Friday, December 22, 2006

5 things meme

Wow, (Yea!)
I've been tagged by Michael Casey to write 5 things you don't know about me.
Like they said before me: "If you don't care to know (and you may not) just move on!

1-I don't have a computer at home. It's true! (It is great for customer empathy.)
2-My degree is in "Art and technology of the media" with a specialty in advertising.
3-(which may explain why) I learned computing on Macs... (and that does explain why) I never missed a beat getting back into technology 15 years later in my 1st library job. (after having "not touched a thing" for all that time...)
4- Libraries are the latest field I come to after I have cycled thru every aspects of book related work, from publishing, to distributing, marketing, purchasing and retail.
5- French is my mother tongue, English is a second language to me (my husband thongue ;)

tagging: The Illustrated Librarian, the goblin in the library, Mack, Stephen Abram and Rochelle

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

real estate again!

I am so proud of this one. Major Branch modifications without large $ investment. Enhancing the value that our traditionnal users were feeling like they were loosing by creating a true quiet area, making teens more comfortable by putting them in a space where they are affecting others less, and library staff happier to have them closer by, so they can be available to help... And also allowing all to feature/discover/enjoy the great new services and stuff we have.
See my flickr set on a branch transformation.

I'm all giddy.
more to come

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Monday, November 27, 2006

Not forgetting, upgrading

...swamped right now with preparations for a Unicorn upgrade.
I have been doing these for over 10 years now but this one seems to make me worry more than usual...

to reward your patience, here is a handsome dog sleeping on a long car ride

more to come...
...soon I promise.

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

location, location, location

It'a been my mantra of late:
"It's ALL ABOUT the real estate!"

Most time, it's no longer about the money, the technical ability or the will of management, it's about the real estate! Where would we: put it, show it, hold it etc. ?
I mean, it's not easy to get funds for new computers, but even when we have them given to us, the question remains, do we have tables, chairs, square footage (with access to power and network) ...

Here at MPOW, we have been abole to get really creative and create a YA area almost from scratch. Using shelving to create intimacy (and as noise barriers), we made it work. We stole 2 tables from the meeting rooms, 6 chairs from various public spaces (don't tell...) and I got each unit at the main library to "sacrifice" one of their PCs for the cause. Some part timers agreed to share other's staff's machines, ref reduced the number of public "catalog only" machines etc. Everyone was so great!
It is what I consider our greatest success of 2006.

View the short flickr set here

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

flickr obsessed

I never thought getting a digital camera would bring me such fun. I am still figuring our how to use it. I have been doing much more at flickr than at this blog or MPOW's blog. Funny, cheesy, how all these mundane images reveal so much more about me than anything I write. This is GREAT "learning thru play" stuff. I am still waiting for permission to post some photos of the great stuff we do here at work. Hoping to convince them to get an account. More to come. Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy!

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Monday, October 16, 2006

FROM Pop Goes the Library

Pop Goes the Library: CBGB: The End of an Era
Props to Sophie Brookover for feeling it, and for pointing to some of the best on this important stitch in time. As a foreigner, CBGB has always had this mystic (not mythic, well, maybe) quality. I will miss it, even if it wasn't mine.

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Monday, October 09, 2006

too smart?

it's like having too much money, or a car being too fast.

Your business can't be too smart, your team too informed!

Why aren't more small business calling on us and our resources as if we were their R&D department? We could do so much for them if they only knew. Are we "at that table"?

Every local business site should have a "start at (Y)OUR library" button...

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going global

Catering to tourists, temporary residents and the likes is an investment for the community. We try to make much of our resources accessible to all, we hope many other libraies are doing the same.
One one hand, we want to create and sustain this expectation that when traveling for business or pleasure, the library is "the very best place to start". From home to prepare, once you are there to get more, stay in touch and so much more... That's what I do, and it is a real joy to find a welcoming library, and to meed a friendly librarian, when I arrive in a new town.

Also, I love the idea that libraries exist outside their own walls and that they are all part of a broad community... It's probably the old hippie in me but it seems that even though you may not be a locally registered library user, you are a registered library user somewhere and that should make you part of our family.
(I am so cheezy sometimes...)

Every tourism related website should have a "start at (Y)OUR library" button...

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

experiences shape lives

Of course we all shivered reading it.

TTW and LIB articulate very well how I feel and what I think about it. I just want to add this one question: Did anyone but me think that this writer's last library experience (whenever, wherever it took place) may have sounded like this?
"EXCUSE ME... You can't come in with THAT!"

