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, July 29, 2010

Week 2 - Track My Library

I've been using Google Alerts for awhile to track by library system. Most of the hits I get off that are from our own web pages and event calendars, but it's nice to see when other sources pick us up. We were mentioned on professional wrestling site. Also, I once found an self-published author complaining about the difficulty of getting in the library. It's great to know what's being said about us, even if, especially if it is not complimentary. I think everyone should know when their library and library director make the news.

This type of information is crucial to marketing because it shows what information is being disseminated and what isn't. It can inform how to word tweets, blog posts, etc. I can definitely imagine monitoring these results as part of a PR job description.

I will be adding Addict-o-Matic to my toolkit. The results are robust without including very much of the unrelated things that appear in both Google Alerts and socialmention.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Week 2 - Delicious

How happy am I that Delicious took all the extra periods out of their name? Very. How happy am I that I finally have a solution to making Delicious work for us? Even more so.

My problem with Delicious has always been that throughout the course of the day I could be on any one of four computers - and so could 6 other people. So how do you use Delicious easily when you have to log in and out constantly?

I just tried setting up an account that could be used on our public service desk to access the sites we use regularly. It sent me on a wild goose chase of logging in and out of Yahoo and Delicious. One of my biggest pet peeves is having to link accounts like Delicious to a Yahoo account, but still have separate log in screens, usernames and passwords. In my experience the multiple account thing has been one of the biggest barriers to learning these new tools.

How can we use delicious? I'd like to have an account that could be active on our public service computers so that bookmarks did not have to be added separately to each computer and so that they would be consistently labeled and organized.

However, I've given up using it personally. I've just found using the service to be too frustrating. One of our IT guys came to fix my computer yesterday while I was in the middle of trying to set up the Delicious account and suggested I try Google Bookmarks instead. I think I'll give it a try.

There's lots of potential for students to collaborate on group projects with Delicious. Just like with a Wiki it would cut back on a lot of email back and forth. I like the idea other people are floating about adding the toolbar to our public computers. I may be adding this to my database and research talks.

Week 2 - Google Reader

Google Reader is one of the 4 websites I visit every day. I tried multiple RSS readers before settling on Google's. If only I had time to catch up on 1000+ unread items I have waiting for me.
One of my favorite features is being able for create folders so I can sort my feeds into work related and just for fun.

Reader has definitely kept me more in the loop in terms of upcoming titles. The flip side is that as my time gets filled with more and more things I no longer have time to read the hundreds of blogs I did a year ago. So what do I do when I face information overload? I just let all those unread posts sit there, unread. I ignore them. Every three months or so, when I can't take it anymore I just mark all posts as read. Eventually I end up feeling even less informed because I've created a mental block that stops all the information. It's time to go in and weed my feeds to a more manageable list.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Yikes, I'm already behind on this challenge. This is one of the side effects of taking vacation smack dab in the middle of summer reading and going somewhere without reliable internet.
Not that that stopped anyone from getting online.

When I started thinking about what I wanted to say about technology I considered talking about equal access and the fact that when I started my current position people were not allowed to access MySpace on the children's computers (but Facebook was ok). Or I was going to talk about how there are often many roadblocks to using the public computers in libraries. How often do you have to update Adobe Flash? Can you do it or does your IT department have to? How many times do you access a cool new tool you've heard would be great to use with kids only to find out it is blocked in incompatible with your computers? And still technology and internet access is number one on many of our customers needs at the library.

Because, even when on vacation when a family of 11 is relying on the neighbor's spotty wifi there were 3 laptops, 5 iPhones/iPad touches and 1 iPad in heavy use. (Ok, so clearly I could have used vacation to catch up on the challenge and didn't. ) What does it say that a for a family that proudly doesn't have a tv on vacation has replaced it with all these other screens? I think that one's too scary to answer.

What about families for whom having a computer isn't a reality?* How do the life prospects of those kids differ from the ones who spent a vacation week completely plugged in? That's where the library comes in, even if the kids are only using the computer to check MySpace or play MMOGs, especially if the kids are only using the computer to check MySpace or play MMOGs. They're still playing catch up technology wise to those other kids.

*Internet Adoption and Trends at PEW - according to these statistics are shrinking, but not in my community.

ALSC 21 Things for 21st Century Kids

Ok, so everybody hit the refresh button. (If there's anyone that still has this blog linked in their feed reader.) I'm going to be participating in the ALSC 21 Things for 21st Century Kids. Yes, I've done similar challenges in the past and even helped run one, but I've never seen one designed for people who work with children. I'm excited about that aspect.
Also, come fall I'm going to have my staff repeat some (if not all) of these challenges.

I've also blogged in the past about KidLit, food, tech challenges, crafts . . .
Often I have considered the logistics of creating a blog for the children's departments and the parents and teachers we serve, but haven't yet followed through on this line of thought. I love the idea of using blogs to keep staff in the loop. We have one in our system, but think there's a lot more potential in the large system I work in.

I'm looking forward to this challenge and hope to gain some ideas and inspiration for using technology with children.