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Friday Fun: Google Street View "Outtakes"

You never know what Google Street View will find — some of it is pretty funny and some of it is downright embarrassing. Some random surfing today brought me to this article posted by the Telegraph in the U.K which also includes a slide show of more than a dozen street view images that have been pulled from the service following complaints or requests since the service went live recently in the U.K. and other European cities.

Not sure if the image with Paddington Bear in Trafalgar Square was pulled — I found it cute and appropriate. But then again, there is some question about whether Paddington was actually stalking the Google cam team.

How fun that they built in a Where’s Waldo game to the Street View as well — and even cooler that Waldo was found!

Of course, many questions could be (and have been) raised about privacy and the “Big Brother” aspect of street views… but that is a whole other post for a different day.

March 20, 2009 at 1:07 pm 2 comments

45 Billion Minutes!

A few fun facts from an interesting, but not surprising, article from PC Magazine today that reports on some findings as a result of recent market research done by Nielsen Online:

One in every 11 minutes online globally is accounted for by social network and blogging sites, the group found, or 45 billion minutes in total.

Blogs and social networking are consuming more online time than checking and writing personal email.

A search engine was used by 85.9 percent of the world’s population, followed by what the firm called “general interest portals and communities,” such as Yahoo, with an 85.2 percent reach. Software ranked third at 73.4 percent, with the member communities of blogs and email fourth, at 66.8 percent. Email came in fifth, at 65.1 percent. All categories showed gains from the year before.

Facebook remained the most popular social-networking destination around the world, and user attention rocketed by 566 percent from a year ago.

As well, this article provides some interesting and quantifiable data about a trend that we have all been observing — the movement of “old fogies” to Facebook (see my previous post) is driving the original demographic to leave:

Growth in social networking is being driven not by the young, but by the middle-aged. The category of men and women aged 65 and above moving to social networking grew by 7 percent, Nielsen found, while the 2-17-year-old category dropped by 9 percent. The most popular age group with Facebook in terms of growth is the 35-49 category, which increased by 24.1 million people.

This article gives terrific insight in to the shift that occurring online and gives some great data to justify the addition of digital branches and social networking features to a library system. The reach of social networking is extending and, like email before it, is something that library patrons of all ages are becoming comfortable using.

Source: More Time Spent Social Networking Than On Email (PC Magazine Online, 3/10/09)

March 10, 2009 at 11:46 am

A Little Link Love

Just a quick post to share a few articles and links that I have found interesting/useful/funny — and sometimes all three. These are in no particular order and with no particular theme.

Why Facebook is for Old Fogies: A humorous article from TIME with lots of truth mixed in about why adults want and need to be on Facebook. A great handout to add a little levity for classes on social networking or for any bibliography for a presentation. My favorite reason from the list:

10. We’re not cool, and we don’t care. There was a time when it was cool to be on Facebook. That time has passed. Facebook now has 150 million members, and its fastest-growing demographic is 30 and up. At this point, it’s way cooler not to be on Facebook. We’ve ruined it for good, just like we ruined Twilight and skateboarding. So git! And while you’re at it, you damn kids better get off our lawn too.

Building Your Base Toolkit: A great resource for those who do library programming from the New York State Library and hosted by the Mid-Husdon Library System. This site is designed to give libraries “tools for connecting with your community” and has lots of good marketing advice in addition to tips for running successful library programs. I am always on the lookout for new programming ideas and they have a lot of good ideas on the Creative Programming page.

Twitter Basics for Librarians: This post is meant to help libraries and librarians start using Twitter, but it could easily be adapted for any group or for a handout for a basic class on twitter at your library. This post also led my to discover Tweeters Directory: Librarians, twitter resource that I had not seen before (although I am undecided about adding my name as I like to keep my following/followers list small and hate to decline people).

Flickriver
: My new favorite way to browse and explore flickr, but be warned that this site can be a giant time suck. If you want to have lots of fun, do a search for the tag “librarian” and sort by “interesting” — here are the results of this search. It is so cool that Cindi’s photos comprise 3 of the top 5 and very telling that many of the “interesting” shots comprise photos of the stereotypical “sexy” librarian image. Oh, and the “librarians in shower caps” mosaic ranks quite highly too! Of course, it is always fun to search for your user name too. The black background and not needing to click to get to the next image just makes the browsing so much better.

