Posts tagged ‘Amy Kearns’

Advocate in 2008 – Wait, don’t tune me out!

You might think this doesn’t really apply to you, or that it won’t really affect you, or (most likely) that you do care but you don’t have time for it . . . but the truth is, we all must be advocates for libraries all the time, especially here in NJ, and what better time than 2008?

2008 provides us with the easily rhyme-able number 8 and is a “great” year that provides us with many ways to call for action:

Advocate in ’08!
Be Great in ’08!
Communicate in ’08!
Demonstrate in ’08!

Personally, I really love all of these, but we have to do much more than just come up with cute rhyming mottoes.

I know you have been bombarded with information about contacting Governor Corzine’s office to request that the New Jersey Knowledge Initiative (NJKI) be fully funded. As you probably know, NJKI was funded for $3 million dollars. Then, it lost $1 million of it’s funding. If it isn’t fully funded we will lose it on February 29. BUT PLEASE, stick with me here.

By now, you have all seen this:

Special Message from New Jersey Knowledge Initiative staff:
“Access to RefUSA (and other databases) may end on February 29, 2008 due to a cut in state funding for the NJ Knowledge Initiative. To help keep this resource for NJ, please call Governor Corzine’s office at (609) 292-6000 and ask that the Knowledge Initiative be fully funded for 2008.”

You might not think it really matters if you call. You may think this really isn’t your fight – that this is for the State Library and for NJLA and Pat Tumulty and others to do. Well, this IS all of our fight and making a phone call DOES matter and only takes literally about two minutes.

You pick up your phone and dial the number. Someone answers. You literally say, “I am calling to request that the Knowledge Initiative be fully funded.” The person says okay I’ll put down the message. You say thank you and hang up. THAT IS IT. I’m not kidding. I don’t mean to be condescending, but sometimes it is the simplest things that we don’t do.

For those of you who have placed the call, and I know there are many of you, thank you! I also appreciate everyone who has echoed my testimony that this is a very quick and simple thing to do.

Does it matter if you do this or not? Well, yes. They are counting all the calls. I personally have always believed that one person can make a difference. I can’t promise that your call will be the one to put us over the top, or that this phone campaign will definitely work, but I personally would feel terrible if I didn’t call at least once and we lost the New Jersey Knowledge Initiative.

Do you know what NJKI is?

There is information here. There is also an article from the Daily Targum that is very informative here. Also, SJRLC Connections provides a lot of good information. You can find information from NJLA and the New Jersey State Library.

You might think if you don’t work in or use an academic library, a special library, a scientific or business environment or governmental agency that this doesn’t matter. If you work in a public library, you probably use and know the popularity and value of at least ReferenceUSA. If you work in a school library you may not use the resources of the NJKI. Does this mean you don’t need to call? No, saying that this isn’t a resource you use and so you can ignore these pleas is like the old refrain, “First they came for the Communists, but I wasn’t a Communist so I did nothing.” We all know how that ends. (I know, it’s controversial and possibly incorrect, but….you get my meaning here.)

Now, I am not picking on school libraries – many school library staff have called, and this may sound extreme, but if we do not learn how to, and commit to, doing a better job of speaking up about our value, we literally will not be around anymore.

Even after this NJKI challenge passes – whether we win or lose – there will always be other issues to face. Please think about the ways in which you can become a true advocate for libraries in 2008.

Hopefully, we’ll be able to say Celebrate in ’08 and beyond!

January 6, 2008 at 10:01 pm

Happy Hanukkah from Everyone at LibraryGarden!

Non-Crappy Starring You! eCards on JibJab

You too can make a fun, funny, free greeting card at Jib Jab. My sister made several the other day and then I just had to try it! All you need is your Internet connection and some digital photos – it’s actually very easy and the site guides you through just a few quick steps. Try it!

We all here at Library Garden wish a happy and healthy holiday season to everyone, no matter what you celebrate, or if you don’t even celebrate, and all the best wishes for the upcoming new year!

