Friday Design: End of the Year Thoughts

Happy Friday, dear readers! I know it is not yet the end of the year, but I wanted to write an end-of-the year blog post before I dive deep into the holiday baking madness to save my computer from desecration by cookie dough. So, here’s some (hopefully) semi-organized thoughts, ideas, and inspiration about this year, mostly design and library focused.

It’s been a very interesting year, some really high highs and really low lows. But I’m going to focus on the good to try to keep the stress low and inspiration high for all of us. However, first, a signal boost and reminder to continue the fight to save net neutrality and contact your representatives in Congress. Check out Battle for the Net to get information on how to do this.

I don’t know about you, but I skated a little too close to burnout a little too often this year because of various work projects and commitments. Luckily, I had a trip to New Zealand to look forward to and it kept me going. (Yes, it really is that beautiful–see photo below):

photograph of hillside in New Zealand

And now I can safely say that it is an amazing country and a fabulous place to travel. Beautiful, calm, and inspiring. The landscape, cultures, and experiences have inspired me and my design. So, I hope you are able to travel, too, near or far away to see and experience something new to inspire you. It was even worth the awful cold I got as soon as I got home (better now, thank goodness).

While a lot has been trying and difficult this year, design work at the library has been a bright spot. Sometimes it feels like I can’t influence much of anything, but there is always something to be done. The No Space for Hate mini-poster I designed and was able to share here was one of the best ways of using my graphic design skills for good this year. I hope you find ways of using your design skills in the new year for good and in ways to inspire and uplift others.

[Shameless self-promotion following]

My most exciting event professionally was the publication of my book, Easy Graphic Design for Librarians: From Color to Kerning, in November. I even got to give an interview about why graphic design is important for all librarians that you can read here. It still feels a bit unreal that I actually got to write a book on graphic design on librarians. I hope you and your colleagues find the information useful and inspiring.

The handwriting, lettering, and calligraphy trend is still going strong, which is making everything look at least a bit homemade. And, it’s great for those of us who love an excuse to learn more about calligraphy. It’s also great for creating new designs for your library. If you have any resources you love for lettering or calligraphy, I’d love to hear about them. I’m hoping to do some larger calligraphy pieces in the new year.

So, what’s up around The Waki Librarian for the new year?

I’m going to be finishing up some library graphic design research in the new year, which I’m excited about and will hopefully start some new research, too. I want to work on redesigning more of the library’s bookmarks and handouts in the new year.

I’m also hoping to run, Blind Date with a Book, at my library in February. I’m looking forward to writing up blurbs for the books (another great excuse to practice calligraphy). If you’ve ever done it at your library and have some tips, I’d love to hear them.

Also, I’ll be at Midwinter, probably hanging out at the ALA booth seeing if anyone is buying my book (but, you know, not the whole time). If you are going to Midwinter and see me there, please say hi!

As this may be the last post here for the year, I want to wish you a wonderful end of the year and beautiful start to the new year. May you have endless inspiration for design and time to make your inspiration real. May you be kind and have kindness shown to you, whether you are in the library or out in the wider world.

And thank you, dear readers for continuing to read my blog and join me on this journey through libraries and graphic design. I will be back with more news and notes about libraries and design. Allons-y!


Warning: Self-Promotion Because My Book is Now Available!

easy graphic design for librarians book coverHello, dear readers! Sorry for the shameless self-promotion, but I had to share the news that my book, Easy Graphic Design for Librarians: From Color to Kerning, is now available for purchase in the ALA Store! That’s right, no more pre-order, it’s available now and you can buy it for yourself or your library. Yay!!! 🙂

Psst…ALA even sent out a press release.  I feel so official now.

I’m obviously excited about this and hope that the book is useful to you and your colleagues who do graphic design work for your library. It was a lot of fun to write and illustrate and I hope you have fun applying some of the tips to your design work.

Definitely exciting news to start the new month and give me some extra energy to keep writing with the start of NaNoWriMo, too.

So, I’m not great at this self-promotion thing, but please buy my book if you think it would be useful for your work and tell your colleagues and friends if you think it they’d be interested. And let’s create some amazing designs for our libraries!

