Friday, May 8, 2015

Wayback Machine to the rescue!

I am beyond elated!!  I was reviewing some of my older blog posts here and I was reminded that my first foray into the world of blogging that began in 2005 had been corrupted.  My blog host, a good friend, was able to salvage some of the posts, but not everything.
Wayback Machine Logo
So I went to the Wayback Machine.  I learned about this site many years ago and I have used it both personally and professionally many times.

As a child of the 1960's I enjoyed the cartoons of the adventures of Peabody and Sherman and their use of the Wayback Machine to learn about historical events and sometimes enable the monumental discoveries of past ages.  The cartoon ran along with Rocky and Bullwinkle, Aesop & Son, and Fractured Fairy Tales.  Ah - such a delight of puns and hijinx!

Back to the subject at hand!  I ran a search for my old site and found it.  I've been archived!  Part of me wants to pull all of my old posts and republish them.  That seems unnecessary as long as I can revisit at the Wayback Machine anytime I want.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not deluded to think that I have a great blog or anything - but it is a chronicle for me about what was going on in my life.  And there are some professional milestones in there as well.  So now I can revisit my past a bit.

Many thanks to the folks at the Wayback Machine!  Oh - and here's my older material!*/

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Big Data for Government

GovLoop sponsored a series of speakers Big Data for Government at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC on March 24.  They handed out copies of their resource – The Big Data Playbook for Government
They promoted the presentation:
For years government has been talking about how data can transform an agency. How data can make agencies more efficient and effective and inform better decision-making.

You may know the power of data, but do you know how to actually use it? We aren’t talking about excel spreadsheets; we're talking about BIG DATA (exabytes of it!).

Data represents a remarkable opportunity for government. As public sector professionals, your mission is to learn how to capitalize on your high value and authoritative data. You are responsible to learn what skills, tools and IT you need to transform your agency with data.

You’ll hear from government leaders on how to break down big data into manageable components and how to make it a reality at your agency. You'll learn:
  • From successful big data implementers who will talk about how they brought big data to their agency in a cost effective way.
  • How to identify which programs should be selected for a big data initiative.
  • To what skills are necessary for a big data workforce.
  • How to prioritize your big data initiatives.


Lynn Overman, Deputy Chief Data Officer, US Dept. of Commerce

Data is a big deal at Commerce Department:
  • Census data – collecting data since 1790!
  • Patent & Trademark Office
  • NOAA – from the bottom of the ocean to the surface of the Sun!

The Census Bureau has obligation (Constitutionally mandated) to collect data on every household, city and town.  There is no motivation for the private sector to do that.
The Federal government mission is amazing!  We protect our people both at home and abroad.

How do we adjust to the changing world of data?
Good government means that we avoid fraud, waste and abuse.

What can Government do?
  • Build a team – a broad team – across the organization, including all stakeholders
  • Think about your data – do you have all the data you need to tackle the challenge?  Reach out to other agencies if needed.
  • Have a product manager – think about your customers – the public and your internal data customers.  Market the data in a useful/usable format.
  • Have fun – this is a creative and exciting area for your agency.  Don’t work the team to death.  Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasmWinston Churchill
Innovations in managing data

Medicare fraud abounds – but now we are using systems that allow for real-time analytics that flag fraud issues.  As an attorney in Dade County, Florida, Ms. Overman worked on a few fraud cases.  There was at least a five-year backlog because of the research.  New database tools allow them to flag a patient at multiple locations

Human trafficking is a despicable crime.  In the past, law enforcement has had to review websites manually to look for signs of human trafficking.  They have teamed up with DARPA to find ways to crawl the dark web more effectively.

Resources for federal agencies:

When answering questions, Ms. Overman mentioned the USDigital Service, part of the Office of Management and Budget -  (It isn’t the same as the UK Digital Office that is a Cabinet level office there.)
GSA has a team available to assist agencies with managing their data the 18F group

There were two panels of presenters from several data management companies. 

Kevin Morgan spoke on building the data team.  He encourages that agencies build a tiger team with experts from across the agency.  That way you’ll be able to work through the process – including the acquisitions process.  If an agency has a critical data management need, a tiger team can be outside the regular acquisitions process to help streamline the solution for the agency.

Anthony Fung, Deputy Secretary for Technology, Commonwealth of Virginia

Mr. Fung talked about the work that his office has undertaken to their goal for big data.

