24 October 2012

Proof that librarians are wicked smart

At CALCon this last week, my friend Sarah and I noticed a fascinating trend...

saucy brown leather
Dansko shoes.  Lots of them.

hello there Mary Jane!
 Don't assume Danskos are "librarian shoes".  I've seen teachers, doctors, and sales people wearing Danskos.
patent brown leather
So why is this significant?  Well, according to their website, Dansko shoes are carefully constructed to "promote good foot, leg and back health".  My feet agree.

You see, librarians don't just sit behind a desk all day.  Whether we work at a public, academic or school library, we are on our feet helping patrons basically all day every day.  In between patrons, we usually rush back to our office/computer/cubby to answer a few quick emails, add a few tasks to our to-do list, and if we're lucky, cross one or two things off that ever-growing list.  So it's extremely important that we wear shoes that are good for our legs and backs.  That, and Danskos are fashionable (if my sister reads this blog, she will laugh out loud).  No, they aren't Christian Louboutins, but NOWHERE on his website does he claim to care about the health of anyone's gams.  At the other end of the footwear spectrum are these bad boys, and while I'm certain they're very good for your legs, I wouldn't call them fashionable.

So as you can see, we librarians prove our smarts by choosing footwear that is both comfortable and not crazy looking.

Though some of us do get a little crazy and wear shiny purple shoes...
ohh la la

23 October 2012

Geek Fest...I mean CALCon 2012

I say "Geek Fest" with the utmost respect for my fellow librarians.  I realize that ninety percent of all professional conferences come with their own level of "geekness" - librarians speak a different language than, say, surgeons and accountants.  And when large groups of accountants, surgeons or any other profession get together, they tend to speak their own language and get REALLY excited about things that are only exciting to their particular professional area.  I imagine that at an accounting conference, people discuss tax laws heatedly, and at surgical conferences there is a buzz and excitement about the newest piece of surgical technology.

For me, the Colorado Association of Libraries 2012 Conference (CALCon) was especially geek-tastic.  Not because of the other conference attendees, but because of two of the keynote speakers.  I completely and utterly geeked out when I was able to meet one of my favorite bloggers and one of my favorite authors.

Jack Gantos has been publishing books since 1976.  He writes picture books, children's books, YA lit and adult books.  He's funny, quirky and smart.  He's like the Johnny Cash of the literary world - minus the scary mean side.  His novel, Dead End in Norvelt won the Newberry Award last year, and it is fantastic - funny, inspiring and meaningful.  I can't think of a single student who wouldn't love this book.
See?  We're bffs.
He spoke on Saturday and it was inspiring.  He talked about how he writes, what inspires him and why librarians are important.  I laughed so hard I almost peed.  But most of all, I loved hearing him speak because he brought a voice to the main character from Dead End - Jack.  In fact, I didn't realize it until I heard him speak, but Dead End is his childhood (with some wonderful twists).

Explaining how "librarians are like constellations"

Gantos also does school visits where he teaches creative writing.  He explained that writing really isn't that difficult.  There are two steps:  figuring out what you want to say it, and then figuring out how to actually say it.  However, since most students can stare at a blank piece of paper and just wish the words would appear, he often encourages them to draw a spy map of their house.
The spy map of the Gantos home
Drawing a map of the house from the perspective of a spy encourages students to open up their imaginations and think of all the possibilities for interesting, fun stories.

Gantos saved all the journals he's written since 5th grade - and he explained that many of the ideas for his books come from things he wrote in his journals over the years.

The other person I had the honor of meeting and hearing speak (twice) was Bobbi Newman.  She's a firecracker - and not just because of her hair.  She truly is a library innovator: she maintains a blog called Librarian By Day that always tackles and faces big library issues (intellectual freedom, access, the changing face of libraries), and she has a great voice.  She's funny and inspiring.  I'm a huge fan.

My library hero
Newman gave a keynote speech as well as lead a breakout session.  Her keynote speech tackled the idea that innovation might be scary and uncomfortable but it's necessary for libraries to maintain relevance within a community.  I enjoyed her keynote speech, but I loved her breakout session.  There she discussed the importance of digital literacy and transliteracy, and the myth of the digital native.  All of which are extremely important to libraries, librarians and anyone who works with the internet.  At least they should be...

Completely enthralled
So you can see, a three day conference turned into a totally library-world-celebrity-geekfest for me.  I also got to spend three days with two of my very favorite librarians:  my best friend from childhood Sarah and one of my mentors, super librarian Becky.  These two women inspire me daily, and I'm so thankful I got to hang out with them, learn with them and be inspired by them.

Now let's see if I can apply all the fantastic information and ideas to my everyday library world.