Bubbling in the waiting room

4 03 2014

Several ways to look at the current down-time – it might be a welcome chance to catch one’s breath, or it might be limbo while waiting for the next shoot of new growth to sprout…

But some things continue apace, like Have You Heard? on WSLR, for example. Mind boggling to apprehend we’re on Week 46 of weekly broadcasts. It’ll be a year before you know it. Our goals include moving up to a 10 minute show from our current 5 minute format.

This week we go over a slew of musical events happening around Sarasota and in her libraries. But I also mention a Fogartyville event to which I’m looking forward:

“True Heroes of Florida, with T.D. Allman”

Finding Florida cover art








After a brief span hearing Mr. Allman on WMNF, Community Radio up in Tampa, FL, I’m looking forward to a fuller interaction with this controversial historian in our community here. Sunday, March 9, 5 PM at 525 Kumquaat Ct., Sarasota, FL  34236. Aloha!








19 07 2013


This is a human disaster in the making. Pray, write, protest, holler, jump up and down, boycott and do whatever you can, please.

Miami-Dade County Public Library – “County may shutter 42 libraries, lay off 260 employees”

15 07 2013

In solidarity with the working families and citizens in need, as well as with library staff, in Miami-Dade County, I offer this link to a newspaper article that “mysteriously disappeared” from the paper’s web site before too many people saw it…


Praying the leaders of Miami-Dade County come to their senses, practice some human compassion for those who need the services of the library on a daily basis, and find a way to avoid this potential tragedy and horrible nightmare.

Undergraduate sunset

5 07 2013

More precisely, the sun is setting on my son’s undergraduate career. But he’s dragging it out as long as possible. And I don’t blame him.

Nolan E. Bensen graduated this past May from New College of Florida here in Sarasota. It’s a very special place with a unique culture that I believe approaches the ideal in undergraduate education. But more on that another time.

Nolan took some time off from college and had to earn his way back to his current position of achievement. He returned in a much better place to appreciate the possibilities at New College and he’s leaving there with goals that’ll probably contribute to a career path and a vocation. He’s bonded with many friends and contributed to the learning community in which he earned his undergraduate degree.

The sun setting on a major chapter from somebody's life.

The sun setting on a major chapter from somebody’s life.

Although he graduated in May, he’s still on campus working for the summer. In August, he’ll relocate to New York City to attend graduate school at Columbia University.

I took the sunset photo as his student colleagues were crossing the stage to shake the hand of the New College president and receive their diplomas. I hoped he’d like to see some time how the sunset looked while he was graduating. And I look forward to seeing what new chapters dawn for Nolan in the months and years ahead. But it’s a poignant end to a happy time during which my son was enthusiastically excelling in the same town where I’m living. It may never be so easy to enjoy seeing him again. His accessibility will certainly be more limited. And the energies will continue to eddy and swirl in the wake of his departure…

Telling the library story – afterthoughts from Denver

20 06 2013

It was a great honor to be a part of the team representing Sarasota County at the All-America City competition in Denver this past weekend.

The 3 stories we highlighted in our application included: the new Patriot Plaza at the Sarasota National Cemetery; the Institute for the Ages (Sarasota County has the highest proportion of people over 85 years old of any large county in the United States; and the resurgence of the library where I work – the North Sarasota Library.

We had a highly committed, enthusiastic team of people representing a cross section of the County’s population. We were extremely well-prepared. And we were NOT 1 of the 10 All-America cities this year.

I’m betting every member of our team will continue to replay choices we might’ve made and things we wish we’d done better. For example, if we’d known the Talent portion of the Cultural Fair would take place in a street fair atmosphere with a thousand people loudly milling about we’d have chosen different offerings.

Sarasota County's talent performers at the AAC Cultural & Entertainment Fair

Sarasota County’s talent performers at the AAC Cultural & Entertainment Fair

But for library advocates (if you’re not interested, you can tune out here… :-)),
there are important lessons regarding “telling the library story.” In a break-out session on Community and Early Childhood Education, if our delegation hadn’t been in attendance, it’s possible no one would’ve mentioned libraries’ active involvement in this area during the whole session! It turned out to be important for us to be there and tell the library story; to remind people the library is a resource and is working on this issue.

At the same time, it was a pleasure to have an opportunity to tell our library’s story in a situation where we weren’t angling for funding, or a grant, or a donation, or political support. We were there because we love our library and that authenticity contributed to the honor of participating. Sure, I could’ve suggested different ways to tell it, along with different data, that might’ve helped push us over the top for the award jurors. But that wasn’t up to me, and nobody asked… 🙂

Overall, the message for me (and from me) is related to the question, “Where & When is it appropriate to tell your library’s story?” And I think the answer is: “Everywhere – all the time.” At least that’s what the lesson of Denver feels like to me.

Proclaiming the library & community story

7 05 2013

The All America City Award is organized by the National Civic League.

The story of the resurgence here at North Sarasota Library will be one of the leading stories told by Sarasota County as they strive to earn the award of being designated an “All America City.”

My colleague Dr. Lonnetta M. Gaines (see “A Raisin in the Sun” post) and I have been invited to travel to Denver and help tell the library’s, and community’s, story on behalf of Sarasota County. It’s a both a great honor and a serious responsibility.

20 finalist cities and counties converge on a conference where they offer a 10 minute presentation and answer questions fielded by those present.

Activity in the county regarding serving U.S. veterans also coincides with stories sought by the organizers of the award, too.

But I’m particularly hopeful that continuing to proclaim our story might help us achieve improved funding and adequate staffing – both of which are sorely needed.

Synthesizing – personal, family, business, oy…

19 02 2013

My son introduced me to the pleasure of playing Pub Trivia here in town. He sometimes leads it. He was a college Brain Bowl team captain.

So, I asked him to lead S.T.E.A.M. (a variant of STEM that includes Arts) trivia for school students at North Sarasota Library. A colleague pointed out that high school students would be the most appropriate age group.


Upcoming teen programming at the library

Upcoming teen programming at the library

North Sarasota Library High School S.T.E.A.M. Trivia Competition. Pub trivia format with pizza for all (or what passes for pizza in Florida, anyway…)

Tune back in here in late March for some observations or to follow up with
“what were you thinking?” 🙂

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