#makeithappen

Why you should participate in #libuncon & Planning an Unconference, by Michelle Boule

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So our great friend Michelle Boule, who is no doubt the library world’s leader in “unconferencing”, has shared with me a bunch of valuable information for librarians planning on organizing and/or participating in National Library Unconference Day ’11.

Michelle’s FYI stats: Michelle Boule is a Geek Librarian living in Houston, TX. Michelle was recently a Social Sciences Librarian at the University of Houston. She now spends her time writing and consulting while trying to care for her growing brood of children* and large dogs. In 2008, she was named a Library Journal Mover and Shaker. Michelle has created online learning environments, taught in-person classes, presented on a wide variety of technology and training subjects, shelved books, read books, written articles, organized unconferences, and participated in subversive activities in an effort to save the world. She has a booki coming out in the Fall on entitled Mob Rule Learning: camps, unconferences, and trashing the talking head from Information Today, Inc..  Michelle can be found online at A Wandering Eyre, http://wanderingeyre.com.

Let’s start with her post on Why You Should Participate in National Library Unconference Day ’11.

And here’s her prezi titled Planning an Unconference.

 

I’m getting really excited for Unconference Day!!! Our kick-off set of lightning talks (by library greats like Eli Neiburger, Jaime Hammond, and Michael Stephens) will be offered free courtesy of the ALA Learning Round Table. And even if you can’t organize an unconference of your own, we’ll have a full-day live chat unconference at tinychat.com/8bitlibrary, a twitter unconference via hashtag #libuncon, and you can still check out the free lightning talks at 1 pm EDT. May 2nd, 2011, be there, #makeithappen – JP

*everyone say YAY to Michelle for recently adding another child to her clan!!!! I got to see the pictures and the baby is so beautifulllll.

Sign up now for National Library Unconference Day ’11! #libuncon

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Hello all! You can sign up now for the National Library Unconference Day ’11 aka #libuncon, sponsored by ALA’s LearnRT and organized by #TeamRock8 of 8bitlibrary.com.

Libraries from all over the country are going to be screening our free keynote set of lightning talks and then running their own Unconferences, Staff Development days, and BarCamps.

We encourage you to organize your own at your place of employment, or via your library school student association, or your regional library cooperative or state library association.

For those of you who can’t #makeithappen, 8bitlibrary.com will also be hosting two digital unconferences: our twitter unconference will be at hashtag #libuncon, and our live chat unconference will be at tinychat.com/8bitlibrary.

HOW do you sign up?????? Leave a comment here with your name and what uncon you’ll be physically organizing or participating in (including those of your who will be participating in the chat room unconference or twitter unconference). Please use a real email address when you leave the comment, because I’ll be using those addresses to send out a reminder email to you a few days beforehand!

And check back here at 8bitlibrary.com every day this week. We have a slew of new #libuncon content!!

#makeithappen means taking action.

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What does #makeithappen mean? Taking action.

Action is something that you do.

Doing is different than saying. We can write, talk, make statements, chat, dish, diss, blog at blog.8bitlibrary.com or any other blog…but it’s never a substitute for action.

In librarianship specifically, I hear lots of talk. Some of it is negative complaining about the state of things. Some of it is positive ideas about how we should move forward.

Neither of those are #makeithappen. #makeithappen is saying “I want today to be Teen Library Day in my town”, then calling the mayor, and getting it officially on the books as [Insert Town Here] Teen Library Day. #makeithappen is not just THINKING outside the box, but DOING outside the box. Like having librarians influence global gaming discussions that otherwise would have been completely out of the realm of libraries. Or having local professional athletes chill in the library.

Talking about something is a stepping stone to action, but in the end, no amount of blog posts here or anywhere will amount to #mih. However, we want this blog to be the #makeithappen blog, a place to show off pictures and videos or things people have #mih’d all over the country, to provide inspiration to all in their own efforts to #makeithappen. Have you made something great happen in your library? Please email me so you can show the world; I can be reached at jp at porcaro dot info

#makeithappen never gives up, ever.

#makeithappen is professional AND personal. In many ways, it is personal first: envision what you want in your life, and then stop imagining and #mih, because the reality is so much better than the fantasy.

#makeithappen is climbing 10,000 mountains before breakfast.

An 8bitlibrary.com contributor linked me to this a few days ago. I know it is harsh, but climbing 10,000 mountians is way harsher than any web comic:

The secret to #mih: work really really hard.

