A place to share books, music, techniques, and all things related to bilingual storytime!

Friday, September 26, 2008

L & P #16

What fun topics in the sandbox! I look forward to learning more things about about my co-workers. I have not yet added my blog to the list because the page was being edited by someone else and I can't wait around all day! I'll get it later...

L & P #15

Yes, wikis can work for libraries! These are especially useful for internal purposes. So, CML, give us some guidelines on how we can actually use this for work! For example, I created a wiki a while back using PB Wiki that was designed for staff working with the ESOL population. The point was to have a centralized location where staff looking for information to better serve this population could begin their search. This could help avoid a duplication of work, as staff could also post information to the wiki. But this didn't really go anywhere because it is unclear how we can use such technology at work. Here are some questions:
  • Can staff create and share work-related wikis?
  • Who is responsible for moderating content?
  • Should content be password restricted (if so, who has access) or publicly accessible (ala, "The Transparent Library")?
  • Which wiki software should we use?

I am very excited that we are learning about these Web 2.0 technologies, but I wonder what we are going to do with this knowledge. Is there a plan or goals for how we will be integrating this new knowledge into our jobs? Is it a free for all for staff to create and distribute any content they desire? If there is a vision of what CML 2.0 is going to look like, I would love it if such vision was shared with all of us...

L & P #14

I am currently reading the Library and Web 2.0 articles and these are my thoughts:
  • The critical element of Library 2.0 has less to do with technology than it does with one key philosophy of how we should structure our service: It's all about the customer! There is no excuse for not focusing completely on giving the customers what they want in the ways they want it delivered. There is no room in Library 2.0 for the librarian who does not buy in to this philosophy.
  • How is CML measuring up on this? Clearly this philosophy is embraced at the highest levels or there would be no Learn and Play, but how well does it trickle down? It matters little how much Administration wants CML to be Library 2.0 if the everyday staff working with customers do not understand what it means, why it is important, and live it in all their interactions with customers.
  • I'd love to see OCLC take their Open WorldCat a step further and create an iPhone app. This type of tool could connect users (granted, a limited demographic of users) to their local libraries all over the country. See my previous blog post on why I think a library iPhone app is a good idea.
  • Westerville PL subscribes to a service that catalogues websites and integrates them into their OPAC. The result is that when users search the catalog for information on a subject, not only are books and journal articles retrieved, but reliable websites are as well. A customer, then, knows s/he can start a web search from home or wherever at the Westerville library online and get a manageable number of reliable web resources. I don't have any idea how often customers actually do this, but I think it is a really cool idea.
  • As we embrace new technologies and the new methods for delivering information that customers want, I believe it is critical to remember that libraries have a role to play in leveling the playing field so that all people have access to free information. We must not abandon those segments of our population who do not have advanced technology skills or online access. The digital divide is still very real and in these economic times, it is unlikely that this will be changing anytime soon.
  • It would be cool to see Ready to Read on Twitter. Parents, sign up to follow us on Twitter for daily tips and resources on how to get your kids Ready to Read!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

L & P #13

I have had a delicious account for a while, and I think it is a great tool. It is extremely convenient to be able to access my bookmarks from any computer (or any other tool one can use to access the Internet), instead of only having them on my home computer. I also like that I can categorize them and quickly browse through the pages I have marked on a certain subject. The cool thing about organizing with tags instead of folders is that I assign a variety of tags to a site, instead of having to choose just one folder in which to store it. Delicious helps me also to keep track of cool pages that I find which I may not want in my list of frequently used bookmarks, but that I would want to remember and come back to at a later time.

I have not really explored much with the social networking aspects of delicious, however. To be completely honest, too much social networking goes across the line from being convenient to being another time-waster, in my opinion. I like the way HFAR is using del.icio.us, and I think this is a great example of how libraries can use this tool. We make booklists and pathfinders to distribute to customers; delicious essentially allows us to create multiple pathfinders of online resources which customers can access in one place. How cool!

I do have a gripe, though. Why do we not have a delicious button on our toolbar???? We get to see how great this tool is, but we cannot use it at work, because we have to continually re-install the button to save sites. Personally, I think this is ridiculous and I hope it gets changed!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Toronto Public Library

For anyone who doesn't know, Toronto is one of the most diverse cities in the world, filled with immigrants from all over. This "Newcomer Information Service" booth is one of the first things one comes across upon entering the Toronto PL. It is part of a partnership between the library and the YMCA. A YMCA staff member is there to provide information and referral services. The fifth floor houses a multimedia language learning center...very cool! There are over twenty workstations with a variety of AV equipment (TVs, CD players, cassette players, etc. and even several stations with adaptive technologies for the physically handicapped) which customers can use specifically to study a language.
Their partnership with the YMCA makes me wonder if we could partner with the Global Malls in Cbus to provide something similiar in their building with library staff who speak additional languages and can also provide other types of reference...
At any rate, it's a cool library and I'm glad I was able to visit on this trip to Toronto. I do look forward to the day, however, when libraries are seen as the hip, progressive centers of free access to information for all that we are, so that telling friends in other cities that I want to visit their library does not result in baffled looks and fits of laughter! We must sell our story!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

L & P #12

I love Twitter! I was really skeptical when I first heard about this site, but microblogging is fantastic. It is such an easy way to keep track of random thoughts or share something cool or funny with friends. Unfortunately, nearly none of my friends are using Twitter yet, so I am mostly just sharing random thoughts and funny moments with myself! Now that I have a phone, Twitter is easy to update. I can't explain exactly what the draw is, because I am normally a pretty private person, but I really do think Twitter is cool. I think it could be a lot easier for libraries to use Twitter to engage the public than blogs are too, simply because they do not require much time to update. With blogging, I feel like there is pressure to post something really insightful and at least a couple of paragraphs long (except for Learn and Play posts), and that pressure is not there with Twitter updates.

