Monday, August 8, 2011

Method 12 - Evaluation

Well I did it! I finished! And I have to say this was a very worthwhile endeavor on my part. While there are some things I most likely won't be using in the near future (pod casts, wiki) there are many things that I found very useful. First, just being introduced to blogs. Sure I read a lot of them for fun, but to see the professional application and get hands on experience using them was invaluable. In fact, because of this blog, I actually transferred out "suggestion box" into a digital one that is now a blog posted our homepage. If I had not had the experience I had here, there is no way I would have had the confidence to get my own started at work. While I'm going to need more practice with some of these tools, my professional goal is to never "fall behind" when it comes to technology. With the tools I have from this experience, I feel more confident in learning even more applications for these things Ive learned. I loved that the format allowed me to do this program at my own pace. When it is quieter (like it has been the past two weeks) I can give my full attention to completing things like this. When it is really busy I don't have to worry about  making sure I'm still making time for activities like this. It really allowed me the freedom I needed to get it done on my schedule. Thank you for that!! I look forward to participating in beyond two steppin' and hope to see more programs like this in the future!

Method 11 - Podcasts

While I don't have much experience creating pod casts, I do have quite a bit of experience in using them. When I used to have an hour long commute (each way) on public transportation, having a subscription to pod casts got me though a lot of those long trips to and from work. What is easier than updating your ipod at night and then when you jump on the bus in the morning you have a whole group of new and interesting things to listen to. One of my favorites was *nerd alert* the podcast from the creators of Lost where they would discuss all aspects of the show. For a large library and maybe even for public libraries, pod casts could be helpful in lots of different ways. They can be used a tutorials, updates on current things going on, recordings of programs, book reviews al la NPR and many other things I'm sure I haven't even dreamed of yet. With a limited staff that has a focus on teaching, I don't think we have too many options for integrating pod casts into our library currently.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Method 10 - Wikis

Up until just a few years ago, I was a snob when it came to wikis. I thought they were useless and that there was no one anyone could use them for good reliable information. Having had more experience with them in both my personal and professional life, I have changed my tune. Would I recommend a PhD student use it as a reference for their thesis, probably not. Is it a good place to get quick definitions, info on current events, pop culture or the order of books in a series? By all means! Especially after reading the material and practicing with a real live wiki I can see that there are even more uses that I had ever imagined. While we probably wont use a wiki in our library any time soon, I can see the applications in the library as a quick place to post things and get the public interacting with the library. I look forward to seeing more uses and hopefully being able to integrate them into our suite of technology offerings.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Method - chat it up

I am a HUGE fan of chat. I use it personally on Gmail as well as on facebook and also I like using it when shopping online as well. Chat is a quick way to get questions answered if you have a question about a product (I use a particular clothing retailer that allows you to get exact measurements of items via chatting with an associate) and I also use it socially to talk to friends while on facebook or while checking my email. In terms of libraries I think it is an invaluable tool. For those who may be too shy to come to the reference desk, or are afraid to "look silly" but still need help it is a great way to get help without being under and kind of pressure. The fact that you can use it from anywhere is also a great feature. We have even had students use it to tell us that a patron near them is being disruptive and could we please come ask them to be quiet. One downside I can see to chat is the ability to type quickly. Students now are used to instant answers and responses. When I am answering questions via chat, I feel that there is a pressure to get the answer out there as quickly as possible and if someone is not used to that, they may not know that the spelling does not have to be perfect and taking too much time to correct spelling etc may leave the patron hanging.  Also, you can't take too much time to let them know that you are there. A quick "hello" while you try to find the answer to their question is a great way to say I'm here and ready to help. Otherwise you may encounter the problem of the patron may think no one is there if you take too much time to formulate a response that answers all of their question at once. Overall, chat is a fabulous tool and as long as you have the staff to do it, I am all for it.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Method 8 - Social Networking

I am a frequent user of facebook and have been for a few years. I think there are some great uses for social networking that libraries and other institutions/businesses etc. I do have concerns about privacy and as a result have different groups set up so that certain people only see certain posts. I try to keep work and my private life separate, but even with these privacy features activated, it is still difficult. I am curious about the introduction of google + and how this may change the social networking scene. Since I am still very new to google response to facebook, I can't really say too much about it. Ive only been on it for about a week as of today and have not had the opportunity to explore all of its features yet.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Method 7- Tag you're it!

Tagging, to be honest I was on vaguely familiar with it and it looked a little on the complicated side at first glance. After having watched the videos, read the articles and looked at the other libraries that have made use of it, I can see the value in them. We actually have a new catalog that allows users to tag items and we have been making use of that to create lists for our patrons. One such example was a list of fun summer reading suggestions and another list of fun summer movies that we have available to check out at the library. I think it will take some practice for me to start integrating this into what I do at the library, but I think if I keep seeing what others are doing and keep practicing it could become a very great tool for us to use. It is also handy to be able to access bookmarks from everywhere.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Method 6 -Youtube

Anyone that knows, me knows Im a sucker for a good youtube video. If that is the case you probably also know that I love the TV Show Parks & Recreation on NBC. Not only is this show funny and original, it also portrays librarians in, how shall we say, not the best light. To the members of city government, the library is the most evil department there is. They are conniving, backstabbing and just plain mean. I find this hilarious, because generally the sterotype for a librarian is a sweet older lady that wears pearls and has a collection of cats that rivals their collection of books. Since I am not the sterotpical librarian, I love seeing funny portrayals of librarians like that on Parks and Recreation. Id like to share a short clip from the show that I found on Youtube to illustrate what their true feelings are for the library:

Ok, now back to business. I really think that youtube is a great resource that libraries can take advantage of. With an inexpensive videocamera (or smart phone) the library can make a wide variety of videos. We can do tutorials, tours, post programming, create skits etc to advertise the library services and just overall show that we are "cool". While there is quite a bit of junk on youtube, if you can create a really great funny video, it can be priceless.