Monday, October 27, 2008

Great Day in Oak Park

Friday, I had the opportunity to spend the day with the staff at the Oak Park Public Library in Chicagoland. This was my first trip to my old stomping grounds since the Cubs dropped it in the mud (again), but despite that, this was a wonderful experience. For once, I didn't have to zoom off to the airport after giving my talk: I actually had the chance to stick around and participate in the Staff Institute.

I attended four very good breakout sessions on quite different topics: "Dangerous Ideas," based on the PLA program from the Minneapolis conference; "What is a PC?," a hands-on look under the case of a desktop computer, with side trips into peripherals and cables; a program on dealing with homeless people, remarkable for the staff's high level of compassion and low level of whining; and finally, a behind the desk tour of the library that included not tech services or the computer room, but the furnace room, the air handlers, and the library's green roof. It was fascinating!

Overall, I was impressed with the camaraderie and openness of the staff, which seemed to me to be more diverse in age and background than many libraries I visit. Getting to spend a day with library workers helps revitalize me, and I appreciate their willingness to share their day with me.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Nice move, ALA

George Eberhart from ALA just sent me a message, noting that the American Library Association has opened up access to American Libraries magazine and the weekly AL newsletter. In his e-mail, he noted three big changes:

1. The weekly e-newsletter, American Libraries Direct, is now available to anyone who wants to sign up for it, not just ALA members. The sign-up form, as well as the FAQ, is at .

2. American Libraries has launched its own blog, AL Inside Scoop, . Editor-in-chief Leonard Kniffel offers an insider’s view of goings-on at ALA headquarters and what hot topics ALA staffers are talking about in the hallways. Associate Editor Greg Landgraf offers his perspective from “the lower floors” of what many see as the ALA ivory tower.

3. Login is no longer required to view the current issue of the American Libraries print magazine online (in PDF format), or to view the archives, which date back to the January 2003 issue. Go directly to . First-time viewers will need to install the ebrary reader to view issues. To download, go to . Firefox 3 users installing the reader for the first time will need a workaround,, to make the ebrary reader work with their browser.

This is a gutsy and timely move by our professional association. Congratulations to Leonard, George, ALA Executive Director Keith Fiels, and the member leaders and staff of ALA who helped make this a reality!

Where the heck have I been?

This morning I looked at my RSS feeds, and realized that it's been more than a month since I posted to "It's All Good." How could that have happened? It's not like nothing is happening in the library world, or in OCLC land, or even in my working life.

Actually, I do know the answer to the question in my title. Since my last post on September 12, I've been in Sacramento, Phoenix, San Antonio, Vancouver BC, Idaho Falls, Jackson MS, Vancouver WA, Portland OR, and Washington DC (where I'm writing this from the lobby of the Renaissance M Street Hotel). Oh, and occasionally at home and at the OCLC offices in Columbus/Dublin.

Joan Frye Williams and I rolled out our "Futureproofing" program in Phoenix to generally good reviews. I had my first trips to Idaho and Mississippi. I got to meet my old friends and colleagues at a Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA) meeting. And today, I porticipated in an excellent meeting of the members of OCLC Eastern, featuring great talks by Jay Jordan, Cathy De Rosa, and Greg Zick, and stimulating dialogue with the audience.

Tomorrow, we begin the first Members Council meeting of the fiscal year, and then on Tuesday, it's off to Seattle for a WebJunction meeting. Then I wrap up the week at the Oak Park Public Library in Illinois for their staff development day.

In Guys and Dolls, Skye Masterson tells Sister Sarah that he's been in more hotel rooms than the Gideon Bible. I'm not quite there yet, but I'm working on it. So if you happen to see me wandering the streets of your town in a daze, just tell me where I am, point me at the airport, and wish me well, OK?

PS: By the way, I'm not complaining about ANY of this. I love this life, and welcome opportunities to get out and talk to library staff, trustees, and users, and to enrich my own experience of libraries. So call me!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Healthy kid food for your cafe

Kidfresh is finally on the ball with making healthy food available for people on the go. Of course, the travelers are intended to be pint-sized, but I couldn't resist the lure of a dinosaur-shaped sandwich. I mean, who wouldn't want to eat a (whole wheat) and (organic) cheese T-Rex for dinner? (Spotted at the JFK airport).

Is there a message in here for libraries?

Fun packaging, smart product, right placement.

Get these 3 things right, and you're 95% of the way there.
That and do you stock these at your library cafe? Could you? (Especially on storytime days for publics?) (Or at Exam time for academics?)