Friday Reads – Alumni Edition

Since this week was spring break for my kids I took the opportunity to take them south to visit my parents in North Carolina. It was a good trip. I always enjoy going home for a few days and spending time with my parents and grandmother. The girls love playing with their grandparents and generally running their house for a few days.

I was able to visit the High Point Public Library and talk to the director there for a little while. He’s about to retire after 39 years of service. He’s done a good job of setting the library up for the future and I think he’ll be missed. Since that library is where I got my start I’m pretty fond of it. They’ve recently renovated it to make a large library a huge one. It’s very different from when I worked there. There aren’t many people left that worked there when I did but some of the circulation staff is still there. It was great to see them. Circulation people are the unsung heroes of library land. They deserve more credit.

This trip was especially interesting for one big reason. I was able to attend my Library School’s Alumni Association’s Luncheon on Saturday. I had no idea that it was occuring until I contacted one of my professors to see if she wanted to have coffee while I was in town. She mentioned it was alumni weekend and they were having their annual luncheon and that I should attend. I did and I’m glad. Not only did I get to see that professor I got to see two of my other favorite professors. One of them is retired and I really was lucky to see her. I had a great time and met some of the new faculty and the new chair of the department. It seems the program is in good hands.

One of my biggest surprises from the luncheon was meeting Susan Smith, Giz Womack and Lauren Pressley. They all work at Wake Forest University. Lauren Pressley was the keynote speaker for the event and had a great presentation about the future of libraries. I enjoyed it and hope to use some of her ideas if I get to speak at VLA this fall. I also voted for her as a LITA Director at large. I don’t know if she won yet. Hope she did. I was happy to meet Susan and Giz because they are both serving on the LITA 2012 National Forum committee that I am also serving on. Susan is the chair of the committee, so it was great to be able to meet her before the work starts. I’m looking forward to working with them.

There was one thing that really struck me at the luncheon. I was asked by a recent graduate for advice about finding a job. I didn’t know what to say. Really. The best thing I could come up with was ‘be willing to relocate’ and that’s pretty lame (but important). This struck me because it made me realize just how lucky I’ve been in my career. I graduated at a time when the economy was good and library jobs were pretty plentiful. I found work at a very good library system that has the support of its community, elected leaders, and county administration. Then I LEFT that job! My experiences in the next job were good but I wasn’t ready for management yet. Had to try though. I’m glad I did. Then I was lucky to get another job with my former employer. That rarely happens here. So when this guy (who was probably my age when I graduated) asked me for job advice I felt a little guilty for being so lucky. It’s tough finding library jobs these days. I know too many degreed Librarians who are under employed. I wish I could find them all jobs. But I’m going to hang on to mine for a while.

On to the readings for this week:

The big news (as far as I can tell) from this week. Amazon and Overdrive have worked out a deal that lets Kindle owners check out books from an Overdrive library. Good news? For customers/members/patrons yes. For libraries? I’m not sure. Steven Abram has written a good piece on it and included some links to other posts that discuss it.

Jason Griffey does a good job of covering the development of the Amazon/Overdrive announcement this week. He always does a good job of explaining things.
More information about the municipal broadband bill in North Carolina. I know I said this last week but I really need to learn more about municipal broadband. It’s an idea that I think could go a long way to addressing the digital divide…maybe. The idea that cable/telephone companies are lobbying this hard to enact legislation to hamper the development of municipal broadband makes me think they are more than a little worried about it.
Interesting proposal I should learn more about. An interesting quote from this piece makes me wonder if the library could play a role in this (or a similar) plan:
Ozment said the plan is to create a “marketplace” with businesses and agencies of different kinds, all of whom are trusted identity providers. Users could obtain identity credentials from anyone who met certain standards, he said: “[I]t could be something on my USB drive, it could be a smart card, or maybe a one-time password generator.”

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