The Yard Work is DONE

Our yard is large for where we live in the suburbs – about a half-acre. Most other lots are 1/3 to 1/4 acre. We also have a LOT of trees: a beech behind the house, several ashes around the perimeter, and a huge maple in the front. So fall is always a time when we need to deal with the leaves. It normally takes us 5-6 days to get everything done.

Well this year, our brother-in-law lent us his new industrial-grade leaf blower and let me tell you: this thing is a game-changer. Raking always leaves me wrecked (pun totally intended). Today I spent 2.5 hours leaf-blowing, then Amy and I took 3 loads of leaves to the town dump/recycle center (front half of the yard) and got the leaves from the back half of the yard dumped into the gigantic compost pile in the back of our yard. We’ve got another load of bagged leaves plus downed sticks to bring to the dump tomorrow, then we just need to mow the lawn for the final time and we are DONE with yard clean-up.

Leaf-blower is a TOTAL game-changer. I didn’t hate today (much) because of it.

Also I am exhausted and this is the dumbest blog post ever.

6 Library Blogs I Read: You’ll Never Guess Why

I’m sure that regular library-type readers of this blog have their own list of library blogs they read. This is an abbreviated version of my list. It is by no means comprehensive (there are over 50 library blogs in my feedly right now). The content of these blogs are the main reason I”m interested in them, but there’s something a little special about each one beyond solely the content that’s got me hooked.

Blog title
Description.
The special something.

  1. Letters to a Young Librarian
    This is the blog that got me back into writing earlier this year. Jessica Olin is the primary author and editor of this blog. New posts come out twice weekly, mostly focused on pieces of advice that folks newer to the profession (or to certain roles in the profession) might find useful. 
    Writing as practice.
  2. LibraryProject.info
    This is the newest blog on my radar (start date October 2014). Michael Perry aims to share knowledge about project management specifically as it relates to libraries. I’m always on the lookout for good information about project management and this blog fills a void in our profession.
    Finding a voice.

  3. Library Lost and Found
    A group blog from mainly public and school librarians who are leaders of many sorts (managers, directors, leaders within their areas of the profession or their organization), I find this compelling as a director, middle manager, and someone who constantly enjoys taking on new leadership challenges within (but not so often outside) of my organization.
    Beginner’s mind.
  4. hls: hack library school
    Another group blog, this time from people in library school, I like reading this blog to keep a finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the places where our newest colleagues are earning their credentials, especially since I’ve not been in those spaces for 20 years now. (Gasp. And gag. I aged.) This blog has an awesome cast of alumni, along with a wide variety of current authors. Nicely done, hls, keeping it fresh.
    Continually shifting perspectives.

  5. Pegasus Librarian
    Iris Jastram has been dropping total gems in this blog since 2006. Her position in the profession is very similar to mine: she’s an academic librarian at a small, primarily residential, selective liberal arts college. The things she thinks and the way she reflects on those things in written form have helped me and my colleagues become significantly better at working with our students and faculty over many years.
    Inspiring reflection and improving practice.

  6. Constructive Summer: Building the Unified Library Scene
    Rachel Fleming and Erin Leach co-author this blog, which aims to break down barriers and build relationships between the various folks in various parts of libraries. Unification FTW!
    Working together.

So that’s my list of some of the blogs I’m reading these days that have a little something special about them. What blogs are you reading that you’d like more people to pay attention to? And why?

Creative Time

At MPOW, we have a mandate from our CIO to spend 2 hours as week in “creative time.” Based in the idea of Google’s 20% time,  everyone in Library & Technology Services is required to spend 2 hours a week doing something outside of our normal day-to-day work. (Technically, I think it’s 5.7% time, not 20%. Still. It’s something.)

doge meme

There are a bunch of things about this idea that I find really awesome:

  1. Nothing is out of bounds, which lets people try all manner of things they might not ever consider in the course of the regular workweek.
  2. It creates a culture of risk-taking. Because we don’t have to actually PRODUCE anything from our 2 hours a week, other than learning, we can bite off more than we can chew, so to speak.
  3. It creates a sense of self-determination. No one is going to tell me what to do with my creative time. I get to decide what it should be, and if after doing it for a while I think my thing is dumb or useless, I can change it. And I don’t have to check with anyone that doing so is okay.

In previous years, I

  • learned a ton about altmetrics (which led to co-authoring a short article and blog post with LTS colleagues and a chemistry faculty member, as well as being on a panel at a local conference)
  • tried to root a Nook Color (that project failed pretty spectacularly; as it turns out, I bit off a bit more than I could chew, although I do want to go back and try it again this year)
  • went to a local library conference on working with large touch-screen computers (think the old-school Microsoft Surface tables)
  • plus a bunch of other smaller things….

This year I’m trying to focus my creative time efforts on exploring different methods of learning. To that end, I

  • took and passed a MOOC (Visualizing Japan 1850s-1930s: Westernization, Protest, Modernity) (online, asynchronous but time-bound learning)
  • re-acquainted myself with this blog, including resetting all my passwords, updating the backend software, downloading and configuring new plugins, etc. (online, self-directed learning)
  • plan on signing up for an (archived) online doodling course with Lisa Congdon through CreativeBug (online, asynchronous, not-time-bound learning with significant offline work)
  • create an object to print on our Makerbot (online and in-person learning, both synchronous and asynchronous learning)
  • plus whatever else strikes my fancy

If you had 2 hours a week to do “creative things” at work, what would you try? If you could determine a theme for your creative time, what might it be?

A blog by Megan A. Brooks