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Goodbye for now

In idea, librarians, me on October 23, 2007 by ultimatelibrarian

I should have done this a long time ago… My apologies for my absence. And now there will probably be an even longer one, but not to worry, I’ll probably be back. 🙂

So, over the past 6 months, a few things have changed.  I graduated, so I am now able to “officially” call myself a librarian.  Unless you have to actually work as a librarian to call yourself one…I have my MLIS, and I am currently working as a Content Indexer.  Basically, I help maintain the content on MSN Shopping.  I’m quite happy to have a job, and I’m enjoying the fact that I don’t have homework anymore.  I’m living in a new house with a slightly different set of roommates, and my fiance and I have set a date for our wedding (but it’s not until 2009).  That’s the news.  I’m kind of busy enjoying my life, and I don’t have the fresh ideas popping up from class discussions anymore (for now…).  So I’m going to put this blog more or less on hold.  If I have a mind-blowing idea that I want to be able to reference in the future, I’ll put it up here, but maybe don’t hold your breath.  🙂  I may start a new, more personal blog, but that will remain to be seen.

 So, for my final entry for the time being, I’m going to post an idea that’s perhaps not outstandingly original, but it has been floating on a sticky on my desktop for some time. 

 Most libraries have regularly scheduled staff meetings, correct?  I’ve sat in a few of these at a couple of libraries as a student staff member.  Changes in policy, library events, and similar topics seem like pretty standard meeting fare.  I’d like to see some time in these meetings where frontline staff (basically, ANYONE who EVER could have contact with library users) take a few minutes to share an interesting comment/reference question/feedback/suggestion that he/she responded to (along with the response) since the last meeting.  Just to start a dialog and to help others respond to similar inquiries/comments in the future.  Kind of a living wiki.  🙂  And obviously, someone could keep track of all this info on an actual wiki.  But my thought is creating just a wiki isn’t useful if no one is using it.  And sometimes it’s hard to see the point of one.  Actually having a conversation may draw people in that wouldn’t normally.  And it’s a little more informal; you could use these dialogs to track patterns and look for new areas of service and policy, or it could simply be a time to learn from each other’s strategies and maybe even share a sense of solidarity at some of the things that can come up…

If you know of somewhere this or something similar is done (doesn’t have to be a library), please share! 

Moving along, I wish you all the best.  Thanks for reading!  🙂  If all goes according to plan, I’ll be back, and maybe I’ll have stories to share about actually implementing some of my scattered ideas.  In the meantime, you can find me at some of my online hangouts:

До свидания, друзья!   

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Quotes

100 Millionth OCLC WorldCat record

Okay, so this isn’t an idea, but I couldn’t pass it up. The 100 millionth unique bibliographic record for WorldCat is a book called It’s a Horse’s Life . Too cute. There’s a good blog entry about this here, by Thom Hickey.

Do you use OCLC WorldCat? How? As an individual? As a library/institution?

Let me know, I’m interested. 🙂

Posted April 3, 2007 by ultimatelibrarian

Articles

How to Successfully Host a Conference

In idea, ischool, libraries on March 29, 2007 by ultimatelibrarian

Wouldn’t it be fun to have a half-day conference at your library/library school/other information setting? Think of the professional development, the showcasing of your staff’s/students’ skills, and just a different kind of program to brighten up your community’s day, week, whatever.

iEdge 2007 is a good example.
The 3 themes of the conference are information is people, information is social, and information is practical.

Keynote speaker: Stu Weible

Global Libraries Initiative (Darren Hoerner, Gates Foundation; Kara Fox, iSchool)
(Information is Practical)

  • The Internet is a crucial tool for the dissemination of information.
  • Why public libraries? Ideally situated, librarians are great moderators.
  • Strategy: Research, resources, and sustainability
  • What & Why: Need and Readiness are the criteria partnerships with other countries are based on.
  • Grant-making research process: global scan of countries, goal to target transitioning economies; next steps looking at individual countries and contract with outside research firm (using research template) and stakeholders in-country.
  • Challenges include finding effective means of research (in-country more effective), bias/neutrality (triangulate with other sources in and outside country), much of the information is difficulat to find or old.
  • Grantee research built into grant
  • Chile example: 100% of public libraries now have computers, help promote small business and agriculture.
  • UW Graduate Research Assistant role: contributes to research and evaluation at all phases, brings in an outside perspective.

Global Libraries Initiative (Darren Hoerner, Gates Foundation; Kara Fox, iSchool)
(Information is Practical)

I also attended a panel discussion called “Patients, Clinicians, Insurers or Administrators: Who’s Your User? Can User-Centered Design Work in Health Care?”, and I checked out the poster session.

It’s MHO that this kind of thing would work in any setting. Academic libraries could invite posters from their student bodies as well as staff who wouldn’t normally get a chance to showcase their work. Public libraries could invite a local celebrity to be the keynote speaker. Special libraries could open the event to everyone within their organization, generating publicity. And there’s overlap here; I don’t want to limit any of these ideas to any one “type”.

Anyway, probably not the newest thought ever, but something I’d like to tuck away for the future.

Thanks, and good job, iEdge! 🙂

Articles

Plans for Social Networking!

In idea, libraries, social media, web2.0 on January 20, 2007 by ultimatelibrarian

Any Grinnellians read my plan blog?  Both?  Either?  Would you read Burling Libary‘s plan, if it had one?  Wait, what the h*** are GrinnellPlans anyway?  Well, the FAQ is here.

I’m asking this while sitting in the OCLC Social Networking: Best Practices for Libraries session at the ALA Midwinter conference.  (Notice how I linked to the wiki and not the offical site; how very social of me).