Best and Worst Blogs 2009: The second annual list by TIME “spanning politics, housekeeping, astronomy and everything in between”. I found a few new blogs to check out thanks to this list and was happy to see many of my favorites included. The Most Overrated Blogs list is short but right on the money.

March 5, 2009 at 8:50 am 2 comments

Speaking of Nominating

There have been dozens of posts made over the last few months reminding everyone to nominate their favorite Mover and Shaker from libraryland for the annual Library Journal supplement. I myself am in the midst of polishing my M&S nomination for submission before the deadline on Monday November 10th, so I thought while everyone was in nominating mode I would post a reminder that nominating season need not end on Monday!

There are lots of ALA professional recognition awards that you can nominate your colleagues and institution to win — and many of the awards given by ALA have a December 1st deadline, giving you three weeks to put together your nomination!

I spent the last two years serving on the ALA Awards Committee and this year I was appointed the chair of the jury for the ALA/Information Today Library of the Future Award. This is not only a really prestigious award but a really cool one too — as is evident by the list of past winners. Look over the requirements, then think about what your library is doing and how you might possibly qualify:

… to honor an individual library, library consortium, group of librarians, or support organization for innovative planning for, applications of, or development of patron training programs about information technology in a library setting.

Criteria should include the benefit to clients served; benefit to the technology information community; impact on library operations; public relations value; and the impact on the perception of the library or librarian in the work setting and to the specialized and/or general public.

I know, for a fact, that there are many libraries with innovative, forward-thinking and amazing technology-focussed programs that are deserving of this award, so step forward and nominate yourselves or your colleagues.

November 6, 2008 at 12:44 pm

Election Night and Public Libraries

Princeton Public Library will be hosting an Election Night at the Library event for the third time tomorrow night. The library has always been open regular hours on election days and starting in 2004 we decided that as the “community’s living room” we were the perfect venue to host a non-partisan, family friendly election return event. We serve food and drinks, have political commentary, watch the returns on multiple screens, and stay open late — generally until 11 pm, but the year of the hanging chads we stayed until after midnight. Leslie Burger hosts the event and Ingrid Reed of the Eagleton Institute provides the commentary. It really is a wonderful way to spend election night and a great way for the library to prove its value as a Third Place.

I started looking around to see if this idea had caught on at other libraries and I did find that Tigard Public Library in Oregon will be hosting an Election Watch 2008 event and that Towson branch of the Baltimore County Public Library will also be doing an Election 2008: Returns after Dark event. I am sure that there are other public libraries hosting events, if so please comment here and let us know what you are doing!

I was somewhat surprised, however, during my quest to find other library election parties to also discover that many, many public libraries close on election day. I was a little baffled by this, to be honest, especially since Princeton Public Library has always been open and it is the only public library that I have worked at since emigrating from Canada. At first I assumed that some libraries closed because they are polling places. That turns out to be partly true, but it seem that many more close because it is consider a legal holiday in many states, including New Jersey (thanks Wikipedia).

Should libraries remain open on election day and provide a non-partisan forum for their community to gather and participate in watching returns — or should they close in honor of the occasion? I obviously side with the former (even though I am not able to vote, yet) but I am sure there are other viewpoints and I would love to hear both sides.

November 3, 2008 at 2:28 pm 5 comments

Email Habits of Library Workers

About a month ago I posted a simple poll using Doodle to get a quick snapshot of the email habits of librarians and those who work in libraries. I am finally finding a few moments to summarize the results. This is not a very scientific study at all, but it does give an indication that many of us in libraryland seem to feel compelled to check our work email even on weekends and holidays. I wonder if this is the same in other industries or are we just a hyper-connected profession of overachievers that must know at all times what is happening in our libraries even when we are not there?

As of August 15th 2008 there were 160 responses (many more than I expected) and the most popular option chosen was “Yes on weekends” with 119 people (74%) indicating that they needed to know what was going even when they were not at work.

Even though we seem to have a burning desire to check our work email on weekends, there is some indication that at least a small portion of the profession knows the meaning of the word vacation — 51 people (32%) indicated that they do not check work email while on vacation. Conversely, though, that means that more than two-thirds check work email when they should be sipping margaritas or relaxing on the beach.

Here is a quick summary of all the responses (results do not equal 100 as it was multiple choice):

Although the numbers in and of themselves are interesting, what I found most fascinating was the long list of comments. Here are a few sample comments:

Comment by Eileen. (Monday, July 14, 2008 3:11:27 PM CEST) Less so at night but definitely on weekends and vacation. I’d rather spend a few minutes a day keeping up with it than deal with it when I get back. When I’m on vacations I will hit the delete key more quickly — especially with list mail. Anytime I’m at home or on vacation I tend to respond to only what I need to. I almost never check work-related blogs though.

Comment by Anonymous. (Monday, July 14, 2008 9:55:35 PM CEST) Though I don’ t check e-mail from home. I have been known to come to work for a meeting while on vacation, do check my voicemail sometimes, and have taken home work that I knew would require too much time during my work day.

Comment by Patty. (Monday, July 14, 2008 3:48:31 PM CEST) I’ll check it occasionally at night through the week and usually every weekend at least once or twice, but I rarely act on anything unless it is dire. It can usually wait until I get to work but I am curious to see what is going on.

And, perhaps most wise of all:

Comment by Becky. (Tuesday, July 29, 2008 11:57:32 PM CEST) follow up – I have a friend who says no one ever died of a Library emergency, and I try to remember that, even as I’m checking.

I have been trying to check my email less frequently when I am not at the library with some measure of success and I think my life is better for it. Still, I mostly fall in the camp of wanting to know what is going on (even if I don’t respond to the message) and being able to delete anything unimportant over the weekend to make re-entry on Monday easier. It seems as if curiosity is a trait of many who are constant email checkers.

I used to check less frequently from home on weeknights, but since I took over as PPL’s program coordinator I find that it often puts my mind at ease to check email quickly after 9 pm to get the update on how the evening went at the library. We have programs almost nightly and when someone else is covering the program I want to know if things went smoothly. I know that I can do nothing about it from home if things went wrong, but still I seem to need to know.

Perhaps library workers need to follow the popular trend of having a Technology Sabbath – ditching email, all online communication and our cell phones for one day each weekend. It would be tough for many, myself included, but it is something worth considering.

Please take a few moments to scroll way down and read the rest of the comments left on the poll. Also feel free to leave comments on this post about your email habits — and if you plan to change them in the future based upon this unscientific research.

August 18, 2008 at 10:03 pm 6 comments

The New WebJunction is here!

My new profile on WJ is set up and ready to go and I am stoked! A huge congratulations to the entire team at WebJunction for all their hard work in creating a dynamic and interactive site for library workers to gather online (I know some of the key players, but I am sure there are many more behind the scenes that I have yet to meet). I spent a few hours last night “playing” around with the new interface and gathering some friends and I am impressed.

I have been a member, moderator and advocate for WebJunction since I first met Chrystie Hill at the OCLC booth during ALA Annual in Toronto way back in June 20003. Chrystie’s enthusiasm was so infectious that I signed up on WJ my first day back at work and have not looked back since. In addition to moderating, I have assisted with various projects over the years and as a result have found advice, ideas, support, and friendship — all the things that keep one coming back to an online community.

I have been anticipating the release of the new WJ for many months now. I talked to Michael Porter during PLA last March and when he told me of some of the plans (at least that which he could reveal) I knew immediately that it was going to great — and it is.

One of the features I am liking best at the moment is the ability to create your own group and I have already set up a group called Public Library Programming for Adults. I am currently the only member, but membership is open to all who are currently providing programming or thinking about it in the future.

I have found navigating the new site to be easy, my only minor complaint is that it seems to be a bit slow in loading new pages. If you want an overview and some advice on how to get going there is an online training video to help you out. I already feel like I have found a new online home and I look forward to seeing soon you on WJ!

August 4, 2008 at 8:42 am 5 comments

Seeking Examples of "Programs on a Shoestring Budget"

Next month I will be giving a presentation called Implementing High Impact Programs on a Shoestring Budget for the Nevada Library Association at their Annual Conference in Las Vegas. I have many ideas to present based upon my own work at PPL and have also found some great ideas from other public libraries, but I want to make sure that I am not missing something truly fantastic that has not passed my radar.

My presentation is focusing on public library programs for adults and teens with a technology element, but I am also compiling programs that are based in the arts and humanities. Programs from academic libraries would lend a nice balance.

My concept of “shoestring” is that you either did it for free (other than staff time) or ideally spent less than $250 on the program if you are a small library serving under 30,000 people. If you are a larger library a budget limit of $500 would still be a shoestring.

I am not going to give examples in this post because I do not want to narrow anyone’s thinking on what they might submit. I am taking a fairly wide ranging view on what is considered a “program” and am truly interested to see what other creative programs on limited funds are being offered elsewhere.

Submit your great “shoestring programs” that have had a positive/high impact at your library to janieh at gmail dot com with the subject line of Shoestring Program.

If you have photos, PR materials, etc. to go along with your program that would be all the better. I will give full attribution to anyone who submits and I will share my slides online as well as create a summary post here at the Library Garden.

Oh, and it is my first time in Vegas so feel free to leave me tips on what I should see and do.

Image by Aussiegall found via FlickrCC

July 19, 2008 at 9:11 am

A Quick Poll for Libraryland

I was out with friends last night for an MNO (Mom’s Night Out) and we ended up talking about email and how much it overwhelmed us at times. I told them that although I was technically on vacation this week I still checked my email once or twice day and, except for one friend, they all thought I was nuts.

One of my friends, who is senior management at a large insurance company, shared that she checked work email daily and at home in the evenings no matter what — vacations or sickness, etc. The others are all mothers who work outside the home (just like me) but they indicated that they leave work email at work and never check from home — they are two teachers, a nurse, therapist, and a manager in a small company.

So here it is Saturday and I just logged in to check my work email and while I was reading my messages I started to wonder, how many other librarians and library workers check their email from home and when?

I used Doodle, one of my favorite “fantastic freebies“, to create a quick poll that will give us a quick snapshot type answer to the questions “Do You Check Email From Home?”. Just go to this doodle poll and check off all that apply. You can check more than one answer and you can be anonymous if you want. Also, you can leave comments and further explain your email habits. I will leave the poll up for a week or so and then summarize on the blog later this month.

July 12, 2008 at 12:43 pm 1 comment

Follow-up on Food for Thought at R.I.T.

Jon Jiras was kind enough to send along the following information to post here at LG as a follow-up to the earlier Food for Thought interview. Congratulations to Jon and the entire Food for Thought team on a successful event and for providing a model for others to follow. The comments from participants definitely show the value of a campus library providing such a day — plus the fact that Jon says “steal this idea” with no attribution needed really rocks. I can hardly wait to see what 2009 bring for the FFT Team at R.I.T.!

Post-event update:

2008 Numbers:

Total number of session registrations: 578
Total number of people who registered online: 212
Total number of people who registered in person: 11

Total number of registrants: 223
Staff: 186 ; Faculty: 19 ; Students: 3 ; Other: 4 Unknown: 11

If you count every seat in every session (of our original room assignments) we were over 73% filled and seven of our sessions filled to at or near room capacity.

Three sessions (Create Your Own Website, Optimizing Outlook, and Facebook and RIT) each had over 50 registrants.

An analysis of first names, indicates that 80% of registrants are female.

Extra Helpings Area:
We took a 36″ x 28″ whiteboard on an easel and had one of our artistic staff members use dry erasable markers to mimic a deli menu with “specials of the day” complete with branding by the co-sponsors Online Learning and Information Technology Services. This area saw only limited use. Eighteen one-on-one appointments were made. The questions ranged from setting up access to the campus wide staff portals, resetting passwords, and how to accomplish specific tasks in MS PowerPoint, MS Word, and MS Outlook. rewarding for both the staff who manned the area and the individuals who came to it with questions. Next year, I think we will move this area to the first floor near the entrance and registration desk where it will get more visibility and we can talk it up during the registration process.


