Monday, November 19, 2007

Thing 23--Post Mortem (It's a Good Thing No One Reads My Blog)

Adieu, regular 23 Things entries. I promise not to abandon you altogether, but some neglect, I predict, is in your future. It is not because I don't love you; you have in many ways won my heart (Library Thing, GoogleDocs,, wikis, and photo-sharing/storing Sites). But the verdict is still out on a lot of you (Technorati, Bloglines, generators, Rollyo, etc.).

I am extremely grateful to have had this opportunity to meet you. I would certainly be willing to do a program like this again. I also thank everyone for their help, hints, and support through this process, with particular thanks to Jaye Holly for steering so many of us "away from the icebergs."

But now for the complaints (oh, don't act like you didn't know they were coming). Time-I think everyone felt they didn't have enough time for this. As a part timer, I spend a lot of time on the desk and while I'm there I am usually helping customers, or shelving books, or cleaning up, or helping with book clubs, or pulling books for displays, or planning some program, or any number of activities. It is time to dispel the erroneous notion that most of us are surfing the Web. Now let me dispel another erroneous notion; I, and many others, are not part time because we're just out of college and are still figuring out what we want to be when we grow up. When I started at the library, I was also teaching at more than one college. Now, I continue to work part time because I am raising two children and helping out with a relative in poor health. I want to devote more time to the library; I do see it as a career and am grateful that I am allowed a position of responsibility even though I am part time. But I don't have tons of "free time." I read at home, when I can; try to keep up with book reviews, hot titles, current events, even new technologies.

But the reality is, there is no built-in time in any of our schedules for play and exploration. As our customer population has grown and changed, as our hours of operation have increased, as the services we provide have grown and changed, as the technologies we offer and use in-house have changed, as the nature and size of our collection has changed, as our partnerships have grown, and as we've tried to maintain our high level of customer service and professionalism, we have all had very little "free time." 23 Things has been fun, but it has also been exhausting and, at times, another burden to an already overloaded schedule. And it is difficult, at least for anyone in the information field, to just "touch and go" through the training. I think most of want to understand, to weigh the pros and cons, to look for the overlap and inconsistency, to think about what will serve us and our customers the best.

It is not, however, just the nature of the job that has caused problems though, it is also the nature of a lot of the 23 Things. Technology is not static. There is no governing body regulating the amount or quality of information or software being disseminated. There is a lot of overlap in what these tools do. There isn't always a smooth transition between the tools we wish to use in conjunction. And there isn't always a clearcut "winner" in what we should be using. And to make matters even more complicated, there is no World Wide Web Janitorial Service to go around and clean up all the failures and the forgotten. So there is a lot of slogging through garbage that one must do. Since we are all lucky enough to work in a library during this exciting time, we are probably going to have to be the chief sloggers. So I guess I'll put on my rubber gloves and fishing boots and cut yet another hour or two of sleep out of my schedule,
and start. Happy slogging everybody, I mean blogging, no, I mean slogging.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Thing 22--Audiobooks: Been There, Done That, Came Back For More

I use Overdrive. I love audio books. Just to be a good do-bee (Romper Room, nothing untoward), I checked out their tutorial (love the qualification about iPod and how one day maybe Microsoft and Apple can play nice). I even put myself on the hold list for Water for Elephants. I didn't bother with NetLibrary since that is a lost cause now. I did go to Project Gutenberg. I've been there before and found it not as sexy as Overdrive, but it's alright. It does seem to have greater access to those hard-to-find text books that people sometimes want. I must be running out of steam because I can't think of much to say. So close to #23...

Thing 21--Podcasts and the Sound of One Hand Clapping

Okay, I don't know what I did wrong. I tried all 3 of the podcast searching tools and only got some positive results from Podcastalley. I used it to subscribe to the Adam & Joe Show on XFM (2 ridiculous British DJs who crack me up) and a book review podcast called Booklog that seems pretty interesting. So far, I haven't been able to listen to either. Perhaps I did something wrong. (Or maybe I'll just stick with iTunes; not to be snotty, but never had a problem.)

