The Phoenix Rising


Changed my blog to something less 2000’s ish.

New activity forthcoming.

There is a post about technology, race and gender steeping in my brain.  Soon it will be ready for public consumption.

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3rd Annual Keeping Sane at ALA “2012 Mouse Ears Edition”

For 2010 Annual In DC and 2011 Annual in New Orleans I posted some stuff about keeping sane at a really big conference.  This year’s annual will be the fourth time zone I have presented in this year.  I have been to a few conferences and would love to share my tips.  So as this reminder to myself….here we go AGAIN!

Stuff for this year:

TAKE YOUR BADGE OFF WHEN NOT IN CONVENTION AREAS.  This means you and you.  You scream I’m A Tourist. Please Mug Me! (pointed out to me by Kate.)

Always be armed with comfortable shoes-  Anaheim involves a lot of walking.  Inside of the Convention Center.  To the Hotel for that session.  On the exhibit floor.  To get something to eat.  Back to the exhibit hall.  Outside of the convention center to the social hour.  THIS IS JUST ONE DAY.  Your feet will thank you.  And if you are tired.  Have a seat and read or network with someone you don’t know.  Which leads too….

Make one new friend each day.  For the love of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, don’t hang out with the people from your place of work the ENTIRE TIME YOU ARE HERE.  You can see them each and every day.  Make new friends and deepen friendships that you already have.

Hit up those happy hours and vendor breakfasts and vendor lunches and vendor sponsored beverage breaks.  Learn some stuff while bending an elbow with your vendors and networking for the future.  Learn some stuff to share back at your job or find your next one.

Get Local:  Have time to explore the city that is hosting your conference.  Or a city near the city hosting your conference.  Explore and find (if you drink) the local liquor store, deli, drug store and mass transit.  Just in case you need any of these things while out there.   Look, buying local is cheaper than hotel bar prices.  Just sayin’ And if you have a Google map or similar account, favorite them so you can have instant access to them.

Things I pack:  bathing suit, Non Conference tote bag,  Aspirin and Pain Patches (I am middle aged and get sore), Powdered child  hydration packets (great for that 8 am board meeting after hanging out until 2 am) , Airborne or equivalent, portable charger this think is worth its weight in gold pressed latinum, (thanks Bobbi for this idea), snack bars, water bottle, travel mug, business cards and alternate contact method (contxts) for example, all cords for all devices you carry and sense of humor and adventure.  All in just a carry on.

The Cliff Notes review of previous advice which still holds:

2010 Chocolate City Annual Advice:  I plan to do  one (or two) things each day and one day of no specific commitments;  I plan on using  technology to my advantage; I plan to bring more business cards and my own totebag;  I plan to find a quiet space and do nothing for a few minutes each day; I plan to have a plan to visit the vendors; I plan on having a good time with the informal learning and all; and I plan on not feeling guilty if I do not blog or post as much as I would like to do so while at ALA.

2011 Big Shrimping Advice: Take it easy; Bring contact info; Dress Accordingly; Drink water; Lots of water; Visit the vendors and listen to their some of their sales pitches – All vendors are not the enemy; Listen to a couple of sales pitches; Vote with your feet; Go to a program completely outside of your area; Escape Your Introvert Shell.

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What have I been up to?

Glad you asked.

Since my last post to this blog at #ALA11, which was incredible by the way.

I have:

* Been appointed to the Board of the ALA Learning Round Table.  I may take a stab at running for a full term in Spring 2012.   First, have to drum up some more support for the roundtable among my fellow trainers, speakers and library learning professionals.

ALA Learning RT Kicks Backside and we are a value roundtable. If you are a member of ALA join us!

* Presented as the Keynote Speaker at the Southeast Florida Library Information Network’s (SEFLIN) Annual conference called Bridges to Technology. ( I would love to be their designated speaker.) That was a great time down in SouthEast Florida. #seflin2011

Hosted part of the WebJunction and ALA Learning RoundTable Trends in Library Training and Learning 2011 virtual conference.  Which was a rousing success.    I also hosted a follow-up to that conference on T is for Training. #learntrends

Hosted a couple of T is for Training recordings, with one guest hosted by Lori Reed

Presented for the Special Library Association’s #clicku on  How  to Teach  Technology 101; or, So I Have to Show People What?  The class was scheduled to begin the exact same time the Virginia earthquake hit.  Coincidence?  I think not.

Tomorrow, I speak to the LMD of the Maryland Library Association about being a Linchpin.

Last but not least, I am ramping up my consulting and speaking business, so if you need a hand, give me a call or drop me an email.   

Keep up with my daily shenanigans @baldgeekinmd and @tisfortraining

And so it goes.

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ALA Staying Sane: New Orleans 2011 Edition

Now is as good time as any to dust off my personal blog and put something out there in preparation for the ALA/CIL/insert awesome conference here stuff as an example of how I keep my cool and connected self together.

