Thursday, May 25, 2006

Reception for Preservation Educators; Austin City Council Meeting

This week the iSchool's Kilgarlin Center has hosted a number of preservation educators from around the world. I was fortunate to meet several of the attendees at a reception tonight.

I then headed to the Austin City Council to attend a hearing on the proposed Bond Election for November 2006. Along with a number of other speakers, I addressed supporting bonds for the construction of a new public central public library. Here's a copy of my 3 minute talk:

Good evening. My name is Loriene Roy. I am a citizen of Austin. I am also as a long time member of the American Library Association and was recently elected President-Elect of ALA and President-Elect of the ALA-Allied Professional Association, a companion non-profit organization that promotes the professional interests of library workers. Founded in 1876, ALA, with its more than 66,000 members, is the largest general membership library organization in the world.

I am here tonight to voice my support for funding a new central library for our city.
A city that cares about education, live events, personal expression, cultural identity, and just being weird is worthy of a new central library. Vibrant cities have vibrant libraries.

I have been fortunate to visit libraries in other locations and seen the future of the strong central library in cities such as Seattle, San Francisco, Phoenix, Denver, Atlanta, and Chicago. These public libraries are not your mother’s or father’s public library. Austinites are worthy of having neighborhood libraries close at hand and a central library that will define the direction of a community’s literacy and support for reading and culture.

Public libraries are still locations where you can find a good book to read and also electronic books, public Internet access, and training on the use of statewide databases such as the genealogy database, HeritageQuest. Public libraries are also dynamic and wired social spaces. They offer meeting room space for writers and book clubs, poetry groups, ESL services and literacy programs. They are staffed by librarians and other library workers who serve as reader’s advisors, information specialists, collection organizers, and event planners.

New central libraries have economic benefits. The new Central Library in Seattle is directly responsibility for netting $16 million in new dollars, a figure that is expected to total $155 by 2014, its first decade of operation.

So, I ask you to support the construction of a new central library. I hope that you will
build it quickly so that I can broadcast our good news with the nation and the world.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Graduation and Other Activities

The last two weeks have been filled with iSchool, campus, and campus activities.

The iSchool Commencement took place on Saturday, 20 May, with Gary Hoover, founder of BookStop, publisher of reference works, and owner of a 40,000 volume personal library. He spoke about the personal atributes needed in being successful in an enterprise: curiosity, a sense of history, a sense of geography, clear vision, and passion. I honored two graduating students--Greg Argo and Amy Zeigler--for their contributions to Honoring Generations and my ALA Presidential campaign with gifts of Pendleton blankets. A few days before graduation we hosted a party for a few graduates and Larry Gainor, my TA 15 years ago, drove in from Houston to attend.

Four iSchool students and I traveled to the Dallas area to provide a workshop to librarians from five of the state's historically black colleges and universities. Students provided information on how to market TexShare databases to faculty and students. Their presentations covered marketing health and wellness, business, and genealogy and family history databases. Their presentations were so well received that they were asked to repeat a session for the nurses from the colleges/universities.

I've attended other recent campus events including a reception for the Center for Mexican American Studies (CMAS) hosted by University President Powers, the annual reception for graduating undergraduates associated with the Multicultural Information Center, and an end-of-semester Center for Women's & Gender Studies.

My favorite 15 year old also had a spring guitar class performance,
We hosted a pre-birthday party where the teen boys spent their time playing games such as Halo II, Tom Clancy's Rainbow 6, and Timesplitters Future Perfect. Owen received a sophomore Trustees Award for high-GPA standing at his school's annual awards ceremony and performed a duet at a high school baccalaureate program. We spent a nice evening at a live music event, listening to the California Guitar Trio over at the Glenn at the Backyard in Bee Cave, Texas. One of Owen's friends was an invited soloist with the trio.

Meanwhile, the preparation tempo for ALA/New Orleans is increasing.

Reading Circle

Sitting in audiences has afforded me some time to catch up with some fiction reading. I read A. Manette Ansay's "Vinegar Hill" and Joyce Carol Oates' "Rape: A Love Story." Amy Tan described "Vinegar Hill" as "A modern-day Little House on the Prairie gone mad." Native librarians will know that Little House has its own dark side to begin with. Would we all have a dark angel if faced with the injustice; Teena Maguire's avenging angel teaches us how love and protection can find us even in our bleakest moments.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Library Visit #4.

"El futuro es una pagina en blanco. Que escribiras en ella?"
[The future is a blank page. What will you write on it?]

