Plain Kate
Touch Blue
Three Quarters Dead
Brown Rabbit in the City
Girl Parts
One Crazy Summer
Clementine, Friend of the Week
The Birthday Ball
Scarlett Fever
The Monstrumologist
The Irresistible Henry House
A Wrinkle in Time

Kristen's favorite books »

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Week6 - Webinars

I've attended a couple of Webinars and tried to attend a couple more. The most useful one I've attended was training on EVanced (our summer reading program software). I appreciate that the SRP webinars exist and are easy to understand, in part cause they taught me and it meant I didn't have to create new training for my staff.

There are a couple of Webinars from Nebraska that I will definitely be checking out. I've already suggested a Webinar from the list to one of my staff members. I think there's a lot of my staff that would be interested in Webinars specific to children's services. As budgets are being slashed and local professional development opportunities (or the chance to go to one) are dwindling Webinars can be a great tool.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Week6 - Podcasting

I'm starting to feel overwhelmed. Not because I'm finding the challenge particularly difficult, but because the potential for all these tools that we're not utilizing at the library is so great that I don't know where to start. I'm trying to absorb everything, document my ideas and keep in mind that the best way to start is to pick one thing to implement at a time. (The other half of my brain then screams, but we're already behind!)

So, podcasting. . .
I've tried it before. I find I don't listen to them. (I did listen to a Harry Potter one for a little while.) Talk radio puts me to sleep. I need a book on tape or peppy music for my commute. Perhaps I just haven't found any I like enough, yet. But the potential for library use is pretty high. Keeping copyright in mind I can envision using podcasting/vlogging to present storytime to a wider audience or merely demonstrate flannel stories and fingerplays.

I wish there weren't quite so many sticky legal issues with using children's images because I have a ton of programming ideas that would involve podcasting and/or youtube. I also wish there were more time in the day.

Week5 - IM

What would we do without IM? There are a couple of people for whom that's really our only method of communication. Meebo has been my go to IM client for some time now. When I was an emerging leader Meebo was where my team held their meetings.
My local committees are just starting to get in on the action of chat based meetings.

I also like using Meebo as a virtual reference tool. Since you can embed a widget on almost anywhere, when it is front and center on your website visitors have an immediate connection with a real person and don't have to hunt down the service. (See sidebar.) Here's one library using Meebo for virtual reference.

Our kids know Meebo and so there's less of a barrier introducing that reference service to them than there is a more formal service that they have to fill out a form to use.

Week5 - LibraryThing and GoodReads

GoodReads, GoodReads, GoodReads. I love GoodReads and far prefer it to LibraryThing. The main reason: there's no limit on the number of books I can add to my account. Also, I get email updates on what my librarian friends around the country are reading. Shallowly, it has a prettier interface.

Which isn't to say that LibraryThing is without it's benefits. I will turn to LibraryThing occasionally for a hard to find book when the details I have are "it's a blue book about a princess". Thanks to the tag search I've been able to find a few titles this way.

It would be interesting to set up online book groups on one of the sites. (Again, I prefer GoodReads.) I'd recommend it for personal use to teens, but can imagine lowering that age when using the site in conjunction with a book club. If we didn't already have an electronic summer reading program I imagine we could create a group in one of the services that would function in a similar way, at least on the patron's side.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Week 5 - ALA Connect

Ok, I'm going to be honest here. ALA Connect is another service that I really want to like and just don't. I believe the problems I have with it are due in large part to the slow adoption of the service. If the groups I work with used it I would likely find it invaluable.

I'm anxious to find out what other people are doing with ALA Connect, but haven't seen many mentions of it at least not among the challenge members. So, do you use ALA Connect? Do you find it useful or repetitious?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Week 5 - Twitter and Facebook

I've given Twitter a number of tries. I even occasionally tweet. (See sidebar ->) However, I'm still not totally on board. I find having another thing to check to be onerous and to be honest, I haven't found anything/anyone I want frequent updates about. However, I can understand how it could be a great PR and community building tool. Because the information on twitter is so current I imagine one of the best library uses for Twitter would be very local communication, promoting programs and materials.

I really, really want to like and use Twitter. But much like the departed Wave, I have other tools that do most of what Twitter does. My library system talked about using Twitter. I don't know what happened to that plan.

On the other hand, I love Facebook - first and last page I visit everyday. My use of Facebook is mostly personal, but especially like the way I can connect with librarians throughout the county, state and country. My library system does utilize Facebook, at least the YA librarians do. It would benefit the children's librarians to join in before those teens become parents themselves.

So, I have a few goals for myself moving forward with both of these tools.
First, I will try regularly keeping up with Twitter for at least a week. I've already (re)added a Twitter gadget to Google desktop. Secondly, I will advocate for the use of both on a local level.

(Note: Blogger, you really should recognize Facebook as a word.)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Week 4 - Flickr and Tagging

rotated horizon
Originally uploaded by Kristen Kirk
This is one of my favorite photos I've ever taken. I edited the photo on Picnik to create a horizon parallel with the edges of the picture.

As much as I'm a fan of tagging, I find I don't often employ the practice much myself. I think it is such an incredibly useful tool, but don't take the time to use it. The only website I reliably use tags on is, where they're called shelves. The reason I tag there when I don't tag anywhere else? I'm obsessive about keeping track of my books and my reading. I tag books with the year I read them in. How else would I know that I'm way off pace for reading this year?

That said, tagging is exceptionally useful in searching and sorting photographs.