August 31st, 2016 by Michael Sauers

Mary & Jacosta Nu
18 September 2014

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May 20th, 2016 by Michael Sauers

Published on May 18, 2016

Authored by Joshua Hammer, one of today’s most seasoned journalists, THE BAD-ASS LIBRARIANS introduces readers to Abdel Kader Haidara, a mild-mannered historian and librarian from Timbuktu who morphed into one of the world’s greatest smugglers and pulled off a brazen heist worthy of Ocean’s Eleven. A true story, this “vivid, fast-paced narrative” (Kirkus Reviews) is a tale of triumph and positivity that takes place in the Islamic world—something that has sadly been missing in recent months, and arguably recent years. A recent review from Publishers Weekly sums the book up beautifully: “Hammer does a service to Haidara and the Islamic faith by providing the illuminating history of these manuscripts, managing to weave the complicated threads of this recent segment of history into a thrilling story.”

Haidara’s story begins in the 1980s when, as a young adventurer and collector for a government library, he journeyed across the Sahara Desert and along the Niger River to track down and salvage thousands of ancient Islamic manuscripts that had fallen into obscurity. Through his efforts, the city acquired 350,000 precious volumes, many written during the Golden Age of Timbuktu in the 1500s. Tragically, his efforts nearly unraveled when Al Qaeda militants seized control of Timbuktu and most of Mali in 2012. As the militants tightened their control, Haidara organized a clandestine and dangerous operation to sneak all 350,000 volumes out of Timbuktu, by road and by river, to the safety of southern Mali. THE BAD-ASS LIBRARIANS recounts Haidara’s heroic and ultimately successful effort to outwit Al Qaeda and preserve Mali’s literary patrimony.

Today, the manuscripts are held in a dozen specially-prepared safe houses in Mali’s capital of Bamako, which were set up by Haidara with funding from several European countries, including Switzerland and Germany. Now that they’re safe, Haidara’s focus is digitizing and cataloging them, and fundraising for their eventual return to Timbuktu.

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March 13th, 2014 by Michael Sauers

Janie rocks!

Janie HermannJanie Hermann has worked in libraries for almost twenty years, in the areas of technology training, business outreach and research. Currently, she serves as Public Programming Librarian at the Princeton Public Library. She is always seeking new partnerships and ways to keep libraries relevant. This year at SXSW Interactive, Hermann will speak on the panel, “The New Startup Garage for Innovation? Libraries!” Check out this installment of the Session Spotlight to learn more.

SXSW: Why are libraries the new startup garage?
Hermann: Libraries as the epicenter of innovation, technology and economic recovery? You bet your assets they are! By finding creative ways to bring together techies, entrepreneurs, makers, and sometimes even angel investors, today’s libraries are able to inspire real life action that jumps off the page and into startup success. Find out how Princeton Public Library (NJ) is leveraging community collaborations with groups such as the Princeton Tech Meetup., Python Users Group in Princeton, the Princeton Chamber of Commerce and many more to create unique opportunities for social good and local growth. This conversation will challenge you to rethink the role of the library in your community and encourage you to explore how libraries can be a focal point of insights, ideas and innovation. If you have been seeking a “real world” social platform that has the ability to bring together a mix of thinkers, tinkerers, coders and investors the library just might be your answer!

Read the full interview with Janie @

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July 29th, 2013 by Michael Sauers
Zombie LibrarianYou know these folks.  They’ve made an art out of being a disconnected educator, they’ve done no professional reading since leaving library school and while they’re not exactly sure what a PLN is, they know they don’t want one.  While you’re spending your evenings attending webinars or participating in Twitter chats, they’re still mourning the death of Encyclopedia Britannica’s print edition.  While you’re spending your weekends and summers attending professional conferences, they’re at home knitting yet another cat sweater. And while you’re collaborating with other educators from around the world to create new and innovative experiences for your students, they’re still using the same lesson plans that they’ve used for years, (because, you know, they’ve always worked just fine).
You get the picture.

What’s really worrisome about this affliction is that being and staying disconnected these days requires work.  Shoot.  The other night my husband and I went to dinner at a restaurant where the menu encouraged us to “pin” its recipes, the receipt requested that we “follow” them for special deals and the to-go cups were decorated with QR codes.  Seriously, social media has infiltrated just about every aspect of modern life, which makes the fact that some of our colleagues seem to be living on professional deserted islands utterly mind boggling.

What’s more, this type of intellectual stagnation is bad.  Really bad.  And here’s why:

Read the full post @ The Adventures of Library Girl.

