thankful for Thanksgiving

Banana boat tragedy by Robbie V
“Banana boat tragedy” by Robbie V

Next week is a two-day work week, and my schedule for those two days is almost completely wide open. This means, if all goes well, I might actually recover from being away for Charleston last week and being away two days this week for meetings. There are about 50 action items on my list, ranging from a few minutes attention to a few hours attention. And that’s just the “must deal with now” stuff. Forget doing any of my ongoing projects.

The blessing and curse of travel — you get to do cool things, see cool places, and meet cool people, but then you spend several days of work hell trying to atone for the sin of not being there.

recommended reading: The Loris in the Library

No, it’s not a new children’s book. Rather, it’s a wonderful essay by Sarah Glassmeyer that was recently published in VoxPopuLII. Here are a few tasty quotes that I quite enjoyed:

…if an overly cautious, slow moving, non-evolving primate that responds to threats by a poison tongue or hiding and pretending the threat isn’t there didn’t remind you of anything, well then I guess you haven’t spent much time around librarians.

and

…librarians don’t cling to print materials out of some romantic notion of the superiority of books, nor do they make repeated demands for stable, authenticated archives of electronic materials just to make you crazy. When one is tasked with the preservation of information – on behalf not just of those looking for it ten years from now, but also of those looking hundreds if not thousands of years from now – and no one else is really in the information distribution or storage business, it pays to take one’s time and be cautious when determining what container to put that information in, especially when what you’ve been doing for the past 1,000 or so years has been working for you.

and

…with librarians this risk aversion has grown like a cancer and now manifests itself as a fear of failure. This fear has become so ingrained in the culture that innovation and progress are inhibited.

and

As it stands now, librarian participation in a multidisciplinary project is often regarded as more of a hindrance than a help. If librarians don’t change, they will eventually stop being invited to the conversation.

friggatriskaidekaphobiarelatusphobia

n. a strong aversion to endless news reporting about friggatriskaidekaphobia on Friday the 13th.

First, some definitions:

triskaidekaphobia n. fear or a phobia concerning the number 13. [source]

friggatriskaidekaphobia n. morbid, irrational fear of Friday the 13th. [source]

friggatriskaidekaphobiarelatusphobia n. a strong aversion to endless news reporting about friggatriskaidekaphobia on Friday the 13th. [source]

Yes, I made up that one.

From CBS to the Huffington Post to National Geographic, it seems that everyone in the news reporting world must drag out the same old tired stories about people that have an irrational fear of the number 13 and how Friday the 13th is an even more fearful day than Friday the 7th or Tuesday the 13th. Personally, I wish they’d just shut up about it already.

Friday the 13th is going to occur anywhere from once to three times a year. It’s frequent enough that it’s no longer news, so stop pretending that it is. Tell me something important that’s happening in the world today, rather than wasting my time and yours.

Article first published as Friggatriskaidekaphobiarelatusphobia, Or “Not Another Friday the 13th Story!” on Blogcritics.

CIL 2010: post-conference thoughts

I should present more.

I should present more.

That’s what I have concluded at the end of this conference. There were a few sessions I was jazzed to see, and some others that surprised me, but for the most part, I found myself too often realizing that if I had done a bit of research on my own, I would have known about as much about a session topic as the presenters. Those tended to be the sessions in which I stuck around for the intro and then left, or looked at the slides in advance and decided to go to something else.

While I may be learning about a lot of new tech and ideas outside of the ITI conferences, there is nothing to replace the “lobbycon” aspect of theses events. The connections I have made with other folks who are as equally excited about pushing libraries forward is well worth the price of admission, in my humble opinion. ITI conferences are my equivalent of going to ALA, and very few folks I know talk about going to ALA for the presentations.

I may joke about the “beer track” at conferences, but the reality is that as much as I may advocate for virtual attendance and online communities, they can’t replace the connections (serendipity, perhaps?) of real-time, face-to-face interactions.