 

And although we define “make it happen” in twitter-hashtag form, we all agree that nobody can #makeithappen on twitter. The real work that needs to be done is through toil and sweat and hard work, even in the library.

#makeithappen is saying “Hey, let’s help people develop video game collections”, starting up a website about it, and becoming the most influential web resource for video-games-in-libraries.

Failure, of course, is a big part of #makeithappen as well. Video Games can be a great example of this: you toil through failure after failure, repeating the same tasks you fail at, sometimes failing at the same thing for hours or days. And then you win. You fail until you win. And #makeithappen is not stopping, because once you’ve jumped one hurdle of failure, you’ve got 100s more to jump. This is why video games are the perfect fit for the #makeithappen philosophy: keep pushing through failure until you win, because luck won’t get you anywhere, experience will, and the only way to gain experience is through failure, not success.

#makeithappen is also about priorities: like, knowing when to stop writing about it, because you have to go to work to DO SOMETHING. Which I am about to do.

8bitlibrary.com‘s own JP Porcaro (me) & Justin Hoenke, as well as our friends/colleagues/movers&shakers Ed Garcia and Jaime Hammond will be speaking on “Make It Happen in libraries” at the New England Library Association Conference in October 2011. Please come out and share the #mih mojo with us.

sxswlib11meetup

librar*+SXSWi=awesome ____up’s

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While our storm-the-panels-with-library programming hasn’t been added…yet. We have pulled together some social let’s-make-it-happen events planned for the nutty week in Austin for those librar* involved/interested/ingrained to come out and friendly.

 

So what’s going on?

 

 

We already “sold out” of the 100 free tickets for the librar* drinkup, had to add more tix for folks to RSVP (note – if anyone wants to sponsor a tab at the bar – we’re listening!).

 

Saturday, March 12th @ 6pm at the Lustre Pearl (97 Rainey St)

 

 

 

 

 

 

And SXSW Interactive respects its library contingency and is holding an official meetup (yea, it’s OFFICIAL): Librarians and Technology Meet Up.

 

Sunday, March 13 @ 12:30 -1:30 (noonish) at the Hilton, Room 615AB

(it’s posted so places, it’s hard to keep up):

http://schedule.sxsw.com/events/event_IAP000501

http://austin2011.sched.org/event/b87ca030c0afb504729da17f018546c5

http://sxswlib11meetup-eorg.eventbrite.com/

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s get conversing about what tools/ pieces/and people we need to get at the table to make library stuff more amazingly awesome and less annoyingly archaically stove-piped systems.

 

If twitter is your thang:

#sxswi + #library = #sxswlib11 OFFICIAL meetup ow.ly/46Poh unOFFICIAL drinkup ow.ly/46PmO let’s #makeithappen

National Library Unconference Day 2011 w0ot

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unshelved_ALAMW11

8bitlibrary+Unshelved+IMchat=#MIH

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Can you really hold an interview on IM chat…with four people?

Perhaps, we here at 8bitlibrary (Andrea & JP) gave it a whirl with library comic legends, Bill Barnes & Gene Ambaum from UNSHELVED, which coincidently (nah, not coincidently at all, we’ve been planning this post since ALA MidWinter) is celebrating its 9th anniversary/birthday…TODAY: February 16th.

Here’s a snippet from the chat:

Andrea: sooooooo – unshelved….
happy early birthday!!!
Bill: Thank you.
Gene: Thanks!
Bill: Next year is our 10th. I think we’ll have to do something awesome.
Andrea how does a 9 year old comic strip behave?
Gene: I’m thinking cake
Andrea (you’re doing something awesome now)
10:37 AM Gene: Lots of random crying and temper tantrums. We’re hoping Unshelved will hit puberty soon.
JP: Why “un”shelved. Why not “de”shelved?
like that whole defriending/unfriending scandle
Bill: Unshelved predates defriending.
It also predates Facebook, Twitter, and the iPhone.
10:38 AM Unshelved is your grumpy uncle who doesn’t understand technology.
JP: Do you guys work in a library now?
Bill: I never worked in a library. And I never will.
Gene: Occasionally. But very occasionally. I left my full-tiMe job in library land in October 2009.
10:39 AM Andrea So Unshelved has become a fulltime gig?
Gene: It has!
Bill: It’s a little more than fulltime.
Andrea How does that feel?
Gene: fulltime+
Andrea Where do you get your “material” now?
Bill: I love answering to no one other than my wives.
10:40 AM Andrea plural?
JP: Poligamy!
Yes!
Now we’re getting somewhere
Gene: It feels strange whenever I have a moment to think about it. It’s usually when someone asks Me what I do for a living. “I write a comic.” “You draw a comic?” “No. Let me explain.”
Bill: I have my actual wife and two collaborators who I very much feel married to.
10:41 AM Andrea makes sense, interesting phrasing
JP: Ok, so you left your job(s) for Unshelved. Is this a “forever” thing for you guys?
Gene: I get my material mostly when I’m in line at Target, trying to return something, or just watching people lose it with their kids. Probably my favorite place to people watch these days because the red shirts make it so easy to figure out who’s the employee behaving badly and who’s the customer.
I’m like two questions back…
JP: Sorry lol