This year ALA annual is in New Orleans.  You may have heard that this is a very warm place.  And sticky.  So, first thing is:

Take it easy — As I write this on the Monday before ALA, it feels like 114 degrees.  So, taking it easy is both smart and feels good.

Bring contact info — Notice I did not say business cards.   Yes, I have business cards, but I also have:
1)  A “contxts” account where people can get my contact info via text message.  In my case just text “baldgeekinmd” to 50500 for my info.  It is wonderful.  (thanks Chester!)
2) A twitter handle that is also my gmail address @baldgeekinmd and a conference notes handle @confbaldgeek
3) a “billboard” using an old conference badge with all this written out in big letters for ez reading!
4) a Google voice number (in my case a local NO exchange.)

Dress Accordingly –  We are all information professionals.  But it is hot.  Really hot and humid, so I will be leaving the two piece summer suit at home.  It does no good to my professional appearance to pass out wearing a light wool cloak in the convention center.   So, business casual polo shirts and jeans and appropriate cool yet comfortable footwear are the ticket here.  I will also be featuring an extra shirt at all times, just in case.

Drink water. Lots of water.  – Yep, Caribbean rules in effect for this trip.  Drink before you feel thirsty.  I plan to bring my own water bottle, but you could also take advantage of any vendor providing a water bottle in exchange for a sales pitch.

Visit the vendors and listen to their some of their sales pitches – Even if it is just for the Opening Reception, visit your favorite vendors just to say “Hi, I love your product” or ” I like what you do but I would like it to do this.”  or ” I want to buy your product, but this is what it cannot do that I need it to do.”     Vendors help ALL conferences, so pay them a visit.

All vendors are not the enemy.  Good vendors deliver what they promise in a timely manner for a fair price and listen to your suggestions.  Bad vendors are the enemy.  They lie, take your money and promise you product and you get vaporware.

Listen to a couple of sales pitches —  For a trainer/presenter a good sales pitch has many of the elements of a good presentation:  story, flow, excitement and memorable message delivery.  All in a fixed amount of time with a smile on their face even if it is the last of 10 demos that day.   There are some great presenters doing sales shows on the exhibit floor.

If you are not a trainer/presenter, look at how the vendors market their services.  What brought you to THAT booth?  Did you like the display? Pitch? Look or voice of the sales person?

Vote with your feet —  There are thousands of programs at ALA each year.  Which means there are some that will not exactly appeal to you.  If that is the case — leave.   Well every program except the Sunday Morning program I am doing with Buffy Hamilton and Paul Signorelli sponsored by the Learning Round Table.  You need to stay for that entire program.

Go to a program completely outside of your area.  —  See what other divisions of ALA are doing at annual.  Treat Annual as an information buffet.  You can pick and choose some sessions and let serendipitous discovery lead you to others.

Escape Your Introvert Shell.  It IS NEW ORLEANS.  Go out, meet people, have some fun damn it!   Meet someone you did not know before ALA. Meet two more.  Introduce them to each other.  Repeat over drinks, etc.

If you can’t have some fun in New Orleans…

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Common Sense (Librarianship) Is Always In Fashion

Common Sense these days in library land and the More Perfect Union is not too common.   Institutions that rise the intellectual tide for all  (Libraries, Unions, Arts) are under assault from without and within.   A certain book publisher (rhymes with Barper Fallins) spits in the face of friends of the printed word and tell them it is raining.  Some  library vendors treating bait and switch and changing the playing field as business norms.  Miley Cyrus gone Hollywood, Charlie Sheen gone down the rabbit hole and for the first time everyone has a ringside seat.

However in the mist of this darkness there are beacons of light.  One of these beacons was created by my friend in the computer, David “Awesome” Rothman. On his blog he put an article simply called:  Common Sense Librarianship: An Ordered List Manifesto.  this today on his blog.

I think that David reached into my head and wrote what I feel with more skill and clarity that I could ever muster.


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ALA 2010: My Simple Plan for Keeping Close to Sane

The 2010 American Libraries Association conference is coming up next week and I have a plan to keep myself somewhat sane at this “canbeoverwhelming” conference.

I plan to do  one (or two) things each day and one day of no specific commitments:

My schedule this year at ALA:

Friday: Co-Presenting Preconference on Beyond F2f: New methods for staff training with Jay Turner and Mary Beth Faccioli in the morning and LJ Movers and Shakers Luncheon in the afternoon.

Saturday: Mostly Exhibit Hall hanging out, connecting with people, popping in on my director’s PLA program Sharing Costs, Sharing Spaces: The Cost Savings of Designing a Multi-Purpose Facility, (Page 107 of ALA 2010 program tome,) GIVING AWAY T IS FOR TRAINING BADGE RIBBONS (scheduled), and the Graphic Novel Pavilion Costume parade at 4 pm.  I should bring a chair.

