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Showing posts from October, 2013

iPad updates and email

OK, what's up with this? I changed no settings, but suddenly, I can't get jlarue.com email from my iPad 2. I continue to receive it from all other devices, using the same settings. When I go to the Earthlink live chat line, I can't get in because of unnamed outages. Since I continue to get email on my Windows work machine, my Linux home machine, and my Android phone, the problem isn't the servers, right? It has to be the iPad. I even did another software update (hadn't caught that in settings), which locked up my machine altogether until I forced it to shut down (hold down power and menu buttons for 10 seconds).

The lesson: one does get dependent on one's devices.

P.S. I finally got an Earthlink live chat to straighten it out. In brief, the latest Apple updates have stricter security policies, requiring a slight change to login settings, including a port change. They sorted it in seconds.

DCL wrap-up projects

I'm planning, over the next month or so, to wrap up a few outstanding projects at DCL, then to prepare a kind of "issues and directions" paper for the board. This will just call out some of the key issues that, in my mind, the board should pay attention to going forward. But I'm also trying to keep a distance here: there are many, many good people both within the staff and at the board level. While I'm proud of the work I've done here, and certainly have many thoughts about the future, I am under no illusion that the library belongs to me. It belongs to the community, and their ability to move forward shouldn't be too constrained by a single voice or vision.

iLead

Last week I spent some time with the Colorado cohort of the iLead USA project: an Institute of Library and Management Services grant that focused on growing the next generation of library leaders. That's a goal I heartily support. I was privileged to give one of the keynotes, which streamed out to cohorts in other states. I also managed to stick around for a day and hear the pre-recorded speech by David Lankes. Lankes is one of our best voices: a library professor in New York who turned his recent bout of cancer into a powerful and inspirational message of passionate librarianship. Although we hadn't talked beforehand, I saw of lot of similarities in our beliefs: the notion that the work of librarianship should be FUN; the idea that libraries aren't about technology, ultimately, but about connection and transformation both personal and social. (And lest anybody get alarmed by librarians trying to transform things, I just mean "enable individuals and communities to loo…

Change in Douglas County, 1990-2014

Archivists at the Douglas County Libraries have set up an appointment with me in a couple of weeks to record an oral history. I was the founding director of the district (it was a county library before then) in 1990, and I guess I do know a lot of institutional history. I also wrote a newspaper column from April 11, 1990 through January 5, 2012). So it's all online, but I gave a copy of the text file to our archivists, pointing out that somehow I lost track of about a dozen columns over the years. So we have an intern who is tracking down the missing ones, which is kind of neat. Then I was thinking about maybe packaging all of these as an ebook. 
Then Shaun Boyd (of DCL's Douglas County History and Research Center) told me that it would be 3,000 pages long. No one would read that!
So one of the tasks I might set myself next year is going through that and producing a more digestible version. There would be at least four themes: the development of the Douglas County Libraries, …

Alaska public libraries 2013

Recently I returned from an annual meeting of Alaskan public library directors in Girdwood (south of Anchorage). Thanks to the Alaska Library Association and state library staff, I was there to present to them about several topics (nearly 9 hours of presentation). They also allowed me to sit in on their reflections on the past year, a round robin of successes and challenges (limited to 11 minutes apiece).

They were a terrific bunch of people. These are people who do what they do for love, and it shows.

Below are some of the key themes from that most interesting discussion.

- Infrastructure. I thought we had "frontier" libraries in Colorado. But of the 18 library directors in the room, 10 of their home towns were literally not on the state roads. You could not drive there. Sometimes you could get there by ferry. Often, only by plane, or, I presume, dog sled.

-  They also have what has to be the worst bandwidth situation in the nation. While many of the libraries at Girdwood (…

Consulting colleagues, I salute you

Before I set off on this speaker/trainer/facilitator/consultant course (there has GOT to be a more concise and evocative word or phrase for this) I called a few of the handful of people in that world I know and respect. I asked for half an hour of their time. Every single one of them instantly agreed.
My questions were pretty direct. What were the upsides and downsides? What was their opinion of the market? How did they advertise? What kind of work was out there? What did they charge? How did they advertise?
And here's the thing. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM answered those questions straight up. No hedging, no trying to lock me out of the market. Many also offered advice beyond my questions. Not one of them charged me for it (although in a couple of cases I offered). 
Why? There are several reasons, I think.
First, these are really quality people. They're smart. They're incisive. They are authentic. But more to the point, they are deeply committed to the proposition that they'…

Leaving Douglas County Libraries

This week I announced to my board and staff that I'm leaving Douglas County Libraries. 
Two years ago, I tried to see if I could give a professional talk, for pay, once every other month. Done. The next year, I did two a month. This year, I've almost hit (a few times over the year) one a week. And boy, it's fun. (It did eat up some of the vacation time I've built up over 23 years.) I've been to Moscow, Pittsburgh, Anchorage, Boston, Miami, Sydney. I learn a lot, it pays well, I meet fascinating people, and I have a chance to deeply explore new issues. In Douglas County, I helped one library district achieve excellence. What I'd really like to do next is help move MANY libraries in that direction. I got into this profession for love, and I'm still in love. This is the best time ever to be a librarian.
So the first thing: I'm around for another 90 days, leaving around mid-January. There's nothing abrupt about it. It's a thoughtful transition. But I …