Saturday, November 29, 2008

Tag! I'm it...

So, Beth tagged me...and here's what she tells me I get to do:

Here are the rules:
1. Link to your tagger and list these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people (if possible) at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blogs.

Seven facts about myself, some random, some weird, huh? Hmm. Are these supposed to be things that only my immediate family or I know? Well:

1. I hate being wet when I'm fully clothed. Seriously. Not just dislike it, HATE it. With a flaming purple passion. My mom used to get really exasperated with me because I'd go run through the sprinklers, get wet (obviously), come in, change my clothes, and go back out and do it again. And again. And again...

2. I am an extremely picky eater (and I'm OK with that). I don't like mixed up food (like hot dishes/casseroles), even if I like all the separate ingredients. I also don't like the foods on my dinner plate to touch--I think it goes back to when I was a kid and the juice from my pickled beets would run into my macaroni & cheese. "It all goes the same place, what does it matter?" Well, it just does.

3. I believe that we are all here for a reason, even if we don't exactly know what that reason is. When I was growing up, I didn't think I'd live past the age of 18-20. I wasn't too bent out of shape about it; it was just how this life was going to play out. When I was 20, I was thisclose to getting into a car accident that would've killed me, no doubt. I'm 39 now, and sometimes wonder why I got a 'second life'.

4. If my shoes and socks aren't on just so, I literally cannot function or think straight. I have been known to stop what I'm doing to fix said socks and shoes before continuing on with life. It amuses my family, all of whom kick off their shoes as soon as they can.

5. I have worn a St Christopher's Medal since I was 18 (not the same one). I wear it under my shirt(s), so usually it can't be seen. Like someone once said to me, "He's the Patron Saint of travelers, and although I may not be going anywhere, I'm traveling through life, so it works." Indeed.

6. I'm left-eye dominant, but I'm right-handed. Makes it interesting to shoot guns, I must say... I'm also sort of color-blind: I can't distinguish between some shades of grey, green, & brown. When I was about 4, my family had a cat that I swear to this day was green. When I asked my parents why exactly we had a green cat, they thought I was just kidding. It wasn't until 9th grade health that I figured out what the deal was(Yes, I realize that it's rather rare for women to be color-blind or color-deficient, but there you go).

7. I usually have 3 books going at the same time: 1 fiction, 1 non-fiction, & 1 audio. It makes for some interesting moments as I try (sometimes in vain) to keep the storylines/narratives straight.

So, there you have it. Seven random/weird things about me that not very many people outside of my family know. And, yes, I realize that now you've all read them, you're thinking, "Well, now. That explains so much!" It's ok, I's all good, really.

I don't know if I know 7 people whom I can tag in the blogosphere, but here is at least a couple from class:


Monday, November 17, 2008

LIS768: Link to my Final Paper

Transforming Public Libraries into "Third Places": Lessons to Be Learned from Starbucks

LIS 768: A Thank You to Michael Stephens

17 November 2008
Dear Michael,

I just wanted to say, “THANK YOU!!!” for such a great class. LIS 768 (Library 2.0) was, hands-down, one of the most useful classes I’ve had the pleasure of taking thus far in the pursuit of my MLIS. I currently work in a small rural public library (and plan to remain there), and unfortunately, some of what is taught in the MLIS classes really doesn’t apply to us and our daily reality. The content of this class transcends location; Library 2.0 isn’t just for the big urban libraries—in fact, there is probably more benefit for a smaller library like my own.

At the end of the last weekend, you asked us to tell you what you did right, and what you can improve upon for the next time you teach this class. I’ll start with what you did right.

By building in time for us to actually play with the different things presented during class time, you allowed us the freedom to truly discover (almost risk-free) what we could do with whatever it was we’d just learned about. By being able to explore and take the applications for a test drive, I learned so much more about what I liked and what I didn’t like. There were things, like Second Life, that I doubt I’ll use again; but at least I know about it! Over the course of the term, with regard to ‘computer stuff’, I became as fearless academically as I am at home doing my own thing. I learned that there is no right way to use Web 2.0 applications, and indeed, by thinking out of the box with some of it, I can tweak it to use at the library as well.

I know I really enjoyed the way you not only shared your knowledge and experience with us, but also listened to what we had to say as well. If you didn’t know the answer to something, you were up front with us and told us so. When my group decided to tackle Drupal, you were excited for us, offered to host our project on your server, and gave us the name of a person who had previous experience with Drupal in case we had questions (and we did!). I also appreciated how you made yourself available to us through various avenues, and didn’t adhere to formal office hours.

