Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Thing 23 One Last Thing: Evaluation and Beyond

Thank you to Metronet, and all the multitype directors, for your leadership in developing and sponsoring 23 Things on a Stick. You've heard kudos from many participants, and I am joining that group.

Before starting the program, I had heard of most of the 23 things and thought I understood something about each of them. Working through the Things helped me to understand each one more fully and to see (in most cases) possible library applications. My favorite things were RSS feeds, productivity tools, and Library Thing. I will continue to use them.

As is always the case, being able to talk about the program with colleagues who also were working on the program was a key component of my learning. Though I was the slowest to complete the program, we all were working on it at roughly the same time, creating a community of learners. I learned a lot by reading my colleagues' blogs and talking with them about their ideas for using the Things here. I also appreciated their help and encouragement to keep moving and complete the program. I'm glad I did. When the next phase is ready in January, I will be an eager participant.

Thing 22 What did I learn today?

Keeping current has been a challenge for librarians for as long as I have worked in libraries. I'm willing to bet it has been a challenge for as long as libraries have existed. How could it be otherwise when the role of libraries is broad, the scope of knowledge is vast, the search is engaging, the service ethic is strong? Really who could ask for more?

Surely keeping up, in the sense of always being in a 'caught up' state, is an elusive, probably unattainable goal. Keeping up in the sense of remainining interested, curious, and willing to explore new ideas does seem possible and enjoyable, too. I'm never on the bleeding edge of change, but I try to work at staying somewhere within sight of the leading edge.

Some of the 23 Things will help me, especially RSS feeds. I often listen to Future Tense, an MPR program on technology issues, and find it useful. Newspaper columns on new technology are another helpful source of information. Talking with people on the bleeding edge helps, too. For me, the most important thing is to remind myself that the daily routine will take as much time as I allow it and that I need to carve out at least a little time to scan the horizon for new ideas and perspectives.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Thing 21 Beyond My Space: Other Social Networks

Exploring Gather was my first foray into the world of other social networks. Since I'm working on a project involving public library services to children at the moment, I checked for groups interested in that topic. I found several groups but little useful information or leads. In one case, I found photos of a trip to Shanghai, of interest to me since I spent a few days there on a trip to China, but nothing pertinent to my work.

On to WebJunction which looks much friendlier and more streamlined in its new version. I created an account, mostly because MLA's Legislative Committee will use WebJunction for discussion of this year's platform planks and other legislative issues. The Committee tried this approach last year, too, but it did not work well as several members (including me) could not seem to get in. This year the path is much easier, and I believe the effort will succeed.

Also checked out the 23 Things Ning where I noticed the photo of a member from West St. Paul, the city where I work. Turns out she is a school library media specialist in a nearby high school, someone I have not yet met. I sent a comment and hope she will respond. That would be a first for me, meeting someone local through a social network!

I was able to add a 23 Things badge to my Facebook page but have not yet succeeeded in adding one to my blog despite several efforts. It's time to turn to my colleagues for advice.

Thing 20 Facebook and MySpace

I spent a fair amount of time on Facebook, less on MySpace. I set up a Facebook page where my first two friends are my son and daughter-in-law who have pages much more developed and interesting than mine. It's clear they use their pages actively, adding friends, tracking their travels, listing details in their profiles about music and reading preferences. In fact, I learned a few things about them I had not known before! I joined two groups, ALA and 23 Things on a Stick. and wrote several messages on my daughter-in-law's wall.

On MySpace I took a brief cruise of the site and looked at library pages for Denver Public and Hennepin County. The number of book ads in the form of thank yous posted by authors on both sites surprised me.

Of these two social networking sites, Facebook is the one I'd be more likely to use.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Thing 19 Podcasts

I've been an occasional listener to podcasts from MPR and from Nancy Pearl. Checking the MPR site, I noticed a variety of podcasts on political topics, including one on creating a Fantasy Legislature, a most intriguing idea.

The On the Road with MINITEX podcasts were a real treat. The interviews with wonderful librarians like Tom Shaugnessy, Beth Kelly, and Sue Colten were well worth the time. Wise librarians all, they had fascinating and thought-provoking things to say about their careers and the library field.

I explored the Education Podcast Network where I checked podcasts listed under 'Information Skills.' What an odd group, ranging from Stephen Abram talking about roving reference, to a basic introduction to Survey Monkey, and a long list of best baby names. A very mixed bag indeed.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Thing 18 You Tube

OK, an explanation is in order. I searched YouTube for videos on the Southdale Library, hoping to find a video made by Edina High School students who came to the library on a Sunday morning (before opening) a couple years ago with elaborate equipment and an equally elaborate script. They had a great time and promised to give a copy of their video to the library. That never happened. Thinking it might have been posted on YouTube, I searched. It wasn't there, but I did find this amazingly odd video depicting a ride on the public elevator between the second and third floors. It's a short ride, and a short video, but it manages to convey how little there is to do in an elevator except stare at the walls and wait for the doors to open.

I watched Conan the Librarian and a couple library jokes, and checked GoogleVideo briefly, too. I also looked for instructional videos on how to fix a faucet, prepare a powerpoint, make ratatouille, and knit. Success! Suggesting YouTube as a source in response to how to... reference questions is something I definitely will try.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Thing 17 ELM Productivity Tools

What would we do without ELM? I think of it as the Minnesota Miracle for students of all ages and for adults, too, who have myriad interests to explore. Having a statewide set of resources, available to everyone through their school library media center or public library, is wonderful. I remember a sense of pure exhiliration when state support for ELM became part of the base funding formula. That eliminated the need to lobby during every budget year for continuing the ELM subscriptions and provided a sense of security that ELM was a permanent resource, recognized as valuable by the legislature.

I explored Web 2.0 options on EBSCOHost and set up a folder. I was unable to load the QuickTime video with instructions for creating a web page but forged ahead on my own. Seemed to work out OK.

The challenges available with Thing 17 all look worth exploring, and I'll plan to come back to them later.