Bill & Gene of Unshelved

For the complete (hilarious) transcript, read on…


8bitlibrary+Unshelved Transcript

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Dear Readers,

Get ready for the biting humor, and slightly asynchronous conversation that will ensue. For more information, check out Feb 16th’s post, 8bitlibrary+Unshelved+IMchat=#MIH.

List of characters:

me: Andrea Davis of 8bitlibrary

JP: JP Porcaro of 8bitlibrary

Bill: Bill Barnes of Unshelved

Gene: Gene Ambaum of Unshelved

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Bill: Okay, I think we are on the record… NOW.
JP: HA!
me: —– mic on ——
10:30 AM (metaphorically speaking)
Gene: First fact for the interview: our store manager, Jana, eats Nutella out of the jar with a spoon.
Bill: Second fact: that’s all she eats, ever.
JP: can we start with the philosophical: why are we here?
EWWW i hate nutella
me: We’re doing a great experiment today for 8bitlibrary – a 4 person IM chat interview
Bill: You hate Nutella? This interview is over.
me: let the madness ensue!

me: go ahead an give yourselves an introduction
Gene: I’m Gene. Only not really.
Bill: I’m Bill Barnes, I take Gene’s amorphous blatherings and turn them into comedy gold every day in Unshelved.
Gene: The Italian one is the good one. No yeast, just hazlenut and chocolate.
I’m the hairy one.
Bill: This is going really well.
JP: how hairy is hairy?
me: HAAAA – yea, let’s see what happens
Bill: Pretty hairy.
Gene: Not like, “Gah! Get that off the beach!” hairy. My back looks like Angel (member of the X-men) when he started getting his wings, only I’m getting black wings.
JP: i always wished i had wings.
me: I’m Andrea Davis, a newly minted librarian, stirring things up and pushing to put the fun back in li-boring-ian
JP: Im JP Porcaro
I run 8bitlibrary.com
Gene: Hey JP. Have we met before?
JP: and also do virtual services at a university library
me: black swan style? (disclaimer, i stil need to see the movie, but i’ve heard)
Gene: (And hey to you to, Andrea, though I can’t remember, hard a or soft a?)
JP: OMG I hope we didn’t because I don tremember if we did
me: soft like my belly
Gene: And i stress about vowels. Now I will never forget.
I don’t think so, JP. Bill just pulled up a pic.
me: memornics are an amazing skill to master (i’m working on it still)
sooooooo – unshelved….
happy early birthday!!!
Bill: Thank you.
Gene: Thanks!
Bill: Next year is our 10th. I think we’ll have to do something awesome.
me: how does a 9 year old comic strip behave?
Gene: I’m thinking cake
me: (you’re doing something awesome now)
Gene: Lots of random crying and temper tantrums. We’re hoping Unshelved will hit puberty soon.
JP: Why “un”shelved. Why not “de”shelved?
like that whole defriending/unfriending scandle
Bill: Unshelved predates defriending.
It also predates Facebook, Twitter, and the iPhone.
Unshelved is your grumpy uncle who doesn’t understand technology.
JP: Do you guys work in a library now?
Bill: I never worked in a library. And I never will.
Gene: Occasionally. But very occasionally. I left my full-time job in library land in October 2009.
10:39 AM me: So Unshelved has become a fulltime gig?
Gene: It has!
Bill: It’s a little more than fulltime.
me: How does that feel?
Gene: fulltime+
me: Where do you get your “material” now?
Bill: I love answering to no one other than my wives.
10:40 AM me: plural?
JP: Poligamy!
Yes!
Now we’re getting somewhere
Gene: It feels strange whenever I have a moment to think about it. It’s usually when someone asks me what I do for a living. “I write a comic.” “You draw a comic?” “No. Let me explain.”
Bill: I have my actual wife and two collaborators who I very much feel married to.
me: makes sense, interesting phrasing
JP: Ok, so you left your job(s) for Unshelved. Is this a “forever” thing for you guys?
Gene: I get my material mostly when I’m in line at Target, trying to return something, or just watching people lose it with their kids. Probably my favorite place to people watch these days because the red shirts make it so easy to figure out who’s the employee behaving badly and who’s the customer.
