Wednesday, March 18, 2009


I am having a really hard time getting motivated to do anything this week. It has been a really interesting transition for me coming from a 4 branch suburban library to my current one-man band rural library. Obviously, the patron traffic and the budget are a bit...... less. I am really proud of the accomplishments my part-time person and myself have made over the last year or so. We have finally finished automating the collection which is a huge thing as you can imagine. We are showing consistently higher monthly circulation totals when compared with the previous year. I feel like our print collection is stronger and more diverse, especially in the children's section, just because I have 5 years of experience working in a children's department and knew authors and subjects where we were sorely lacking. We also really beefed up our Summer Reading Program, expanding it from K-5 to 3 yrs. to 6th grade.


I am at a point where I would like to do more programming and activities and am feeling some pretty intense opposition from my board. I have a lot of requests from patrons for storytimes, afterschool youth activities, and computer classes, so I know the public would be receptive. However, when I bring it up at meetings, I seem to get the giant brush off. I was told that they didn't want me using staff resources for things like that. Great. One problem is that I only have 1 day a week when I have someone else working with me, so that is the only day I can do programming. AND while I could schedule programming on all of those days, it is kind of nice to have a day where I can shut my office door and get "administrative" things done.

SOOOOO.... I'm just feeling kind of stuck. I would like to do "normal" library things and hopefully bring more people in to utilize us, but without support from my board I can't really do anything. I am finding it increasingly hard to motiviate myself to do anything of great substance because I just feel like what's the point? Do all librarians have days (weeks) like this, or am I just super lucky? *sigh* That's all. Just wanted to whine a little bit.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Thing 23: The end but the beginning of everything else

I have very mixed emotions about this being Thing 23 AKA the end of our little journey together. To be honest, in the beginning, I decided to do this mostly for the CE credits. 15 is a lot of credits to go towards my certification! Once I got into it, however, I found myself learning things!

A few things, like Instant Messaging, Flickr, and You Tube I was already pretty familiar with. RSS feeds were one thing I had never used before, and now they are a part of my everyday internet life! I check my gmail and then click on over to Google reader to check various blogs and feeds all in one place! This has cut my internet surfing AT LEAST in half, because all the blogs and websites I used to visit almost daily are all in one place! I also found a lot of new fresh voices in the library internet community through the RSS exercise and Delicious. Intelligent thoughts on libraries and librarianship that make me think and make me proud to be in this profession.

This discovery program also "forced" me to try things I probably never would have used before. I tweeted! I added to a wiki! I was at a library board meeting 2 weeks ago and we were discussing slide show presentations for some reason.... One of our board members said that slide show presentations were so hard to transport from computer to computer because they take up so much space blah, blah, blah.... I told them about SlideShare!

I find myself at a disadvantage to try to incorporate much of what I learned into my daily life at the library. We have such a tight budget and so little techological fortitude (as a library) that bringing us into the 2.0 era will be a challenge. However, after completing this program I now have several ideas for us to establish a presence on the web even if we can't get our own website up and running right away.

I'm not exactly sure how much going through this affected my lifelong learning goals. One thing I know it did was force me to learn new things. It also made me stay on task (at least to a point). I am a chronic procrastinator, so having goals and deadlines helped me to complete this before 11:59 PM on January 29th! I was way behind and enjoyed the challenge of catching myself up.

I was surprised at how much time I spent on some of these exercises. I got the general feeling that some people spent more time on them than others. I know that is what happens with self-paced learning, but I found myself wanting more feedback from other participants on a lot of "things" and was sometimes disappointed in what I found. I am sure people think that about my posts too, so I guess it's just my issue. :)

So as this little journey we have all taken comes to a close, I hope this is not the end. I really enjoyed the feeling of community we created here and I feel like one of the great things about the Web 2.0 movement is there is so much opportunity for interaction, sharing and learning. I want to keep the dialogue going about Web 2.0 and other library related issues. Whether that is though a network of blogs, a wiki, a social network.... I think it could be beneficial to all of us. And any time our illustrious colleagues at the NLC want to put together another discovery exercise like this one, I am totally in. Thanks for all of your hard work guys! I feel like I have earned those 15 CE credits but I learned so much more.

