How Do Off Duty Discussions Influence Your Library Practice?

Over the weekend, I spent a couple hours in discussion with three lawyers, one practicing, one retired from an academic career, and a third disillusioned and in the throes of considering other vocational options. At some point, the talk turned to classification–within library systems of materials and, in hyper-contrast (?), by the Nazis of populations–and the question was floated: are you a lumper or a splitter?

While the  most illogical assertion that came forth was: “Everyone’s a splitter,” the discussion did set me to considering how lumping and splitting influence both library practice and the work Infopeople does in regard to providing library staff development opportunities. How do you, as a library practitioner, view staff training opportunities?

  • Do different training topics suggest particular staff as well suited targets, either by staff classification (!) or by individual?
  • Do your own library’s organizing and reorgnizing efforts suggest training areas you believe Infopeople would be well suited to develop and offer?
  • Do training means and formats (webinars, live and archived; online, unfolding across time and with institutional commitment to required technical access both material and participant ability-centered; other) figure into your training promotions, agreements and/or suggestions?

When I look at participant evaluations completed by learners, I often note a high rate of identification with the survey statement that the participant is expected by his or her employer to share what has been learned during the course. What does that “sharing” mean to you, as the lead person in your library service configuration? Is it lumping the big “big takeaways” into a local staff message? Is it participant-centered and inclusive of how the actual training experiences–demonstrations, resources, interactions–might inform local library practices?

At the beginning of this post, I identified the training of the folks with whom I had the lumping/splitting discussion. Did that bit of lumping suggest a particular population type to you the reader? Had I identified them differently–either as personalities or in reference to what they share with me–would you have “seen” them differently? Are you a lumper or a splitter–or well aware that there are, indeed, times that require each of us to change up our comfortable go-to option? Times like when we consider how training and libraries, organization of services and the staff we support in providing those services, all have to swim in the same river?

Arthur C. Clarke’s farewell message

Sir Arthur C. Clarke passed away yesterday at 90. I well remember reading Childhood’s End for the first time, and will never, ever forget that first amazing time I saw 2001: A Space Odyssey. This last video message was recorded for his 90th birthday and is a reflection on his life, and his hopes for the future of our world. He was a remarkable man, and lived to see many of things he first wrote about as science fiction become reality. This last message is well worth a listen.


Thanks, Sir Arthur, for all the wonderful words and ideas you gave the world, and bon voyage!

Plastic bags begone!

chicobag.jpg It’s about all those plastic bags. Charging for plastic bags (currently illegal in California) is a growing way of trying to get people to stop using them. Germany charges about a dollar for one, Ireland about 30 cents, Ikea a nickel, Whole Earth takes a nickel off for each one you don’t use.
Remembering to bring along your recyclable bags (often forgotten at home or in the trunk of your car) is a habit it’s hard to get into.
I’ve found a great item that goes with me all the time – an ultra-compact bag. I’ve been using my Chicobag for more than a year now and it’s still in perfect shape. I found it in a local store but it turns out it (and other brands) are available online. The Chicobag site (that’s Chico, CA) has a nice section on using them for fundraisers.