Friday, October 31, 2008

LIS 768: Visit Our Site! (Group Project site)

From Chris' blog (one of the co-collaborators for this LIS 7680 class project):

Come one, come all, to the greatest, most social mock-up library website you’re likely to visit this week!

What can you do on this website? I’m so glad you asked.

  • Create your own account! You can sign up yourself in the left-hand sidebar, with no approval needed by anyone. Once you have an account, write your own book reviews that will show up on the front page. Leave comments on others’ book reviews and various other pieces of library news. You can also comment without an account, just putting in your name yourself.

  • Use Meebo to speak with your favorite librarians about all of your reference needs. Your favorite librarians, of course, being Kay, Lisa, and myself.

  • Go to the Adults, Teens, and Kids pages, to see the newest items, staff book reviews, and other news. On the Kids page is a blog devoted to the library’s StoryTime program — see what the theme is this week.

  • Subscribe to the RSS feed! Every time something new on the site gets posted, you’ll see it.

  • Search the library catalog straight from the front page.

  • Browse the library’s Flickr and Library Thing pages.

  • Check out the Calendar for new and upcoming events.

  • Check the weather — very important.

  • Find out more about the library on the About page. Including a Google Map link that will give you driving directions if you ask it to.

So give it a spin! If everyone gets familiar with it before our next class, it will make our presentation that much more interactive and in-depth. And if you have feedback, please leave it on this post as a comment. We would greatly appreciate it!

Monday, October 27, 2008

LIS 768: We are not them; They are not us. (Bonus free choice post)

A bit of background: I have iTunes on my home computer so I can listen to music while I'm doing homework. It's on shuffle, and because I have 539 songs, or roughly 1.6 days worth of music, it's anyone's guess as to what's going to be playing. I listen to lots of different kinds of music, so that shuffle feature gets really interesting sometimes.

Here's the scene:

Sunday afternoon, I'm working in my home library (the library in my house, not the public library I work at) on the group project, listening to my iTunes.

the kid: what's that song?
me: Da Doo Ron Ron by Shaun Cassidy
the kid: seriously, that is one weird song.

later that evening:

the kid: Dangit! I can't get that song out of my head!
me: what song?
the kid: that Shaun Cassidy song.
me: Yeah, I remember when my Mom bought me that record. I got it for
getting good grades that semester.
the kid: *Snort* You had records? Your mom seriously bought you RECORDS?
me: Uh, yeah. That's what music came on back then. Big ol' black records.
We didn't have iTunes cards back then, you yo-yo.
the kid: BWAHHAHAHAHAHHAHA (as she's pulling out her iPod)

Remember when records were replaced with cassette tapes? Then CDs? I do.

About 4 years ago, I was in a history class at school, and the guy next to me had just gotten an iPod. He brought it to class and was dinking with it instead of paying a whole lot of attention to the lecture. This was amusing to me, considering we sat in the front row. One day, before class, the professor was standing in front of us, and asked the guy how many songs he had (props to the professor for knowing what the iPod was-turns out he had one). I can't remember what the guy said, but I do remember the professor's response: "Wow. How things have changed. First there were records, then 8-tracks, then cassettes, then CDs. Now, it's all air!"

Yep. We are not them, they are not us. But maybe there's some middle ground there.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

LIS 768: Hello? Is this thing on? (My Choice of Topic #4)

I'll admit it, I really dislike writing (or typing, as the case may be) my thoughts down. I did keep a diary for 2 years in junior high, but got rid of it soon after.
I mean, it's not like I thought back then, "Huh. So when I run for the office of the President of the United States, this stuff could totally come back to haunt me."

It's not even that I think my random musings are so interesting or revolutionary now that they need to be kept under wraps.

My Mom thought my aversion to keeping a journal was amusing and and would tell me, "Maybe in a past life you got caught out on something like that, but you know, they don't burn people anymore..." to which I'd usually reply, "You don't know that for sure."