Posted in Learning 2.0, Libraries Tagged with: , ,

April 29th, 2013 by Michael Sauers


See all the photos @

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April 10th, 2013 by Michael Sauers

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September 14th, 2010 by Michael Sauers

Sean Boney of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library sent me a link to this wonderful video they produced regarding recent library budget cuts. I’ve embedded the “long version”. A “short version” of just the music portion of the video is also available.

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June 10th, 2010 by Michael Sauers

If you work in a library today you must have the following three things. Otherwise you’re not going to last. (And this is a bare minimum list. It could easily be longer.)

  1. emailIcon An e-mail address
    Seriously. There are librarians without an e-mail address. There are even library directors without one. This technology is more than 30 years old people. It’s not like I’m asking you to buy your own domain and run a mail server. Head on over to gmail and sign up now. (bonus tip: pick a username that actually resembles your real name.)
  2. images A Web presence
    Again, no domain name required. No HTML knowledge necessary. I’m not talking about a whole Web site, just a presence. Head on over to Facebook and create an account. Want something more “professional”? Use LinkedIn. Then, when someone asks for your contact information, you’ll actually have a URL you can give them along with your e-mail address.
  3. A photo of yourself
    Have a headshot available just in case someone asks. You may not be a regular speaker but you’ll be asked for one eventually. Maybe you’ll need one for a grant you’re submitting. Maybe the local paper will decide to interview you one day. Have one ready. Telling the requester you’ll need to get one taken and send it to them won’t give a great impression. Besides, you may want to use that photo as your Facebook or LinkedIn avatar. (I generally carry my camera with me and I’ve been told that I take some pretty good photos of people. Next time you see me, ask me and I’ll be happy to help out.)
  4. Bonus: An avatar
    Granted, you can use your headshot as your avatar on various other sites but sometimes you want something a little more “fun” than an official photo. Make yourself our of Lego. Wimpify or Simpsonize yourself. Create a WeeMee. Show a little bit of your personality when you can get away with it.

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March 9th, 2010 by Michael Sauers

Just a few items from the list:

1. Librarians take care of libraries, which are still invaluable today.
3. Older books still hold great cultural significance.
15. Somebody has to help lazy people find what they want.
28. Libraries are still a cheaper place to make photocopies than FedEx Kinko’s.
30. Librarians can also find information better suited to the person who needs it.
44. Despite the rising popularity of e-books, 80% of people surveyed say they still prefer paper books.
50. Also unlike the internet, libraries are much less influenced by corporate interests.
60. A library can mold itself for the specific community it’s in, whereas websites usually try to bring in everyone.
72. A library still provides a neutral environment for the free exchange of ideas.
73. Public libraries are surprisingly cheap to maintain, but benefit everyone in the community.
74. If you’re a comic book lover, you can probably find plenty at your local library.
81. With the economy these days, going to the library is a great source of free entertainment.
85. Regardless of what form a library takes, a librarian will always be ready to guide you to the information you need.

Read the complete list, including some more “amusing” items at ZenCollegeLife.

Phtoo: CC-BY-NC jazzmodeus

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February 9th, 2010 by Michael Sauers I’ve been playing with Foursquare for about a month now ever since they released their Android app. So far, I’m the mayor of the Nebraska Library Commission (I am there five days a week), the both the Starbucks and Subway around the block. (As far as I can tell, I’m the only one who’s ever checked in at all three places.) Hey, it’s Lincoln, NE, there’s not a lot of population to work with.

A few weeks ago David Lee King wrote a blog post titled “Foursquare and Libraries – Anything there?” and beat me to the punch on writing an article Introducing librarians to Foursquare. Kudos to David for a wonderful article. Then, something started to happen: I started getting Foursquare friend requests from libraries. Not, librarians. Libraries.

If you’re wondering why I’m making the distinction let’s consider the suggestions David made. They are:

  • Add your library as a place, or edit the entry if someone else has already added it.
  • Add tags relevant to the library.
  • Add Tips and To Do lists.
  • Add your big events.
  • Shout outs.

These are all excellent suggestions. But no where in this list is the suggestion that the library create an account for itself and start friending people. 

Think about it. The point of Foursquare is to let your friends know where you are because you are mobile. Libraries, with maybe the notable exception of a bookmobile, are not mobile. A library can’t go anywhere. A library can not check in at a new location. 

So, if you want to create a library account so you can do the things that David suggests do so. I think it would be better, and actually make sense, for an actual librarian create an account for themselves and do these things on behalf of the library. But what could be the purpose of the library friending actual humans? If I’m missing the point of doing this please feel free to fill me in via the comments.

In the mean time, sorry libraries, I will not be accepting your friend requests. Librarian friend requests gladly accepted.

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