Sunday, January 29, 2012

Action Plan

I've had almost a week to process my experiences at ALA Midwinter; for the past few days, I've been participating virtually in EduCon. There is a conversational thread running through these and other gatherings, a sense that the time for talking is over, the time for acting is now.
How can I be part of the recasting of librarianship in particular, and education in general?

For all my talk of being self-embedded, there are limitations to what I can accomplish as an unattached teacher/librarian. With no students of my own, I must wait to be invited into a classroom. I am an afterthought, an add-on, rather than an integral part of the learning process.

I need to leverage my solitude, increase my productivity - and keep my sense of worth in the unfamiliar and unstructured world of retirement.

Here's my menu of possibilities:
  • continue to construct slideshares on topics that interest me, e.g. photography and storytelling
  • periodically remind members of my social network that I'm available via Skype for reading to, or chatting with, students
  • consider new options: would my friend's home-schooled child like to have a personal librarian or research buddy? Is there some way I could volunteer in our public or community college libraries?
  • spend less time chatting at conferences and more time actively participating in sessions, with the intent of investigating new topics for personal exploration
  • become more active in my professional organizations
  • seek out additional opportunities for writing
It's sketchy, but it's a plan. Retirement requires a tricky balancing act. I don't want to waste my time, I want to spend it wisely. Travel is fun, but after a while people tire of being around a dilettante.

In the words of the immortal Barbarella:

"A life without cause is a life without effect."

"Barbarella" by pellesten

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Self-Embedded Librarian

I recently had the pleasure of returning to the school where I had served as K-12 teacher/librarian - not to read stories, but to speak to a photography class.

The art teacher, Leslie Gould, and I have remained in contact via Facebook, so she knew of my passion for capturing images. After a few postponements, I was finally able to participate in the first of what I hope will be a series of onsite classroom experiences.

Our planning was done via an exchange of messages and emails. After the students left, Leslie and I discussed how we might collaborate in the future. I've begun utilizing Pinterest to archive project suggestions and to display my own collection of photography- and creativity-themed books, so that she can match my resources to her curriculum.

I've interacted, via Skype, with students in a number of states, even another country, but there is something very satisfying about being physically present during a lesson. I would love to expand this aspect of my professional involvement, becoming a "blended" visitor.

As many of you know, I'm nominally retired, but still active as a writer, consultant, and collaborator. After years of learning about, and reflecting on, libraries and librarianship, I just couldn't walk away from the profession. For anyone in a similar situation, I've created a short SlideShare that offers some suggestions for reshaping your career after retirement. If you have additional pointers, please share your insights!

"Welcome Mrs. Cordell" by dmcordell

Monday, January 2, 2012

Flickr Badge Generator

This posting originally appeared on January 2, 2010. I thought that some of my friends, who are just beginning their first photo-a-day (in a leap year, 366) project, might be interested in the information contained here.

Many members of my PLN have decided to participate in a 365 Challenge, taking and posting new photos at regular intervals.

Although some people choose to set up a unique blog for the project, I found it easiest to upload and tag my images in Flickr sets, separate ones for each calendar month and an additional set for the entire year.

If you're a blogger and decide to use Flickr for the Challenge, it's fun to add a badge to your site. Just go to the Make a Badge page and follow the simple directions.

"There are two types of badge to choose from: HTML or Flash. You will be able to select to display things from your own collection, one of your groups, or everyone's uploads. You can also filter any of these options by a tag, if you wish."

Be sure to tag your photographs and send them to your group(s). I also share my "picture of the day" on Facebook, Plurk, and Twitter.