Tuesday, December 04, 2007

I'm Happy...Are You?

Time Magazine has come out with its America by the Numbers 2007 report. Part of the report includes a poll on job satisfaction. I've seen librarian polls on job satisfaction before--we've always rated our satisfaction poorly. So, I wasn't surprised to see that only 25.2% of the librarians polled said that they are "very happy."

I would like to just say that I'm in that 25.2%.

Check out Time's version here - http://www.time.com/time/2007/america_numbers/job.html

Check out the actual report, "Job Satisfaction in the United States" (part of the General Social Servey by National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago) here - http://www.norc.org/projects/General+Social+Survey.htm

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pecha Kucha - Nov. 15, 2007

Tonight I had the pleasure of going to a Pecha Kucha event. It was my first, and I was plesantly surprised at the depth of subjects presented.

For the whole history of Pecha Kucha, go to http://www.pecha-kucha.org/. Basically, the nuts and bolts are these...

"Each presenter is allowed 20 images, each shown for 20 seconds each - giving 6 minutes 40 seconds of fame before the next presenter is up. This keeps presentations concise, the interest level up, and gives more people the chance to show."

There were presentations by architects, designers, artists, and maybe even a sociologist (at least she spoke with great precision on social dimensions of urban planning & renewal).

Unfortunately, I left my handy notebook at home & was not able to take notes. However, I really enjoyed how each presenter brought their own unique vision to thinking about art, society, business, and various types relationships.

All of the speakers made an impression on me. However, the two that seem to have stuck in my mind were an architect & a photographer (Rainer). The architect took construction paper to build his presentation. He was able to drive home how the physical act of positive creation can & should be shared.

The photographer I had met just a few days before for my company's bio headshots. He specifically seeks out locations & cultures that would take him out of his comfort zone. Even more interesting, he chooses shoots on places/cultures/etc. that he really has no true foreknowledge of, and he specifically avoides researching the shoot. His presentation focused on Nazarenos (penitents) during Holy Week in Spain. In his presentation, he really drove home the fact that there is so much in the world that we Americans typically do not have a clue about or pay attention to. The Nazarenos date back to the 15th century. Yet, I'd never heard about them until his presentation.

For images, check out my Flickr set.

For video of the evening's MC & Rainer (to be added Friday night), go to http://www.youtube.com/bryanloar

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Bruce Mau Lecture

I had the pleasure of listening to Bruce Mau speak last night at OSU's Mershon Auditorium. Mau has a great ability to facilitate collaboration among peers & students to create massive change. He currently heads up Institute Without Boundaries as well as the Bruce Mau Design firm.

Before I get into the details of the lecture, I just wanted to highlight the two takeaways that I received. First, that when we talk about physical objects we're really talking about energy--the energy need to produce, the energy needed to transform, etc. So that we have a system of inputs & outputs of energy. Mau sprinkled this idea throughout his lecture. He illustrated this when one participant asked about biomimicry. He described how we as humans must put a lot of energy into making glass. Yet, some animals can produce glass a room temperature. The second takeaway was that systems of information should be systems of design. He highlighted how the spirit of the Gautamalans has been depressed because they are not sharing the good works their fellow citizens are doing. Thus, overall, hope has been diminished. Mau has then helped Gautamala create a system which distributes information across the nation. Now, that could easily become propaganda. However, it demonstrates how information architecture including the architecture of the information channels are very important in a socio-political context.

Here are some of the quick notes that I took during the lecture.

