Community: November 2008 Archives
I grew up in Needham, Massachusetts. In 1982 I was a junior in high school there (Go, Rockets!) and the town was celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Needham / Wellesley football game. This was a Very Big Deal.
Normally, my family went back to New York to celebrate Thanksgiving with my Dad's folks. But in 1982, we had to stay in town because the chorus was singing at the televised half-time of The Big Game, and our director told us he'd fail anybody who didn't show. So... rather than being on the road to Long Island on Monday, November 22, 1982, I was in school to meet my friend Gabe's friend Christina who was visiting from Buffalo. Cue strings, cue soft-focus close-up, cue love at first site (for me... it took me months to convince her she'd been in love-at-first-site with me). We dated, broke up, got back together, got engaged, got married, had a kid. All because of a football game.
Which brings me back to the "specific" part of Thanksgiving, and another tie-in to WorldCat and libraries. There is a general, environmental kind of "thanks" that goes on related to the holiday, of course. My son's Cub Scout troop and I just visited the Norman Rockwell exhibit at the Ohio Historical Society, and the "Freedom from Want" painting is the one that, in my mind, sums up the more national, iconic notions of "what Thanksgiving means." But, for my son, Thanksgiving means the reason his folks met. And he's thankful for that (so far, anyways).
I think libraries have a similar, two-level association for most people. We understand that "library" means the overall ideas, goals, and services that are generally provided by many, if not all libraries. But we all have specific, individual associations, too.
So... this year, I am thankful for: "freedom from want," in general; meeting my wife, specifically; libraries, in general; and the junior high library where the assistant librarian introduced me to science fiction, which I enjoy to this day.
Jennie Stapp, who is the digital library director of the Montana State Library, posted a comment on my previous blog entry. I thought it would be better to respond to her comment in another post because I wanted to link to a number of Web pages.
Jennie connected my blog post to her state library's marketing campaign: What's Your Story. The Web site for the campaign sounds interesting. I'd love to hear some of the stories they get.
While reading her comment, I thought about where all of these stories come from and where we find them. I assume Montana's What's Your Story campaign will collect the stories on their site, but I also wonder about aggregating stories from other sites.
Without rereading David Lanke's writing on libraries as community conversations, I'm in danger of "steeling" his ideas. That is not my intent, but I will blunder on.... I'm wondering how many stories are taking place on Flickr or YouTube or some blog somewhere. These stories too are interesting to our neighbors, which is to say library patrons.
So I dug a little into library content and into the Web's social content. Using WorldCat I unearthed photos of the interior of the First National Bank of Glasgow, Montana circa 1910. Then I did a quick search on Flickr for Glasgow images. And I found this great video on YouTube: glasgow high school cell phone survey. There's a lot of stories on the Related Videos section of of that page too.
I think it would be fascinating to see these types of stories on the Leisure and Recreation section of the What's Your Story site.
My local library is more than a gallery, where I go to look at stuff; it is a museum where I go to make sense of stuff. Just as an archived photo collection or a family's personal papers can help me learn about life in Glasgow, MT; so can that YouTube video.
I know I am touching on issues of collection maintenance (how libraries decide what they are going to buy and keep) and staff time. Should the limited resources of our neighborhood libraries be spent making sense of what's on YouTube and Flickr as well as what is on their shelves and in their article and journal databases?