Archive for September, 2006

The Liminal Librarian: Speaking Survey

Consider dropping by and filling out this survey so we can get a good picture of current speaking fees that are paid for presenters at library conferences, workshops and other venues: The Liminal Librarian: Speaking Survey

Thanks for taking this on Rachel. I am looking forward to the results!

September 9, 2006 at 9:55 am 1 comment

The Nostalgia of Back-to-School


Yes, the school librarians in New Jersey are back to school this week. It’s often both a happy and a stressful time concurrently; we admit it, we like the routine but secretly hate it. I’m sure I’m experiencing the same things my fellow LMSs (library media specialists) have endured this week. My feet hurt from not wearing dress shoes for the past two months. My bank account hurts from not getting paid for the past two months. But, I’m excited to see the kids, work with the teachers, play with all the new books I ordered, and get the learning underway.

I can’t help but think about how the back-to-school “aura” enraptures everyone at this time of year, and especially educators. We reminisce about all the times September rolled around and we got ready for a new school year. For some, this experience has come and gone twenty or thirty times as a professional, and twenty or so times before that as a student. This back-to-school feeling, of nervousness and excitement, of new school supplies, new school clothes and a reunion of old friends, is a dear and meaningful experience for teachers, and students alike. It is like coming home. Year after year.

Yet sometimes we librarians just want to jolt our users out of this warm blanket, chocolate chip cookie experience. We want them to “look at all the new stuff we got.” Check out our new books, which you’ve never heard of (especially if you’re not a teen literature reader)! Use our new Web 2.0 applications, which you’ve never seen before! Try to do this lesson which no one has ever done before — and which no one guarantees will be a success! It’s crystal clear to me, this week at least, that we don’t capitalize on the feelings of nostalgia that libraries bring to people’s lives.

Now I’m not sure that I want people’s rememberances of libraries in their past to be foremost in their minds, especially if all they remember is the ‘shhh-ing’ librarian, or having detention in the library, or going there to do a term paper which ultimately became the worst experience of their school careers. But I do want them to remember that the library *is* a home of sorts, a place to be accepted, to have your questions answered, and to excite your brain whenever you’re in the mood. Now how can I make sure the best parts of the library remain in the nostalgialgic lore for future generations?? Purchase a system that generates a gentle apple- and cinnamon-flavored breeze when you approach the new YA Fiction section??

September 8, 2006 at 6:24 pm

Reminder: Carnival Submissions due by Sunday!

Don’t want to nag or anything, but…

Submissions for the Carnival need to be sent to me by Sunday September 10th at 6 pm. Why not do it now. You know you want to :-) It’s so easy, just send me an email: janieh at gmail dot com

September 8, 2006 at 10:58 am

The Carnival is back in the Garden!

Library Garden is hosting the Carnival of the Infosciences for the 2nd time! We have set up the carousel for another spin and are eagerly waiting for submissions from the biblioblogosphere for the 53rd edition of the carnival.

Thanks to Anali at Grumpator for doing a great Blog Day round-up while hosting the carnival and to Nicole for sending in her submission. Gotta have participation to make the carnival diverse and interesting, so remember…

Submit early and submit often.

You can send entries to janieh at gmail dot com or you can use the Carnival Submission Form. We will be open for submissions until 6 pm on September 10th!

September 4, 2006 at 9:50 pm

Annual Beloit College Mindset List–Class of 2010


I read this very recently and blogged about it elsewhere earlier today, as this always gets circulated during our new faculty orientations in late August at Rider University, but I thought Library Gardeners might like to browse it, too.

Once again, Wisconsin’s Beloit College‘s annual list is out as they prepare each August (since 1998) to help all faculty prepare for the academic year and the incoming freshmen students. I think it is a good discussion item for librarians, too, especially if you deal with 17 & 18-year-olds. There is a very useful introduction (“note of explanation” in yellow near the top) explaining about the history of the lists and why they do them, in case this is totally new to you.

My colleagues and I have enjoyed reading this since I arrived in New Jersey in 1998, and although we don’t always agree with everything on the list, it is always entertaining and informative–but…who is “Milli Vanilli” (#21)? OK, only joking–I don’t like to sing in public either.

I hope you enjoy it, too, as you browse the list that “looks at entering college freshmen students…” Take a look at the other lists developed since 1998, too (i.e., Class of 2002 through Class of 2010)–I really enjoyed reading these and asking the incoming students about them when I was Faculty-in-Residence at Rider from 1998-2002.

As I said, I do find these lists to be interesting, and, sometimes, very funny, but I thought these six items from the Class of 2010 list from Beloit were pertinent, or at least of special interest, to librarians and other frontline educators:

“8. They are wireless, yet always connected.”
“18. They grew up with and have outgrown faxing as a means of communication.”
“19. “Google” has always been a verb.”
“20. Text messaging is their email.”
“23. Bar codes have always been on everything, from library cards and snail mail to retail items.”
“36. They have rarely mailed anything using a stamp.