As to what you can improve… :) I think I’m not alone in wishing that this class could have lasted all semester. I know we only scratched the surface of what all is out there! So, if you can work on that…

I liked reading the context book and applying it to the Library World; I just felt like I was doing it in a vacuum. I don’t know of a better way to do the assignment because of the nature of the class, though. There just seemed to be kind of a disconnect between the assignment and the rest of the class. Same with the final paper-I know there has to be a final project (or something), but instead of a paper, is there something else that would suffice?

In my blog post about reflecting and wrapping up, I wrote this:
From LIS 768, I'm taking away a renewed sense of, "Hey, I can do this." Very empowering. I'm excited to see what I can take back both to my 'everyday' life, and to my library. My world has opened up immeasurably because of using these new tools. Although there are moments that I wish I could just hit a pause button for awhile so I can get caught up, for the most part I just remember the most important thing we learned this semester--Have Fun. Play. Don't Be Afraid to Explore. And, I know that just because the formal class is over, that doesn't mean I get to stop doing any or all of those things.

So, thank you for coming to St Kate’s for LIS 768 and guiding us through the (at that point) somewhat bewildering world of Library 2.0. Thank you for being one of the people in the profession who really ‘gets it’. Being able to actually use what I learned in a practical sense at my library is just an added bonus.

Thank you again,
LIS 768 @ St Kate’s Fall Term 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008

LIS768: Book it. Done.

Yep. I'm really (almost) done with LIS 768. I've turned in my paper, & have tortured myself since then with my normal, "Oh, man. I so shoulda put this in. And I probably coulda skipped that. Crap." *sigh*.

So, I'm supposed to be reflecting and wrapping up. Huh.

Looking back, even just to the start of class...I've come a LONG way. I'm really really glad I was just finishing up the 23 Things on a Stick, because it sure helped. Even though our LIS 768 actual class time was limited, it was all the outside online collaborating and dinking around with social media tools that really made the class not only relevant, but fun.

What did I learn?

I learned that there is so much more to explore than we had time for. I learned that group projects don't have to be so painful (a big shout-out to Chris & Kay--we done good, I think), and that yes, Virginia, when given the right tools and group, they can actually be, dare I say...awesome! I learned that although Drupal is worthy of respect (both for the harsh learning curve and for what it can do), I don't fear it like I would have before. I learned that just because an social media application was designed for one thing, it doesn't mean it absolutely has to be used that way. Best of all, I learned to let go of prior misconceptions and just see what the social media tools had to offer me--not only where I am right now, but what I can see to do with them once I'm ready to get that far.

It's also been so great watching other classmates get excited too-like, I think what Lindsay is doing with her classes is way beyond cool, and love to read her posts about how the kids are really starting to embrace her ideas. We've all had to figure out what fits into our lives and what doesn't, and the choices we've all made are interesting to me.

I don't know that I'll keep using my Google RSS Reader. I like the pretty pictures on the real sites too much, I think. But, instead of completely dropping the RSS idea altogether, I'm going to take the time to look at some others. I definitely will keep using Twitter. Actually, I use Twitter more as an RSS feeder than anything else. And, I tell you what, there's some interesting people Twittering, and there's a whole lot of knowledge floating around on there. This blog will stay up because, well, I still have 79 out of my original 101 Things left to do (I will get there...).

From LIS 768, I'm taking away a renewed sense of, "Hey, I can do this." Very empowering. I'm excited to see what I can take back both to my 'everyday' life, and to my library. My world has opened up immeasurably because of using these new tools. Although there are moments that I wish I could just hit a pause button for awhile so I can get caught up, for the most part I just remember the most important thing we learned this semester--Have Fun. Play. Don't Be Afraid to Explore. And, I know that just because the formal class is over, that doesn't mean I get to stop doing any or all of those things.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

101 Things in 1001 Days: October 2008

Only knocked one off the list this month: #4 Build New House.

Am working on 10 others: #2 Graduate w/MLIS degree; #10 Read 20 of 100 All Time Classics; #12 Watch 101 movies; #24 Read Inspector Rebus series; #51 Watch 10 Documentaries; #68 Update Control Journal; #81 Complete a crossword puzzle book; #84 Read all the Josephine Tey books; #89 Write 3 letters complimenting good service;& #90 Write 3 letters pointing out bad service.

