Posts filed under ‘Technology’

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

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

WJ’s Technology Competencies for Public Access Computing

WebJunction recently published a very thorough and detailed set of technology competencies that will be useful to libraries of all types and sizes. I have been meaning to post about this for a few weeks, but conferences and a bit of vacation time got in the way.

This is a project that I and several others have been working on with WebJunction for a few years and it is so wonderful to see it finally published and available for free download!

Congratulations to Betha Gutsche for her ability to see this project through to completion after many changes, debates, iterations and struggles. The final layout is extremely easy to read and hopefully this document will be the jumping point for many libraries to start assessing the skill levels of the staff who work with the public and need to assist patrons with computers (which should be just about everybody who works at a public desk).

On a side note, my involvement on this project was also my introduction to using a wiki for a collaborative project. The work of the original “MPAC Technology Competencies Expert Group” was done primarily through a wiki that was hosted at WebJunction. We had occasional conference calls, but most of the editing of the first drafts of this was done via the wiki and also on a discussion forum.

As I was writing this post I got curious as I was unsure about how long this project has been brewing at WJ , so I just double-checked our super-secret forum for this project and it was November 2005 that we began the discussions… wow, nearly 18 months in the making, but oh so worth the wait! Download the complete Technology Competencies for Public Access Computing in PDF and start assessing!

Speaking of technology competencies, I am still patiently awaiting the arrival of Sarah Houghton-Jan’s recently published Library Technology Report, Technology Competencies and Training for Libraries — I think it will be the perfect companion to the work done by WJ.

May 1, 2007 at 7:58 pm

Hope Springs Eternal in the Library Garden

First off, I have to thank Pete for inviting me to join Library Garden; it has been an honor and I hope my contributions have been for the better ;-) Second, thanks to all my other fellow biblio-green thumbs, I have learned a tremendous amount from your posts.

With spring in the air and the rejuvenating feelings of a first anniversary (did anyone bring cake?), I thought it might be take a look at what we hope might happen/change in the library profession over the next year or so. Personally, I am going to break this down into three categories; 1-What should’ve been done last year, 2- the change I am going to push for and 3- my pie in the sky wishful thinking. I will finish up with a Nostradamus-esque prediction… Why? Eh, it’s nice out, I’m inside and it seems like the right time to do so.

What we need to do already!- Allow our computers to accept memory sticks/flash drives. Some PCs don’t even come with a floppy drive anymore, it’s time for us to quit worrying about security issues with these devices and let our patrons use the information they have.

What I am pushing for- I am going to continue my push to get video games into libraries. We can no longer hide behind the fear that teens will not return games when we already lost thousands of dollars a year to adults not returning books, CDs and movies.

My Pie in the sky dream- I would love for our library system to get their own library card maker so patrons could make custom library cards! We could still have the standard card but, for a small fee, grandparents could get their grandkids pictures on their cards, people could put their pets, favorite band or celebrity on it. Heck, let teens put their boyfriend or girlfriend pictures on there… at the rate they go through relationships, you would pay for the machine before midterms let out!

Nostradummy Prediction- A Book will be banned somewhere and there will be much discourse about it. In time, people will learn that one of the protesters did not read the book. This will be their downfall; for how can you protest what you do not know? It might be found out that a defender did not read the book either but it wont matter; as it turns out, the protest is not about the book itself, but an person’s choice to read it.

March 28, 2007 at 10:17 am

Comments from Campus

Two weeks ago Edward W. Felten was the first speaker in a new series called Comments from Campus — a collaboration between Princeton Public Library and Princeton University that endeavors to bring the campus to the community (or the gown to the town, if you will). We designed it as a lunch time brown bag lecture with the simple concept of inviting faculty to speak about a topic of their choosing and/or discuss their latest research in an informal setting. The topic is not settled beforehand as the idea is to give a platform for current research interests.

Unrolling a new program at a public library is nerve-wracking (as I have discovered since I took over as Program Coordinator here at PPL last fall). You are never sure if you will find the audience you are hoping to attract and doing this as a lunch lecture instead of an evening series was a bit of a risk. Our first talk was by all measures a great success and we had better than expected attendance — in large part to the speaker’s repuation, knowledge and also because of his choice of topic.

Professor Felten delivered an entertaining and fascinating talk entitled “Real Policy for Virtual Worlds” where he examined a variety of interesting scenarios in which real world government or law may need to intervene in virtual worlds. Most of the 46 people in attendance had never even heard of Second Life or Norrath or any other virtual world before. You could see the look of amazement on several faces as they learned about the depth and breadth of virtual worlds. They were especially amazed to learn about Adam Reuters and Anshe Chung and how the Linden dollar can be traded like real currency. The talk was the perfect mix of technology and policy. I myself learned a lot, which was an added bonus because even though I have an avatar on Second Life I rarely spend time there. I have uploaded several photos from the talk on the PPL Flickr account if you would like to get a flavor of the talk — and a few of the other events that have been keeping me from blogging as often as I should.

On a side note, you might want to consider adding Felten’s always fascinating Freedom to Tinker to your blogroll — I have long been an avid reader and he always gives me food for thought.

March 6, 2007 at 9:30 pm 1 comment

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

Join me in the CJRLC Tech Challenge

The Central Jersey Regional Library Cooperative (CJRLC) has issued a Learning 2.o challenge to anyone who works in a CJRLC member library. This is a great chance to learn new skills and I hope others will join me in taking the CJRLC Tech Challenge.

I have already completed over 90% o of the items on the challenge, but I am taking it anyway and giving it my own twist. For instance, instead of creating another blogger blog I set up a WordPress blog called Janie’s CJRLC Challenge Blog

I have been meaning to learn more about WordPress for several months and just never got around to it. This is the perfect reason for me to finally play with WordPress as well as other new technologies and tools that I just never seem to get around to using.

For instance, I have explored LibraryThing and Squidoo and know what they are what they do, but never used them extensively. This will be my chance. I am also going to look for new tools and sites and then blog about them as I find them.

Since starting the challenge yesterday I already explored a new to me service called SplashCast and created my first embedded SplashCast on my new blog. Go over and have a look. I think SplashCast has great potential and I am glad to have found it.

February 7, 2007 at 11:49 am 3 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

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