Author Archive

New on the blogroll: In the Library With The Leadpipe

By Peter Bromberg

Get thee over to “In the Library with the Lead Pipe“, a new team blog that promises to bring some serious game to the biblioblogosphere.

INLWTL offers a superb and accomplished roster of authors, a truly engaging design (courtesy of Derik Badman), and a quality of writing that’s going to knock our socks off (judging, as I am, from Brett Bonfield’s first post, “What Happens in the Library“, a review of PGTL: The Book. Now that’s good writing!)

Kudos to the whole Leadpipe team, and congrats on your launch.

October 8, 2008 at 12:04 pm 8 comments

Embedding Facebook Video with Greasemonkey – Revised

QandANJ.org recently launched its second commercial which premiered during the MTV Video Music Awards (and is now showing during Project Runway).

In an effort to extend the reach of the commercial, we’ve posted it to YouTube and to our MySpace and Facebook pages, and we’ve encouraged anyone and everyone to embed the YouTube version on their website. All well and good except the embedded YouTube version is pretty low resolution. I really wanted to offer a higher resolution version for embedding.

I noticed that the video that I had uploaded to Facebook was of pretty good quality, but Facebook doesn’t offer an embed code. My usual thought process in cases like this goes something like this:

  1. I want to do it.
  2. Others must want to do it.
  3. Others must have figured out a way TO do it.
  4. I gotta find that way…

And indeed, a little googling turns up this great Greasemonkey script* (direct link to script page) which lets you generate an embed code. The script also creates links to download and/or convert the video to another format (through zamzar.)

This is going to be my new go-to method of embedding high quality video. Any other tips or tricks for embedding high quality video? I’d love to know how others do it. (Note: bliptv didn’t do so hot. Not sure why…)

Added 10/3/08 And here’s the result…


*Greasemonkey: A sweet little Firefox add-on that lets you to customize the way a webpage displays using small bits of JavaScript. It’s like a little miracle, and another not-so-small reason to use Firefox!!

Tags: , , , , (tags created using this greasemonkey script…)

October 3, 2008 at 8:25 am 1 comment

Pop Goes the Book!

It started as a blog

Now it’s a book! (with a blog about the book that came from the blog. You follow?)

A big congrats to (New Jersey’s own) Sophie Brookover and Liz Burns on the publication of their new book, Pop Goes the Library!

To get all the juicy, poppy details, complete with links to great pix, back story on the book, links to the book wiki (yup, there’s a book wiki too), point your browser to:
http://www.popgoesthelibrary.com/2008/08/fun-friday-presenting-pop-goes-library.html.

August 1, 2008 at 9:38 am 1 comment

Trailer: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

The first trailer to the next Harry Potter film!

July 30, 2008 at 6:22 am 2 comments

Funny Video: Diluting the creative process

Thanks to branding guru extraordinaire Tom Asacker for sharing this great video. We’re in the process developing a new QandANJ.org commercial so this piece is particularly relevant in my world today.

July 28, 2008 at 2:48 pm

All Together Now. SLJ’s 2.0 Program Begins today, July 21

Some news from Michael Stephens…

Greetings! As some of you may know I am working with School Library Journal and Brian Kenney for two months running a version of Helene Blower’s Learning 2.0 for SLJ staff and readers. Brian wants to open it up far and wide, so please pardon this shameless request for some link love or distribution in your channels to get the word out. I would like to see participants come from everywhere – the US, Canada, UK, Australia, etc etc… :-)

Brian Kenney announced it here: http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/blog/850000285/post/1860029586.html

SLJ’s 2.0 Program Begins July 21

Have you heard of 23 Things, the self-guided program for learning about 2.0 web technology? It was developed by Helene Blowers a couple of years ago at the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County and since then has been adopted across the country by public and school libraries, districts, and even entire states. It consists of a number of “things,” or small exercises, that you do online to expand your knowledge of the 2.0 web and social networking, from blogs and podcasts to wikis and Twitter.

