Libraries & Transliteracy & Red Shoes

So what exactly do red high heel shoes have to do with transliteracy and libraries?  Well other than they were worn by the lovely Bobbi Newman, Digital Branch Manager of the Chattahoochee Valley Libraries, who presented with a passion about this subject – well nothing I guess.  But they got your attention!

Bobbi Newman, Buffy Hamilton and Matt Hamliton hoped they got everyone’s attention regarding this very important subject of being literate across platforms, across media (hey, even Lee Rainie Monday’s keynote speaker talked about it).  No longer is the library’s role to make sure people can read but that they can use a computer, digital camera, iPad, mp3 player, cell phone, and much, much more.

More and more people are turning to libraries for help in regards to technology and we as librarians and educators need to be ready for this.

My tweets from this great and important session (unfortunately either the wifi gave up or Twhirl did because when Buffy got up to talk about transliteracy in schools I tried switching to tweeting via my mobile phone – no luck.)

Flickr pics from the session.

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CIL 2010 Ninja Style

It’s that time of year again.  The cherry blossoms are out, the boys of summer are playing again and Computers in Libraries comes to Crystal City, VA.  My favorite conference of year and originally I thought I wouldn’t be able to attend.  Last minute I found out I was able to attend.

This is CIL’s 25th anniversary – so what do you get a conference on it’s silver anniversary?  Well, sorry Jane and Rebecca that I didn’t pick you up something but I got myself a gorgeous silver cuff bracelet right before attending.  But I digress.  I love how some things never change – like Lew Rainie of Pew Research Center’s Internet American Life Project was this morning’s keynote speaker.  Another familiar face was Sarah Houghton-Jan, she  along with Amanda Etches-Johnson and John Blyberg presented a great session on Tips for Fast Tech Project Implementation.  They had a hashtag, #CILninjas and encouraged the audience to tweet while the stream was posted live on a screen in the room.  I loved seeing others notes (and to be honest a bit of narcissism too when I saw my tweets up there) which included notes, retweets (fun to see my retweets show up from friends who weren’t attending or who were in another session) and questions for the panel.

Check out the hashtags for some great tips – I know I’ll be taking a lot of their ninja style back with me to work.

My notes that didn’t make it onto Twitter.

Flickr pics from Ninja talk.

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Lost In Migration

I was going to say that I’ve been MIA but felt that would be disrespectful of the real MIA‘s from our military and others around the world.  So I thought a nod to the Scarlet Johansson-Bill Murray movie was a better title.

Life has gotten in the way of my blog.  Once things settle back down I will hopefully resume a more regular schedule.  So what’s keeping me so busy?  One word – Polaris!  We are in the midst of migrating from our current Sirsi-Dynix ILS (Horizon) to Polaris.  I’ve been given a great opportunity to coordinate all the training for over 240 FT and PT plus all the on-call staff.  This means fitting all these people into 3 rounds of training in less than two months.  This comes at one of the busiest times of the year for our library – just before Summer Reader!  Children’s staff will be book promoting in the schools, then sign up of kids and summer reader begins about a month before we go live.  I have to thank everyone who has been so flexible and understanding – we have a great library staff.

I’m enjoying the challenge and it wouldn’t be possible without Rachel Rappaport’s guidance.  She is our training coordinator but she is about to have her hands really full with her latest project – a baby boy (she is due the end of this month)!  Congrats ahead of time to Rachel and Jonathan – don’t worry about us just enjoy your new bundle of joy.

So if nothing new is posted here for awhile you’ll understand why.  I will be attending Computers in Libraries 2010 this year and I will be blogging from there but after that it will be back to all Polaris all the time.

Thanks for hanging in there with me.

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T is for Training Meme

Our illustrious leader, Maurice Coleman aka baldgeekinmd, challenged the cast of regulars on the podcast T is for Training to answer these 27 questions.  We had to limit our answers to one sentence.  So here are the questions with my answers bolded.

1.) Your One Sentence Bio

Coordinator Software Support and Training for Howard County Library, social web aficionado, budding photographer.

2.) Do you blog? If yes, how did you come up with your blog name?

Yes.  A variation on the name of my blog from Maryland’s 23 Things.

3.) What is your professional background?

Jacquelynn of all trades, mistress of some regarding work in the library (Circ[past], ILL [past], IT and training [current]).

4.) What training do you do? staff? patrons? types of classes?

Yes, yes and technology/social web based classes for both.

5.) What training do you think is most important to libraries right now

Technology based training – anything from social web to word processing to apps for mobile phones.

6.) Where do you get your training?

Pick it up where I can.

7.) How do you keep up?

TisforTraining podcast, Twitter (trainers group), blogs and RSS feeds – especially from the cast of regulars (they rock)!

8.) What do you think are the biggest challenges libraries are facing right now?

