It’s Like Riding a Bike

Today, I rode a bike. It was a bubble gum pink beach cruiser with fat tires and a wide seat. I rode on the bike path that hugs the coastline from downtown Monterey, California out past the Great Tide Pool in Point Pinos. It’s about a 10-mile round trip journey.

Why is this worthy of a blog post? Bike riding terrifies me.

You know those crippling anxious feelings some people have about public speaking, heights or riding a roller coaster? That’s how I feel about bike riding.

The expression, “it’s like riding a bike,” means that once a skill is learned it is never forgotten. In my case, it’s not just the muscle memory of bike riding that I never forgot, but the anxiety that always accompanied it.

It all stems from my childhood epilepsy. Based on medical advice, which I assume at the time, was considered to be sound; I was forbidden to ride a bike. It took me a few years to convince the pediatric neurologist to clear me for bike riding. Once he did, when I was 10 or 11 years old, it was with one caveat – I had to wear a helmet. Nowadays, helmets are mostly a given and even required by law in some states. However, in the early-to-mid 1980s, it wasn’t exactly the norm. It also wasn’t the sleek helmets that are available now. Think of the Rick Moranis character of “Dark Helmet” from the “Spaceballs” movie. Now, imagine that the helmet is red with a sharp, inflexible thick plastic white chinstrap. That was the far-from-cool headgear I had to deal with.

So, me and my gigantic red helmet learned how to ride a bike when I was about a decade old.
Yes, I got looks, stares and even mocked.
Yes, I cared that was happening to me.

Between a couple of unfortunate wipeouts and the general social ostracization of it all, bike riding became that thing that other people did.

After a handful of half-hearted attempts to conquer this fear, it wasn’t until I turned 43 that I really started to proactively slay this two-wheeled dragon.

I’d ask myself, what’s really the worst that could happen?
I could get hit by a car and die.
I could wipe out and get injured.
Or, I could be less dramatic and have a pleasant experience while gaining confidence.

Slowly, I began to chip away at conquering that fear. In June of this year, I rode a bike through the streets of Boston. Me. On a bike. On real streets. In Boston.

The next month, in July, I rode a bike a few times on the Schuylkill River Trail during lunch. Me. On a bike. During lunch. In Philadelphia.

That brings me to today’s biking adventure. I told the bike shop employee that I might be back in five or ten minutes. I then nervously chattered on about being a novice bike rider and something traumatic might happen to me and I would turn around and not be gone very long. The shop clerk smiled at me sweetly and said, “I’m not here to judge you. You take however long or short as you want. But, if you do only take five or ten minutes, please know that I still have to charge you the whole hour.” Fair enough.

As I clumsily pedaled away from the shop, she yelled to me, “I believe in you!”

Bolstered by her non-judgmental bike shop employee confidence in me, I completed my 10-mile ride without incident and only with minimal fear.
Well … manageable fear.

A very wise person reminded me yesterday, over a lunch of giant burritos, that we all have impediments to happiness. It’s the ability to recognize and then chip away at those impediments is what matters.

The happiness that I received from letting go of the fear and feeling the wind in my face on that bike was my motivation to keep pedaling.

Slowly, but surely, the muscle memory of bike riding is what I will retain more than the stressors of it. What I am finally understanding, after all these years, is that multiple earnest attempts at conquering something add up. Those attempts then start to squeeze out insecurities, fears and anxieties. You know, the things that prohibited enjoyment of that activity in the first place.

What would you do, if you weren’t afraid?
Go on, try it again and keep at it.
Soon, it will be as natural to you as riding a bike.

pink bike

(From 3 Geeks and a Law Blog) News Flash: Entry-Level Associates Lack Key Practical Skills

Mark Gediman wrote, “Any law firm librarian who works with summer associates and recent law school graduates can tell you how ill-prepared they are for the “real world” in a firm.”


Read the full-text of his article here:
“News Flash: Entry-Level Associates Lack Key Practical Skills”

#uklibchat agenda – Tuesday 4 August 2015: Careers surgery

The #uklibchat Twitter chats are always fun and a great resource for LIS information. I’m particularly interested in the upcoming August 4th chat about careers. I’ve had quite a career journey myself and hope to possibly impart some wisdom onto others. Join us on Twitter on Tuesday, August 4th from 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm Eastern Time. Follow @uklibchat and #uklibchat to participate in the conversation!


Our August chat will be a ‘Careers surgery’: a chance to talk about our career issues and questions. Talk to fellow library and information workers or students about their career journeys, how they’ve found new jobs, what’s helped them be successful in getting jobs, and any tips and advice people have to share.

The chat will be on Tuesday 4 August, 6:30 – 8:30pm UK time.

The agenda is available here:  please add the questions that you would like to ask.

We also have a feature article written by Katharine Schopflin to get you thinking about the topic.

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What to Do With That Stack of Business Cards: Tips for Post-Conference Networking

The latest installment from the “Ask a Special Librarian” series on!

Ask a Special Librarian – July Edition
What to Do With That Stack of Business Cards: Tips for Post-Conference Networking 

Tracy Z. Maleeff
Library Resources Manager at Duane Morris LLP in Philadelphia
@LibrarySherpa &

Joshua LaPorte
Law Library Assistant – University of Connecticut
@joshualaporte &

Summer Snark Confirmed: “Real Genius” on Saturday, August 15th

Thank you for voting in my original blog post about Summer Snark. The winning date is Saturday, August 15th and the film we shall Tweet snark about is “Real Genius” (1985.)

real genius imdb

Before he was Iceman, Jim Morrison or Batman, Val Kilmer played Chris Knight, the super smart big man on campus at Pacific Tech in “Real Genius.” Described by as, “Teenage geniuses deal with their abilities while developing a laser.” It’s quirky and funny in that 80s comedy sort of way.

