Archive for June, 2006

ALA Blogger’s Bash

Just making sure that all who want to know are “in the know” about the final details.

It looks like this looks like it will be a huge event with 50+ bloggers in attendance plus the Gulf Coast Librarians and I am sure a few others. Trust me when I say that Leslie knows how to host a good party and this is sure to be a fun event.

Here are the details:

When: Saturday June 24th

Time: After the Scholarship Bash (10:30-ish to Midnight)

Where: Hilton New Orleans Riverside Hotel, Bienville Suite (27th floor)
2 Poydras Street, New Orleans

I am lookinig forward to seeing everyone in New Orleans [and to paying a visit to Aunt Sally for a good praline fix !]

June 21, 2006 at 10:30 pm 2 comments

Just a link

I know that somewhere inside of me there is lots of insightful commentary and important connections to be drawn to libraries from the BusinessWeek article Web 2.0 Has Corporate America Spinning. I have had intentions to blog about it for over 2 weeks, but the pressures of wiki creation, personal life “stuff”, and preparing for ALA in New Orleans adds up to me having no time to wax philosophical — I can’t even come up with a creative title for this post at this point.

In any event, a few good quotes from the article for those that are equally busy and don’t have time to read it all (although you really should). Try inserting the word library every time you see business or brand to get your brain in gear about the underlying message:

“For all its appeal to the young and the wired, Web 2.0 may end up making its greatest impact in business … It’s the biggest change in the organization of the corporation in a century.”

“…the notions behind Web 2.0 clearly hold great potential for businesses — and peril for those that ignore them.”

“It’s also critical for executives to try out these services themselves: Create a MySpace page. Open a Flickr account and upload a few photos. Write a Wikipedia entry. Create a mashup at “The essence of Web 2.0 is experimentation, so they should try things out,”

“”In the end, the brand is owned not just by the people who create it, but by the people who use it.”

and finally:

“Web 2.0’s essential appeal is empowerment…”

Okay, now I must get back to painstaking task of cobbling together my conference schedule for New Orleans. I have great hopes that by next year at this time ALA will have a proper online conference planner now that they have hired Jenny Levine!

June 21, 2006 at 9:49 am

A Realtor By Any Other Name…..

What do Realtors and Librarians have in common?

A lot I think, and I think we need to have more!

Have you noticed those commecials on the radio for Realtors? You might not have, but after you read this, listen for them. Once you notice them, you’ll always hear them.

I have been noticing them for awhile now. They seem to come the AM news stations which I tend to listen to on my way to and from work, or on lunch.

They are commercials basically explaining why you should get a “real” Realtor instead of buying/selling your home for yourself, or through a Real Estate Agent.

Sound familiar yet!?

Where did these ads come from all of a sudden? Why do the Realtors needs ads?
Well, I think that Realtors must have looked around and noticed they have some competition!

  • People buying/selling their homes on their own, or
  • People using YHD or some other service which maybe doesn’t employ “real” realtors, I’m not sure what the deal is with YHD, but “YHD employs a network of specialists — including lawyers and home inspectors — who handle many home-buying steps. It even has an in-house finance arm. ” from Business Week Online.
  • People using Real Estate Agents or other people or just the Internet

They must have decided that they need to educate and to market to their customers why one should choose a “real,” licensed Realtor, rather than anyone/anything else! They must have been losing business!

Sound familiar now!?

WE have competition! WE will lose business!
Who is our competition as libraries and librarians!?
They’ve been around for awhile now and we haven’t really done a good job of speaking up against them.

Our competitors are:

  • Bookstores
  • The Internet
  • Those who think they can “do it on their own” without the help of a “real,” licensed professional librarian
  • Local governments who think that putting an encyclopedia in every home can replace us

So, how do the ads for Relators help them?

The ads for the realtors mention the National Associaton of Realtors, and say you should check it out to find one in your area before you buy or sell real estate.

Check out their “When is a real estate agent a Realtor?” page:

“When is a Real Estate Agent a REALTOR®?The term REALTOR® is a registered collective membership mark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of REALTORS® and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics.” (emphasis mine)

I am by no means suggesting that we go about attacking the sources of competition – the commercials don’t do that at all. They simply point out that things will be much more difficult and complicated if you don’t use a “real” Realtor.

The ads and the website seek to educate the consumer about the differences between a Real Estate Agent and a Realtor. They point up the benefits of using a “real” Realtor. The ads have “real” people sharing “real” stories in which they learn that next time, they’ll use a “real” Realtor!

I have a personal belief that commercials such as these infiltrate the brain and stay there, subconsiously. A listener may not realize they heard this commercial. Until it comes time to deal with real estate. Maybe, just maybe, they will then have this feeling that they need to use a “real” Realtor.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could give our consumers that same feeling when they are considering whether to use the Internet, a bookstore, a friend, or don’t even know what to consult, when they have an information need? The feeling/belief that they need a library and/or librarian!