Funding and getting the respect they deserve as part of the education process within the community.

9.) What are biggest challenges for trainers?

The students, seriously you can teach almost anything but if the person is resistant….well.

10.) What exciting things are you doing training wise?

Nothing really other than using Jeopardy as a way to access if the class got it – they have fun and so do I.

11.) What do you wish were you doing?

List is too long to put here.

12.) What would you do with a badger?

Release it to the wild or give it to a wildlife sanctuary.

13.) What’s your favorite food?

Food!  Literally I love all kinds and they are my favs (but big on carbs and sweets unfortunately).

14.) If you were stranded on an island, what one thing would you want to have with you?

My cell phone because it would keep me connected to the world (assuming that I’d have coverage there).

15.)  Do you know what happens when a grasshopper kicks all the seeds out of a pickle?

Umm, it curls up inside and goes to sleep???

16.) Post it notes or the back of your hand?

Big Post-It note fan here.

17.) Windows or Mac?

LINUX!

18.) Talk about one training moment you’d like to forget?

My Twitter class for the public when within 10 mins of starting 2 people left which rattled me for the rest of the class.

19.) What’s your take on handshakes?

Firm has to be firm because wimpy just doesn’t do.

20.) Global warming: yes or no

Sadly, yes although if you judge by this winter you wouldn’t know it.

21.) How did you get into this line of work?

See blog post for how I got started in library biz – I feel into the role of training and discovered was good at it and people enjoyed/learned from my classes.

22.) Why is the best part of your job?

That I honestly learn something new every day!

23.) Why should someone else follow in your shoes?

Because they love to help people, love that ah-ha moment and love to learn themselves.

24.) Sushi or hamburger?

Sushi, definitely.

25.) LSW or ALA?

LSW without a doubt.

26.) What one person in the world do you want to have lunch with and why?

Hmm, would have to be some of the brains that work at Google because they are innovative and rate a high cool factor ;)

27.) What cell phone do you have and why?

MyTouch 3G (running on open source Android OS) because I love to stay connected and informed.

My fellow T is for Training folks and their answers to the questions:

Nicole Engard – The T is for Training Challenge

Polly-Alida Farrington – The T is for Training Challenge

Bobbi Newman – T is for Training Meme

Alison Miller – A T is for Training Challenge

Maurice Coleman’s Getting to Know All About Me Post

Betha Getsche - I Like Sushi & Libraries

Laura Botts – “C is for Challenge” at “T is for Training”

Heather Braum – T is for Training Challenge Meme

Jill Hurst-Wahl – Me. Coffee. Morning.

Pete Bromberg’s 23 things (minus 3): A getting to know ya post

Stephanie Zimmerman – A Get to Know Me Meme from TIFT

Marianne Lenox – 27 Questions (Supplemental Pictorial Essay)

Paul Signorelli – Paul’s Getting to Know Me Post

Lauren Pressley – 23 Questions with Lauren Pressley

Buffy Hamilton – 27 Questions with Buffy Hamilton

Jay Turner – 20 Questions for Just that Guy

Julie Strange – T is for Training Questionapalooza v 1.1

Angela Paterek – Getting to Know Me

Educate Don’t Alienate

photo by Julian Clark

photo by Julian Clark

Print management seems to be one of those perennial topics in the library world.   Not sure why it gets brought up every so often.  I’ve often heard tales of woe from other library staff in regards to the time, money and energy put into these “management” systems.  But why is this such a bug-a-boo topic for librarians?

I would love to say it is because they are all green and want to save the environment.  I would love to say it is because they are budget conscience and want to save money for things like books, computers, salaries, etc.  But honestly what I hear really boils down to “It’s Not Fair!” kind of attitude.  Does that really belong in customer service?

Does putting a hurdle between the customer and what they want equate to good customer service?  Putting said hurdle there just inconveinces the majority of good people and really doesn’t punish the few offenders (there is a way around every system and if they want to find it they will).   So why do we use these systems?

Here is a completely radical idea – don’t charge, don’t monitor, don’t manage but instead educate.  I know people will say but they’ll print reams and reams of paper and use all our toner.  Maybe they will, maybe they won’t.  Maybe we need to be looking at WHY people supposedly print so much.  We need to educate them about the alternatives.  Do customers realize how much paper they use or toner?  Probably not but putting a hurdle such as a print management system in the middle doesn’t really educate them but alienates them.  Why not start a campaign to educate your customers?  Let them know that one “page” on the web does NOT equate to one page of paper.  Do they know how much a carton of printer paper costs?  Do they realize how much toner a printer goes through in a day, a week, a month?  Encourage them to go green or recycle.  Why not encourage them to donate a carton or paper or money toward toner costs.   Don’t put just a sign next to the printer but include this in your fund raising events, put information on your web site and all your social web places as well.  If education is one of the many parts that make up the library whole then let us get to educating the customer not placing hurdles in their way.

