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Archive for the ‘Library 2.0’ Category

What a cool idea! Check-out-able library bags!

I was visiting a fellow librarian and friend at the Brookfield Public Library when I noticed a rack of library bags next to the circ desk. Then it got better! I saw they had barcodes on them! Wow!

So, when you come to the library and you decide to check out a lot of stuff there you go, just check out a bag to take them home in and then you can return it when you bring them back.

I happened to run into a former story time friend while I was there – I used to work there. His mom said they love using it. They have their own library bags, but sometimes you just forget to bring it.

I thought this was such a simple idea that has immense customer service appeal so I approached my current manager with the idea, and after a couple of discussions between managers it looks like it’s going to happen.

I love it! How easy is that and so wonderfully convenient for our patrons. I’m happy. ūüôā

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Yes, I realized as I got started on the 21 Things for Children Librarians that my last post was almost a year ago. Granted it’s been a very busy year for me, and the grief of losing my dear Skippy cat last year was enough to keep me offline much of the time. And, now it’s the crazy antics of my new recruits, Junebug and Skeeter, that keep me busy in the real world. Well, that and work of course.

So, 21 Things – well I got included a little late, so I’m going to breeze through the past several weeks and touch on the things I can. Then I hope to get in deep from here on out. Here we go!

1. Create a Blog – Got that, here it is!

2. Learn about Library 2.0 – Actually was lucky enough to take a class with Michael Stephens on the subject. At the time I was enlightened by learning that it’s not about technology, but rather about customer service. I like that.

3. Post a blog about Technology – Okay, so I checked out the list of recommended sites, and was reminded of a site one of the teen volunteers I worked with a few years ago introduced me to, and I still love it. Sketch Swap – check it out, it’s fun!

4. Sign up for Google Reader – Already got that, and added a few new blogs. I even have folders!

5. Delicious – Got that too. It’s over on the sidebar of my blog – here’s a link. Still need to work on bundling my tags. I got started a long way back and just ran out of steam…

6. Tracking Your Library – This is why I’m here! I knew about Google Alerts and have used them both personally and professionally, but I didn’t know about Social Mention and Addictomatic. You will soon see a blog post about these after I try them out.

7. Wikis – These I know, and have tried a few different host sites. I like WikiSpaces and PBWiki (which is now PBWorks I see) was okay too. We use a wiki at work every day! However, I can’t show it to you or I’d have to kill you. OK, not really, but I doubt it would interest anyone.

8. Firefox – Use this all the time, even at work! I love all the add-ons too. I have one for delicious and another one for twitter. They are very handy tools. I have to say though, for speed Google Chrome rocks!

9. Embed an Image – See below. (You’ll also find movies embedded down there somewhere.) I like to do this when I can to give some visual interest to things. It can also be easier than trying to describe something in a short post. Not that this is a short post…

10. Online Image Generators – Here’s another reason I joined 21 Things! I love to hear about cool new stuff like this to share with the kids and play with myself. I’ll have to spend some time with these and post my results later.

11. Tagging Photos on Flickr – I love the reminder on using controlled vocabulary. I often get in a hurry and don’t pay attention to that and end up having to go back in later to make it easier to access through tags. Since I’m several weeks behind I am not going to complete this project, but will spend some time over the next couple of weeks uploading overdue photos of my own and tagging them properly for some good practice.

12. Twitter and Facebook – Have both of these, but don’t use them as much as I used to. I had a huge online social media rush with MySpace, and then started to crash out on Facebook, then Twitter was really an afterthought… I will try to get back on more, but I find a lot of time gets wasted when I get too involved so I have absent much lately. My twitter – ariafury. Tagged is a site I have been seeing the kids on for the past couple of years. When I mentioned it to a coworker he refused to believe the site existed, but here it is!

13. ALA Connect – So, one day a colleague emailed me and told me I still work at CPL according to my ALA profile. I was like, what? How did he see my profile? So, I checked it out and fixed it but haven’t done much else with it. I suppose I should do that this week and post about it. I do like LinkedIn and have many colleagues on there. I wonder if it’s similar?

14. GoodReads and Library Thing – I’ve tried both, and I stuck with GoodReads. I haven’t added a widget for it to my blog, so maybe that’s something I should do for my 21 Things experience! I often get behind with posting my books, and then spend a couple of hours catching up… Maybe I should make appts or something to keep up with all my social media stuff better.

