New Year=New Resolutions=New Look

Well it’s time to dust off the old blog and give it a fresh new facelift.  Not to say that the look and feel of it wasn’t “fierce” as some kids I know would say or “hot” as one of my professors had commented, but change must come.  What kind of change one may ask?  To make the official announcement; I am finished with library school!  I must say it is a beautiful and wondorous feeling.  Now I must journey forth to the next terrifyingly exciting phase of life and search for a library oriented position.  The market is lean, the competition fierce but my moral remains high.

I have to comment on how few full-time opportunities there are in the public library sector.  There is  aconsiderable ammount of part-time jobs though, for which I have also been examining.  Since I am in Illinois there are some very useful sites I have been haunting lately they include NSLS and MLS job boards.  They are very well updated and useful if anyone is in Illinois.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish the best of luck to my fellow graduates and I hope success to all of us who are searching for that “ideal” library position.   

Published in: on January 9, 2008 at 4:51 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Bad User or Bad Librarian?

I would like to share an experience that I had at a library the other day.  I live in a large metropolitan area where there are many library branches,  over 60 to be exact.  One day when I needed a book for class I went into my local branch and requested a single book.  At the time the library was pretty busy but I was helped in an efficient manner by the librarian.  She easily looked up the book I needed, found the branch that it was at and requested it for me.  She then told me that it would usually take four days to receive the book and I left.  This transaction took all of 2 minutes.  FYI I received my book three days later.

Flash foreword to the next library visit…I went to the same library with a list of books that I needed for class, however I had done my research.  I printed every title with the authors name and the branch that had the books available.  This information all came from the library’s own catalogue.  List in hand I happily went down to my local branch foolishly assuming that I would receive assistance.

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Published in: on October 3, 2007 at 2:32 pm  Comments (2)  

something funny

I am a loyal reader of Penny Arcade and they posted a funny librarian comic.  I thought I would share.

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2007/08/03

Published in: on August 9, 2007 at 11:01 am  Comments (1)  

Post #5 The Act of Creation

I took an entire year of photography in high school.  I learned how to use manual 35mm camera, form a composition, develop film and mat photos.  Developing my own film was a new experience for me.  I would be stuck in a dark little closet feeding film into its canister by touch only,Then taking it out into the light and mixed with the proper solution, all the while praying that I had done everything correctly.  I would never know if my film turned until the next day or if it was a waste of all of my hard work.  It was a real process of time and creation. Afterwards, holding the finished results always left me with a sense of fulfillment that I have rarely experienced since. 

            Working with web design brought some of that feeling back.  Even though I know I am not great with working in the medium and my finished product could be improved on, it is something that I have created that I am proud of.  It came from nothing but notepad, little buttons on my keyboard and my own imagination.  Even though I cannot hold it in my hands I still have that sense of fulfillment that usually only comes to me when creating some form of art.  I can show people something that I did and whether they smash my work to bits or tell me I did a good job, it doesn’t really matter.  I did it and that is what counts.  

            I was really looking to design a website with the some basic rules in mind.  The first was to make something that I think that others would find easy to use.  The second was that everything should be visually similar, in some regards, and the third was to create a design that people would enjoy looking at.  My philosophy on this point was that if I could stare at it for hours on end and not get sick of it then it wasn’t too bad. Nevertheless, I must admit that I have never lamented my lack of computer graphics skills or the ability to draw or paint more than I have during this project. 

            The website moved on without the artistic skills I so desperately craved and specifically became a website for a small public library.  This library will probably never use this design, though I will possibly show the director based on classroom feedback.  I wanted something to have a warmer feel than what the library currently has and I was looking to put an inviting feel to the site.  It began by making a storyboard of the layout design.  I had decided to make a homepage, a teen page and a video game page.  With those pages decided on I then started to determine what would go where style-wise.  I specifically wanted photos on the site as the current libraries web design lacked these.  The teen page was something that the library needs on its own website and so I geared the page towards the technologies and influences that teens are trying out right now. 

            Working with the code was difficult at times.  In my mind I can see web creation as musical in a way.  It reminded me of a pianist getting to know a new piece of music, if it’s not worked with consistently it gets forgotten.  After long stretches of time that I did not work with the site I was rusty, especially with the tables.  They were almost my undoing.  With a little bit of review and some help I was able to get back into the flow of things though.  On another note, I was poking all around the internet looking for material that I could use for the site.  One of my eureka moments was when I found a website called Custom Sign Generator.  For me it solved my most immediate problem; my banners.  I wanted something that would make my pages have a certain quality and look to them and this site did just that.  From there I used basic html coding and relied heavily on tables and font styles.  The finished project will probably never be on the web but that’s ok, I still have a feeling of accomplishment. That’s what really matters.

