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* Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Jenny and ALA's Excellent Adventure

You have new Picture Mail! I've tried to highlight "Library 2.0-ish" jobs when I come across them, because I think they're an indication that libraries see value in people who can translate what is happening in the outside world to our own. Most recently, I missed a fascinating Electronic Services Specialist job at the Redwood City Public Library in California (sorry, already closed), the "didn't-think-I'd-be-seeing-that-job-title-quite-yet-but-hooray" Wiki Analayst one at EBSCO, and the Nebraska Library Commission's Technology Innovation Librarian (which I almost applied for just for the job title).

However, now I get to highlight a NEW 2.0-ish job, and I am particularly excited about it because it's going to be MY new job at the American Library Association! I think I have the coolest job description ever!

"Responsibilities: Focuses primarily on content extensions and optimization of 24/7 content delivery and marketing (e.g.RSS); new product development; strategic planning related to new technologies; personalization features; further integration of online communities; and, investigation of new technologies for knowledge transfer and exchange. The overall responsibility is to provide vision and leadership regarding emerging technologies, development of services and their integration into the ALA environment. Specific areas include: 1) content extensions and optimization of 24/7 content delivery, 2) new product development, 3) strategic planning related to integration of new technologies, including ways to reach members and/or customers- current and potential, 4) strategic planning and implementation related to use of new technologies to reach and involve members and 5) further development and integration of Online Communities.

Requirements: Masters of Library Science (MLS or MLIS) from an ALA accredited program. Knowledge of 2.0 technologies and concepts. Ability to work in a complex organizational environment. Strong communication ability (written and verbal). Comfort with rapid prototyping...."

I’m not sure what I want to say about it at this point, except to thank everyone at ALA who made this possible. I can't wait to meet more of the staff and start working with them! Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote about changes I saw happening at OCLC and how this was affecting not just my opinion of the organization, but also its usefulness to me. Lately, I have found myself saying the same things about ALA, and not just because I write for the TechSource Blog or because I helped teach an online course for them. I really like the thought of being part of the continuation of that trend and of helping our professional organization grab hold of the place it should occupy (and lead from) in the online world.

What does all of this mean for my blog? At least initially, not much. I’ll be adding a disclaimer to the site that the opinions expressed here are still my own (just making it more explicit). I’m not suddenly going to start blogging private, internal information, so don’t look for that kind of stuff here. I plan to keep writing about what I’ve always written about (ideally more of it than I’ve been able to manage this last year), hopefully using ALA projects as examples and models, just as I used to do with my MLS libraries. I’m not drinking the Kool-Aid, as I plan to still offer constructive criticism of my employer when necessary, but also praise when it is deserved.

I should probably also note that if you've got me booked to speak at an upcoming event, I need to ask you to change my affiliation from "Metropolitan Library System" to "American Library Association." My job title should also be officially listed as "Internet Development Specialist and Strategy Guide" (yay!). And at least for the near future, the best way to reach me is on IM (cybrarygal on AIM) or via my home email address ( I'll post about my spiffy, new ALA contact information after I start work there.

To my former MLS libraries, I want to offer a very heartfelt thank you to each and every one of you. Over the years, you've all been wonderful guinea pigs, in some cases letting me lead you, and in other cases leading me with your own great ideas. While there are so many projects, ideas, and opportunities I will always regret not being able to implement for you or help you with, I will always look back on what we’ve accomplished together with great satisfaction and pride. We’ve done things no other library system in the State has done, and the rest of the stuff we often did first. Last year, the Illinois Library System Directors Organization did a survey of member libraries’ knowledge of technologies in which MLS libraries came out far ahead of their colleagues because you've been so willing to listen to, think about, and most importantly, try new things. I have full faith in you to continue being creative and innovative, and I look forward to seeing the wonderful new things you’ll come up with in the future and adding more of your projects to my presentations!

Finally, while I won't be saying anything about the fact that my position at MLS was eliminated last week, I want to say to my friends (family, really) at the former SLS Headquarters that I truly will miss working with all of you. Even more than our members, you’ve been willing to experiment and try new things with me (especially those of you that had to learn HTML back in 1997!), and you helped make us the best system in the State! You always helped make my ideas a successful reality, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without you. It has been a joy and a pleasure working with all of you for the last nine years. I wish you continued success and I know how lucky the members are to have you!

I'll be attending the ALA Annual Conference (I'll be in New Orleans for a whole week, through Leslie Burger's inaugural), so if you're there, stop me and say hi! I have a press pass thanks to TechSource and a whole bunch of new insider colleagues (hi, ALA staff!), so I'll be pretty busy while I'm there, but I plan to blog and Flickr as much of it as possible. I'm also hoping to get to the bloggers' salon Saturday night to catch up with all of my biblioblogosphere buddies.

I will officially start at ALA on August 1, and I'm very much looking forward to it. Thank you to everyone for your wonderful support this last week and as I move forward on this new adventure!

Update: Thank you to everyone for your wonderful comments and emails! I'm trying to respond to all of them, but it's been a bit overwhelming and I still have to pack for New Orleans! Please be patient as I work my way through email - I really appreciate all of your well wishes!

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