It’s March 24th, making it Ada Lovelace Day and in memory of Ada – a woman who is considered to be the first programmer, I and many others have pledged to write about a woman in technology who inspires me. Before I do, here’s some more about this day.
Ada Lovelace Day “is an international day of blogging to draw attention to women excelling in technology”. I came across it on Facebook, where pledges from interested people were being sought to participate in what will hopefully be an annual event. I say hopefully, because although I have chosen my inspiring woman for this year, I have others that I would like to write about in future years. I made my pledge, so here goes.
My inspiring woman in technology is Helene Blowers, currently Digital Strategy Director for the Columbus Metropolitan Library, presenter, blogger at Library Bytes, creator of the Learning 2.0 program and 2007 Library Journal Mover and Shaker.
If that paragraph alone is not enough to show you how much she inspires me, then I’ll give you some more. I have been fortunate enough to be able to spend time with Helene on 3 separate occasions, once at her former library – the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County and twice here in Australia when she came out to present at various events. I consider myself fortunate to not only be inspired by her, but also to be able to call her my friend.
She is inspiring because she is creative, innovative (with Learning 2.0 only the beginning), sharing (Learning 2.0 is shared with all libraries under a Creative Commons licence) and dedicated to advancing the profession and those of us in it (her presenting and writing are just two areas in which she does that). She looks at the way technology and library users are moving and then seeks to find ways in which libraries can lever that to meet the needs of our communities. She takes risks, tries things out and moves forward with the lessons learned from each one. She then shares those experiences and challenges us to do the same for our own developing communities. She believes in the place of libraries in those communities, both now and way into the future.
On top of that, she is a dedicated mother who manages being there for her family as well as working fulll-time, has managed a relocation to another state and the continues to manage the many requests she gets to present at seminars, conferences and more, both in her US home and around the world. She is generous with her time, her expertise and her experiences. For all these reasons and many more, I am proud to write this post about her for the first Ada Lovelace Day. And to Helene, thanks for all that you have given to me and to the profession, I really appreciate it.
However, I also want to acknowledge some other women friends who are doing inspiring things with technology and libraries and who I would love to write about on Ada Lovelace Day in future years. So here’s to you also Kathryn, Con, Fiona and Peta. They, along with me and our great male partners in crime, Corey, Morgan and Snail, make up the team that write the Libraries Interact blog. They all inspire me on a regular basis and for that guys, I give you my thanks.
I encourage you to read all their blogs, as well as Libraries Interact, to find out all the great stuff that is happening with technology and libraries in Australia.
In the meantime, have a Ada Lovelace Day!