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Friday, September 29, 2006

More, more, Godin.

Can I possibly point to Seth Godin's blog AGAIN!

It's just uncanny how this comment about museum's marketing issues can also be applied to libraries. See for yourself:

I think in every single case, what keeps museums from being remarkable:

a. the curators think the item on display is the whole thing. As a result, they slack off and do less than they should in creating an overall story

b. they assume that visitors are focused, interested and smart. They are rarely any of the three. As a result, the visit tends to be a glossed over one, not a deep one or a transcendent one

c. science museums in particular almost beg people NOT to think.

a)it's not just about books and computers, it's about what people can do with them...
b)we have not been very good at making it easy for our users to get at what they want (my OPAC sucks too...) nevermind encouraging them to discover "what else" is out there in library land.
c)we often want people to fit in OUR organization system and we expect them not to question it... We need to invite them to create their own experiences, and ask them to help us expand the definition of libraries.

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

about expectations again...

Seth Godin forwards a good expample of "punish the whole for the sins of a few"

I really wonder how much they lost by having to deal with a few problems with the phone orders. How much will they loose now, by not taking phone orders at all.

It rings too familiar. At times, it's almost a reflex for some. I hear "Well... too bad some people ruin it for everyone!"
What depresses me most of all, is that much of our efforts to use technology to automate some parts of any service is so our people have more time to dedicate to the "people specific" aspects of the service.

We never implement a technology solution to eliminate a service; we wouldn't dream of it. We implement it so we can continue to serve our customers as well as they expect, even better. We like that computers are good at certain things, and we let them do those. It allows us to focus on the things that computers can't do.

This whole tragic example also reminds me of this and of the Darlene's important definition of radical trust:
Radical trust is about trusting the community. We know that abuse can happen, but we trust (radically) that the community and participation will work. In the real world, we know that vandalism happens but we still put art and sculpture up in our parks. As an online community we come up with safeguards or mechanisms that help keep open contribution and participation working.

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Monday, September 25, 2006

Motorcycles and tattoos.

Ha! Thought this may get your attention...
You know me, you know my soft spots right?

They are dangerous, they are frowned upon in many circles, but you know what? They are perfectly legal. Maybe your mom never allowed you on a motorcycle but my daddy rides one.
My point here is that there are things that some of us like and enjoy doing that others don't like, understand or want their kids to do. But no one will make sure your wish for your children are followed everywhere when you aren't there... They can walk into a convenience store and buy candy, even if you forbid it. They can ride on the back of a friend's motorcycle. And when they get to be 18, if they walk into a tattoo parlor, no one will ask: "Is this OK with your mommy?" In one of his many great blog posts or presentations, Steven Abram's points to many similarity between "keeping your children safe online" and basic good parenting as it's always been. (I paraphrase here but: dialog, education, complicity, these are the things that work!)

I like this slide

I have no children and many think this is why I don't understand...
It makes me want to cry when I see managers/mommies undertaking the betterment of the entire planet by way of treating everyone like their children. I also truly believe that most people will simply meet your expectations and if you treat your co-workers, and YOUR CUSTOMERS like big babies who cannot think for themselves, they will likely act accordingly.

And really, if the idea that "you'd rather they get the information from you than on the street corner" is still floating around in parent/teenage land; isn't the thought that maybe there is actually a library on that street corner a least a little comforting?

I guess I am really rambling now,
...more to come tomorrow.

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Thursday, August 31, 2006

I'll drink to that!

via Tinfoil + Raccoon (I love to read Rochelle)

Men after my own heart! Great effort to be filed under:
most original fundraiser
not to mention most worthy charity donation...

Lovely touch that both work in an academic setting but dedicate the raised funds to a public library. Is it superfluous to mention I'll be voting for BOOZING and having a lemon drop to their success.
A€ Votre Sante les gars! Bonne Chance!

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Friday, August 04, 2006

La La Laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

I'm going on vacation, I really am. I get to go home and see my family and do all things lovely and sweet. I get to unplug, although I plan on borrowing everyone's digital camera and posting festive updates on flickr. Keep checking there for updates.

I am so happy!

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Monday, July 31, 2006

the war on DOPA

(revised 8/4/06 due to some technical challenges)

So much has been said so brilliantly about why it's such a BAD idea. Most enraging how this only ends up preventing a certain socio economic group of kids from being part of their peer group today, and learning skills they will undoubtedly need in the future. See the "DOPA watch" link in my blogroll.

