Happy Blogoversary?

I just realized that I published my first post on this blog a year ago today. I can hardly believe it, and I really have mixed emotions.

On the one hand, I have enjoyed the opportunity to lay the foundation for a professional web presence and delve into the topics covered by the first round of CPD23. On the other, I still struggle with the questions I talked about in that first post, and I wish that I could come up with a more exciting niche or purpose for this blog.

Clearly, I’ve lost some steam (and probably any readers I ever had) over the last six months, and that frustrates me. I do have a few drafts in various forms – some ideas jotted down and others still swirling in my head – I just haven’t been motivated to write them. But I’m not ready to give up, either.

I honestly don’t know what that means for the future of this blog. I hope this little bit of reflection will renew my commitment to regular posting, and if I’m lucky, the second year will be even better than the first.

I would definitely welcome any advice or encouragement you’ve got to spare…


Ebooks for libraries petition

I just finished signing the ebooks for libraries petition. I haven’t really weighed in on the ebooks discussion before, and don’t plan to write a lengthy post on it anytime soon. I try to stay informed about what’s going on with libraries and ebooks, but it’s not something I have to deal with in my current position. We’re interested in adding ebooks to our collection, but given our specialized focus and limited time, have yet to pursue it.

For now, I decided to sign the petition as a concerned patron rather than a concerned librarian.  I received my first e-reader, a Kindle Touch, for Christmas 2011. I’ve finished five books on it so far, and maybe I’m the publishers’ worst nightmare because I haven’t directly paid for any of them.  I say directly because my Amazon Prime membership paid for The Hunger Games trilogy which was available via the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, and my taxes and Friends of the Library contribution (however modest these may be) support the public library from which I borrowed the other two. I’m currently using my Kindle to read a free copy of Jane Eyre, but that’s just because it’s easier to hold onto than the giant hardcover version I paid for. During this same time frame, I’ve also borrowed at least one physical book and two downloadable audiobooks from the library. I also received a print book as a gift, and purchased another for my three-year-old nephew. My point is that I do my fair share of both borrowing and buying, and don’t like that publishers have restricted my power to choose.

Here is what came to mind when prompted for comments on the petition:

Please don’t leave libraries out of the loop! I love books, but have luckily not been asked to pay for every single book I’ve ever read. I like being able to choose which to borrow and which to buy. Just because something is not available in my library doesn’t automatically mean I’ll rush to buy it. More than likely, I will never read that book and will forget about it completely. Think of all the educational and entertaining experiences I’ve missed. Have a little faith in readers, and the world will be a smarter, happier place.

I hope you’ll add your name and spread the word.

A long winter’s nap?

No, I haven’t really been hibernating for the last two months, but I also don’t have a better reason for my blogging silence. I suppose this is what I was afraid of when I first started this little blog last summer, but I’m not going to beat myself up about it. Sometimes life gets in the way.

I’ve mentioned my love-hate relationship with writing, and I’m pretty sure that’s at the root of this hiatus. Writing really is the best way for me to process what I’m thinking, but something about the public nature of blogging tends to amplify my perfectionist tendencies. I seem to have some compulsion to keep thinking about, researching, and editing even the briefest of posts. It’s a little crazy, but at least admitting it helps me understand why it’s so easy for me to put writing on the back burner. Time keeps flying faster, and there aren’t enough hours in the day for all that I want to do, see, and read – let alone reflecting and writing about those things. Oh, and I’d also like to allow myself some semblance of a social life. Recently, balancing all of my competing priorities has been pretty stressful, and I think I’ve fallen victim to analysis paralysis, despite my otherwise respectable time management and coping skills. Now, it’s time to put one foot in front of the other and get moving again.

I do have a few ideas for breathing life back into this space, and I’m hoping that writing them down here will help me stay accountable.

  • finish my remaining things for CPD23 – no time like the present, as the second round is about to launch!
  • comment on recent reading about personality types and introversion
  • update on professional development projects (Code Year, etc.)
  • reflect on upcoming trainings/conferences I’m attending

If I still have any readers out there, thanks for sticking with me. If not, oh well, I’m mostly doing this for myself anyway. :)

What’s a commonplace book?

Although nobody has asked me this question about my blog subtitle yet, I feel somewhat compelled to mention it.

I first learned about commonplace books in my Honors Composition class during my freshman year in college.  Though I can’t remember the exact definition, the concept has stuck with me over the years.  The Historical Society of Pennsylvania has a definition that best matches my interpretation.  A commonplace book is

a manuscript or typed volume kept by an individual containing literary passages, quotations, recipes, poems, or passages from other sources that the individual thought worthy of recording.  These tend to be highly eclectic, may or may not include commentary by the individual, and may or may not be on a common theme.

The commonplace book I kept for my class contained a mix of quotations, comic strips, advertisements, poems, and other assorted clippings of interest. I’m not sure it would photograph well, so I’ll just share one quotation that’s particularly applicable to our cpd23 efforts.

“All,” be they dull or bright, more or less able, be their will powerful or weak, become blameworthy if they refuse to advance in learning. -Ivan Illich, In The Vineyard Of The Text

I really appreciate little tidbits of information like this, and it was fun to have a place to collect them. I continued to add to my commonplace book for at least a couple of years after the class. In many ways, I would say I haven’t really stopped keeping a commonplace book — it has just gone digital. Unfortunately, though, much of the content has been spread out among multiple tools. Sometimes I just use browser bookmarks, or I might share a fun quotation via Facebook or Twitter. The closest digital reproduction might be my Evernote “commonplace book” notebook, as it allows me to scroll through the entries (and search them = bonus!).

It seems to me that blogs can also serve as a type of commonplace book.  Actually, if I remember correctly, one of the purposes of keeping a commonplace book is to inspire future writing. I have never really done that with any of my clippings thus far, but it seems there’s no time like the present.

Do any of you keep commonplace books? What do you think of the idea?