not you, Crane Wife; it’s me.
Categories: Books Tags:

VP report for Annual, or “all the blogging I shoulda done since March”

June 26th, 2013 Comments off

Vice-President/President-Elect Report

June 17, 2013


Committee appointments are almost finished.  People I have appointed or reappointed will begin work after this conference.  After getting feedback from several past presidents on how they accomplished this task, and after going through the process myself, I strongly feel we need to change the way it’s done.

By definition, the committee appointments process is exclusionary.  There are many more volunteers for committee slots than there are committee slots.  This is a good problem to have, but it also creates some negative PR for LITA, because we aren’t transparent about it.  Because of the way we have done it (including this year, despite my best intentions), it’s a daunting task, and volunteers who aren’t chosen are left in the dark.  This is complicated by the fact that the database is cumulative–if the database were erased after Annual each year, or only opened for a very specific call for volunteers in the fall, it would be possible to contact everyone for whom we did not have a spot.

Also by definition, it’s not democratic.  I don’t think it should be democratic, but it certainly feels autocratic to be the single person responsible for appointments.  Larger divisions have an Appointments Committee.  I did get feedback from committee chairs, either through a survey or through individual email contact, and this is a good way to handle reappointment (or not) of eligible current members, but there’s not an efficient way to go through the dozens of volunteers and match the right person to the right committee.  Having a small task force of interested people would be a boon to the Vice President.

As appointments are up to the Vice-President, consider this feedback for Rachel.  Perhaps she’s more organized than I am, knows more people, and can fly through this process! :)

A complete list of appointees for this year is attached to this report. (Not yet!)

Forum 2014

Ken Varnum will be chairing this committee. Ken is also serving on the Forum 2013 committee.  Forum 2014 will begin meeting virtually after Annual.  The location for this Forum will be Albuquerque, NM.  I hope to see many Board members there!


One of the Vice-President’s duties is to represent LITA at the semi-annual Coalition for Networked Information ( meetings.  This two-day event comprises opening and closing plenaries and “project updates,” short presentations or panels from members updating membership on ongoing technology or information projects.  Membership largely comprises large university IT and library folks, though there were non-profits and other organizations represented as well (ORCiD, National Labs).  Although I’m no longer in the academic sector, it was a fascinating glimpse of projects that may come into wider library use.  Presentations I attended included:

I’ll reiterate that this was a fascinating meeting; however, I am not sure I was the best person to represent LITA.  I might suggest that in the future, LITA’s representative to CNI be chosen rather than defaulted to.  LITA pays for the Vice-President to attend the fall and the spring meetings (unless that person’s institution is sending him or her).  This would be a good investment in a member.

Board Orientation

Another slight departure from the past.  I have sent our incoming Board members (and Rachel Vacek, incoming Vice-President, and Jason Griffey, incoming Parliamentarian, as chair of Bylaws) some homework:


Given what you read and that our roles as Board members consist of:

  •   Approving the budget;
  •   Setting strategic priorities;
  •   Liaising with committees and sharing committee work with the Board;
  •   Bringing committee/IG questions and resource needs to the Board;

Think about:

  •  What do you want to know (i.e., what is not answered by reading)?
  •  What should we do together this year?
  •  What does your ideal LITA look like?
  •  What could we do better than we’ve done in the past (if you have had dealings with the Board in the past)?

Our orientation session will be Friday, June 28, starting at 4:30, in the M|X bar at the McCormick Hyatt.  I hope that it’s a lively discussion about the governance and future of our organization.

Categories: Conferences, librarians, LITA, LITAvp Tags:

Let’s check out an ebook!* Or, seriously, people, why do we put up with this?