Email your senator, tell them to VOTE AGAINST IT, from a post on Meredith Farkas' Information Wants To Be Free

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Monday, July 24, 2006

Wait, Wait...

I love to tell staff at MPOW that to "get in to" new technology, they should seek ways to explore them thru their own passions. I simply mean that when trying to learn about blogs, it is best to find blogs about a topic that you most enjoy reading about. Like food or wine or dogs or whatever you love to learn about that is not related to work. Don't laugh, many kept trying to tie this with all new concepts and all at once, discover blogs through reading about a technical topic they are not too familiar with (like library 2.0) or simply getting oh, hum on the whole "more stuff about work" thing.
In this spirit, I was tickled to find that one of my favorite radio shows: NPR's "Wait! Wait! Don't tell me." is now podcasting parts (Not my Job) of the show every week! Yea! I am learning about podcasts and this one is a treat.

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cooooooooool Get yours at

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Keep it together!

OK, sorry, not had much time to write lately. Others are so much more "in tune" with the world anyways... Read from these great people:

Meredith Farkas brilliant post on skills.

Steve Backs covers most everything on customer service.

And then, under the heading of "Unplugging without unplugging." :
I have been an admirer of Selden Deemer's work for over 10 years. Always knew he was a real smart guy. Now I am a fan of his writing, and I know he's also SO, SO, COOL.

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Monday, June 19, 2006

Hope and Reconciliation

The biblioblogosphere is all abuzz about Long Overdue: A Fresh Look at Public and Leadership Attitudes About Libraries in the 21st Century. I love the perspective it offers us on our own goals and on our diverse customers. Lots of thoughts race thru my mind when I look at some of these. I love that "Having enough computers..." Finally surpasses "Adequate parking." (not that I don't care about parking...) I love that current materials, self service and comfort are still high priorities.

Because of a lot of what I heard and dealt with in the last year, I most wonder how to reconcile some of these priorities that the public expresses.

Am I taking them too literally or could:

* Providing a safe and engaging space for teens;
* Expanding access to the Internet and other uses of technology;

be somewhat contradictory?

How many parents assume we are "safe places" for their children to be left alone in as soon as they reach a certain age. (How many of them got this impression by reading a "Safe Space" sign posted at each one of our doors?)

How many parents assume their children can't get on the internet, or can't get on MySpace, or if they are allowed to browse the web, would only do so under a very aggressive filter? How many of them understand that we sometimes don't even know their age when we serve them?

How can we reconcile some of these expectations with all of our realities?
Have you seen the Zurich commercial on TV that asked: "What if your business plan changes every 4 hours?" I really think of our libraries like that, as having our business plan change every couple hours, toddlers & mothers at 9 AM, PC users at 10AM (in droves), bookclub readers at 2PM, homework high school students at 4PM, music lovers in at 7 PM for a concert... And tomorrow, a "Band of Brothers" showing with actual WWII participants and later in the conference room, a "DAR" meeting...

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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

the data we hold

Funny (not ha, ha) how this DOPA business and all the news about the stolen laptop that held all this VA data, makes us (me) face some of our technical limitations, some of our past decisions, some of our core values and some of our new endeavors...

Interesting how we can be expected to apply all kind of regulations on as varied a population as we serve.

It's clear for us that we do not have enough data to ever dream of implementing AGE based policies. Our ILS does not currently have a useable BIRTHDATE field. It has had a BIRTHYEAR field forever but it never even was either required or verified so we have some users with no entry there, some with 2 digit entries there and some with 4 digit entries. Of course, the full, useable BIRTHDATE field will be available to us very soon, but to have the field does not solve the problem, you need to POPULATE this field with accurate data before you can use it....

"The technical infrastructure that makes something possible is only the first step of a long process to make something usable." from Roy Tennant,

Now, if we decide (are made) to gather birthdate info, we will have and hold 2 of the 3 essential parts required for ID theft.

I was thinking maybe we can devise a sensible workaround and gather month and year in separate (verified) fields, without having to know or keep the DAY part. Of course this would require substantial manipulation of the db on a regular basis, but that part can be automated...

Why not seek YEAR XXXX+ MONTH XX and use this to populate a separate Majority: Y/N field? That Majority field can be used to "enforce" certain policies and/or laws.

That way, should (--warding evil eye sign--) our data get compromized, we have exposed our users to much less risk than if we had had a full birhtdate in our records...

More to come on this.

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

not easy

A little Friday Philosophy...

