I recently decided to take a hiatus from the Library Society of the World. I’ve got a lot going on in my personal life (that I don’t really feel like talking about here) (but in case anyone’s worried, let me reassure you, it’s good stuff, not bad), plus a lot going on at work, and the LSW was starting to feel like work, not play. So, I decided to step back and take a break.
We’ll see how long that break actually lasts, though, because just after I declared my hiatus, the superhuman Laura Crossett took it upon herself to upgrade the LSW site to WordPress 3.0 and install BuddyPress. The LSW site is now a fully-functioning social site! You can create your own profile, send private messages to other members, create groups, post to the forums–it’s really awfully cool! I sincerely hope people take advantage of the site in the same way they’ve taken advantage of FriendFeed, the original LSW wiki, Twitter and Meebo–to make and build professional and personal connections. And since the new site is a lot more fun, I may come back from my hiatus sooner than I’d originally thought.
Now it can be told: in January, my good friend/partner-in-crime Steve Lawson and I were notified by Library Journal that we were among this year’s Movers & Shakers. I was honestly very surprised and conflicted. Of course it’s a huge ego-stroke. And it’s flattering that other people nominated us for this. (Whoever you are, THANK YOU!) But this is also kind of an “establishment” thing, which Steve and I usually set ourselves outside of. And to be honest, I don’t feel like I really did much moving and shaking this past year. (Surviving, yes. Moving and shaking, not so much.)
But it is sincerely flattering, and it’s really nice to be recognized for the work (and play) Steve and I put into the Library Society of the World. And it’s a huge honor to be included among the other Movers and Shakers. Congratulations to all of you! And here’s a public high five with my fellow carping nerdboy, Steve Lawson! I’m so glad I know you and get to make mischief with you! You, sir, rock the block!
I’ve written before about what a fan I am of DC Comics’ Justice Society of America and I’ve made no secret that when I came up with the name and logo for the Library Society of the World, I was heavily influenced by superhero comics, especially the JSA. Right, so…
Last Friday night, the CW showed a two-hour Smallville “movie” (it was originally going to be two connected episodes but instead was broadcast as one two-hour episode), “Absolute Justice.” The episode featured Clark, Chloe and Oliver discovering a secret group of costumed superheroes, the Justice Society of America. It’s quite possibly my favorite episode of Smallville so far. Geoff Johns wrote the episode and he really groks the JSA. The Justice Society wasn’t just portrayed as a team of superheroes, it was stressed that the team members considered each other friends and family. They didn’t just fight crime together, they socialized and celebrated together. They included their spouses and children. They considered the younger generation their students and heirs.
That’s one of the driving forces behind the Library Society of the World and, I think, the biggest reason why people continue to involve themselves in the LSW. We’re not just professional library associates, we’re friends and family. We don’t just work together, we play together. We learn from each other, we support each other, professionally and personally. We’re not a league, we’re not a professional association, we’re a society.
“Absolute Justice” has stuck with me in a way few TV show episodes do. In part because it hit a lot of my superhero fanboy buttons. But more importantly because it struck a chord regarding the Library Society of the World.
I’m writing this to participate in the Louisville Free Public Library blogathon, to raise awareness (and hopefully some money) for the Louisville Free Public Library, which was recently hit with flash floods, dumping over four feet of water into the library and causing over a million dollars in damages.
Why did I donate money to the library? Why should you? It’s not because I’m a librarian. I became a librarian because I think libraries kick ass, not the other way around.
Libraries kick ass because they are a public service, free to all, centered around literacy, information, education and entertainment. Libraries, provide free books, CDs, DVDs, video games, newspapers and magazines, microfiche, databases and other resources to public communities. Libraries provide activities, meeting spaces and internet access to the public. I really believe libraries are essential to a community.
So please, donate as much as you can to the Louisville Free Public Library, either in the name of the Library Society of the World or directly to the Louisville Free Public Library Foundation. But please help out in some way, because we all need our libraries.
Because I am a huge geek, one of my big inspirations for the naming & iconography of the Library Society of the World was a comic book superhero group like the Justice Society of America. But in the real world, we’re not superheroes, we’re just regular people doing our best in life.
Still, there are times when I’m particularly proud to be associated with the LSW, and this is one of those times. My fellow carping nerdboy Steve Lawson has started a drive to collect money to donate to the Louisville Free Public Library, which has recently been hit by disastrous flash flooding. I’m thrilled that Steve has taken the initiative to do this and to do it in the name of the LSW. I’m also thrilled that people have actually been donating. I’ll admit, as a public librarian in Kansas, I don’t exactly have loads of money to throw around, but I did make a small donation.
Please help out the Louisville Free Public Library in any way you can, either by donating through PayPal, sending a check to the Library Society of the World Clubhouse (PO Box 7893, Colorado Springs CO 80933) or sending a check directly to:
The Library Foundation
301 York St.
Louisville, KY 40203
I know this is extraordinarily corny to say, but you really don’t have to be a superhero to do good in the world.
As I said in my previous post, I went to a school in Kansas City called Loretto for 5th-8th grades. Loretto was a private school that promoted self-paced education, cooperative learning, broad educational study and free thinking. It wasn’t quite “anything goes,” but it was much looser and more open than almost any other school I’ve gone to, not too dissimilar from the Montessori method. I really enjoyed my time at Loretto, and I was very upset when it closed during the summer of 1984, but it didn’t really hit me until this past weekend, reuniting with old friends and teachers from the school, just how much Loretto helped shape who I am and what I do today.
The Library Society of the World, begun on a whim and a dare, is completely a Loretto thing. It’s nonhierarchical, loosely-structured, open, free, collaborative, sarcastic and often lazy about getting things done…just like my classmates and I were at Loretto. Library Camp Kansas and my fondness for unconferences in general, that’s also Loretto-inspired. My dislike of formal presentations, standing at a podium and lecturing to an audience, and my preference for free-flowing conversations and the equal exhange of ideas also comes from my time at Loretto.
If I can continue to bring the Loretto philosophy and style into my professional and personal life, I’ll consider myself very successful indeed. The world needs fewer squares and more circles.
My fellow Library Society of the Word carping nerdboy Steve Lawson has done a wonderful thing. He took an offhand joke I made about an award given out by the LSW and turned it into a real thing: the Library Society of the World Shovers and Makers Award. How do you win an award? You nominate yourself! And so I have. I’ve also added an LSW S&M badge to this blog, which you can see in the sidebar.
Are you a shover and maker in the library world? Than give yourself an award!