June 1st, 2013 5 comments
  • Open library app on my phone.
  • Click “Downloadable ebooks”
  • Enter library card number and PIN to log into Overdrive (have to get up and find library card number by logging into library website. why can’t I enter my “EZ Login”?)
  • Browse books (top three are 50 shades. ugh.)
  • Search for a couple of things I’d like to read. Not found. (including latest Pulitzer winner for fiction?)
  • Search for Magic Treehouse books, as Miss7 has been reading them. Bingo!
  • Click to check out.
  • Get routed to Safari, with a warning I have to download the Overdrive Media Console. ok… click that link.
  • Routed to App Store (enter password), download Overdrive console.
  • Open Overdrive app. (also take a moment to put it in my Books folder)
  • Back to Library app.
  • Click title to open, Overdrive app opens.
  • …prompted to enter my Adobe ID (????), which luckily I remember.
  • Click to download, again.
  • Flip through 10 pages of front matter until I find table of contents.
  • Decide to return it since it’s not in Kindle format–that’s where Miss7 wants to read it.
  • …I can delete the file, or I can return THEN delete it. huh? ok, return then delete.
  • Click Get Books in Overdrive.
  • Looking at empty Downloads screen.
  • Click Get Books, bottom left.
  • Oh cool, I can browse by genre (but not by format).
  • Oh, there’s a format facet below the list of titles–didn’t see it for three screens.
  • zzz ok much faster just to search for Mary Pope Osborne.  Hooray!
  • Prompted to log in with Library Card number.  Gr! Who keeps their library card # on their phone? (I know, I know, people whose libraries have the right kinds of scanners… Don’t think mine does? Easier to carry the card on my keys.)
  • Library OPAC has timed out. Have to log in again to get card number.  Go find car keys with physical card on it instead.
  • Click to check out book – am asked this time which format I want, hooray!
  • Routed to Amazon page with itty bitty teeny tiny text. Touch “Get Library Book.”
  • Prompted to log into my Amazon account. Recently changed my password so have to look that up in Lastpass. (still very teeny tiny text)
  • Enter email and password.  Ooops, I must have made a typo.
  • Switch to computer since I’m sitting here anyway.
  • Go to library website.
  • Click elibrary > download free ebooks.
  • Yes, I mean ebooks.
  • click to get to Overdrive collection.
  • Skip the browsing bullshit and search for Mary Pope Osborne.
  • Narrow to Kindle format and search for “dolphins” in the title.
  • Click the single result.
  • Click borrow.
  • Mistype library card number. Look it up again. Dammit.
  • Click borrow again. Click Kindle.
  • Routed to Amazon page.  Click Get Library Book.
  • (Since I was already logged into Amazon via my browser,) Get a thank you page saying it will be delivered to the kindle. FINALLY.
  • Pick up my phone to see if the library app knows what I checked out.
  • There are two “accounts” – the physical things I have checked out and the digital things I have checked out.  Either way, I am…
  • Prompted to enter library card number. No, really.
  • Click one of the titles to view on the phone…. routed to Safari with a cryptic error that basically says I can’t have it HERE because I already have it THERE.

Let’s buy an ebook!

  • Pick up Kindle.
  • Press menu.
  • Click Shop in Kindle store.
  • Open keyboard; type in title.
  • Close keyboard.
  • Choose title.
  • Click Buy.
  • Huh.

* None of this is the fault of my library.  I love my library. They have fantastic collections, great buildings, a very usable app, unencumbered wifi, and WONDERFUL service.  Honestly though? I would rather just have my library give me a few bucks in Amazon credit every month than spend thousands of dollars on ebooks (don’t get your hair up, Amazon makes money from Overdrive deals too–Kindle format, remember?).

YES, authors and publishers should get paid.  YES, I want to pay my fair share for ebooks (either by paying my library taxes or by buying the damn things myself).  YES, I still read paper books.  YES, publishing is complicated.  YES, publication and distribution are expensive.  YES, we’re still figuring it out.

That doesn’t change the fact that it still sucks to “borrow” an ebook from the library.


Categories: Books, Libraries Tags:

LITA VP update

March 5th, 2013 4 comments

There has not been a lot of activity these last couple of weeks.  I got three of the four members of the Nominating Committee 2014 appointed.  There were a couple of hiccups in the appointment system along the way that Executive Director Mary Taylor worked out for us.

