You Must Be Very Polite With Yourself

What’s the most important thing you learned in 2009?

This is a question posed by ALALearning on Twitter.  I’ve been pondering it over the last several hours.  I’m not one to normally do a review of the year gone by at the end of the year (although I know it is perfectly natural to do so).  I was having a hard time answering the question.

To me learned implies that I’ve mastered it to some degree.  I feel like I’m still learning photography (of course I am I’ve been doing it less than a year) so that couldn’t be my answer.  I thought some more.  I’m still learning so many things and even if I feel confident in them I don’t ever see myself as mastering them (which to me is a good thing as I think once you’ve mastered something you might rest on your laurels and not learn anything else).

While soaking in a hot bubble bath tonight (sorry for the TMI) I was reading “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert.  I came to a sentence on page 56 that just struck me.  “Liz, you must be very polite with yourself when you are learning something new.”  I had an ah-ha moment.  The light bulb went off.  As a trainer I feel that (and have been told as well) I’m very patient with folks learning new skills.  However, I know for a fact that I’m not very patient (or polite) with myself when learning.  I am impatient, I want to get to the next level, I want to master it (sounds ironic considering what I’ve said in the previous paragraph).

I think, no strike that I know it is my biggest stumbling block when it comes to my photography.  I so want to be at a better level than I am yet I have failed to see that to get to it I need to learn all the little steps in between.  I need to be more polite, more patient with myself when I’m learning something new.  I need to remember the patience I have when a student has asked for the umpteenth time how to copy/paste – I grin and quietly, calmly instruct them once again on how to do it perhaps trying a different tactic so this time it sinks in for them.

So, although I still can not answer the question posed to me, I am hoping that the bath time revelation I had will prove to be something that I try to do when I’m learning something new.  I need to treat myself as I would one of my students.  So maybe next year I can answer that I’ve learned to be polite/patient with myself (and others) when learning something new.


National Library Week

Many libraries across our country are celebrating National Library Week.   Some are asking the public to let them know what the library means to them others are acknowledging the hard working staff that serve the customers day in and day out.  I tried to think of a way to celebrate my library this week.  So I decided to try and capture moments each day of the library I work in.

Tuesday of this week was also National Library Workers Day.   I was pleased to see so many of my co-workers get nominated as Stars.  Congratulations to all our stars at Howard County Library and libraries everywhere.  We are truly important members of each community.

Teresa from a public library in Columbia, MD, is a Star because Teresa answers each customer question thoroughly, professionally and kindly. Her dedication and energy are legendary. To me, she is the stellar member of the staff. Thanks to Mary for this nomination.

Anne from Howard County Library library in Columbia, MD, is a Star because she is always “doing.” Whether it’s helping a child find the right Princess book, or creating a craft for a special event…whether it’s leading a kindergarten class on a tour of the library, or teaching kids about butterflies in the library’s garden … whether it’s helping out a co-worker by taking an extra shift or learning Spanish on her own time…. Anne is active, interested and always has the community’s best interests at heart. Her co-workers are happy to work with such a STAR! Thanks to Anonymous for this nomination.

April from Howard County Library library in Ellicott City, MD, is a Star because so often it’s the squeaky wheel who gets the attention, while the very competent, but quiet staff person goes unnoticed. April falls into the 2nd category. She’s a creative, hard-working, team player with an enviable work ethic who adds a great deal to our overall excellence – and she does her job with never a complaint! I just want to use this forum to THANK April for all that she does! Thanks to Fritzi for this nomination.

Amy from a public library in Columbia, MD, is a Star because She is a visionary in leading us into the next generation of technology by using Open Source Software on public as well as staff computers. Thanks to Donna for this nomination.

John from a public library in Columbia, MD, is a Star because he works extremely hard to efficiently and quickly help keep the circulation department running smoothly in our library system’s largest branch. He never shies away from doing hard work and often goes beyond the call of duty to help patrons find exactly what they want. Every branch could benefit from having one of him around! Thanks to Jessica for this nomination.