How to live-Tweet a movie, the Librarians (and Friends) way:

1. Have “Real Genius” (1985) queued up and ready to go. Make sure you are past any previews or commercials.

2. Hit “play” at exactly at 3:00 pm EDT on Saturday, August 15, 2015.
(That’s 8:00 pm BST for our UK friends.  What time is that where you are?

3.  Use hashtag #liblaser (As in, the laser which is the whole plot point of the movie. Not a spoiler, it’s in the tagline.) for all “Librarians & Friends Live-Tweeting a Movie” remarks for this specific movie.

4. Keep your Tweets clean, don’t be a jerk, etc, etc, etc.

5. Make sure you have popcorn with you while you watch. No spoilers. Just have popcorn. Trust me.

Questions? Contact @LibrarySherpa or leave a comment below.

#SLAtalk: Get to Know KM with SLA’s Knowledge Management Division!

The term “knowledge management” is used a lot in the library and information science world. But, do you truly know what it means and how to use it? Get the scoop about KM and SLA’s Knowledge Management Division during our hour-long Twitter chat. Members of the KM Division will be participating in the Twitter chat to engage you and assist with your questions. Everything you wanted to know about KM, but didn’t know how to ask!

Wednesday, July 22nd
3:00 p.m – 4:00 p.m. ET  (7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. UTC)
What time is that where you are?
► Follow @SLAhq on Twitter and use #SLAtalk to join the conversation.
► New to Twitter chats? Read “How to #SLAtalk.”

Q1 (first 15 minutes) Is there definition of knowledge management that resonates with you?  One you’ve read?  One you’ve developed yourself?

* Supplemental reading: “What is KM? Knowledge Management Explained.” Michael D. Koenig, KM World, May 4, 2012 post

Q2 (second 15 minutes) Are you responsible for areas or products in your workplace that are considered knowledge management? If so, what are they?  (e.g.: Maintaining expertise database, researching and writing lessons learned, etc.)

* Supplemental reading: “Librarians & Knowledge Management: Everything old is new again” Holly M. Riccio, AALL Spectrum May 2011

Q3 (third 15 minutes) What KM strategy or technique do you find most valuable in your organization?  How does that work for you and your organization?

* Supplemental reading: “Knowledge Management is Not Mere Dissemination” The World Bank People, Spaces, Deliberation Blog, April 3, 2012 post

Q4 (last 15 minutes) Which resources do you use to learn about or sharpen your KM skills? Experts, share some books/articles/websites/social media you use to stay on top of KM!

* Supplemental reading: SLA KM Division website’s KM Learning Corner

Originally posted on SLA’s Calendar:

Applications now open for the next round of the ILN

I have participated in two previous rounds of matching for the International Librarians Network. I highly recommend this as a great way to develop your international professional development and networking skills. I’ve had the pleasure of forming great connections with librarians in Ireland and Australia as a result. It’s free and a terrific opportunity. Do it! Apply today!

Professional confidence and ‘imposter syndrome’

Elly Vaughan (O'Brien) - Senior Analyst, healthcare

Togetherness Togetherness, c/o Steve Bridger

This blog post is about professional confidence, or rather a lack thereof. This is something I hear a lot of people in the library and information world talking about. In particular the concept of ‘imposter syndrome’.

What is it?

The term ‘imposter phenomenon’ or ‘imposter syndrome’ originated in a 1978 article and is the manifestation of a lack of professional confidence. People feel like they are in some way a fraud – such as feeling like they are not as good at their job as people think they are. Consequently they fear being “found out”. It can be fleeting, related to a particular task or happening only when you feel otherwise lacking in confidence. Or it can be something that pervades throughout one’s professional life.

Imposter syndrome arises from genuine feelings of insecurity and lack of confidence. The purpose of this blog post is not…

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Librarians and Vendors: Some Thoughts As Conference Season Approaches

Interacting with vendors at a conference is very important for networking and professional development. Chuck wrote a great piece that everyone should read!

On Firmer Ground


by Charles J. Lowry, enterprise sales representative for Fastcase

The poet Dante took great relish in describing the sign over the entrance to the underworld. There is a part of that sign that all vendors secretly fear is in the hearts of librarians as they contemplate the exhibit hall:

Per me si va ne la citta dolente,

Per me si va ne l’etterno dolore,

Per me si va tra la perduta gente.

Inferno III.1-3

“Through me you enter into the grieving city; through me you enter into unending sorrow; through me you enter to be among a forsaken nation.” What I hope to do over the next few paragraphs is to offer a couple thoughts that might enable both librarians and vendors to appreciate the opportunities and challenges of the exhibit hall. These thoughts are based on years of experience, but it is my experience only. I make no claim…

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SLA Online Content Advisory Council Meeting at SLA 2015 in Boston

Tracy Z. Maleeff
Chair, 2015 SLA Online Content Advisory Council

Is your SLA chapter, division or caucus on social media? Would you like help making that first step, or would you like some tips on how to do it better? Join the Online Content Advisory Council in Boston at the 2015 Annual Conference & INFO-EXPO. Meet with council members to better understand how you can make social media work for your SLA unit. Also, the OCAC is seeking feedback from members on information that should be addressed in a social media best practices handbook that is in the works.

Monday June 15, 2015 | 10:00am – 11:30am
Westin, Douglass

Have questions or need more information? Contact the OCAC Chair, Tracy Z. Maleeff, at