I am still trying to identify a chair for the 2014 Forum Committee, which will be in Albuquerque next fall.  If you are interested in serving on the Forum planning committee and haven’t completed the appointment form yet, please do!  If you have completed it, rest assured your information is captured, and I will put you to work! :)

If you’re curious about a committee that I haven’t yet talked about, please do email me if you haven’t already.  I’m happy to answer questions!

I have asked LITA staffer Melissa Prentice to send me the results of the two surveys that were sent out after the Town Meeting in Seattle.  I will analyze these and share information with the Board (and with you); my goal is to have an organized (maybe even prioritized!) list of things that we know LITA does right as well as suggestions for future directions.  Thanks to EVERYONE who participated in Seattle and online.

LITA’s Executive Committee (President, Vice-President, Past-President, Councillor, one Director at-Large) meets virtually next week to share updates on various plans and initiatives.  Interested in listening in?  Tweet or comment your interest! :)  The agenda is available on Connect.

More soon!

Categories: Conferences, LITA, LITAvp Tags:

VP update 2/15/13

February 19th, 2013 Comments off

I forgot to do this on Friday! Last week, LITA Staffer Melissa Prentice published two surveys aimed at gathering information about the Town Meeting in Seattle last month. The first survey was aimed at those who attended, in person or virtually. The second was aimed at anyone who did not get to attend who would like to engage in the two exercises that we did, the Appreciative Inquiry exercise and the Re-Imagining LITA exercise. If you haven’t already completed either or both, please do! :) This means you!

Also last week was an online Board meeting, where we approved the members of the Nominating Committee (the only committee whose membership must be approved by the Board), approved the draft FY2014 Budget (which will be approved in final form at Annual, and which we will start spending Sept 1, 2013), and agreed to discuss a dues increase proposal on Connect.

This week, I will make the Nominating Committee Appointments in the ALA Database (think: 21st-century paperwork) and begin working in earnest on appointing people to the Forum 2014 Committee. That year’s Forum will be in Albuquerque, NM–I can’t wait!

Categories: LITA, LITAvp Tags:

Happy Valentine’s Day

February 14th, 2013 1 comment

Dear John,

I know I will never have adequate words to describe the joy you bring to my life. All I’m left with is the scant “I love you,” and so I promise to tell you every day, in the hope that they will one day add up.

Every day that we are apart is a long and tough day, but today is especially long. I can’t wait to see you again, my love.

xoxo always,

Categories: Random Tags:

An experiment: a VP update

February 3rd, 2013 Comments off

I took notes as I did LITA stuff this week.  I don’t have a comprehensive Midwinter update for you, but I will be posting about various stuff from that over the next few weeks.  So, here’s what has happened since I got back from Seattle.  It strikes me that this is an awful lot of detail, so count this an experiment in radical transparency.  What do you think?

This week, I:

  • Implored the Board to share ideas for ALA office and councillor with the Nominating Committee, of which there are three LITA members: Adriene Lim, Karen G. Schneider, and Andrew Pace.
  • Passed on an idea for having LITA-member-only conference update webinars to Education, Forum, and Membership.  Thanks to Bohyun Kim for the idea for a great LITA member benefit, a category we are trying to beef up.  Education will talk about this at their next virtual meeting. (in the process, a great chat around this idea with Andromeda Yelton.)
  • Touched base with our emerging leaders team to thank them for helping at the Town Meeting and to see if they have questions.  They’d also like to coordinate with Bylaws since that committee will be updating the LITA manual–I passed that on to Dale.
  • Identified two of the three members of our nominating committee for this year (this happened in Seattle, actually).  Working on the third and will have the members to approve for the Board at the next virtual meeting (tentatively Feb 15?).

