The Castle

Friday afternoon is not a great time for major career revelations.

I was talking with a coworker this afternoon about ALA. She was talking about why she’s a member, and I was talking about why I’m not. For her, ALA is a source of professional development and community. As I’ve said before, I feel I get enough professional development and community from blogs, wikis, email lists, podcasts, and talking with other library professionals (in person and via phone, email, and IM). ALA just seems irrelevant to me.

And then a thought came upon me like a dramatic prairie dog: what if there are other library professionals who don’t get their development and community solely from the internet? What if there are librarians who look to ALA for development, community, and support? What if they’re not getting everything they could from ALA? Aren’t they my community, too? What if it’s not just about me?

Oh, hell. I suddenly felt that it was my responsibility to rejoin ALA and do my best to work from within and make it the better. If not for me, then for my fellow librarians and future librarians. Which sounds really arrogant and grandiose, now that I type it out. But still, there it is.

I’m still not completely sure this is something I want to do. I know that as long as I’m not an ALA member, I’m not going to gripe about it, because unless I’m willing to join and work on it, I’ve got no right to kvetch and moan. Of course, if I do actually rejoin ALA and really get involved, I hear there’s a good chance I’ll get a pony with a monocle.

Your Show of Shows

Last night’s premiere of Greg Schwartz’s “Uncontrolled Vocabulary” was an immense amount of fun. It was also an interesting exercise in multitasking streams of information and conversation, as I was listening to and participating in the discussion, reading the typed chats that some participants were typing out, reading the articles we were discussing, and reading Twitter feeds that became a parallel discussion.

The podcast is already available for download, so give it a listen, and join us all next week for more library discussion and wackiness.

Salt of the Earth

Don’t anyone dare call me an “early adopter,” because last night, I signed myself up on Facebook for the first time. I joined up mostly because some of my coworkers are on there, and I was inspired by Michael Porter‘s Social Software Showcase presentation. I also liked Facebook’s clean, basic look, and thought it made a pleasant alternative to MySpace‘s cluttered, noisy gaudiness. I’d decided against signing back up on MySpace, even though some friends and family members are there, because pages there generally look too flashy and out of control.

And then I read danah boyd’s essay “Viewing American class divisions through Facebook and MySpace.” It provides some really good food for thought and has made me take a step back and look at both social sites and at myself. I haven’t come to any conclusions yet, I may never come to any conclusions, but it’s got me thinking.

UPDATE: danah boyd’s essay has made the BBC.

Vocabulario Descontrolado

Greg Schwartz has decided to put together a weekly, hour-long, live podcast in which people call in to talk about issues and events in the Magical Land of Libraries. He’s calling it “Uncontrolled Vocabulary,” and has set up a blog and del.icio.us tags to go along with the show. The premiere show will be this Thursday, June 28, at 10 pm Eastern, and will use TalkShoe (the Uncontrolled Vocab blog has more information about how to get set up and use TalkShoe). I’ll definitely be there, and if you’re free at that time, I invite you to join in. It’ll be a party, people!

Meebo Jobbo

I got an interesting email the other day from Ted Lee. Ted works for Meebo and wanted me to pass along a job posting. Meebo is looking for Customer Support Manager, and they think someone with reference librarian experience would be good for the position. I have no idea what Meebo is like to work for, but I think it’s great that they want a library type for this job. The job is posted here, and if you have any other questions, you can email Ted or Kathy at Meebo. (Please don’t email me. I don’t know anything more than I’ve posted. I’m only posting this because Ted asked nicely, and because I think it looks like it could be a nifty opportunity for someone.)

Gorman With the Wind

The biggest irony in Michael Gorman‘s two-part blog post entitled “Web 2.0: The Sleep of Reason” (part I and part II) is that he clearly doesn’t understand how the internet (including, but in no way limited to, Wikipedia) works, or he’s willfully misrepresenting how it works in order to make his point. Whichever the case, it means that he’s not an authoritative, reliable source, and his writings on the matter cannot be trusted.

Anything else I could possibly say about his two-part essay has already been said, and much better than I could have done, by Jason Griffey, Karen G. Schneider, Jessamyn West, and Meredith Farkas.

UPDATE: Clay Shirkey has an excellent critique of Gorman’s posts here.