Friday, October 16, 2009

NYLA 2009: My first library conference!

This week I spent about a day, or two half-days, at the 2009 New York Library Association conference in Niagara Falls. The theme of the conference was "Libraries: Peace, Love & Freedom," and many of the vendors and NYLA division booths were decked with tie-dye, lava lamps, peace signs, and other hippie paraphernalia. There were also some sessions on intellectual freedom in libraries and other relevant issues, although I only made it to two panels due to time constraints. I must poke gentle fun at the theme, having lived a bit too long in Berkeley, but it was a colorful theme and I got a neat pair and a half of socks!

I volunteered at the iSchool booth when I first arrived, chatting with prospective students and alumni. I also attended two conference sessions. One was a panel of representatives from library schools around the state, talking about what's going on in their programs. Megan Oakleaf, my professor for 605, represented Syracuse and discussed the cooperative projects between students and libraries in IST 613, Library Planning, Marketing, & Assessment, which I'll be taking next semester. I'm glad I went to that, because it got me thinking about what I might do for my project. I also went to a session on Living History Through Social Networking, which discussed the use of social networking tools to teach information literacy. See the wiki here. I learned a lot about Twitter especially that I didn't already know, and now I have a better idea of how to use it both personally and professionally.

The best part of the conference was the SU reception for students, faculty, and alumni on Thursday night. Not just because of the wine! but also because I got to meet alumni and other students. As a distance student, it's easy to feel isolated from other people, so I really enjoyed interacting with people in person, and especially meeting students who began the program this fall on campus and are in roughly the same place that I am. It's also interesting to hear perspectives on how courses are taught in person vs. online.

It also occurred to me that conferences are like the gateway week in the summer (or maybe it's the other way around!) - you can get away from the distractions of daily life for a few days (and I've discovered as I go on how many distractions we distance students have, especially jobs, families, and kids) and dive head first into the exciting world of librarianship. It's really invigorating; as I did after IST 511, I came home full of ideas and enthusiasm for the path I'm headed down. I also discovered that sections of NYLA such as ASLS (academic and special libraries) have their own little conferences, and the ASLS is having theirs in my husband's hometown of Ithaca next June, so I have a lot more of these to look forward to!

Monday, October 12, 2009

I poop on your holiday!

So today is Columbus Day, a.k.a. Columbus Cold Murdered All the Indigenous Peoples Day. The Ithaca paper had a front-page story about how schools are shockingly teaching all about the Dark Side of Columbus, which is not so shocking to me since my progressive schools were teaching me all about the Dark Side of Columbus and Other Europeans 25 years ago.

What did shock me was when I moved to Wooster Square and found out there were still people who considered Columbus Day a holiday, not just a day off but a festive holiday i.e. Italians, i.e. my people, or a quarter of my people. In 1892, before Columbus became un-PC, the Italian immigrants of New Haven erected a statue of Columbus in Wooster Square which stands to this day, and on this very day I can tell you (though I am not there) that it is festooned with all sorts of flowers and banners donated by the continually present Italian community of New Haven. Also the Knights of Columbus is headquartered in New Haven. So Columbus is kind of a big deelio.

Why? Well, because Columbus was, very broadly speaking, the first Italian-American, and while it might be more appropriate for our people to celebrate Mother Cabrini, this was before her canonization or even her death, so...there you go. And there is something to celebrate, after all, about being Italian in America, which is pretty cool, especially for southern Italians (such as my great-grandparents) who, like many immigrants, came here to escape poverty and provide their descendants with opportunities they didn't have in their native land. Italians are one of the American success stories, maintaining their identity, their traditions, and sometimes (to my surprise as I wander around Wooster) their language, while becoming at the same time fully acculturated Americans. Columbus Day is the day when Italian-Americans celebrate being Italian and American--which, not having grown up in a place with a critical mass of Italians, I never realized they had a day for until I moved to Wooster Square.

Which is not to negate the very real historical consequences of Columbus, the murder and often annihilation of entire native cultures by war, massacre, smallpox, and the like, and the herding of remaining peoples onto tiny reservations on land nobody else wanted. Italians have had it pretty good; we don't really need a holiday. But I wonder if this is a zero-sum game, if on this day our collective conscience must so outweigh any other consideration that there is not a sliver of space for us to celebrate what was good in what came after, which considering how good pizza is, you'd think maybe there would be, just a little. So I can pass on to my one-eighth Italian daughter with the Italian surname for a first name and the birthday that will often fall on Columbus Day weekend, or what is left of it after all the significance has been wrung out of it and we're left with guilt and no mail--sorry, that was a long sentence, but so I can pass on to her a little tiny bit of pride in being Italian-American, which whatever our ancestral sins is still a neat thing to be.

Auletta is two!

She turned two on Saturday. And I would totally have pictures, except I stayed in Ithaca and sent Justin home with the computer that has the photo editing software on it. So, no pictures for another week, unless I snag a trial version of Photoshop Elements on my new baby computer, which by the way I love because it is RED and it is MINE and it does not have dozens of vertical LINES running down its dull screen after its three-year warranty has EXPIRED.

Auletta is super duper cute, and very opinionated, and I'll write more about her maybe sometime after I write my next post.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

In Which Girl With Flat Hat is Outed, or Where Do I Live Again?

I googled "girl with flat hat" today for the first time in, oh, ever, and wow maybe I should do that more often. I am on the DC Blogs blog feed because I used to live kind of near D.C., I mean a lot closer than I do now, and they feature a few posts every day in DC Blogs Noted. I had no idea, but Guess what our baby has two of? and When two toddlers meet in the night were both featured. I think they go for the catchy titles.

Also Girl With Flat Hat is listed on the NY blogroll of Net Right Nation, Your Unique Portal to the Conservative Blogosphere. So I guess it's true what you already suspected, that my pretensions to (how do you state a negative?) moderate-ness (moderation), unaffiliation, centrism, etc. are lies, all lies! Well, actually I just scanned the blogroll and there is a blog called BOLDLY LIBERAL on there, which is, so maybe it's just really easy to fool them.

Where do I live? Not New York or D.C., at least not at the moment.

In far more important news (TODDLER STAT ALERT!): Auletta had her two-year checkup today. She is 31 3/4" tall, 22 lb. 11 oz., and has a 49 cm head. 10/10/80 on the percentiles. Two flu shots and a clean bill of health. Feel the love.