Monday, September 29, 2014

LaRue for ALA president

I am thrilled to announce my candidacy for the 2016-17 Presidency of the American Library Association.

Those of you who know me, know of my deep and abiding passion for libraries. You also know that I've worked -- with many others! -- to make them better. As I've often said, this is the most exciting time in the history of our profession, and we need every live mind and spirit we can find.

But the more I have thought about the state of libraries in the US today, the more concerned I have become. Support for public and academic libraries - measured in terms of public willingness to fund them - has been falling for decades. In too many states, our school libraries are in a state of crisis. Many are on the brink of extinction.

I know most librarians to be conscientious and thoughtful stewards of public funds. Too, I know them to be, in many, many ways, staggeringly effective. Why then, are we losing support? And more importantly, what can we do about it?

Here's what doesn't work: talking to ourselves. If I am elected to the presidency, I will focus on taking the library message beyond the echo chamber, urging a great visibility in and engagement with our community to carry forward three key messages.

In brief, those messages are:

  • We must move from gatekeeper to gardener. We are in the midst of an historic explosion of digital content creation.  In the public and academic worlds alike, we can't just passively accept ruinous financial arrangements that ignore a host of new voices.
  • We must catalog our communities, building our relationships with civic leaders, selecting high profile projects that help our communities thrive, then demonstrating our skills and value.
  • Children's services - especially early literacy - is our most important contribution not only to individual lives, but to society. Too many of our communities suffer from "book deserts." We must move them to "book abundance."

If you're interested in learning more, please email me at Or like me (Jamie LaRue) on Facebook.

Thanks for your attention,


P.S. I can also be followed on Twitter at @jaslar. I'll be using the hashtag #larue4ala, too.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


I get sick very seldom. But after a recent drive over to the Western Slope of Colorado, I found myself dropping off to sleep one night (in a straw bail casita made by my friend Paul) - then was suddenly very awake and unwell. Unwell here just means knife-stabbings inside the throat when I swallowed, a fever, and headache. A cold, I guess, or rhinovirus - maybe this respiratory thing that has been flying around Denver.

So I drove back home the next day so as not to infect the various people I'd been hoping to consult with. The trip wasn't bad, what with the glorious Colorado landscape, and even the rain was nice, like  driving through Scottish hills, migrating clouds, and mist. And I managed to wrap up the "Order of the Phoenix" CDs. Ms Rowling is a compelling storyteller, even when you know it comes out.

When I got home, Suzanne had made chicken soup (she's been brutalized by all this for a week or more), and I was in bed by 6 or so. And slept through till after 10 this morning. Although I don't feel well, I'm not hacking and coughing, either.  There are times when lying in bed and reading book after book after book is, all in all, not a bad way to spend a day. It might even be a SMART way.

One of the books was the "The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane," written by Kate DiCamillo, and illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline. It's a wise and heartbreaking children's book, about a china rabbit who learns something about love. But also a couple of science fiction ebooks, "Salinger," some comic books, part of "The Bonobo and the Atheist," by Frans de Waal, and "Eat Move Sleep," by Tom Rath, (author of "Strengthfinders"). Lately, I realize, I'm plowing through 4 or 5 books a week, mostly ebooks.

I also have a ton of stuff to work on related to my consulting life. But I still feel lousy. So I'm not doing any of that.

Next week, I head off to Bulgaria to meet with library leaders and present on the trend of community reference. I definitely do not want to be sick then. So it's up to write and drink tea, then back to bed.

Friday, September 5, 2014


A very cool new program: Mindscope. There are a couple of ways to describe it: a pinboard, a way to enter text, drag it around a screen, nest other text under it (so that clicking an underlined entry opens up a new board with new text), draw arrows connecting things.

It runs on iOS. Here's a picture from my iPad:

As you can see, I just set up a very simple grid that allows me to track some of this week's projects. It's really easy and simple to set up, drag things around, file when you're done. For those of us who sometimes need a couple of systems to stay on top of our world, this one is a keeper. - Welcome

In November of 2018, I left my position at ALA in Chicago to return to my Colorado-based writing, speaking, and consulting career. So I'...