Archive for May, 2007

MySpace to give up names of registered sex offenders.

Man, this is a tough one. My many sides are really battling each other.

The librarian side of me screams about the rights of privacy and shuns them for giving in.
My business side wonders if it was necessary in order to keep the website alive… one too many lawyers to hire and enough bad publicity.

My researcher side of me tells me that underage children are lying about their identities on the site as well.

My educator side agrees and says we need to teach or children about digital ethics and how not to invite trouble into your life.

My logical side agrees and knows that this wont stop unregistered pedifiles from getting to our children.

Which leads to my rational side of me wondering if there are better ways of creating profiles that help avoid these problems on Myspace.

And through all this, the parent in me says damned straight! It is amazing how strong that voice became when my wife gave birth to our child.

All in all, I really don’t know how to think of this. Yeah, in a way I feel that they are convicts and deserve what they get now; but they are still citizens and therefore have all the rights of any other citizens despite their past actions… and some people do reform and have the right to a normal life.

I simply don’t know… anyone else?

May 22, 2007 at 10:22 am 10 comments

One Laptop Per Child

The other night I watched 60 Minutes which isn’t something I regularly do but I’m glad I did because last night they did a story called What If Every Child Had A Laptop?

Nicholas Negroponte, a professor at MIT, had a dream that every child on the planet had a laptop. He thought that this would enable kids even from impoverished countries to become educated and a part of the rest of the modern world. He figured if he could help invent an inexpensive laptop he could achieve this dream.

He founded a non-profit organization called One Laptop Per Child and he has managed to create a lightweight, very sturdy, inexpensive laptop that he expects will soon cost about $100.00.

The show was pretty amazing – the kids in some places he went to didn’t even have electricity or running water but when they got the laptops they only needed about 10 minutes to figure out how to use them! They taught each other and they brought the laptops home and taught their families. Sometimes the light from the laptop was the only source of light in the home! Some places he would like to give the kids laptops don’t even have a school. The laptops would be their school.

It might seem like a luxury but would it really be in places such as Cambodia, Brazil, countries in Africa?

Interestingly, the attendance at schools where the laptops were given out also went up – kids were coming to school because they had heard from other kids that school was a good place to be and a place where they got the laptops. These kids started crossing the digital divide.

The computers have built-in cameras, drawing programs and programs to make music. They have wi-fi two to three times better than the wi-fi in this Dell laptop I’m using right now, according to Negroponte, and are currently in a testing program in Brazil. The computers are waterproof and do not have openings on the sides where sand or dirt could get in.

These laptops have other features I would love – the battery lasts 10-12 hours and can be recharged with the use of a hand-crank if no electricity is available. Who wouldn’t love that!?

Interestingly, this laptop which started out as a dream and is Negroponte’s completely humanitarian effort, has attracted some competition. Geekcorps – an organization that brings technology to poorer countries, much like the Peace Corps operates, thinks the One Laptop Per Child idea is great but director Wayan Vota isn’t sure that the kids can really just teach themselves. And there is another laptop up against Negroponte’s. The Classmate by Intel -

Negroponte says that worldwide there are over a billion children who would need laptops, so no wonder other companies want in on this idea. Negroponte says this competition is “shameless,” but Intel says it is just the way the business – the world – works. Intel believes that a project like this will require everyone working together and that there are lots of opportunities to work together.

To get his laptops into full production he will need at least 3 million orders. He feels confident he will get that despite the competition from Intel and others who will want to get their products into the hands of a billion plus kids.

If his ultimate goal is really a purely humanitarian one of really getting a laptop into the hands of every child maybe the competition will be good – maybe it will result in an even cheaper, and better, model that really can be distributed worldwide.

Whatever happens with the One Laptop Per Child program, one of my favorite parts of this whole idea is that when One Laptop Per Child comes to the US (there are talks going on already) and if the laptops become available commercially, parents will have to buy two if they want one. One for your child and one for another child. I think that’s a great idea and hey you’ll still only be spending about $200.00!

I think this program would be great in urban areas in the United States such as the one I am working in now, Paterson, New Jersey. Many of the kids in these schools do not have access to computers everyday, they don’t even all have real cafeterias, gyms or science labs in most of the schools! I recently toured some of the schools in Paterson during a seminar for Leadership Paterson, a program I am enrolled in. That was fascinating but I will post on that another time at my blog, Urban Librarian.

