All posts by aaronthelibrarian

EveryLibrary Challenge

In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the founding of EveryLibrary, I am reprising the challenge grant I made for EveryLibrary back in 2012. Spend my money to double your donation celebrating ten years of EveryLibrary support for local libraries, librarians, library workers, and library patrons in the United States.

Ten years ago, at the end of the ALA Annual conference in Las Vegas, my friend John Chrastka was enthusing about this idea he had: a Library-focused national political action committee for libraries dedicated to building voter support for libraries.

When John mentioned startup costs, I was so energized by his vision and goals that I offered a fund-matching challenge. That $1,000 challenge helped advance the creation and cause of EveryLibrary; John and a growing number of library people who are putting in the work have made a difference in so many local communities across the U.S.

Along the way, the EveryLibrary concept expanded from a 501(c)4 supporting political action to include an educational 501(c)3 organization, the EveryLibrary Institute, which conducts research, writes and publishes, and organizes events focused on public, academic, and school libraries in the United States.

Over the last decade, donations to EveryLibrary have helped numerous libraries run local campaigns to maintain and build community library support and financial sustainability. That initial challenge was literally the best $1,000 I have ever spent for libraries. (even better than all my overdue fines over the years)

Thank you for considering a 10th Anniversary gift to EveryLibrary. Click here to donate and I’ll double your gift! (Donate early, I’ll be matching the first $1,000 in donations given)

Staring into all their yellow eyes without blinking once

It’s been 20 days since #ala12 and I am woefully behind on updating the who what & where and the how (nevermind the why, tl;dr)… What do I remember, bare-brained, of #ala12? A good time was had by me (and pretty much everyone I met or saw seemed to be having a great time, too)

Now where did I put my (handwritten) notes from meetings and end of day scribbles?! As soon as I find my blue folder with the (faux-)gold scroll-work containing my notes (and have a few minutes to myself like I do right now) I’ll interpret and transliterate the notes into something at least semi-insightful.

I should have evernoted those notes *sigh*

On the Ribbon Thing

Speaking of Ribbons, let me clue you in…

Many moons ago I met Michael Golrick, when I was being oriented to ALA as an ALA Committee Intern. He had a long string of ribbons (and I’d seen others in the hallways with a few ribbons) and was able to talk extensively about the participation they represented. I then set out to “out do” Michael by going and collecting the ribbons for which I qualified.

The rules I follow, which I think are adapted from what Michael said while explaining his ribbons, are: an ALA badge ribbon “counts” when it is at least one of the following

  • an ALA unit of which you are a member
  • an ALA- or library-related ribbon which describes something you support or agree with
  • from a vendor which is used by your library
  • from a vendor which you’d like to use at your library
  • from friends which has some meaning for you
  • and, *no duplicates*

I think those are the main criteria…

Anyway, join the fun, get engaged, grab some ribbons and join Kate in her quest to build a longer ribbon chain than mine 😉

(and if you acquire an extra Aaron Dobbs ribbon from #ala12… I’m interested in having one)

The Place Where the Wild Things Are

The Wild Things arrived en masse, today – Friday is officially the day for ALA Annual Preconferences, but more and more meetings are seeping in to the schedule.

Currently I’m maintaining my 4sq Mayorality (of #ala12 as well as my hotel) — now you know what’s *really* important, right?

This morning was LITA Board I (which we streamed) where we handled some administrivia and held a strategy session which resulted in a new, improved Vision statement and an early draft of a new Mission statement.

Halfway through LITA Board, I noticed Jason Griffey was wearing a red ribbon with my name in gold on it. When I asked, he claimed that it was in his registration packet when he picked up his badge. While I disbelieved, I was also more than half-convinced…

Lunch was split with the OCLC Americas Regional Council and Member Meeting update and an invited strategy session with Maureen Sullivan’s incoming ALA Committee Chairs. The strategy session was energizing and motivating (for all of the attendees, imho) and I got good notes for that one! (which I’ll post at some point)

While wandering the halls, seeking conversation, I ran into several more folks with me on their ribbon trail — I got several different stories about how they got theirs… ranging from “I found it on the ground (or “on a table”), figured I know you, and stuck it on my ribbon trail” (which is totally believable… no really… #snark), to “in my registration packet,” to “the person I got it from swore me to secrecy and made me promise to tell you that you can’t have one.” I appreciate this last one (as it *is* totally believable).

Then I hit the Emerging Leaders Poster Session and was again struck by the total awesomesauce on display. If these folks are the future leaders of ALA, we are in a really good place as an association. While here, I met even more people wearing “Aaron Dobbs” ribbons (all of whom would NOT tell me the real story) and began to get freaked out about this ribbon thing…

Next up, I hit the Exhibits Opening Reception and made it about halfway through my “list of vendors to harass” before they shut the lights off and sent us packing.

