Sunday, February 26, 2012

Peter Woytuk's Sculptures in Lakeville CT

For those folks who think winter is a desolate time in New England, back off.

Yes, there's been little snow this year, and (although I'm not a snow-sports person myself), I do feel a surge of sympathy for the athletes who are not getting their "run in the snow" this winter.

But New England is anything but desolate. Had the good fortune to visit friends in Lakeville, Connecticut recently, and what a sparkling, beautiful week-end it was! No snow, but beautiful (cold) sunshiny days, and we had the special good fortune to head over to the Hotchkiss School. Famous as one of America's best schools, Hotchkiss has a student population of nearly 600 young people, coming from all over the United States and from 28 other countries. The arts are well supported at Hotchkiss, and one of my great pleasures was to discover the sculpture of Peter Woytuk, a beautiful trio of bulls "at rest" on the campus of the school. I couldn't resist, so here's one photo (more are at Peter Woytuk Lakeville 2012.02.18).

And watch this space. The Morrison Galley (which represents Woytuk) in Kent CT has build a large installation of Woytuk's works, running up Broadway in New York City. The exhibition can be seen at a number of the malls along the way, all the way from his elephants at Columbus Circle and ending with more bulls at 168th Street. You can read about the exhibition here, but as I say, watch for Mr. Guy's description. I intend to visit Woytuk's sculptures and share more impressions with you.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Nerisa Kamar: Knowledge Sharing in Africa

Visitors to this site have often read about Nerisa Kamar, my great friend in Kenya. 

Now there's more.

The latest issue of Information Outlook, the publication of the Special Libraries Association (SLA), includes a profile of Nerisa Kamar, who is with UN-HABITAT, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme. She works with UN-HABITAT's Knowledge Management Unit as Assistant Librarian for the Sergio Vieira de Mello United Nations Library at Nairobi.

In his introduction to the interview, author Stuart Hales writes:

"Books, journals, and other media are the lifeblood of libraries and information centers, and many librarians have their hands full organizing their collections of these resources and making them available to clients when and where they are needed. But for some librarians, simply procuring resources is a daunting task. These librarians may face a variety of obstacles - political restrictions, financial constraints, and institutional neglect, to name just a few.

"Librarians in much of Africa are familiar with these barriers, but SLA is helping raise their level of professionalism by connecting them with colleagues and providing them with leadership opportunities. One such librarian is Nerisa Kamar, who recently became president of SLA's Sub-Saharan Chapter. ... Information Outlook interviewed Nerisa late last year and asked her about the challenges that librarians in Africa face, how SLA can help them, and what she hopes to learn during the next few years to move her career forward."

Later in the interview, Hales asks Kamar about KM, and the KM concepts she applies in her work. Kamar responds:

"My personal interest in knowledge management is very strong, because it is my belief that KM and knowledge services make up the foundation and substance of modern librarianship. ... [They have been] useful for me in a number of ways. One is personal knowledge management, which occurs through information needs assessments and information alerts; another is knowledge sharing, by developing a rapport with information seekers to understand their actual information needs and meet them. Then there's knowledge services - creating an awareness of e-resources to which UN-HABITAT subscribes and sharing basic access skills to use with these resources. As an example of this activity, I developed a 15-minute presentation, 'E-Resource Awareness and Basic Search and Navigation Skills Training,' targeting all UN-HABITAT projects. Our presentations so far have been very successful, and satisfying to me as an information and knowledge professional."

Congratulations to Nerisa Kamar, Stuart Hales, and SLA for providing this fine example of how specialized librarianship, knowledge management, and knowledge sharing come together. It is a remarkable synergy.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

New York Music - Gerre Hancock

This is being written on Saturday morning, February 4, as I listen to the Solemn Requiem for Gerre Hancock, Organist and Choirmaster as St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, a musical establishment that played a long and important role in my avocational life. Slightly indisposed, I cannot attend the service, so I am extremely grateful to be able to listen from my home via a webcast.

It's hard to underestimate the influence of such powerful (and very kind) intellectual leaders in the musical world, and I believe all of us are greatly saddened that Gerry Hancock is gone. He was brought to St. Thomas (and to its highly esteemed choir school) in 1971 and worked diligently to build upon and make even greater the splendid music program that was already in place. There is hardly anyone in New York who does not recognize the important music that is presented through St. Thomas, bringing beauty to the lives of many, whether church-goers or not.

For years, New Yorkers have been drawn to St. Thomas Church, not just for the excellence of the music and the high place that the church's service music holds in the larger Anglican/Episcopalian community but for splendid concerts and records that bring much pleasure to all music lovers in this part of the country. The concerts presented by the St. Thomas Choir regularly fill the church to its maximum capacity, and many New York-area music lovers mark their calendars when the concerts are first announced. And while I have no first-hand indication of the numbers relating to the choir's success with its recordings, I certainly hear and read much about them, so I must conclude that they are popular.