Also, Happy November! Remember to refresh your desktop wallpapers with some of the beautiful, funny, and sweet wallpapers available over at Smashing Magazine. They’re great for design inspiration, too!

Thanks for reading, thanks for listening, and thanks for letting me ramble a bit about my book. I’ll be back to regularly scheduled design notes and tips soon. Allons-y!

Tuesday Fun

Happy Tuesday, dear readers! Most Tuesdays could use a little more fun, but I think the first Tuesday after Daylight Savings Times begins (at least for some of us) requires a lot of fun. For today, I have some lovely information and articles about books because there are few things more fun than a good book.

In case you missed it at the end of last year, check out this infographic on what happens to your body after you start reading a book. I especially love the tongue-in-cheek writing even as it reminds us how powerful books can be.

Also in the realm of books and fun, check out Gizmodo’s article about 16 fun, escapist books to read. Looks like I have more titles to put on my “to read” list. 🙂

Springtime is always birding time, so I’m especially enamored of this poster illustrating the birds of North America. It is lovely. Though I’d suggest taking a Sibley Guide into the field is more practical for identification.

I’ll be back soon with some thoughts on libraries and graphic design, as we are about to mount our spring exhibit, as well as other news and notes. Until then, happy reading! Allons-y!

Tuesday Fun

Happy Tuesday, dear readers! I hope you enjoyed your Leap Day and are ready for March! I am looking forward to Daylight Savings Time beginning and the start of spring. It is a good month. In celebration, let’s have a bit of fun today.

Who doesn’t like a good home library? No one who reads this blog, that’s for sure. I love having books around to read and to draw inspiration from. So I was in awe of this amazing home library and slightly jealous of what sounds like fabulous talks that happen in the middle of such a great collection. Check out this article and video on Cultivating curiosity in amazing home library. I think I need to go buy some more bookshelves.

It’s a new month and that means Smashing Magazine has released its monthly post of fantastic wallpapers for your desktop. They are beautiful and inspiring, as always. Take a few moments and refresh your desktop’s wallpaper. It’s the quickest bit of redecorating you can do.

Finally, check out this short, useful video from Lifehacker on how to pack for long trips. Spring makes me want to travel, so I couldn’t help but share this resource, too.

I hope you have a lovely Tuesday and rest of your week. I’ll be back soon with some more news and notes. Allons-y!



Bits and Bobs

Happy Friday, dear readers! Do you ever feel like all you have to talk about are bits and bobs that somehow make sense in your brain, but don’t really seem to have a common thread that would make sense to anyone else? Yeah, this post is kinda like that. I just have a few things to share with you that may or may not be useful for you or your patrons, but they made sense to me, so I’m sharing them now.

I love books. No surprise there. I’m also a fan of adorable and useful infographics, so I had to share this one from BookPal. Yay, books!

Presented By BookPal

If you are trying to teach students that all websites that end in .edu, .org, or .gov are not necessarily great sources of up-to-date, accurate information, you might like this post from Gizmodo on a hidden treasure trove of dead .gov websites. Both fun to look at from a design/history standpoint and as a potential resource for teaching. Also, wow for some of those URLs.

As we get into the weekend, I felt like I had to share this Lifehacker article on the need to stop working on your day off. Like, really, just stop it and go out and do something fun. It will make you more productive at work, promise. I for one am looking forward to napping, reading some new books I just got from the library, and maybe even some baking this weekend. What are you looking forward to this weekend?

I hope you have a lovely weekend full of fun and relaxation. In the coming weeks, I’ll be posting about graphic design and libraries. Hopefully you’ll find some of it useful. Allons-y!

Books and Letter Writing

Happy Friday, dear readers! I hope your week has gone well and you have a lovely weekend planned. I just wanted to share a few pieces of news with you before we all head out of the office and into the glorious weekend. I rather hope that it is a wet weekend here as we’ve had no rain the past month and are still uncomfortably in a drought, but enough of that…to the books!

It never ceases to make me happy when I see a positive article about books in a magazine that is not dedicated to librarians. So I was rather happy to see this article, Paper Books Will Never Die, on Gizmodo. I love paper books, our overflowing bookcases at home attest to that, and am glad to see someone else writing about their love of the printed word, too.