Then #ALAPlay where a bunchof fun people play a crapton of games – board games (such as Hamster Roll), card games (FLUXX!), and a “just built last night” game (tentatively called “Joust”) with hacked Wii controllers where the players try to keep their light lit while causing others to shake their controller and kill their lights… it was pretty neat.

Then more talking, solving the problems of libraryland over beverages, now this post, and soon to bed… “for a functional #ala12 Saturday”

Wild Rumpus Day One

Wild Rumpus Day One, for me (day minus one for many others), has been my least-booked… a nice warm-up.

The morning started with sitting in on the Freedom to Read Foundation Board Orientation (I thought it was a general orientation to FTRF) and then sitting in the first half of the FTRF Business meeting.

*pst* in case you didn’t know, the Freedom to Read Foundation ROCKS.

There are something like 6 major 1st amendment cases FTRF is following which in litigation and one recently decided “unpublished” but favorable decision. I’d love to give you the citations and statuses, but I’ve lost the handout listing them. 😦

Spent the early afternoon talking and laughing with friends in the mini-park just outside the convention center – the best part of conference… plus the ‘hallway’ was outside and it was very comfy (esp. compared to the weather at home)

Then back to the FTRF Reception to celebrate their (our, since I joined last year) activities and the people involved in FTRF efforts.

I need to take better notes during the day, this is really breezy and way less detailed than I’d hoped to report out…

ALA Membership Dues, imho

In my view, raising dues is not a sustainable answer.

  • We cannot become/remain solvent by continually raising the member-dues rate(s).
  • Membership demographics suggest that ALA will see a rapid decline over the next several years (as the late 1960s and 1970s membership boom retires out)
  • More revenue-producing educational programs and more high-quality publications (plus promotional outreach) are where our efforts must go.
  • In addition to increasing possible program and publications revenue, ALA leadership and membership really need to revisit the definition of the Association and each Division and Round Table.

ALA (and each Division/Round Table individually) leadership and membership need to revisit and answer the questions below:

  • What is ALA? (and each Division/Round Table individually?)
  • Or what does ALA (and each Division/Round Table individually) Do?
  • Does the differentiation created by [each Division/Round Table individually] still make sense?

Some other questions along the same lines:

  • Is there anything we (ALA or Divisions/Round Tables) can stop doing?
  • What is/are our core focus/foci and what efforts that must continue?
  • what must we discontinue in order to be able to keep covering our core efforts?

If we cannot define each Division/Round Table individually enough to answer the above questions, should we explore merger options? There is a really neat list of ALA units and what they focus upon on ALA Connect, check out ALA Connect by Category.

I’ve tossed a lot of questions out there for consideration — I wish I had answers to go with them… Ideas welcome!

ALA Membership Dues and You

For those not in the know (like me until a week or so ago)… ALA has begun (again) discussion on strategies for adjusting dues.

The last time ALA has discussed this was back around 2006 when people started complaining about the dues structure and how “one-size for all” was unfair to certain groups of the membership. The entity which discussed this back then was the “Presidential Task Force on the Graduated Dues Study” (I was a member of the Reactor Panel to this TF).

The contemporary discussion will be framed with this document [link corrected] (or a newer version) as a starting point. This topic will be on the agendas of the ALA Membership Committee, the ALA Membership Promotion Task Force, BARC, and Finance and Audit. The four ALA Annual meetings I’ve linked here are Open Meetings (ALA Policy 7.4.x). Feedback from these discussions will be incorporated into a revised proposal that will be presented to BARC and the Executive Board, probably at their Fall meeting.

If you are interested in the background data & discussions, I encourage you to attend these meetings and report out what you hear (alas, I’m already triple-plus-overbooked, but I hope to make at least part(s) of these meetings).

Dues, I’ve learned over the years, is a sticky wicket – there are more opinions about dues than there are paying or lapsed members.

Cry Havoc! Who Cares, anyway?

I’ve got a head of steam building as I participate in my various ALA-related governance activities. Enough that the vague intention of “Reboot the Blog” has crystallized into actually updating (well, finally creating) a tagline to sort of define what I should talk about.

As always, one of my friends said it better than I could:

“We’re sort of mumbling to ourselves, which amounts to rearranging the deck chairs.
I waffle between ‘Cry havoc!’ and ‘Who cares, really?'”

The answer to that semi-rhetorical question is: *I* Care.

Cry Havoc!