May 21, 2007 at 10:54 pm 3 comments

Teen Librarians: Who we are and what we are not

As a Young Adult Librarian, I have made the professional decision to immerse myself in young adult culture; the books they read, the music they listen to, the resources they use for information. I have also taken on the responsibility to provide programming opportunities for the teen community to participate in, if they choose to do so. In other words, teen resources are my specialty.

But I am not the babysitter for every teen that enters the library.

And I am not the only person capable of handling teens’ questions.

I am not disciplinarian for all teens.

Nor are my job responsibilities significantly different from any other librarian.

I am not their babysitter- Teens that come into the library are my specialty, not my responsibility. Just because a teen enters the building, it does not mean they can only be in the Teen Section. Teens have the same rights as all other patrons, they are allowed to go in any other part of the library.

I am not the only person to handle a teens’ question- Listen to the needs of the patron first and then figure out if my expertise is needed. If they know the name of book they are looking for, help them. If they want to find out where the copier is, show them. But, if the teens wants book recommendations, programming information, research help… I’m your person. Remember, I don’t send every old person your way.

I am not the teens disciplinarian- If teenagers are acting up in the library, this is not my fault. Furthermore, don’t send me the rambunctious teen and tell me to “deal with them.” In doing so, you have negated your own authority in the teens’ eyes.

My job responsibilities aren’t significantly different- If you don’t expect the rest of your staff to work multiple nights, then it shouldn’t be expected of your YA Librarian. If your typical Reference or Children’s Librarian does two programs a week, don’t expect the YA Librarian to have programming everyday, or every moment that teens are present. If you don’t expect your other programs to have 100% attendence from members of the library community, don’t expect every teen to show up for every program.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of good Teen Librarians who leave the position because of they discover the job expectations are disproportoinate to other positions in the libarary.

Consider families, consider the lives outside of job and please consider the wear and tear you put on your Teen Librarian when you send them patrons you personally would rather not deal with.
We are programmers, we are selectors, we are outreach and we are staff members dedicated to maintaining the enthusiasm and interest of the library’s future adults, future taxpayers, and advocates.

We do not need a thank you for this… we just ask for your consideration.

May 21, 2007 at 7:42 am 10 comments

World Cafe Power Point

At The Futures Conference, Peggy Cadigan and Barbara Cole stayed up all night working up this great powerpoint to capture all the great thoughts and comments that came out of the World Cafe that took place after a great day of presentations!

Take a look here!

(Great use of SlideShare.net too!)

The World Cafe was a chance for everyone to socialize and talk about what we had experienced throughout the day. We were in small groups and talked aabout a question that was posed something like, “If you die 100 years from now what will be different about the world you leave compared to the one you came into?” And one other one I can’t recall right now – help me out someone!

FYI if you look at the pictures, the World Cafe pics are the ones that show lots of glitter and stuff on the tables and tables named after books and/or movies, and all those newsprint papers hanging up with all our doodling, drawing and brainstorming on them! It was fantastic and excellently created, organized and run by Peggy and Barbara! Kudos!

May 19, 2007 at 9:51 am

The Ultimate Question and One More…

I just came across this article in OCLC’s NextSpace No. 5 (from Dec. 2006 – Yikes! Where was I!?) Are You Asking the Ultimate Question? which talks about a book by Fred Reichheld, The Ultimate Question.

This article talks about how the most important question to ask of your customers/patrons is “Would you recommend us to a friend?” In fact, the argument is made that this need be the ONLY question if you survey. Yes, a one-word survey!

I actually heard this recently when I toured a hospital in Paterson – they have this question stated explicitly as a goal – “Would you (in this case the employee) recommend this hospital to your friends or family members?” A pretty good question to keep in mind! I think it is a good thing just to ask ourselves to make sure we are providing a level of service that we would be proud to offer to our own circle.

Which reminds of something I heard recently about the bathrooms in some public libraries – the staff wouldn’t stand for having to use them and have their own bathrooms which are in much better shape, but they expect their patrons to use them all the time!? This is like a “home” and the patrons are a guest in your home – is that the bathroom condition you would present to your guests at home?