Okay, one more, I just couldn’t help it! Be sure to turn up your volume! :)

Non-Crappy Starring You! eCards on JibJab

December 10, 2007 at 9:56 pm 2 comments

Slam the Boards!

Today is Slam the Boards day – many librarians will spend some time today on “answer boards,” like Yahoo! Answers, Can’tFindOnGoogle, AnswerBag, and others, answering questions and making it known that the answer has been provided by a librarian!

This has even been picked up by Library Journal, where you can read more about the origination and background of Slam the Boards!

There is a wiki here where you can officially list yourself as a participant and get more information. You can, of course, participate without signing up anywhere. Just go to a public answer board and sign up there (some require that you create an account and log in, etc.) and start answering questions!

There are a lot of good tips on the wiki about how best to participate, remote library resources, and some comments/suggestions from Jessamyn West on this (and a caution with which I agree.)

There has also been discussion and some debate over on the Yahoo! Answers blog. There are some detractors from this idea but I think that if we think of it as just adding our voices and being where the information needs are we can contribute while doing a little self-promotion and marketing. We’re not out to beat or better the answer boards, but (in my opinion) to add ourselves as an option where people may not have thought of libraries before.

Be sure to let everyone know that the question was answered by a librarian at the end of your answer and remind them to think of their library as a resource. There are some suggested signatures and tag lines on the wiki such as The Library is a resource, not a building. Librarians are where you are – online! (I really like that one). You could put your library link, a link to find a local public library, or a link to a library’s virtual or IM reference service.

The point is not to put those answer sites out of business, or annoy them, or take them over, or to do anything negative, but to be where the people and questions are and to let people know that librarians are “answer boards” all day, everyday. I think putting the idea of libraries into peoples’ heads at times when they might not automatically think of them on their own is a very interesting idea.

Even if you only have time to answer just one question and mention that you are a library person that will be one more for today!

If you can’t do it today, do it another day. Many librarians already do spend time on these sites answering questions, like on AskMetaFilter. And, there are many library services/sites already doing it – here in the Garden State, we have the wonderful Q&A NJ (which, by the way, rocked the MTV Video Awards last night with their awesome commercial)!

There is also a space on the wiki to discuss this event after today. If this event is successful, it may be repeated. Hey, maybe you’ll form your own plan to do this as an “event,” for a day, a week, a month, or maybe you’ll just enjoy it and find you want to be a regular answer board person.

Get slammin’!

September 10, 2007 at 11:11 am

Help Shape the Future of Libraries in NJ!

From an e-mail from Peggy Cadigan, Consultant for Innovation and Communication, at the New Jersey State Library. (I’m so happy to see this come out of the futures conference that was held – my app is already in!)

Subject: Participation in NJSL Blue Ribbon Task Force on the Future – applications needed by August 15, 2007

Norma Blake, State Librarian, has instituted a “Blue Ribbon Task Force on the Future” to continue the groundbreaking work begun by the Mid-Atlantic Library Futures Conference. The State Library recognizes that it is imperative to have input from the people who are shaping the future of New Jersey’s libraries.

This is an open invitation to anyone currently working in a New Jersey library who has an interest in the future of libraries to apply for a possible appointment to the Task Force. The Task Force will comprise members from different types of libraries and from different job titles. Applications will be reviewed by a panel selected by the State Librarian and appointments made following the review process. The goal of the Task Force will be to make recommendations about how libraries can respond in the future to the information received at the conference and the challenges presented. How can local libraries and the State Library respond to projected demographic changes, growing diversity, an aging population, and technological advances?

We expect that this task force will require a short-term commitment. It is expected that the task force will meet once a month for six months, beginning September 2007, culminating in a report to the State Librarian by March 2008. The report will be presented at the April 2008 NJLA Conference.