Harryet from a public library in Columbia, MD, is a Star because She makes every single one of her coworkers feel appreciated, wanted, and cared about, including hourly student workers! She goes FAR beyond the call of duty to include everybody, make everybody (workers and patrons, alike) feel at home, and improve the work environment during tough times. She is truly a star! Thanks to Anonymous for this nomination.

Cynthia from a public library in Ellicott City, MD is a Star because Cynthia is my colleague. She is the nicest person in our branch library. She provides wonderful customer service to customers as well as creates helpful and friendly environments for colleagues. Very responsible and Calm in dealing with difficult situations. Especially her work ethic and noble personality is something every librarian wants to learn from. Thanks to Young-Ju for this nomination.

Maryann from a public library in Columbia, MD is a Star because Maryann gives her all as a Customer Service Specialist and is a supportive and energetic co-worker. Thanks to Loretta for this nomination.

Suki from a public library in Columbia, MD is a Star because Suki takes great pride in her library branch and treats all customers and staff as old friends. She has a particular challenge with unruly children in her branch after school hours, but handles the pressure with imagination, grace and patience. Thanks to Jacquelynn for this nomination.

Suki from a public library in Columbia, MD is a Star because Suki was a ‘newbie’ and non-librarian who truly stepped up to her managerial plate. Every day she has proven that she has, not only incredible ‘game’, but a love of books that makes her a star. Thanks to Anonymous for this nomination.

Amy from a public library in Columbia, MD, is a Star because Amy’s unwavering passion when it comes to libraries, technology and especially open source is something to behold. Her focus is how to make the experience for our customers better, easier, more enjoyable. She manages a team of 8 by allowing them to shine in their specific areas. Amy not only talks the talk, she walks the walk. Amy received a staff achievement award for all that she has done with open source (and how it has provided better service for our customers while saving the library lots of money). Thanks to Beth for this nomination.

To Tweet or Not to Tweet That is the Question

Seems to be a lot of speculation about Twitter these days. The growing pains it has recently experienced has been frustrating to say the least. Several blog posts have pointed to an exodus to Friendfeed (LISs StevenK‘, LibLime’s Nicole Engard) due to frustrations felt at the recent ALA conference.

Many are jumping ships to other sites such as Plurk, Kwippy,, Pownce, etc. Friendfeed is also gaining some of the ex-Tweeters. I am signed up on all of them as mlibrarianus.

My main problem with leaving Twitter is my “friends” or followers. Some are on Plurk or one or two on Kwippy or several on Friendfeed but none of them are all in one place like Twitter. Sure I can send invites from these other sites to get my followers to jump ship but which one? I’ve yet to find one that I like better than Twitter at the moment.  Plus what I like about Twitter is all the different apps that have spawn out of it. Spaz, Twirl, Twitterfox, Twitwheel, TweetLater and my all time favorite Twitterfeed.  I know Friendfeed has several applications as well but I’m not hooked on Friendfeed like I am Twitter.

Friendfeed certainly does have some attractive features (being able to link to all your social networks and have display in one place).  I guess it’s the age old problem – lead, follow or get out of the way.

Lead – if you lead and have plenty of followers fine, your friends are there along side you.  However, if you lead to a place they don’t like you are left out in cyber space alone.

Follow – not always the best path to take but you are never alone.

Get out of the way – maybe the best approach to just sit back and let everyone fight it out?

Thinking that I’ll just let the dust settle a bit and then see what’s the next big thing.  Until then I’ll Tweet away while Plurking my Kwips all on Friendfeed.

Things that Make You Go Hmm…

Wondering if the rise in gas prices that seems to trickle down to everything from shoes to groceries will cause a dent in attendance at conferences.

With ALA’s annual conference set to begin today I’ll be interested in hearing if their attendance is up or down from the past conferences. (Although many of the folks I follow on Twitter are going so maybe it isn’t a factor just yet?) I know that at Computers in Libraries this year they claimed their highest ever number of attendees. But that was before gas prices started to creep up, up, up.

Will libraries be forced to just send staff to local conferences or will they limit the number going to conferences further away or just stop going altogether?