  • Chicago's mayor has embraced design & design culture which has lead to the city adopting Mau's strategy to create a 21st century city that is both beautiful & sustainable
    • *Note: Mau reports the Chicago has a serious water shortage problem. They are not allowed to tap into the lakes per the Supreme Court, and they will run out of water if they continue to tap their aquifers in about 25-30 years.
  • Good design education is
    • Purpose Driven
      • Using real life challenges
    • Entrepreneurial
    • Experiential
    • Educative
  • Design challenges now cross all disciplines
  • Buckminster Fuller quote:
    • A designer is an emerging synthesis of artist, inventor, mechanic, objective economist and evolutionary strategist
  • Today's designers can't be a true Renaissance artist because the challenges facing us are so complex
    • Thus, Mau wants to create Renaissance teams
  • Mau says todays designers must act if they are lost in a forrest (vs. going for a picnic)
    • Their entire environment becomes important in searching for tools of use
    • This brings the entrepreneurial spirit to the designer
  • Mau's not interested in critical or negative outcomes
    • Instead, he said that the work should be critical for positive outcomes (changes)
  • "Designers don't have the luxury of cynacism." Instead, they should be committed to accomplishment.
    • "We don't need to complain. We need an IDEA."
  • Arnold Toynbee quote
    • “The twentieth century will be chiefly remembered by future generations not as an era of political conflicts or technical inventions, but as an age in which human society dared to think of the welfare of the whole human race as a practical objective”
    • Mau's students said to broaden that perspective
    • Take out "human life" and replace it with "all life"
  • Mau believe we're in a period of innovation akin to the turn of the 20th century
    • Ex. India's electric car Riva
      • Indian designers & engineers synthesizing ideas from all over the world
  • Mau highlighted the work of Edward O. Wilson & Dean Kaman
  • Image Economy
    • 100 billion images are currently created every year
    • Look out VRLs!

Friday, October 26, 2007

ARLIS/OV 2007 Annual Meeting

It was great to see some familiar faces & meet some new ones. I was really happy that we had a few Kent State Students attend. I'm really exited to see how far we can take the ARLIS/OV Web site, and I think Becky Bristol & I charged up a few librarians.

I was disheartened to hear that our KSU students had not heard of ArLiSNAP, and I realized that we must do a better job of promoting. Hopefully, in the coming months we'll have a real strategy for increasing awareness among potential art librarians.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Oh Digger, I Await So Patiently

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

No Longer Riding with Hitler

Remember that WWII poster that stated, "If you ride alone, you ride with Hitler." Well, if you haven't seen it, here it is.

Thank goodness we've moved beyond scare tactics to go green. Robin Chase, Zipcar founder, has recently developed a ride-sharing service that is mashed up with Facebook.

For more, go here.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Art, Twice Removed

Plato thought that reality was just a reflection of perfect forms. Art, therefore, was just a reflection of a reflection.

A new form of fine art is emerging from a unique perspective--gamers.

Wired's Clive Thompson discusses this new phenonmenon in his article "Half Life & the Muse: Art Discovers the World of Games."

He also talks about the 8-bit art movement, art based on previous and less sophisticated gaming systems' characters and motifs. There's a great book called I Am 8-bit which has plenty of excellent examples.

Friday, June 08, 2007

ARLIS/NA 35th Annual Conference Travel Award Recipient Report

What a fabulous experience!

Thanks in part to ARLIS/OV, I was able to attend my first ARLIS/NA annual conference.

The conference did not disappoint. A diverse range of sessions, activities, and discussions were held from April 26th to the 30th, 2007.

As a panelist, speaker, and committee member, my plate was certainly full—in a very good way. Participating as a panelist in “AskARLIS/NA Discussion: Hot Topics,” I was able to connect with many librarians on a one-to-one level. Speaking at the “New Voices in the Profession 2” session, I had the opportunity to deliver my presentation, “New Forms of Communication: Harnessing Collective Knowledge through Web Logs.” Finally, as ARLIS/NA Membership Committee member, I was given the chance to become more active within the society at the national level. Specifically, I have volunteered to become this year’s editor of the “What People Are Saying” column on ARLIS/NA’s Web site (AWS).

Yet, the conference was not all work. There was still time to meet all the talented and intelligent participants of this year’s conference. At the year-long mentoring workshop, I met both newly-minted librarians (or soon to be) as well as seasoned professionals. At the “First Time Attendees” meeting, I was able to participate in a dialogue with other librarians, including former president Ann Whiteside. After the entertaining convocation with Mike Luckovich, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist, I was able to mingle and network at our reception held at Atlanta’s High Museum of Art.

Finally, through the help of other new librarians and librarians-in-training, I was able to achieve my primary conference goal—ArLiSNAP awareness. The Art Library Students & New ARLIS* Professionals (ArLiSNAP) moniker became the official namesake for the former Student Affairs Discussion Group. More importantly, ArLiSNAPers were able to demonstrate to the change-hungry conference attendees that low cost, transformative technologies exist and can be easily implemented. ArLiSNAP made a huge splash at the ARLIS/NA 35th Annual Conference, and I couldn’t be more proud of all those involved.

