no more shushing

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Ta da!

Here's the link to the website I created in class.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Librarians R Us

Here's the link to our group project blog:

Librarians R Us

Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Blogpost #5

As I am nearing the end of the course and finishing up my webpage, I wonder from time to time when will I next have the opportunity to use HTML and will I forget how, or is it like riding a bike? Much to my happiness, I stumbled upon this blog entry from librarian.net. Apparently, it is possible, using the templates provided and a little knowledge of HTML coding, to create PowerPoint-type slides without PowerPoint. How fun is that? I can totally envision myself playing around with this idea to create slides for presentations.

Another thing that caught my attention this week was the Library Journal article “Where the Readers Are” by Steven Bell. He talks about the fact that no matter how great a library blog is, there is still the issue of getting people to read it. He determined that one way for an academic library to do this is to incorporate the blog into courseware (like Blackboard) so that when students look at the announcement page, they automatically see the library blog. He did this and then sent out a survey which showed that 75% of the students “found the library posts useful and indicated the library should continue to provide this content to the course sites.” Additionally, some of the students said they had gone to a library event or been influenced by the blog in some way during the semester. These are students who probably would not have known about the information presented in the library blog had it not shown up on their Blackboard announcement page.

I found that concept very innovative and I wonder if something similar could be done between the public libraries and schools. I know that many of the teachers at our high school have webpages that the students check regularly. If the library could have blog information posting regularly about resources that might help with projects or even teen events going on at the library, it might have a really positive impact on both the high school students and the library.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Blogpost #4

Last February there was some talk of blogging being a passing fad. In response to that, Jason Fry wrote an article on why he believes blogs will continue to be relevant, including that, “corporations will use them for updates and conversations with their own employees or customers.” What a cool and versatile tool. In a world where computers make it possible to live a more isolated life, blogging and other Web 2.0 tools allow individuals and companies and libraries to reach out and feel comfortable having conversations, enabling people to perhaps be less isolated than they were before computers.

Jason Fry also said in his article that he bets that, “within a couple of years blogging will be a term thrown around loosely -- and sometimes inaccurately -- to describe a style and rhythm of writing, as well as the tools to publish that writing.” That really jumped out at me because just this week we got a piece of bulk mail from our Blue Cross/Blue Shield entitled “The ‘Blog’ on Teens”. Being so immersed in all things blog these days, I was excited, for once, to see this literature from the insurance company. Maybe it would give me some insight into the group presentation Michelle and Lindsay and I are doing for class.

Alas, when I read The ‘Blog’ on Teens, it turned out to be nothing more than a pamphlet about teen problems like anorexia, pregnancy, drugs, etc. It was not a blog in any way, shape, or form. There were occasional pictures of teens with computers and computer screens with snippets of Internet slang like, “hate the way I look in jeans. Trying 2 stop eating al2gether but always think’g bout food.”

So, why did the insurance company title their pamphlet “The ‘Blog’ on Teens” when it wasn’t a blog? Was it to appear like they are keeping current? Is the term “the blog” going to be like “the 411”? Or was it as Jason Fry predicted, that people will be using terms like blog and blogging incorrectly?

At any rate, it seems to me that Blue Cross/Blue Shield probably paid some people in marketing a bunch of money to come up with materials that seem current and in step with the times and those people chose to use the term “blog” to achieve that. Libraries can truly be current and in step with the times by having real blogs and using them to market what they have to offer as well as open up another method of communicating with users.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Blogpost #3

Whether or not to use instant messaging at the reference desk has been a hot topic at work this week. One of my co-workers is going to Aaron Schmidt’s program, Instant Messaging for the Reference Librarian, at NSLS on November 30. Up to this point, our library has not offered this service because the feeling has been that it would be difficult to simultaneously help people both in person and via instant messaging. According to NSLS’s description of the program, this concern will be addressed, so we’re eager to find out what he has to say about that.

One of several things that caught my eye in Aaron Schmidt’s post “10 points on IM in libraries” was his statement that “for some, not being available via IM is like not having a telephone number.” Wow. The impact of that is really significant. I suspect the statement is true and that the number of people who feel this way is growing every day.

In the Library Journal article “IM Me” that we read for class, it mentions that IM capabilities should be on the public PCs so that users can ask questions of the reference staff without having to walk to the reference desk. While I think this would appeal to many people for a variety of reasons, the first thing I thought of was the multitude of kids who would rather DIE than be seen talking to the librarians at the desk. I suspect that they would jump at the chance to ask questions in this way.

It seems to me that instant messaging in libraries meets the needs of users in multiple ways and it’s a reference tool that should be standard in the toolbox.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Liszen!

As I learn more and more about what is available “out there” on the Web, I am continually amazed and impressed by how innovative people are. I love a good search engine and I’m fascinated by blogging, so I was thrilled to pieces to stumble across LISZEN. It is a search engine that searches over 500 library related blogs. I think that this is really going to come in handy for me.

Updated 10/30: I found out from Library Zen that the link isn't working today because he's fiddling with the site (except he explains it much better than that) and he provides a temporary link.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Blogpost #2

I was having breakfast this morning with an old friend. We were reminiscing about what life was like when we were in college in the early 1980’s…

We didn’t have email, cell phones, or even an answering machine. My parents called every Sunday at a designated time, so if I wanted to talk with them that week, I had to be in my room. Nobody had a microwave in the dorm – they were monstrously huge beasts. As big as those microwaves were, they were miniscule compared to the college computer. It took up all of an enormous room. In my computer programming class we went on a little field trip to actually see the computer and stare in awe.

Ironically, after this morning’s conversation, I came across a Newsweek article titled Professor in Your Pocket about current college students and technology. Peg Tyre writes about how some professors are course-casting their lectures and students can upload them onto their iPods. It’s a great way for students to make sure they don’t miss a single word their professor says, right? I would love to have course casts of all my classes.

The problem, of course, is that some students find it a little too easy to miss class and some parents don’t like the idea that they are paying a lot of money for their children to listen to lectures on iPod rather than attending class. Even though the technology is new, I don’t think that the problem of skipping classes is new. It’s just that years ago, we had to go to the trouble of copying someone else’s notes.

The really great news is that as this use of technology takes hold, professors are finding creative ways to enhance student learning rather than having course casting become a way to enable skipping class. For example, one professor makes listening to the course casting mandatory prior to class and then uses the class as a time for students to discuss the material. Another professor makes sure that each of the lectures he gives contains key visual information so that students who don’t physically attend will wish that they had.

Along the same lines, I think that libraries could really benefit from podcasting their programs. The Lansing Public Library website has a nice explanation of podcasting and how their users can use it. I think that it would not only provide people who might be homebound, or otherwise unable to attend, with the opportunity to hear the program, but it might also provide incentive for those who can attend programs to do so, in order to get the full experience. If nothing else, having podcasts available through the library website would help send the message that the library is staying current with the various interests and needs of users.