Friday, August 29, 2008
David Lee King recently posted on his blog about how many patrons are already using twitter and other social media tools. “Yes, people in your community are already connecting and engaging with others via social media tools,” says David, “Are you?”
Over the last several weeks at WebJunction we received a number of support requests about user inability to view some of our videos about the new platform (here's an example with others linked here). In exploring the reasons why, we realized that some of our users in libraries still work in libraries that block access to youtube, blip.tv and the like. Reasons cited include bandwidth for networks that are already stretched. What should we say about our own Internet use and access to our IT admins? Our security and privacy colleagues? Our funding councils and governments?
Very simply, we must continue to articulate our need for access to both social media and social tools in terms of relevance to our patrons and our community. Without our knowledge of and participation in the social spheres where our patrons engage with each other, where new content is published and knowledge emerges, we can't stay relevant. And without relevance, we won't be around.
Update: let me just add that I don't care about twitter in particular. It's just a tool and one of many examples of things we should be exploring.
Eric is madly dashing around the office, trying to get ready for a presentation he's giving in Mexico--or he would have posted this himself.
But he knew I was NOT madly dashing around the office. In fact, I'm here on an almost leisurely Friday morning before the three-day weekend. I biked the baby to school today, as we have been doing for the past 2 weeks now. It turns out, it's practically as fast as the car and it may not be saving a ton of gas...but I decided it saves me feeling like a nincompoop for driving the 3 miles twice a day. Plus the fresh air, a bit of exercise, some drama as I turn onto the main road with lots of cars. All good.
But I digress. Penn State took the results from The College Students Perceptions report and compared it with their latest FACAC results, as reported by E-Tech.
Penn State students regularly came out on top, above national averages revealed by the report. Now, there are a number of factors that could be in play here:
- Penn State students are above average. (Probably quite likely, yes.)
- Students have gotten much more information literate since the report was published (less likely.)
- Librarians have become much more aware of the need to bridge the chasm between student perceptions and library offerings since the report was published (Overwhelmingly likely!)
Any of the above--and in combination--I am ecstatic about the possibilities and excited by the potential. With academic life cranking back up next week (if it's not already cranked in your neck of the world), what's your response to these findings, in terms of your own experience?
Also (unrelated) a colleague just forwarded me a link to Wimba Pronto. Looks like a nice way to carry conversations from the classroom to the dorm room and beyond. Even if it's only for virtual office hours--could be a more formalized setting than Facebook and less stilted than Blackboard. (Not that I've actually used Blackboard myself, but so I'm told.)
Enjoy the holiday weekend.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
The result is a short but very useful booklet titled Best Practices for the Customer-Focused Libraries.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Thank you so much for offering to help me with my search for a librarian for Benetech. As I mentioned in our conversation, Benetech's mission is to create new technology solutions that serve humanity and empower people to improve their lives.
Benetech has an opening for a Librarian for its Bookshare.org division. Bookshare.org is the world's largest collection of digital electronic books for the blind and print disabled. Bookshare.org has recently been awarded $32 million by the Federal Government to expand their online book collection for print-disabled students nationwide. The role of this Librarian would be to curate and digitize Bookshare.org's online library.
The position announcement and further information are available here. Please note that this is NOT an OCLC or WebJunction position, so please don't contact me directly about this. Thanks!
Monday, August 25, 2008
You've heard about the WebJunction musicals, karaoke, and maybe even our very own "family drinking song," but Michael Porter (aka libraryman) has topped it all with the prep for his talk at LITA National Forum later this fall.
He and David Lee King's original music, lyrics, and video for "hi-fi sci-fi library" are posted now on his blog. And for those of you who are lyrically oriented, they're here and well worth the gander.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Thanks to Library Journal and John (Blatant)
Now that's synergy!
(Note to LJ copy editors: Next time, you don't need the hyphen. It’s just “Futureproofing.")
These materials include 14 activities designed to be used outside the home: in the car, while walking, during bus rides, etc. The activities encourage early language and literacy development from birth through preschool. They are appropriate for children with disabilities as well as children who are developing typically. The development of these materials was supported by Grant H324M020084 from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs.
The materials are available in English and Spanish.
You can download the materials here.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
This week has been a difficult one for OCLC staff. On Monday, August 18, 2008, our friend and colleague, Gary R. Houk passed away after a long and courageous battle with cancer.