The ARLIS/NA 35th Annual Conference: At the Crossroads: Inside, Outside, Past, Present, Future was a culmination of creativity, energy, and intelligence. Thanks in part to ARLIS/OV, I was given the opportunity to experience and actively participate in this year’s conference. As the conference title suggests, our society is at a point of transition. Programs like ARLIS/OV’s Travel Award foster participation and give new professionals the opportunity to help transform our wonderful society. Thanks ARLIS/OV!


Bryan Loar

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Thank You ARLIS/OV

Thank you to the 2007 ARLIS/Ohio Valley Travel Award Committee for presenting me with this year's travel award!!!

The 2007 Art Libraries Society of North America Annual Conference is going to be a great experience for me. I had such a fantastic time at the 2006 ALA Annual Conference, and I know being at this year's ARLIS/NA conference will be as equally rewarding.

The formal announcement is as follows:

The 2007 ARLIS/Ohio Valley Travel Award Committee is pleased to announce that this year's recipient for an award to attend the Annual Conference in Atlanta is Bryan Loar, Resource Librarian at Fitch, a Global Design Agency in Powell, Ohio.

Bryan has been instrumental in the development and day-to-day operations of ArLiSNAP (Art Library Students & New ARLIS* Professionals), a site that provides a forum for students and new librarians. He will be presenting "New Forms of Communication:
Harnessing Collective Knowledge through Web Logs," at the New Voices 2 session.

We congratulate Bryan and look forward to his active participation in ARLIS/NA.

Jane Carlin (University of Cincinnati, DAAP Library) & Anne Morris (Toledo Museum of Art)

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Don Barlow's New Blog

Director of the Westerville Public Library, an individual I highly respect, now has a blog. Check it out here.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Today Is a Good Day

Over the last year, I have tried to create a corporate library that proactively reaches out to its patrons. I've created a e-newsletter, I've begun creating awareness vignettes that highlight Fitch's resources, and I've created an online presence that easily connects patrons with the same resource that I use for research. Each step of the way, I feel that I've added value to the library and to the organization as a whole. More importantly, I've gone above expectations by raising the bar of what Fitch's Resource Library should and could be.

Today our office had its first annual meeting. Not only did I get two rounds of applause for the work I've done at Fitch--the co-manager of Fitch's American offices specifically praised me for the changes that I have initiated. Furthermore, he indicated that his praise was based on both what he has seen as well as what he has heard from other associates.

What a great feeling.

My hopes are to continue the Resource Library's evolution, to always remain beta (thank you Don Barlow), and to continue Fitch's growth as a learning organization.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Librarians at the Front

The New York Times has a very interesting article featuring Saad Eskander, the director of Iraq’s National Library and Archive in Baghdad.

We we talk about issues of access here in the US (i.e. barriers to information). How would you like to deal with mortars and death threats?

the NYT article is here. Saad's blog is hosted by the British Library. For that, go here.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

A New Dawn Is Here

Cesare Janus on Info Island (www.secondlife.com)

Sunday, February 04, 2007

LibraryThing Poster

I have about 1/4 of my books on LibraryThing (http://www.librarything.com/profile/bryanloar), but a poster of all my book jackets, I have not.

very cool - LibraryThing poster instructions

Monday, January 29, 2007

Librarianship at the Crossroads - A Proto-Manifesto?

Our situation is partially analogous to Western painters at the dawn of the 20th century. There was no road map. Instead, there was action. Picasso & Braque stole from C├ęzanne and, in turn, created a truly avant-garde style (Cubism, a term coined by the critic Louis Vauxelles 2 years after Picasso had already painted Les Demoiselles d'Avignon). The Italian Futurists took the work of Picasso and turned it into dynamism. The Russians took Futurism and turned it on its head--reducing art to its most discrete element (decades before anyone heard of Minimalism). All of this creativity was basically happening during the 1st two decades of the 20th century.

And every artist was blindly groping to create something new, something original. There was no beacon of light.

Let us act! Let us create a world where information is easily accessible, transmitted, and stable. We must collaborate with each other and with any profession that information affects. We are 21st century librarians. We are the future!

"at long last our ships may venture out again, venture out to face any danger; all the daring of the lover of knowledge is permitted again; the sea, our sea, lies open again; perhaps there has never yet been such an 'open sea.'" - Nietzsche, The Gay Science