Giving Props

Today is Ada Lovelace Day.  Who was Ada Lovelace?*  She is one of the first, if not the first, computer programmers.   Which is cool enough, but when you realize that she’s (a) an early woman pioneer in a male dominated field and (b) that, oh by the way, she did this in EIGHTEEN FORTY THREE…well, you might say that Ada Lovelace is, in modern parlance, FULL OF WIN.

Ada Lovelace Day is a day set aside by bloggers to recognize women in technology.  So, I’m supposed to highlight a woman in technology that I admire and blog about her.  Well, I don’t know if it’s because my area of technology (librarianship) is a field that women have  long been successful in or the fact that I am hesitant to single out just one woman, but I have a real embarrassment of riches when it comes to picking someone.

  • From UK, I can think of Stacey Greenwell and Beth Kraemer who, aside from being really excellent at their jobs and are publishing and presenting machines,  have been awesome mentors to me with the tech stuff, as well as with the navigating tenure track madness.
  • From Law Library World, three names that come to mind are Meg Kribble, Bonnie Sucha and Debbie Ginsberg, who planned the Web 2.0 Challenge last year.
  • From the rest of Library Land that I’m in contact with….well, I’m definitely not going to try to even single out a couple names.

I guess another part of my inability to recognize only a single person is that I don’t think there’s enough recognition in Library Land for all of the nifty things that people do.  I’m not talking just in our normal jobs. (“I just found you a document from an International Agency known to maybe ten people in the world, two of which are standing in this room right now,  and you DON’T EVEN SAY ‘THANK YOU’????”)  I mean, there’s a lot of people going out of their way to advocate for change,  try out new things and otherwise make life easier for their fellow librarians and patrons – often on their own time and without any monetary benefit at all.

(Recent example?  Tom Boone’s ScheduAALL 2009 conference scheduling page.  I can’t even explain to you how much annual meeting stress that thing has reduced for me.  He’s a dude, but whatever…awesome job, Tom!)

There are avenues for recognition….most notably LJ’s Movers and Shakers.  But that’s only 50 or so people out of several hundred thousand librarians. (I also note that this year there was not anyone  from Kentucky nor were there any law librarians.)  The LSW, an organization that I am proud to be a part of, has inaugurated its Shovers and Makers to highlight those other thousands.  Go check out both of those lists and be inspired by what librarians all over the world are doing.  And while you’re at the Shovers and Makers site, nominate yourself….I did.

On a somewhat related note, the stars have aligned, the travel gods have smiled upon me and starting next Friday I will start a whirlwind conference/meeting trip.  I can’t wait!   Here’s the schedule:

  • Friday, March 27: Drive to Bowling Green, KY for the KY-GODORT annual meeting.  We’ll also be celebrating WKU’s 75th Anniversary as a FDLP library.  (Shut up.  Gov docs are awesome.  Don’t fear the SuDoc, people.)
  • Saturday, March 28 – Tuesday, March 31: Flying to DC for the Computers in Libraries conference. (The conference where I sort of “found myself” and my Web 2.0 niche in 2007, and I’m really excited about some of the programming this year.)
  • Wednesday, April 1 – Friday, April 3: Drive to Barren River, KY for the KLA Academic and Special Library/SLA Kentucky Chapter Joint Spring Meeting. (My first event as an SLA member…)

Unfortunately, I think I stretched the goodwill of the travel gods and will not be able to attend the Library 2.0 Symposium at Yale on April 4.  But I am going to keep checking travel sites…I only confirmed plans for two of the above three within the past week…so who knows what may happen?

You’ll notice that none of these events are law library centered.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my law library peeps (and will be attending AALL, SEAALL and ORALL), but I find there’s something really energizing and educational about talking to librarians from other disciplines.   They seem to be able to try things about two years ahead of law libraries.  And besides, today’s college freshman is tomorrow’s 1L…it’s good to know what they’re being taught and come to expect about libraries since they’ll be our problem patrons soon.

Anyway, I cannot wait for next week.  For one thing, I am in desperate need of a break from work. My joie de vivre is getting harder and harder to hold on to.   Due to some budgetary issues, I’m working essentially two jobs right now and still trying to remain active in the profession.  Burnout…I haz it.

Secondly, I will not be attending these conferences and meetings alone.  My boss likes to kid me that all of my friends live in my computer.   While not exactly true, most of my friends are scattered around the country and we have to use technology to keep up with each other.  But next week, I get to see them in person!  Yay!

I am fortunate  in that many of my friends are not just awesome people, but they are awesome librarians.    They are Movers and Shakers and Shovers and Makers, from the Empire State to the Golden Gate.   So in addition to learning a whole bunch (and I’ll be blogging and tweeting as much as I can to share the love with y’all), I’ll be hanging out and recharging the ol’ batteries with some people that I’m absolutely crazy about.

*She’s also Lord Byron’s daughter, which is a nifty side fact, but I didn’t include it above because I didn’t want to distract from her awesomeness.

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5 Responses

  1. Thank you, Sarah. I know I don’t say often enough just how awesome YOU are. We are so proud to have you here at UK. I’m delighted that you will be joining us next week as an SLA member–it should be an excellent conference (and a lot of fun)!

  2. Hey! You’re such a cheater . . . and now I feel bad for not promoting more women in technology than one 😦

    Also, welcome to the SLA ranks! Having your first meeting be at the Joint Spring Conference is kind of jumping into the deep end of our general nuttiness. Be sure to bring a life vest 😛

  3. Wow – thanks Sarah. I’m flattered to make the list – esp coming from you. I think of you as one of the leaders in the law librarian tech world.

  4. Awww, shucks, Sarah! What Bonnie said.

  5. I’d add Cindi Trainor, at UK in my days, but now at EKU. Her citegeist blog is at the top of my library RSS feeds. She’s been in library tech since Netscape 1.1, but is thinking Web 3.0.

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