So, anyway, here I am having to do just that. Spill my thoughts out on a public forum for all to see. Or not see...there are approximately a gazillion blogs out there (give or take a few), and the odds of someone randomly finding and reading mine are fairly slim. Sure, I tag all my entries, but that's mainly so that I can find them again. But, if the right search is done...there I am, 3rd from the top (how weird is that?!?!)

I write with the thought that someone somewhere will find this, and what I say can (and very well might) be used against me. Does that make me self-censor?

Uh, yeah.

Too many horror stories get told about the bad things that can happen when a blogger writes about certain topics (like dooce, for instance, who wrote about her job and got fired for doing so). And knowing that I will be applying for a professional librarian position in the not-so-distant future is enough to keep me in line. For now.

Even so, oftentimes I feel like I'm writing in a vacuum. I mean, I post, and can tell by the Sitemeter that others come and take a look (besides my classmates, who have to), but there's no 2-way conversation taking place which seems odd. I admit to always being somewhat surprised when I discover that someone has left a comment on a post. On the flip side, though, when I read the different blogs, although I might find myself nodding in agreement, or wondering about a point, I don't leave any comments either.

According to Technorati, there are approximately 1 million blog posts a day. One MILLION a DAY. Wow. That's a lot of voices to be heard at any given time. And for now, anyway, I'm one of them.

Monday, October 20, 2008

LIS 768: Watching TV with Strangers (My choice post #3)

I hardly make time to watch TV as it is. When I do, I focus on what I'm watching, and then during commercial breaks (nope, don't have TiVo), I get up and go do something else.

Now, though, CBS is testing what it calls a "Social Viewing Room" where you and I, as well as any or all of our friends and various strangers can watch shows together, even when we're not physically together. As we're watching the show, we can chat, take quizzes, do polls, and 'throw' things at the screen, all of which in turn theoretically enhances our viewing experience.


To me, there's no difference between what CBS is proposing and just watching a show on my own and using, say Twitter, or IMing my friends who might also be watching that same show. Besides, how does that work if I can't watch the show at the same time my friends are, which is often the case? Or one of them has TiVo, and prefers to start the show a few minutes late in order to speed through the commercials?

It's great that CBS is trying to give other avenues for people to connect with each other. I can really see the merits in this new technology. I know that watching something on TV or in the movies in a group has a completely different feeling than watching the same thing alone does (although it doesn't faze me much to be the only one laughing at something). But seriously, when I'm watching TV or a movie, I'm watching what I'm watching. I don't want to have all those other things going on at the same time.

Who knows? It may be the next big thing. If you want to give it a whirl, it all starts this week.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

LIS 768: Work Like a Patron Day (My Choice of Topic Post #2)

That whole "Work Like a Patron" day thing...yeah. I've given it some thought over the last few days, and have come to the conclusion that I don't wanna.

Now, it's not because I can't. Because I can. It's not because life is so grand being the librarian v. being a patron. Because, trust me, it's not.

We already use the same entrances and the same restrooms. There's no public meeting space to reserve, so we're good there. Our (only) computer terminal we have at the circ desk is just as slow as the patron ones, with the same lack of easy to find USB ports...theirs might actually be better because at least their CD-ROM thing works.

It's not even that being a patron would be so hard, because I already am. I have to abide by the policies as well, although if there's a loophole, I'll be sure to find (and use) it. The library I'm at is a smaller branch library. Even though there are Official Policies sent down from Headquarters to be followed, we push the limits as far as we can without completely breaking them. Well, to be sure, I do, anyway.

So, why wouldn't I jump at the chance to Work Like a Patron? Even for just a day? I think it's a good idea and all, but I think I'd become too disheartened to want to come back. Ever.

Which is exactly why I need to take a day, hour, week, month and walk in our patrons' shoes.

Many of the problems in our library have been listed on our annual Project List as something to fix. The library board and the city are working together to improve things, but it never seems fast enough, nor can some of the problems be changed due to systemwide policies. Sometimes it all seems overwhelming...there's so much to fix, where do we start?