Lisa's Master 101 Things in 1001 Days List

1. Fly first class as a family
2. Graduate with MLIS degree (target date: May 2009)
3. Watch all the seasons of '24'
4. Build new house (moved in 10/11/08)
5. Start Roth IRA's for both of us
6. Get mutual funds transferred (Done 4/1/08)
7. Read all books on saved page a day calendar pages (through 2007)(107 left to go)
8. Watch Season 2 of 'Digging for the Truth' (Done 7/19/2008)
9. Beat PSX2 game Galaga
10. Read 20 of 100 All Time Classics (Modern Library) that I haven't read already (2/20)
11. Read 10 Biographies
12. Watch 101 movies in theater or at home (15/101)
13. Tithe 10% of net for 3 months
14. Health 1
15. Health 2
16. Health 3
17. Health 4
18. Write wills
19. Take boxes of books to Half Price (Done 10/19/07)
20. Send up DVD's for cataloging
21. Have new family picture taken
22. Design library webpage & link to system and city
23. Visit 10 other libraries in my system I haven't been to yet
24. Read entire Inspector Rebus series (1/18)
25. Learn the Rosary prayers
26. Frame black & white pictures of the ocean and hang up
27. Donate hair to Locks of Love (Done 1/3/08)
28. Go to a Latin Mass
29. Watch a Cowboys/Vikings game in Dallas
30. Watch Cowboys/Vikings game in Minnesota
31. Learn a card trick
32. Learn to juggle
33. Send birthday cards to family members for 1 year
34. Send Christmas Cards with family photograph
35. Visit Williamsburg
36. Visit 5 art galleries in Minnesota
37. Go to 1 week of Twins' Spring Training with my family
38. Visit New Orleans at Mardi Gras & attend Ash Wednesday Mass there
39. Go back to Scotland and golf at St Andrews with my family
40. Visit England for 2 weeks
41. Visit 5 states I haven't been to yet
42. Go to Glastonbury for Summer Solstice
43. Spend a day at the main Smithsonian
44. Go to the Library of Congress
45. Spend a day or seven at the British Museum
46. Spend a day or two or three at the Louvre
47. Go camping
48. Renew our wedding vows
49. Run 1 mile without stopping in 12 minutes or less
50. Upload all my CD's to my iTunes
51. Watch 10 documentaries(2/10)
52. Clothing 1
53. Get eyebrows professionally waxed
54. Learn how to play Cribbage
55. Donate $1000 to Higher Ground (Done 12/8/07)
56. Listen to Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud
(Completely Done 3/20/08)
#1 The Amulet of Samarkand done 2/13/08)(#2 The Golem's Eye done 3/4/08)(#3 Ptolemy's Gate done 3/20/08)
57. Choose 2 kids from church's Jesse Tree @ Christmas and buy them presents
58. Update photo albums
59. Replant plant on towel shelf (Done 6/6/08)
60. Sell statues on eBay
61. Join both ALA & MLA (Done 10/30/07)
62. Make a monthly budget
63. Edit a Wikipedia article (Done 9/4/2008: did the Winsted, Minnesota article)
64. Learn to swim
65. Make a 20 item anti-procrastination list (done 7/15/08)
66. Do all 20 anti-procrastination list items within the month (done 8/15/2008)
67. Type out Goodwill donation tax slip (Done 3/4/08)
68. Update FLYControl Journal (waiting for life insurance information)
69. Get important documents in fire proof box
70. Complete at least 50 things on list by 12 February 2009 (22/50) [In process: 10]
71. Make 7 recipes from the Harry & David Cupcake Cookbook (1/7)
72. [private]
73. Go see 10 Minnesota Tourist attractions
74. Get eyes checked (done 8/26/2008)
75. Get new glasses (or contacts)
76. Host big family Christmas
77. Say yes 5 times when I'd rather say no
78. Do Advent readings and wreath
79. Do Lent the 'right' way
80. Frame tree picture
81. Complete a crossword puzzle book
82. Do the FLYLady thing for one cycle of the zones
83. Over Christmas Break 2007 see 5 first run movies in theater (5/5, done 1/7/08)
84. Read all the Josephine Tey books
85. Go to Annual Family Bowling Night
86. Plant trees in yard
87. Clean up computer document files
88. Read "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" (done 8/19/2008)
89. Write 3 letters complimenting good service (1/3)
90. Write 3 letters pointing out bad service (1/3)
91. Write local/state representatives letters about how important libraries are
92. Catalog 25 books on LibraryThing (done 7/14/08)
93. Start a Library Blog (done 1/18/08)
94. Summer Break 2008- see 5 first run movies in theater (5/5)(Done 9/1/2008)
95. Walk to work 30 times (30/30)(Done 9/12/08)
96. Link library webpage to librarysites
97. Bike around the lake
98. Walk everyday for 30 minutes for 1 week.
99. Host a Summer Croquet tournament
100. Send my mother in law flowers just because (done 8/5/2008)
101. Finish writing this list (done 12/21/07)

Monday, November 10, 2008

LIS 768: Final Paper Abstract (in a roundabout way)

I can write papers like nobody's business. Seriously. It's not bragging, because I can dang sure back it up ;). So why am I having such a hard time with this one?!?! On the surface, it's really not that difficult: Write 10-12 pages expanding on the context book I read, and apply it to libraries.