If you are interested in serving on this panel, please complete page two of the application which can be found at https://mail01.palsplus.org/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://www.njstatelib.org/News/Blue%2520Ribbon%2520Panel.pdf and return it by August 15, 2007 to:

Peggy Cadigan
Consultant for Innovation and Communication
New Jersey State Library
185 West State Street
P.O. Box 520
Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0520

You may send the application as a word document e-mail attachment or fax it to: 609-633-3963.
Contact Peggy Cadigan with any questions. 609-278-2640, Ext. 113 or 609-292-4161, pcadigan@njstatelib.org

July 13, 2007 at 2:15 pm 1 comment

Pimp Yourself

Please don’t be offended or turned-off by the title.

I know there have been a few occasions where “pimp” this or that has been a problem, but just try to get past that for a moment and consider this ….

The other day I attended a wonderful workshop and one of the suggestions in that workshop was that as librarians we need to stop being so quiet and shy about ourselves and start boasting about ourselves, our libraries, our profession, etc.!

Well, I have heard this before and embrace it wholeheartedly!
However, the group attending this particular workshop seemed especially uncomfortable with this suggestion.

The specific suggestion made that really got them squirming was to “use your credentials on everything.”

I personally LOVE this and started doing it as soon as I had heard it.
I put my MLIS on everything I can – in my e-mail signatures, when I sign things, on my business cards, etc…. Some may think it is even excessive, but I don’t care! I paid for the MILS, I earned the MILS, I have an MLIS and it does mean something!
(I was in the first class of students who graduated from SCILS at Rutgers with the additional vowel “I” – it stands for Master of Library and INFORMATION Science – boy, do I LOVE having that extra “I”!)

Several attendees really seemed aghast about this and I was sort of surprised. I can understand that it may go “outside your comfort zone” to boast about yourself or your library, but adding a few letters to the end of your name!?

Other professions do it all the time and no one thinks anything of it! Or, they have a prefix to designate their qualifications and/or professionalism, i.e,. “Dr.”, “Esq.”, etc.

We as librarians need to do this as well!

Sometimes this suggestion is met with, “Well, no one knows what that stands for anyway!”

GREAT! That gives you the chance to TELL THEM what it stands for, what it means, why you have it and what it means YOU CAN DO!

C’mon, as far as “pimping things” goes, this really is one of the easier ones (and free too!)

I challenge everyone who doesn’t use their credentials to make a commitment to doing so as a “first step” toward becoming more comfortable BOASTING about how awesome we are! (Cuz we are!)

July 13, 2007 at 10:00 am 6 comments

STEP ONE: STOP CALLING THEM DATABASES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A friend of mine has said many times that she believes we in libraryland need to stop calling databases databases, and I have always agreed, but I have not done anything about it. I haven’t written about it, talked about it, blogged it, mentioned it, or thought about it any more than that.

When I hear the word “database,” and if I didn’t know what it was, it conjures up for me some really complicated spreadsheet system or, well, database, that is way too complicated for me to figure out and use, and that is TOTALLY BORING – not exciting or attractive to me in anyway, doesn’t sound useful to me and doesn’t make me want to use it or care to find out how to use it at all!

Well, yesterday this flew out of my mouth (or my fingers rather) in a twit over on twitter when someone mentioned they were changing their database descriptions to try to at least better reflect what they were to try to get their students to use them…. I put out my thought that if we really want to become more “2.0” and more valued and user-friendly, we need to stop calling databases, databases and do it now! More like do it yesterday!

This created a nice little chat discussion on twitter about what we SHOULD call them and that led to another nice little discussion about what they really are and what the users think they are and want to call them.

I want to thank Rochelle, KGS, Pete Bromberg, Library_Chic, cindi, wanderingeyre, awd, and everyone else for that twit yesterday. I am using the verb to twit as in a chat, to chat here …

This was also a great example of a nice use of twitter…. a quick IM-like conversation between a few people that was captured in the twitter program for me to go back and look at today.

