I normally try to keep my side interests out of this blog, but my two worlds collided on Wednesday. That is the day that I received the monthly publication of the Romance Writers of America, the Romance Writers Report (RWR) for November. I HIGHLY recommend that any and all librarians try to get your hands on a copy of the the Jungle Beat column by Stephanie Bond from this issue. In it, she reports a conversation that she had with a published author going by the name "Dilyn." This author's home was the target of an early morning raid by federal agencies, members of one agency only identifying themselves as "Federal Police." Her crime: researching what was to be her next novel. It happened that part of her research apparently had ties to Al Qaeda. She dug further by going to her local library, searching the web from home, and ordering books online. A few weeks before the raid, she thought she was being stalked as she found mail missing, cars cruising up and down her street, people watching from across the way. She called the police. Her neighbor called the police because she thought her house was being targeted.
This author was woken up one morning by her door being broken down and the lives of her dogs threatened. Under the subpeona served to her, all computer equiment and files, some research books and photographs were seized from her house. What was eventually returned to her was damaged. She has had to hire a criminal defense lawyer specializing in federal subpoenas to defend herself. She later found out that her e-mail transactions were also targeted and watched.
How chilling is it that a published author, whose identity and track record as to the types of stories she writes can be easily confirmed, is terrorized by our government in this manner? I have absolutely no arguments as to the investigation of possible red flags for terrorist activity, but in this manner to this type of person? It was not clear from the article whether this investigation was done under the auspices of Section 215 of the Patriot Act, but this is a situation where it could definitely have been used.
We are living in the world proposed by George Orwell in 1984. I'm probably going to be placed on their watchlist now for reporting this. Go right ahead. "The time to guard against corruption and tyranny is before they shall have gotten hold of us. It is better to keep the wolf out of the fold than to trust to drawing his teeth and claws after he shall have entered." ~Thomas Jefferson
*NOTE (10/23/04) - A copy of the article discussed has been made available here. Again, this is from the November 2004 issue of the Romance Writers Report.
A blog of musings, maybe mayhem, and more from a young MLIS.
Friday, October 22, 2004
Thursday, October 21, 2004
LJ Placements and Salaries Survey: 2003
How on earth did I miss this one? Heck, I responded to the survey. The article is now available here.
ILA Recap, finally...
Now, this is the Illinois Library Association meeting that I attended. Just to give you a reference point.
This was my first library conference. Not my first industry conference, though. It seemed to me to be pretty standard, though I did have a friend who said that he thought the exhibits at BEA and ALA were much better. There were a few interesting sessions that I attended, so I'll try to summarize them.
OPENING SESSION: Lynne Lancaster of Bridgeworks was the keynote speaker for this session. She wrote the LJ article "The Click and Clash of Generations" that appeared in the 10/15/2003 issue. At one point, she had members of the various generations (as she defined them) to stand up. The Boomers were at least 2/3 of the audience. This point resonated even further when she gave us a statistic. I know my exact numbers are wrong, but you'll get the idea. In ~1970, a poll was done of government workers to see what percentage of those in management positions were under the age of 30. The result: 25%. In ~1995, this study was conducted again and the percentage of managers under the age of 30 dropped to 2%. The supposed reason for this dramatic drop: the managers who were part of the 1970 statistic were still in those same positions. I'm not saying that those of the Boomer generation have to move aside now to let the Gen-X'ers take their place in management. I just would like for people to be aware that part of the "generation clash" problem our field, and many other fields, are facing is because there is often no way for the younger members to move up in an organization. I know that my supervisor has no plans to retire in the near future, nor do any of the other members of my library's management team. They understand that I'm more likely to move out of the organization in a year or two because of this. If you are wondering why you lose a lot of younger/newer librarians from your organization, take a look at your organizational structure. Is there any place for them to move up if they want to? If there isn't, don't be surprised that they look elsewhere for that next career step.
One other note about this, and the later session where Ms. Lancaster was the speaker. It seemed to me that a lot of people were airing out the problems that they had dealing with the different generations. Most, it seemed, were trying to get ideas on how to handle those problems. I felt, though, that a few were just taking the opportunity to complain. Those few were in no way limited to one generation. I think that the ideas that Ms. Lancaster presented in her LJ article, her presentations, and in her book are great stepping off points for figuring out how to deal with your co-workers. However, they in no way replace knowing your co-workers and understanding their individual strengths and weaknesses. If you don't want to get to know the individual, you're going to have problems dealing with them on so many levels.
LIVE OUR SYNERGY: The Illinois State Library offers the Synergy Library Leadership Initiative every year (click here for information on how to sign up for 2005). This program's presenters were from the class of 2003. They discussed projects that were brainstormed during their sessions. I have two friends who are graduates of the program, and the energy that I see coming from them is phenomenal. I think programs like Synergy are going to be vital to keeping newer members of our profession excited about it, and re-energizing those who have been in a field for a while, but still have a lot left to give. Coming back to the advancement opportunities available, sending personnel to a program like this is a way to acknowledge and develop leadership qualities in them even if you are not able to offer them higher ranking positions at the time. I would hope that all state library associations would take a look at Synergy, and I think New Jersey has a similar program, and see what these programs can offer to the development of the profession.
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Nothing like your entire "My Documents" folder getting wiped out by a quirk of your browser (surprisingly, not IE) and then having to rebuild it to throw you for a loop.
I seem to do more reassuring that I'm still alive than just posting lately. Must work on that. I really do have lots of thoughts about ILA that I'd like to talk about.
Friday, October 08, 2004
What do readers want?
Okay, I know I still owe you guys a recap of ILA. It’s coming, I swear. I just need to fine-tune some ideas.
Now, to the point of this post. I recently have had an offer to merge with another website. This is not the first time this has happened. What I have to consider is what I want to do with this site, and if that’s in line with the mission of the site that is offering to merge. At this point, I have some ideas that I’m willing to move forward with, but is it really worth investing my time to move ahead with those ideas? Are people willing to listen to what I have to say? Are you interested in what I have to say?
I had high hopes at the beginning of the year for the site, but that was due to a number of factors that have changed. Namely, I now have a full-time job that really sucks up my time. I’ve dropped a lot of balls while I get my priorities in order. I’m now figuring out which balls are worth picking back up.
If I move forward with the site, beyond the blog, the projects that I am really interested in picking back up are the “A Day in the Life of (Insert Job Title Here)…” series, and also tracking the types of jobs that are being posted. I’m still mulling around the second project, but it’s something that’s been nibbling away at me for a while now.
So, my readers, what are you interested in hearing about from me? Since I’m not inclined to name the site offering to merge with me at this point, I won’t bother asking if you think it’s a good idea for me to merge. What is it that you think I offer to the library world at large that no other place does? Anything? Thanks for any and all feedback.