It is not going to be easy!, I keep saying it to everyone I train, meet, talk to about emerging technology. We can't expect that it will go down PERFECTLY. Not when we innovate! It can be fun though... We must learn to appreciate and enjoy the process.

Things have been a little difficult lately at MPOW. I don't know if it's just too many changes at once, not enough comfort throughout. Personally, just like everyone, I have felt like stepping back a little. But it really doesn't help if we start some great project, and abandon it as soon as we encounter a difficulty ( read:one person complains or one thing doesn't work as well as expected.)

Thriving. I love the word. Personally, I thrive on success. I am a troubleshooter, it's in my blood, and nothing makes me happier than seeing it fixed after it was broken. That's success right there! But I also thrive on innovation, and that often takes me to the opposite side... Yes, I love to break things too. In a sick twisted way, that in itself feeds into my 1st passion right? Now that it's broke, I better fix it...
It's a vicious cycle,
no, it's a vivacious cycle.

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Monday, May 01, 2006

Going away angry anyone?

Seth Godin post a brilliant snippet about policies.
Not only does he make a great point, and share a good idea; he also succeeds in getting you to relate to the topic right from the start. (Story tellers will rule the world one day, I swear!)
Who has not lived thru one of these as a customer? Libraries (some) are intent on writing policies, as soon as ONE event or customer steps off the beaten path. We love policies. I want to speak up, (really, sometimes I want to scream!) each time I see pages and pages of minute, complex, "overthought" narrative trying to predict every single possible scenario relating to the use or feared abuse of one of our resources. We do this with the best intentions too. We want to ensure fairness, prepare our staff for all possibilities, remain ready for all eventualities etc., etc., etc. Right now, trying to justify the creation of a MySpace account for MPOW... Well, this will require a policy right?

Really, then when we start trying to "empower" our front line staff, we end up writing layer after layer of exceptions, increasing complexity and good reasoning each time.

I do enough training to know what it can do to a new employee. Here the rule, here's how/when you should break it... Frankly I would rather spend my time making sock puppets.

Why not THROW AWAY the rule once it no longer serves a purpose, or if it never did.

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Tuesday, April 04, 2006


OK, I have a big mouth and I don't mind it if some people disagree with me. It makes my chiming in on the big Library2.0 "nomenclature" much easier. Since my days as a communication students, I have been a sucker for a good marketing line and it seems to go without saying that it's easier to sell it once you name it. But it shouldn't really matter whether it actually deserves it's own name, whether it's a movement or whether it is a shift or a big bang. As long as s#$% gets done, I really don't care...

I really think (and some have already heard me say it,) that there has been a significant change in the last few years in both the web and the library (and surprise! It's the same!!)

They have transformed from being places where people stopped in to get stuff, into places where people spend time to do stuff.

It's the actions that make the difference, not the words so much.


Monday, April 03, 2006


1st of all, I should reiterate that this is a personal blog. Although it mostly contains work related musings, it is not done in my official capacity. It is not sanctioned by MPOW. Yes, it's true, I am still somewhat a "closet blogger".

See, I am currently trying to get everyone at work to start a staff blog for internal communications. Think librarystuff.
I really thought it would be simpler. Here are a few things that surprised me:

Staff (many) stated their clear disappointment at the thought they would have to user their real names (I thought 1st name only so we know who you are right?). I have also had someone ask me: "so if someone posts something that I judge (her word) inappropriate, and I say so in a comment, will I get flamed for it?" I had to think for a second before reminding her that if she was going to disagree with someone, she had to be ready for others to disagree with her. Now, OK, I get it, I have no idea how difficult it can be for many to speak up since I have never had a problem myself shining a big spotlight on my face, even as I was inserting my big foot in my own mouth often times.

On the other hand, powers that be's 1st idea regarding a staff blog is to "establish standard naming conventions that should include your first name/your department" ... Bless their hearth. As much as I repeated to them over and over that what would be mostly required of them would be to "let go".

I know, I should have known all this was coming, right. Am I kidding myself that it is not unfair to ask folks to identify themselves here? It was not my idea but I don't see it as such a big deal. I just thought this should be about real people discussing real issues hoping to take real actions in the end... And with management, I know, I know, there is an innate need to organize and arrange everything in our business... Hopefully, the discussions will be light enough in the beginning to help everyone relax. Most of our efforts about this work blog has yet been spent on what to name it and what to use for names for participants. I have now spent a lot of my time campaigning to re-focus energies on the PURPOSE of this blog, the BENEFITS for all etc...Let's all talk about "Radical Trust".