I'm too tired to try to build my own podcast now, but I definitely will want to later (I did mention the narcissism didn't I?) But I did look at the libraries using podcasts on Merlin and was way impressed. Okay, the LibVibe Library news seemed a little self indulgent, but stories for kids, book reviews, and seminars and classes via podcasts...brilliant. And Westerville blew me away, not just because they have a nice, clean Site, but the podcasts, the use of video to show customers how to download audiobooks, the RSS feeds, and the various blogs. Man, we have some catching up to do.

Thing 20--The Magical World of YouTube

So I was going to post a YouTube video about Web 2.0, maybe a video on Wikipedia or an interview with Tim O'Reilly (edutainment, if you will); I was going to post a funny bit about libraries or cell phones, perhaps the commercial with the blond in the library ordering food or the cell phone Karma commercial from Kyocera (satire, how bold). Then I thought of posting some bit of remembered childhood fun, "Hanker for a Hunk of Cheese" or some Schoolhouse Rock (how nostalgic); I even thought of putting up a video from a good but under-appreciated band, such as The Dears or Saybia or Mew (promoting good music--a public service). But I didn't.

Most people have known about YouTube in some way for some time now. I think most people use it for some of the reasons mentioned above or to see some celebrity make a fool of him/herself or to get their 15 minutes or for some other mild entertainment. I use it to distract one of the Cheeky Monkeys more than anything else. Listen, I don't know why someone would take 4 minutes of video of a garbage truck making the rounds, but my Monkey loves it. It's not to say that YouTube can't be used for better things, but for most folks it is about distraction (either self or of another). So be it. If you need to see the cat flushing the toilet or the baby panda sneezing to get you through the day, then go wild. I mean, how else would I have been introduced to the high-brow world of the school bus wheelie?

Thing 19--Web 2.0 Awards...And the winner is...

Reader2 Okay, so it was only an honorable mention and not a winner. It is a place to keep track of your reading list and find new books. I like Reader2, not as much as The Library Thing, but I will explore it more.

You don't actually have to log in to Reader2 to get some of its advantages (which is good because I haven't decided if I want to join it yet). I like it's "What To Read Next/Find Similar Books" search tool (even though the first two titles I put in produced no results). I also like the "Go To Book List" but couldn't figure out how this list was compiled (that made me a little nervous). It could be a really helpful readers' advisory tool, but it may still need time to grow. The question is: Do I (or does anyone) have the time to help grow it and The Library Thing and any other similar sites?

I think there's a lot of repetition in some of these tools, and I, like most people, don't have that much time to play or explore. So I think we are all looking for simple, fast, one-stop shopping. That's probably why Google is still everyone's first search engine.
Display Schedule for Fiction Cubes

Person/People In Charge
Display Theme or Title
Nov. 18-Dec. 1, 2007
Thanksgiving, Family, Food, Home
Dec. 1-Dec. 15, 2007
Dance (for Nutcracker)?
Dec. 15, 2007-Jan. 1, 2008
Jan. 1- Jan. 15, 2008
A Fresh Start (books where characters change their lives ala New Year's Resolutions)?
Jan. 15-Feb. 1, 2008
Beating the Winter Blues/Blahs (books about summer or travel to warm places)?
Feb. 1-Feb. 15, 2008
Anti-Valentine's Day (books about how love stinks!)?
Feb. 15-March 1, 2008
Viva Italia (books to coincide with the Italy program)

Thing 18--Online Productivity Tools

In an effort to move a little faster, I'll try to give a straight response (for once). I tested out GoogleDocs because it is award winning and it is what my Hubby uses. (BTW, Hubby said I should throw out SaaS-Software as a Service--when discussing this because that is the corporate buzz in the Software World with regard to these apps. He also said the big talk is reduced need for an infrastructure among small to medium business by using apps. like these. For a good example of more of these apps., he suggest checking out and

Anyway, GoogleDocs rocks (as ridiculously stated in the youtube video). No, really. It was easy to use, and, in fact, I killed two birds with one stone a created a schedule for the Fiction Department Display Cubes (see actual document above). I then sent this schedule to my fellow Fictionistas, so the could collaborate (I really need them to collaborate the heck out of it). And as I said to all of them, "Google Docs is both fluid and organized." And I actual mean that.