Empower all Virginia’s state agencies to make more informed, data-driven decisions to achieve mission goals through the growth of people, big data/enterprise technology, and advanced analytic methodologies across the Commonwealth.

More on Mr. Fung’s talk can be found at


Friday, February 27, 2015

Being wise

It's easy to get a reputation for wisdom. It's only necessary to live long, speak little, and do less.
- P.D. James
Original Sin

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Social Media for Investigative Professionals

Notes from presentation at SLA-2014, Vancouver, BC, Canada June 9, 2014

Social Media for Investigative Professionals
How to find people who don’t want to be found!
Presenter:  Julie Clegg, President, Toddington International Inc.

Prior to working at Toddington, Ms. Clegg worked for 10 years as a detective with the West Yorkshire Police in the UK.
Images are from her slides.

We are living in a digital world!

In order to be a competent, successful citizen, you need a new set of tools
                                                         -          Lee Rainie, Pew Research Center

The largest group of digital users is in Asia, but they constitute less than 30% of the Asian population.
North America and Europe are pretty saturated with 78% and 63% of the population already digital users.  Greatest growth potential is in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Digital use will take off as we move into the Internet of Things – when we are connected with our refrigerators and cars and we get reminders of what we products we need at home while we are shopping.
Technological change is happening twice as fast social change in incorporating the new technologies.  Business is moving even more slowly.  It is hard to keep up and we can’t always afford to keep up.  New phone technologies are rolled out annually.

Among new technologies – geo-tagging (in social media posts and photos) has led to geo-fencing.  Building an electronic fence around a spot and harvesting the Twitter, Insta-gram and other posts within the fence.
Metcalfe’s Law:


The value of a network grows as the square of the number of its users increase.
                                                     -          Robert M. Metcalfe, co-creator of Ethernet

Social Media:

There are a variety of Social Media categories:
  • Collaboration and Crowdsourcing – vBulletin Dicussion Boards, Google Groups
  • Blogs – Blogger, WordPress, TypePad, LiveJournal
  • Microblogs – Twitter, Tumblr, Weibo
  • Content Communities (Wikis) – Wikipedia, Wikispaces, Gamepedia
  • Social Networks – Facebook, Linked-In, Google Plus, QZone
  • Image Repositories – Flickr, Picassa, Imgur, DeviantArt
  • Virtual Games
  • Virtual Worlds
YouTube is social network platform but it is also a search tool.  It is a good resource to find training and product information.

Gaming platforms – World of Warcraft and virtual worlds like 2nd Life are great places for social interaction and research and investigation.  There can be product reviews.  Some universities have set up campuses in 2nd Life and you can take classes by placing your avatar into a classroom.
Both are good ways to access person-to-person interaction.  From a law enforcement perspective it is important.  As technology develops there are complaints of online offenses requiring new definitions and reporting of crimes.

Blogs tend to have low readership currently, but when they first took off in 2007 people were sharing a lot of personal information.  Some blogs are online diaries and still good sources for personal information on individuals.
Foursquare is an example of a space timer.  Sites like this tell you that a person was at specific place at a particular time.

Space locators are location-sensitive only.  TripAdvisor and Yelp tell you where people have been.
Quick timers are time-sensitive only – Twitter and Facebook are examples.

Slow time – neither time, nor location specific.  Sites like Wikipedia and YouTube.  Items here will be around for a long time, generally.
Social Media Building Blocks:

Ms. Clegg talked about the elements of social media – Presence, Relationship, Reputation, Identity, Groups, Conversation and Sharing.

Linked-In is focused on Identity and pulls in elements of Reputation, Relationship and Groups.

Foursquare focuses on Presence with elements of Identity and Relationship.

YouTube is about Sharing – and secondarily about Conversation, Groups and Reputation.

Facebook is a big winner – it is really about Relationships with elements of Presence, Reputation, Identity, Conversation and Sharing.

Twitter is another big winner – but its primary focus is on Sharing and secondarily about Presence, Relationship, Reputation, Identity, and Conversation.

How connected are we?

Ms. Clegg showed examples of people putting social media ahead of personal safety.
  • Posing for photos at fire scenes
  • Updating Facebook status while driving (her example was related to an actual fatal accident)
  • An incident with a man taking a hostage and posting to Facebook – and others updating with police movement and activity.
Tracking people using Social Media:

Now there are tools (some free, some for purchase) that allow you to draw a digital fence around a location and pick up the Twitter, Instagram and other posts at that location.
You can draw a fence around someone’s house and follow their posts and tweets.  Use this to find a Twitter user name and perhaps a Facebook profile.  Search in Facebook on photos – or photos that someone has liked – find their friends.

