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The Information Amateurs Strike Back

Posted on 5 July 2010 at 9:04 am in Events, IASC.

Sequels, as a concept, are much maligned. But then again, The Empire Strikes Back is as good or better than Star Wars. Godfather II? Better than the first. And thus it’s time for the second go-round for the Information Amateurs Social Club! Early career librarians and archivists, recent MLIS grads or current MLIS students, or any one else connected to the profession is invited to join us Saturday, July 10 at 6:30 at the Lone Palm, a comfy neighborhood bar on 22nd Street near Guerrero in San Francisco’s Mission District. We’ll talk shop, trade stories, and meet other professionals.

If 6:30 sounds early to you, fear not — I’m sure at least a fair few of us will be out well into the evening, so if you can’t make it until 8, 9 or 10 — that’ll be fine. You can RSVP via facebook or let me know you’re coming via twitter or email — that way we know who to look out for over the course of the evening.

It’ll be a great time out. Let’s just not turn this into one of the Matrix sequels.

Information Amateurs are born!

Posted on 14 May 2010 at 12:19 pm in Events, IASC.

A couple weeks ago (April 30, to be exact), a mix of early career librarians and MLIS students got together at the Latin American Club for a couple drinks, story-swapping and the type of informal networking that is an awful lot of fun (as first advertised here). Some were friends of mine, some were friends of rockstar cataloger Greg Borman, some were people we’d met on facebook or twitter but not yet met face-to-face. Somewhere between a dozen and a dozen and a half made it out.

It was fun.

This is the part of the blog post were I should be putting up a series of photos of our night out (since a handful of pictures are worth thousands of words). But I didn’t bring a camera. Imagine instead a photo of our three tables cobbled together in a gerrymandered conquest of half the bar’s floorspace; a late-night rendezvous at a taquería where we indulged in tacos, burritos and tortas; margaritas the size of a pint; frenzied debates on the worthiness of Oakland versus San Francisco. Oh, and we talked about libraries too.

It was so much fun that we’ll do it again. Join the Information Amateurs Social Club on Facebook if you want to hear about it when we do.

Information Amateurs Social Club

Posted on 12 April 2010 at 7:25 am in Events, IASC.

Back before graduation, my student colleagues and I were invited to occasional student organization sanctioned happy hours or other social events. When I met up with new Stanford metadata specialist (and former SLIS classmate) Greg Borman for a pint last month we realized we were no longer part of that network of current students, and if we wanted to approximate something similar (ie, keep in touch with our peers socially), we’d have to organize it ourselves.

Thus the idea of the Information Amateurs was born. Early career (ish) professionals getting together to swap stories and job seeking hints, all over a libation or perhaps two. This is a non-discriminatory concept;  I like breaking down silos, so public, academic or special librarians are all welcome, as are archivists, current students or various other denominations.

The first Information Amateurs Happy Hour is going to be Friday, April 30th at the Latin American Club in San Francisco’s Mission District (22nd Street at Valencia). It’s entirely possible it might be just Greg and I. Or 30 people could show up in a crowded bar. So far the invite list includes people I just met this weekend at CARL, people I haven’t run into since a class a couple years ago, some of my closest friends in the profession, and people I’ve never even met that are connected through Greg.

If you’re reading this and haven’t been invited, you’re invited. If you’re interested, contact me via the options on my “about” tab or just respond to this Facebook invitation.

If we get a big response, the Information Amateurs Social Club will officially be born.

Cataloging Cocktails

Posted on 7 December 2009 at 9:59 pm in Musings.

This Friday night, my wife and I will be hosting some thirty-odd current and alumni students from San Jose State’s School of Library and Information Science for a graduation party in honor of all those who’ve completed their degrees this Fall (which, yes, includes me).

I’ve always been amused by the defensiveness I see from some quarters when it comes to “stereotypes” about librarians. Of course I understand the argument about how changing technology and information needs are altering the nature of the MLIS degree, and I know the core skills of the librarian are constantly in evolutionary flux. My own skillset, interests and education are all reflective of a 21st century librarian. But since when did a good argyle sweater become something to be ashamed of? Heck, even pop stars are mimicking librarian style these days (and I rock a good argyle whenever I can).

So for this party, we’re organizing a bit of a throwback: we’ll give a special doorprize to the best librarian “drag” worn by an attendee — sweater vests, lead-pencil hair buns, the works. And I borrowed a typewriter, bought some index cards,  and pulled out the hole punch to create a cocktail menu on a set of catalog cards:

Complete Set

Of course, cocktails aren’t something you’d typically catalog for a library. So I used a little creative license: “The Great Gatsby” has been cataloged under its namesake novel’s Dewey Decimal call number, and the Library of Congress Subject Headings for the “Bloody Mary” have more to do with an English monarch than they do tomato juice. Here’s the complete set (10, one for each class under the DDC):

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