Archive for March, 2007

Hope Springs Eternal in the Library Garden

First off, I have to thank Pete for inviting me to join Library Garden; it has been an honor and I hope my contributions have been for the better ;-) Second, thanks to all my other fellow biblio-green thumbs, I have learned a tremendous amount from your posts.

With spring in the air and the rejuvenating feelings of a first anniversary (did anyone bring cake?), I thought it might be take a look at what we hope might happen/change in the library profession over the next year or so. Personally, I am going to break this down into three categories; 1-What should’ve been done last year, 2- the change I am going to push for and 3- my pie in the sky wishful thinking. I will finish up with a Nostradamus-esque prediction… Why? Eh, it’s nice out, I’m inside and it seems like the right time to do so.

What we need to do already!- Allow our computers to accept memory sticks/flash drives. Some PCs don’t even come with a floppy drive anymore, it’s time for us to quit worrying about security issues with these devices and let our patrons use the information they have.

What I am pushing for- I am going to continue my push to get video games into libraries. We can no longer hide behind the fear that teens will not return games when we already lost thousands of dollars a year to adults not returning books, CDs and movies.

My Pie in the sky dream- I would love for our library system to get their own library card maker so patrons could make custom library cards! We could still have the standard card but, for a small fee, grandparents could get their grandkids pictures on their cards, people could put their pets, favorite band or celebrity on it. Heck, let teens put their boyfriend or girlfriend pictures on there… at the rate they go through relationships, you would pay for the machine before midterms let out!

Nostradummy Prediction- A Book will be banned somewhere and there will be much discourse about it. In time, people will learn that one of the protesters did not read the book. This will be their downfall; for how can you protest what you do not know? It might be found out that a defender did not read the book either but it wont matter; as it turns out, the protest is not about the book itself, but an person’s choice to read it.

March 28, 2007 at 10:17 am

One year and 200 posts later…

Today you’re invited to join us in celebrating two milestones at the Garden: It’s our one year anniversary, and by coincidence, this is our 200th post. I guess it’s appropriate that the Library Garden sprouted up during the first week of Spring!

Some random thoughts:

First, It’s been an honor and a pleasure blogging with the other regular bloggers here at LG, Janie, Robert, Marie, Amy and Ty. Old friendships have deepened, while new ones have been formed. The idea for Library Garden sprung into my head about 15 months ago, and was largely inspired by the wonderful group-blogging that was going on over at It’s All Good. A special thanks to Alice, Alane, George and Eric for showing us how it could be done. (Chrystie came along later, and a fine addition she’s made. Congrats on the LJ M&S!)

A special note of thanks also to Janie and Robert, for immediately agreeing to do the blog and encouraging me to get off my duff and actually start it. I could not imagine two more spirited partners!

I’d also like to thank Michael Stephens, Jenny Levine and Karen Schneider , three generous souls, for their early and continuing support. Thanks so very much for the link love, the encouragement, the comments, and the advice. If IAG inspired me to get going, you three inspired me to keep going.

Finally, I want to thank everyone (oh my god, this kinda sound like an Oscar speech…’my mom, sniff, my dad, snuffle…’) who actually ever reads this blog. I’m always kind of surprised when I realize that anybody is reading it. So thanks for sweeping your peepers across our page.

Looking back over the last year I see that the Garden, while not sticking 100% to our original vision, has nevertheless found it’s niche in the biblioblogosphere. My goals for the next year are to post a little more frequently and a little more personally, to do more interviews, to encourage more guest posting, and to add a new voice or two to the regular roster.

With much gratitude and appreciation in my sleepy little heart,

-Peter

March 27, 2007 at 11:22 pm 7 comments

Five Blog Meme

Nancy Dowd tagged me for the five-non-library-blogs-that-I-read-meme.