For instance, in the instance of the computers, I swear that the saying, "Yesterday's Technology Today!!!!" is spot on. How frustrating it is to not be able to save one's work? Even if a patron brings a flash drive along, just getting to the USB ports are a struggle (they're all on the backs of the inconvenient). And that's without the 30 minute time limit being enforced.

And don't even get me started about the system policy of "all videos and DVDs have a 2 day loan period"--that just makes me want to throw things. And just in case you're wondering what the overdue fines are for said items, that would be $1/day. And your card gets blocked when you hit $5 in overdue fines.

When I read The Starbucks Experience for my context book, I realized that we're on the right track, and eventually we'll get there. But will it be soon enough?

So, for now, even though I don't wanna...I will take the time to Work Like a Patron and look at the library and the services it offers with fresh eyes.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Cool Twitter Toys

This week's finds:

When I first started using Twitter, I was frustrated because I couldn't find anything...or anyone. Today I came across this link (on Delicious, I think):
Just Tweet It. It's a directory divided up by interests. There's even a category for Librarians!
And then, when sorting through my saved favorites on my home computer (which soooo need to be organized), I found this: Twitterlit. It's a site that sends first lines of books out twice a day via RSS feeds, Twitter, & e-mail. Way cool.
OK, end of show and tell... :)

LIS 768: Context Book-The Starbucks Experience

I want to preface this all by stating unequivocally that I am not a coffee drinker. Never have been--I always joke that I'm not old enough to drink coffee. Give me an ice cold Diet Coke anyday! So, it's no surprise that I don't frequent places like Starbucks (but I have been in Scotland). But, this book, The Starbucks Experience by Joseph A. Michelli caught my eye one day when I was walking through the Business section at Barnes & Noble. Well, actually, the subtitle was what got my attention: "5 Principles for Turning Ordinary into Extraordinary."

It seems that a phrase I often hear in the library world is how the library is (or should be) considered a "Third Place"-not home, not work, but another place to meet and hang out with friends. It may seem like a stretch to compare Starbucks and libraries, technology, and participatory service...but I assure you, it works. Starbucks really gets that concept, and actively works to make the stores that Third Place. Some libraries also get that concept...others, not so much (yeah, I'm looking at you, libraries with the 32 this-that-and-the-other NOT ALLOWED signs up).

As the subtitle promises, The Starbucks Experience identifies 5 key principles that have helped to make Starbucks such a beloved third place:

  • Make it Your Own

  • Everything Matters

  • Surprise and Delight

  • Embrace Resistance

  • Leave Your Mark

Although libraries could stand to learn something from each of these, the 3 that really stand out for me as a place to start are: Make it Your Own, Everything Matters, & Embrace Resistance.

In the 'Make it Your Own' section, there is what Michelli says Starbucks terms the "Five Ways of Being" (p. 20).

  • Be welcoming

  • Be genuine

  • Be considerate

  • Be knowledgeable

  • Be involved

Now, to me, those are just common sense--but maybe it's just because I worked in the retail sector for so long. The patrons are why I have a job. End of story. If the patrons aren't happy, they will go someplace else. If they go someplace else and the library isn't being used as much, sometime down the road that could come back to haunt us. Get to know the people you serve, especially the regulars; you don't have to become their bestest friend ever, but at least be friendly and considerate.

Everything Matters: yes, it surely does. One of the quotes from this section that really resonated with me is on p. 51: "...finding ways to deliver existing products and services in ways that make the brand more significant to the customer." Wow. How revolutionary would THAT be in the library world? (Or maybe just in my small corner) Instead of telling patrons how important libraries are, how about just showing them?

Finally, Embrace Resistance. "Starbucks management...has built a company on the willingness to actively listen to criticism"(p. 111). How many libraries can say the same? If patrons are actually taking the time to give feedback to their libraries, that should be viewed as an opportunity, not as a bad thing. More often than not, unhappy patrons don't say anything to the library...they just don't come back. However, they may say plenty to their friends, family, and social circle.