I’m like two questions back…
JP: Sorry lol
hit send too soon
Bill: STOP IT WITH THE ATTACK JOURNALISM, ANDREA
me: (we’ll take it – cut & paste is a magical tool)
Bill: Forever is a long time.
Gene: It’s not long enough.
Bill: But so long as people are reading Unshelved and we figure out a way to get paid for it, I’m in.
me: (Bill was that “there will be blood” sneaking in?)
Gene: Thar she blows!!!
Bill: I love working with Gene, and I hope we’ll do lots of other stuff together in addition to Unshelved.
(I’ve never seen it, actually)
Gene: (holding hands)
me: like lunch pails?
Bill: I love you man.
Gene: You told her about the thermos?
JP: i want to know about the thermos
Bill: Unshelved: Hot on the inside, cool to the touch.
Andrea, I assume you are referring to the Gale lunchbox promotion?
me: that’s the one
Bill: I am pretty excited about that, I have to say.
me: (and hopping back a moment: http://www.toonzone.net/homemovies/WalterPerry.html)
Gene: It’s going to be fun.
Bill: At Midwinter I went around and introduced myself at a bunch of big-company booths. The Gale guy took my card and said, “cartoonist? we’re talking about making superhero lunchboxes” and here we are.
me: i was just thinking this weekend (while walking around target no less) that i wish i could get a lunch pail instead of the boring cooler lunch sacks that make for an unexcitingstaffroom fridge
Gene: It’s hard not to be designing the characters already.
Bill: I actually did design one. He’s a stretchy guy like Mr. Fantastic called OUTREACHER
10:46 AM me: my left side is better ;)
Gene: Make a lunch sack out of the skin of your enemy. Then sell it on Etsy.
Bill: See, because he’s an outreach librarian.
JP: OOOO the Outreacher! I like it. How about an Advocacy superhero (villian)?
me: (i can only begin to imagine the pitching sessions you fellas go through each week)
10:47 AM the metadata magician
Bill: We probably don’t do enough actual pitching.
me: crosswalking up down and all around
Bill: Gene sends me scripts and I mangle them beyond recognizability.
me: dublic core got nothing on her!
Bill: But we are negotiating a couple of longer-term plotlines. We are really bad at it.
JP: Negotiating with who?
Gene: (You’re confusing Bill with your library speak, but I like the Dublin Core.)
me: how long term? many of your strips stretch across 4 or 5 sets of panels
Gene: We’ve got a few year-long arcs in mind right now, which is unusual.
Negotiating with each other.
(sipping green tea to make myself feel wise)
me: big themes like budget cuts? library as place? or dewey gets pregnant?
Bill: I’m trying to learn from Paul Southworth, my collaborator/wife on Not Invented Here, my other comic strip. He’s really good at plot arcs.
Dewey’s just a little overweight.
Gene: Budget cuts is one.
Bill: Yes, we’re already part way through that one.
me: ebooks
Bill: That’s not a plot arc, just a topic.
Gene: eBooks are always on my mind. Especially because it hurts my eyes to read my iPad after a while.
Library as place? You think we could build an arc out of that?
“Still here. Same carpet.”
JP: HAHAHA
Gene: “I made that stain when I was 12, son.”
me: i’m gonna touch that one, nor the drapes
JP: I have a serious question: how did you make it happen? Take your idea for a comic and make it a full time + job?
Gene: Terror.
Bill: We’re an overnight success 9 years in the making.
How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, kid, practice.
Gene: We just started doing it. And we kept doing it. We’re living proof of how low the bar is.
Bill: We do it by having about twelve business models and being very aggressive about coming up with new ones.
Gene: Also, our wives are spectacular. They make us look better (and hence more successful) than we actually are.
JP: Gotcha!
Bill: And we were lucky enough to have an audience loyal enough to forgive how truly primitive our strip was in the early days.