Published in: on July 21, 2007 at 8:41 pm  Comments (1)  

Post #4 Librarian Migrations

After an exhausting five days in Washington D.C. I return with many spoils from the great librarian migration of summer 2007 (aka ALA annual conference) .  With the amount of stuff I brought back I feel as though I have covered a lot of ground these past five days, armloads of books, tons of free bags and a new knowledge of many aspects of librarianship.  Of course I also returned with a few things that I could have done without, such as sore feet, a lighter wallet and a pesky cold.

I went to some great programs and I would be remiss if I did not mention them here.  That is what a blog is for right?  The two that I learned the most from were Midlly Delirious Libraries:  Transforming Your Library from Top to Bottom, and Using Technology to Market to Young Adults.  The Mildly Delirious Libraries program was presented by the West Palm Beach Public Library and their librarians, graphic designer and interior designer were all there ready to share their story about how much a new outlook and a facelift to the library changed them for the better.  Their full power point and presentation can be found here.  Overall I was really impressed with their presentation and the ideas that were brought to the library profession.

The second program that I really appreciated was Marketing Technology to Young Adults by Dr. Michael Stephens and Kimberly Bolan.  Kimberly presented intregal aspects of marketing that are so critical to accomplishing successful programs.  She even has a blog and I must say I am a big fan.   Dr. Stephens took over the rest of the program full of high energy and humor.  His part of the presentation focused on aspects of technology that teens are using and then presented other ideas of how to connect with the teen presence or lack thereof in the library.  If you have some time you should read Dr. Stephens’ blog Tame the Web,  just to warn you though there’s a lot of information here so take it slow.

Published in: on July 1, 2007 at 12:23 am  Comments (3)  

Post #3 Wikis and Work

I have been thinking a lot about Wiki’s lately.  It’s a tool that I have been recently using a lot.  It seems like anyone can efficiently use Wikis for a multitude of purposes.  Personally, I have been using them in my class work for group projects.  I find that it is one of the most efficient ways of communicating with large amounts of information and to collaborating with others.  Here are some of the Wikis I have been working on:

http://shadyacreslibrary.wikispaces.com/  and http://videogamesinlibraries.wikispaces.com/

I do tend to favor Wikispaces over PBwiki.  I suppose I just found Wikispaces first and learned how to use it and felt comfortable enough with it to keep using it.  The two links above are for class projects; one is currently ongoing for a marketing class (Shady Acres, a fictional library) and video games in libraries was used for a research class that has since been finished.

Even contemplating my few experiences with wikis I feel that they have a great potential in library use for the future.  They are free or very inexpensive (usually if you want them to be private) they are easy to learn how to use and they have lots of tools that come in handy.  For more information about wikis look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikis .  For trying out your own wiki http://www.wikispaces.com/  or http://pbwiki.com/ are good choices. 

Published in: on June 17, 2007 at 12:57 am  Comments (1)  

Post #2 Virtual Worlds; A Waste of Time?

Recently I read an article in Library Journal about Second Life.  I actually had some mixed feelings about this article; which did not have any thing positive to say about the virtual world.  The author claimed that he had been “wasting a part of my life that I’ll never get back”, and that “we have a fair amount of people in our profession who really need to get a life.”  This is a statement; among others that I have issues with.  The only comment that the author made that I did somewhat agree with is the question of, “what are we hoping to accomplish with Second Life?”

 I appreciate Second Life for what it is, and yes there are some aspects that I don’t like.  Some examples that really need work are the graphics, which are not very visually pleasing and the controls for the avatars need an overhaul.  I’m no stranger to computer games yet I am constantly running into things with my avatar.

Having been an active member of virtual worlds for the past two years I can say that I don’t believe them to be a waste of time.  In my own opinion I think that that virtual worlds have a lot of potential for libraries and for communication.  My own foray into virtual worlds such as World of Warcraft and City of Villains have led me to unexpected people from all over the world.  For example; in World of Warcraft; one of my guild members (regular people you play with) started talking about a paper he was working on and asked for assistance.  I; being the energetic library student that I am; immediately conducted a reference interview and was able to guide him to relevant websites and databases that he had access to to get him the information.  All of this was conducted in game through typing and using a voice chat program.  This is an experience I hope to repeat in the Second Life environment.  People are using Second Life as a conference place, a learning center and in a host of other ways. 

