Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Thing 2 - Library 2.0 - Senior Computing Klatch

In some of the L2.0 reading, one of the suggestions was to sponsor teen computer gaming nights at the library. But I think it would be a good idea to have a daily senior computer time - maybe weekdays for 2 hours in the morning that is dedicated to seniors, part social, part learning. Provide coffee and a person to facilitate computer use. Encourage users to bring treats. Make it the new McDonalds morning meeting place. Get people playing Solitare to learn how to use a mouse. Set two folks up next to each other to play Battleship or Scrabble on-line with each other. Show users who are ready for new things things they are interested in. Help with e-mail, get them communicating with their grandkids and others. Show them library features -- booklists, magazine articles, Chilton's car repair. Show them their neighbor's property taxes on-line. Just look for stuff that they are interested in that will motivate them to keep learning in a friendly and fun environment at their own pace.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Thing 2 -- Library 2.0

As I read and watched all of the material on L2.0, I had a little trouble wrapping my head around it all. It often seemed a little too abstract -- and as I came to understand it more, I have to say, needlessly so. I can think of it more easily in terms of staying up-to-date with emerging technologies, finding ways to incorporate technology, Web 2.0 if you will, and merging these technologies with what we do. The goal is to always be able to offer as much relevant material as is affordable in as many ways as are convenient to the end-user. While doing this, budgets have to be considered, longevity of the technology has to be considered, and broadness of applicability has to be considered. But above all, in order for new offerings in new technologies to be successful, the audience has to be receptive. In order to be receptive, they have to be interested, capable and end up satisfied. So we have to offer services and materials that there is demand for, that clientele can access; we have to let it be known that we have these things, and we have to be able to provide some kind of education for new users.

Also, as I went through the L2.0 materials, I increasingly felt that it was important to not only meet the future, but also not to let the past languish, left behind in favor of technology. When we talk about engaging the future and meeting "the users in their space," I wonder if too much emphasis is being put on the future at the expense of those we are still trying to serve, those who still exist in the technological past. We cannot offer the new services to people who are not "plugged in."

Getting people who were not exposed to computers early on and are now hesitant to use them is an existing issue that will only continue to grow as we offer more and more computer-based information and services and move away from older familiar things like card catalogs and physical copies of information. Engaging these people so as not to alienate them as library users seems like an important step. Once again, in order to have a successful technological experience, the user has to be receptive, has to be interested, has to become more capable, and has to end up satisfied.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Thing 1 -- Blogging -- Library Ideas Part 1

I know, Part 1 implies there will be at least a Part 2, if not more, but I can't guarantee more parts. If I don't put down an idea when I have it, I may never find it again. So here's Part 1:

If lists of new books, especially by categories (e.g. mystery, historical fiction, etc.) were maintained on separate blogs by the library, patrons could keep track of new books without going directly to the blog by putting in an RSS feed to it on their personalized page (like My Yahoo! or iGoogle). Then every time they opened their personal page, the block containing that feed would show the most recently added books.

People could form a book club where each of them maintained a blog about the club books. Then they could each create a bookclub personal page where all of the blogs are received on the page as RSS feeds. This could result in some real-time style book discussions.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Thing 1 -- Stuff I've learned so far

Counter: I was able to install a counter. I used and when I check on my account there, I can see statistics for how many times my blog has been loaded, how many visitors are new and how many are returning -- I can even see a map that shows where my visitors' ISPs are located and what their ISP is called -- for instance mine is Cooperative Light and Power in Two Harbors with a little thumbtack thingy on the map at Two Harbors. If you know anything about this ISP you know that it is a very local ISP, primarily local phone and line-of-sight wireless, so you would have a good idea that I probably live in the immediate area. Hmm. Not all of them are that descriptive. In addition, a page can have a counter, but not show it on the page. So if you think you are visiting your cousin's freaky website on the sly, and you are the only person he knows in Duluth, he may have a good idea of what you've been up to.

Avatar: Similar to what you do for Wii but I think Wii has stretch buttons to better represent your size -- both height and width! I might try to save the avatar as a jpeg and insert it as a picture so that it doesn't show up on my other Yahoo accounts (to date, I remain the generic dorky kid (male) in the Yahoo logo cap).

Book wikis:
After looking at someone else's blog and seeing the cool listing of their books as pictures, I discovered Librarything. To date I have used Anobii, but I might like Librarything better. I don't like the way you have to page forward in Anobii to see more than 9 or 10 books.

Subscribe to:
Posts (Atom): This is at the bottom of my page and provides a link to my URL so you could subscribe to my blog as a RSS feed! Good grief!

You can waste a lot of time doing this stuff...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

My first blog

Hey --

It's my first blog! This is a project for 23 Things On a Stick -- A Library Learning 2.0 Project. It is a self-paced learning program designed to explore and become familiar with Web 2.0 tools. It is open to library staff throughout Minnesota. The near-term purpose of the blog is to document participation in each of the 23 items taught in the program. This is Thing 1 already. 1/23rd of the way done!

I have already learned a lot as I saved this as a draft and then couldn't figure out how to publish it -- simple, I know, but not so much for the uninitiated. I will be looking forward to posting some pictures and learning some other features.

I am using the trebuchet font bc 1) I like how it looks and 2) a friend made a giant trebuchet for his high school senior project. It was huge and looked dangerous, what with the ropes and the counterweights, etc., but somehow nobody was maimed or died and we had a lot of fun launching the late summer pumpkins, zucchini and year-old spaghetti squashes. Maybe I will post a picture of it (or of the hole in the shed roof courtesy of a bowling ball gone awry).