For a while now (and prodded by our Technology Editor, Kathy Ishizuka) I’ve realized it would be a great idea if all of us here at SLJ went through a “23 Things” like experience. After all, we are always writing about different 2.0 applications, shouldn’t we experience them as well? Walk the walk, talk the talk, and all of that…So I resolved that we’d do it this summer.

Then I got to thinking: if we’re going to do it, why not open it up and invite everyone to join us?

So that’s what we are going to do. But Iwe’re not going it alone; we’ve asked 2.0 guru, Dominican faculty member, and season trainer Michael Stephens to join us for the ride. Beginning Monday, July 21, Michael will author a blog here on SLJ.com that will lead us through the different exercises, offer guidance, answer questions, and even provide a little hand-holding. We’re calling it “All Together Now: A 2.0 Learning Experience.”

There’s no need to sign up–just show up. Again, we’ll begin on July 21 and wrap things up in early September.

My “Gearing Up” post is here: http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/blog/290000629.html#530030053

Our work will begin the 21st of July! Starting Monday, I’ll put up a post here — the first of our “things” – with instructions to explore. The first thing is getting a blog and trying out blogging.

I’ve worked with a lot of libraries doing these programs and folks sometimes confess they are scared to dive in. These tools seem too new or hard to use. This program is designed to alleviate those worries. Work at your own pace. Work with a colleague or friend. I kid you not, this is a perfect time and a perfect place to experience these things. These rules will help:

Explore. Try things out. Don’t worry about “breaking” anything! Ask questions. There are no dumb questions. AND It’s okay to make mistakes.

The blog address for the program is: http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/blog/290000629.htm


Thanks for the heads up on this Michael!

July 21, 2008 at 12:38 pm

Goodbye Mr. Carlin

George Carlin passed away yesterday. This makes me sad. Carlin was a comedic and linguistic genius as well as a defender–or perhaps practitioner is a better word — of free speech. Probably best known for his bit on the seven dirty words, Carlin shocked, but did not need to shock, to be funny.

His mind was brilliantly attuned to the absurdities of life, and his gift for language and physical humor allowed him to reflect those absurdities back to us in a way that both challenged and tickled our sensibilities.

George Carlin touched me. Literally. In college I was with a group that brought him to Rutgers for a performance . Before the show began I was charged with guarding his dressing room. The door opened and I felt a tap on my shoulder.

“Hey Buddy”.
“Yes Mr. Carlin”, I replied.
“Where’s the rest room?”
“Right down the hall to the left, Mr. Carlin.”
“Thank buddy.”

As “brush with greatness” stories go, perhaps this doesn’t make the top 10, but I was touched by his gentle manner and the way he called me buddy. I remember a lot of his material that night, but one of my favorite bits was his take on license plates:

  • New Hampshire’s license plates say ‘Live Free … or DIE!!’ I don’t think I want to live in a state that actually mentions death right on their license plates. At the other end of the spectrum is Idaho’s license plates – they say ‘Famous Potatoes.’ I don’t know, I think that somewhere between ‘Famous Potatoes’ and ‘Live Free or Die’ the truth lies. And I think it’s closer to ‘Famous Potatoes.’

Goodbye Mr Carlin, and thanks for all the laughs.

June 23, 2008 at 10:36 am 2 comments

Michael Stephens Interview with John Blyberg

If you haven’t read it already, get thee over to ALA TechSource and read Michael Stephens’ interview with John Blyberg. Lots of good stuff–I’m sure I’ll be returning and re-reading this piece for inspiration in the future. A points that jumped out at me (quotes are from John unless otherwise noted):

  • I’ve come to realize of late that if a change in library services, technology-based or otherwise, isn’t well grounded in our core values and mission, it just looks funny. (Michael)

  • [I]nformation use has become an expression of self–that’s not something libraries ever accounted for. When I talk about this, I refer to it as the “information experience” because, for the growing number of us who participate in the hive, we build our own network of information and interaction that accompanies us through our lives. We literally construct highly-personalized information frameworks and place a huge amount of personal reliance upon them. Ten years ago, this wasn’t the case.
  • It’s true that we are the voice of authoritative knowledge, but we can package that in ways that are not so paternalistic and present ourselves as partners in discovery. None of this requires technology, but technology has become the nexus of collaboration.