Thing 22: Podcasts

This exercise just makes me wish I had an MP3 player.......

I checked out several different podcasts. I enjoyed the NPR sites and was happy to find that I could listen to Fresh Air online. I listen to it quite a bit on my way home from work and it's nice to be able to browse and listen to ones that I may have missed.

I also listened to Uncontrolled Vocabulary and enjoyed that very much as well. From a professional development standpoint, I can see where podcasts could be very useful. The isolation of my Western Nebraska location prevents me from attending a lot of meetings and workshops. It is nice to be able to listen to a podcast and get kind of caught up on what is going on in the greater library world.

As far as podcasting in the library, I think it would be a great thing to use (especially for YA's) for book reviews, what's going on in the library, programming, etc.... If I ever get our library website up and running, this is one of the things I am going to look into doing. I am not quite ready to do my own podcast, but after "22 things", I know I can do it!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Thing 21: You Tube OR How I wasted hours I should have been cataloging instead

I love You Tube. Online videos have become such an integral part of a lot of our lives. I know several friends that follow TV shows this way. I dated a guy who listened to Camaro engine sounds on You Tube (note past tense there...). Yesterday I watched the Inaugration of our 44th president switching back and forth between CNN and FOX News. Actually, You Tube and I have a love/hate relationship. I love it, but also can not use it often because I never want to stop.

I spent a lot of time trying to look at library related videos on You Tube. My success rate varied. I found a lot of inappropriate stuff, a lot of boring stuff, and a lot of useful educational stuff. I can see You Tube working well for promoting Youth Services since most of the kids I know surf You Tube regularly.

Here are two videos. The first is a slightly risque but completely hilarious video called the Librarian Song. The second is my favorite commercial of all time which they no longer play and it makes me super sad.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Thing 20 or thing 2.0....

So going through this list made me feel a little bit better about my techno-savvy. It also helped that I attended a session at conference about 2.0 apps. Looking through the list, there were quite a few I was already acquainted with: Craig's List, Facebook, Career Builder, Monster, Myxer..... One of my artist friends sells a lot of her paintings, homemade cards and other crafty stuff on Etsy.

As a purely non-professional genealogist, I explored My Heritage and had mixed feelings. When I typed in different surnames I research, I found no information on my family whatsoever. This, however, is not shocking, because I seem to be the only one researching my family. :) It was all just a little cumbersome for me, and I frequent a lot of genealogy sites. The one good thing it does is bring up matches and links to other genealogy websites which is great for people who don't already know about them.

This is another one of the things where I think a lot of this stuff is more pertinant for my personal use rather than library stuff.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Thing 19!

What what what?!?!?!

How did I not know things like this existed before?! I can't even count how many times I have had a patron want to save something to our desktop (which is verbotten...) because they forgot their floppy or flash driver or whatever. Heck! Just the other day, I wanted to make a database of cow/calf records for my Dad (beware... inner farm girl emerging.....) and I don't have a spreadsheet program on my computer at home! Seriously?!!?!?! This is great!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Things 17 & 18: Wiki's!

So Wiki's are fun. I had to make myself stop exploring some of the links I found on the Wiki's: weeding information I had long forgotten, storytime ideas and activities.... I have used wiki's before, but these exercises really did help me to feel more comfortable with them. When I was at my previous employer, St. Joseph Public Library in St. Joseph, MO, I handled Interlibrary Loans and was part of an ILL list-serv that was very popular. A few people from the list created ShareILL, a wiki with information on everything from copyright to suppliers.
As a small, rural librarian, I don't have much use for internal wiki use, but I see the value that wiki's can have as far a resource and idea sharing.

I enjoyed getting on the NE Learns wiki and posting and learning things about my fellow participants. I think it would be cool to have a Nebraska Librarians wiki where we could get on and post/read about what other libraries are doing for things like policy, story times, book clubs, and promotions.