Bill: Yes, lots of non librarian readers. I’m pretty careful to filter out the stuff I don’t understand (like “dublin core” and “library as place”)
me: (my card catalog “never forget” has been a hit at the pajama parties thus far)
10:55 AM Bill: Pajama parties? Pics or it didn’t happen.
Gene: They like to feel like they’re part of the in-group, seeing behind the scenes at the library they visit.
me: wise to have a non-library filter
JP: HAHAHA, 4chan reference
Gene: Pajama parties on a military base?
Bill: Most of our humor is character based, usually just spawned by some random library topic that most people can grasp.

Gene: We’re just going to throw someone into the mix who makes us laugh.
That’s the secret, we’re just amusing each other. When we’re not trying to get each other to stick to a deadline.
Bill: It’s true. We’re just making each other laugh. That’s the best we can do. I’m amazed that so many people laugh with us.
me: yea, how do you work “life” into the comic schedule?
Bill: Normally I work a 45 hour week, and so life is no problem. Except that we also travel about a week a month.
Gene: It’s not that hard. It’s the most forgiving of schedules, really. I can work anywhere (and often do at my daughter’s swim lessons).

Gene: We’re going to a library conference in northern BC that I’m really looking forward to, in Prince George. It’s called “Beyond Hope” (there’s a town to the south called Hope). Greatest name for a library conference ever.
JP: i like it
me: no joke!!!!
Bill: Oh, travel. Well we’re doing about a dozen talks. And there’s nothing more exciting for me than making a room full of people laugh.

Gene: Someone at another library conference where we’re speaking in the fall said they were still looking for a theme. Someone had suggested “Where’s the Bar?” or something like that. But it was voted down.
Gene: No joke on Beyond Hope. And it’s a small conference, so it should be an ultra-cool experience. Plus Canadians really know how to throw an after-party.
Bill: How about “Leave the Bottle”
JP: Can I steal the “where’s the bar?” theme?
Bill: If you want to see what it takes to make a living as a cartoonist, check out http://www.unshelved.com/talks
Bill: ANDREA SLOW DOWN
me: …catch up ;)

JP: Can I ask a serious one?
Gene: sure.
Bill: We’ve been waiting for a serious one.
oneandoneandoneisthree: Do libraries need “saving”?
Bill: We’re like “when’s this gonna GET REAL?”
Gene: Some do, sure.
Bill: I defer to my actual librarian friend.
Gene: But they need saving from a lot of things, don’t they.
JP: LOL I’d love to hear from the non-librarian, too. There’s all this talk about saving libraries, and i wonder
Gene: I just watched Eli Neiburger’s presentation Libraries are Screwed. I like Eli. (Great hair!) But he scared the shit out of me.
JP: From what?
and also, are we doing that bad of a job?
Eli is one of 8bitlibrary’s team, and he’s our mentor!
Bill: I can only speak from my perspective as a patron. My wife homeschools our kids so we are MAJOR library users. We literally (and literarily) check out 50 books a week. So every little cut in hours really affects us.
Gene: But another big problem is libraries never fire employees that underperform (or completely refuse to perform). I think we’re too nice. And then your hard working employees look around and say, “Fuck, why am I working so hard when X never does?” and then they check out, too. It’s catching.
me: you have some tender-hearted moments in unshelved, but a good dose of the humor has the what-went-wrong
wow, gene, nailed it!
JP: Gene, man, you hit the nail on the head. Bill, I was homeschooled for awhile. Ok i defer to andrea
Bill: LANGUAGE, GENE
Gene: I seriously think we’re doing too much. My wife asked me the same thing the other day (after Eil’s presentation, which I made the family watch during dinner). In response, I asked my wife, the smartest person I know, what the library’s mission was. And she couldn’t tell me.
Bill: I really think libraries could just focus on traditional stock-books-for-people-to-check-out and they’d do great.
me: seems we’re all scratching our heads about that too.
Gene: And I think that’s crazy.
I think we do too much for folks who don’t vote.
Bill: Gene and I disagree about almost everything.
JP: So how do you guys feel about the non-book stuff then. gaming & such?
Gene: (And I’m a bleeding heart, don’t get me wrong.) I just think that since we survive on the (voting) public’s good will, we should probably focus on them and serve everyone else, too.
Bill: I like the idea of libraries stocking games that people can check out, same as movies and music.
As for programs, meh.
Gene: I like games. But I prefer board games to video games — they bring people together in an entirely different way and people get to know one another.
Bill: AGREED. WE AGREE.
Gene: Games are cheap programs, though, and libraries need to look at what a program actually costs them in terms of staff time, hardware, etc. Games are cheap.
JP: I guess the problem there, then, is exactly what Eli touched on…when we CAN’T loan ou tphysical stuff, what is a library there for?
Bill: I have never really understood programs. Why do libraries care if people come in do play games, etc.?
JP: Community engagement
Gene: Why do libraries do programs that serve the same 50 people, week after week?
JP: This is true!
me: (nodded here)
Bill: Do communities need to be engaged?
JP: On an event bigger scale, we loan out books like like, what, 5% of the population…what about the other 95%
even*
Gene: That’s my problem with it. We’re not making conversions, not really. Sure, we go to the new immigrants and let them know what we’re up to, which is great, but that’s low hanging fruit.
Bill: But maybe only 5% of the population really reads.
Gene: My other rant is about how libraries see themselves as retail environments. And I hate that. Because for retail, more business is a good thing. You can afford to expand. But when libraries get too much business the service falls apart (or standards fall, at least).
me: libraries have also become one of the only free access sources for internet usage
JP: Yea, i think that’s the struggle: do we need to fund something out of tax dollars that only serves 5%…not sure if that’s a question
Gene: And that’s great, free internet.
Shouldn’t municipalities just provide free wifi and internet stations scattered throughout the community? (If that’s what folks value about the library.)