So today we are honoring the memory of one of the church's great musical leaders, following in a great line of musical leaders. St. Thomas Church is famous for the excellence of its organists and choirmasters, and Gerre Hancock's great work at the church will always be remembered. Today's service ends with one of the church's most beloved hymns, "Ora Labora" ("Come Labor On"), composed by T. Tertius Noble, another of the Anglican Church's great musicians and organist at St. Thomas for thirty years, from 1913-1943. And, yes, it's one of Mr. Guy's favorite hymns (I'm very happy it will end the service and I just might sing along!). There can be no finer climax in honoring Gerre, whom many of us came to know and respect and love during our many interactions with him. By the time I came to St. Thomas, my chorister years  - most notably at St. Stephen's in Richmond and at St. Bart's, a few blocks away here in Manhattan - had come to an end, so in that respect I was not a direct participant of Gerre's leadership as a choral leader. As a member of the parish, though, and as a sometime lay-reader, it was often my great thrill to be a "listening" member of the results (and, yes, as again a singer when we all joined the choir with our full-throated and wide-open-voice hymn singing, a tradition for which St. Thomas is famous).

So today's service is a very special opportunity to remember one of the great influences in New York's musical heritage, and it makes me very happy to share these thoughts and memories with my friends and colleagues. The service leaflet can be read here and you can listen to the service by going to the bottom of the St. Thomas calendar and selecting your choice for the transmission Windows Media Player or Quick Time).

Guy's Journey Continues - More "Reinventing"?

Happy to be back. And I can't think of a more appropriate subject to begin with than how we think about our work and how we organize our lives so we have satisfying work. It's a challenge to make it all come together.

In our quest, we make much of Mr. Drucker's recommendation to "reinvent yourself." One colleague has even suggested that the idea itself has become something of a cliche.

Not from where I sit.

The whole topic of moving forward, of bringing one's self into an energizing and rewarding career - even if it means rearranging what one has previously been doing - is talked about a great deal among people I know, and recently that idea, long attributed to Peter F. Drucker, fell a little more neatly in place.

Reading The Daily Drucker on a regular basis is something of a tonic for many folks, and I'm among that group. And, as I say, since several of us have been speaking about the whole idea of reinventing one's self, I was delighted to discover that the Drucker reading for January 25 is, yes, the one about his recommendation that we go in this direction.

Captured for that date is this (from Drucker on Asia, published by Butterworth Heinemann in 1995):

"People change over such a long span. They become different persons with different needs, different abilities, different perspectives, and, therefore, with a need to 'reinvent themselves.' I quite intentionally use a stronger word than 'revitalize.' If you talk of fifty years of working life - and this, I think, is going to be increasingly the norm - you have to reinvent yourself. You have to make something different out of yourself, rather than just find a new supply of energy."

So since I've been away from these posts, has Mr. Guy been reinventing himself?

As usual, it depends on your perspective but I will mention that my professional life has broadened and now includes an important commitment to academic work. After tipping my toe into that (not totally unfamiliar) community as we developed the curriculum and began delivering courses to students for Columbia University's M.S. in Information and Knowledge Strategy program, I find myself very happy about what we are doing. I now have three roles in this work: I teach, I serve on the program's advisory committee, and I'm an adviser to the program. Just delighting in this new experience.

The company where I've been employed for nearly 30 years - SMR - continues to satisfy (there's more about SMR here). In addition to my contribution to the delivery of our company's products (management consulting and strategic learning), I'm lucky to be able to continue occasional blog posts for our clients and colleagues (and apparently for many others who pick up on what I'm writing via numerous LinkedIn knowledge management groups). It's our intention to have the posts appearing on a weekly basis, written either by me or guest bloggers, so watch for and respond to what we have to say. Our posts appear here.

We're also continuing our occasional SMR Special Reports (the latest are here and here). And if you're not reading Guy St. Clair's Knowledge Services Newsletter, let me invite you to do so. It's my free monthly newsletter, just started. I hope to provide a couple of comments or thoughts each month, together with a reference to another site or two. Sign up here. Just insert your e-mail address at the space in the upper right-hand section of the screen. You'll be automatically subscribed, and you can opt out at any time.

So we're probably going to see some mixing of Mr. Guy's professional interests with his personal life, since they're so closely connected anyway. This blog will continue with comments and references to just about anything that interests me, including my professional activities. A lot of attention will focus on my life in New York (as with the following, about one of our great musical leaders in the city) and on what I'm reading, how I'm entertaining myself, the people I'm interacting with, and just about anything else I want to write about.

I look forward to again sharing comments and thoughts with you, and to your comments about what I have to say.