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Why Libraries Rock

3835642932_1981254635In order to raise awareness not only of the plight of the Louisville Free Public Library but libraries everywhere I decided to participate in the Blogathon that Andy Woodworth got started.

So why are libraries awesome or rock or kick butt?   All libraries rock because they allow free access to all information (be it print, audio, visual or world wide webable).   We do a lot more than that but since each library focuses on different aspects of their community I thought I’d blog about why MY library rocks!

My library rocks starting at the top and it works it’s way down through every staff member.

  • Our Library Board is very supportive of what we do and sees that our mission & vision stays current and provides our customer base with what they expect.
  • Our Executive Director and CEO has seen that we are not only aligned with  but synonymous with education.  Education is the corner stone of what we do.  We educate all the time – whether it is a story time class, book promotion, or customer service staff helping a customer log into their account.  Each interaction is based in educating, in training.  This is just one of the many initiatives she has implemented since coming to Howard County.
  • Our Public Relations department that produces an outstanding newsletter every quarter that highlights our classes, events, and seminars.  They have created the Howard County Library brand and oversee everything from our flyers, to our signs, to our social web presence making sure  we are consistently presenting the correct image and wording.
  • Our Information Technology department which not only supports over 300 computers (and more coming)  for our public to use (using a Linux operating system which allows us to save our tax payers money while providing a stable, secure environment on which to work) but also the staff desktops (in Linux, Mac and Windows).  We also maintain the web site, catalogs, and databases so our customers may  self-direct their education.
  • Our Children’s & Teen Curriculum – what can I say about all the wonderful classes our children’s services provide?  I’ve been privy to many (taking photos or just walking by) – the amount of energy, time, thought and fun (while learning) that goes into these classes is second to none.  These instructors really have  a calling and put our youngest customers on the path to lifelong learning.  The teen events are no less spectacular.  Making purses from old jeans,  “Hogwarts Summer School” to celebrate the latest Harry Potter movie, Duct Tape flip-flops and gaming nights give our teens a safe environment to socialize, learn and interact.
  • Our Events and Seminars – the learning and fun isn’t just for our children and teens.  Author visits, book club discussions, classes on technology, health, finances or travel and recreation are just some of the great offerings our adult customers can enjoy.
  • Our Passport facility.  Our East Columbia Branch is now an official Passport Acceptance Facility.  Another great service for our customers.  They can use all the wonders of the library while applying for their passports.
  • Community Education and Partnerships.  No library is an island, we are very  much a part of the community.  Our partnerships – Howard County Public School system, Howard Community College, Lincoln Technical Institute, Leadership Howard County, Choose Civility, Horizon Foundation, Howard County Autism Society, Lazarus Foundation – (PCs4Kids), HC DrugFree, Inc., Girl Scouts, Ubuntu Maryland Local Community Team – are just some of the ways we are out in the community interacting, engaging, and educating our customers.
  • Our Collection.   It’s not just the outstanding materials our selectors purchase but the hard working individuals that catalog, process and circulate these materials so that our customers can get what they want when they want it (whether it’s an in house visit or via our web site and catalogs).
  • Our Customer Service.  We pride ourselves on not only meeting but exceeding our customer’s ideas of what good customer service looks like.  This comes in all shapes and forms – from helping someone at our Information or Customer Services desks, to recommended a book/dvd/cd/or event via our blog Highly Recommended, to answering a customer’s concern via email, to talking to a teen who just needs someone to listen – we believe in going that extra step, that extra degree.

There are many more aspects and departments that I didn’t mention.  They too help to give our customers what they want or support our staff so they can give our customer what they need.  We need ALL the parts of this well oiled machine to make our library rock and to rank first in the nation among great public libraries according to Hennen’s American Public Library Ratings 2008.

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Calling All Trainers

Great presenter, friend  and all around fantastic trainer needs your help!  Lori Reed, Employee Learning & Development Coordinator for the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County, is calling all trainers, training coordinators, HR managers, directors, consultants, anyone who supports the training and learning function within libraries.

Take a moment to fill out her quick survey.

We both thank you in advance!

Next Best Thing To Being There

I tweeted this morning that I was working on more photos from #CIL2009 (Computers in Libraries) and #JointSpringConference (Joint Spring Conference).  I got a reply to my tweet from @webmaster_ref asking to let him know when I had uploaded them.  He appreciated seeing all the tweets that were hashtagged #CIL2009 and the photos that were going up on Flickr.

