BC Libraries and Space. Go jump in the lake this summer


This summer has been a wonderful BC Wide experience for me both family-wise and work-wise.  The two have collided around this coming Summer Reading Event from the Burnaby Public Library.

As a part of the free public outdoor movie nights offered in Burnaby I will be out this Thursday with the CooperativeTV gear supporting a public Q&A with space scientist Darlene Lim. Look also for a coming post of our video message for BC Libraries from Cmdr Chris Hadfield (someone who loves social media *almost* as much as I do) — note here it’s Chris Hadfield birthday that day so expect there will be some sing-along too.

Emcee’ing the event will be Children’s Librarian Vicki Donoghue and Pavillion Lake Research Project manager Donnie Reid. It is the Pavillion Lake project that has gotten me most thrilled with this to-do list item for myself. Pavillion Lake is a lake near Clinton, BC. In this lake space science comes down to earth testing space practice, and theory, with underwater submersibles, BC scuba talent and in-real-life science that blows my mind. In a just short time the idea of #gojumpinthelake and BC summers has taken on a new meaning to me, as has the busting of sterotypes I had about the depth (ha ha), range and breadth of the expertise that speaks to Canada contribution to space exploration and knowledge.

As I get set to show up on the field in Burnaby this week and help share as much as we can about space, science, BC, knowledge and exploration I am hopeful we can learn a little more, and enjoy a whole lot, of connectedness about the themes that matter most to anyone in the Province and especially all those kids who spend their summers up, up and away with the space themed Summer Reading Club for 2013.  Join the conversation on twitter at #BCLibrariesSpace

If, like me, you are feeling energized read more here:
Pavillion Lake‘s mission to research and explore with scuba and submersibles in aid of the development of coming human exploration missions to the Moon and Mars.
Planetary Systems Branch
News from and about Pavillion Lake


Library problems that might be social problems

In my work I struggle most with three library problems (that might just be social problems).. they drive me crazy. Firstly, the lack of public internet access. Poor investment in public networks is undertandable for the confederate life of Canadians and by understandable I mean predictable.. not acceptable. I don’t know if you have seen the story of the transformation a new net might do for the town of Olds but contemplate it.. what can it mean for Canadians to gain the edge, instead of lagging the development cycle of new technology.

Problem two for me..Closed data sources. And reading sources…. Libraries have done due diligence for about fifteen years helping publishers and web authors bring their content to market. We are done like dinner. STOP VOLUNTEERING hours of public service time or teaching time to software training for a source that doesn’t love us back.

The final problem is the drift to the middle. With digitalization (yes I hate that word but whatever) with new digital nation trends society IS MONOLITHIC. Learning is monolithic, citizenship.. even personalization is monolithic. And who wins in the age of Ozymandius? The middle that’s who (save the pain of their coming hubris). Decision makers and those who empower them dominate. I am talking about you and me. The working class, middle years people ‘in charge’ .. tyrants I tell you — ages 20-60. Damn them.

Libraries could fix the problems. But probably not alone and not with a shh shh shh attitude.

Especially in the last 5yrs libraries have done the much to redress social problems around diversity, open access and digital public space. But we need to speak clearly and articulately on the return to our place in the social improvement business after a nearly 15 year absence. We are done pandering to tech change for resource delivery and getting back to being a person centred organization right?

And we need to go further and faster. We need to be lighthouse in serving the needs of the most shape shifting members of society…
Seniors —
Social newcomers, immigrants and migrants especially.

Can you think of more vibrant and varying folk in society than these three groups? The rates of change in their lives put the wearying hand-wringing of the 20 to 60 set to shame.

The new totalitarianism is not about borderlands and bank accounts per se… But rather about the decision makers (in that 20 to 60 group) and those on their fringes who suffer the onslaught of their bad choices. Not to disrespect the conversation of those within that group whom are infantalized by this state, or prematurely aged out or otherwise excommunicated from their own citizenship by poverty or some such mode of difference… they engage at the library too. I do remember that.

Is this what you see when you look at the library. Is this the armour by which we say we are alive in the reading lives of children and seniors, the most high consuming two groups of recreational reading. We are cornerstone in Internet neutrality, communications and citizenship. Look at the library.. we care not one jot if male decision makers aged 30-55 don’t need us. Good for them! We have other work to do.

Library problems that might be social problems. Let’s get rid of them.

From the British Library Timeline digital library

From the British Library Timeline digital library

Save Story

I truly hate TED talks. I have been known to call them the brown shirts of our time. But duplicitous as I am I have my favorites.

I cannot say it enough. If you have not watched the danger of a single story.. see it:

That talk is why I’m the only person on the planet not enraptured by the Ted Talk Sir Ken Robinson canon. The release of the people in Monterey… Their story = world story.

Sir Ken’s story is the Ozymandius I wish I could stop writing about. I once almost jumped from a theatre chair and throttled Sir Ken. I am not tough, but I think I could take him if prompted. I was 5th row at a talk he gave in Vancouver..there he said ‘do you remember libraries??’..


Do I? Yes sir! I do ‘remember’ libraries. I live to make them. He proceeded to employ a long line of rhetoric on why libraries are replaced by the internet.. I proceeded to stew.. well yes.. for YOU. Sir Ken does not need libraries, now, does he? No. Because HE had them. And considering my constituency at that time was children ages 6-16 and their libraries over my dead body is one more entitled man who doesn’t need libraries ANYMORE going to declare them scrap. They don’t face troops of readers who need more books than they can buy, children entitled to privacy in their formative exploration of learning, students are out to scribble and discard their learning while a matrix seeks to inscribe their every movement from birth. For them libraries please… an image of anything so they may be anything they want, support everything they are. Spare them the automating definitions of the portal.

This story to me bears repeating. And the advice once given to me by a librarian to watch Chimamanda Adichie and be saved from the single story.