Civic Diary 4/7/2016

(This column is posted at and Steve’s Tumblr)

So remember my post on Citizenship? Where I’d post monthly or so on my experiments in being more civicly engaged? Taking it in a slightly different direction.

Welcome to the Civic Diary.

I figure as opposed to a monthly roundup, I’d share my experiments sort of whenever. That way I can get feedback and ideas and it may inspire others to do likewise on their attempts to be more engaged citizens.

(I also figure it adds structure to the whole endeavor).

I should note this is not an attempt to show off – nor should it be for anyone. This is more chronicling a journey to see if it helps anyone – but it is a journey, since I’m not there yet.

So what did I learn since last time:

  • If your town/city or whatever has a Twitter, Facebook, newsletter, or RSS feed get it. A lot happens locally that can affect our life and the lives of others, and there’s often many chances to get involved. It also keeps you aware of issues from the bottom-up. Here in Silicon Valley just one week into following my town I already feel more educated.
  • A lot of citizenship seems to be about the power of weak links (just like networking) – many small, not really strong connections that you leverage when needed or that add up. In the case of citizenship that combination of friends, RSS feeds, retweets adds up. No one little bit of citizenship-connection is going to be The One that makes you some epic civic wonder – its having many options and inputs.
  • Libraries – if there’s a local library get their newsletter, check their page, etc. Libraries provide a lot of social services – you can find a class, keep up on community news, or even do presentations or each.
  • Keeping up on news is invaluable to citizenship – on all levels. That seems obvious, but when you’re thinking “how do I be a better citizen” regularly (say, in making an effort like this) you see how valuable the news is.
  • Everyone has their own “news rhythm” that keeps them informed. Maybe you check once a day, maybe regularly, whatever. Just develop one.

Finally, I also find keeping a civic diary like this helps me think about how to be a better citizen. So hey, why not try your own.

– Steve

Activities For The Civic Geek: Little Free Libraries

Start a Little Free Library at your club, local comic shop, game store, or elsewhere.

You love books and want to get them out there and into people’s hands. Great comics, amazing job advice, helpful manuals on programming – whatever you love, you want it out there. You also know that reading is best when shared, as part of a group, and it can change people’s lives.

Consider making a Little Free Library at your geeky establishment of choice. Little Free Libraries are small containers, some quite artistically designed, where people play by the take-a-book-leave-a-book rule. Little Free Libraries encourage craftsmanship (to make), socialization (giving people a place to gather and interact), and of course reading because they involve books.

A few suggestions:

  • Have a portable Little Free Library that travels from convention to convention.
  • Have a themed Little Free Library at a comic store, game store, or so on that focuses on given product.
  • Have a themed Little Free Library for a book club dedicated to fantasy, SF, etc.



– Steven Savage

I’m Starting To Think Like a Librarian . . .

Over the last few years of moving, divorcing, cleaning, etc. I’ve cleaned out a lot of old books, videos, and more.  I am trying to keep things that are only truly meaningful, truly useful, and truly re-readable.  I’ve . . . succeeded reasonably well.

But as I think of purchasing new books, new videos, I find myself asking what I will do when I am done.  Do I keep them?  Sell them?  Gift them?  Will I reuse them?  Are they worth it?

This has me wondering what legacy I will leave in my life in the form of my own personal library.  I realized in fact that what I have is a personal library.

Each book, each DVD, each manga, each thing I place in it is not just for me – it’s for friends, relatives, and those to come.  When I am gone, it will be there.

This is also part of my motivation in turning my eBook only Focused Fandom books into print.  It’s about a solid legacy.

We should all think like Librarians.

– Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at, nerd and geek culture at, and does a site of creative tools at He can be reached at