This wonderful invitation to change the future is etched on the new artwork panel that welcomes patrons into the newly redesigned Terrazas Branch of the Austin Public Library. The Grand Opening Celebration was this morning, complete with live music (Mariachi Relampago), presentations by Brenda Branch (APL Director) and by special dignitaries, and recognition of the Terrazas Family. Artist Connie Arismendi described how work on the Terrazas Branch Library Art in Public Places Project. I met with Brenda Branch, Terrazas Branch Library Staff (including Steve Reich and Joanna Nigrelli), and some of the dignatories--including Congressman Lloyd Doggett, former Mayor Gus Garcia, State Senator Gonzalo Barrientos, and Austin Council Member Lee Leffingwell, Place 1. I visited with visitors from one of Austin's sister cities in Saltillo, Mexico, who create art for public places based on indigenous Mexican traditions.I sat near a family that was checking out 26 items, including 23 books and 3 DVDS! Funding from the remodeling came through a 1998 bond package approved by voters.

Some quotable quotes:

Doggett: "Sometimes libraries, despite our love for them, don't get the priority in the budgetary process." Doggett noted especially the library's Wired For Youth Center and its Immigration Center.

Barrientos reminded us that "nosotros tienen que hacer por nuestros ninos." We have to do this for our children. "We remember all the years when people came and fought for us."

Former Mayor Gus Garcia, founder of the Mayor's Book Club, reminded us that "in this city we protect the rights of human beings" and that "it is enormously important that we keep our children, and our adults for that matter, reading." His favorite bumper sticker is "Keep Austin Reading!"

Arismendi reminded us that "libraries are where dreams are born. Books give us the ability to mediate space and time. Heroism is what we do on a day to day basis as people. People show acts of heroism by giving their time, giving their time to kids."

What a wonderful dia! What a wonderful celebration!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Capstones, Annual Review, Special Guest, and Good News for Friends

Graduating students continued their Capstone presentations. Amy Price (my TA and GRA for "If I Can Read, I Can Do Anything")worked with UT-Austin's Education Librarian to develop a strategy for collection K-12 textbooks. Delia Fantova presented results of her TexShare training at 5 small/rural public libraries. I stayed for a few other presentations and then prepared for Arro Smith's doctoral student annual review. Having completed his doctoral seminars and almost all of his tools classes, he's starting to take policy classes as his `outside' electives.

Honoring Generations hosted Stuart Hoahwah, Comanche poet, as our special guest. He read from his most recent chapbook of published poetry as well as a few new unpublished poems. Fans of scarey stories will be unnerved by his poem about the headless farmer.

Several of our friends have reported recent good news. Roy Boney (Cherokee graphic novelist) won best of show at the 35th Annual Trail of Tears Art Show. The Cherokee Heritage Museum purchased his winning piece and will display it as part of their premanent collection. Larry Loyie (Cree) and Constance Brissenden's picture book, "As Long as the Rivers Flow," was designated as the Honour Book for the 2006 First Nations Libraries Read program in Canada. They'll be at the Canada Library Association in mid-June. Their new book, "When the Spirits Dance," will be published in October 2006. Eric Lockard at Salina Bookshelf reports that one of his books is a CBC IRA Children's Choice Book for 2006. Ho wuh (great work), all!

We Remember. It is important that we remember and live the lives that continue the work of others who have passed before us.

UT-Austin hosted UT Remembers on Friday, 5 May 2006, an annual day where we recognize those among our community who have passed during the previous year. Flags near the Tower were lowered during a morning ceremony, a service was held at the Tower Garden from 2-3 p.m., and the Tower lights were darkened at dusk. I remember many among our librarian community as well as my personal community today.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Address at TLA General Assembly II, 26 April 2006 and a Library Visit

I. Here's a copy of my (very burnt orange!) four minute address at the Texas Library Association general assembly, 26 April 2006, 3:30 p.m.

Voting in the American Library Association election ended three days ago. And on this coming Monday, May first, Keith Michael Fiels, Executive Director of ALA, will call the two candidates for ALA President 2007-2008 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. with the election results. I hope that you were among the record number of ALA members who voted.

I am grateful to have the opportunity to address you, members of TLA, at this, my 20th TLA conference. I was invited to speak to you as a candidate for ALA President about my campaign priorities. I have identified three platform issues that, I believe, impact all of our working lives, our libraries, and the people we serve.