Books read, 2012

January 2nd, 2013 2 comments
  • The Night Circus, Erin Morganstern
  • Back from the Brink, Don Catherall
  • Catching Fire and Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins
  • The Art of Fielding, Chad Harbach
  • Bloodroot, Amy Greene (could not finish)
  • The Tiger’s Wife, Tea Obreht
  • Rocket Surgery Made Easy, Steve Krug
  • The Elements of User Experience, Jesse James Garrett
  • Library User Experience (SPEC Kit), Robert Fox
  • Raving Fans, Blanchard & Bowles
  • The Age of the Platform, Phil Simon (did not finish)
  • State of Wonder, Ann Patchett
  • The Marriage Plot, Jeffrey Eugenides
  • The Cuckoo’s Egg, Clifford Stoll
  • Mend it Better, Kristin Roach
  • The Rook, Daniel O’Malley
  • Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore, Robin Sloan
  • The Dog Stars, Peter Heller
Categories: Books Tags:

Want to serve in ALA? Volunteer for a committee by November 2

October 17th, 2012 Comments off

With apologies for cross-posting… I’m determined to get your eyeballs on this! :)

One of my duties as LITA VP is to participate in the Committee on Appointments, which recommends names for appointment to several ALA-level committees.  The deadline for volunteering for an appointment that will begin after Annual Conference 2013 is November 2.  Appointments are generally for two years, but there are some exceptions.

Please also note that these are ALA-level, and NOT LITA committees, though you can volunteer for LITA committees using the same form, and of course, I urge you to! :) These are also not the Committees of the ALA Council.

Click the name of each committee below to read its complete charge and current roster, or view all Committees of the Association.

Committee on Accreditation
“To be responsible for the execution of the accreditation program of ALA, and to develop and formulate standards of education for library and information studies for the approval of council.”

American Libraries Advisory Committee
“To review and recommend editorial policies for American Libraries and to provide oversight for the implementation of those policies. To communicate with, and operate within, the frameworks established by the ALA Publishing Committee. To serve as a channel for member communication regarding the scope and coverage of American Libraries.”

Awards Committee
(a very long charge, including administering the “ALA General Awards”)  View all ALA awards, scholarships and grants.  Recognize the hard work of your fellow librarians!

Chapter Relations
“To develop and recognize chapters as integral components of ALA. To encourage discussion, activities and programs that support the mutual interests of ALA and the chapters.”  (and more!)

The charge involves policy work regarding conferences, but perhaps more interestingly: “To review recommendations of specific sites and dates prior to their presentation by conference services to the ALA executive board; and To recommend to council and to ALA staff a means for communications with the membership to hear their concerns about conference and meeting procedures and policies.”

Constitution and Bylaws
“To consider amendments to the constitution and bylaws; to review and draft rules for the conduct of council and membership meetings; to review and draft rules for the preparation of resolutions, memorials, and tributes; and to make recommendations to the association in accordance with the provisions of articles xi and xii of the constitution.”

“To monitor ALA elections for association officers, councilors, and constitution and bylaws.” Importantly: “To consist of six ALA members who agree to travel to ALA headquarters at no cost to the association.”

Human Resource Development and Recruitment Advisory Committee
“To advise the Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment (formerly Office for Library Personnel Resources, OLPR) on activities, problems, and procedures related to library concerns in such areas as recruitment, utilization, education and training, and staff welfare….”

Information Technology Policy Advisory Committee
“To advise the Office for Information Technology Policy on priorities, policies and strategies for the Association that promote the development and utilization of electronic access to information.  To provide an ongoing channel for member communication, working closely with other units, committees and officers of the Association in matters touching information technology.”

Committee on Literacy
“To develop and recommend the association’s policies related to the promotion of literacy…”

Literacy and Outreach Services Advisory Committee
“To offer policy guidance to the Office for Literacy and Outreach Services; to advise and assist the Office in establishing programs and priorities; to examine and assist in coordinating the various relevant programs and activities with ALA; to recommend new programs; to provide a channel through which membership may make recommendations; to issue reports; and to promote any other activities that will improve the quality of library services to the rural and urban poor and to ethnic minority groups.”

