December 31, 2008

Hello and Happy New Year!

As 2008 comes to a close (where on earth did it go?), I want to take a moment to reflect on this past year.

When I think about every­thing I was lucky enough to do this this year, what stands out the most are the peo­ple I met dur­ing my trav­els, both online and offline. The best thing about social net­work sites is the social part, and this year my net­work expanded to include new friends and redis­cov­ered old ones. In fact, that’s def­i­nitely been one of my high­lights for the year — recon­nect­ing with folks from my pre-online life, which to me is an indi­ca­tor that online net­works are def­i­nitely going main­stream. I’m see­ing so many more non-techie friends there, and I really appre­ci­ate being able to con­nect with them in this way. I still don’t have a lot of time to spend on Twit­ter or Friend­Feed, but I’ve gone back to Face­book more and more because that’s where I’m find­ing a lot of these folks. Plus, it runs at a speed that works well for me right now (some­thing I’m going to write more about it in an upcom­ing post).

This was espe­cially true this year when I had so many projects going on at work. I haven’t writ­ten about my job at ALA here very much, mainly because I’ve been too busy to blog much at all. How­ever, this was such a pro­duc­tive and pro­gres­sive year at my job that I want to high­light a few of the things we accom­plished. While this is by no means an exhaus­tive list (and it’s cer­tainly not reflec­tive of the work done across the orga­ni­za­tion as a whole), these are just a few of the things that were per­son­ally grat­i­fy­ing for me in 2008, because I played a role in help­ing them hap­pen. In chrono­log­i­cal order:

  • Gam­ing in libraries
    The year started out big for us when we learned about the $1 mil­lion grant from the Ver­i­zon Foun­da­tion. It’s allowed us to move this topic for­ward very quickly, and soon we’ll start post­ing the tan­gi­ble out­comes. Watch for more to come from this grant in 2009, which will help build on our gen­eral suc­cesses around gam­ing so far. In 2008, we launched the Games and Gam­ing Mem­ber Ini­tia­tive Group, ran a big game at our Annual Con­fer­ence, started a new Games in Libraries pod­cast, held a sec­ond suc­cess­ful Gam­ing, Learn­ing, and Libraries Sym­po­sium, and coör­di­nated the first annual National Gam­ing Day @ your library. All in all, a very good year for gam­ing in libraries.
  • In April, Library Tech­nol­ogy Reports pub­lished Gam­ing and Libraries: Broad­en­ing the Inter­sec­tions, my sec­ond issue ded­i­cated to the topic.
  • AL Focus launched an incred­i­bly pop­u­lar series of videos for National Library Week. Full credit for these bril­liant pieces goes to Dan Kraus.
  • In August, we launched the READ mini-poster gen­er­a­tor that does just what it sounds like it does. We’ve got­ten a great response to this, and you can see some of the results in the READ Flickr pool.
  • In Octo­ber, Amer­i­can Libraries mag­a­zine cel­e­brated Open Access Day by open­ing its archives and mak­ing the cur­rent issue avail­able to every­one for free. In 2009, watch for HTML ver­sions of cur­rent issues (not just PDFs) and expanded con­tent. Con­grat­u­la­tions to Leonard Knif­fel and his crew for tak­ing such a big step!
  • At the same time, the AL folks decided to open up their weekly email newslet­ter AL Direct and let any­one sub­scribe. I don’t have any­thing at all to do with the pro­duc­tion of it, so I don’t think it’s self-promoting to say that I think this is one of the most valu­able cur­rent aware­ness tools in the pro­fes­sion. Full credit for the con­tent and deliv­ery goes to George Eber­hart, and my involve­ment has been mainly to advo­cate that *every­one* should be able to ben­e­fit from his hard work. Now that can include you, even if you’re not an ALA member.
  • Finally, ALA Con­nect just com­pleted alpha test­ing, and now we’re prepar­ing to start beta test­ing next week. This is one of my really huge projects at work, so it’s quite a relief to finally be at this point. It’s been a long and…educational road to get this far, but we’re get­ting very close. So far, the feed­back has been pretty good, and I’m look­ing for­ward to launch­ing it soon. This is one of the things I’ll be talk­ing about more here in the future but for now, I’ll just say that I couldn’t end the year on a bet­ter note.

This was also an amaz­ing year of travel for me, includ­ing spe­cial trips to the Nether­lands (and the won­der­ful DOK), south­east Asia, and Lon­don. I know how lucky I am to be invited to speak in these places, and I’m thank­ful for the peo­ple I’ve met and the expe­ri­ences I’ve had along the way. It’s easy to get tun­nel vision about loca­tion, region, type of library, or the pro­fes­sion in gen­eral, and my trav­els reminded me of the big­ger pic­ture and ded­i­ca­tion we all share.

I also trav­eled a lot domes­ti­cally this year, and while I know times aren’t easy, I hope we never lose the face-to-face con­nec­tions that are so valu­able to our pro­fes­sional and per­sonal devel­op­ment. Long live the con­fer­ence, uncon­fer­ence, regional meet­ing, or what­ever type of event brings us together. I hope that we as a pro­fes­sion can find the right com­bi­na­tion of online and offline to feed our pro­fes­sional con­nec­tions and growth.

Before this turns into one long verse of Kum­baya, though, there were hic­cups in the year, and there are some things I hope to change in 2009. I’ve got­ten much bet­ter about not spend­ing too many hours just work­ing or work­ing only on the com­puter, but those changes came at the expense of read­ing my RSS aggre­ga­tor and blog­ging here. I’m again exam­in­ing how I spend my time to try and fig­ure out a way to do more of both of those things. While I won’t go back to work­ing more or give up the time I’ve gained for fam­ily and friends, I do hope to redis­trib­ute some of that time to get back to blog­ging more.

So hope­fully you’ll see more action here in the com­ing year. In the mean­time, I hope 2008 was a good year for you, and that 2009 is even better!

Be Socia­ble, Share!

5:37 pm Comments (3)


  1. It was a great year indeed. Incred­i­ble how much gam­ing in libraries took off since that first inter­view we did at Michael’s place (
    I’m really impressed how you fol­lowed up since then! And the time we spent dur­ing your visit to the Nether­lands was unfor­get­table. Is your online life going to be influ­enced by the intro­duc­tion of the new Palm Novas?? ;)

    Comment by Jaap van de Geer — January 10, 2009 @ 9:01 am

  2. Jaap, I think my *whole* life will be influ­enced by the new Palms. I hope we get to see each other again this year and that we get to have more unfor­get­table times! :)

    Comment by jenny — January 11, 2009 @ 9:06 am

  3. […] gamingin­li­braries The Shifted Librar­ian blogs about gam­ing in a recent post — men­tion­ing a gam­ing in libraries pod­cast, a national gam­ing day at your library, and a huge grant […]

    Pingback by Resources for Gaming in Libraries — January 26, 2009 @ 10:34 am

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