tony tallent

Ready to go…

Found language is fun language. Simply stated and brings up multiple meanings depending on who finds it and when. Ready to go?


When Tony Met Megan (Finally)

Sunday while here at ALA in Anaheim, CA, I finally met Megan McFarlane from ALA’s Office in Chicago. Megan and I have been in correspondence for what seems like a year now, talking by phone and email about the various components of the . Though I feel like Megan and I know each other as if we were long-time office mates, we’d never actually seen one another in person until the Campaign for America’s Libraries program on Sunday. There really are endless possibilities for partnership, collaboration and dreaming (and doing) in libraries! Cheers to Megan and all those who help make the Library–in all its forms–shine BIG every day!

Hello, Charlotte; Goodbye, Charlotte. Let the Dreamsicle Roll.

Dreamy things can come true. Look at the picture above. This is a real example of it. When my Charlotte colleague, Karen, came to me back in April and told me that there was a possibility of getting funding through Mecklenburg County Government for an “innovative and creative” project  that focused on reading for underserved neighborhoods during the summer–and that we only had a few days to pull together a proposal–it was time to pull out the dreams. What was there to lose? So the dreams came out. You know, the ones that you hold onto that are usually only unleashed in a rush of laughter or possibility? So here’s what I thought: What if we created an incredible combination of a summer favorite (the ice cream truck) with a library icon (the bookmobile) and made it possible to give thousands of books away to kids who likely have no books in their houses? What if we did this in a very visual way (making a beautifully loud ice cream truck-turned-bookmobile) AND offered wireless access on laptops, programs and friendly staff available to create a library-on-the-spot? The what-if  has become a reality. Yesterday, it all rolled out to the Allenbrook neighborhood of Charlotte. And again today…and on into the summer and beyond! We have 8 laptops with internal air cards (this fell out of the sky through a generous grant from IBM right at the same time) , thousands of books to give away, programs, an outdoor cafe-like set-up for around the truck and so many staff and community members excited and overjoyed to see it drive around the corner.  We have formally called this the “Mobile Literacy Project.” What we have wound up calling it is the “Dreamsicle.” And that feels right. Libraries can help dreams come true. It feels very good when there is an obvious manifestation of this. What is your personal “dreamsicle” idea that you hold back?  How can you “give it wheels?” We took an almost-retired delivery van and turned it into a sight to behold that will serve up the library with fun, meaning (and sometimes real ice cream) ! A little dreaming can go a long way (and it doesn’t have to be this big or loud or have wheels at all).

I write this post on my very last day of work in Charlotte at the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County as I prepare to move to Boulder, Colorado. It’s been a very intense day–filled with dreams-come-true and the lovely sorrow of saying goodbye to my work loved-ones. I am very grateful that I’ve been able to work with some of the freshest and most vibrant minds and hands of the library world! Thank you to all of you you-know-whos. Please keep dreaming on and know that the library is a very expansive entity and that our circles are going to cross again, and again…exactly as we dream it!

Discovering Boulder

It’s been a very active couple of days here in Boulder. Searching for a place to live has been a very good experience to learn more about the city. As always, it’s those moments between the tasks that often reveal the most insight, beauty and magic. I’ve snapped as many pictures as possible between finding addresses, meeting with the terrific Boulder Public Library staff and generally being awed and sizzed about coming to Colorado. I snapped the picture above yesterday afternoon. I jokingly said “this is my new backyard.” Then I realized that this statement is pretty much true. This is in Chautauqua Park looking up at the Flatiron Mountains–a reasonable walk right from Boulder’s Main Library!

Live from Computers in Libraries–D.C.

It’s been a whirlwind of discussion, dreaming and doing these past couple of days at CIL. Helene & I lead off the Innovation Track this morning with our presentation ‘Innovation Starts with “I”.’ Great turn out, input and questions from the group. We’ll get the presentation up along with the streaming vid soon. We were followed by Michael Stephens & Michael Casey who talked about creating truly transparent, honest and open libraries. Good stuff.  Some key take-aways:

Be willing to talk

Talk honestly

Work toward truth, not perfection

“It’s not a age issue, it’s an effort issue.”