Anyway . . .

Fred Reichheld is saying that the answer to this one question could determine the future of your business or library.

With something that is this “old” (the book came out in January 2006) I always worry that someone else has already addressed this, but it is totally new to me and I think very important for libraries.

Nonbusiness organizations also have customers; they need to delight the people
they serve, and they too can benefit greatly from the use of one simple metric.
- Fred Reichheld in NextSpace No. 5.

Wow! DELIGHT the people they serve! What a novel idea! So how does this one question work?

You ask a question such as, “On a scale of 1-10 how likely are you to recommend us to a friend or colleague?”

Promoters score 9 or 10 – are loyally enthusiastic, keep coming and urging others to do so

Passives score 7 or 8 – are satisfied but easily wooed away

Detractors are the rest – UNHAPPY CUSTOMERS, feel ignored/mistreated, plot to get even!

Sometimes a follow-up question is asked to gain more insight. “If you would not recommend us, why not?” (Those answers might be hard to face!)

Ironically, customer loyalty provides companies with a powerful advantage – a
battalion of credible sales and marketing and PR troops who require no salary or
commissions. Yet the importance of these customer promoters is overlooked. -
Fred Reichheld, NextSpace No. 5.

We already know the power of negative experiences in stores or libraries and the studies that show that if a customer has a bad experience they are likely to tell (something like) 12 people! If they have a good experience they don’t tell nearly as many. It takes way more positive experiences to overcome one negative experience. We need to create as many positive experiences, and positive, PROMOTER-users as possible!

I recommend you read the article if you’re not familiar with this – it also contains information on the OCLC report Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources. Steve Hiller also provides a lot of information in this article.

I plan to check this out some more and do some reading on the blogs related to this idea. I think it would be fascinating to do this type of one- or two-word survey and see what we get!

One other question I want to bring up here is “What business are we in?” I used this today when a volunteer came to me with yet another ripped magazine cover, very distressed. I told her that we aren’t in the business of preserving magazines perfectly forever. We are in the business of providing magazines to be read. True, if one person destroys a magazine they are obstructing others from having access to it, but some ripped and torn covers is not really the priority of our business.

So I say, ask yourself, “What business are you in?” and then ask yourself and your customers, “Would you recommend us to a friend or family member?”

EDIT:
Okay sorry I’m having trouble in the comments but the link for the new forum on Net Promoter is:

http://netpromoter.groupee.net/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/2731073251/m/6701054452

Sorry I couldn’t edit or delete those messed up comments b/c I didn’t install greasemonkey yet per Peter! :-)

May 18, 2007 at 1:23 pm 6 comments

NJ State Library is ‘On the Train!’

I’ve just come back from the HRLC Annual Meeting up at the lovely Parsippany-Troy Hills library (I really like the library’s “opening doors to the world” logo and mission). I went as an employee of an HRLC member library, and as the Chair of the HRLC Technology Committee, and also as a representative from the NJLA Member Services Committee. This is the first year I’ve been able to attend the annual meeting and I have to say it was great!

Norma Blake, the State Librarian, was there sharing about the State Library and what it’s up to and where it’s going. I just want to quickly share that everything that Norma talked about was very exciting and really “on track” from my perspective of what libraries in NJ need.

(Apologies if I’ve gotten anything incorrect here or misrepresent anything – please put me straight anyone if so!)

This presentation was similar (though much shorter) to the one presented at NJLA last month by the State Library and seemed very focused and more specific. It was also clearly influenced by the Futures Conference which was what I was so excited to see!

I heard things that came directly out of the conference such as the fact that they will have a position for Urban and Adult services – they already have teen services and now they want to focus on the needs of urban libraries and of the needs of the increasingly older population – Norma specifically said they will be working with Americans for Libraries Council which was what Mary Catherine Bateson spoke about when she did her presentation on “active wisdom,” and the importance of the relationships and value that the older generations bring, and their worth and place in society. It was also what the demography program showed us – the boomers are getting older (sorry guys!) and they are a large population! Clearly, the State Library is paying attention and responding!

