My last post was a serious downer, and I apologize for that. I debated skipping the medical stuff, but I really felt like I needed to justify my decision to back out of ALA—if not to everyone else, then at least to myself. (And enough people have asked “What did you do to yourself, Coral?” that it seemed worth getting it all written down somewhere I could share it, anyway.) Deciding not to do ALA was a hard call. People have been super supportive, though! I am really grateful for the amazing folks in the library world, and I’m glad there is such a strong online community. It takes some of the sting out of missing conference.
Most timely: I found out yesterday that I was elected as an ALA Councilor-at-Large! 2,557 people voted for me, which is hard to wrap my head around. It’s scary and humbling, even as it makes me really proud, to have so many people say they think I can do this job. If you’re one of the people who voted for me, thank you! I’ll do my best to share what Council is discussing, and I’ll ask for people’s thoughts and ideas, to take back to Council. (Excitingly, there will be three Alaskans serving on Council. I’m not sure if that’s a record or not, but it’s better representation than we get in the two houses of Congress—also 3, but out of a much larger number.)
I think it’s funny that I attended my first ever Faculty Senate meeting on the same day I learned about the Council election results. That election was unopposed, and my motives for running were significantly less pure. (“I need more university service, the tenure committee says. Hmm. Faculty Senate seems straightforward.”) I think it will be good practice for Council, and I’ll learn a lot about how my university operates. So we’ll count that in the “success” list, too.
I think I mentioned in the last post that I’ll be attending the LITA Forum. I was delighted to find out that my proposal was accepted! It will be my first “solo” national-level talk—and the first national-level talk that was entirely my own idea. (The quotation marks are just there because I am including a significant audience interaction component. The presentation part is, in fact, just me.) This is the first time I’ve said to myself “Holy crap, someone needs to talk about this,” looked around, realized nobody else was doing it, and then pitched it as a talk. Usually, I just make it a blog post. Or let the idea go altogether. So this is a big, exciting step!
And, finally, I’ll be on the Circulating Ideas podcast again, this time talking about gender in libraries as part of a panel with Kate Kosturski and Marge Loch-Wouters (and hopefully at least one other person; if you want in, comment!). I’ll link to it when it airs. I still find audio-only to be a tough format, honestly, so this will be good practice. And I think it’ll be a great discussion, my own comfort level notwithstanding. I’m calling it a success, because I believe it will be. :)
It’s been a winter* for what, in consulting land, we called “stretch activities.” I’m moving beyond my comfort zone pretty regularly, which shows up not only in my successes, but in … I’m not sure what to call this list. “Things that either are in progress, or have ended differently than I’d hoped,” perhaps? None of them really feel like failures.
- I did my first hackathon, despite some serious concerns about being a newbie. This is still in progress, because we haven’t finished the project. I might be learning more Ruby and Rails than I’d expected, in the near future.
- I pitched the idea for, and ultimately ended up co-founding, a local organization…
- …which requires me to stand up in front of people, teaching things that I often just barely know, myself. (And since “modeling fallibility”—to borrow a term from Andromeda Yelton—is one of our core values, I’m not only stretching in doing this, but in trying to be comfortable with it. There’s a whole post in that, I think.)
- I put in my name for a panel that interested me (for ALA, actually), and although I was ultimately not accepted, the process of applying was good for me—plus, I got pretty much the nicest rejection letter ever. :)
- I also pitched a very similar presentation to the LITA Forum one, for another big conference, timed/located conveniently with travel I’ll already be doing. I don’t know how confident to be that it’ll be accepted; there are some pretty big fish in that pond. It won’t destroy me to have the proposal rejected (honestly!), but it would be pretty fantastic if it worked out.
- I’m pretty publicly taking a MOOC, despite having quit every MOOC I’ve ever tried before. I will totally get through this one, though!
- I went to our Department Heads meeting to pitch the idea of creating a marketing plan/style guide for my library, which will cost actual money—and now I am apparently running the committee? (Someone else might step up. I haven’t convened the group yet, though it was officially approved.)
I feel good about all of this. Despite clouds and greyness in some areas of my life, overall I’d have to say things are pretty sunny and bright.
* It’s still winter. It snowed today.