Friday, December 22, 2006

LG is on 'New' blogger now, great but...

Library Garden is on the "new" version of Blogger now. It's been around as beta for awhile but this morning was my first option to switch over so I did.

I've had some frustrations with the bugginess of blogger, and I know those frustrations have been shared by my fellow Library Garden bloggers. There's been some talk of moving to WordPress or Typepad, and even getting our own domain name. I have the next 10 days off so, among other things, I'm going to evaluate our blog hosting options and possibly move us to a new platform for January 1.

If you're subscribing to our feedburner feed, it'll be apples mates. I'll make sure that feed is updated with our new information and you won't need to do anything to keep receiving our fresh gardeny goodness. If you're subscribing to us through the blogger feed why not update now, just in case. :-)

OK, so here's new blogger's first test: I'm cutting and pasting the next line from MS Word. Let's see how blogger handles it. (drum roll please...)

Blogger test “number one” did this display the quotations marks properly??

If so, maybe there's hope!


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Patrick Jones, Mr. Inspiration AND Agents v. Gatekeepers

MPOW just had it's 20th anniversary membership meeting at the lovely Seaview Marriott in Absecon, NJ. We were pleased to have YA author Patrick Jones on hand to deliver a morning program for SJRLC youth librarians AND a crazy brilliant afternoon keynote.

I've blogged about Patrick's presentations over at SJRLC's blog, and I invite you to check it out. Here, I'll just add one "takeaway" that I forgot to mention in my other post: Patrick's insight that, good as the YALSA Quick Picks list is, "The single most important list is the books that got stolen last year. Start your year by buying replacements. They have a track record!"

I'll add one more thing. As I noted in a previous post, I'm currently enjoying Setting the Table , by Danny Meyer. I'd like to share a passage that I found myself thinking about during Patrick's talk. Meyer writes,
In every business, there are employees who are the first point of contact with the customers (attendants at airport gates, receptionists at doctors' offices, bank tellers, executive assistants). Those people can come across either as agents or as gatekeepers. An agent makes things happen for others. A gatekeeper sets up barriers to keep people out. We're looking for agents, and our staff members are responsible for monitoring their own performance: In that transaction, did I present myself as an agent or a gatekeeper? In the world of hospitality, there's rarely anything in between.
I love Meyer's agent/gatekeeper concept. It's a simple idea, but perhaps for that very reason it lends itself to practical use. I found myself easily using it today as a gut-check while answering the phone and responding to emails. Was I making things happen for others, or was I erecting barriers to keep people out. (In fact, I did have to tell someone that they couldn't attend a program--but then I put on my agent hat and offered three alternative options.)

I guess Patrick got me thinking about this because maybe, just maybe, we tend to be a little more gatekeeperish with the teens. But whomever we're serving -- kid, teen, adult, genealogist -- I like the idea of making things happen for... Anyway, that's what gets me out of bed in morning!


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Web 2.0 and Its Technologies for Collaborative Library Communication

First--I must apologize for being away from "the Garden" for so long, at least from the posting aspect, as I have been following it when I could. So many personal and professional wildfire this fine fall semester, some of my own doing--some definitely not--but I guess that's life. Thanks to all who have checked in on me from time to time, by the way.

Well, before I went missing, I was talking about social networking sites and Web 2.0--I know...those phrases again, especially Web 2.0. It is called by many other names, too: "social, participatory Web," "user-initiated Web," even "live Web." In my very recent short introductory article in MultiMedia & Internet at Schools magazine, sent off before I went missing and published a few weeks ago, I mentioned how Web 2.0 is so widely interpreted.

As I mention in my article, the "definitions are many, and this can be distracting. But if, instead, you look at all of this as a new opportunity, a possible way to better communicate, interact, share, create, and publish information online--to connect with those we are already serving and to those we wish to serve in the near future--then it gets exciting! Librarians and other educators everywhere are now using these Web 2.0 technologies in practical and worthwhile applications. Don't you want to as well?"

I must say that I find it a bit humorous when I conduct or attend workshops or seminars on some of these technologies that some people start tearing them down before they have even seen what others are doing with them, much less even tried them. A lot of people did not like email when it first emerged either. In my article conclusion, I mention that "nobody is saying that you have to change everything you do, or jump into every technology or public relations idea that comes your way. However, we all know that we need to continue to reach out to our students and patrons and get them interested in what amazing things we can do for them." I, then, one last time, ask the readers to "browse the listed references and recommended readings. Try setting up a library blog with Blogger, or start receiving library- or special topic-related RSS feeds via Bloglines. Build a subject-guide wiki with PBwiki, or start bookmarking, tagging, and sharing with"

Stephen Abram just wrote a short post yesterday entitled "Bloglines" at his Stephen's Lighthouse blog. He states that "Many are unaware of the role that RSS aggregators play in making it MUCH easier to keep track of your favourite blogs." And he further encourages us in "library land" to not worry if "this seems common knowledge" because there are more "folks heading up these learning curves every day. Those who've trod the path before need to share the tricks and tips." I agree wholeheartedly!

I truly do believe that if librarians and other educators would learn and play with some of these technologies and tools that they would get excited as well. It was from talking with and watching three people in particular in our Garden State work with these social Web tools that really got me interested, and I mention them in the article: Pete Bromberg, Janie Hermann, and Sophie Brookover. They are amazing librarians, making amazing connections for those they serve--these are my "local" librarians that I talk about in my seminars, and I am proud to know them and happy to have them challenge me to make better connections myself. I am glad that they continue to "trod the path" and so willingly share their "tricks and tips."

Anyway, enjoy the article, and feel free to share it if you find it useful for someone thinking about entering into the Web 2.0 domain. The full text of the article is available via EBSCO Academic Search Premier (although many of the links need to be fixed here!) and other library databases, via the MultiMedia & Internet at Schools magazine site (with free registration), and weeks ago in a RedOrbit NEWS Technology blog!

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