So here we go, now we will see how it goes, and I have to divide my posts between here and there, hopefully to soon have the ability to link here from there. My voice is really starting to carry out of the closet anyway.


Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Here is a nice progress report from the Library2.0 front. Folks at MPOW were open to softening their tone (read: sign) regarding cell phone use. Here is how much progress we were able to accomplish in a few short weeks. BTW, thanks to the travelinlibrarian for providing the perfect, kindly worded example I was able to present to spur this change.

I hope that it illustrates a few things for others in the same situation. (file this under: "lesson I am learning")
1--Don't give up and do not stop reminding decision makers that there are other ways to approach any issue/policy/service.
2--Remind yourself that even if you can't be the coolest library, you don't have to be totally square!

I know I am encouraged...
Who knows, maybe one day we'll even be hot!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Library Journal 2006 Movers and Shakers

Congratulations to Meredith Farkas and John Blyberg
- Library Journal 2006 Movers and Shakers.

They both publish wonderful blogs,
Meredith's is "Information Wants To Be Free"
John's is ""
I'm pretty much floored in amazement and wonder over John's hold label set up. It must save the staff there soooooooooooo much time and aggravation. ...insert green with envy face here.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Cheer up!

Ok, enough sulking...
I have to remind myself of all the great things that still happen here and not let a small bump in the road (as painful as it is for me) slow me down. I live to fight the good fight and will continue to do so.
In the last 3 to 5 years at my library, we have had wonderful experiences with innovative library services like "Library Lock-in", "Loud @ the Library" concerts, Computer Game nights etc... We have Teen Zones in all our branches, we teach great classes, have fantastic programming, our staff is tuned in to customer satisfaction and we continue to strive to be an all inclusive, forward thinking community center. I reminded them today that "no one said change was easy" I just have to be sure I remind myself of that too once in a while. Oh, and not to forget to have fun...

Saturday, March 11, 2006


Man, I am so bummed...
As I return from the Sirsidynix superconference all pumped up, this is what greets me at the door:

Now, don't get me wrong, I am totally respectfull of a decision that was made, no doubt, under great pressure. I just thought that battle had been fought and won...
Like I said, I'm just bummed.

Why couldn't we have chosen to go with something like this... Just goes to show the need to "keep at it" and be ever present in every conversation to represent a different side of public service.

This definitely can also be filed under the "How to lose your best techies" meme... And I'll be sure to always bring it up when asked: "Why are people going to B&N for homework help instead of coming here?"

Sorry to be so down, I'll go back over my notes form the conference, get all jazzed up again and come back to post good, cool, up stuff in a day or two.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

UUGI news

Live from the SIRSIDYNIX superconference! Good stuff! I have heard Rachel Singer Gordon this morning. She does recommend system librarians (of the accidental kind) do 4 things:
-Read more on Library 2.0
-Set some time aside to keep-up
-Share with others (especially the "cool tech stuff")
-Work to link the technology to the libraries goals

Sounded really familiar to me! It felt great to hear her confirm I am on the right track with this stuff. I'll try to remind myself of this when folks as me with a high brow: "How do you fin the time to read/blog/play with all this new stuff.

More to come...

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

further experiments

Fixing to leave for the UUGI conference in Nashville (yea!) I have managed to borrow (it's nice to have friends) an antique digital camera (it must weigh 2 lbs) and I will attempt to post pictures of the event here or on flickr...

As a test, I am posting a bad picture of my office.

Friday, February 24, 2006

bandwagon fun

Ok, I told you I’d get on it.
Now to see if I have some of the skills to make this an interesting place, let me jump on the bandwagon and try to post here, a “Simpsonized” sylvie:

Since the shoes were all wrong, I took a page from the "Librarian in Black" and turned myself into the "library geek in boots".

Thursday, February 23, 2006

renewed commitment

OK, this is serious, ha, ha! Not really, but I will do this! There is too much stuff I hear that begs to be repeated. Yesterday, I attended a SirsiDynix Institute web round table about the Web 2.0/Library 2.0 Meme. Now, everyone at my library knows how big a groupie I am when it comes to Stephen Abram and Michael Stephens… They were there along with Michael Casey and John Blyberg making it all so real, relevant and exciting. I even got the nerve to ask a question that they answered on line! All this to say that I did start this blog just to play with the tool and see how it worked, and I was reminded that discovering was fine but the point was to use the space to share and meet with more folks and spread the gospel and all, so here! Look for me to post with more regularity and in the meantime, take one hour of your time to view the recorded presentation on the archive.