Also in the realm of all things on paper and in print, this month is National Letter Writing Month! Are you excited? I certainly am and look forward to the excuse to send out letters and cards to family and friends for the rest of the month. Not that I need much excuse. I love writing and receiving cards. A dear friend and I have had a letter correspondence for almost 7 years since we live on opposite coasts and seeing her letters in my mailbox always makes me smile. Also, wonderful excuse to buy more stationery.

Not about printed books, but about books nonetheless, is this article, Google’s Slow Fade With Librarians. Wonderful read from Jessamyn West. Librarians always remember.

And, while not something related to books and letter writing, I had to share the Top 10 Lifehacker Posts of All Time. Because, really, who doesn’t want to read some good life hacking tips? Gives you more time for reading!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend, dear readers. Remember to make time to read, no matter what format you choose, and time too send someone a note to let them know you care. I’ll be back soon. Allons-y!

Happy New Year!

Happy Friday, dear readers! I hope you had a lovely end to 2014 and a lovely start to 2015. Another year is here, fresh and ready for all our hopes and dreams. I’m hoping for a wonderful 2015 and working towards making it so. Here at The Waki Librarian, I’ll still be posting, though a little less frequently, as I work on some other projects and wanted to start of with some fun links for the new year.

I love book lists. They are great for finding new authors and books to read. I thought this interactive word cloud of the novels everyone should read was fun. I’ve read many of the books on the list and think I’ll need to check out some more. I’m planning on actually recording the books I read this year as I think it will be interesting to see what I’ve read when the year is through. I expect it will be an odd mix of fun reading, work reading, and random stuff I pick up at our local indie bookstore or on the new bookshelf at the library.

Also, I love the post on Stephen Abram’s blog on 2015 reading challenge. There are a number of fun lists of reading challenges for the new year to get you and your patrons inspired to read.

Finally, what would this post be if I didn’t share Neil Gaiman’s lovely post, New Year Wishes and Gifts? A bit duller and less joyful, I think. Go read what a master of writing has had to say over the last 15 years for new year wishes. Just lovely.

I know I said the blog would only be on hiatus for November, but December really went by so quickly, I didn’t have a chance to stop and post. So this year, I’m planning on writing a blog post a week, or so, on The Waki Librarian. Still sharing news and notes from the library world as well as cool tools and notes for technology and possibly some other fun stuff thrown in. I hope you have a wonderful day and weekend, that your 2015 is glorious and you have people around that you are happy to be with on this new year’s journey. I’ll be back soon. Allons-y!

Paper and Thought

Happy Friday, dear readers! I hope you are well and had a lovely week. We have finished up final exam week here on campus and it is just about time for quarter break and summer session. I love summer as it is a time to reflect, catch up, and generally get things done without being pulled a million different ways. Today I wanted to share some interesting articles on paper and thought, which may sound a bit odd since this is a blog, but I love paper and handwriting, as well as interesting studies, so I thought it may be of interest to some of you, too.

I thought this was an interesting summary on Lifehacker of some research about how we might consider taking notes by hand to remember information longer. This is something to keep in mind as people keep lugging laptops, phones, and tablets along to meetings to take notes instead of a notepad and pen. I seem to remember things I’ve handwritten better than those I’ve typed, so this works for me. I wonder what your experience is with paper versus digital notetaking.

In a similar vein, Wired has an article on reading on screen versus paper. This is especially relevant to teachers and librarians as many of us have mandates to buy more ebooks and etextbooks at our libraries, which may be a boon for some students, but not for others. I think it will be very interesting to see where we go with paper books versus digital books in the coming years. Do you have a preference for reading on screen versus on paper? I love the convenience of ebooks, especially when traveling, but prefer paper when I’m using a book for research or am curled up reading at home.

Finally, for fun, check out this lovely flowchart by Derangement and Description, “Will Digitization Solve My Problem?”. I think all archivists, librarians, and others involved in digitization projects can relate to this. I think about this a lot when I’m trying to explain the true scope of digitization projects to people on campus.

Have a wonderful weekend, dear readers! I’ll be back soon with more news and notes. Allons-y!