Often an individual is careful to monitor his/her Internet activity and profiles, but their friends and family members may not be as careful.

Using Geofeedia Ms. Clegg’s company found a posting by an employee at a secure location.  There was a clear photo showing the employee’s desk – his monitor that was displaying a classified document and his personal laptop that was in used.  Both are violations of security guidelines.

Another location they found a posting by a soldier who was scheduled for deployment.  She was posing with her rifle.  From that post they could pull up her Facebook profile and photos of herself and her friends.

Knowing her Twitter profile name they could search on the Teaching Privacy website for other posts by her worldwide and see where she has been deployed.
Google tricks:

One trick that Ms. Clegg showed was an enhancement of the familiar wild card search in Google.  Put a name in quotes but add an * - “Lisa * Smith”  The * acts as a wild card and will cover up to 4 additional words between the names.
Ms. Clegg used this on one project and was able to find the name of a subject’s wife.  The subject had done a good job of keeping his own online profile low, but not his wife and family.  With the wife’s name she was able to find associations with the children’s school and then photos on Facebook and Twitter of the children.  Following Twitter posts and the time and location stamp she was able to trace the subject’s route to work – dropping the kids at school and on to his place of business.

For all this geo-tracking – Ms. Clegg concluded by showing us a site:

A person can log in with his/her Twitter ID and select any location.  Then post a tweet and it will appear in Twitter that one is Johannesburg when she is really in Detroit.
All that means is that we have to be careful when we use any of these geo-tracking tools. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

KM in the Trenches

Presentation by Ulla de Stricker, Cindy Shamel and Connie Crosby at SLA-2014, Vancouver, BC, Canada, June 8, 2014
Presenters are authors of Knowledge Management Practice in Organizations: The View from Inside.

Chapter 2 – KM Culture, by Ulla de Stricker is available for download –
If a city tears up the same street three times over a six month period to install three different cables, there’s a KM problem.

If KM is imposed by IT – no one will do it.
There are often multiple KM groups within the same organization.

You have to look at the cultural aspect of the organization in order to see how you can incorporate KM practices.
How do we proceed?  Short term – it may be easy to fix an immediate KM short-coming.  Provide someone with the information s/he needs.  But what about the long term?

Knowledge Audit:
How do you find out what you need to know about your organization?

Hire a consultant.  Conduct a survey.  Become an Undercover Boss!  Just like the TV show, go undercover to find out what problems exist in your organization so you can fix them.
New hires are another source of information on what is going on and what isn’t working.  They have their experience at another job and can communicate on any difficulties they are having in finding information at the new place.

KM by stealth – if management doesn’t like KM – do it anyway, just don’t call it KM.
Managers lose sight of the grass roots after about two years.  Many times good workers become managers because they know how a department works.  They know what it takes to run things well.  But as they focus more on administrative duties, they begin to lose sight of the work.

KM Culture – there is not always enough Time, Thought or Reflection to implement KM.
People cycle through the organization faster and faster.  It is harder to keep track of what KM efforts have been made before and what is in place and/or working and not working.

Often KM technology is rolled out – but we forget that human oversight and interaction is needed.  We often forget to train people on how to use the technology and think that the technology will just do the work of KM.
Human oversight and intervention is IMPORTANT!

Be Agile – add value to the KM process every day or every week.  Work toward accomplishing the KM solution for the organization incrementally.
How do we get buy-in?

Listen – eavesdrop!
Where are people suffering?  Where is the pain?  What is keeping the boss awake at night?

Build the KM strategy around what is worrying the boss.  If you can find a solution to her/his concerns, you will get buy-in at the top.
3 questions:

Ask the following questions to people in your organization and listen to their answers.  You will learn a lot.
  • Tell me about your day – what does your department do?
  • Tell me about your research?  What are you working on?
  • What’s the buzz in your field these days?

Facts and Findings:
When preparing a report on the Knowledge Audit there are three sections:

Facts and findings – the current state of things – just the facts.
Pointers – this prepares them to think about and get ready to hear solutions.  But don’t include the solutions in the report.  If you do, they will skip to the solutions and explain away why they cannot afford to implement the solutions.

Solutions – find out where the organization is in pain – and tailor the solutions to ease that.
Ownership of systems is essential.

