Plans for Social Networking!

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!

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Retrospective

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!

Joe Janes vs. Peter Morville

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.

little libraries

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.

A Direction

I've been doing some thinking. I kind of wanted this blog to be "about" something; to have some sort of "focus". And it hasn't really had anything of that sort…until now. After going to a concert for my friend's band, I had this random idea of using the library to promote local musical groups. But where to put this idea so that I never lose it? Why, the blog, of course! The plan is to keep this up until the ideas stop and I become an old, crochety, disillusioned librarian, sometime around 30. Feel free to comment on my "ideas" and tell me that they've already been thought of and implemented elsewhere (tell me where!  tell me where!). Disclaimer: for the most part, I doubt my ideas will be of the technical, OPAC improvement kind (although there might be a little of that). They'll be more community-based, random things that I'd just like to see done in a library setting. Enough.

previous ideas:

1) Create a service for cancer patients and their families. Could work with the social worker and/or caregivers, could be volunteer…I know my mom could have used some help with her Google searches when she was looking up information on my sister's cancer. At that point, neither of us knew about MedlinePlus. (This was better articulated, but I lost where I wrote it down).

2) Create an outreach program that would connect rural physicians with their local public librarian (assuming one exists). This idea came from a health sciences librarianship course I took. (The presentation is mentioned briefly in another entry.)

3) Promote local bands. Create displays and exhibits showcasing their albums (including album art). Make sure your collection owns EVERYTHING local (or, in big cities with lots of groups, maybe just your neighborhood…policy writing time!). On school outreach projects, try to get students to tell you about their groups. Keep track of announcements of concerts in the newspaper and try to collect concert fliers for fun display cases.

today's small display idea:
promote ultimate frisbee! (obvious at all?)

(I also reserve the right to randomly post about anything I want). 

Fighting PowerPoint

Okay, I did it. I finally tried out Jessamyn West’s html slide template. The presentation isn’t that great, and I haven’t actually given it yet, but I feel a litte more like, hey, this is something I can do. And just from looking at the css style sheet, I think I understand a tiny bit more of what it is and how it works and how HTML and CSS and everything all fit together. Although I did do some really ugly additions to the index.html (for example, the alignment stuff) that I probably should have done in the style sheet. But I’ll learn, I swear. So, thank you, Jessamyn.

p.s. this weekend I’m going away for the Stanford Invitational. So maybe my next post will finally be the first on ultimate. Don’t hold your breath.

EPA libraries budget cut

This is not good. Loss of the EPA libraries will have dire consequences for the statewide branches who depend upon them and the eletronic catalog for their research. The general public also has access to the catalog as it stands, and other environmental agencies use the resources for their own research. Not to mention the job cuts…

This is not just not good. This is bad.

For more information, check out the technorati results for EPA libraries.

Also, from the Progressive Librarian’s mailing list:

We are aware at the Washington Office and are trying to figure out what
to do. This is $2M out of a $300M cut to EPA, so it is completely
uncertain that the envir’l community will focus much, if any, attention
on it. The Associations will write a letter, at a minimum.

As always, writing to relevant appropriations committee/subcommittee
Members is the most effective (particularly, if they are your Members).
Grassroots constituency contact is essential.

Patrice
pmcdermott@alawash.org

SENATE
SUBCOMMITTEE on Interior and Related Agencies
Senator Conrad Burns (Chairman) (MT)
Senator Ted Stevens (AK)
Senator Thad Cochran (MS)
Senator Pete Domenici (NM)
Senator Robert Bennett (UT)
Senator Judd Gregg (NH)
Senator Larry Craig (ID)
Senator Wayne Allard (CO)
Senator Byron Dorgan (Ranking Member) (ND)
Senator Robert C. Byrd (WV)
Senator Patrick Leahy (VT)
Senator Harry Reid (NV)
Senator Dianne Feinstein (CA)
Senator Barbara Mikulski (MD)
Senator Herb Kohl (WI)

HOUSE
SUBCOMMITTEE on Interior and Related Agencies
Charles H. Taylor, NC (R – Chairman)
Zach Wamp, TN (R)
John E. Peterson, PA (R)
Don Sherwood, PA (R)
Ernest J. Istook, Jr., OK (R)
Robert Aderholt, AL (R)
ohn Doolittle, CA (R)
Michael K. Simpson, ID (R – Vice Chair)
Norman D. Dicks, WA (D – Ranking Member)
James P. Moran, VA (D)
Maurice D. Hinchey, NY (D)
John W. Olver, MA (D)
Alan B. Mollohan, WV (D)

Write to your representatives, write letters to the editor, get this issue out there in the public eye!

card games

I’m sure tons of people have been posting about this, but I just think this is too cool. I’m also currently in class, but obviously I have screwy priorities, and I just want to post this before I forget. Superpatron led me to this post from this guy. Virtual catalog cards? That we can write on? Every library that has, ahem, disposed of their card catalogs should jump on this! Also, I haven’t been able to explore Ann Arbor District Library’s site, but I’ve heard good things.

The Professional

Who is a professional? Are librarians professionals? Is Léon a professional?

Personally, I haven’t decided whether librarians are or not, and I mostly don’t care. But wouldn’t you rather be a considered a professional then the reverse? Most people here at the iSchool seem to feel that librarians are not professionals because 1) they don’t have a standard core of knowledge and 2) because we don’t have a governing body. Huh.

Do other people outside of the field consider librarians to be professionals? I guess probably not in the sense that a doctor or a lawyer is a professional. But, hopefully, most librarians (and information specialists/scientists/superheros) act professionally, and maybe that’s what’s important anyway.

This is just came up again in my information ethics class. I think it’s been discussed in the bibliosphere before, although I can’t seem to find any posts about it, but I kind of wonder what other people on the “outside” think. Unfortunately, I don’t have any readers that I’m aware of, so this question will probably just be put to my friends sometime when I’ve drunk enough wine to have intelligent conversation. 🙂

but perhaps librarians (I keep wanting to write “we”, but I’m trying not to be clique-y) do have a core of knowledge. After all, there is a OKCupid test! (I’m aspiring, how ’bout you?)