Gene: Because making any adjustments to the library model would mean folks would lose their jobs. And that’s the last thing we want.
Bill Barnes: bastard.
JP: LOL

Ok since we’re almost out of time, will you guys party with the 8bitlibrary crew when you come out to the east Coast?
Gene: I’m just ranting in the corner. I’m going to start making things out of beads.
Sure. Where are you?

Gene: But only if you fly Andrea out.
bedazzled!
JP: I’m right next to NYC! She’s in the west coast now.
me: sweeeeet!!!
Bill: Well I hope you can parse something readable out of this chat session.
me: for your next batch of expo floor margaritas
yeaaa…we’ll see about that
JP: Thanks guys. I
me: it was fun
Gene: Those margaritas were good.

Save the Date: National Library Unconference Day ’11

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What?

When?

  • Save the date: May 2nd, 2011, 1pm EST. More info to follow this month.

Where?

  • At your library for a staff development day. Or an unconference for a regional library cooperative. Maybe something hosted at a state library? Or hosted by your state or regional library association. A great place to hold an uncon for National Library Unconference Day ’11 is at an LIS school. It’s totally up to you!

Why?

Who?

We’ll be streaming a free keynote session to all participating librarians, libraries and library organizations. Our confirmed speakers so far include:

How?

  • Soon enough, we’ll have a link up for you to sign up your unconference to receive the FREE keynote lightning talks webinar. For now, mark your calendars, organize your group, and get ready to change the world. Once you sign up, we’re imaging you’d use a computer + a projector to screen the keynote to your local participants, then you’d get to your individual unconference. We’ll have a constant digital conversation on Twitter via hashtag #libuncon. And we’re hoping people share what they learned and accomplished via blog posts and youtube videos!

MARK THOSE CALENDARS NOW, and #makeithappen! signed, JP & the 8bitlibrary.com team.

What type of media belongs in a library? (or, Who Are We?)

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I’ve been getting alot of questions lately: “what IS 8bitlibrary“?

6 months ago i would have said “it’s the gaming-in-libraries blog”! And I’m not, 6 months later, saying that statement is wrong. But we’re about a bigger issue, and that is: “we’re the #makeithappen blog“.

In libraries, #makeithappen is a taking new exciting ideas and seeing them through to the end. It’s the blog about all the really cool new stuff people are actually doing in libraries.

I had the opportunity to watch the Joaquim Phoenix movie I’m Still Here thanks to the Netflix instant queue. It was a great documentary about Joachim trying to become a Hip-Hop star. I won’t give spoilers, but the end, to say the least, “leaves you wondering”.