Scale-up over time.
Start small and build out.


The Googlization of Everything

Notes from a presentation by Siva Vaidhyanathan, Robertson Professor in Media Studies, University of Virginia at the 2014 FEDLINK Spring Exposition at the Library of Congress, Montpelier Room on
May 14, 2014.

 Mr. Vaidhyanathan is the author of TheGooglization of Everything - and Why We Should Worry,
Libraries have done so well that they are taken for granted.  They become invisible – like an offensive line in football.  You only notice when it doesn’t do its job.

Google is 17 years old.  In that time it has changed our expectation of how companies should operate and on the availability of information.  Google is pervasive and we have become dependent.
Right to be forgotten

What about the recent European Court decision that people can remove information about themselves from the public record.
The European case involved a Spanish man who at one time owed a large debt.  He repaid the debt – but anyone searching his name on Google finds a page about the debt – but not the information that the debt was repaid long ago.

In the days before the Internet anyone doing research on this man would have to go to a local library, courthouse or records office and search through records and likely learn that he had repaid a debt that he owed at one time.  This kind of searching takes time and costs money.  In the age of Google it is cheap and easy – but it fails to provide the context of the information.  Yes – there was a debt – THAT WAS REPAID!
Following the European Court decision, the New York Times opined that this was an attack on the free press.  But we had a free press before Google – why does this threaten the press?

Another reaction to the court decision is the sense that if we cannot find something on Google, then it doesn’t exist.
Social Circles

Facebook has changed the way we connect socially with others.  In the past one managed one’s circles of friends and would selectively share personal information.  Our co-workers would know some information; acquaintances we meet at conferences would know some, perhaps not the same information.  Our family would have other information – but our siblings might know things that our parents did not know.
Facebook scrambles those circles – so that everyone is suddenly on the same level of knowing the same information about us and our associations.  Unless we learn to control our Facebook privacy settings.

Google scrambles our ability to control our reputation.  The links that point to us are skewed by the weight given to some websites.  Some news sources are given more significance than other sites.  For example, Huffington Post articles seem to stay at the top of the search results.
NSA has had a partnership with Google and Facebook, but we only recently learned that NSA has gotten even more access to our personal information at these sites than even the administrators realized.

Google’s Mission:
The mission statement is not – “Don’t be evil.”

It is To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible.
When Google started in 1988 – that was ambitious – so much material was being added to the Internet on a daily basis.  Yahoo approached the organization with people to do the sorting and categories to help.

Google folks were in university and applied for a National Science Foundation grant for library research – and they developed the algorithm to sort and organize the web sites.
Organizing is a job of discernment, judgment and training.  It needs training and guidelines.

This is the hubris of Google – to think that they can organize the world’s information.  Not all of the world’s information is on the Internet – and they still cannot make it universally accessible. 
Libraries have the skill and the ability to provide access to their collections – and they have better metadata!

But this was part of their purpose in launching GoogleBooks, GoogleScholar and even taking on YouTube.
GoogleBooks – was a deal with Harvard University, Stanford, New York Public Library, the Bodleian Library and a few others that gave Google, a six-year old start-up company, the access to hundreds of years of acquisitions and materials with the purpose of digitizing and putting on the Internet – without any plan for copyright and license agreements.

But these projects are losing money for Google.
More about Google Rankings

Google is a benevolent dictator.  In the early days of the Internet porn sites came up pretty regularly in Internet searches.  Now Google downgrades the ranking of porn sites – the sites are still there – just not on the first page.
Personalization and localization are great for shopping and for business, but they are not very good for learning – when we are trying to research some principle or standard and it isn’t tied to something within our immediate vicinity.

What is missing is the learning and the context of information that comes from doing real research.  Algorithms favor the interests of developers.
Popularity of sites plays a role in search retrieval on Google.  The more popular sites come up first.  This is disastrous when you are searching for health information.  Search on vaccination and you get a lot of sites by vaccine-bashers and Huffington Post articles.  That is a subject area where brand names should matter – Centers for Disease Control or WebMD etc.

What is the goal?
Google has already won the battle of the search engines.  So far they haven’t won the battle of the operating systems of the Web or of Mobile devices.  The goal is become the operating system for life – when our appliances and our cars and our clothes are all connected to the Web. 

