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System Director’s Report:

December 2007

December is an especially busy time for our Automation staff, due to end-of-year processing and reports, and for Delivery with the post-holiday volume. Still, most of us try to get away for a little time at the holidays. Leading by example, I left the day after our last meeting for more than a week in Sanibel Island, Florida. Sun, surf and seafood can be a wonderful antidote to a record snow month.

I bring this up not to make anyone jealous, but to tell you about a sort of dorky habit I have when I travel. I wear library t-shirts, or carry a library bag or backpack, or in some other way identify myself as a librarian or library backer. While strolling along a boardwalk in a Sanibel shopping area, I heard “Yay, libraries” and turned to meet a recently retired school librarian (after 41 years) from Kansas and her mother. She was great fun and we had a lovely talk.

At the farmer’s market in Ft. Meyers a fellow noticed my shirt, asked if I was a librarian, and told me all about his friend who was “the head of the libraries in Ireland.” That last might or might not be true. I have been introduced by my friends as “The queen of all the libraries in Wisconsin” and “The director of LinkCat,” so I know not to take such titles as literal fact. Still, he was a nice and interesting man and we had a conversation. I don’t know if wearing library paraphernalia in public is advocacy or networking, but it is fun!

On this particular trip, I was traveling with other librarians and three of us visited the Sanibel Public Library together to use their Internet computers to check our seats for the return flight. I was not wearing a library shirt that day, but we could not resist comparing notes with the library staff. For the record, their Playaways are very popular, their local funding is strong, and their building is attractive and built on pilings with the collection on the second floor to avoid flooding. They said they had heard that “some of the libraries in the North are not so good.”

When you meet in January I will be on another trip, this time on official Wisconsin Library Association business, at the American Library Association Mid-winter meeting in Philadelphia. Stef will be here with you and she has set up an information session for you on self-checkout in our libraries. Stef also drafted a 2008 SCLS Board committee schedule that is included in your mailing. We hope it will be a good tool to help us coordinate committee meetings without conflicts.

Stef will see you on the 14th and I will see you in February.