12 December, 2006

Like a bucket of prawns in the sun

I'm Off
I'm taking a few weeks off to visit the family for Christmas. I've missed the last three, which wasn't so bad. Just the wife and kids is a nice way to spend Christmas.
Still, on the upside, while I have to deal with the psychotic nature of Christmas with step this and someone twice removed on someone else's side,
I get to go canyoning. Now there isn't a lot of time available, but I've got one day set aside and I'll be doing Bowen's Creek with Snail. A fellow librarian/canyoner who I thought I knew of through library blogs, but know realise I knew of first through ozcanyons.
So, as I fly out tomorrow (with three kids. Wife to follow on the weekend) I have to admit that I have, so far, only packed my canyoning gear. And I've packed and repacked that twice.
I do believe my wife may be questioning my priorities when I get home tonight. Still I think I can pack for a three week trip with three kids in one night (can't I).

ADHD librarian - conference communicator

My NLS paper is now online as a pdf.
And if you wnat to know more about what I said and how I said it, the audio should be available from the NLS page next week. Plus you can get the powerpoint presentation I used, although that will only make any sence if you read it while listening to the audio.

Still being me

Inspired by all the talk of millenials and genY and everything being 2.0 that I have come across recently (including at NLS) I got online and created a myspace pace for my library. Mmm, there goes the last vestiges of anonymity that I was clinging to.
I was happy with things, it took less than 20 minutes to set up and within a few hours I had a couple of 'friends' two being local 16 year olds and one being a local resident who also happens to be a country music star!
I thought I was on a winner 'yeah me' and happily sent an email around the library staff to tell them how clever I was and how I was going to tell teenagers about our services one way or another (if the mountain won't come to Mohamed).
Imagine the come down when I was pulled into the managers office and given a 'please explain'.
I knew that the new boss was a micro manager, but damn! Kids and youth are my job description and I'm just so used to doing things. I hate the fluffing around you get if you try to design these things by committee. And doing things by the committee was the way the boss wished I'd done it.

Now the whole thing was rather stop start because I kept using terms she was unfamiliar with (like internet and computer). Well no, more like web 2.0 and friendster, social networking, flickr...
All in all it just confirmed to me that doing it straight off was the best thing to do because otherwise it would have takes a team of six librarians two months to agree on parameters, which then wouldn't have worked because myspace gives you your parameters and you just fill in the gaps.

Now I am well aware (and have said it on this blog before) that I am probably an annoying team member at times. But this is going right off the scale at the moment because I don't believe I can be micromanaged. After all it is better to ask for forgiveness than for permission.

Fresh from my triumph as a myspace producer I propped myself up on my PC at home and did a wikipedia entry for the library. But as i did it from home and in my own time I'm hoping that no one can complain about it.
Oh and we're up to 50 hits on myspace over the course of four days. So lets say the first 10 were internal hits, that 40 hits in four days. Plus we have four local teens and two local musos in our friends lists. I'd say it is going better than I expected.

08 December, 2006

I've always wanted a pipe!

From Cyanide and Happiness, a daily webcomic>
Not library related, not ADHD but still very me.

04 December, 2006

footloose - a themesong for genX librarians

After the NLS dinner I got to thinking about how the song footloose affected the genXers that night. So I had a look at the lyrics and now I think I can see why. Take a look for yourself and see if you think that Kenny Loggins might have had us in mind when he penned it.

Been working so hard
I'm punching my card
Seven point six hours for what
Oh, tell me what I got
I've got this feeling
Baby boomer librarians are holding me down
I've hit a ceiling
So I'll tear up this town

Now I gotta cut loose, footloose
Kick off the sensible shoes
Please, Louise, tired of shelving on knees
Jack, in the stack, come on before we crack
Lose your blues, everybody cut footloose

You're playing so cool
Obeying every rule
Deep way down in your heart
You're burning yearning for
Somebody to tell you
That a career as an information professional ain't passing you by
I'm trying to tell you
It will if you don't even try
You'll get by if you'd only

Cut loose, footloose
Kick off the sensible shoes
Oo-wee Dewey, shake it, shake it for me
Woah, embargo, come on, come on let's go
Lose your blues, everybody cut footloose