I too have felt like the only one NOT attending a conference that my peers were attending.  Their blogs, tweets, YouTube videos and Flickr photos help to feel not totally out of the loop.  Of course nothing can replace the actual benefits of attending a conference (all the ideas you are exposed to, learns you learn to do and not to do regarding presenting, networking you do and friends you make).  One friend only Twittered during the conference and even setup a separate Twitter account so his other followers weren’t bombarded with #CIL2009 stuff.

What started as just a way to for me to record my experience at a conference, I’m now seeing in a different light.  With economic times hitting libraries hard these days I think it’s almost a duty of those who do attend to inform those of us who are left behind.  So if I can’t go to Internet Librarian 2009 I hope all my tweeps, freeps, fbookers and blog friends will do their best to make me like I’m there.

Wannabee

103_0467I wanna be 2.0 Too! Web Services for Underfunded Libraries presented by Sarah Houghton-Jan (Track E101) @ #CIL2009. In these economic times we are all either smaller (downsizing) or underfunded.  So this will be my first attempt at live blogging.

10 Laws using LOLcatz

#1 Talk w/customers (email, IM, VOIP, chat widgets, video chat w/skype, aim, text messaging) no account required, point of service, always have fun with them

chat widgets at null results page – keep the frustration down by offering an option to contact a real person – where do they get the most angry – offer this – email, phone better than nothing at all

text messaging more popular than email

reference services as well as circulation notices via SMS

#2 Interact with Customers

comments on everything, respond like a human being, online book clubs with a mix of staff & customers – conversation, give you their opinions, LibraryThing

Blogs – like Highly Recommended – encourage staff participation – offer template w/tags and categories, welcome feedback/conversation from customers

equal footing – able to talk to them

#3 Be Engaged

EngagedPatrons.org

Events Calendar with online registration

Blogs,

Google Maps

#3 Be Social

interact on their own term – interact w/young crowd, Club Penguin, Tee Bee Dee,

about change, communication, about sharing – keep doing that or you will lose your fans.

pointer back to your web site or resources

advertising extremely cheap – target your town, zip code whatever

$10 = 5,000 facebook flyers

#4 Use Multimedia

photographs, images, podcasts vidcasts, games – photos make it more popular – stimulates interactions – power of imagery

virtual shelf on the flickr account – notes go back to catalog

Design contest for logo of teen program – voting on it using Flickr – used comments section

Exploit image generators

generatorblog.blogspot.com

imagegenerator.org

imagechef.com

freeafterrebate web site – 1 for shipping

#6

Offer treatsies

shiny objects, new stuff, hot stuff – ask them what they want, then find them some

Staff Avatars – answer question, fav. movie, color then posted on site – can you recognize the librarian

My Account text messages “sexy”

#7 Exploit the Fee

tinypic, Google, WordPress, bravenet, onestatfree, statcounter, analytics, sites, webmaster central, gimp, polldaddy, colorblender, yousendit, webmonkey, survey mokeny, zoomerang, openphoto, dzone, imageafter, grogrammableweb, stock.xchng, zamzar

Tap into the Google wonderland

#8 Respect Customers

you never know when you’re lunch

expect the best, not the worst

treat customers with respect, regardless of age of which services they use

let them comment – go in after the fact and edit- policy no curse words but don’t over react. kids are users too

#9 Choices

how to contact you

how you communicate with them

how they find things online

what they find online (content & format)

multiple paths to same content – people think in different ways

Mashups = Choices

Library Elf

Library Look up

LibX Toolbar

Good Catalog = Choices

Aquabrowser

Endeca

LibraryThing for Libraries

VuFind

WorldCat Local

#10 Keep Going

try new things, pushing administrators, rejoice in failures (means you are pushing the boundaries)- we learned what they didn’t want but you will also learn what they do want by trying

we work for Admin but also our users

Social Networks and Libraries Save the Day

If you don’t want to freeze or if you don’t have a ticket to today’s historic event you certainly have many other avenues to watch the inauguration. You could be home watching on your TV set or from your computer but if you are like many of us today we are stuck at work.  Thank goodness for 2 lifesavers today – social networking and libraries.  CNN.com has partnered with Facebook today giving Facebook users 4 live streams to watch as they read comments posted by their friends or the world.  p1010011

Luckily we have a great Internet connection so I had CNN.com up in one of my tabs while working.  But if I couldn’t get a live stream going my other option was my library.  Howard County Library is providing live coverage (either large TVs in meeting room or live streaming on huge monitors).  Being a part of the community it is important for libraries to participate in such a historic event and ours was not the only one.  Saw many Facebook status updates saying libraries across America were doing the same thing.  p1010001 Customers in our meeting room watching CNN live via cable being projected on screen.  Interesting note that several folks had their cameras with them and were taking pictures of projected coverage on the screen.

No matter what your political stance this is an historic event for many, many reasons.  It was great to be a part of it via 2 of my favorite places – the Library and the social network Facebook.

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