So, GrinnellPlans is kind of a unique social networking tool.  It was created by students for students (basically), but some faculty members have a presence.  Student groups are on there.  Your account never expires, so I as an alumna can read the plans of students graduating in ’10 (being 24 feels so old).  Say the library has a plan.  It’s even easier than blogging, it would be a great place to announce events (there is an “autoread” list; if a student puts the library on his or her list, the library will appear any time anything is updated), and put basic library information.  The way I see it, is that the library would not actively read other people’s (students, faculty, etc.), but would only check “planlove” (when someone links to your plan from his/her plan).  This could be a great feedback mechanism.

So, should the library go where the students are?  Would this be an invasion of some sort?  There would need to be a policy.  But the fact that faculty are now allowed to have a plan has opened the door already, in my opinion.  Some of the key principles mentioned by one of the OCLC panelists would be fairly easy to meet:

1) Have a plan (for the plan!  see above about announcements, feedback channel, etc.)

2) Train (the GrinnellPlans interface is ridiculously easy to use; Burling would just need to chose the position within the library that would be in charge; the webmaster might be an option)

3) Invite participants (it wouldn’t be hard to announce a library Plans presence to the library; signs, an announcement in the student newspaper, word of mouth using student library employees)

4) Top-down and bottom-up (both front-line staff and administration need to buy in and participate)

Okay, that’s it for now.  Stay tuned for any more ideas that come up during the next couple of days as the result of ALA.  And please comment!

Statuses

Retrospective

In idea, me, newyear, whatever on January 5, 2007 by ultimatelibrarian

It’s been a little more than a year since I began this blog. Looks like I’ve averaged about 1 entry a month. We’ll ignore the fact that I didn’t write anything really during the summer. Let’s take a look at my first entry’s re-solutions and see what’s happening:

re-solution: become a vegetarian again (except for sushi; i love sushi)
Check! With small free-range exceptions for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

re-solution: pay off the credit cards (work-study job raise, hurrah!)
More or less check; credit card balance is currently $0. Woot!

re-solution: put some of what i’ve learned and am learning to good use [in my MLIS program]; sharpen my somewhat dull blog skills, volunteer, get some job experience, etc.
Check marks for everything except the blog skills. Ah well, perhaps this year I should aim for skillz instead.

This year’s concern is money money money. I lost my job/internship at Amgen because headquarters decided to save money by not renewing my contract. My boyfriend of 5 years and I became engaged in October (I proposed to him), so we need to save for a wedding someday. And I want to travel. I actually bought a book on finances for people in their 20’s-30’s. And, to link this entry to something useful perhaps for others, I discovered the website www.bankrate.com. Could be worth passing on to some patrons or something. 🙂

I also wanted to share with you, tovarishi (that is, comrades), that I am writing this in class. An information technologies class, no less. I have a feeling that this will happen fairly often over the next 10 weeks, as I finally learn more about CSS and PHP and so on. And perhaps someday I’ll have a legitimate purpose for my blog that I can market to my superiors (ahhh!!) so that I can blog at work. How’s that for an idea? Marketing ourselves is becoming more and more important to us here in the library world. Making and keeping up a decent blog could be good practice (just don’t follow my example).

Happy New Year!

Articles

Joe Janes vs. Peter Morville

In asis&t, ischool on October 12, 2006 by ultimatelibrarian

Perhaps “vs.” isn’t the right word. Joe Janes, of the UW iSchool and the Internet Public Library, and Peter Morville, of Semantic Studios and author of Ambient Findability, discuss “Findability: A Cyberspace Safari”. Joe talks about the last 50 years of searching, and Peter talks about the present, the future, and “finding” (and how information architecture helps to do just that).

Check out the podcast on the University of Washington ASIS&T Chapter’s website.

Articles

little libraries

In idea, libraries, libraryblogs on July 13, 2006 by ultimatelibrarian

Forgive the few and far between posts. *I’ve been busy*. Or something.

Recent news: I am now an intern at a biotech company’s library. I’ve become a member of the SLA. I’m halfway to having my MLIS. I’m reading The Selfish Gene. And I’ve moved into a house with a few friends.

But there is actually a purpose to my writing this. If you, my few and faithful (?) readers, don’t already know about http://www.librarything.com, you really should. It’s an on-line service, much like flickr or del.icio.us, where you enter the books you own (or keep track of the books you’ve read) and tag them and see what other people are reading and so on and so forth. I’m sure you can imagine lots of different ways you can use it.

So, without further ado, here’s the idea for the day (week, month…):

Use LibraryThing as your OPAC (on-line public access catalog) for your small corporate/non-profit/church/whatever library! I have to admit, I didn’t come up with this idea, another girl in my program did, but I’m at the forefront of implementing it for the Richard Hugo House (a resource for Seattle-area writers). Check out our “catalog” at http://www.librarything.com/catalog/hugohouse. We’re tagging our books with their classification numbers, in the hopes that users will be able to sort them not only by author and title (the standard options LibraryThing provides), but by call number for some sort of subject sorting. We’re not the first group to do this; in fact, LibraryThing has a “professional” version on the back burner, but it’s still pretty exciting and I’m definitely storing this idea for future use.

*As an added bonus, here are some other little tools I’ve been using in the small corporate library I work in:

LibraryThing used as a collection development tool or, rather, a weeding aid. I looked up some management-type books we pulled to see how many people had them and to see if any were worth keeping. I ended up making some recommendations to my boss as a result. Definitely not the only tool to use, but it was helpful. (We’re a biotech company, so our librarians, or “information consultants”, as they’re called, don’t have the subject expertise necessarily to know what the good management books are.)

This one isn’t an idea so much as a note of a fabulous resource that I’ve used a couple times to get some outside help. To meet up with lots of other librarians, to get advice, to see what the latest issues are, go check out The Library Lovers’ LiveJournal.