Sunday: I am a panelist on the Library Trainers as Leaders Panel in the morning and interviewing folks at the Learning Round Table Training Showcase in the afternoon.  All Learning RT Events at ALA2010 can be found here.

Monday: Stopping in on the Learning RT Staff Development Discussion, Hosting a LIVE T is for Training in the Networking Uncommons Space ( I don’t like that name) space in the afternoon and capping off ALA 2010 with

BATTLEDECKS!!!!!!!!!  as a judge where bribery is expected and encouraged!

I plan on using  technology to my advantage: If you have a smartphone, ALA has some great resources for you to organize and enjoy the conference.  I have an Android phone and ALA has an application that you can download from HERE if you want one for ALA2k10.

I also created a Learning RT Google Calendar link so I can keep track of all of the Learning RT events, even though I may not attend them all.

I plan to bring more business cards and my own totebag: I want just enough room for the IPad I plan on winning from a still unnamed vendor.  OR a bobble head or three.  Or some cool swag.  But I plan on not acting like an IDIOT, grabbing everything from the vendors to hoard like a chipmunk.  I feel sorry for those people yet I feel ok making fun of them at will.

I plan to find a quiet space and do nothing for a few minutes each day: I pledge not to feel guilty about not going to EVERYTHING and seeing EVERY Vendor.

I plan to have a plan to visit the vendors: I will plan my time with the vendors, hitting my friends and favorites first, and I will be nice to all of the “Booth Bunnies” at ALA.  They pay for this thing so I can be nice and listen to their pitches and learn something either about their product or how to sell something.

I plan on having a good time with the informal learning and all: The unofficial networking with the likes of the Movers and Shakers, The LSW, T is for Training and Learning RT folks will provide me with valuable information and many sharable and un-sharable teachable moments.

I plan on not feeling guilty if I do not blog or post as much as I would like to do so while at ALA: It is a big exhausting conference and sometimes you do not have the time to properly write. So Follow my @confbaldgeek twitter feed and my regular @baldgekinmd twitterfeeds to see what I am doing at ALA before I write my blog posts.  Or just ask me what’s going on.

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Impressions of Day Two and Three of CIL2010

My Computers in Libraries experience tends to blur after the first full day of the conference, but here are some of my impressions from those last two days of the conference.  My conference tweets from CIL can be found at @confbaldgeek This is my happy recap of the last two days of the conference.

I Love It When A Plan Comes Together: Flashback to 2009:  At some point at CIL or right after CIL,  a group of T is for Training folks discussed what changes we would love to see at the Computers In Libraries conference, including tracks that focused on Training/Learning.

Flash Forward to 2010 at Computers In Libraries,  I spent a majority of CIL  in Tuesday’s Teaching Track moderated by T is for Training Regular Lori Reed where I encountered a number of interesting presentations including my own (presented with Bobbi Newman)  and Wednesday’s Learning: Expanding Our Knowledge moderated by T is for Training regular Jill Hurst-Wahl.

Technology Help Desk/Reference Ninja Skills, I haz them: I will quote Jason P. from here:

“One highlight of CiL conference this year: Maurice and Rochelle sat to eat their lunches at the vacant “Flat” table set up for the conference that started after CIL. Rachel and I left to set up our presentation and came back a few minutes later to find that the two of them had done research and were explaining the concept and political ramifications of flat taxation to people who wandered up with questions.”

Let’s just say that Rochelle Hartman and I would both stand out in a photorgraph.  It was a very cool thing to do.

21st Century Communication is Very Cool: My phone died the last day of the conference and I had to let my wife know that I needed to be picked up at a different train station at a later time that evening.

So, I used the hotel wireless to send a text message to her cell phone via the web and asked her to call Beth Tribe, to say that she got the message and Beth was then to email me the either yes or no from her cell phone. Which she did, but I didn’t get it, but we ran into each other at Union Station so she told me the old-fashioned way.

I love modern technology.

You Are Who You People Know You As: Tuesday afternoon I lost my flared out badge for CIL ( Trust me, it was awesome, with flair from two other conferences adding to the CIL mix.)

So, I sulk, look for and subsequently give up trying to find the thing. (If you were at CIL and upon cleaning out  your bag you find my name badge drop me a line.)  I decide to go to the speaker’s reception armed with my wit and my newly acquired blue pouch for my cell phone and some business cards.  Fast forward about an hour later and there is some holding forth going on with some friends asking about my name badge.  Stephen Abrams in the middle of his conversation looks at me and says, “Who are you the Square White Guy?”

by djfielander

Done and Done with laughter.    Later on that evening at Karaoke, someone passed around his glasses and took pictures of folks including yours truly.

While at karaoke, it seems that Stephen lost his name badge.  I came into possession of said badge and went “Canadian” for the last day of the conference, prompting occasionally confused looks from CIL2010 attendees.

by Mlibrarianus

Thanks for reading my story of CIL 2010.  I hope to see you there next year!

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