Posted tagged ‘Berkshire Athenaeum’

Hiatus

June 15, 2010

I’m going to be taking a short break from writing here for a few weeks, as I have just received a new job and need to move across the state.

I’ve spent the last 4 years working as the technical services head at the Berkshire Athenaeum, which has been an incredible experience, especially for someone fresh out of school like me.  Besides getting to work on all the standard cataloging challenges, I got to toy with an enormous local history and genealogy collection, a collection dedicated to the work of Herman Melville, the library of Oliver Wendel Holmes, lead a number of workshops for patrons, host a number of sing-along to Journey nights (Rock Band) and of course drive a dump truck across Connecticut.

I can only imagine what new challenges await me when I get to the Worcester (sorry Wistah) Public Library in a few weeks.  I can’t wait!

Going Public

August 31, 2009

I Twittered this earlier, but it certainly bares repeating.  The Berkshire Eagle has finally decided to cover our budget cuts, and our hours reduction in particular.  Although as a commenter points out, the article never mentions what that reduction is (a gold star to the commenter who guessed we’ll be closing at 5, albeit only on Mondays).

So there it is, read the comments, and puzzle over why exactly someone thinks we should start selling lottery tickets.

Twitter Talk

July 16, 2009

Once again I have cleverly scheduled one of my computer workshops opposite Third Thursdays here in Pittsfield.  But that’s OK because people have signed up anyway, we’re actually on track for this to be my largest workshop to date.  Very exciting.

But there are still a few seats left.  So people of Pittsfield, the forecast tomorrow is calling for rain, you don’t want to be outside for that.  Instead, come to the Berkshire Athenaeum at 6 p.m. and learn all about Twitter, the hottest site on the internets.

And for any Twitterers out there, I’ll be giving a live demo.  So follow me between 6 and 7 and contribute to the conversation.

Conflicts

May 20, 2009

Tonight at 7 at the Berkshire Athenaeum, I’ll be talking about the current state of video games, and what they have to offer libraries.  Tonight is also the first of Pittsfield’s 3rd Thursdays for the year.

So for everyone in the Berkshires, forget about spending the evening enjoying the gorgeous weather, the live performances, and supporting the local economy downtown.  Who needs that when you can listen to a fine talk on why video games matter, and then try out the library’s Wii for yourself.  All sponsored by the Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum.

Introduction to Web 2.0

April 24, 2009

My latestest workshop offering is ready to go for tomorrow morning, and I still have no idea how it’s going to go.  I’m envivsioning this one as a brief state of the internet for the still unininitiated, but I’m still not quite sure on how to make it as brief as I would like.

I’m pretty much looking at trying to fit blogs, wikis (and wikipedia vs. Britannica), myspace, facebook, linkedin, digg, second life, flickr, youtube, technorati, delicious, memes, l33t speak, and lol cats into a single hour.  I’m hoping that this’ll serve to get people interested in then attending workshops dedicated to those various services.  Or this could just turn into an overly ambitious failure.  I’m hoping it’ll at least prove interesting for people.

Happy 35th Anniversary

March 27, 2009

The current building for the Berkshire Athenaeum turns 35 this year, and to celebrate the Friends have commissioned a portrait of the building.  The artist Marguerite Bride, will work on the painting within the library, and has begun a blog to document its progress.

Yes!

March 24, 2009

Yesterday was yet another one of our Rock Band nights, but something felt different this time.I think we’ve finally crossed the tipping point.  Turnout was great!  And we were on an off day thanks to being kicked out of the auditorium to make room for our book sale.  A few regulars were absent, but we retained all the new faces from the last one, and picked up more through word of mouth (our advertising really isn’t doing anything).  I particularly liked that we had one group come simply because they were following some of the others to see what was going on, and they stayed for all three hours!  

I think more fun was had by all this time too.  There was tons of socializing, a surprising amount of headbanging (unfortunately literally in one instance), and just a great vibe in the air.  Everyone asked about next time, three people volunteered to bring extra equipment (including an x-box), and one even offered to make a donation.  By the time it was over I felt completely and totally elated (and subsequently had trouble falling asleep, but still managed to wake up at 6 am like usual).

Legislative Breakfast

March 6, 2009

Today my library hosted one of a number of statewide legislative breakfasts, this one was very well attended both by concerned members of the library community and by members of the state’s Berkshires delegation.  It was informative, it was a wonderful experience, it was depressing as hell.  The state of the state is clearly awful.  

Two of my favorite people in the library community had to speak of our current hardships.  Janet Schraeder from C/WMars told the story of the Fitchburg library, one of my favorite cautionary tales.  A library that suffered an over 60% budget cut, and which was briefly reduced to serving as a pet shelter.  And Jan Resnick from my consortia, WMRLS, used the opportunity to announce their first (and hopefully [but unlikely] only) round of layoffs.

Afterwards the legislators themselves spoke, quite frankly of the state’s current economic climate.  These are not good times.  We’re looking at record deficits, some cuts have to be made and there is not any fat left to trim.  Libraries are likely going to be in a lot of pain in the next year, but everyone else will be too.

Holding Us Back

February 27, 2009

Just when you start to think that the world’s image of libraries is begining to catch up to the reality, something like this (via Halfawake) has to happen.  Yes the state auditor of Nebraska is investigating a library for daring to purchase a Wii and for trying it out on work time.  Furthermore, the state was spurred on by a local news report that all but condemed the library for being a library.  Oh, and we’re only talking about $400 or so to begin with.

So, a story about my new favorite patron for those doubters that are still out there.  We have a high school student who came to my library a few weeks back to meet a student he was helping to tutor.  While there he toured our remodeled local history department, gushed over our new equipment, and learned of our monthly Rock Band nights.  He also found out that I had challenged some of the players in the past and instantly threw down the gauntlet with me.  

So he showed up, brought some friends, lost (but only because he selected one of my best songs), and promised to come back with more friends next month.  He’s also going to advertise our game nights on the high school’s radio station, and he even gave an impromptu speech to his scout troop about how the library’s not just about books anymore.

You can’t ask for better word of mouth than that.  Our Wii was one of the best investments we’ve made, and the up front cost for it was nothing when you consider how many programs we’ve been able to run using it (hiring a children’s performer can cost a few hundred for a single show).

So Nebraska, get with the program (not to mention the 21st century) and don’t ostracisize a library for doing something that will continue to let it be a vital part of its community.

Dueling Guitars

February 26, 2009

Another month, another Rock Band night.  But this time we brought back the guitar tournament from our first event, and everyone has improved a lot since then (I was only able to go 4-4).  

We had a few new faces this time too from the second high school in town, all of who fit right in and swore they’d bring more friends next month.  I’m really hoping to start up some sort of rivalry between the two schools over this.

Dueling Guitars