Membership Committee
To establish general policies, programs, and procedures to secure new members; to be responsible for the implementation of these programs; to coordinate membership promotion activities of all units and chapters of the association; to coordinate the ALA committee internship program; to make recommendations concerning membership dues; and to serve the association as a sounding board on membership”

Membership Meetings Committee
To plan the agenda for the membership meetings specified in ALA policy 7.4.10; to identify potential discussion topics for the membership meetings; to educate the membership about the purposes of the membership meeting and the opportunities it offers members; to identify and recommend incentives for attendance; to advise staff on logistics for membership meetings; to oversee publicity plans for membership meetings; to assess the effectiveness of the membership meetings in addressing the ALA membership’s needs; and to recommend changes in light of that assessment.

Public and Cultural Programs Advisory
“To serve as an advisory committee to the ALA Public Programs Office. To promote excellence in cultural programming; to assist library staff to become more effective providers of cultural programming; to identify and disseminate resources for cultural programming; and to promote the cultural communities fund.”

Research and Statistics
“To facilitate research and related activities in all units of the association, especially activities related to library statistics; to advise the ALA council and executive board on programs, policy, and priorities regarding research and related activities;” and much more!

Rural, Native and Tribal Libraries of All Kinds Committee
“To review issues and challenges facing rural, native and tribal libraries of all kinds; to collaborate with other ALA units addressing the needs of rural communities; and to serve as an advocate for and partner with libraries serving rural, tribal and native populations.”

Scholarships and Study Grants Committee
“To make recommendations to the executive board and the ALA council on all policies relating to ALA scholarships, study grants, conference sponsorships or research grants to be made or sponsored by ALA and its units. It shall administer the general scholarships, study grants, conference sponsorships, and research grants presented in the name of the American Library Association, known as ‘ALA general scholarships and study grants.’ all ALA general scholarships and study grants shall exist to advance study or knowledge in library science.” …and much more!

Training, Orientation, and Leadership Development Committee
“To plan and coordinate training, orientation, and leadership development for member leaders at all levels across the association. To inventory training and orientation modules in divisions, round tables, and other association groups. To coordinate the ALA committee internship training program.”

Website Advisory Committee
“To develop, review and recommend to council association policies for the ALA website. To recommend editorial or structural guidelines for the ALA website,” and much more!

Next up: LITA Committees.

Questions? Please do ask. You are welcome to comment here, or you can find my contact information on my Connect page.

Categories: librarians, Libraries, LITA, LITAvp Tags:

It begins…

September 30th, 2012 Comments off

When I decided to write about my time as LITA Vice-President/President-Elect, I knew I would be writing about LITA committees and making appointments to them, about LITA Forum and my experience there, and about my experience with the LITA Board in general.  I’m delighted to learn that there are other responsibilities of the Vice-President, and my hope is that by writing about them, I might help others who are interested in division leadership, be it LITA or not.

My first phone call with Mary Taylor, LITA’s Executive Director (ALA Staff) earlier this year was very pleasant.  She called to deliver the news that I had won the election, and that my term as Vice-President/President-Elect would start after the Annual conference in Anaheim.  She was clearly excited about the upcoming year, and reminded me of these Vice-Presidential duties:

  1. Attend training that would help Mary and me establish a working relationship.
  2. Attend two CNI meetings as LITA’s representative.
  3. Appoint members to LITA’s committees.
  4. Appoint LITA representatives to a few ALA committees.
  5. Plan and run the LITA Town Meeting at the Midwinter meeting in Seattle.

Some of these I already knew about, and some were new to me.  I actually have already attended the training (which I have yet to write about, boo), and I had my first conference call as LITA’s representative to the ALA Committee on Appointments, which is the official way of stating #4.

I have been LITA VP for a month and a half now, and things are really starting to ramp up.  Stay tuned here to learn what I’m doing, and I hope, to learn more about what LITA and ALA are all about.

Questions?  Please ask!

Categories: Libraries, LITA, LITAvp Tags: