Author Archive

Not Enough Friends? Buy Some!

Not feeling “popular enough” on your MySpace page? Afraid that others have way more friends!? Scared the friends you do have aren’t good looking enough!? Concerned prospective employers and/or mates will search for you online and find you just don’t cut it!?

Don’t worry – now you can buy some VIRTUAL friends!!!

The New York Times today reports, Fake Your Space is a “business founded by Brant Walker, which offered users of MySpace.com and similar sites a way to enhance their page with photographs and comments from hired “friends” — mainly attractive models — for 99 cents a month each.”

Wow.

I’ve felt like a loser in real life, but not on the Internet. Yet. Maybe I should!?

On the other hand, if you have too many friends, or unwanted friends (!?), Mr. Walker also provides a service called BreakYourSpace.com to get rid of unwanted friends!

According to the article, all of this is perfectly legal. MySpace and Facebook have had no comment.

Is this unethical? Immoral? Is it any different from pre-arranging a cell-phone-call-bail-out when you are going on a blind date or other potentially bad social engagement? Is it any different from a totally “fake” online self? Is this “stealth technology”?

I wouldn’t worry about it too much, and anyway, if you use this service you’ll be so popular you won’t have TIME to think about issues like these!

February 26, 2007 at 5:33 pm 4 comments

Gaming and more @ your library

Hey I just wanted to post a brief report on the NJLA Information Technology meeting that was held on Thursday at the East Brunswick Public Library. LG’s Tyler Rousseau gave a great presentation on Gaming in Libraries! The full presentation and handouts will be available very soon on the “Links of Interest” section on the NJLA IT page.

After Ty’s presentation everyone got a chance to do some hands-on gaming! We provided Play Stations with Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero (one of my personal faves); some online gaming and the new Nintendo Wii. The only downside to this event was that NOW I MUST HAVE A Wii!!! ;-)

I don’t consider myself to be much of a “gamer,” but once I tried this I found out what all the fuss is about! It comes with the sports game that includes bowling, tennis and a few other things. I played the bowling game (against a very formidable opponent, Mary Martin, who kicked my butt!) and I am really hooked! The “real action” play of using the wireless hand-held controller while performing actions very similar to “real” bowling was just so much fun! I am officially saving up my money as of yesterday!

Funny aside: The other night a newscaster was reading from the teleprompter and read “Wii” as “World War II”!

Also, if anyone is interested, our next meeting will be held March 8, location TBA, and will focus on Vodcasting! Check our page on the NJLA website for more information!

And, I wanted to point people to a great tool shared by Jessica Adler at the meeting (one of the regular features of our meetings is sharing information and sites or tools of interest)! The tool is Snipshot and it allows you to edit photos online before you share them. There is nothing to install – it is 100% web-based, with a one-click important from any site, and you can save to a free, permanent URL. I haven’t tried it yet but it looks great! Thanks, Jess!!!

January 27, 2007 at 10:19 am 4 comments

I’ve Been Tagged!

This is so great! I’ve been “Tagged” (see Blog Tag Tree) to share with you all and it is just the thing I need to get me back into blogging on a regular basis, which is ONE of my New Year’s Resolutions (more later)….

Also, this forces me to jump in and use this “new” Blogger, so we’ll see…

Blog Tag: 5 Things You Don’t Know About Me
I’ve been tagged by Michael Casey to write about “5 Things You Don’t Know About Amy Kearns”(for those of you who care)!

1. I have a B.A. in Philosophy from Rutgers because I couldn’t stop taking the classes because I loved them so much, even though I had no idea what I would be “when I grew up” with a degree in Philosophy!

The best thing a Philosophy Professor ever told me was, “When someone asks you, ‘What are you going to do with a B.A. in Philosophy!? You tell them ANYTHING!”

And, it’s true – a B.A. in Philosophy is good for any-and-every-thing you would ever want to be when you grow up, especially a librarian (which I didn’t even know I wanted to be until about 1995)!
(Note: My sister went on to get a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Delaware and my Director, Cindy Czesak, also has a Philosophy degree!)

2. I can’t believe I am about to admit this, but I have a secret (well not-so-secret now!) passion for Drum and Bugle Corps competitions, and I have attended them almost every single year without missing one since I was about 5 years old! I was never in band, and I’ve never participated in one, but I have been a strong and fanatical supporter of Youth Education in the Arts for many years now!

3. In some ways I am a somewhat “stereotypical” librarian – I LOVE to READ and I LOVE to KNIT! A favorite site of mine is knitty! I just knit a scarf for my sister (my photos are on flickr) for Christmas. In some other ways I am NOT a “stereotypical” librarian – I don’t have (or really like that much) cats but I do have an English Bulldog named Nigel! ;-)

4. I worked in Publishing in NYC for 5 years when I first graduated from college and my dream was to live in Manhattan! That never happened and after five years I couldn’t really take the commute anymore! I was about to get married at the time and my then-fiance-now-husband was working as a teacher in NJ and I wasn’t very happy getting home after 7pm when he was finished with work around 4! ;-)

5. I have already recruited one new librarian since I received my MLIS (also from Rutgers, SCILS, in 2003)! My mom is the Children’s Librarian at the Glen Rock Public Libray! Who are you going to recruit!? ;-)

Thanks for tagging me and allowing me to play and for reading, if you got this far! Now it’s my turn and….

I’m tagging Tyler Rousseau, Mary Martin, Jenny Levine, Leslie Burger, and Peter Bromberg!

December 26, 2006 at 10:38 am 4 comments

I Want you … to Drop DOPA!


I Want you … to Drop DOPA!
Originally uploaded by davidking.

Great!

[via http://www.tametheweb.com%5D

And, you can make your own about whatever you want here:
http://www.hetemeel.com/unclesamform.php

July 28, 2006 at 4:02 pm 2 comments

Great News: NJLA Job Hotline has an RSS FEED!

Some good news:

NJLA is now providing an RSS feed to the job hotline. For more information see here.

Whoo hoo! :-)

July 28, 2006 at 7:48 am 2 comments

Moved to Action…..

Thanks to the inspiring workshop by Michael and Jenny at Princeton Public Library, I have been spurred to some action:

* I’VE DONE IT! I have started the conversation about ending the complete ban on cell phones in our library…. the conversation has begun and we’ll see where it goes (my Reference Department is so far in agreement that there is no need to completely, automatically ban cell phones and/or jump all over people just b/c they have a cell phone open or pressed against their heads! We will be governed by the general idea of ‘no disturbance of other patrons’ and general tolerance/intolerance of noice level, but not just b/c there is a cell phone)!

* I have also changed a policy about our Internet use to try to make it more user-friendly – it is in a trial phase and we’ll see how it goes! Normally, anyone who is a “second-time user” of the Internet has to wait until ALL “first-time users” get on. We are trying an approach which lets any user go on in the order in which they have signed up on our sheet. It is a little bit hard to explain, but hopefully this will eliminate unnecessary and unending waiting times.

* I blogged a bit more (both here at Library Garden and over at my other blog, Pimp My Library) and I started a new blog Life in an Urban Public Library, where I will blog about my personal professional experiences as a Librarian in an Urban Public Library. I need to remember that my blog need not be perfect or formal!

* I plan to start a flickr account for the Paterson Free Public Library, and will post pictures there. I have been using flickr for personal photos for a long time now, but not so far for the library!

* I have plans in place to start a “No Log” at the Reference Desk, to record the services we repeatedly say “no” to, so we can reconsider them (item number 1 – PUBLIC FAXING!). You can read a bit more about “No Logs and No Wikis” here.

* Next up: Working toward IM in the library and going back to try to restart the wiki and/or blog I would like to see us using here at the library.

* Tonight is the last night of the Passaic County Fair and our library computer consortium, PALSPlus, has had a tent there throughout the week. Tonight it is our library’s turn to “staff” it – I am going, alongwith my Director and Assistant Director and I think it will be a lot of fun. We have t-shirts to wear and we have trivia questions and games and prizes. From what I have heard back so far, the tent has been a very popular place and a big success! I am going to be sure to share photos afterward! What a great way to show that the libraries are truly a part of the community!!!! I’m really excited about being there tonight and will report back!

Thanks, Michael and Jenny for all the inspiration! :-)

July 22, 2006 at 9:32 am 3 comments

Library Garden gets Tamed and Shifted

Some of Library Garden got “Tamed and Shifted,” as Janie captioned this photo, along with many others, at the workshop held at The Princeton Public Library, on Tuesday, July 19th, 2006.

Jenny, Amy, Robert, Janie and Michael at the end of the day at Princeton Public Library.

July 20, 2006 at 4:42 pm

Shifted, Tamed and PUMPED!

A great, big, huge, grateful and very impressed thank you goes out to CJRLC and Princeton Public Library’s Leslie Berger (current ALA President!) and Janie Hermann for having Michael Stephens and Jenny Levine come to Princeton to present their workshop, “Conversation, Community, Collections, & Collaboration:Practical, New Technologies for User-Centered Services”!

Thanks Leslie for having the inspiration to invite Michael and Jenny to NJ and also thanks to Janie and CJRLC for all the hours you spent coordinating and making it happen.

This program was very well-attended and successful on so many levels!

I was very excited to meet Michael and Jenny for the first time in person, and to attend one of their workshops, and even all of my own building-up of these two and their “roadshow” didn’t result in any disappointment!

Michael and Jenny are fabulous presenters who share their information in measured, easy-to-understand ways, while managing to convey excitement and interest in the topics. Even though not everything in the presention was new to me, I was never bored or disinterested.

They managed to go over blogs and blogging, RSS (VERY important!), wiki, flickr and so much more! I think everyone was having a great time and learning so much, all while enjoying the comfort of the Princeton Public Library – and no, I’m not being paid by anyone to say these things! Though I did go out to a great lunch with Janie and Robert after the program! ;-)

The event was really well managed and seemed to come off without a hitch – the catered lunch was terrific and the room set up was accomodating, despite the full house! Even the technology didn’t seem to hit any snags! ;-) It was so great to see so many people come out and take advantage of this great program.

There are so many points that Michael and Jenny brought up that are so important – maybe I’ll just try to mention a very few here! I hope others will either add to this post or post comments about what great stuff they got out of this workshop! Share what you’ve done since attending the program! I know of at least one person who went back to her libray and started a flickr account, and posted on some blogs (yes, I’m talking about YOU, Mary!)!

While the actual technology teaching was very interesting and informative, it was the more intangible lessons that I personally got the most out of!

THESE ARE FREE PEOPLE! FREE!!!!!! AS IN, NO MONEY OUTPUT FROM YOU OR YOUR LIBRARY!!!! You can be a “hero” here – lots of excellent results for no investment of money!

- Blogging is informal and doens’t have to be perfect (in fact, I am leaving that typo in there on purpose to remind myself of this and to try to personally overcome my “perfectionism” problems!)

- It is important to put a “human face” on the library: this makes it much more difficult to cut funding for the library for one thing! ;-) And you can use many of these new technologies to do this, i.e., start a flickr photo sharing account for your library (it’s really easy I promise!) and post pictures of your programs, your patrons (who agree to it), your staff, etc.!

- Celebrate and share your successes! When/where have you shared positive feedback from your patrons with your community or even wider? You can do this on a blog! This also really helps to humanize the library.

- Consider your policies – are they more of barriers between patrons and services/staff than anything else? Do they just cause more work for library staff? Are they “librarian-centered” rather than “user-centered”? I know *I* will be reconsidering some of the policies in my library after the workshop!

- Start a blog! Just start one! Open a flickr account! Just try it! Play with these things!

- Check out what other libraries are doing and how they are using these technologies! For example, Ann Arbor District Library has a blog (in fact IS a blog – can you imagine!?) with OPEN COMMENTS on it (gasp! the horror! the fear!) Guess what!? Nothing bad has happened!

DO NOT BE AFRAID!

Onward!

P.S. You can read more about the workshop on the NJLA blog where Jessica Unger has a great post!

July 20, 2006 at 4:24 pm

Here’s a Good Tip: CLEAN UP YOUR DIGITAL DIRT!

Lifehacker (which is a great site to check out!) just posted this:

http://lifehacker.com/software/facebook/clean-up-your-digital-indiscretions-183003.php

The Wall Street Journal’s college edition advises graduates to Google
themselves and clean up their trail of Facebook, MySpace digital dirt before
they hit the pavement looking for a job:

According to a 2005 survey of 102 executive recruiters by ExecuNet, an executive job-search and networking
organization, 75% of recruiters use search engines to uncover information about
candidates, and 26% of recruiters have eliminated candidates because of
information found online.

What I like about this article is that it
doesn’t take the “stay off the Internet!” tact – it actually suggests starting
your own blog or site to seed Google with what you want it to say about you.
Great idea! See also: Have a say in what Google says about you. — Gina Trapani How to Clean Up Your Digital Dirt [College Journal via College v2] — Gina Trapani

June 24, 2006 at 8:31 am 1 comment

Cool! Summer Reading Program to Include Adults!

Cool! The Parsippany libraries will be including adults in their summer reading program – with prizes!!!

I think this is great for two reasons:

1) They are including adults because, “…if more parents read, more kids will, too…” (see full article in today’s Morris Ledger here .)

and

2) They are using their website as a 24/7 branch for this program:

In previous years, we heard that with kids in camp all day (parents) can’t get them here for programs because they don’t have a lot of spare time and we appreciate that,” Beline (the library director) said. “Now, it’s true, we’re open 24-7.Article here.

This is so great and is a great example of the library meeting the needs of
its patrons. You can’t make it in during the summer days? We’ll put part of
our summer reading program on our website and open it up to adults to
encourage more participation all around! Great!

The prizes for adults include themed gift baskets. For example: the Italy basket has pasta, sauces and cookbooks; the beach basket has towels, flipflops, books, etc… I know I sure would love to win one of those!

I also love that they got such a nice write-up in their newspaper.

AND the “librarians are wearing ‘Have you joined the club?’ T- shirts”! COOL indeed!

June 23, 2006 at 10:08 am

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