John also discusses how the Darien Library is big on Danny Meyer’s book Setting the Table, which defines and makes a powerful argument for the value of hospitality. In one of those weird bloggy synchronicities, I randomly went from reading the TechSource post to Char Booth’s Infomational post, “Manners v. Hospitality“, in which she also references Meyer’s book (which I have also blogged about in the past.) One of favorite passages is:

“In every business, there are employees who are the first point of contact with the customers (attendants at airport gates, receptionists at doctors’ offices, bank tellers, executive assistants). Those people can come across either as agents or as gatekeepers. An agent makes things happen for others. A gatekeeper sets up barriers to keep people out. We’re looking for agents, and our staff members are responsible for monitoring their own performance: In that transaction, did I present myself as an agent or a gatekeeper? In the world of hospitality, there’s rarely anything in between.”

So when you’re done soaking in the TechSource post, take a look Meyer’s book. I’ll soon have a follow-up post on hospitality and customer service based my experience with customer service training at the Trump Taj Mahal this past week.


June 21, 2008 at 10:00 am 1 comment

Friday Facebook Fun

Confession: I don’t get Facebook. I try to get it. Really I do. But my experience has been, well, kinda like this:

May 2, 2008 at 1:08 pm 5 comments

Passion Quilt Meme: Perspective, Perspective, Perspective

Michael Stephens tagged me for the “Passion Quilt” Meme. (Post a picture from a source like FlickrCC or Flickr Creative Commons or make/take your own that captures what YOU are most passionate about for kids to learn about…and give your picture a short title.)

Original Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wwworks/2222523486/

I found it difficult to narrow this down… (I guess that’s the fun of the meme). In the end I cheated and chose two quotes that, taken together, get the heart of what I’m passionate about; taking responsibility for our perceptions, thoughts, feelings and actions. We look out at the world through our eyes and think that we are seeing reality with a capital “R”. Uh-uh. Nope.

Everything outside of us is just data, and there’s a whole lot of it. Our perceptions are therefore highly selective. First we choose which data to focus on. Then we process that data through filters such as our past experiences, our preconceptions, our expectations, our wishes, our fears, our needs, our desires, etc., etc. Then we generate a thought/judgment/evaluation about the filtered, selective data. Then we may have an emotion or feeling in response to the thought about the filtered, selective data. Then maybe we move into action.

This all usually happens with very little awareness, and it is empowering to bring these processes to a more conscious level. In fact, choosing what to look at and how to look at it can be not only empowering but transformational. Limitations start to seem less solid. As we make more choices, it becomes harder to operate out of a consciousness of victimhood and we see new paths and new options opening up before us.

Becoming aware of our own filters also creates space for us to be present with conflicting viewpoints and disagreements. If I can acknowledge that I do not see things as they are, but as they appear to me after being filtered through my own unique perspective (colored by factors including: cultural, religious, political, gender and age to name a few) I become less vigilant about protecting my version of reality. I may not understand why others see things differently, but I can accept that my perceptions are not necessarily THE TRUTH.

Simple things that we usually take for granted as “true” can reveal themselves to be simple convention. You may have noticed that the picture of the Earth (above) is upside down. We all know that the North Pole is the top and the South Pole is the bottom, right? That’s reality. But that’s no more true than saying Bermuda is the top and Perth Australia is the bottom. It’s a matter of perspective. So it is my passionate wish that we learn see more deeply, more broadly and

But hey, enough of my yakkin’. Let’s hear from some others. I tag the bloggers of CEBuzz:

April 29, 2008 at 12:30 pm 7 comments

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