What is the long game?  On the open Web, Google wins over Facebook.  If you spend your time on Facebook – then Facebook wins.
The big players are Apple, Microsoft, Google and Facebook.  Who will win when data is flowing through our lives?  Who will we trust to manage all of that?  Who will be the operating system of our lives?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Strong Roots, New Branches – how I grew to become a librarian

Here is the presentation I gave at the National Press Club, Washington, DC this morning.  The was Government Libraries event sponsored by Lexis/Nexis and moderated by Marie Kaddell.

Other presenters were Samir Goswami, Director, Government Professional Solutions, Lexis/Nexis, and an expert on human trafficking, and Kris Vajs, Chief Librarian at the US Federal Reserve Board of Governors Research Library.

Strong Roots, New Branches – how I grew to become a librarian

Thank you, Marie, for inviting me here today.  I have come to this event almost every year and I have gained much from the speakers.  Marie asked me to share the story of my career as a librarian.  I hope that you will find it encouraging and find something from own experience to aid yours.

Building on the theme for today – I think of trees with strong roots and new branches.  So I will use the analogy of the life of a tree as my framework.
While growing up I remember a poster in my sister’s bedroom.  Bloom where you’re planted.  Posters were the tweets of the 1960’s.

Trees grow everywhere: Forests, Groves & Orchards, Homes & Neighborhoods, Tree boxes, Bonsai pots and in cracks in the sidewalk.  They grow naturally, or planned by landscapers, arborists, homeowners, farmers and bonsai masters.  Some grow to be majestic oaks or redwoods while others remain small.  Some die as seedlings while others live to be hundreds of years old.
Taking root

I often say that I fell into being a librarian.  After college, with no real career plan, my godmother steered me toward federal service.  She had made a career working in human resources and thought that would be a good path for me as well.
This was back in the day – before personal computers and smartphones – and I went to OPM a few blocks west of here to take the Clerk/Typist exam.  The first job was with the FDIC and I started my library career by weighing, opening and sorting the mail.  I checked in serials using a Kardex system.  I shelved, I weeded, I did loose-leaf filing and I filed cards in the card catalog. I replaced pocket parts and even learned how to handle Shepard’s Citations volumes.  Not use them – that wouldn’t come for another 15 years, but I figured out what to keep and what to toss.

I left that job to become a Personnel Clerk/Typist at the VA Medical Center in Washington, DC.  It seemed to have more chance of advancement.  It was an interesting experience and I learned a lot about HR rules and benefits.  But one day, a friend from my FDIC days, told me that they were looking for a cataloger.  This was not a position that required an MLS.
I took that job and since then I have always worked in libraries. 

Growing and nurturing
But I needed library skills to go along with this job.  I got OCLC training at FEDLINK and I took a cataloging course with Dr. David Battey.  If any of you had the privilege of knowing him or taking a course from him – you are lucky.  He was a brilliant man and one of the first librarians I ever met who wore his quirkiness with pride!

Luck had much to do with my career – that and some talent to learn.  I took on the cataloging, and other duties as assigned.  I learned how to take care of the library system that the FDIC had at the time.  I took over running the back-ups.  I dismantled and rebuilt system furniture.
I had a good boss and good directors for the library.  After I had been on the job for a year or so – and figured I knew everything – I got a new boss who helped to give me a new attitude in my job.  She helped me to see the bigger picture of how my job fit in with the structure of the library and the agency and why it was important.  She was a dedicated civil servant who took her responsibilities seriously.  She was also fair-minded and encouraging to others.

Then the Internet happened and life as we knew it changed forever. 
In this case I was again lucky.  I learned about gopher sites and ftp and html.  I learned about the reality of electronic resources.  And that interest prompted me to get my MLS.

Again, I was lucky – my agency helped pay for my degree.  I attended the University of Maryland, College of Information Studies.  After I finished there were some staff shifts and I moved into a librarian position.
Over the next few years I made the most that I could from professional development, training classes and attending conferences and workshops.   I took advantage of DC-SLA to network with other librarians in the area.  From the start I would write up my notes from attending conferences and share them with my colleagues.

It was during this time that Blogs and then Twitter came into vogue.  A colleague was testing a site for supporting library services and asked me if I would consider starting a blog.  I did and used it to post my write-ups on conference and workshop sessions.  I had some following – not a lot. 

I talked to some speakers who were successful bloggers.  One gave me the advice, if you don’t have anything special to say- don’t blog.  I applied that same notion to my tweets.  I mostly tweet from conference sessions I am attending or to promote a new blog entry.
I also provided weekly updates on what I was doing.  This helped me to mark my successes and achievements.  I worked on projects in the library but also volunteered for programs at my agency as a way to promote the library.