Norma shared that they are “reworking” some positions – since they can’t afford to just create and hire new people. For example, Peggy Cadigan’s role is going to evolve into an “Innovations” position where she will be a member of a futures group and attend conferences and meetings about the future that are held by not just libraries and librarians, but by other fields too so that we will know what’s ahead “down the pike” not just for us, but in other areas – areas and things that will certainly impact upon us! VERY exciting – for Peggy and for NJ libraries and librarians!

They are also going to have a Technologies position and want to create a help desk and have assistance available for libraries. This is all of course in addition to the great marketing and pr work they are doing, the other initiatives and efforts they are pursuing. This is by no means a comprehensive list!

I also think the idea of creating pilot projects in each region to demonstrate the value for the constituents is great – the pilot projects also aim to attract new users.

I spoke to Norma during the break to tell her that I am very excited by everything she talked about – she even has a plan for how to proceed following the Futures Conference! The New Jersians who attended the conference will be meeting up for an “After the Futures” meeting to continue to talk about what we heard and saw and brainstorm how specifically to proceed in NJ. From this brainstorming meeting we will see what ideas shake out and then we will invite input from all and develop some plans around the ones that get the most support.

I am really excited (did I say that already?) to see ACTIONS coming out of the Futures Conference – after all, it was called Imagination to Transformation, and transforming requires action! I am really happy to see the State Library taking a strong, specific leadership role for the future of library service in New Jersey!

There was more of course, and the Strategic Plan for the Highlands Regional Library Cooperative was shared and voted on – awards were given out and food was had! Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to take any photos what with manning the Member Services station and attending the meeting, but I left there feeling very energized! Hopefully we will find out more about all of these things soon!

P.S. You can now blog and read about reactions to the Futures Conference on that blog and there is a new flickr page for the photos! I also see a video posted with Peggy in it but I haven’t viewed it yet! Still looking around for those slides from the presentations though ….

May 17, 2007 at 4:26 pm

Twittering about Second Life

Monday I got this e-mail from my director:

Those of us at the Futures conference heard about the increasing rate of change
and how technology is central to it. So, do any of you read the Sunday Star
Ledger? If you do, did you notice the articles on pages 2 and 3 of the first
section (not buried somewhere) – Twitter and Second Life. When things like this
become news that’s prominently placed, you HAVE to sit up and take notice.

True, this past Sunday’s Star Ledger carried articles about Twitter and Second Life (actually, there were two about Second Life, there was also this one). Well those are the ones I found online, I didn’t actually see the print paper.

While I’m certainly not a “Twitter celebrity” I have discovered that Twittering is kinda’ fun. The first time I heard about it I thought it was ridiculous and didn’t even sign up for it – even though I am a major “joiner”! ;-) However, when a friend invited me to join and be his friend, I did it and then found out that getting little messages about what he was doing was kinda neat and fun. Then I added another friend. It also became fun to post little tidbits about what I was doing (you are limited to 140 characters). I am by no means “addicted” or “obsessed,” but it is fun.

The article calls Twitter a “booming new social networking site,” “micro-blogging,” “addictive and may just be the future of communication.” People are using it to find like-minded friends and connections without all the “noise” of MySpace. Especially funny tweets become popular and their posters gain visibility.

One day when I checked the public timeline I saw people posting to each other who were at some kind of conference and checking-in to say when/where/what they were doing – making plans about where to meet up and when to eat, etc….

At the Futures Conference Ray Kurzweil talked about things doubling very quickly. Well, according to one of the founders of Twitter, its users are doubling every three weeks!

Check out Twitter Map and Twitterholic if you’re into it.

As for Second Life, the first article offers a sort of “travel guide” to it with tips and a warning that “sex is everywhere,” hence the second article about someone offering child pornography there.

Again, I am not a big user of Second Life. I did eventually sign up but have only been “virtual” once. I just fumbled and stumbled around and ended up getting stuck on a fence somewhere. However, Second Life has more than 6 million registered participants (according to the article) and I have seen some interesting things on useful applications and results from Second Life. Of course, there is a library there and many “real world” things take place there – concerts, buying and selling, advertising, building or creating things, meet people, own land, etc..

Maybe I should give it another try. If anyone knows how to get off that darn fence in Second Life, Twitter me!

May 15, 2007 at 8:36 am 6 comments

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