Saturday, October 30, 2010

Thang #23 - Thank you!

I didn't post a comment on the 23 Things site; I'm placing it here instead. I've enjoyed this experience because it was engaging and "hands on." There was certainly a lot of information to absorb, but its presentation was well-planned and easy to navigate.

It was great to be able to explore 23 Things in the context of a class; I'm not sure I would've taken the time to explore it so thoroughly if left to do it in my own time-frame! This reinforces to me that my own staff needs to continue to be given work time to explore technologies and to improve their competencies in all pertinent areas of library work and customer service.

Thang #22 - Staying current

How am I going to keep up with Web 2.0 and Library 2.0?

I have noticed as I've moved through the "Things" that a number of the links are no longer active - additional proof, I suppose, that technology stands still for no one (not even for followers of the 23 Things tutorial)! As a librarian and a public library director, I need to listen to the patrons and staff, be aware of the needs they express in terms of technology, and admit that I have as much (or more) to learn from them than they may learn from me. I need to continue to encourage my staff to move forward in terms of continuing education and promote a climate where continuing ed opportunities are viewed as incentives for great performance. Success breeds success!

Thang #20 - Books

WHOA - this "Thing" was very involved and sort of overwhelming! Nevertheless, I plowed into it because it has tons of applications to my job.

I think the future of reading is very bright. I know our library's circulation has increased, due in part to the challenging financial climate. Perhaps I'm naive, but I don't feel threatened by the Book 2.0 technologies. I think anything that encourages reading is a good thing. Whatever the delivery method, the important thing is that readers are consuming the product. Libraries will continue to do what they've done all along; that is, evolve as much as possible to meet the needs of users.

Because I don't have an Internet-enabled phone, I signed up to have book excerpts delivered to my e-mail account from DailyLit. It was a fun site with an easy interface - tag clouds from which to select genres or interests and easy sign-up.

I spent less time on the Readers' Advisors sites because I am more familiar with this area. We have several of these sites bookmarked on the staff circ computers, and staffers do make frequent use of them to assist patrons.

I think the concept of online book groups is very compelling - joining genre groups of personal interest, having a couple months to interact with others about a book, reading/reacting at odd times that are convenient for the user. I might be interested in joining one of these communities myself after I finish this course work =)

I did like as an additional selection aid to add to my existing arsenal. I've bookmarked it and will make it a point to explore its value-added features.

In all honesty, I didn't investigate all the categories of info listed in Thing #20. As I mentioned in a previous "Thang" post, one can become consumed with some of these 2.0 tools. IMHO, it's all about balance (at least for me personally).

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Thang #17 - Podcasts

This was a pretty new "thang" for me as I hadn't previously accessed podcasts. I liked quite a bit, and I think it could be my directory of choice for now. I was quite impressed with the range of topics covered, and I really liked its streamlined, simple interface. I listened to some BBC and NPR podcasts - very enjoyable!

There were extensive "book buzz" podcasts ranging from Nancy Pearl to one called Books on the Nightstand, which I loved. Try it out:

I'm not sure if I'll be podcasting myself in the near future, but I can definitely see adding podcast listening/viewing to my leisure activities. Thanks, 23 Things!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Thang #19 - Other social networks

I have partaken of (and still do) WebJunction and Goodreads, the first for professional reasons and the second for personal, guilty pleasure. Other than these two, I'm not too interested in "joining" any of the special interest social networks. As I explore the different 2.0 tools, I'm reminded about how the financial climate has exacerbated the digital divide. Those who have no/limited Internet access will have difficulty participating in what we're discovering and using. Let's not forget these users!

Thang #12 - Wikis

I must confess that I was formerly an anti-Wikipedia sort of gal! Now that I've "matured" and have done a little more investigating (thank you, 23 Things), I'm interested in implementing a wiki for at least one of the following purposes in my library:

1. Management meeting agendas, notes, as a place to "brainstorm"
2. Place for library procedures, updates
3. Pathfinders, reader's advisory information

Snap ... I just opened a PBworks account for our library's management team's activities. We have a meeting coming up in a couple weeks so I think I'll get this going, invite the 5 managers to the wiki, and see how this flies!

More details to come!

Thang #11 - Social Media

I explored the 4 news sharing sites, and I think I most preferred Newsvine.