A person widely respected, liked and admired by his colleagues, Gary started at OCLC in 1974 as a programmer/analyst and held many technical leadership roles, rising through the ranks to senior management and serving over his career at OCLC as Vice President, Member Services, later as Vice President, Cataloging and Metadata Services, and most recently as Vice President, Corporate Information Technology and Business Integration.
Despite challenges with chemotherapy treatments and the reduced mobility associated with his medical condition over the last year and half, Gary -- as was his nature -- did not let his illness deter him from being an active and engaged leader at OCLC nor did he permit his illness to deny him the pleasure of taking part in his daughter’s wedding.
For myself, many of my colleagues, Gary’s family, and his numerous friends who attended a memorial service today at a local church, it was comforting to be reminded of Gary’s warmth, charm, good-humor, and his life’s love (his wife, Randi), his life’s joy (his daughter, Shannon), his love of family, his loyalties (Gary was a graduate and life-long supporter of The Ohio State University), his passions (his work at OCLC and his passion for the game of golf), his public-spiritedness (Gary served on many local civic and business organizations in Dublin), and his personal faith.
Described during the memorial service as a “larger-than-life” figure who leaves a larger-than-life hole in the fabric of the lives of those around him, Gary was for the many of us who had the pleasure to work for and with him over these many years, a reliable, ever-present, ever-well-informed, favored colleague and friend, a man with a keen mind, quick wit, the patience to give all ideas and concerns a fair hearing, and the generalship to get things done. As
In his message to OCLC staff on Monday, Jay Jordan called Gary Houk “an exceptional colleague and leader who contributed greatly to OCLC’s success.” I know
That I and my fellow IAGers, and all of our colleagues at OCLC shall miss
Links related to Gary Houk:
- Gary's WorldCat Identities page (Gary R. Houk)
- Gary Houk’s obituary in the Columbus Dispatch
- More (Google Books snippet) about Gary's career in his own words in Contemporary Chief Information Officers: Management Experiences (Hershey, PA: IGI Pub.), 2007
Monday, August 18, 2008
Free as in:
- Free Speech.
- Free Beer.
- Free Puppies.
Free Speech: You have the right to do something at no cost, as in "it's a free country" or "free speech."
Free Beer: There are things like "free beer," that might be free for you but someone has to pay for it. (This is something like "everything is free at the library!" but someone has to pay for the materials, staff salaries, lighting, heat, chairs, plumbing...)
Free puppies: Open source software might be something akin to free puppies. You may acquire them at no cost, but you may be looking at some bills down the road for food, vet bills, carpet cleaning, etc.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
But I think there's a pretty important lesson for libraries in this, too. We need to be careful to protect our authenticity. To quote that eminent maritime philosopher Popeye, "I yam what I yam." When we try to be something we aren't, we destroy the authenticity that people treasure in libraries. This is not to say we should avoid building services that meet current and future needs, whether they be gaming, embedded librarians, cooperatively generated content, or joint use facilities. But we need to do this while being constantly aware of, and actively drawing upon, our core principles.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
My favorite quote is from Edrina. On the seventh day, the students were in northeastern Ohio and had a lot of hills to conquer. There was considerable discussion about whether they should attempt to ride the bikes over the hills, walk them, or take portage in the vans. Edrina is quoted by Kevin as saying, “The hills are like life, where we will always find obstacles in our way that we have to climb and if we give up before we get to the end, we’ll never get past it.”
The pride of OCLC, Chuck Harmon, laid out the route in Ohio and accompanied the students on their ride. He tells me these kids were as great as they seem to be in their journal.
If you have ever complained about kids today, you owe it to yourself to spend half an hour reading this journal and looking at the photos. It could cheer up anyone!
Saturday, August 02, 2008
Eric Schonfeld at TechCrunch, quoted in Engagdet, says Amazon has sold 240,000 of the e-content readers, for nearly $100,000,000 in revenue. So even if, as Roy contends, Kindle "is not it," it sure is something.
Of course, for the record, both Roy and I have a stake in all this, since our mutual employer, OCLC, owns NetLibrary, a leading provider of e-content to libraries.
Friday, August 01, 2008
Added 10 minutes later: Incidentally, this gives Amazon a stake in Library Thing. Tim Spalding discusses the implications for LT here.