Archive for September, 2006

Carnival of the InfoScience #53 (at long last)

Library Garden is pleased to present the 53rd edition of the Carnival of the Infosciences. It was a busy week at the carnival with several wonderful submissions and also lots of great picks from our own editors here at Library Garden.

Sorry the show is a day late. Technical glitches caused major setbacks several times yesterday [hence the scary clown picture — that is how I felt as midnight approached and the post got mangled once more]. I tried to get the show on the stage before midnight on the 11th so that you could kick back with your PJ’s on and enjoy the show… but that was not meant to be. Nonetheless, we have an exciting first act with a wide variety of submissions for your viewing pleasure:

Steve Backs from Blog about Libraries wrote to report that they are trying something new in September- Naked Reference! This means staff may not bring anything to the reference desk. No projects, bookcarts, etc. so that they can concentrate 100% on patron service. This is something that all libraries should consider doing –we have done it at MPOW in the past and it a real eye-opener. Not only is it a post worth reading but I also really liked his diagram about the myth of multitasking. So be sure to check out the stimulating Reference in the Raw post.

Bill Drew from Baby Boomer Librarian submitted his post Wanted: Librarians using Conduit (was effective Brand) toolbars as it has drawn several comments. In fact, Bill reports that he hopes to start some type of resource page, blog, or maybe a wiki page around using the Conduit toolbar. Stay tuned to Bill’s blog for updates!

Liz B, a contributor to many blogs, stopped by to give us the link to her post on Pop Goes the Library entitled Knowledgeable Guides in which she discusses the new “people added” search engine with “knowledgeable” guides being paid 5 dollars an hour. How do you spell respect? And why are people going to chacha instead of libraries for people added searches? Good questions Liz …

Joy Weese Moll from Wanderings of Student Librarian directs us to her report from the front lines about implementing Instant Messaging reference at an academic library in her post IM a Librarian.

Michael Anuzis submitted his post Google Reader for those Ahead of the Curve in which he describes the effiency and productivity gains that come through using Google Reader. Michael feels that including this post will be a fresh way to offer readers some advice they can leverage immediately while reading other blogs at the carnival.

That wraps up the first act of the carnival. Our second act consists of a few picks and favorites posts from some of the editors here at Library Garden:

Amy has been reading Alan Kirk Gray’s blog and she would like to draw our attention to his recent post called Good News. Your Place of Work is Risk-free! as it is a really nice discussion of how many libraries have arrived at making decisions based on trying avoid the worst thing happening. The result,according to this post, is that we miss out on possible successful actions because we are afraid of the possibility of some bad outcomes. Amy reports that she seen this a lot in libraries and thinks that “diving into some uncertainty” would be a welcome change! This blog post is a great call to such action!

Pete enjoyed Darlene Fichter’s post “Is Your Library Remarkable?” over at Blog on the Side. Darlene invokes Seth Godin’s “Purple Cow” asking, “What holds some libraries and library staff from creating more a purple cow? For going for a “wow” effect? Fear is the problem. If you’re remarkable, you’re no longer safe. Some of the people that notice you will be critical. Going for the “wow” means taking risks – you need to explore the limits.” Right on Darlene! This post made me think of Bob Sutton’s “ Weird Ideas that Work“, especially , “Reward success and failure, punish inaction.” I’ve been thinking about that one a lot lately!

Another knockout post reported by Pete came from Ellyssa Kroski over at Infotangle. Her post, Online Community and Libraries (parts I and II of IV) clearly builds off of the great work of Jenny Levine and Michael Stephens. Ellyssa gives the topic her own excellent treatment, adding some wonderful discussion of Ray Oldenburg’s “Third Place” and it’s importance in light of Robert Putnam’s ideas about our increasing social disconnection. Contrary to some conventional wisdom, Ellyssa cites evidence to suggest that the Internet may be helping to create communities and connections, rather than destroying them. Looking forward to the parts III and IV!

Robert submits Why “duh”… isn’t that was posted on Creating Passionate Users by Kathy Sierra as his pick of the week. Robert feels that this post is well worth the read, for librarians and anybody else dealing with customers–yeah, just about everybody! It is about, I know I’m going to hear groans….customer service. But this is a really smart discussion on it.

Finally, I have two editor picks of my own for this week’s carnival:

The first is Michelle Boule’s thought-provoking ALA TechSource post Building a Better Beta. After a quick review of successful beta products and services that have huge followings and built communities as a result she makes the point that “Going beta has become less of what you roll out and more of just what you do — a mind set.” Wow… I honestly never thought of it that way. Michelle then poses the question “How can libraries build beta products and services and develop their own followings?” and the remainder of the post attempts to answer this question. The resulting discussion in the comments is also worth a read.

The second one is from Stephen’s Lighthouse – actually it’s from September 2nd so I am cheating a little by including it this week, BUT it really hit home with me when I read it yesterday. Stephen wrote a concise and clear guide to Doing the Dreaded V-Mail Thing Better and if every person I need to be in contact with as a result of my new position would read this post my life would be a whole lot better. I previously received 3-5 messages per day on my V-Mail, suddenly my volume has more than quadrupled and most of the messages are notintelligiblee on the first listen. So, take a moment, brush up on your V-Mail skills and encourage your colleagues to do the same.

That concludes our show for this week. Be sure to visit Michael Casey at Library Crunch for the next edition of the Carnival of the InfoSciences. Hosting is a lot of fun, be sure to volunteer to have your blog host for a week and keep the carnival moving! [check out the Hosting Guidelines on the wiki for more information]

September 12, 2006 at 9:28 am 5 comments

Carnival Delayed

I need to get some sleep — it has been a bad technology day. I will post the carnival first thing in the morning when I am not so frustrated — Blogger keeps mangling the post and merging paragraphs and dumping text. I can’t figure it out right now and I am tired of fixing it for today.

September 11, 2006 at 10:33 pm 1 comment

Congratulations to John Blyberg and his Go-Go-Google-Gadget

The winners of the Mashing Up the Library Comptetition sponsored by Talis were announced last night and John Blyberg of Ann Arbor District Library came out the winner. His entry entitled Go-Go-Google-Gadget is certainly worthy of this honor. Here is what the press release had to say:

The First prize of £1,000 was awarded to John Blyberg of Ann Arbor District Library in Ann Arbor, MI. His entry, Go-Go-Google-Gadget, shows how simply library information can be integrated into the personalised home page offered by Google, and is described by competition sponsor and member of the judging panel, Talis’ Paul Miller, as “an excellent example of taking information previously locked inside the library catalogue and making it available to patrons in other contexts where they may spend more time than they do in their catalogue.” Available information includes new and the most popular material in the library, and patron-specific information on checked-out and requested items. ‘Superpatron’ Ed Vielmetti applauded the simplicity of this entry, remarking in a clear invitation for others to follow John’s lead that “the visible source code is very tiny and easily hackable.” Vanderbilt University’s Marshall Breeding concluded, “I like this entry’s spirit of opening up information in the library system and putting it under the control of the user.”

Congratulations to all who entered — the creativity and effort that went in to the 18 entries is nothing short of fantastic.

The Library 2.0 Gang will discuss the competition on Wednesday September 13th in their bi-weekly conference call. Stay tuned for the podcast that will feature conversations with the creators of the winning entries.

September 11, 2006 at 8:33 am 3 comments

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

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