Author Archive

You Don’t Need Physical Proximity to Feel Close

I am sitting here at work in tears.

I have just seen and read about Michael‘s dear dog, Jake. I had been watching his decline through Michael’s posts on flickr and knowing that eventually this post would come. Then I read Karen Schneider’s perfect post about pets, and unconditional love and social networks, and I just have to share.

We really can be one large community.
I have only met Michael once in person, but I feel that I “know” him somewhat through the Internet – his posts on flickr and his blog, his generousness, intellect and humor that truly come across no matter what medium he uses to communicate. And, especially as a dog lover/owner I certainly could “know” his relationship with his dog, Jake, and feel such pain for him at this time. I wish there was something I could DO. But I am hoping that Michael and his family and his other dog, Charlie, can feel us all around him, even though we are not physically present with them, sharing their sadness and caring so much for them in these ways that we can – posts, emails, instant messages, etc..

The Internet can be an amazing thing. I wish I could tie this all together better somehow, and make some more profound point that I feel is here but just out of reach, but I feel too sad to do it right now. Anyway, Karen really said it best and said it all.

June 18, 2007 at 3:38 pm

Not Attending ALA? Here’s an Alternative…

This is posted many places but I want to be sure that no one misses it!

Not able to attend ALA but still want to find out what’s going on in cutting edge technology and social software!? Well check out the BIGWIG Social Software Showcase…

From their page:

The Social Software Showcase is an online unconference occurring around and during the time of ALA Annual 2007.
On this wiki, you will find eleven wonderful presentations on cutting edge technology and social software by librarians and leaders in the field. Regardless of where you are in the world, you will have the opportunity to discuss the presentations here in this space.
We will also be having a face to face roundtable discussion with some of our presenters at ALA Annual in Washington D.C. on Saturday, June 23rd, from 1:30-2:30 in the Renaissance Mayflower Cabinet Room. If you are in D.C. please come and join us.
This wiki will be a work in progress as we iron out a few things, including the embedding of the presentations. But we’ll be ready and running before ALA! [end]

This is a revolutionary way of presenting information! Please do check it out.

The presenters include the VERY excellent:

Michael Casey – Library Crunch
Michael Porter, aka Library Man! – Library Man blog
Jessamyn West – Librarian.net blog
Karen Schneider – Free Range Librarian
Her post on this.
AND MORE!

You can read another excellent post on this for some more information on the Information Wants to Be Free blog here.

The Bigwig Social Software Showcase is here .

Check it out! :-)

Happy Weekend!

June 15, 2007 at 7:53 am

Back to the Future

The follow-up meeting for those who attended the Mid-Atlantic Futures Conference takes place tomorrow morning at the Princeton Public Library. I’m really looking forward to it and I’m really excited about it. No doubt Pete, myself and others will have much to say!

You can finally check out the hand-outs and materials, etc. from the conference here!

June 3, 2007 at 10:19 pm

Amy’s 8 Things

(Hmmm I kinda like the sound of that)!

So I have been tagged here and on the PML blog – do I have to come up with 16 things or should I just refer you there!? ;-) EDIT: Okay I managed to come up with 8 more – if you’re really bored or interested check them out! ;-)

Well, I’ll do 8 here and then see what happens:

1. I like to keep my fingernails really short because I can’t stand typing on the keyboard with long ones. I spend so much time typing that it really is an issue for me and I can now hardly stand for them to be much longer than the very end of the tips of my fingers. This is okay though because I also pretty much prefer them this way and like the way they look. I also like to paint them dark red.

2. When I was little we had a tire swing in the backyard, hanging from a very large, old tree. I used to play outside on that tire swing all by myself for hours! One thing I would do was to “broadcast” my own radio show while I swung around (weird).

3. I have worked in the following places: a 5 & 10 store; CVS; a Mail Boxes, Etc. (no, it wasn’t a UPS Store back then); a Manhattan publishing company; the Clifton (NJ) Public Library; and now at the Paterson (NJ) Free Public Library. It NEVER occurred to me to become a librarian, not even once, for one second, even though I went there ALL THE TIME, until about the year 2001.

4. I used to have a really weird habit of washing my feet before I went to bed. I just hated the idea of putting dirty feet into my bed. I don’t know why I used to do that, and I don’t really know exactly when or why I stopped doing that.

5. I don’t really like to cook. My husband doesn’t really like this fact about me.

6. I have never, ever, ever smoked a cigarette. Not even one puff once to try it. Never.

7. The first car I ever owned, which I bought myself, was a used Nissan Sentra. Stick shift. I didn’t know how to drive stick. I couldn’t even drive the car home myself. While learning to drive it, I once drove it right through the garage door! The only person who finally succeeded in teaching me how to drive that thing was a friend of my mom’s. She was also my brother’s Pre-K teacher and also then became a librarian!