June 19, 2006 at 5:01 pm 2 comments

Giving our Summer Reading Club a "2.0 Twist"

Princeton Public Library (aka MPOW) started a summer reading club for adults in 2000. The name of the reading club changes from time to time, but the basic concept stays the same — those who sign up receive a kit with some goodies (book bag, book lists, pencil, etc) and then they read what interests them and submit reviews to the library. For each review submitted they are entered in to a raffle for cool prizes donated by local merchants. It has proven to be a perennial favorite that many customers look forward to every year.

Our first year we received most of our reviews via paper forms. We took as many reviews as we could and made a lovely static web page with them: Princeton Reads 2000

By last year, we were receiving most of our reviews via email, but we were still posting them in the same old 1.0 format — a static web page.

Well, I am pleased to unveil our new 2.0 twist for 2006: The BookLovers Wiki

We just started registration on the June 15th and we have already had 7 reviews to enter! Currently, the wiki is partially populated with a few older reviews (which will be removed) to get it going .. but I was so excited to have this officially off and running with some new reviews that I just had to blog about it.

We have 4 of us who have worked on the content and design to this point. We have some volunteers lined up who will be doing a lot of the data entry and coding. We are not giving out the wiki password to everyone who registers just yet as we want to get our feet wet with running this first and decide where to go from there. But we are going to encourage discussion and the front page of the wiki will get fresh content frequently.

I must give kudos to Sue, our Readers Services Librarian, for giving Bob and Caroline and I permission to run with this and create the wiki for the reading club. She trusted us to give the reading club a 2.0 twist and we are all excited to see where this will lead us.

More updates to follow…

June 18, 2006 at 11:19 pm 3 comments

Friday Fun: The I/O Brush

It ain’t new but it’s new to me–and just the friday fun I needed to ease me into the weekend. Enjoy!

Direct Link:

More info at:

June 16, 2006 at 1:20 pm 4 comments

Request for John Illiff Memorial Podcast

My friend, and fellow-blogger, and fellow NJLA IT Member-At-Large, Tyler, The Rock and Roll Librarian, has the following posted on his blog:

I received a very nice email from Karen Iliff today, widow of John Iliff. She thanked me for the efforts in trying to create a memorial podcast in her husband’s name. She also asked if there was a way to put these on CD as a keepsake.

I would like to give everyone one last chance to visit the Iliff Podcast Memorial and leave a message before I burn the CD. I think it would be an incredible gift to provide Karen. The number is 206-339-7322.

I can admit that leaving a message felt a little weird because I felt like I had to say the right thing. Please, don’t worry about it, it really doesn’t matter. The point is to just take a moment and relive a fond memory with John. Remember, no matter how it sounds, John would be the first one to smile simply for the fact that you made a podcast!

For information on John, please see here.

June 15, 2006 at 11:48 am

Time to abandon ship?

A colleague of mine forwarded me this article a week or so ago that was printed in The Register and I have been meaning to blog about it ever since. Actually, I did blog about it last week, but it got lost during the Blogger crash last Thursday. So, here is round two of the post… considerably shortened because I have a time crunch at hand as I prepare to head to New Orleans for ALA next week.

Kelly Martin is urging us to ditch email because “It’s dangerous, insecure, unreliable, mostly unwanted, and out-of-control” and I have to agree to a certain point with much of what he has to say. Each day I waste valuable time (time that could be spent doing something productive) contending with a literal deluge of spam and scams in the inboxes of my various email accounts. I have spent countless hours trying to figure out how to filter or stop the unwanted messages, but each solution is full of pitfalls and only lasts for a short time (or so it seems) before the deluge begins again.

Martin points out that we have been using the same email protocol for the last 25 years (SMTP) and that in essence it is time to throw out the baby with bathwater. He states: “Email in its current form will never, ever, ever be spam-free. It will never be virus-phishing-scam free. It will cost companies and individuals billions of dollars in theft, criminal activity, and the reality of spam will grow from the 50-70 per cent it is today to 90 per cent of all traffic… Email will never be secure, because it was never designed to be secure”.

We are having terrible spam issues at MPOW in recent weeks. Our email addresses are too vulnerable, especially with us offering email reference services. How can we continue to make our email addresses accessible to our customers and still have any hope of maintaining some control over the influx of spam? We have tried a myriad of solutions and (again) none are ideal and none work for long.

On a slightly related tangent, I read this article and made a connection to recent posts in the biblioblogosphere about the need for certain ILS vendors to ditch their current products and start from scratch. Although the situation is somewhat different with email, the message is the same — you can only put patches and add-ons to old technology and protocols for a limited time before it becomes completely obsolete and truly time to abandon ship.

My colleague commented that her favorite quote from the Martin article was:

All the work spent fixing email is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Email is a sinking ship and it should be abandoned…

I have to concur, but I also think that fixing email might never be possible. Yet, I hold hope that ILS vendors will listen to the conversation that is occurring and consider that it might time to start from fresh to give their customers what they need and want.

June 15, 2006 at 10:45 am 2 comments

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