I don't have to tell most of you what Tame the Web is, but humor me. Let me tell you a little about what the blog has meant to me.
Michael Stephens, the creator of Tame the Web, was my very first library school teacher, in my very first class of grad school ever. And as I have stated elsewhere, he had a major impact on me, my career, and the type of librarian I have become. So Tame the Web has always been incredibly important to me. It was a guiding post in a land full of librarian blogs and resources. I always knew I could count on TTW for the positive, patron-forward style of librarianship that Michael has come to represent to so many people.
So to celebrate TTW's 10th anniversary, Michael invited a few people to contribute guest posts on the blog. I am honored and humbled to be include alongside some really outstanding librarians, such as Stephen Abram, Mick Jacobsen, the Feel-Good Librarian, Jane Cowell, Justin Hoenke, and Emily Lloyd.
My post is about personality types and librarianship. I've been thinking about writing an article on this topic for awhile and when Michael reached out, it just seemed like it might be a good fit. So please, check out my guest post, It's Not Easy Being E, and join me in wishing Michael and Tame the Web a very happy 10th anniversary.
Thanks, Michael. You're the best mentor an ENFP like me could ask for.
People who know me, know that I am slightly obsessed with Cloud Atlas. About a year or two ago, my personal book club read the book and ever since, we all find ourselves unable to stop talking about it. It is a multi-layered, gorgeously written epic. So when a member of Books on Tap asked if we could discuss the book, I was a little concerned.
Generally, I try to avoid my all-time favorite books when leading professional discussions. Why? Well, I'm SUPER biased. When you adore a book, it can be very difficult to remove yourself emotionally when, for example, someone hates the way the book is written. Also, Cloud Atlas is a challenge. Personally, I gave up on the book twice before finally getting into the book and then, obsessively so. But I figured, why not? Never know unless you try, right?
Well, let's just say that the members of Books on Tap continue to blow my mind every time we meet. Yet again, I found myself leading one of the best discussions of my career as a librarian. And by the end, I felt a little silly that I ever doubted them or really, this book. It was awesome.
When I asked people to use a word or phrase to describe the book, here is what people mentioned: connected, interactive, moving, ambitious, multi-layered, and six books for the price of one. One person called it the "Readers Digest of literary fiction," which I just love.
I was completely intrigued to find out that most people found the Adam Ewing chapter to be their favorite section, and some even mentioned that they enjoyed the fact this isn't a book you can read mindlessly. We talked a lot about the "Russian doll" or nested story-telling. And one of my favorite moments was when a patron asked if people think Luisa Rey herself might be a work of fiction within the fiction of the tale.
Mind = blown.
Previously, I'm not sure I would have suggested this to other librarians who lead book discussions as a good option. But now, I say go for it. Just make sure to give your members enough time to finish the novel. Most of the Books on Tap folks said they used the full two months to read.
Please feel free to use my discussion questions, mostly written by me but some pulled from the publisher provided set. You can access them, here.
And long live Cloud Atlas.
Recently Amazon announced that they are purchasing the social reading website, Goodreads. In case you missed it, the press release can be read, here.
Goodreads is a website that I actively use and love. As a readers' advisor, it is my go-to resource for keeping lists of recommendations, while also organizing my personal reading. However, my relationship with Amazon is a bit...rocky might be a good word to describe it. So when I found out about the purchase, I was not only shocked but disappointed.
While I do not fault the creators of Goodreads for wanting to make money off of their product, I do have several concerns, first of which is a privacy issue. I worry about the collection of reader data, when Amazon already collects so much from the public. Amazon has no reason to keep any of our reading information private from any institution requesting it, and we know for a fact that they use this collected data in many ways - probably many that I cannot even imagine. As another blogger so eloquently put the issue,
I can’t think of anything nastier right now in the book world than the prospect of this behemoth acquiring even more intimate knowledge of my buying habits than it already has. Enough is enough.
And more importantly, I worry a great deal about what I see as a monopolization of reading resources on the internet. You can read more about my opinions on the matter in this Library Journal piece about librarians considering a switch from Goodreads, written by Molly McArdle. Read it, here.
As I told Molly, I am looking at alternate options to Goodreads. At the moment, LibraryThing is still independent, although Amazon is a stake-holder in the company. Exactly how much of a stake-holder is unknown but according to a post by LibraryThing owner/creator, Tim Spalding, it is under 40%. To add more than 200 books to a LibraryThing account, you pay a small fee, but the company is offering free accounts until this Friday. If you're also considering the switch, read more about this offer, here.
Will Amazon look at Librarything for its next purchase? It certainly seems possible. But until then, my online book organization business is moving. Sorry, Goodreads. It was great while it lasted.