Thoughts Heading Into 2010

January 3, 2010, 10:33 am

I wonder if 2010 is the year that many of us academic librarians will shut down our blogs? There were a bunch of us who launched three or four years ago and who posted regularly. It felt sort of like a Gen X movement. However I’ve noticed a steady overall decline in post quantity in 2009. Walt probably has an algorithm to measure that. I think the probable cause is that many of us were moving past the newbie stage of librarianship and were really starting to sink our teeth into the profession. Now we’re just too busy for constant online reflection. Additionally, Facebook and Twitter have evolved to replace the long form narrative (blog posts) in favor of quick bursts of ideas.  (Or something like that, right Stacy?) That’s my excuse for seemingly abandoning this blog.

But it’s a new year. I have a new attitude. And like lil wayne I’m planning a rebirth. I have a handful of post ideas swimming around that I hope to (will!) get out in January. So yeah, stick with The Ubiquitous. If you are cleaning your feed reader or bookmarks on Monday, don’t delete me.

Since arriving in Santa Barbara the state budget shortfall has been the major theme. We talk about it every week in our Admin meetings… and I doubt it’s going away anytime soon, but life goes on. I have a handful of projects that are launching this year… actually, several later this month. I’ll chronicle them here for those interested. I know that’s just a poor teaser, but seriously, I’m going to put some effort back into this blog again. Watching it drop in the librarian blog rankings has revived my competiveness.

One of the big changes I’m making in 2010 is saying NO more often. I’ve always had that character flaw of doing whatever people ask, but I’m being more selective these days. I’m a bit burnt out of traveling and doing talks, so I’m staying put this year. No talks. No airplanes. None of that in 2010. I see it as a pledge to UCSB. That’s where I belong. That’s where I need to be. I want to work on new projects and new discoveries and new ideas and then take those on the road in 2012 or so.  I also want to devote more time to my staff.  I’m absorbing the idea of compassionate leadership right now (thanks Damon) and really want to strive in that area. There are a lot of small things we can do that can have a huge impact both internally as well as for our users, so I’m optimistic about the year ahead and eager to get into the meeting room for brainstorming.

What else.  I have a column titled NEXT STEPS coming out in American Libraries next week. I plan to do a full blog post on that soon, but it is an exciting premise. In addition, I’ve verbally agreed to write another book for ALA Editions. This one will be loosely based on the column and examine the qualities of inspiring libraries. I plan to give them the manuscript in summer 2011, so maybe it will drop Jan/Feb 2012? I also have a very short practical book idea that I want to persuade Steven Bell to write with me for ACRL Publications, but I doubt either of us can commit the time right now.

I’m also looking forward to teaching an online grad course for Drexel’s iSchool about Academic Libraries. I started my career in 1995 as a shelfer in circulation and now 15 years later I am an AUL. I’ve spent a bit of time over the holiday break reflecting on my path and hopefully I can provide my students with some useful nuggets. It has been fun prepping for this course—stepping away from the day-to-day life of a librarian and returning to the big picture concepts and philosophy of what we do and why we exist.

In closing I just want to say to those of you who have Netflix that you should watch Franklyn (available as Watch Instantly)—it’s so great and bizarre! Oh and I’ve been on a Bob Dylan kick lately. I’ve never been into Dylan before but there are four or five songs that I keep listening to over and over and over again. He’s not half bad.

More to come. Really. Seriously. I mean it this time. Honest.

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