Anyway, you can be my friend and learn all sorts of things about me at http://twitter.com/paleopal.

Library Catalog App for iPhone

So this has nothing to do with Learn and Play or with bilingual programming, but I was thinking how cool it would be if there was an iPhone app for a library catalog. In this way, when a user is out at a book store, or hears something on the radio, or is talking with friends and thinks, "I wonder if the library has that...," the user could quickly access the library catalog and find out. The user could reserve the item right then, or suggest a title to us if we don't have it. Sure, you could get online and surf over to your local library and browse their collection, but being one touch away is much quicker and easier for the user. Additionally, with a branded app right there on the homescreen, the customer is seeing that brand image regularly and in a positive way as they use their iPhone to connect with all types of information. Many social networking sites and businesses are already offering such free apps.

I have no idea how one would develop this or if any other libraries are already working on such a thing. But I can't help but think, if it's possible for businesses, if it's possible for social networking sites, if it's possible for wikipedia, why not for libraries?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

L & P Thing #11

I have heard about LibraryThing before but I have not played around with it because I already have a Goodreads account. I have a Goodreads widget imbedded in this blog, actually, so that readers can see some of the books I like for bilingual storytime to the left of my posts. But I must admit that LibraryThing is pretty cool. I like the layout much better than Goodreads. One of the things that drives me nuts about Goodreads is the constant updating from my friends, which is impossible to turn off (or, at least, I do not know how to do it). I am really not all that interested in what my friends are adding; and if I do want to see what my friends are reading, I want to peruse their shelves at my leisure as opposed to having their new content pushed on me. The social aspects of LibraryThing seem to be better structured. At least, I prefer being about to look through similar tags and then subscribe to RSS feeds for the users I have things in common with over having yet another social networking site filled with even more "friends." However, being able to only add 200 books is a very real limitation. Anyway, here is the link to what I have set up thus far: http://www.librarything.com/catalog/paleopal. We'll see if I invest the time to grow my library beyond these first entries!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

L & P #9

How do I find RSS feeds? Well, I just look for the orange box when I'm checking out stuff that I am interested in anyway. I really dig the way Aquabrowser and Ebay allow you to customize feeds based on what you are searching for and interested in. This also helps me keep up with publishers who release translations of picture books in Spanish.

L & P #8

I love RSS!!!! Huge timesaver and keeps me from forgetting things. Here's the link to my Bloglines account (though I hear Google reader is pretty sweet...)


L & P #6 Continued...

OK, I take it back. This Flickr app is totally cool and I found it on a co-worker's blog. Aw, all this learnin' and playin' is paying off!

It's really hard to sit still sometimes...

This actually works as an image generator for Thing #10 as well, so I am going to use it as such. I made a hilarious avatar for myself from the image generator linked to "The Generator Blog," but the link to email it was not working, so alas...no avatar. But this will work.

It's crazy how I feel so blessed to have done the traveling that I have, but when I look at it on this map, it seems like so little!

So much world...so little time
Make yours @ BigHugeLabs.com

L & P #7

One main thing in the technology world has captured my interest this week: the iPhone. I've been wanting an iPhone for a while, which (to anyone who knows me at all) is pretty shocking. I have not had a cell phone since 2003; a friend described them as "mechanical leashes" and I couldn't have agreed more, and that was that. But I am ready to invest in the iPhone basically because it is the Leatherman of phones. To be able to accomplish all that it has to offer with one device (not to mention store so much music, which for anyone who knows me understands that this is a high priority) is too much to resist. The technogeek inside me is ready to bloom! This week Best Buy will begin carrying the iPhone at the same price point as the Apple store and AT&T. Why am I waiting to purchase it there? Because I know myself very well, and Best Buy is offering a service plan that Apple does not. Just in case some type of smashy situation should arise, I want it to be covered!

So yes, miles behind the pack I will be getting the most basic piece of technology we all can't seem to live without these days. Somehow I still suspect only about 3 people will have my number...

L & P Thing #6

I have to admit it...I don't really get in to Flickr. Allow me to explain. Personally, I think it is extremely convenient to be able to manage your photos and back them up online, allowing or not allowing others to view based on preference. Professionally, I think it is an excellent way for libraries to keep their services in the public eye. Clearly this tool is valuable. It's just not one that excites me all that much. The mashups are fun and I'm sure there are a lot of practical things one can use them to accomplish, but a lot of them just seem like easy ways to waste a lot of time. For example, I played around with the montages and I don't really see how this tool will be all that beneficial to my personal or professional endeavors. But hey, we don't have to get excited about every Web 2.0 tool just because it's out there, and it is still great to be aware of the types of things we can do with them so we can best serve our customers when they have questions.