I’m going to skip a few favorites since they’ve gotten a lot of mentions already. (If you’re not already reading Creating Passionate Users, do yourself a favor and start.) So here are the non-library blogs that I read that I haven’t seen mentioned too often:

  1. Work Matters, by Bob Sutton. I came for the Weird Ideas That Work, I stayed for the No Asshole Rule. You may have heard of Bob Sutton recently as the author of the #14 Amazon ranked book,”The No Asshole Rule“. It’s unbeleviable to me that the New York Times won’t print the title of this book. (I mean, hey, they had no trouble printing the word scrotum again, and again, and again…)

  2. Horse Pig Cow: A marketing blog from Tara Hunt. Oink. Moo. Yup.
  3. Presentation Zen: Garr Reynolds on presentation design. I’ll take all the help I can get :-) Check out Ira Glass’ Tips on Storytelling. Good stuff!
  4. How To Change the World by Guy Kawasaki. I love the ideas, the interviews, and Guy’s playful, generous spirit that shines through all his posts.
  5. Service Untitled by… hmmmm, I have no idea who writes it. No matter! I love this blog for it’s very practical writing on customer service, like this article on what to do when a customer is cursing at you. (Funny, they forgot to mention the never-fail strategy, “I’m the rubber you’re the glue…”

There are my five. And I tag: Joyce Valenza, Jennifer Macaulay, Iris Jastram, Sophie Brookover.

March 26, 2007 at 3:52 pm 1 comment

Meme Mashup

Back in the early days of 2007 when the “5 things you probably don’t know about me” meme was circulating I got tagged 3+ times and intended to play along. I actually composed most of the post, but then lost it when my laptop froze and never found time to write it again. Now I have been tagged by Meredith for the new meme about 5 non-library blogs we read, so I am mashing the memes together into one big post. How efficient is that?

First, 5 things that you may or may not know about me:

Even though I have lived stateside for over 10 years now, I remain a Canadian citizen. My first 7 years of working in the States was accomplished via a series of TN NAFTA visas, but I now have a green card and will likely get American citizenship eventually (when I find some spare time, so maybe not too soon).

I have lived above the Arctic Circle and also in Bermuda and have moved 27 times in my life. My stint at PPL (close to 9 years and counting) is the longest time I have ever worked in a single place. It really feels weird to me that I will have soon lived in my current home 5 years as I have never called an apartment or house “home” for longer than 2 years since I started college. Needless to say, I am an expert at packing and moving.

It shocks people when they visit as I own relatively few books, especially for a librarian — partly due to the 27 moves and partly due to the fact that I am a minimalist. My son, however, has overflowing bookshelves. I love children’s literature and especially picture books. One of my cooperative work terms while at library school was working in the Children’s Literature Service of the National Library of Canada (a truly wonderful experience).

Downhill skiing is one of the few athletic pursuits that I have ever achieved any sort of higher level abilities (other than highland dancing). I met my husband in a ski club and, when given my choice of things to do on vacation, I will choose a ski trip almost every time.

My musical tastes are eclectic (pop to hard rock to opera) and I have a special fondness for world music and in particular Celtic music, which stems from my undergraduate days of as a dancer in the Queen’s Bands.

Now, for the five non library blogs ( the first 3 directly related to the 5 things above)

CBC Radio 3: Helps me to stay current with Canadian culture and news. I also love Rick Mercer’s blog (but wish he would post more frequently) and frequently read Political Notebook as well as a few other Canadian blogs that help me stay connected to all things “north of the border”.

Book Buds: Even though one might argue that a site reviewing picture books is not really a non-library blog, I am including it since it is not related to my job duties and I read it more for the love of pictures books than anything else. In a similar category is Reading Moms, a blog that meets both my personal and parenting reading needs.

The Echoes Blog: The companion blog to Echoes.org where there is lots of musical goodness to discover – including Celtic and other world music.

Kevin’s Blog on Training: Good training tips and advice from Kevin Eikenberry. In fact, I have several of his blogs in my aggregator.

Gizmodo: The Gadget Guide: The tag line says it all “… So much in love with shiny new toys, it’s unnatural.”

I am tagging Nancy Dowd, Elizabeth Burns, Stephen Abram, and Darlene Fichter (I want to see what other Canadian and NJ librarians are reading in their feeds) and anyone else who wants to play along.

March 23, 2007 at 11:59 am 12 comments

ERIC (at www.eric.ed.gov/) has Added the “Find in a Library” Feature

In the fall, I blogged here at Library Garden about Google Book Search finally including library locator information in their results when you conduct a book search. My favorite addition was when they included under the “Advanced Book Search” the limit option of “Library Catalogs,” which would help locate nearby libraries owning the item, libraries in World Cat (learn more here).

