Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thing 22: Wayback Machine

Wow. I've never heard of the Wayback Machine. I tried to access previous versions of our library's webpage but apparently the town server won't let the robot crawler in. (And now I know what a robot crawler is too.) I then visited the Duxbury Free Library where I was previously the director. Man, in October 1999 we thought we were pretty hot stuff....(masters of clipart! ) I was saddened to see that photos, most likely deleted from the server, still aren't available from one of the most fun events--A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Library--a musical comedy review performed by the library staff. I took a look at feature films and found the b&w sci fi classic Metropolis and did some poking around in the video game area. I also took a look at the September 11th television archive. Thanks so much for bringing this to my attention, I'll be spreading the word and showing it to my reference staff.

Thing 17: Dream

Okay, it's not so outrageous and funky, but why not offer 2.0 classes customized for our own patrons. I'm familiar with Stephen Abrams' 43 Things I Might Want to Do This Year and the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenberg County's 23 Things targeted at staff. But, what about offering a 2.0 course for patrons customized with a local flavor. Create a wiki for a local history project and have folks that were involved in, for example, the first mayoral inauguration in 2000, or the massive fire at Sacred Heart Church contribute so they could learn how a wiki works. Have local people utilize YouTube to produce videos of local historic sites. Introduce Yelp and focus on local eating establishments (there have to be some prize opportunities in there somewhere). The exercise would be twofold--patrons could learn about 2.0 and create local electronic resources.

Thing 16: Google Docs

Whew. This took awhile. We've been trying to figure out a way to make reports generated from our ILS more usable. So, I made other staff members help me with this activity. This google doc is a test. We took the "Missing Items" report off of our ILS and moved it into this format. This will now enable any staff member to access it any time and work on it. We list the missing books and then do three shelf checks. Once the item is deemed really truly missing we can now forward, via Dewey classification, to the appropriate staff member's assigned collection development. We've been playing around with this document but it looks like this is the new way we'll be handling and resolving all of those missing items. I'm only including a portion of it and it's not so pretty yet, but we'll continue refining it. Here's the URL

Monday, November 17, 2008

Thing 21: LibriVox

My library network offers Overdrive to our patrons. Due to bandwith constraints, the Overdrive Media Player was disabled for in-library use. Our network administrator was concerned with the low circulation of titles and those of us on the "front lines" were quite vocal that we couldn't train our staff on the product or market the product if we couldn't use the product in house. Additionally, Overdrive could not offer iPod compatible titles and we felt this was impacting use. On the other hand, when I received my annual statistics (compiled by the network), I was stunned at the usage. We are now allowed to utilize the media player application in our libraries and my staff has been trained in troubleshooting. The network has just made a selection of additional titles compatible with iPods and we will be bringing that up soon. In the meantime, I have a BPL ecard and can download audio books to my own iPod. The titles aren't that great yet but I'm sure the selection will expand rapidly. I'm currently learning Japanese during my commute.

My library is also offering Playaways for both kids and adults. Circulation has been fairly healthy and we are working on producing a YouTube video (this class gave me the idea) to show patrons what they are and how they work. For this activity, I decided to visit LibriVox as I had never heard of the site. I loved the tag, "Acoustical Liberation of Books". LibriVox also allows users to record books as their goal is to record all of the books in the public domain. Since audio performance is such a huge component of an audio book, I'm not sure this is such a good idea. They also have their own wiki providing guidance for listeners and volunteers.

I refuse to acknowledge even the possibility of the death of the printed page. We MUST, however, acknowledge that we have users that will never set foot inside our doors and we need to be rethinking how we are going to serve them, market to them and count on them for support.

IM Reference Part 2

After 45 minutes I received a response from Hometown Library. The staffer on duty was not sure how many requests they have received or how popular the service is. She suggested that I ask their IT librarian who will be on the reference desk tonight.

Thing 20: Can I ask you a Question?