Love it or hate, it pays to be in the know. I thought this was kind of a profound quote in the 23 Things tutorial.
I think Reddit, Mixx, and their counterparts have value in that they may encourage "news" reading. Anything that encourages reading is a good thing. The model of peers recommending to peers is both encouraging and, possibly, frightening. I'm not sure whether everyone is on the same page when using the word "news." Is it really news, or is it infotainment? Will the latter replace the former? Should news be reduced to little bites of information?

As you can tell, I have far more questions than I have answers. For me personally, these tools are not a productivity enhancer. I currently do not have a need to aggregate what I read and then disseminate it to others. Having said that, I am glad to have the opportunity to explore these tools since they're being used by a lot of others.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Thang #16 - YouTube

It's not the newest video, but it sure is fun! It's self-deprecating, engaging, and serves a real purpose - that's why I chose this one. In the back of my mind, this is how I picture using YouTube and similar technologies in our library - to draw users and potential users to our library through video tours, tutorials, and the like.

Thang #18 - Facebook

I am already a pretty loyal Facebooker and am grateful to FB for connecting me with long-lost college friends. Some months ago, I did create a FB presence for our library but have since withdrawn it as I didn't have time to maintain it. We may revisit it again if one of our staff members can keep it fresh and current.

I have joined some FB groups and did enjoy some of the 23 Thing group suggestions for librarians. As I'm sure we all know, FB can be very addictive. It can create work place issues for library employees and the managers who supervise them. Who'd have thought just 5 years ago that we'd be facing this situation?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Thang #14 - Being Productive

I liked iGoogle's start page because Google's interface is familiar, simple, and not as advertisement "heavy" as others.

However, as far as online productivity tools ... Call me a curmudgeon, but for me personally, it's easier to do paper post-its, to-do lists, and calendars than to invest the time in orienting myself to the online versions. Gotta tell you - there's also a certain satisfaction in checking off/throwing out paper lists of items that have been completed!

The countdown clocks were just creepy to me - sort of the whole Doomsday countdown sort of thing!

I looked at the "Top 10" list of productivity tools. I have used TinyURL and really like that. It's a keeper.

Glad I looked at this "Thang," but I think I'm okay right now with my present organizational strategies.

Thang #13 - LibraryThing

YAY! Here's a "thing" that I had previously explored. LibraryThing is always helpful in jogging my memory on what books I've recently (and not so recently) read. When I first opened my LibraryThing account, I had fun creating tags for my entries although my "twitchiness" in creating the most appropriate, correct tag sometimes got in the way. I must confess that I'm not too faithful about keeping up the information.

Here's my LibraryThing book list:

New and pretty interesting was the library/librarian-related blog, which I enjoyed lurking. I think LibraryThing is a great personal resource for avid readers and readers interested in expanding their reading. I like the user-created content. I think our ILS is implementing a number of LibraryThing's popular features (reviews, reading lists, etc.) Therefore, LibraryThing may duplicate what the ILS is already doing. I think, though, that it's a great site to introduce to library users who may not already be familiar with it.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Thang #10 -

Okay, I added tags (labels) to the rest of my 23 Things blog posts (I had previously done some but not all). I see the value of user-created tags; however, the inconsistency of them makes me "twitch" just a little (singular v. plural, misspelled words, etc.)

Question (because I don't know) - Is utilized as much now as it was? As I was clicking on links and looking at other libraries, it seemed that many had not been updated in quite some time.

I see the advantage of being able to create a bookmark list that is accessible from any computer, and that can be shared with others (students, patrons, others with similar interests). I think my library might utilize this technology in reader's technology to link readers with themes of interest. Our ILS and its overlay do implement tag clouds and personalize information for readers.

Finally, I didn't find particularly easy to navigate and wasn't really interested enough to spend a lot of time on following through to use it .

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Thang #9 - Share and share alike

I'm glad I was introduced to PictureTrail. It was easy to navigate, and the product is fun for sharing pictures (especially related pics from a vacay or event). I've not used other photo sharing tools before this, and I think I will definitely try it again.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Thang #8 - The Message

1. Instant Messaging - This is a 2.0 component with which I'm already familiar so I didn't do the activity. I enjoyed the LJ article, and admit that I remember when telephone/fax reference was "controversial!"

2. Texting ... have done it but am too cheap to pay for the service on my phone ... so avoid it as much as possible.

3. Web conferencing/OPAL - Can't speak highly enough about this delivery method for continuing education and for distance attendance for meetings! Especially with the IL library system financial crisis, web conferencing may be the most viable way to deliver CE to staff.