My first platform issue is including all in the circle of literacy. We now know that one in 20 adults in the United States is not literate in English. That’s about 11 million individuals. Libraries should be at the frontline in efforts to increase literacy and promote reading. In these efforts we need to make sure that we extend our services to all members of our communities, especially young and emerging readers, elders, immigrants, and those in our jails and prison systems.

My second platform issue is a workplace wellness campaign called Healthy ALA, a new venture for ALA. My interest in wellness and health care stems from my prior career working as an X-ray tech in community hospitals and also through the personal experience of having a son with special needs and a sister and father with disabilities. I know how health concerns impact families and affect our work lives. As employers we are concerned with providing library workers with adequate health coverage and workplace support through times of physical challenges. As workers, we want to follow healthy lifeways that help us perform our best and lead fulfilled lives.

My third platform issue is supporting librarian education through practice. As a Professor at the University of Texas at Austin, a top ten school of library and information science, I am fortunate to be involved in the daily education of next-generation librarians. Librarian education, though, is the responsibility of all of us and I invite the larger community to become involved in preparing new librarians.

I cannot fully address these platform issues on my own. I have gathered an Envisioning Circle of individuals to help me in this task. I will also need your help.

I am proud to be an Anishinabe, a member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, enrolled on the White Earth Reservation in western Minnesota. I am also proud to be an Honorary Texan. Like many of you, I watched an important sports event on television this past January. Y’all know the outcome of that Rose Bowl game and the final score: UT 41 points, USC 38. At the end of the first half of the game, we heard Walter Cronkite’s voice proclaim the new promotional campaign for the University of Texas: “We’re Texas. What starts here changes the world.” TLA has always known and lived their interpretation of “We’re TLA. What Start here changes the world?” Let’s go forward in changing the world. Hook ‘em horns.

Library Visit #3: Liberty Hill (Texas) Public Library

This afternoon I drove an hour north of Austin to the town of Liberty Hill (population approx. 1400) to observe the work of Capstone student, Delia Fantova. She did a wonderful job of providing introductory TexShare training to the library staff. She had a prepared outline, outlining key examples and urls that the staff can refer to after her visit. She encouraged the staff to explore common usage of the database, including use for genealogy and health/wellness. The staff were very receptive, grateful, and enthusiastic! They work in a lovely four-year building resembling a typical Texas homestead including a residential style bathroom and ceiling fans. Their building has a ramada style porch, a tin-roof, and is surfaced with Texas limestone. The grounds feature a live oak and Texas native plants. Lovely place to work; felt like home!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Last day of class, Capstones, and visit to FAL

The Information Resources in the Humanities class met for the last time. Students shared results of their second pathfinders, created for Gretchen Healy at Little Priest Tribal College in Nebraska and Heather Ball at Virginia Tech's architecture library. We reviewed class structure and the students gave me good advice on preparing the syllabus for the next time the class is offered in Spring 2007.

A number of my students gave their Capstone presentations. The students I supervised included the following. Greg Argo described the hundreds of hours he devoted to organizing the recordings collection at KVRX, student-run radio. Ann Finstad covered her work with the student liaison program in WebJunction. Angela Kille talked about the wiki she developed for reference staff training.

Library Visit #2.
I stopped by the Fine Arts Library for a meeting with director, Laura Schwartz, and Beth Hallmark, my campaign manager. Beth is ready to start her Capstone project as she nears graduation. The FAL renovation was featured in the architectural issue of "American Libraries"!

Monday, May 01, 2006

ALA Election Results, a Rally on Immigration, and a Visit to a Public Library Branch

The results of the ALA election were announced today. Congratulations to all who were elected. I'm honored to be elected to serve as ALA President 2007-2008. The first to know were students in the Library Instruction and Information Literacy class. Beth Hallmark, my campaign manager, dropped everything to arrive with balloons and a card. My thanks to the students and others who sent thoughtful notes. I celebrated by walking to the Capitol to join the rally in support of immigrants. I read the signs and heard the chanting of "si se puede" from the crowd and was overwhelmed with the strong hearts and positive messages of "today we march; tomorrow we vote." Si se puede, ALA. We can make a difference, yes we can.

Library Visit #1.
My fifteen-year-old reader and I stopped at one of our local public library branches on the way home. The Old Quarry Branch of the Austin Public Library reopened on Saturday after an 8 month closure for renovations. We browsed the stacks. I looked over the public access computing stations; I spent a year at this library teaching monthly free Internet classes. I picked up a few free copies of "Bon Appetit" and purchased three novels in the book sale.