Sometimes it seems the library world has a sense of, "Well, seriously. We're free. What's better than free?" Uh, good customer service? Giving the patrons what they want, not what we either think they should want, or what we feel like allowing them to have on any given visit? Actively listening to what they say, even criticism, and taking that as an opportunity to fine-tune the services offered?

Starbucks has successfully transformed its stores into that "Third Place." Libraries could stand to learn from their business model.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

101 Things in 1001 Days: #4 is done!

Yay! The new house is finished, and we've moved in. Not that all of our things are moved in, or that we can find some of the things we *know* we had...but hey.

Building a house was much more work than I thought it would be, even though we didn't do any of the real labor ourselves. Who knew there are so many decisions that have to be made? Seriously, do I look like I care what color the grout is? Uh, no. It was frustrating for me sometimes because I am a very visual person--I don't seem to be able to 'see' something when it's just on paper, which made the process interesting. I told my husband that what we needed to do was to just build the house, and then I could say what I liked and what I didn't--it wasn't fair to have to pick out everything piece by piece. Especially the wall colors! Are you kidding me? The builders and workers had spent more time in the house at that point than I in the world was I supposed to know what colors would look good where? But it all worked out, and we love it.

Would I do it again? Um, let me think about it for a second...NO. At least not for a looooong time. We like our location (across from a lake, with dock rights), we like the size of our lot (just under a half-acre in the older part of town), and we like our neighbors.

I'll post pictures when I take them...just as soon as I can find the camera. *sigh*

Monday, October 6, 2008

LIS 768: Social Networking

OK, I admit, I'm one of the people that Beth talked about in her know, the ones who aren't sure how social networking is really going to have a place in my life, especially since I have friends IRL. But, the more I dink around with some of the parts, the more I can see how relevant they really are to my life.

I have a friend who lives in Connecticut. We don't talk on the phone very much, but do share pictures of what our families are up to via Kodak EasyShare (could do the same with Flickr, now that I have an account set up). She also sends YouTube videos every so often, which is way cool. It's a quick and easy way to stay in touch, and works for us. E-mail is another way that I communicate with some of my other friends, even though I do see them during the week-I keep really different hours from them, but e-mail is a way to touch base with them. Again, it works for what we need. Other than those, I really can't say that I use many of the other tools...but, the more I learn about them, the more I am embracing some of them. I don't know too many people who use Twitter (I'm still trying to figure out an efficient way to find people on it, myself).

I've known about many of these various social applications for a few years, and one of my hugest regrets is not figuring out how to use them sooner, before my parents both died. Some of these, like Flickr and YouTube, would have been excellent ways for my parents to get to 'know' their granddaughter better. They were in Oregon, and we are here, so obviously it wasn't like I could take the kid for a visit just whenever. I sent pictures whenever I could, but it's not the same. Ironically enough, when I figured out the Yahoo! Games thing, and how a private room could be set up, my mom and the kid would play Go Fish together online...and be able to chat while they played. It was surreal for me to watch, because I remember that when I would go to my own grandparents' houses during the summer, we would play Go Fish and other games while sitting at the same table, in the same room.

I admit to having mixed feelings about social networking. On the one hand, it is a really good way to bridge physical distances. On the other, it's one more thing I feel like I have to 'keep up with'. But, like I've said, I'm at least willing to give them a whirl.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

LIS 768: Don't Vote (YouTube video)

I was watching Linda's video about Tiger Woods (very very cool) and decided to hop on over to YouTube to see if there were others.

While on the front page, I found this under the featured, I am registered to vote and plan on doing so on Election Day. But I like how this video is done-what an idea for the library. "Don't go to the Library. Seriously. Don't go." on to "You know you can find almost everything you want at the Library, right? Maybe you should go check it out."

Here's the video:

My momma always told me, "You can't bitch if you don't vote." Well, Lord knows I like to do my share of I am definitely voting on Election Day.
Are YOU registered to vote?!?!