Tonight, again because of the Netflix Instant Queue on Xbox, I got to see the 1998 documentary Wrestling with Shadows, which ultimately chronicles the end of Bret Hitman Hart’s WWF career, with the Montreal Screwjob being the crux of the story. Everyone KNOWS wrestling is scripted, and the movie takes you through the process of how wrestling IS scripted. However, the end of the movie is the story of a script gone wrong, where the person who was supposed to win was “screwed”. In the 90s wrestling era, this was a defining moment of “OMG, wrestling can be REAL sometimes!!!”.

When the movie started, I felt that the fact that a documentary was being recorded at the convenient moment when the ultimate wrestling “real” outcome (vs the usual fake wrestling) was proof that even at the time wrestling was “real”, it was also an elaborate hoax.

I suggested to my wife that this would be a great program for a library (like a book discussion, but with movies instead of books). Show both movies and have people discuss the fictional and the factual elements of both, and maybe try to decide which told a better fictional but factual story.

My wife said “this doesn’t belong in libraries“. There’s lots of dicks, boobs, balls, sex, and drug use in the Joachim movie after all, and the wrestling movie was full of violence: everything we love to censor.

I thought back to all the books I have read since becoming a librarian. Lots worse violence. Way more sex and drug use. Much more graphic violence. They are making a MOVIE out of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, after all! As an aside, that book was set right in the same historical period as the Montreal Screwjob.

I said to myself: WHY is it ok to have certain forms of “inappropriate” expression in books but not movies? Why do we treat some forms of media as sacred, and other forms as dirty?

This, of course, is also what 8bitlibrary.com is about. We believe that storytelling media shouldn’t be judged just because it is presented in a certain media format and not another.

And so, I ask, how have libraries dealt with “controversial” content in one form of media that is less-controversial in other forms? We already know that some library board in the middle of nowhere decided to ban their library from showing the Michael Moore movie Sicko just because they didn’t agree with the argument the movie made. I’m sure they already own books that make similar arguments, and no one cares. Cranky Kong, Donkey Kong’s grandfather, would probably applaud their ban.

So, should libraries ban content in some formats and not others? And, do you feel like 8bitlibrary.com is just a “gaming blog”, or do you feel like we talk about gaming so much because we are touching on an issue that is really relevant to current libraries?

I wrote an article in January 2011′s School Library Journal along with 8bitlibrary.com contributor Beth Gallaway on the USA Supreme Court Case on First Amendment Rights and how they apply to video game content (vs, say, the same content in a Bugs Bunny cartoon). Same issue, different media format.

I would really love to get a convo going, either here, on twitter, or on facebook, about what you think!!!

Thanks for reading, true believers.

#makeithappen!

ALA Comic Book & Graphic Novel Member Initiative Group: We did it, yo.

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File this under #makeithappen.

We did it, yo.

As you know, 8bitlibrary.com (along with Robin Brenner of noflyingnotights.com) headed up a campaign to create an ALA Comic Book & Graphic Novel Member Initiative Group which would serve to unite all of the different “factions” within the Graphic-Novels-in-Libraries world.

Thanks to all of your help and support in getting the word out, we got all the signatures we needed and on Sunday January 9th 2011, the ALA’s Committee on Organization voted to make this group “official” in the ALA! John Chrastka of the ALA said I could announce the creation as “effective March 15th, 2011” so him, Robin & I, along with our ALA staff liaison Tina Coleman, could work out the deets.

I’ll add everyone who signed already into a list of people who want info on the group. If you didn’t sign but wanna be part of the group, just click here and send me an email using that form letting me know you want to be part of the group! Our first official meeting will be at ALA Annual 2011 in New Orleans, so please come out to that (as if you needed another reason to come to NOLA).

This is what happens when you cross comic books and @JustinLibrarian.

SO, what’s next for 8bitlibrary.com‘s #makeithappen initiative? At the ALA Mid-Winter meeting of the Games & Gaming MIG (which was attended by Brandon & I of team 8bit as well as a few members of the Emerging Leaders group on Video Games me & Justin are mentoring), we pretty much decided we’re going to move forward and turn the MIG into The ALA Games & Gaming Round Table. We’ll obviously keep you in the loop.

And one last thing: I’m running for ALA Council. You know I’m all about “make it happen” so I’d love if you gave me & my running mates a “thumbs up”:

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