Anyway, back to work–got to get ready for these “connected” students arriving at our convocation tomorrow. Summer’s pretty much over for us here, unfortunately!

September 4, 2006 at 8:03 pm 7 comments

5 More Notable Social Networking Sites, and a Plug for I@SW 2006

“Are you a K-12 library media or technology specialist with information technology and the Internet on your mind? Are you looking for ways to bring both into better focus to further your students’ learning and your colleagues’ teaching?” These are the opening questions on one of my favorite conference’s website, Internet@Schools West 2006 (held again this year in Monterey, CA along with Internet Librarian 2006).

I really think this year’s conference is absolutely packed with social networking/L2 ideas and tools, for everyone, really, although geared toward library and technology professionals. I can’t wait to go! I have been preparing for my own paper and presentation there in October on these topics, as well as spending a lot of time this entire week preparing for Rider University‘s new faculty and new freshmen & international student orientations. Therefore, I neglected all of my feeds and ‘posting duties’ for the week, including Blog Day. So, I asked myself, what can I do to make up for all of this neglect?

My answer? Put a plug in for I@SW 2006 and share five (in the spirit of Blog Day) other notable social networking sites–you know, other than the famous MySpace and Facebook sites (by the way, these two are currently ranked very high in the U.S. and have gotten even more publicity due to their recent collaborations with Google and Microsoft, respectively). Anyway, here are five more sites I think that you should know about, in no particular order:

1) Windows Live Spaces – What is interesting to me about this is that WLSpaces is “one of the fastest growing blogging communities in the world with an estimated 100 million unique visitors per month as of May 2006,” according to an article cited within the “Windows Live Spaces” Wikipedia article. Alexa Internet does rank it very high, stating that WLSpaces is ranked 13th in the world in August, and it is 11th in the U.S. It boasts 30 million registered users. Definitely one to watch.

2) orkut – “orkut is an online community that connects people through a network of trusted friends.” The name may sound strange, even though I am sure that we are used to strange names on the Web. However, there is a reason: this social networking site, owned by Google, is named after Orkut Büyükkökten, the creator of the site and a Turkish software engineer at Google. By the way, even though Alexa ranked it 24th in the world in late August, it does not seem to be on the map for the U.S., as it is not even in the top 100. That will probably change. It does, however, have 24 million registered users.

3) Xanga – “Xanga is a community of online diaries and journals….The Xanga service is a blogging & social networking site – it exists to promote sharing and community.” It first started out as a book and music review site. Now, this social networking site is ranked in the world by Alexa as the 41st most popular site, but here in the U.S., it is not as popular as others—-it is only ranked 90th here, but it does have 40 million registered users.

4) hi5 – According to hi5 itself, “hi5 offers a popular destination for the teens and twenties demographic around the world.” hi5 does have 40 million registered members, concentrating in Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, and North America. It is ranked by Alexa as 57th in the world, but the U.S. population does not seem to know much about it right now. Something I found interesting about it was that several high profile singers and models are confirmed to be members, according to the “hi5.com” Wikipedia article.

5) LinkedIn – LinkedIn, a personal information search engine, is also a social networking site, although it does cater to business people. It offers both free and fee-based options, and its goal is “to become the most useful business web site for millions of professionals across the globe.” This online network and search engine, as of the summer of 2006, connects almost 10 million experienced professionals from around the world, representing 130 industries. You may or may not have heard of LinkedIn, but it is certainly growing, and although it is not very popular right now throughout the world (rank of 262), it is fairly popular here, as Alexa ranks it as the 59th most popular site in the U.S. as of late August 2006.

I hope you find these interesting–enjoy!

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September 3, 2006 at 3:11 pm 2 comments

IPL Consortium Formed – Entering Exciting New Era


Like some of my fellow bloggers at Library Garden, I’ve been traveling most of the summer both on holiday as well as on a few business trips. One of my trips was to represent Rutgers University SCILS at meeting of the newly formed Internet Public Library (IPL) Consortium at the University of Michigan on August 1-2 in Ann Arbor. I was honored to be a part of this important meeting that drew many reference experts from around the US together to operate as a think tank. This group is working chart the course of the new IPL Consortium, determine its governance structure, and seek sustainable funding sources. The University of Michigan has enlisted the help of 15 additional universities to form the IPL Consortium and Rutgers is one of the IPL Partners.

As you may know, the IPL has been housed at the University of Michigan’s School of Information for the 11 years of its existence. Its mission is to provide library services to all users of the Web, but also to serve as a training ground for library school students. It has provided access to high quality web-based resources as well as to e-mail reference help. The IPL is well known and respected with approximately 12 million hits per month (estimated 1.5 million unique visitors). If you search for “library” or “public library” on Google, the IPL is at the top of the list. It has roughly 100 professional library volunteers and about 250 students who work to build collections and answer e-mail reference questions.

As a result of the August meeting, the group made recommendations a shared governance structure for the IPL that will be discussed and hopefully implemented at an upcoming meeting of the IPL Consortium at the upcoming i-Conference 2006 on October 15-17 also at the University of Michigan. In addition, several avenues for funding have been identified that will be explored in the coming months.