Now, my favorite education database, ERIC (Educational Resources Information Center), two days ago, added the “Find in a Library” feature because they have recently…

“partnered with OCLC to leverage the OpenURL Gateway and WorldCat to provide users with a link from ERIC records to library resources. [This] feature dramatically streamlines the process of obtaining full text” from many ERIC documents. I tried it today with an education student, and it worked great.

Individuals, however, must search ERIC at http://www.eric.ed.gov/ at this time, where the “Find in a Library” link is featured at the bottom of each result under the “Full-Text Availability Options.” Currently, this feature is not available via the EBSCO version of ERIC.

“The Find in a Library feature offers two linking paths: OpenURL and WorldCat. For users associated with one of the 1,100 libraries registered with the OCLC OpenURL Gateway, selecting Find in a Library will lead to a search of the library’s electronic holdings and seamless access to available full text. If no full text is available users may choose to link to WorldCat.”

“If the user is not affiliated with a library registered in the OpenURL Gateway, Find in a Library will connect to WorldCat to find the nearest library with a print or electronic version of the material. WorldCat is the world’s largest network of library content and services and catalogs a billion items in more than 10,000 libraries worldwide.”

March 23, 2007 at 11:24 am 7 comments

Pseudo-DOPA Suggestions (Age Verification) Provide False Sense of Security

Age verification for social networking sites provides teens and parents with a false sense of security. I believe that age verification just cannot be the best solution to the child safety issue. Adam Thierer, Progress & Freedom (PFF) Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for Digital Media Freedom basically states this as well, warning us that

“creating [age] verification schemes that are too cumbersome for the user and the site owner [could result in] having popular networking sites pushed offshore, out of reach of US laws. An overly broad definition could [also] have a chilling affect on free speech. Moreover, collection and verification of the personal information of minors raises serious concerns of privacy and data protection.”

All of this is discussed in detail within the “Social Networking & Age Verification: Many Hard Questions; No Easy Solutions” report published yesterday from the The Progress & Freedom Foundation, where Thierer discusses some privacy and constitutional issues related to age verification proposals for social networking sites. He (along with many of us within the library and education arenas) logically explains that

“A combination of efforts, including greater online safety education, should be implemented to protect children from child predators and objectionable content.”

I found Thierer’s paper last night (read it again before work this morning) to be a rational, up-to-date, educational explanation of some of the political and personal implications of social networking and child safety issues and concerns—something I hear about often and am constantly asked about while I present on Web 2.0 and social networking topics at workshops and conferences—even while working the reference desk at Rider University! I just had to blog about it at lunch today.

What a lot of people don’t seem to fully understand is that many, many websites require user interaction in some way, shape, or form, and the legislation proposed today, as written, would, if passed, pretty much outlaw all blogs and other forms of online communication, making them pretty much worthless. I understand the privacy and safety concerns being batted around, especially as a parent and educator myself, and I believe that there are no easy answers or solutions at this time, especially regarding this aspect of our digital revolution.

However, age verification is not the answer, not to mention, as Thierer states, it would be extremely difficult to control and/or manage. A combination of educational programs and parental involvement is still the most effective way to keep our kids safe online. I think our legislators and law enforcement personnel do have legitimate concerns and are mostly looking out for our best interests. Still, I agree with Thierer’s statement that

“Policymakers and law enforcement should also focus their efforts on the prosecution of online predators under existing laws and ensure adequate punishment for the crimes.”

Let’s not go to the extreme while proposing and/or mandating legislation (like DOPA or some of the other pseudo-DOPA suggestions) which can and will effectively terminate our First Amendment rights, all for the sake of ineffectively protecting our online safety. Keep informed, and read this report and other current papers on the issue of online safety, and let’s work together, rationally, on this.
Come on, you know you are eating lunch while sitting in your office at your computer anyway! Your input and other suggested readings are certainly welcome.

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March 22, 2007 at 10:57 am 7 comments

Putting my head back into the OPAC

A couple of months ago I questioned whether the quality of our library OPACs figures greatly into the overall satisfaction of our customers. Something I read in the New York Times this weekend: made me reflect on that post and wonder whether I was asking the right question. This is the what got me a’ponderin':

Almost every Web film purveyor is planning to solve this bane of the modern culture consumer “too much choice” with some form of social networking. Recommendations, user reviews, friend lists and member pages are designed to help viewers determine which films they should watch.