LIS 768: Looking at YouTube

I could seriously spend hours watching YouTube videos. Well, OK, I have...
When I did the 23 Things on a Stick, YouTube was Thing 18.

For class today, I get to find another one and embed it into a blog post. I love the Michael Jordan "Legendary" commercials, so I'm going to go with one of those.

Good philosophy, I think, and an important one to remember...if you have to tell someone you're all so aren't.

LIS 768: Book Choice...maybe...

So, like Lindsay, I'm really intrigued by the whole digital natives/digital immigrants idea...and how it doesn't really play out that way. The digital divide also concerns me, especially if our public library isn't able to help those who don't have ready access to technology (or the know-how) because our systems are soooo slow. But, since I'm doing that topic for another class, I'm choosing to go a different way for this class.

My two books that I'm looking at are:

Tribes by Seth Godin, or

The Starbucks Experience
by Joseph A. Michelli.

Both have excellent points, and I can already see how both/either can be applied to libraries and library service. Which to choose, which to choose?

Saturday, October 4, 2008

LIS 768: Twitter

We learned about Twitter today...and signed up.

My Twitter name is i_am_lisa.

This is awfully odd right now...seriously. But, I'm willing to give it a try...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

LIS 768: New Conversations (My Choice of Topic Post)

I've been thinking this last week about how the new Web 2.0 applications and other technology have changed how we interact as individuals.

Watching the kid interact with her friends brings home the difference between how she and her friends have conversations versus how at the same age, my friends and I did. Her dad is always telling her to call her friends and go do something...but because he doesn't hear her talking, to him, it doesn't seem like they are talking.

In contrast, when I was her age, I spent countless hours on the phone with my friends talking and doing homework together. The conversations were audible. There were drawbacks, though. I could only be talking to one of my friends at a time, and if someone else tried to call, s/he was met with a busy signal. And if I wasn't at home, I couldn't call anyone (our phones were attached with cords to the wall). So, there were definite limits to how and where conversations could happen.

Now, though, watching the kid texting 3 different people on her phone all within a minute of each other, and IMing others, I can't help but wonder about how conversations have changed. She's fully engaged with whomever she's 'talking' to, and is capable of keeping the different threads straight. But I sometimes wonder about the quality of these 'short-burst' conversations. Yeah, I'm sure my parents wondered what in the world my friends and I could find to talk about for hours on end (well, duh-important things like who was going out with who, did you see what so-and-so was doing between classes, what are you wearing tomorrow...really important stuff). Who knows?

I also find it interesting that for the kid and her friends, conversations can be had whenever and wherever their phones are. They don't have to be in one specific place anymore...they aren't limited by how far their phone cord stretches. They can text way faster than I can...maybe because I spell my words out and they don't (OMG!! did u c that? lol).

Technology and Web 2.0 applications have changed how we interact as individuals. Time and space don't hold the same sway they used to, that's for sure. Conversations aren't limited by how far the cord stretches anymore, and in some respects, that's a good thing.

101 Things in 1001 Days: September 2008 update

Well, I've been pretty good about doing the 101 things...not so good about actually blogging about them (obviously). I was thinking about it the other day, when doing an assignment about virtual communities for the Library 2.0 class I'm taking this fall term.

The 101 things in 1001 days site is where a person could post their list, and then others can go look at it and maybe follow the progress. So, in a way, that's kind of a community...if I squint hard enough. So, why am I not following through and blogging about this experience? Dunno...maybe because I don't think others really care what I do (or don't do) during these 1001 days (lots less now...). At the same time it is kind of cool to see my progress, or lack of in some areas.