15. Instant Messaging – I have been a fan of this since the early 90s with AOL, then ICQ and now there are so many I can’t even name them all. I love meebo though. It’s a great way to monitor all of them, and get around having to download standalone IM programs like yahoo and msn. Although, like all the rest of my social media this too has fallen by the wayside. I don’t like getting caught in long ‘how have you been?’ chats when I’m trying to escape from my computer… More and more I prefer texting – who woulda thought?

I’m caught up! FINALLY! This felt like hours, but it was only like 2.

Tomorrow I will post yet again with more belated stuff after I have a chance to really check it out and play around with it and it’s possibilities.

I apologize for this huge long blog post. It’s quite awful of me really, but had to get it done.

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Why do libraries spend thousands of dollars a year on Microsoft Windows licenses for pc’s that are only used for access to the internet?¬†

I’m no¬†expert by any means, so it’s possible that they think it’s worth it so they won’t¬†need a separate server for those computers, but in reality they probably already have a dedicated server for them anyway…¬† Or maybe they think patrons can’t adapt to a different operating system – more likely they don’t want to themselves!¬† Most patrons wouldn’t even notice the difference, and those who did would quickly adapt.

These computers often do absolutely nothing except provide access to the internet.¬† So why not use Linux?¬† And while we’re at it throw some open source software on there like Gimp¬†and Open Office?¬† All free, all useful to patrons¬†– how can this not be the right thing to do?

Just a thought on how we can save everyone a little money. 

And now I shall prepare for some relaxing in the good-smelling open air of Wisconsin with a wacky web developer and Skippy the camping cat.

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Library Journal published a short¬†article last year about small libraries using Netflix to supply movies to patrons.¬† It’s a short article and doesn’t say much, but the interest and ideas it sparks¬†make up¬†a hundred fold for the small amount of screenspace it¬†needs to be read – at least for me.¬†

At the time I thought this was a great, economical way for libraries to provide more of what patrons want without running out of space and budget.¬† I even remember rumors and ideas circulating in the library world a year or so before the article in Library Journal was published.¬†¬†I think the first place I came across the idea was at Jenny Levine’s blog – see The Shifted Librarian: The¬†Exeter Public Library Does¬†Netflix¬†.¬† ¬†

Here I am two years later still wondering how Netflix is working in libraries.¬† Is it still working?¬† Have the executives at Netflix shut everyone down?¬† Did¬†all the ‘naughty’ libraries¬†get a copy of “There Will Be Blood” as recommended in that NEWSWEEK article?¬† I really wanted to know.¬†

So, I decided to just go ahead and ask. 

I chose to check in on the Cook Memorial Library way up in Tamworth, NH from that article in Library Journal.¬† Library director Jay Rancourt¬†had this to say about Netflix’s successful and continued use in her library:

Yes, we are still using Netflix. We are circulating two at a time now. Very popular service. Even more so in this lousy economy. There are (red) cards on the circ desk to be filled out by the patrons with their request. We queue the patron requests up on the Netflix website, and loan only one unit per person at a time. Then the patrons must queue up again.¬† It’s a two-day rental to keep the queue moving. I think it’s well worth the $13.99 per month it costs…

I did the math and I’d say she’s getting a great deal.¬† Economically, it’s like buying one new DVD a month, but having access to around 30.¬† Smart, smart, smart.¬† Why not take advantage of an easy and inexpensive¬†way to provide users with¬†what they want?¬† Way to go Jay!

It looks like no one has seen any¬†kind of ‘reminder’ from Netflix the corporate entity banning libraries from using this service.¬† I’m sure they realize how many new subscribers they¬†will gain from the pool of people¬†who have¬†access to their service through libraries.¬† Impatience is commonplace in America, eventually everyone wants their own subscription.¬† Netflix should consider paying libraries to offer the service!

Public libraries aren’t the only ones taking advantage, academic libraries are getting in on the deal, too.¬† University of Washington libraries offer Netflix service for UW¬† instructors.¬† That’s especially helpful for film classes I’ll bet.¬†

Any other great pairings of libraries and Netflix that I have yet to unearth?  Share please!

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I just wanted to share a quick thought I had this morning about nooks and crannies.  And, no it was not because I was eating an english muffin with nooks and crannies.  Although I do like them, and probably would have preferred one over my morning oatmeal. 