Two point, ooooh-oh-oh
(Cut footloose)
Two point, ooooh-oh-oh
(Cut footloose)
Two point, ooooh-oh-oh
(Cut footloose)

You've got to turn me around
And put your feet on the ground
Gotta take the hold of all
I'm turning it loose

Footloose, kick off the sensible shoes
Please, Louise, tired of shelving on knees
Jack, in the stack, come on before we crack
Lose your blues, everybody cut footloose
(Footloose) footloose
Kick off the sensible shoes
Please, Louise, tired of shelving on knees
Jack, in the stack, come on before we crack
Lose your blues, everybody cut, everybody cut
Everybody cut, everybody cut
Everybody cut, everybody cut
(Everybody) everybody cut footloose

The Librarian Social Scene

So, I already mentioned that I forgot my meds. Well, not forgot, I remembered them just as the plane left the runway to take me to NLS. I suppose I could have asked the pilot to swing by my place to pick it up but I didn't want to put him out.
So that led to a few ADHD moments for me. For example, while talking about the click 06 dinner I mentioned it being full of drunken aunties (I believe Tom Goodfellow originally used that line). I then said "I could have had my pick of any 50 year old there" that being in my mind a logical continuation of the drunken auntie thing. Me being the conversation hog that I am, once something works I stick with it (at least until my wife gets sick of it and tells me everyone has heard that story 1000 times. But she wasn't there) so anyway I had used that gag a dozen times over the conference period before someone called me out on why I thought they would want to sleep with me.
So just to clarify Dance Partners. We were dancing, I could have dance with...
Oh for fucks sake,
What sort of misogynistic bastard do people think I am?
I mean I might cop a plea to a charge of egotistical (hell I don't even know what that means)
I'm just hoping that not everyone who heard me talking thought the same thing, because if they did then i believe that any networking I may have attempted will have been useless.

And while we're on drunken aunties, (you see every wedding has a drunken auntie, but at a library conference it turns out that 80% of those there are drunken aunties) there weren't many at the NLS 2006 dinner. Sure there were some, but it was more - to continue Tom's wedding analogy - like that stage of the wedding when you start to find your cousin really cute.
(I just want to point out that this comment is for humour value and does not represent my life! All my cousins still live in the old country and I haven't been to any weddings with them since I was 7)

Also on the dancefloor at the dinner, I happened to mention to one dancer that her blouse had become slightly unbuttoned. My attempt however at telling her in humourous fashion however backfired and I think I was only one short step from a slap to the face. Still, it could have been worse at least I didn't use the phrase bodacious tatas. It is an unfortunate side effect of listening to Doug Mulray as a youth that bodacious tatas occasionally pops out of my mouth. Still in my defense it was a two man radio show with Andrew Denton.

I'm sure that there were plenty of other occasions when I made a git of myself, my dance moves for example, but the good thing about being unmedicated is that it is hard to be introspective. Still if you did see me or hear me being wildly inappropriate, feel free to leave a comment and I'll do my best to make sure it doesn't happen again. Well, not too often anyway.

I mentioned the dance floor, well I managed to bust all sorts of moves. Now I'm sure that many of those moves were ones that had never been busted before and with luck won't be busted again. In my defense when footloose came on I had to go all out because as a young man Willard (Chris Penn) was my dancing inspiration. You see I could never aspire to be the cool kid from out of town (Kevin Bacon) but Willard, that was achievable.
A big 'yo DJ' to Kael Driscoll, who in addition to being a Librarian and a Conference Speaker is a pretty handy DJ. He certainly managed to get the right mix of tunes to get maximum dance libris happening.

Your best friend Harry has a brother Larry, in five days from now he's going to marry. He's hoping you can make it there if you can 'cos in the ceremony you'll be the best man...