Stop by the IPL website to track these developments!

September 3, 2006 at 9:56 am

Blog Day Bandwagon

So it seems that the Library Garden is celebrating Blog Day a day late — but I really feel the need to give back some link love especially since we got a few mentions yesterday in the biblioblogosphere on the real Blog Day.

I read Pete’s post while it was still in draft mode and feel like I should just post a big Yeah That! to the blogs Pete recommends. But that would be taking the easy way out, so instead I will discuss (in no particular order) 5 entirely different blogs that I read regularly:

  • The “M” Worda blog designed to bring the wonderful world of marketing to librarians. Nancy Dowd works for the NJ State Library as a marketing specialist and as she states in her profile, she is dedicated to showing how anyone can market their library- even with a small budget and staff. :-) Nancy’s enthusiam and energy shine through in her posts and she has lots of great tips and advice for everyone who wants to market themselves and their libraries better.
  • Something New Every Day I stumbled upon this blog quite recently via a Technorati search and was really drawn in to several of the posts [especially the one on Karen Hyman's Rule of 1965]. I have had it in my feed for the last few weeks and am enjoying the thoughts and observations of this blogger from Wisconsin. [note: I am not giving link love here simply because SNED listed us in their Blog Day post, I really and truly would have mentioned them since they are the most recently added blog to my feed and since I am liking what I am reading.]
  • Also new to my aggregrator is John Klima’s newest blog Library Angst. John worked for me as an tech assistant and library intern while he was completing his MLIS at Rutgers. His first professinal position is a combination of teen librarian and system librarian. His posts on his first attempt at running a summer reading club for teens have been inspiring — he has really given it his all, come up with creative activities and had a good sense of humor about the whole experience. Way to go John.
  • The Liminal Librarian: Rachel’s blog began around the same time we started Library Garden and I have been following her posts since Day 1. She “speaks” to me on several levels. I also like how she is not afraid to tackle issues and how she is honest about the struggle to find a balance between career and family. I hope I get to meet Rachel at CIL this year since she was unable to make the Blogger’s Bash in New Orleans.
  • My list would not be complete without giving kudos to Pop Goes the Library. I love my pop culture (especially celebrity magazines) and I love how this group blog combines pop culture seamlessly with librarianship. PGTL is not new, but it is certainly too good not to mention.

If I am having a busy day and don’t have time to read all my feeds then I simply check TTW and FRL — they are my two “must reads”. I consider Michael to be a human aggregator who invariably directs me to what I would be interested in reading that day in any event and I love to check up on Karen daily as I never know what I will find (everything from recipes to rants to reviews and beyond).

It was hard sticking to 5 (and I really didn’t since I stuck in 2 extras in that last paragraph). I think, however, I will play by the rules and stick to 5 for my first Blog Day post.

September 1, 2006 at 1:27 pm 1 comment

Blog Day (late and a dollar short)

Happy (belated) Blog Day everyone. I’ve been on vacation much of the past three weeks, watching the US Open and getting in as much tennis as I can, and in my rare state of email disconnection I missed blog day… So a day late, here are five blogs that I dig.

  1. Michelle Boule’s, A Wandering Eyre. I first became aware of Michelle’s blog when we participated in ALA’s Web 2.0 Bootcamp. She’s been knocking me out ever since. My biggest disappointment at ALA was that I wasn’t able to push myself across the crowded room at the Blogger Bash fast enough to say hello. Hi Michelle!

  2. Meredith Farkas’ Information Wants to Be Free. A great voice, great honesty, lots of smarts, humor, perspective. Meredith helps me broaden my knowledge, think more deeply, and just plain refreshes my hope for our profession.
  3. Blog About Libraries is a group blog much like the garden. I particularly enjoy Steve Backs’ posts on customer service. I share and am inspired by his customer-centered outlook and approach to library services.
  4. Signum sine tinnitu–by Guy Kawasaki: I love the marketing ideas, the interviews with brilliant and interesting people and Guy’s laid back vibe. It never fails to entertain or inform, often at the same time.
  5. Creating Passionate Users . Written mostly by Kathy Sierra, along with a few other authors of O’Reilly’s “Head First” series, CPU is my “desert island blog”. If I was stranded on a deserted island with my laptop and a wireless connection, this is the one I’d read. It activates the part of my brain that dopes me with endorphins when giving (or receiving good customer service) while also appealing to the trainer-boy in me. I love Kathy’s insights on how to present information in a way that helps people get it, or “kick ass.” To the extent that I kick ass on any given day, Creating Passionate Users helps keep my aim accurate :-)

Certainly not an exhaustive list, and it’s hard not to mention all of the blogs that I love and read regularly. But I’d feel super-remiss if I didn’t give a shout out to Karen Schneider’s Free Range Librarian and Michael Stephens’ Tame the Web. I have never in my life manifested an addictive behavior—until I started reading these blogs.

September 1, 2006 at 12:23 pm 4 comments

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