I¬†started out¬†thinking about how people usually feel comfortable in a bookstore, and often less so in libraries.¬† Myself, I feel more comfortable in a library, but that’s only because I know I’ll get pulled in by the rows of clearance books and will never leave the bookstore…¬†

Bookstores, even though they are big and open like libraries, have lots of little¬†nooks and crannies¬†where people can be alone while exploring the books.¬† In libraries I think there’s often a fear of people doing things they shouldn’t in those little¬†nooks and crannies.¬† Especially in the teen sections – am I right?

So, I got to thinking.¬† How do the bookstores get away with it?¬†¬†It’s simple.¬†¬†There are always bookstore workers wandering around the building.¬† They’re there to help and also, in a way, to hinder unwanted behaviors –¬†more reasons¬†why roaming librarians or assistants would be a beautiful thing.¬†¬† Hold up now, that’s not all.¬†¬† They also have plenty of security cameras around bookstores, just like any retail space.¬† And, the customers know it.

I know there are currently libraries that have roaming librarians Рtwo that I know of off hand are Skokie Public Library and Indian Trails Public Library.  They have staff that are scheduled to roam around the library looking for people to help.  Those libraries also have security cameras. Not everywhere like in a retail store, but in tempting locations.

So, you’d think maybe if we put the two together – roaming librarians and security cameras we’d have a winning combination.¬† Although, I think there is one missing component here – we need¬†our¬†customers¬†to know.¬† What’s the best way to do that without alienating them or using signs they probably won’t notice?¬† I don’t know.¬†

Library 2.0 is really all about changing how we serve our customers.¬† I know this has been¬†pointed out¬†time and time again.¬† It’s nothing new, but even though it seems an obvious change all libraries can make it’s not being done enough.¬† So, I feel it’s worth mentioning again.

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I’m not a big texter.¬† I text, but I’d rather call or email.¬† I get frustrated not being able to have all five fingers on a keyboard typing 100 wpm…¬† Texting takes too long for me, but I’ll admit it’s still rather convenient sometimes.

Although, it’s not my usual mode of communication I do know there are more and more people graduating from high school every day who use texting to communicate almost exclusively.¬† I know, because I get texts from them, and well, okay “Pieces of Flair” on Facebook.¬†

For these people texting a librarian is a brilliant adaptation to their needs.¬† After I left my position at the Brookfield Public Library they adopted a utility that allows them to accept text messages at the reference desk.¬† Unfortunately, since it happened after I had already moved to another library I don’t know exactly how it works, but I tried it and it worked from my end.¬† If you’re at all curious, go to the website and check it out for yourself.

I was reminded of this twice in the past few days.¬† Once while talking to a colleague who told me that her high school aged son always responds to her immediately when she texts him.¬† He won’t answer the phone if she calls, but he automatically answers a text.¬† The second reminder was an ad for a new product in one of my magazines – can’t remember which one…¬† I think it was YALSA‘s magazine.

Anyway, this all boils down to a new service offered by¬†Mosio¬†for libraries that are interested in welcoming the texting generation –¬†¬†Text A Librarian.¬† This is how it works. I’m not¬†endorsing this particular service, but if you watch the video you can get a good idea of how this works from the librarian’s point of view.¬†

I think this is ultimately worth considering very seriously as an added patron convenience option at every library.¬† Let’s face it, texting is big and it’s not going away anytime soon.

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I was back on my Flickr page the other day and was reminded of the group I started on there while I was taking that wonderful Library 2.0 class with Michael Stephens. I was really interested to see how people around the world are pulling the ideas of Library 2.0 into their physical library spaces. I started the group Show us your Library 2.0! in the hopes that other people would be interested and willing to share the way they were putting their ideas to work. Today the group now has 137 active members that have posted 430 images showing off the ways libraries around the world are putting the tenets of Library 2.0 into action. It’s a great place for inspiration and ideas. Here is a sample of one of my favorites.

We will post it to the library Flickr account...

Now for a little hypnotism… You are feeling relaxed and are reading only my words… You are ready to join a new group on Flickr. Go here and join this group now. Rejoice in sharing your Library 2.0 with the world. You are now rejuvenated and ready to face the world, but first you are going to submit a photo to show off your library 2.0 to the rest of the group!

Show us your Library 2.0! profile pic P.S. Extra points for anyone who can name the location of the profile pic from the Flickr group. This is what it looks like.

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