My Turn at the Podium

I went to NLS without my amphetamines, which means I was Mr ADHD all day and all night. This wasn't exactly a problem with my talk, I wasn't planning on taking it that day anyway. But it did cause problems for me putting the finishing touches on my notes. So, it ended up with me deleting 17 slides from my powerpoint presentation ten minutes before I was due on stage. I then spent the time during the preceding two speakers redoing my notes in order to match my changed presentation.
When it was my turn for the microphone I was as hyped up as a cicada in a vat of PCP. I launched right into things and completely forgot about my notes (which is of course why I write them, you see if you have notes you can be confident that if you forget what you wanted to say you have notes, therefore you are relaxed, therefore you don't forget what you wanted to say). On those occasions when i did feel I should look at my notes, I generally had to turn over about four pages in order to get to where i was up to.
I think i had the best slot of the conference.
Second day, last speaker before lunch and there were no other breakout sessions on at the same time, so I got the whole audience. In fact if you read my resume from here on in it'll say that I was a keynote speaker. Well if you can't lie on your resume where can you lie?
That evening at the conference dinner, I felt like a minor celebrity. People kept coming up to say hello, to let me know they enjoyed my talk and I sad back and basked in the glory.
Well, I intended to sit back and bask, in fact I ended up trying to tell people that there was a lot on that was better than my paper. It wasn't false modesty, I am a good speaker, I know that, but there were several very good papers at the conference that I think got overlooked because the speakers were unsure of themselves or just not confident at the podium.
Mine by contrast was not an academic paper, sure it wasn't just a standup routine and I know there was a lot of useful information for anyone who finds themselves acting in higher duties, but I still think I can do something a lot better content wise next time I decide to do a conference paper.
All in all though I'm smiling like a Cheshire Cat in a toothpaste commercial and I don't think it'll be long before I try to do it again.

Other Honorable Mentions

Here are a few of the other NLS sessions I went to which I enjoyed for either their content or their preventer's style.
Federated Searching: Is the death toll sounding for Information Literacy? Do we really want to "Google"™ our libraries? Libbie Blanchard and Joanne Keleher
Adapting Open Source Software to Benefit the Library: One New Librarian’s Experience in Changing the Processes of a Large Academic Library during the First Year of Employment Emily Barton
whY generation? Millennials as managers, or the future of library management Kate Davis
Freedom of Access to Information post September 11, 2001 paper by Matthew Davis but presented by Alyson Dalby
Also Managing the retirement brain drain: A case-study from the Manuscripts Branch at the National Library of Australia by Beth Lonergan, Bronwyn Ryan and Renée Shuttleworth was probably quite good, but it suffered from being after lunch on the last day and my brain had decided that I had been awake too much, drunk too much and trying to think and pay attention more than usual so i didn't manage to keep track of it.
Abstracts of all of these are available on the nls website.

Networking 101

Alan Smith gave us genx librarians a bit of a wake up call on what it means to network. But not in the computer sense. This was a very nice session for that part of the afternoon when everyone just wants to drift off back to sleep after having had a nice lunch but it also made us think about how badly we'd all been doing at the pre conference dinner (see the photo).
So for me, I think I might be putting networking down on my list of things I'm not very good at. I am apparently more of a self promoter and socialiser which is quite different.

Still if you get the chance to hear Alan speak, do it he is worth listening to and while this was a bit of a frivolous topic it is obvious he knows his stuff.

Reflections of Our Profession in Popular Culture

Librarians in the Looking Glass: Reflections of Our Profession in Popular Culture by Kael Driscoll was a hoot, but it also got a lot of people thinking about why we have those stereotypes. So, while I can understand nurses complaining that people still think of them hopping into the bed of every virile young patient (Carry on Matron) all we have to complain about is that people think we are all bookish intellectuals (although some might wish us to take off more than our mask of respectability behind the stacks)


Lets begin with a level of seriousness and tact...
The NLS2006 greenshirts are to be congratulated, they put together a conference which exceeded my expectations. Now I wasn't at any of the previous new grads symposia, but I was at click06 and I'd have to say that the quality of the speakers was on par with click. In fact, while there were less speakers, those who I heard could have easily earned a place on the click program. So it is clear to me that the newgrads, nextgen, genx (and perhaps y) librarians are all set to storm to the top of the library world, just as soon as those damned baby boomers have the common decency to die off.