I kept missing Jennifer while she was online so I decided to try out an IM Reference site. I recently spoke with a librarian in my hometown library and she noted that they had begun using brought up reference chat and she was a bit disappointed that it hadn't quite caught on yet. We discussed marketing and promoting so I thought I would IM her via the reference chat and see how things were going since our last discussion.

35 minutes later, no response. Nada, no away message, nothing. Not to be critical of my colleagues in the public library world, but this is a perfect example of a good idea gone bad. I know the library is extremely busy after school or maybe a staff shortage, but there should be some way for the user to get feedback as to status or at least something equal to "Your call is important to us." If I was Joe Library User and I'd been waiting this long I'd just turn to Google. Bad PR.

We've been using Trillian on all of the staff workstations here at the library. It's a great way for desk staff to quickly IM the cataloging department or the children's room on the lower level when they're sending a patron down to retrieve a book .Often, the book is in the hands of the children's staff by the time the patron gets downstairs. Personally, I've found Trillian a great way to communicate with my son who is away at college. His freshman year he would post his whole day's agenda as his away message. I've suggested to all of my friends who have kids away at school that they should adopt this technology, it's like a baby monitor for college kids. It's also a great way to communicate quick messages from home like, "Could you pick up some milk?" or "Mom, I need index cards, can you get some on the way home."

Thing 19: Clip, Clip!

This activity made me cringe at the disaster called "Favorites" on IE. I moved all of my bookmarks over to Delicious and found a historical journey as my bookmarks were shown in chronological order...working on that new library project (list of architects), planning the last family vacation (The DIS and Unoffical Guide to Walt Disney World), fed up and thinking about a change (LIS jobs). So, at the very least, I'm hoping Delicious will help me clean up my act and better organize my bookmarks for sharing. I searched Gaming and Public Libraries in since last Saturday day was Gaming Day @ Your Library and I've also done 2 introductory Wii sessions at our senior center. I'm still looking for more information establishing league play and will be revisiting some of the new sites I found on Delicious. I found The Last Librarian (will also have to add his blog to Google Reader) and the ALA Techsource Gaming, Learning and Libraries Symposium which I am determined I will attend next time (I said that last year too). I also happened onto a nice site that rates and reviews gaming periodicals just in time as my Ebsco list is up for renewal. I also visited Clipmarks, it looks fairly easy to use like a virtual scrapbook and I appreciated the YouTube tutorial. I toured the Chelmsford (MA) Public Library's social bookmarking site for a look at how it can be used in a public library as a shared reference tool. Frankly, I hadn't thought about using any of the social networking sites, but now the possibilities are very exciting to be used for staff training and as a resource for anyone provide reference or reader's advisory service from any point in the library.

Thing 18: Vini, Vidi, Wiki?

I posted a review of Dennis Lehane's The Given Day to the BPL Booklist. We have a staff wiki related to our ILS operation and plans are currently underway to create a wiki for our storyhour programs. Our children's department hosts an infant/toddler storytime and will be creating a wiki of the songs, lyrics, movement activities and fingerplays as well as booklists and other resources that parents and caregivers can access from home. The children's staff is also in the process of creating a presentation to be shown on the wall during the storytimes so that adults can "follow the bouncing ball" and sing along.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Thing 15: Itsy Bitsy Etsy

I've ordered from CafePress, they have a great variety of library oriented merch. I wear there "I'm a Librarian, Don't Make Me Shush Your Ass" t-shirt when pitching for our town softball league--my pitching might not be intimidating, but my t-shirt is. I've never seen Zazzle before and I enjoyed browsing through the custom skateboards. I plan to share this site with my son. Here's a timely design. Spoonflower is a great site and I'll be sharing it with some quilter friends. The Punk Quilter shown above is one of the designs created by a contributor, Blue Nickel Studios. The sites I looked at encourage the artistic process without worrying about execution or production. The possibilities are endless for crafters and entrepreneurs.