I think that libraries should branch out and attempt to become a presence on games that are as far reaching as these.  I give great applause to those who are already involved in Second Life, but what about other virtual worlds? Let your presence be known in the video game world and open yourself for business.  A vast majority of people who play MMORPG’s are students (usually men) in high school or college.  Last time I checked they were a demographic that were being targeted by libraries for potential users.  Well here they are folks, come and get them.   Start a library guild and let your services be known, hey you can even play the game and mabey you’ll have some fun!

Published in: on June 3, 2007 at 3:53 am  Comments (6)  

Post #1 “Podcasting”

  I never really listened to podcasts before I got my nifty IPod and went to the ITunes store.  I was of the mind that you needed an MP3 player in order to get the most out of podcasts.  Boy was I wrong!  Almost all of the podcasts that I listen to (which are free) emphasize the fact that no MP3 player is needed to listen to and enjoy podcasts.  Now when I find a good podcast that I think others will like I let them know:  “All you need is a computer with some speakers!” 

I think podcasting is doing something really great for all kinds of different communities.  My own podcast taste is varied and I am greatful that there are so many different kinds of sites to listen to.  I am a big gamer and play World of Warcraft and there are even podcasts for that!!  There are completely ridiculous podcasts and really beneficial podcasts.  One that I found very helpful is that of “Grammar Girl” from QDNow.com.  They are short 5-7 min. clips of grammar questions and answers.  By the way, if my grammar isn’t so great; don’t blame Grammar Girl; she does what she can. 

In my own opinion, I think that libraries should have pathfinders to podcasts for their patrons.  It would be something useful to have for those who are in a rush or who don’t really enjoy reading yet still want to use library services.  It’s really convenient to listen to podcasts when your stuck in traffic or doing the dishes or waiting for the kids after soccer practice.  The point is that people have the ability to learn something constructive while doing things that they don’t necessarily want to be doing.  Podcasts have the ability to bring something fun and worthwhile to dead time.

Published in: on May 19, 2007 at 9:45 pm  Comments (4)  

Hmmm…Erotic Readings?

  Reading about different library news reports I became aware of the different kinds of things that libraries are starting to do.  One of the more interesting ways that a library in Austria is reaching out to people is by using “erotic readings”.  Apparently these readings are recorded by an actress and then callers dial in to hear them.  The materials that are used are from 19th -20th century novels.  A full report of novels used can be found here.

   It is my thinking that the readings will be pretty tame.  Although I am not familiar with the works that have been listed; looking back at the time periods it is unlikely that there will be full fledged naughtiness involved.  It will probably be more like the fluttering of hearts from stolen glances across the room and the brushing of fingertips as people walk past each other (fully gloved, of course).   

   One of my main questions about this program is why the library decided to do this program in the first place.  On the surface, it appears that they are reaching out to the public to stir up interest in older works.  They also seem to be trying new forms of promotion for the library.  That’s great, and I encourage all libraries to think outside the box.  Now I’m not being negative towards erotic readings at all.  I think it is a great way to promote libraries’ new outlooks…if there is a market.

  Think about it, the people have to call the library and sit there listening for however long to a voice recording.  In essence the people are paying money to listen to a short excerpt of a book and from the article it doesn’t seem that the money goes to the library.  If there market research shows them that this is how people will spend their time and money that’s great.  Carry on and keep it going!!

  For Americans, I don’t see this as something that will catch on here.  Using the phone as the tool of communication probably wouldn’t work so well.  If American libraries were to start a program like this I would suggest something like a podcast or a You Tube video of sorts.  Using 19th and 20th century novels would be ok but to get a larger audience I would suggest the libraries work with publishers to try to get excerpts of new novels, or better yet unpublished novels to be used.  It could be something for libraries to consider.

Published in: on May 19, 2007 at 3:28 am  Leave a Comment  

This is my First Post

Hello all,

This is my first official post for LIS 753 at Dominican University.  The first one was just a practice post.

Published in: on May 13, 2007 at 7:29 pm  Comments (1)