Saturday, January 30, 2010

Will Eisner Week, 2010

As a kid, I loved comic books. My favorite artists were Jack Kirby, Jim Steranko, Steve Ditko, and the greatest of them all, Will Eisner. Eisner created one of the best comic heroes ever, The Spirit, a cocky detective who was assassinated by gangsters and came back to become a vigilante. The stories ranged from noir to humor, and the Spirit had some of the sexiest sidekicks and enemies ever created. The Spirit started in the newspapers, went on to comic books, then graphic novels, and even a movie. Eisner created amazing splash panels, frequently covering a whole page or two. The panels had multiple layers that reward repeated viewing, like a broadsheet Bosch.

Beyond newspapers and comic books, Eisner was one of the fathers of the graphic novel, as his later work took on autobiography, theology, and even urban history. He wrote a seminal work on comics as art, Comics and Sequential Art.

I met Eisner's niece and nephew at the ALA Midwinter conference earlier this month. We had a nice talk about Eisner’s work and the impact he had on visual storytelling.

The family was at Midwinter to showcase Will Eisner Week, an annual celebration of graphic novel literacy, free speech awareness, and, of source, Eisner's legacy. Libraries across the US and around the world will offer book and visual displays, book group discussions, and discussion programs. Will Eisner Week 2010 will be celebrated February 28 to March 6. This would be a great opportunity to focus on your collection of graphic novels; after all, without Will Eisner, you might never have had that collection!

Monday, January 25, 2010

No comment needed...

From the annals of censorship gone awry, this from today's Inside Higher Ed:

Board Confuses Authors of 'Brown Bear,' 'Ethical Marxism'

The Texas Board of Education, worried that a scholar's book about Marxism might infiltrate a portion of the state's third grade curriculum, accidentally has banned work by the author of the popular children's book Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, The Dallas Morning News reported. The intended target of the ban was Bill Martin, a professor of philosophy at DePaul University, who offended some Texas board members with his book Ethical Marxism: The Categorical Imperative of Liberation. But the board accidentally banned work by Bill Martin Jr., author of Brown Bear.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

TEDx Columbus

I have been shy about publishing this, but not for the reasons you might think. Last October I had the huge pleasure of speaking at TEDx Columbus, a local TED event organized by local folk. I was invited, at least one of the reasons, because I work at OCLC and they were interested in highlighting ideas and work from local organizations. This was my first time talking with a non-library audience about some of these ideas and I had a great time.

You can decide for yourself how you think it went - the whole 18 minutes are posted here. But the reason why I have been shy about showing it has less to do with the content of my actual speech and so I'll just come clean...

I had this very cute little skirt and top to wear for my speech. When I arrived the day before, the organizers shared that I should not wear black. Seriously? I almost died. And so here I am on a TEDx video wearing boring pants and a sweater. (And now you know real the extent of my vanity!)

If you have a chance to review, I would love to have your feedback. This experience definitely drove home for me that we need to be out in the communities we serve talking about our work (and not just talking back and forth to each other). I hope to have more opportunities to talk to non-library audiences ... this was such a good time. Note to self: always pack a cute color dress, just in case!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

OCLC Symposium ALA MW 2010

It's taken me longer than expected to get this post up...busy day today with lots of interesting conversations going on. But these are the scattered notes (along with tweets from @itgirl and @alicesneary) from the Symposium speaker on Friday, Michael Brown:

Loretta Parham
kicks of the OCLC Symposium. We all do PT *physical training*!

Michael Brown
, CEO of CityYear
His first library—Belmont, Massachusetts. He remembers his early experiences with the public libraries.
Boston loves its libraries (source of pride for the community).
Widener Library, his introduction to philanthropy. (The appeal is around something to do with leaving a legacy and personal concerns.)

--We’re in the same business, CityYear and libraries: Citizenship and democracy. Libraries help underscore what it means to be human.
“Getting my library card was like citizenship; it was like American citizenship.” –Oprah Winfrey

Why did he start CityYear?

Born in 1960—the civil rights movement, the moon landing, Star Trek—feeling of intense engagement
He became Passion-Struck. He worked on Capitol Hill for Leon Panetta,
HR2500—Study the commission of volunteer national service: tapping the civic power of youth.
• Life changing benefits (access to college, fulfilling the American dream)
• Needed Services
• Civil Rights
• Rite of Passage
• Inspire to Action

Action Tank – “National Service or Bust”
--Most Americans get excited about the idea of national service, once you explain it
--This isn’t a voting issue

Every meeting had to be inspirational.
Core member handbook: every member of CityYear has to register to vote, pay taxes, and have a library card.
Entrepreneurship: Timberland supplied the boots: boots, brands and beliefs. Timberland outfits the corps. Timberland provides 40 paid hours of volunteer service for employees.
Had to have uniforms—Promoting the concept. This is about service and idealism.
We did calisthenics in front of Boston Public Library every morning.