Thing 14: Right in Your Own Backyard

I don't have a spooky event to post but it feels like something spooky just happened. I had never viewed AmericanTowns before. I clicked on the link in the assignment and it took me RIGHT to Weymouth. I didn't register, didn't search for did it know???? Then I discover that there is an entry for Weymouth Public Libraries and the entry is pulled directly from the History of the Libraries on our web page. And they've pulled events information directly from the library's online calendar. I think that's great, but am still a little bewildered as to how they knew when I pulled up the page that I was in Weymouth. And the bonus is, they've done my discover activity for me by posting all upcoming library events! I had some problems with this site as I kept trying to change the location to my hometown of Duxbury and it kept bouncing back to Weymouth. Finally, with success I found an interesting event happening in Duxbury this weekend (sorry, I'm so behind that a scary event seemed way out of date) Artists and Books at the Art Complex Museum.

Thing 13: This thing, that thing, Library Thing

I 've been using GoodReads and just recently playing around Virtual Bookshelf on Facebook as I find more userfriendly to see what my facebook friends are reading and reviewing. I have to admit that I sporadically add to my list and never post a review, even though I enjoy reading other's reviews. I use it as a personal tool to manage my reading lists and for collection development purposes at my library. I have fooled around with LibraryThing, but I enjoyed taking the time to look at Library Thing for Libraries how Danbury is using it and plan on going back to see how other public libraries are incorporating it. I did return to LibraryThing and searched for scary books and since I'm reading Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, I searched for vampires. As an aside, there's a very interesting phenomemon taking place in my library that a lot of older women have become infatuated with Bella and Edward as a result all the buzz. I remember reading an article in Entertainment Weekly this summer about the Twilight craze and there was a sidebar article about Twilight Moms. Okay, I'm hooked. Of course there is Anne Rice's Interview with a Vampire and Charlaine Harris' mystery series as well as Laurell Hamilton, but I also found Christopher Moore's Bloodsucking Fiends, described as "light, funny, and not at all hackneyed" as well as Elizabeth Kostreva's The Historian.

Thing 12: Can You Hear Me Now

I'm a huge fan of NPR's podcasts. It's a relief to know if I'm listening to something interesting in the car and can't hear the entire interview that I can pull it up later. In fact, that just happened Monday when I was on my way to a meeting and Robin Young was interviewing Tina Fey when I would be unable to listen. I was able to catch it later in its entirety. A few weeks ago I was listening to an interview and NRP announced that it had been edited for time restraints, but the entire two hour interview was available via podcast.

For this assignment, I tried out some of the recommended sites to visit and then searched surfing. It is my intent, when I retire, to surf the world (literally, with a real surfboard.) I was amazed at the number of sites offering podcasts. Some sights also cover skateboarding and snowboarding. My favorite of the bunch was at
It includes videos and podcasts of interviews with notable surfers, reports of the counterculture fashion and trends, underground music tracks, games, contests to win stuff etc. I listened to one of the podcasts called Storm Trackers where in this episode Ben Macartney, Head Forecaster at Coastalwatch sends Paul Morgan and Zahn Foxton down the south coast of Australia to track a big southerly swell. I plan on visiting this site again, optimistically hoping that the stock market rebounds and that my knees hold out so I can catch a tasty wave when I'm old.

And lo and behold, even NPR has a podcast for surf conditions--who knew?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

You (Tube) Oughta be in Pictures

Here's an interesting video from the Cuyahoga County Public Library promoting their toy collection. It's entertaining with little Weeble guys but also provides instructional use of their online catalog and promotes other library services. I kept running into technical difficulties while trying to embed it so here's the link.

Cuyahoga has a great collection of videos on YouTube including presentations by Nancy Pearl and Geraldine Brooks, profiles of their homework and career centers and a great series of book trailers for teens. A great new way to book talk to this audience. The possibilities are endless in the use of YouTubes in libraries. We've dipped our toes into the water using a "canned" audio for this video promoting our summer reading program

We're now working on creating instructional videos on the use and operation of Playaways
and on how to use our Overdrive downloadable books.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Thing 10: What Do I See There

Okay, I'm terrible at directions, my eyes glaze over with number of traffic lights, bear rights vs. hard rights. I've used Google maps to supplement written directions by taking a test run of where I'm going. That way, I can note landmarks such as stores, strip malls, muncipal buildings to give me warning that I need to bear right in .07 miles.