Friday Tips

Happy Friday, dear readers! I hope that your week has gone well and you have a lovely weekend planned. Today I have a grab bag of tips to share as we get into both the happiest (and sometimes most stressful) part of the year. So let’s just get into it.

Airport travel seems inevitable this time of year. Unless, of course, you find yourself on a road trip. But if you are flying, you should really check out Lifehacker’s article on how to make the airport less crappy and more fun. I completely agree that airport time is much better if you are not rushed and if you already know the layout of the airport. Also, if the airport has free wifi, that always makes things better.

While a lot of us are getting into the holiday mood, we still have to be productive at work and so I share Lifehacker’s article on a 3 step alternative to a machine like workday. This really is a must read and more importantly, a must implement strategy. I’m a huge fan of single tasking and creating a schedule, when possible, that matches your productivity and energy peaks throughout the day. While this is not always possible with meetings and service point schedules, it is good to maintain an overall balance so you can get more done without falling into the trap of burnout. If nothing else, step away from your email. You’ll be amazed how much more you get done without the constant notification of an incoming message every few minutes (and you’ll also be able to respond in a timely manner; waiting a few hours for a response is not the end of the world and if it really is urgent, the sender will call you). Also, remember to breathe!

If you are in higher education, or just read the news headlines, you can’t escape hearing about MOOCs. So it is great that you can find a Compendium on MOOcs by Educause. I still need to go through all the resources, but it is really a good place to get more information about MOOCs and educate yourself if your library is considering implementing and/or supporting MOOCs.

Finally, I had to share this Kickstarter for the Book House. Yay for bookstores and helping independent bookstore owners!

I hope you have a fantastic weekend full of relaxation, fun, and good food. I’ll be back next week. Allons-y!

Books and Libraries

Happy Friday, dear readers! I hope your week has gone well and you are looking forward to a lovely weekend. With the weather turning chilly, it seems the perfect time to turn our talk to books to end this week. Because really, what is much better than curling up with a good book, a blanket and a cup of tea/hot chocolate/coffee/your favorite drink when it is chilly outside? Autumn is a fabulous time for this lovely pleasure and so let’s talk books and libraries, or rather let’s read about them.

If you haven’t yet read Neil Gaiman’s talk on libraries and reading and daydreaming yet, you really should. Also, if you haven’t heard of it, you really need to update your channels for libraryland news. It’s no secret I’m a fan of Neil Gaiman’s work and his speaking. I spent hours waiting to have him sign my books when he was in San Francisco promoting The Ocean at the End of the Lane (absolutely fantastic, by the way). I eagerly try to lend out my copies of his short stories and poems to friends that haven’t yet read his work and am always excited to see when he has a new blog post up.

One of the things, apart from his writing, that I most admire about Neil Gaiman is his vocal support for libraries and reading books. (Not surprising I know, but true). This latest talk is absolutely wonderful and I love thinking about books as being sharks, perfectly adapted so why bother evolving? (Especially makes me happy as I’m working with a biology course this quarter and they’re learning about natural selection pressures at the moment.) I think his talk is an eloquent argument for the value of physical libraries and physical books in a time when so many have been swept away by the “shiny” of technology and promise of everything being better online. But I think, when the digital bits settle down, we see again and again the ability of physical books to transport us and allow us space away from the multitasking atmosphere of being online to a place of reflection and wonder.

I love using technology as much as the next person and fully embrace its use in libraries, archives, and the classroom, but in ways that make sense and not as a panacea for all. I think Neil Gaiman reminds us of why humans and paper and daydreaming are as important as knowing the latest technology. Books give us the room to dream and imagine, which we can translate into new and creative tools and technologies. So nice to read about the love of books from one of our current rock star authors.

In other non-library news, I’m looking forward to trying this lovely recipe from Joy the Baker now that we have a waffle iron at home: mashed potato cheddar and chive waffles. Sounds absolutely perfect for the crisp fall weather we are getting.

Finally, if you are like me and are concerned with privacy or teach about privacy and using technology, you’ll probably appreciate this comic from xkcd. I can’t wait to use it with my students during the next quarter:

Privacy Opinions by xkcd

Privacy Opinions by xkcd

Have a fantastic weekend full of good reads, good eats, and good fun. I’ll be back next week with more. Allons-y!