It wasn’t an IM session – that in most cases would be between two people and wouldn’t necessarily automatically have been captured for me to refer to today. It wasn’t a chat room, it wasn’t e-mails, it was a quick conversation among some professionals that was saved as it happened. We commented back and forth while doing other things on this topic – in the 140 character limits of twitter – so we had to be brief and concise – no waste! I thought it was great!

Today I could go back and refer to all the suggestions and thoughts and questions and compose this post over here on Blogger.

So, to get back to the issues of the databases…. Really now, what can we call them so that people

1. Want to use them
2. Get the idea of what they are
3. Don’t be made to feel stupid (see the excellent post on this over at Tinfoil Racoon’s blog)
4. Don’t feel intimidated or turned-off by them
5. Find out the value of them

The twitter conversation went something like this:

Databases are mentioned.
I say we need to stop calling them that.
Someone says, then what do we call them? “…those article thingies?” *
We decide to “brainstorm” this

Someone says “Find good stuff with these search tools”
I say “yeah, search tools, electronic resources – still “eh” on those”
Someone adds, “search tools for [discipline(s)"]?

This causes me to start wondering if the databases are search tools or the resources within them? “but is the database the search tool or the gold in the mine!?”
Another adds, ” “library resources”? “resources to use in your research”? “

Then, of course, we got a little silly with:
“crap that your professor wants you to use so just do it already”?

And then in response to “tool” vs. “gold mine” we got to
“The trick is the meta-search of multiple indexes and then cross-linking to the full text in their respective happy places “

Which resulted in
“tool to find happy place of needed articles” ;-)

and

“that’s the problem. Catalog = search engine, inventory control, or lipstuck pig? Database = search or result or full-text?”

At one point, the brilliant KGS characteristically asked, “why don’t we ask the user?” and
someone replied, “*has* anyone asked the user what to call it?”

Then a few “gasp! ask the user!? oh no!” comments and jokes twitted by and then we continued questioning “well what is the database TO THE USER, not TO US!?”

Someone comments that their kids say the databases are websites, “database, electronic resource, etc=”website” “

Which gets a reaction of “knee-jerk reaction “no it’s not!!”…but really, isn’t a database just an iteration of a website? at least to the user? “

We get a little silly again:
“goldmines of knowledge” is suggested
“Goldmines of knowledge = databases, I love it. Is hilarious and descriptive”
“what to call databases: Stuff you need to convince your teacher you used more than wikipedia “

“Infopools, factipiles, report’o’calls” (some of my personal faves!)
and finally,
“Put on your hipboots, kids and wade into our authoritative, full-text Sludgepits o’ Knowledge”

Okay, okay we were getting a little out-of-hand toward the end, but you get the idea….

So, c’mon everyone: What are we going to call these things that are expensive, incredibly powerful, valuable, under appreciated, under marketed and UNDERUSED!?

I KNOW we can do better than databases.

STEP 2: Get everyone on board calling them by their new name……..

* I have decided to not cite who said what in case anyone wouldn’t want their terrific twits shared with the world – I am not trying to withhold credit, but protecting against exposing anyone – if you want to claim any of those – go ahead – and/or tell me and I’ll give you credit where credit is due! ;-)

July 13, 2007 at 8:48 am 22 comments

Congrats to Amy!

An announcement from Connie Paul, Executive Director, Central Jersey Regional Library Cooperative:

Amy Kearns, will begin as (CJRLC)Program Coordinator on July 30, 2007! Currently the head of reference for the Paterson PL, Amy is a blogger, a trainer, a techie, and a library enthusiast. She has been very active in the Highlands RLC… She is eager to get to know our members (she knows many of you already), and we are delighted to welcome her.

A huge and hearty congratulations Amy on this exciting new position. Looking forward to working with you on continuing education initiatives! – Pete

July 10, 2007 at 9:22 pm 7 comments

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