Lightning Talks:
We had five more requests to present a lightning talk than spots available, so we had to turn down some requests. We secured the use of a 30 inch Chinese gong to indicate when the 5 minutes were up. We set up a laptop with a countdown timer set to 5 minutes that someone in the front row displayed to the presenters. The talks included staff from the following departments across campus: Center for Professional Development, RIT Ombudsperson, RIT Public Safety, Online Learning, Academic Intervention and Mentoring Program, Institute Advising Office, Barnes and Noble @ RIT, Wellness Center, Office of the Registrar, and the Library. We will definitely be offering this again next year.

Since the original blog post there have been some questions asked in the comments and through other channels.

1) Is this available to “steal” with credit?

Sure, that’s why I have provided so much information about the planning and marketing. Help yourselves, no attribution necessary.

2) What were the session titles in 2007?

Social Networking with Second Life, MySpace, and Facebook
Planning and Marketing RIT Events
To Bid or Not To Bid: Auction Tips Online and Offline, or, Why Pay Retail?
New Features of Microsoft Office 2007
New Features of Microsoft Windows Vista (offered twice)
Advanced iPod
Introduction to RSS and Blogging
Introduction to Web 2.0
Origami for the Office
Image Resources to Jazz Up Presentations
Sharing Videos and Pictures on the Web
Organizing with MS Outlook: Calendaring, Contacts, Notes, and Tasks
Self-Publishing with Lulu.com
TechnoStress Relief 101
Art on Campus Walking Tour (offered twice)
Create Your Own Web Site
Optimizing Your Digital Photographs
Wildflowers and Weeds of Western New York
Become a Published Author with InDesign and Photoshop
Easy Creation of Online Tutorials with Adobe Captivate

3.) What was your budget for 2008?

The budget this year was still under $1,000. Several folks have suggested we apply for a grant from the Office of the President, or Staff Council, or some other campus entity to pay for boxed lunches. Which is probably something we will consider.

Here are some results of the 2008 post-event electronic survey:

90 of the 212 registered users filled out the survey.

82% said the Food For Thought website was very good or excellent.

96% said the registration process was very good or excellent.

92% said the variety of sessions offered was very good or excellent

94% either agreed or strongly agreed that the event timing (2nd week of summer quarter) was appropriate

97% said they are likely or very likely to attend again next year.

And here are some of the comments:

The hardest thing about attending Food for Thought was trying to decide what topics to select for the day. There was so much to choose from, great conference.

Excellent program as always. Food For Thought is simply wonderful.

Very successful, love the content, love the idea.

Thanks for another excellent Food for Thought program. It was very well organized and informative.

All the workshops I’ve attended – this year’s as well as last year’s, have been most worthwhile for me.

I know how difficult it is to pull together a day such as this and offer my congratulations for an extremely worthwhile event!!!! Great job.

I truly enjoyed the session on “Understanding RIT’s Students”. This is something that every person on this campus should be required to attend!

It’s a great day and I hope you continue offering it in years to come.

I learned SO much and I’ve used stuff I learned in several sessions already today (and it was only 3 hours ago that I finished the sessions). But it was SO much information in one shot!

Love it. Keep it going!

I am very impressed with all the library’s staff. Good job.

The 1 hour sessions were a bit short. The Lightning Sessions rocked.

More Lightning Talks!

It was very informative, I enjoyed the sessions and learned a lot.

More craft sessions.

Lightning sessions were a nice touch. Do this again.

More sessions offering RIT-specific information – there were several this year, as compared to last year. I think they are very useful.

I would like to see a continuation of topics on how RIT is embracing online communities and usage among our students. RIT & Facebook was an excellent session, I very much enjoyed attending. In general the variation of topics was great.

June 18, 2008 at 9:20 am

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