Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Farewell - Head Held High

On my last day at FCL, I can barely believe that Annabelle is just two months away from turning the “Big #1.” The past year has been full of challenges and I am happy to say the good days have outnumbered the bad. In facing the challenges of being a full-time workin’ mamma I actually found myself becoming more focused and therefore more productive in my work as a librarian. This success, however, was not wrought solely by me – I never could have made it through the last year without the love of my sweetheart Josh, and the support from all my coworkers. The magnitude of FCL staff’s generosity is beyond words.

Over the last year, any time I needed a pep talk at work I would remind myself that we are all here because of our mothers (not to mention that according to the U.S Department of Labor, working moms make up just over 20% of the entire American workforce!) and the majority of my coworkers are also mothers. Recently, this got me thinking about the magnificent scope of FCL’s services and how much is provided to the community (and beyond!) with so little funds. Motherhood brings out many qualities that make stellar employees and leaders. Moms tend to be patient, flexible, understanding, and natural communicators, skilled at multitasking, planning, pushing back, setting limits, and dealing with chaos and shades of gray. And truly, any mom who has convinced a screaming child to get into her car seat, has learned the fine art of negotiation.

As I am just now finding my stride as a workin’ mama – I can finally keep track of my keys, leave the house by 8:15am, find time at work to pump while managing my workload, think about what to make for dinner, meet deadlines, all on 4 to 5 hours of sleep – I feel empowered (and a bit tired!). After giving birth naturally and excelling in my career I feel blessed to have experienced moments of clarity and deep happiness. In many regards, this job and family is what I have always wanted. And yet…….

All working parents pay a price. We either put less emphasis on our careers in favor of our children or we spend less time with our children in order to keep our careers charging ahead – it is a difficult balance. The decision to resign from the ‘one, the only Flathead County Library,’ was not easy. There is no doubt that becoming a parent changes you, and as I wrap up my ‘lasts’ here in the Flathead, I feel confident in my family’s future fearless! In many ways my new job of ‘stay-at-home-mom’ will be more challenging than anything the library world could have thrown at me. Yet, knowing this move is the right balance for my family has achieved a degree of peace that no Master’s of Library Science can touch.

To Everyone – Thank You – Shine On!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Test your avalanche skills

I'm currently working on a Master's degree in Library and Information Science. My latest assignment was to create a webquest- a web portal for youth that guides them through the Internet to learn more on a particular subject. I found a couple of great interactive games to test your avalanche knowledge. The objective of the first game is to unleash the biggest avalanche possible by changing the weather conditions. The second is to avoid an avalanche in a Choose your own adventure type scenario.

Unleash an Avalanche game

Interactive Backcountry Tour game

The entire webquest can be accessed at Avalanche Awareness

Monday, February 18, 2008

the Power of Partnerships

I had the chance last week to travel to Coeur d'Alene with the Kalispell Area Chamber of Commerce. We visited the new Coeur d'Alene Chamber building, several sites at the Community College and their partner Colleges and Universities, the Fair Grounds, and the new Coeur d'Alene Public Library (pictured above).

Opened just last September, the 6.7 million dollar library is 38,000 sf and was built on a city-owned piece of property. Library Director Bette Ammon talked about the partnerships in place that made the project a success--Foundation and Friends' support, help from the City, and expanding the library "walls" through partnerships with other libraries in Idaho and Washington. In fact, the theme at all of the sites we visited was "partnerships." Partnerships with developers and other private enterprise; partnerships between city and city and city and county; partnerships between community colleges and 4-year institutions; partnerships between various non-profit groups. It was an inspiring and motivating trip and the discussions on the long bus ride home centered around what we can do, here in the Flathead, to make our Valley inviting and prosperous while responding to our rapid growth. If you happen to be traveling through the Coeur d'Alene area, I encourage you to stop in and tour the new Library and the new Chamber building--both wonderful examples of the power of partnership!
The Flathead County Library System is also a great example of partnerships. We have inter-local agreements between the County and the cities of Whitefish and Columbia Falls. We share space in the community-owned Arts and Cultural Center in Bigfork and we soon hope to embark upon a public/school partnership there with the Bigfork High School improvements. We partner with libraries throughout the state to bring over 700,000 books, dvds, and CDs to our customers. We have library associations and wonderful volunteers in all of our communities that have helped build facilities, augment collections, and support programs. Our Library Foundation is working to establish partnerships that will financially support buildings, programs, and collections in all of our branches. The power of partnership is alive and well in the Flathead; just look to your local libraries.

check it out! Books

Translated from the french and one of the Lannan Translation Series, The Lovers of Algeria, a novel by Anouar Benmalek, spans nearly half a century of strife in war-torn Algeria. The lovers of the title are Swiss born Anna and her Algerian Arab husband, Nassreddine. Oftentimes horrific in its decription of the murderous brutality of war, the novel focuses on Anna's journey, late in life, to find her lost husband and the graves of her two murdered children. With Jallal (a 9-year old peanut seller) in tow, Anna risks both their lives in her quest through North Africa.
This novel is not for the faint of heart--the horrors of war, more horrific than I could have imagined, are presented in counterpoint to the beautiful love story of Anna and Nassreddine, and the tenderness of Anna's relationship to the boy, Jallal. Though it exposes the shock and intimidation of exile, The Lovers of Algeria affirms that humanity endures amidst the terror of war.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Attention Computer Class Graduates!!

Please post the most important thing you've learned throughout our basic computer classes. Thanks for attending and for your continued patronage of the Flathead County Library, it's been a pleasure!

Feel free to call us up with any questions you may have or stop by and show off what you've created- Don't forget, if you don't have a computer, we'll lend you ours any day we're open.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Global community

The Internet is such an important tool in business and personal life for so many people. I understand many of the negative effects of the "invasion" of computers and the problems of the Internet but sometimes, all I can say is Wow! Here is the most recent map of hits on our blog. Who would ever guess that our little library system in Montana would be viewed around the world!

The way that web presences are morphing into interactive tools suchas blogs, etc. can really bring people together, regardless of location. Some people prefer the face to face contact in life and that is necessary, too. I just love how the Internet reaches out to those with different styles of communication to include them as well.