We had to engage the public sector. Wrote to all Presidential candidates.
Clinton said it was his trip to CityYear that inspired the development of Americorps.

Time magazine wanted to do a cover story on national service. (You never know who is going to be your next champion.)

Edward M Kennedy Serve America Act
. Idealism of Young People, showing they can make a difference.

Now they’re focusing on the High school dropout crisis. Every 26 seconds a child drops out of school. Goal is to reach 50% of the potential drop outs.

6 Major lessons learned along the way:
1. Mantra: COME VISIT! All commitments are experiential.
2. Find a sponsor for it: Get a sponsor for everything (Timberland for Boots)
3. Build partnerships on Reciprocity and Engagement—even when it doesn’t seem like there’s a fit. (CareForce One: CSX has a truck full of rakes, shovels, etc. and it goes to small communities where CSX drives through and helps them clean communities, graffiti, etc.)
4. Every institution has unique assets. (CityYear has young people’s energy)
5. Give a role for citizens in your institution. Serve-A-Thon (One-day where everyone else gets to do what CityYear does.) Create alumni—make people feel like a part of your institution
6. Build a Movement. Be part of something larger than yourself.

Carnegie completed 1,689 libraries. He did challenge grants—the communities had to support the library, once built. Women’s organizations took up the challenge and gave us America’s libraries. A great example of movement building and democracies. (All of this was done before Women had the right to vote!)

Connect your needs to other institutions’ needs. Then you can really get some interesting things going.

Then Loretta Parham gives some examples from her library system about how she engaged members of the community outside the library to try and get some momentum around projects, and what successes emerged.

Some really interesting questions came out for both Loretta and Michael. It's clear that we're all still grappling with how to partner with our civic and campus organizations in the best way possible--some good ideas and questions.

Then we all adjourned and had Boston cream pie. Great ending to a good Symposium. It made me wish I was 22 years old again and full of heady ideals about how to Make The World A Better Place. Has that 22 year old spirit been stamped out completely? I don't think so--seeing the CityYear participants and knowing their passion, I am inspired to give some of my personal time to a national service project, too.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Americas Regional Council in full swing

The Americas Regional Council is in full swing here in Boston. Roy just posted a photo of the session, and you can follow his tweets (@rtennant) for bite-size snippets of the discussion. There will be video of the session available after ALA MW for everyone on the OCLC Web site.

Simultaneously gearing up for the Symposium this afternoon at the Westin Boston Waterfront, Grand Ballroom A/B. The discussion this time is about building influence. Here's the description:

OCLC Symposium: On the Radar: How Libraries and Other Nonprofits Can Increase Their Influence

Gaining attention and funding among nonprofit and community entities has never been more critical. Join OCLC and Michael Brown, CEO & Co-Founder of City Year, for a discussion of this vital topic. How can libraries build influence in their communities to improve sustainability? What groups see your library as a vital and essential resource for their success and survival? Building effective partnerships is essential to instilling a sense of urgency when questions of support arise. Michael’s experience in developing and growing an entrepreneurial nonprofit will bring a valuable perspective to this discussion. Loretta Parham, CEO/Director of the Robert W. Woodruff Library at the Atlanta University Center, will moderate the session and provide her thoughts on building influence from within the academic library setting.

Look for notes, ideas, photos and more from the session this afternoon. Even if you haven't RSVP'ed yet, there's always room for more. And same as the Americas Regional Council meeting--there will be video of the session available shortly after ALA MW.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Blog Salon moved!

Heads up! The OCLC Blog Salon has moved locations.
Now we will be in the Westin Waterfront, Stone Room.
The full info:

OCLC Blog Salon

Sunday, January 17
Not just for bloggers anymore! The blog salon is open and welcome for anyone interested in "Web 2.0" kinds of stuff--from blogs and tweets to APIs, mash-ups, mobile apps and more. It's your chance to rub shoulders with other technically and social-media savvy folks, and make some new friends in a relaxed, social setting.
5:30 - 8:00 p.m., Westin Waterfront, Stone Room

See you there!

Monday, January 04, 2010

Fewer libraries, more locations?

Eric Hellman has an interesting post on his blog "go to hellman" (great name, incidentally).

He postulates that by 2020 "the number of public libraries in 2020 would be half of what it is today. (And) the number of public library locations would increase by 50%." He goes on to describe a world with smaller, cheaper to run library outlets in different locations, and shuttering of some of the larger edifices. He thinks that the e-content revolution and the need to consolidate public services in times of restricted funding will help bring this about.

Hellman makes a pretty good case. We have already seen a lot of constriction in library budgets during the past few years, and given the state of the economy and the big black holes in government budgets, things aren't going to be rosy for a while.

So is the big box library a tool or a principle? If the building is a way to create a hub in your community, any space where people are willing to gather and share could work as a tool. If the building is a secular monument, a tourist attraction, or a way to keep a small town from sliding into oblivion, then the principle is a lot different.