What a Long, Strange Trip

By Michelle Boule | A little over a year ago, ALA TechSource Blog sashayed out onto the dance floor. I remember thinking how it was wonderful that ALA was finally getting into blogs. Teresa had gathered some big names in the Biblioblogosphere, and I knew ALA TechSource Blog was going to be a hit. I was right.

ALA TechSource was distinguished from other "techie" blogs by being a tech place for the layman. Here was a place that librarians unfamiliar with the jargon and discussion could read without being overwhelmed. The discussions were often illuminated with real-world examples and interviews with librarians in the trenches. I was a fan.

I am a Gen Xer with Y tendencies. The past year has been interesting for ALA in regard to its younger members and those who lean towards the technology side of the spectrum, two positions that do not necessarily have to be on the same team. We went from having an ALA president who berated the aforementioned populations to a president who threw a party for us in New Orleans. ALA went from having three division blogs to offering staff blogs, a members' blog, and multiple wikis.

ALA Library 2.0 Bootcamp was a highlight of the past year for me. The success of the program lies squarely at the feet of ALA for displaying at least two of the tenets of Library 2.0: radical trust and removing barriers. ALA allowed some of its members a view from different seats, and they trusted us to behave, learn, and represent them well. I think we did, and I am proud of ALA for taking the leap.

I am amazed that I am allowed to be a part of this writing team. I learn more from the people that surround me online every day.

ALA TechSource Blog Launched Late-Sept. '05 In the spirit of "lifelong learning," I leave you with 10 Things I Learned from the ALA TechSource Blog in the Last Year:
  1. Librarians like to make manifestos.
  2. The concept of Library 2.0 and its definition occurred in a conversation we had out loud, with each other, online. How cool is that?
  3. Michael interviewed Chris Harris, and I realized that the unused technology potential in school libraries was huge!
  4. Librarians exist in the real world and in MMORPG, Second Life in particular.
  5. Some people can take a good thing, like Flickr, and portray it as something vile, leaving librarians to defend access to information.
  6. Beta can be a verb.
  7. Sometimes we need to leave our fears behind and have an honest conversation.
  8. Karen laid out in detail just how much our OPACs do indeed suck.
  9. Library 2.0 matters because our users matter.
  10. Six heads are better than one.
Happy Birthday, ALA TechSource blog! May there be many, many more.
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