Monday, December 29, 2008

Thing 13: Twitter time

Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, what can I say about Twitter.....

From a professional standpoint, I can see where Twitter could be very useful in promoting library events and activities. I looked at a couple of library's feeds and it is nice to have this event coming up on this day and a link to their website with more information. For my immediate professional use, its impact would be very little because we don't have a website or the budget/staffing for a lot of activities and events to publicize.

I searched for Hastings Memorial Library and found nothing. I searched for Grant, Nebraska and found one item concerning a murder we had here this fall. I finally ended up searching for St. Joseph, Missouri, the community I lived in before moving to Grant, and found a few items including Joe Biden's campaign visit there earlier this year.

Personally, I don't think I will use Twitter much either. After doing some friend searches, very few of my friends and acquaintances use Twitter, so I would pretty much just be tweeting into the greater realm of cyberspace. Also, Facebook has a similar application where you can do status updates saying what you are doing, seeing, thinking, etc... I think microblogging is kind of like text messaging. I love texting on my phone because sometimes I want to tell someone something, but it is not worth an actual phone call. Viola! -- text message. Let's say I want to express my distaste for having to wait in the drive-thru for 15 minutes before getting my food. Do I necessarily want to compose an entire blog about this? No. However, a small twitter relaying this message? Excellent.

Monday, December 22, 2008

It's a Library Thing thing

So I have to say, I was kind of disappointed in LibraryThing. I had been meaning to get around to getting my own account for some time because I thought it would be a great way to keep track of all of the books that I read. Maybe I just need to play around with it some more, but I honestly prefer the Visual Bookshelf app on Facebook. It just seems easier to navigate and all of my Facebook friends with Visual Bookshelf automatically show up on my profile page.

The idea behind both applications is a good one. At my previous library, we were always encouraging people to keep a reading journal to help them remember what they had read. I tried it myself for awhile but it worked about as well for me as keeping a regular diary did (AKA not at all). With the online applications, however, I can see where it would be easier for people keep on top of it. Heck, I am doing it fairly well with Visual Bookshelf. We are getting ready to phase out the use of checkout cards in our books, and a lot of people will be angry because that is how they tell if they have read the book before or not. Library Thing and other like apps may be a good way to help wean our patrons off of the cards.

Thing 11: A Thing about Technology

As a member of Gen X or Gen Y (depending on who you ask), technology has always been a part of my life. Sure maybe as a kid it was playing Oregon Trail on the Apple IIc, or as a young adult hauling around my brand new 5 pound cell phone, but technology has almost always been there. The internet, my cell phone, satelite TV are some of the things I use every day without another thought to them not being available to me.

When I started at my current position last October, a blaring techology gap was brought to my attention front and center. Our collection @ Hastings Memorial Library was only about 60% automated when I started. My previous library had been fully automated since the early 1990's and it was a real adjustment for me not to be able to simply go to the OPAC or circ software to look up a title/author/subject to find material. If someone came in and asked me for juvenile books on Mars or parakeets, I had to remember what Dewey number those topics fell under. If a patron asked me if we had easy readers about hibernation, I had to draw on my personal knowledge on this topic an outside database to find what they needed. Now I would say that our collection is 90% automated and it is nice to be able to go back to the old familiar OPAC to find what I need.

Sure technology can be frustrating, cell phone calls drop, the internet goes down for no apparent reason... but it is an essential tool for my job as a librarian and in my life. The thing that I am appreciating the most about these "23 things" we are working our way through is that the exercises are making me move outside of my technological comfort zone. I am learning and doing things that I probably would not have done save for this actvitity. As you can probably imagine (since our collection is not even fully automated), our library is not really on the cutting edge of technology. We have 6 public access computers that see quite a bit of use, but I think very few of my patrons even know what an OPAC is, let alone how to use it. Our website is essentially a place holder website with our address and hours and not much else. If nothing else, these "things" have jump started my desire and motivation to move technology forward in our library. That and made me wonder how I ever lived without RSS feeds. :)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thing 10: What not to say to a librarian.

Be Dumbledore, Einstein, or this poor schmuck... @

Thing 9: The Flickr journey continues....

I looked a few of the apps and I have to say I am not totally sure what I would use a lot of this stuff for (related to the library ) at this point in time.

Now having said that... I searched for "Harry Potter" in Montagr and formed a picture montage in the shape of Robert Pattinson's face (Cedric in HP and Edward in Twilight for those of you who don't have really contact with YA girls. :) ). I think my YA girls might be impressed with that.

I could see where Spell with Flickr could be interesting for creating headlines for webpages or flyers. It was kind of fun as well.

It is fascinating to see all of the manipulations that can be done from one little program. That is about as much as I am getting out of this exercise at this point in time. :)

Thing 8: Flickr pics

Flickr is one of those things that I have been aware of for quite awhile, but have never used. The signing up was very straightforward as I used my pre-existing Yahoo account. I didn't explore how easy/hard it would be without one. Do you have to get a Yahoo account in order to use it? I should find these things out. :)

I have quite a bit of experience uploading pictures to the internet using Facebook, MySpace, and Snapfish, so that part wasn't too difficult either. I think I like the community feel of Flickr, and plan to explore this further and also plan to look up friends I know are already using Flickr.
The picture above is of our reading garden. A long project planned and implemented by our Friends group, the garden was completed late this summer and is beautiful in full bloom. It is winterized now, but the bench, statue, and landscaping combine to make it attractive even without plants! I think you'll agree it is much better than the slab of concrete that was out there before. :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thing 6 and Thing 7: The Fantastic World of RSS

OK. I am now officially in love with RSS feeds. I am slightly ashamed to admit I have never used them before. I signed up for Bloglines, and added all of the things we were supposed to add in the exercise. I really like their top 1000. I found websites I liked, websites I forgot about, and sites I visit regularly.

I have to say however that I also started Google Reader and like it better. I may keep Bloglines for professional purposes and Google Reader for my own fun, lame, gossipy stuff. :) Seriously, this has the potential to save me so much time in my life. I don't have to surf from page to page, it is all there for me. If I want more I can always go to the main site, if not, eh, move on.

As far as library usage goes, offering an RSS feed to a library blog would be a great way for people to stay on top of what's going on at the library. This is still way in the future as far as my library is concerned, but still. I must say that I am learning a lot from these "things". :)

The IM post AKA Funny how some things never change....

In college, I was always a procrastinator. I rarely finished a paper before it was due. The night before.... the class period before.... So here I am a month later, back to my Library 2.0 experience. Last month, before I became a terminal slacker, I signed up for Meebo. IMing is something I've been doing probably since high school. I have MSN, Yahoo, and AIM. In college our big thing was ICQ and I don't even remember my info for that account....

ANYWAY... Meebo. The thing I like about Meebo is that a) you can log in to all of your accounts at once, and 2) you don't have to download the software for each messenger to your computer. I can see this being a really great thing for ready reference in Reference Departments. As Grant, NE is being dragged kicking and screaming into the technological age, it is not something we will be incorporating right now. However, if we ever get a webpage up and running, it would be something I would consider doing as one or both of us is almost always near a computer when we are open. When I signed up, I talked to Christa rather briefly which made me glad to know I did sign up and add people correctly. :) Now, on to conquer the world of RSS.