While it is important to blossom and reach out on the job, it is also important to have hobbies and interests outside of work.  Face it, sometimes work can be a drag.  I find comfort in music.  For many years I sang with a choral group and for the past 14 years I have played trombone with a community band – DC’sDifferent Drummers.  I also enjoy helping my husband work in the yard.  There are many ways to re-create oneself.
Storms and drought

Sometimes we face difficulties on the job: down-sizing, budget cuts, or difficult colleagues.  And personal life presents challenges: illness, finances, care for children, parents, partner or spouse. These are times when we need to learn to be resilient and be strong.
A challenge in one job led me to take a look at my health – and that took me on a journey of its own and a successful weight loss.

Calling to mind the analogy of a tree – you have to bend during the storm in order to survive.  If you become rigid – you can break or topple.  And having had two trees come down at my home – you want to avoid that!
We all make mistakes.  Yes, it is embarrassing. What is important is to learn from our mistakes.  I have had some setbacks, just like many others – but I have tried to be optimistic, improve myself and move ahead. 

The reason that we laugh at clowns is because they do the things that we do – they trip and fall – but they do it in the spotlight of the center ring.  And then they laugh at themselves.

Transplanting trees is a tricky endeavor.  You have to pick the right time so the tree can survive the move.  As librarians we have to be ready to learn new skills so we are ready for our next move.
I have worked in Technical Services, Electronic Resources, Reference and Acquisitions.  I have trained contractors in using library systems.  I have built databases and webpages.  I have trained agency staff on library services and Internet searching.  I realized that I have had some experience in most areas of librarianship.

Most of my library career was with banking agencies.  I started out with the FDIC.  Then I went to the Comptroller of the Currency and then to the Federal Reserve Board Research Library.
From there I worked a couple of contract positions – one at the National Agricultural Library and another in the private sector for a company called LMI that does consulting work with the Department of Defense and some other agencies.

The breadth of this experience, the way I marketed it and no small amount of luck or providence landed me in my current position with the USArmy Corps of Engineers.  It is perhaps the coolest job title I could have ever imagined – Command Librarian.
Branching out & Bearing fruit

Now I am in a position where I need to branch out and learn from my colleagues as well as support them.  It is my role to provide guidance to the USACE Library Program.  We have 21 district libraries, 3 research libraries and two other library sites.  Fortunately I am not their supervisor, but I have visited each site and try to find ways to help them.
Looking ahead, I am reaching out to other groups and divisions at my agency to see how the library can provide better support.  I will also reach out to those districts that no longer have libraries and learn what help they need.

And it is my turn to mentor and help others.  One day I got a phone call from a training officer in our Sacramento District.  She had an employee who was a clerk and was interested in going to library school.  Over the next several months we traded emails and chatted as she embarked on her training and transition to becoming a librarian.
I have also been active with DC/SLA and the EmploymentPortal.  Some of us on that team have met with library students and reviewed resumes.

We should regularly look at our careers and what we are doing and cut away the dead wood.  This can be as simple as reviewing our resumes and removing irrelevant skills and training.  It can also mean letting go of some of the negatives in our lives, letting go of bad will and grudges.  Sometimes this is easy – sometimes it requires counseling.  Don’t be afraid of it.

Old trees and by-products
What can be said about old trees?  They give shade & comfort.  They beautify the landscape.  Their branches provide nests for birds and homes for squirrels.  Their roots help to give stability to the land.  Their wood can be used to make homes, doors, desks, tables and chairs.

They can be milled into pulp to make paper for printing of books, currency and much else.  What we do as librarians and information professionals helps our agencies accomplish good for the people of America.
I think of the librarians I have known throughout my career.  Teachers in library school who were demanding and challenged me.  Another librarian earned a Master of Divinity and retired early, but applied her skills to helping at a theological library.  She went on to lead others on pilgrimages in Benedictine spirituality.  People like Sharon Lenius who, though retired, still support other government and military librarians.

We don’t have to end up on the wood pile.
I leave you with something a manager said to me on my first day in a job waiting tables. The worst thing that we can do to you is to fire you.  You’ve looked for a job before and you can do it again.  The phrasing struck me as odd – but I took it to mean – if you’re not happy with what you are doing then look for someplace where you can be happy.