When I read that, I found myself making these mental substitutions:


Almost every Web film purveyor library is planning to solve this bane of the modern culture consumer “too much choice” with some form of social networking. Recommendations, user reviews, friend lists and member pages are designed to help viewers library users determine which films they should watch books, cds and film they might enjoy next.

Now I’m wondering if the question I should be asking is, “how much value could we add to our customers’ experience, how much more engaging could libraries be, if our OPACS were integrated with social software and offered reviews, friend lists, member pages and (not incidentally) filters and recommendations?”

March 19, 2007 at 10:05 am 10 comments

Congrats to Janie and NJ’s Movers and Shakers

A hearty congratulations to Library Garden’s own Janie Hermann on her much deserved selection as an LJ Mover and Shaker:

Hermann enjoys being actively engaged with a world beyond her own library, through the blog Library Garden, the staff training and patron service communities at WebJunction, and numerous conference presentations. She says these kinds of contributions keep her “enthusiastic and excited about our profession” and help her stay ahead on new trends and technology.

Every personality inventory she’s ever taken says that Hermann is “an extroverted risk-taker.” Uprooting herself from her Canadian homeland and moving from teaching to librarianship, she’s remade her life and her library.

I’d also like to give a shout-out to a few other Garden State librarians being honored:

  • Linda Devlin: Friend, former co-worker, Camden County Library’s new director, and, I hope, future LG blogger! (hint, hint… OK, your doing three jobs right now…maybe a guest piece on what it’s like to be a young new library director??)

  • Trevor Dawes: Circulation Supervisor at Princeton University. Among his many accomplishments Trevor’s done a great job reviving NJLA’s mentoring program.
  • Nicole Cooke: Reference Librarian, Montclair State University. In addition to starting and heading up the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (with Trevor), Nicole writes, presents and (dear to my heart) coordinates New Jersey’s Train-The-Trainer program.

Congratulations to you, and to all of the librarians honored as LJ Movers and Shakers for 2007!

March 16, 2007 at 5:36 pm 8 comments

Having Fun Isn’t Hard …

… When You’ve Got a Library Card!

This is the second time in a week that I have heard this song — really quite odd considering I have never heard it ever before. The first time was on Tuesday while my toddler was watching Arthur on PBS and the second time was this morning while I was browsing YouTube for a few good examples to use in a new class I am putting together.

The lyrics (which really are quite catchy) can be found in Arthur’s Songbook and a quick search reveals that this song by Arthur and Friends first got airplay as an episode in February 1999 — and has since been used by various libraries as a promotional song to encourage children to get a library card.

My second encounter with this song was in a recently posted video called A YouTube Salute to Librarians. The description reads:

Five minutes of your life you’ll wish you had back, this includes a mintage of sceens from classic TV as well as random uploads to youtube, all about Librarians.

The music is purevolume.com’s salute to librarians.

I really have to disagree. I found those 5 minutes to be quite entertaining — enough so, that I watched it a second time (thus giving up 10 minutes of my life) and I am also posting the link here for others to spend 5 minutes enjoying on a Friday afternoon as they wind down the work week.

All the songs in the salute come from purevolume.com — a site that had missed my radar until now. It is amazing how many library-related songs can be found by searching purevolume (but I still like the list of library songs posted by Fiona better).

A little bit of digging reveals that this salute was created by Devin Singley, a 23 year old who states in his bio that he is “currently in the process of working towards a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. With this degree, I plan on finding a career as a school Media Librarian”. Welcome to the profession Devin, and what a great way to mark your entrance!

ETA: I have to say that my favorite section is where the “advanced drawer pull” is demonstrated about half way through. Not sure why, but it makes me laugh — I am easily amused some days. Oh, and the Library Card song in the video is not the original Arthur version, it is a cover done by a garage band called the Pink Fuzzies and it seems unclear to me if it was ever released beyond being online.

March 9, 2007 at 4:34 pm 2 comments

Don’t let the train leave the station without us!

If you have time to read only one thing today, this post on ALA TechSource is the one: Dear Library of Congress

Karen G. Schneider yet again comes up with a “Must Read” post that is sure to become to a classic in the blogosphere. So much food for thought in this post that I think I will have to read it twice. And her conclusion is spot on:

But in the end, after we conclude that the user is not broken, and that the tools we design must reflect this fact, and before the train pulls away forever… can we also agree that the first commitment to ease of access needs to include the right—forever, and always—to read?

March 7, 2007 at 1:04 pm

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