I chose the Starbucks book, and really enjoyed it. Starbucks isn't just about coffee; it is an "experience", and the company has consciously made the effort to jump from ordinary to extraordinary. Starbucks is known as a "third place"--the place that's neither home nor work, that's neutral and where (theoretically) everyone is on an equal footing. I think that's where the disconnect is coming in. Many libraries, although they want to be that kind of third place, fail because of their seeming reluctance to look beyond rules and regulations, and trust in their patrons. Paradoxically, the only reason many libraries even still exist is BECAUSE of their patrons and the trust the patrons invest in their libraries. Simply put, I know my job is made possible by all the people who come use the Winsted Library. No patrons=no job. It's quite simple, actually. Yet, libraries seem surprised that more patrons don't embrace the library as a third place with the same fervor that they do Starbucks.

Yet today at work (at the library), I was witness to a very concrete reason as to why libraries struggle to become a third place. And, worse, all I could do (at the moment) was to stand there, absolutely dumbfounded as the head librarian told me about a phone conversation she'd had with someone from our library system's headquarters. To wit: HQ called the head librarian and said (in all seriousness)"You need to tell Patron X to stop checking out so many books and placing so many holds." The librarian replied that the patron was a child who is an avid beginning reader, and has read much of what we have. Didn't matter, they just needed to stop requesting so many books.

WTF????? It's a LIBRARY. That's what one does from the library, yes? And part of our job as librarians is to get the materials to the patrons?

Even worse, the librarian actually passed the message on to the mom of the patron in question. That's when I asked to hear about the original conversation. Too late, though-the words can't be unsaid. And, instead of the normally towering pile of books they usually check out, they left with ~10. Even as I told the mom to just check out as many as she wanted, she just said, "It's no big deal." Oh, I said, but it is. And, that I'd be putting on my blog...

So, back to the paper. Maybe I'm just disillusioned at the moment that given this kind of behavior, libraries seriously expect people to think third place=library, instead of Starbucks. But, in the interest of graduating this upcoming May, I will soldier on, and expound at great length (for 10 pages) about what the principles of Starbucks's business model are, and how libraries can utilize them in their quest to become a beloved 'third place'.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

LIS 768: Group Project: Extreme Library Makeover: Web Page Edition

Well, if you know me at all, you know that I'm not all that enthusiastic about group projects in classes. I like to do my own work so that I'm not dependent on someone else for a good grade. However, that said, in other classes I have worked with both Chris (twice, I think) and Kay in group projects, so I knew the caliber of their work already. That was most of the worries gone!

For this particular project, we decided to completely re-tool the Winsted Library site. As you can see, it's pretty, um, pathetic. We haven't been in that building for almost 5 years, and although we've asked for the picture (at least) to be changed, it just never seems to get that far. So, as Chris termed it, it needed an Extreme Makeover. That's where our group project title came in: Extreme Library Makeover: Web Page Edition.

Since we had to basically start from scratch, we decided that we'd make the new site using a social software product in order to let the patrons actually be involved in the site, rather than merely viewing it. We chose to use Drupal, which was interesting in and of itself. I tell you what--Drupal is definitely worthy of respect! At first it wasn't very intuitive, but once I really got working with it, it's not so hard. There were other things we wished we could do, but they would've involved getting access to the server, which we didn't have (no doubt we could have asked, we know). The first time we actually thought,"Hey! We kind of know what we're doing here!", or when we'd *finally* mastered something that was almost impossible (search box, anyone? WTG, Chris!!!) was like (as Chris said) winning the Superbowl!

For our group communication, we set up a PB Wiki with our 'wish list' on the first page, and used the second page as kind of a bulletin board-"Here's what I did" "Hey, I'm having problems with ______" --things like that. There were a few times that I know that Chris and I were on the library site at the same time, and I really wished I could 'talk' to him on that site, but had to go through the wiki. It all worked out in the end, though.

The coolest thing about this project was that we did it all remotely. Not once did we have to figure out a good time and place to meet in person. I could work on it at any of the odd hours I keep (and trust me, I totally did).

As to what all of us did (or my part, specifically):
Chris set up the basic site (thank goodness-that was probably the hardest part) and all of us provided content. Obviously, I provided an actual library to use, and could fill in our actual information. As far as pages go, at one point or another we all edited and futzed with every page on there, regardless of what the official "author" of the page is labeled; my main pages were the "About"; "Adults"; and "Kids". I set up the Meebo, Flickr, Twitter, and LibraryThing accounts; Chris figured out how to make them into widgets and how to get them to show up. Chris also came behind me and cleaned up the odd things I managed to do (mostly on accident, LOL..."What's a page? Where did my page GO?!?!"). I was able to use my "mad HTML skillz" more than once, which was great.

The other thing that has always been one of my quirks for schoolwork is that I hate to do it for its sake alone. I like to do things that I can take back to my library and actually implement. This Extreme Makeover was just the ticket. The new web page rocks!