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Just Showing Up

“Eighty percent of success is just showing up”   – Woody Allen

I’ve found the above quote to have a lot of truth in my career so far, but I’m not talking about just showing up at work. It’s easy to simply spend all your time in your office. You have a lot of work to do. It’s comfortable there. It’s safe. But I’m not sure that just showing up at your office is going to bring success.

What I’m talking about is just showing up in other places, especially outside the library. Go to faculty senate meetings. Go to community gatherings. Attend board or town hall meetings. Join committees. Go to conferences or informal gatherings of librarians. Go to social events or holiday parties. The benefits of just showing up at events or meetings quickly become clear. You begin developing relationships with others. People remember your face, know who you are, and know that you are from the library. By just showing up you become an ambassador of the library. You’re getting out of the library and spreading your message of information and helpfulness in multiple places. If you go where the action is, good things just start to happen.

You may be able to help someone on a project that they have been thinking about for a while. You may have a great suggestion at a meeting that utilizes library resources. You may find a colleague or faculty member to collaborate with on a shared interest. Informal conversations with community members, faculty, staff, or students outside the library can and do lead to much bigger things. But these things won’t happen if you are sitting in your office all day. The first step is to just show up.

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Librarian Relief Fund From VLA

Photo by U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Northeast Region on Flickr

The Vermont Library Association is launching the Librarian Relief Fund to assist librarians who suffered personal property damages as a result of Hurricane Irene. You’ve likely seen the devastation on the news. What you don’t always see though is the extremely long, labor intensive process of cleaning up after something like this. It’ll take people in these communities a long time to get “back to normal.”

A lot of folks did not have flood insurance, and people are going to need support above what federal and state agencies can offer. If you feel inclined to help a librarian in need, please consider making a donation or sharing this post. You can donate online here, or you can mail a contribution to:

Vermont Library Association | Attn: Librarian Relief Fund | P.O. Box 803 | Burlington, VT 05402

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The New Deal On E-Books

I said a few weeks ago that e-books are a different sort of medium than print books. Now we are seeing how some of those differences are shaking out. Harper Collins recently changed their terms of use to cap the use of their ebooks at 26 checkouts, at which point if libraries still want access they will have to repurchase the book. This set off the library community. There are a lot of blog posts on this (there’s a good roundup of them at Librarian By Day). There are also a plethora of tweets under the #hcod hashtag.

Below I am posting the eBook User’s Bill of Rights. It’s a good document outlining what ebook users want (and probably should be able) to have and do. I know as an e-book user I get really annoyed that I can’t use some of them on my iPad or Android devices. What are your thoughts about the bill of rights or the new Harper Collins terms? Let me know your thoughts in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtags #hcod and #ebookrights.

The eBook User’s Bill of Rights

Every eBook user should have the following rights:

  • the right to use eBooks under guidelines that favor access over proprietary limitations
  • the right to access eBooks on any technological platform, including the hardware and software the user chooses
  • the right to annotate, quote passages, print, and share eBook content within the spirit of fair use and copyright
  • the right of the first-sale doctrine extended to digital content, allowing the eBook owner the right to retain, archive, share, and re-sell purchased eBooks

I believe in the free market of information and ideas.

I believe that authors, writers, and publishers can flourish when their works are readily available on the widest range of media. I believe that authors, writers, and publishers can thrive when readers are given the maximum amount of freedom to access, annotate, and share with other readers, helping this content find new audiences and markets. I believe that eBook purchasers should enjoy the rights of the first-sale doctrine because eBooks are part of the greater cultural cornerstone of literacy, education, and information access.

Digital Rights Management (DRM), like a tariff, acts as a mechanism to inhibit this free exchange of ideas, literature, and information. Likewise, the current licensing arrangements mean that readers never possess ultimate control over their own personal reading material. These are not acceptable conditions for eBooks.

I am a reader. As a customer, I am entitled to be treated with respect and not as a potential criminal. As a consumer, I am entitled to make my own decisions about the eBooks that I buy or borrow.

I am concerned about the future of access to literature and information in eBooks.  I ask readers, authors, publishers, retailers, librarians, software developers, and device manufacturers to support these eBook users’ rights.
These rights are yours.  Now it is your turn to take a stand.  To help spread the word, copy this entire post, add your own comments, remix it, and distribute it to others.  Blog it, Tweet it (#ebookrights), Facebook it, email it, and post it on a telephone pole.

To the extent possible under law, the person who associated CC0 with this work has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to this work.