A Bone to Pick

A recent op-ed article from The New York Times gave me some pause. “Reinventing the Library,” although well-intentioned, leaves me feeling like I can’t help but go on the defense. Bear with me, here.

The article argues that librarians today wear more hats than they previously did. Which is true! I have played the role of social worker, travel agent, and babysitter more times than I can count during my five years serving the public. And while our library staff does our best to help patrons, we always remind them that they would be better off consulting a professional to solve the aforementioned types of issues. (Unless they’re leaving their kids in the library for hours on end, then we give them a stern talking to. Pro tip: Please don’t do that.)

What sparked this post was one comment in the article: “[T]he role of librarians could be drafted by diversifying their mandate, but such restructuring must also ensure that the librarians’ primary purpose is not forgotten: to guide readers to their books.”

Bone, let me pick you for a bit.

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Rambling Review: The New Yorker Radio Hour

The New Yorker Radio Hour premiered this week on WNYC. Much to my chagrin, Car Talk has been taken off the air as a result. Personally, I am really bummed I will no longer spend my Saturday mornings listening to Click and Clack chuckle while I catch up on emails, pay bills, and sort my laundry.

That said, I understand why WNYC replaced Car Talk with The New Yorker Radio Hour. In recent years, they have gradually tweaked their weekend schedule to better appeal to a new generation of listeners (or so I imagine). Their first move by moving Jonathan Schwartz to Sunday was a great idea.

While I will miss Car Talk, I wanted to give this new show a listen, to see what could possibly top brotherly banter between Click and Clack. With minimal revisions, here are my initial thoughts on the show, segment by segment.

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I’m Texas-bound!

Some exciting news to share today. The SXSWedu 2016 panels were announced on Wednesday, and the one that I’m on was accepted! (Granted, SXSW misspelled my last name, but I promise it’s me who will be there.) I’ll be reppin’ Imagine Easy on an #EdTechBridge panel, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

I first discovered #EdTechBridge in my Twitter stream about a year ago, and it has been an invaluable resource for my company as we have made our way through a challenging, pivoting year. I can’t wait to join my friend Steve, and two other ETB community members, as we share stories of collaboration between vendors and educators, and how this important (and often undervalued) interaction is shaping our products and design process.

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Serial, Its Hype, and Misconstrued Expectations

About a year ago, I was spending my usual Sunday evening winding down listening to This American Life‘s newest episode. At the end, I heard Ira mention in his speedy, rhythmic, nasaly voice that the following week’s episode would also be the debut of TAL‘s first spin-off podcast. Never would I have thought a podcast would become so popular that it could form its own spin-off. Surely it couldn’t stick?

After listening to the first installment of Serial during the following week’s TAL episode, I was hooked. Soon after I was talking about it with my sister, my podcast bestie. Then, Mama G joined our discussions. I was happy my existing podcast pals at work were into it, too.

A few weeks later, I started to noticed some peculiar happenings.

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Bucket List Item: Checked


Being interviewed on a podcast about education? Aww, yeah.

I’ve been meaning to share this for a while, but between traveling and catching up on work (my inbox is a permanent disaster area), somehow it’s mid-October (!) and it still isn’t up on the blog.

As I wrote about in one of my first posts, when podcasts and education collide, it’s my favorite thing. So, you can imagine my excitement when I was invited to be interviewed on a podcast, about education.

The podcast, On the Vendor Floor, is spearheaded by Melissa Emler, an educator who coaches teachers in tech across 31 districts. Melissa managed to find our booth at ISTE this year, which in itself is quite the achievement, considering we were all the way at the back, along the perimeter, and hiding behind an enormous, curved standing banner from a neighborly vendor. When we spoke about this off the air, she made a sweet comparison, saying, “All the good stuff in most big stores is in the back, around the perimeter.” Shucks. :3

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CMX Series NYC: Our first event!

Working in community management involves a bit of a learning curve for many of us. Earlier this year, I found CMX, a wonderful resource for all things CM-related. The CMX East Summit was incredibly valuable, and gave me a lot of food for thought.

When I saw an announcement on the busy CMX Facebook group about helping out with a New York-based meetup, I jumped in. Working with other awesome CMs on the leadership team, we’re excited to announce our first event next Wednesday, October 21. It’s at Trello HQ, with free food and booze, and we have lots of fun things planned. Check out the event on Facebook, and follow the trail to the Eventbrite page to reserve your spot today.

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Hump Day Happiness

It’s Hump Day. These days can be tough, especially during a week when New York City is going haywire in preparation for A Very Papal Visit on Friday. Despite the excitement (and mild panic), a couple of fun things happened today that I want to share.

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When First Impressions Fail

I read an article on EdSurge this week, Why Edtech Companies Can’t Explain What They Do. Essentially, it argues that most ed tech websites are vague, leaving educators (and prospective buyers/users) feeling confused, uninterested, or apathetic about the tool they just learned about.

Ed tech companies primarily create digital tools that require a web or mobile connection to work, so what does it say about the company (or the product) when its own website can’t communicate what it does? It’s not a great way to make an impression in an industry swamped with competitors vying for buyers’ attention.

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On This Day

[blockquote source=”John Romanovich, on his experience as a recovery worker post-9/11″]I think most of us consider ourselves just to be ants crawling around on the pile.[/blockquote]

Today is a difficult day. If you want to remember 9/11, consider remembering it through the people who were brave enough to share their experiences with StoryCorps.

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Community Management Crisis: What Am I, Anyway?

Ever since I got a ~formal title change~ in January, I have struggled explaining to people what it is I do. Most of the time I tell people I work in marketing at an ed tech company. If you work in community, you know it’s not so cut and dry.

I’m fairly positive “community manager” was not a thing when I started my job in 2012. Even now, though it is more defined and there are even conferences and summits for community managers (CMs), I’m still not 100% clear.

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The Problem We All Live With

There is this one recent episode of This American Life that I just can’t shake. I shared it on Twitter time and time (and time) again. And now I’m sharing it here. Seeing as this blog is bit a of a confluence of education and podcasts (among other things), it seems fitting to write about it.

This American Life has been a gateway for a lot of now-podcast junkies. Perhaps because of its longevity, but also because of moving and poignant episodes like this one. When I first heard it during a flight to Las Vegas, I failed miserably at hiding my tears and suppressing weird mouth noises from the strangers between whom I was wedged. (They gave me some concerned glances, but generally ignored me otherwise.)

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What to Write…? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Here is the obligatory and slightly awkward “welcome to my blog” blog post. So, hi.

I can’t imagine anyone reading this is a complete stranger, so I won’t bother with an introduction of who I am. You may be wondering, however, why this blog popped up on the Interwebz in the first place.

I’m kicking this off namely to:

  • Reflect on the fun, challenging, and relatively new landscape of community management (in hopes to better my work, and hopefully get others thinking)
  • Share stories of librarianship, how and when it fits into the realm of community management, and stories (and lessons) from Library Land
  • Learn more about WordPress
  • Catalog and write about my favorite podcasts somewhere
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