8. I used to be a soccer superstar!

And, I’m not tagging anyone else. I hope that won’t bring me 8 million years of bad luck or something…!!??!?

May 31, 2007 at 12:55 pm 6 comments

You Don’t Have To

Feeling overwhelmed by everything?

I sure have lately! Finding facebook and loving it somehow pushed me over the edge. I thought of myself as “keeping up” and “in the know,” and then somehow I found myself feeling as if I’m drowning in the sea of incredible, new and fun tools, unable to get a breath!

I was talked down by this post from The Shifted Librarian (Jenny Levine). All I can say is, Thank you, thank you, thank you, Jenny. Your timing couldn’t have been more perfect (sorry for that word ha ha.)

Please, for those of you feeling overwhelmed, I highly recommend you read it. Now.

You can’t do it all, and admitting it is okay. This online stuff, it’s
great. We *love* living in this time, right? It’s fun, it’s constant learning,
it’s empowering and alluring if you love learning and information. All of those
tools at our fingertips to learn about and play with, all to help people. It’s
beyond cool.

But it’s not your life, nor should it be. You have to learn to let some of it go and then be okay with that (which is the hard part). Michael Stephens talks a lot about how librarians need to let go of the “culture of perfect.” For the younger bibliobloggers I will add that you have to learn to let some of the pressure go. You physically cannot keep up with it all, so beating yourself up over failing to do so is pointless.

May 30, 2007 at 11:06 pm 6 comments

What are the library students of today learning?

I have been thinking about this a lot lately and starting to talk to some people about it. I am happy to have found out that Leslie Burger, current ALA President and Princeton (NJ) Public Library Director is also interested in this and is looking (I believe) into ways of assessing and addressing it…..

I just wonder what our current library students are learning and if they are learning about Web 2.0 technologies, customer service and the importance of these things to libraries. If we are spending time and effort to “catch-up” our current librarians, unless we are producing librarians who are “up” on these things, we will be fighting a losing battle.

I have been out of library school since 2003 (and that is even longer ago really than 4 years when you take into consideration how technology and the world changes even faster and faster as time goes by). None of these Web 2.0 things were being talked about then, but they really weren’t on the radar then. I had some wonderful professors. I am sure that there are some wonderful professors now who are teaching these things or who are open to them – maybe the library students are teaching them in some cases! – and I am not disparaging library schools or professors. I just don’t want us to focus all of our efforts on the current librarians only to find that the “new” ones also need such “catching-up.”

You might assume that all “new” librarians are “young” librarians. But this is certainly not the case, just as it isn’t the case that all “young” librarians and people know and embrace all of the Web 2.0 technologies and approaches or realize their necessity in the library world.

A colleague shared this (and he can identify himself, elaborate, or not, I have altered the quote a bit for privacy, and hope he doesn’t mind):

I did a talk for (a class) as recently as October 2006. By show of hands, maybe 2 out of 30 in the class had any idea what RSS is, or read any library blogs.

I found this upsetting (because) RSS IS an information literacy technology. Perhaps it is THE single best technology for allowing us to manage the flow, display, sharing, and consumption of information. As promoters of information literacy, librarians should be ALL OVER THIS.

You know, you could say that perhaps they are using RSS and don’t know it, like many “lay” people who are using it but if you ask them they have no idea that they are! Although I think the point is they should know… However, the part about not reading library blogs is just inexplicable!

I posted about it on another blog and got an interesting reply from a library student:

LibraryNation said…
I’m in library school right now and I’d have to say that there’s a division of thirds in regards to the level of skill we future librarians have: a third of us are really up to
date on technology, web 2.0, and the like; a third don’t know a lot about these
things, but really want to learn more and take all sorts of tutorials and short courses from our IT lab (staffed by fellow students) to expand their knowledge/understanding/use of these technologies. The last third don’t have much interest in learning about these technologies, or perhaps don’t even know that this is something they should be teaching themselves… something that’s vital. Kind of like marketing ;)
… And maybe you’re right about needing to educate our professors. I think they also fall into the three categories: those in the know, those who want to be in the know, and those who think it’s relevant/unimportant or are unenlightened.

Let’s make sure we take an even broader view – look at the even bigger picture – and make sure that the librarians of tomorrow coming out of library school will truly be librarians of tomorrow and not librarians of yesterday!

(Maybe things aren’t as bad as I fear – can anyone help me out here?!)

UPDATE 05/29/07:
I received this message from Leslie Burger -

I’ve just appointed an ALA presidential task force on library education to
take a look at what is being taught in library schools, consider core
curriculum, and how the LIS curriculum needs to match what we need in the
marketplace. ALA Past President Carla Hayden is chairing the TF which
reports back to the ALA Executive Board with the recommendations at the 2008
Annual Conference.

May 27, 2007 at 11:29 am 22 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

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