Google maps has added the coolest thing on their home page, the journeys of Barack Obama and John McCain from their birthplaces to the White House which includes biographical information as signficant geographical locations in their lives are shown. There's also a feature that shows what states allow time off from work to vote. With so much emphasis on interactive maps during this campaign season, I found these to be creative ways to bring this practice to the individual user.

I pulled up my library on Google maps and discovered that there were comments about the playground in the park out in back of the library. The playground is not maintained by the library and there were some old criticisms. Even though we are not responsible for the maintenance of the playground, I remain proactive in reporting any problems as our patronsdassume we take care of it. Rather than shrug and reply, "It's not our job", the library staff is well trained to response to their concerns and to report any damage, trash issues, etc. The playground is major destination and we consider it a great asset as it gets folks into the library and we do outside activities there like storytimes in the summer, etc. The playground has recently been rehabbed so I've added a new photo. In addition, I've added some photos of the library itself since there was such an emphasis on the playground. I am thrilled that this was an assignment, otherwise, I might not have taken the time to evaluate the library's presence on Google Maps.

My Friend Flikr

We've been using Flickr at my library for some time now to document events and happenings. We've just posted photos from our three storytime Halloween parties. Go to Flickr and search for Weymouth Public Libraries. We've also added our historic local postcard collection and there's a direct link from our web page. I've also added photos to the New England Library Association's photostream which were taken at the recent conference. Visit for a look.

I've also been a Picasa user for quite some time. It's free, easy and allows you to do some editing and effects that were only previously available if you owned Photoshop. I took my son's senior portrait myself and was able to "doctor" it up, print multiple sizes and copies to distribute. If you look at his yearbook, you can't tell the difference between his photo and those that were professionally taken. My daughter is a senior this year, and her school insisted that all students use the same professional photographer. It was $35 just for the sitting and the prices for photo packages were ridiculously expensive--can you believe $300 for a photo package of 4 photos? So, we opted for the photo just for the yearbook and I've taken a bunch of casual shots that I'll print up and she'll distribute to friends. Frugal creativity rocks!

In the spooky spirit of the season, I've embedded photos of our Halloween pumpkins.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Going on a blogging safari

I've just volunteered to be a blogger at the New England Library Association conference which starts this Sunday at the Radisson in Manchester NH. The safari guide is the Information Technology Section of NELA and free internet acccess for the blog is Plymouth Rocket, one of the exhibitors. That's a bonus in itself as the hotel charges for internet access (can you imagine, in this day and age?). ITS has created a wiki for conference blogging and when you log in you can sign up for specific sessions. Thus far I'll be blogging the Games and Gaming drop-in demo which is scheduled for each day and is an offshoot of Beth Gallaway's Get Your Game On to be held on Sunday afternoon. If you ever get a chance to attend one of Beth's library gaming presentations, DO IT! Hopefully my blogging duties won't interfere with a rock out session on Guitar Hero and my left pinkie finger won't be tired and hamper the operation of that damn orange key. I'm also blogging a Monday session of Libraries as Commons. This safari is also going to allow me to kill three birds with one stone as I'll also be posting photos to the NELA Conference Flickr so I can fulfill my 26.2 Things assignment for the week, I'm a former officer of NELA so I'm happy I have a chance to "give back" by providing this service and finally, to experiment with blogging and Flickr out of the comfort zone of my own library setting.
If you're attending the conference, drop by and say hi but I warn you, I rock at Guitar Hero.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Not a list person

I'm not a list person, have never been, will never be. It works for me. I'm also still a big fan of my At-a-Glance little notebook, no batteries required. I don't even make lists to go to the grocery store. I toured all of the time management tools mentioned here and I can certainly see the benefits if you are a list lover. In fact, I've just sent links of them to a fellow library staffer who had downloaded the Post It Note app for her desktop. I am fascinated with some of the other social sites addressing life goals. It's like having virtual coaches. Good concept, but not for me. The Happiness Project, however...that might be a keeper.