Here's what I've done:
#6-get mutual funds transferred: yeah, done in April, so I could finish closing out Mom's estate...just in time for this great week on Wall Street. Wow-hope the kid gets lots of scholarships for college!
#8-Watched Season 2 of Digging for the Truth-honestly, watching TV is not my favorite thing to do. I'd so rather be reading (for fun, not for school), so this one took awhile. Funny thing is, I really enjoyed the episodes...
#19-took books to Half Price-yep, lots of mom's books=no space on my own bookshelves. So, I took them to Half Price books in the hopes they'd find good homes.
#27-Donate hair to Locks of Love-Both the kid and Mom grew out their hair and once it got long enough, donated it to Locks of Love. Then, they started asking when I was going to do the same. After growing out my hair for a year, I finally donated ~13" to the cause...and no, I'm not growing my hair out that long again anytime soon. I'm glad I could do such a small thing to help, but my hair is really heavy when it's that long...
#55-Donate $1000 to Higher Ground--glad we could help (more than we already do). Higher Ground is a Christian Music festival put on by our parish in Winsted, which helps raise money for both the Holy Trinity parish & schools. This was to help keep it alive for one more's a good cause.
#56-Listen to the Bartimaeus trilogy by Jonathan Stroud, read by Simon Jones-love the reader...liked the stories (loved the sarcasm and wit).
#59-replant plant--the kid had started a plant in a milk container in her science class at school. When she brought it home, I'd intended to replant it right away...really. But, I didn't. When I did, it took off like nobody's business. Makes me feel kind of bad, holding it back like that.
#61-Join both ALA & MLA-yup, did that. About time to renew my dues, probably. I'm still not sure if being a member of either will help me in my professional life or not.
#63-Edit a Wikipedia article--just did this as part of the 23 Things on a Stick program. It's probably one of the lamest edits ever, but hey-I did it, and can go back and add to it.
#65 B-Make a 20-item anti-procrastination list and do all 20 items in one month's time--I chose some things off this 101 things list, and some others that just needed done. I almost didn't make the one month deadline-that last couple of days was interesting...Procrastinating on the anti-procrastination list...guilty as charged.
#67-Type out Goodwill donation list--did it the night before the accountant needed it for taxes. Shoulda done it before.
#74-Go get eyes checked--good news is that my vision hasn't changed much. I just really really don't like getting those damn drops in my eyes...they mess with my depth perception, and they hurt!
#83--Over Christmas break 2007, go see 5 movies--pretty sad I have to force myself to go watch movies...but I saw some good ones, and got to spend a couple of afternoons with the kid to boot.
#88--Read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows--yeah, sad that it took me a year to get around to it, but I wanted to savor it, knowing it'd be the last one. I don't know if I wasn't in the right frame of mind for it, or what, but I wasn't as impressed with it as I thought I would be (HP and the Goblet of Fire is still my favorite). The great life lesson that can be learned from Deathly Hallows is the one about going to meet one's fate instead of being dragged kicking and screaming...true, so true.
#92--Catalog 25 books on LibraryThing--did that, plus more. I keep forgetting to go back and update the list, though...might be time for another anti-procrastination list. I like LibraryThing, I just forget I have it.
#93--Start a Library Blog--did that for a class last winter. The one I started is pathetic...I'm going to have to overhaul it. Oh, and actually update it!
#94-During Summer Break 2008, go see 5 movies in the theater--see #83 above.
#95-Walk to work 30 times--with gas prices the way they are, walking to work made sense...unless I had a full crate of books to take in. I found I actually liked walking to and from work because it gave me time to get mentally ready, and then to decompress. I didn't like walking in the rain much, though...
#100--Send Mother-in-law flowers just because--I sent her a bouquet of Gerber Daisies. I decided to add this to the list partly because I really do like my MIL, and partly because in the last year, a couple of people have died, and I realized that I hadn't taken the time to tell them how awesome they were while they were still alive.
#101--finish writing this list--oddly enough, when writing the original list, it was way harder to come up with 101 things I wanted to do. Even as I've been working on accomplishing things, I'm coming up with other things to add to the next list...and mentally smacking myself for adding to this list...

A good thing that has come of this was the finding of a quote (nope, don't know who by):

In the end, you'll find the

And what a journey it's been so far...