To answer the blog prompts, I like e-mail as a communication tool @ the library. Besides the obvious "green" benefits, it provides an immediate way to communicate information to staff, trustees, and patrons. It's a time-saver (and money-saver in postage) for sending monthly board packets, financial reports, and other supplementary materials as attachments. We can send mass e-mails about programs to those who are interested in the information. We are currently not using the texting tool as it's still too cost prohibitive for us; however, as the technology comes down in price, it will definitely be worth investigating.

Thang #7 - PHUN! - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

Sorry ... I had to insert this brief public service announcement! On to the assignment ...

Now, THIS is addictive! I could sit and create cartoons all day and play with the tools, layouts, etc! How fun! Lots of possibilities for library marketing, PR, presentations, and a diversion to REAL work =)

Thang #6 - Flickr: the Sequel

Okay, here it is:

KC's Presentation

splashr is kind of festive, kind of fun ... it'd be a great way to share vacation, family, pet photos with people. Our library could create an engaging photo slideshow with our Banned Book Week Readout pictures.

This was also fun!

letter k counterfeit Lego letter A letter T Ben Eine Letter h letter Y

I think it goes without saying that these mashup tools could help a library create a unique, fun online presence. The dilemma (as is the case with so many other projects) is finding the staff time to do it/maintain it :-(

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Thang #5 - Flickr

Check out pictures of my happy places on flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

This was a new activity for me. I had not previously uploaded pics to Flickr or any other hosting service. As I navigate through the 2.0 tutorials, I am reminded by the depth of material available on the Internet to anyone who wants to invest the time in looking ... and some people make it a full-time job! I have looked at photo sets created by libraries/agencies. Nice stuff, but not very interesting to me unless there is some descriptive information attached. I think this key step is often overlooked when photos are uploaded.

I'm not sure about the applications of Flickr right now in my library setting due to the reason mentioned above. Also, I do have concerns about patron privacy issues.

Looking forward to learning more!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Thang #4 - Now We're Talkin'

Well, silly me!
The concerns I expressed in Thang #3 are taken care of in Thang #4. RSS, where have you been all my life? Although I was familiar with the RSS icon (and even knew the meaning of the acronym), I hadn't done anything to organize blogs and news. Ain't technology amazing? I've now selected a number of pertinent blogs and news sites through Google Reader. I can see how this could become "addictive" and life could be consumed by catching up with blog updates. Thank you to the great minds who've used technology to save our time!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Thang #3 - Blog Searching

Perhaps my advanced age is showing here although I hadn't previously considered myself a technology "curmudgeon!"

I've not been a blog searcher to date, and I'm not sure if I'll be doing a lot more of it other than to locate information for specific tasks. It was sort of fun to explore Technorati and Google Blog Search. I've decided that my personal preferences for blog searching include a no-nonsense, familiar interface that allows me to find information quickly. Therefore, my vote is for Google over Technorati. In addition to the comfortable familiarity of Google, I liked its lack of advertising.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Thang #2 - Kathy 2.0

First of all, I'm glad that the 2.0 gurus and gurettes believe that 2.0 needs to be embedded in the library's individual "culture" and be in synch with the library's resources (fiscal, staff, physical, etc.). That makes sense to me because not all libraries are created equal!

1) Finding time for 23 Things and my reasons for participating? Because it's a component of a class I'm taking, I have an external motivator to participate and complete =) Despite the fact that Things 1 & 2 are not new info for me, I am discovering additional layers of depth. I look forward to continuing this journey.

2) Internet's effect on my own time utilization? I use the Internet's resources continually at work for reference, reader's advisory, and other tasks. What's not to like about speed and almost instant gratification? I'm always aware of (and troubled by) the lack of evaluation that many Internet users give to the answers they find. Teaching users the skills they need to evaluate information is one of our primary duties in the library environment.

3) My knowledge level and my library's place? On a continuum, I think I fall somewhere between a rookie and moderately skilled user. On a personal level, I'm not all that interested in tech toys. I'd rather save my $$ for other guilty pleasures. Although I'd love for my library to be on-the-cutting-edge, I think we're doing almost as well as possible when dealing with a limited budget and a 1975 building that doesn't have enough outlets. I have a young, energetic staff, who listen to patrons, are tech-literate themselves, and are not shy about proposing ideas to try.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Thang #1: Set Up a Blog

... and I'm off!
Hey, library bloggers! Though this is not my first attempt at blogging (check out my KRAB), I always learn something new! I've added a counter to this blog, and I'll look forward to seeing who visits. Come back and visit often ... I tend to get bored quickly and will probably change it up quite a bit.