Thing 7 - Feed Me

I'm feeling particularly overwhelmed this week. There's a big black cloud of doom over us and I've noticed a much higher level of anxiety with the public. Frankly, the whackos have been coming out of the woodwork, one patron accused my reference librarian of being "one of those liberal democrats who favor illegal aliens" when he was called to task for cutting the long waiting line for the public computers. He then called the mayor's office, claiming he had been "attacked" and I had to defend the reason we have rules in the library. Even had two staff members, usually congenial, pleasant women, at each other's throats. I feel like I'm the starring lead of an M. Night Shamalyan film. Yep, a real suckfest of a day. trying to bring some semblance of sanity into my life, I decided to complete this week's Things, desperately trying to approach it with enthusiasm. I've never used Google Reader, choosing to read blogs casually, when the mood struck. I've added Michael Stephens' Tame the Web, Stephen's Lighthouse, Karen Scheider's Free Range Librarian and PLA Blog to Google Reader. Feeling overwhelmed I was tempted to call this post Force Feed Me but I did take a minute to read Stephen Abram's latest post, The Seeds of the Next Big Thing are Being Planted Now. Kind of like taking lemons and making lemonade. So thanks Stephen Abram for helping me keep it together today, maybe I did need to be force fed for my own good.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Just posted an event on Craig's List

Since I had just updated our web page with information about an upcoming Friends book sale, I decided to post it to the events schedule on Craigs List. I registered for an account and created the post. Couldn't have been easier. Just another way to reach potential book buyers!

Job hunting on Craig's list

If anyone's interested, there's a Systems Librarian job at Harvard posted on Craig's list. Who knew?? My husband has used Craig's list to dispose of bikes that are too small, skateboard ramps no longer used, etc. We recently purchased a beautiful Lane bureau for my son through a local posting, all wood, dovetailed drawers, etc. and it was a steal.
I've always thought of Craig's List as a means to dispose of stuff. Had no idea of the volume of job listings. Actually a great improvement over the typical newspaper employment ads due to the amount of information provided in the Craig's List postings and the links to the institution.Have to admit I never knew how comprehensive it is and plan on spending some time checking it out further.


I'm a huge fan of Yelp and have posted a few restaurant reviews. I randomly found it while googling a new restaurant and became a huge fan. I haven't had much time to poke around and look at retail and other venue reviews. I've used Yelp as I often have to travel around for meetings and its helped me discover some hole in wall places to grab lunch with friends rather than hitting one of the chains. There are some habitual posters who are real foodies and they haven't let me down yet. I'd suggest Yelp to anyone planning a trip for all kinds of eating, retail and entertainment recommendations.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Social Networking application in the library

Most of the friends on my Facebook page are librarians that I know personally or collegially. Others like Stephen Abram and Michael Stephens, I've followed for quite some time. So aside from keeping out with everyone's antics and activities, social networking can be beneficial in seeing what library innovators are up to. Some potential uses for social networking sites would be for programming ideas, collection development and instruction. For example, maybe a friend has noted in their profile that they kayak, knit, cook, etc. Perhaps they belong to a special interest networking group and there are members who would be willing to visit your library for a program. All of the librarians on my Facebook page are linked with some form of book site like Goodreads and Visual Bookshelf, providing great resources for Readers Advisory and collection development. Finally, social networking sites would be useful in training for staff or patrons. My library recently purchased a number of Playaways and we've been thinking about producing a YouTube video to profile them in real time. This application would be most appropriate in showing patrons how the item works and how to operate the controls.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Teen blog

And here's a link to our teen blog, "Tuftsstuff" (not to be confused with our staff blog "Tuftsstaff".)

We are currently planning our fall and winter events so it's a little out of date. We usually tone down our teen group for September to let them get used to the back to school rhythm.

Internal staff blog

Here's a link to my library's staff blog.

As you can see, we use it for announcements, tips, birthdays, etc. We have a regular group of posters, but everyone has gotten into the habit of checking it daily to see what's new.