Friday, August 14, 2009

Thing 23: Reflection

I'm not sure what my favorite Thing is, but my least favorite is Twitter. It is totally unnecessary. A lot of this was challenging for me. I don't know much about computers. I've learned what I thought I needed to know to do my job. 23 Things has been frustrating at times because of the restrictions on my work computer. Sometimes I didn't know how to find stuff (some of the sections in LibraryThing spring to mind). Because of this course, I tried a lot of things I never would have tried on my own. It's good for me to do this. But some I will never bother with again as I see no use to them. I believe people get excited about new technology and that after a while their interest fades because it isn't any better than what they were using before. Some of the Things seemed messy to me. There was no organization to them and they were hard to search. Some were more for fun than for business purposes. I wrote about some of it in the previous post. If you come up with another 23 Things, I'm not sure I will sign up for it. But even with my meltdown and all of the problems I had, I am glad I did this set.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thing 22: Developing Your Own 23 Things

I think our library could use podcasts and a public Wiki to help us communicate with the public. You Tube is another possibility, though we would have to be sure we have waivers if we use pictures of the public. Wiki and You Tube are probably the best for informing the public of policies as well as how to use our resources. Ning could be used, but I'm not convinced it's all that great. Again, we'd have to have waivers for any pictures of the public. Google Docs is useful within the library. I noticed several libraries use Facebook. I have my doubts about that one. For me, Facebook is hard to control, so if I signed up as a friend on a library's Fb, I'd probably lose many of the notices about events in all of the other stuff sent to me from other friends. I am probably a minority since I don't spend a lot of time on the computer, so my FB observation may not be valid. The library will have to have someone oversee these projects, and allow application/browser updates, or none of them will work.
All in all, I have enjoyed doing the 23 Things. I obviously had problems with some of them, but I persisted. I feel a strange sense of accomplishment. There are Things that I will continue to use.

Thing 21: Podcasts

I listened to several library podcasts. The sound on most of them was very clear. The types I think might work in our library were the Teen ones. Hearing a Teen talk about what's going on, and listening to their music, was interesting. I don't know if it would bring in more Teen patrons, but it's possible. I think it would be a fun experience for budding musicians, and for Teens who write. What fun to read your own poem or story. I also enjoyed listening to some of the children's story times, but I don't think they are the best choice for young ones. Most kids (as did I at a young age) prefer something visual when they listen to a story. I believe the illustrations are an important part of story time. Kids gain a lot of information from a well illustrated picture book. Most children's librarians use the pictures as well as the story in their programs. I do think it is good for older kids. They should either have, or be developing, listening skills. Listening to someone read a story well brings it to life, and it plants that little voice in a child's head so he/she starts to hear it when reading. It helps to focus on the meaning of sentences and the characterizations instead of just the individual words. FWPL already has downloadable audio books for adults and children.
On a personal level, I had fun at the Internet Archive, especially the old radio programs. I remember being frightened by The War of the Worlds on Halloween night. No, I'm not old enough for the original broadcast, but one of the radio stations played it when I was a child. On I.A. I can listen to comedians who later moved to TV, plus radio shows I've never heard, though I've heard of many of them.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Thing 20: You Tube

Several of the videos were instructive. I wish there had been one for using an academic library when I was in school. I'd always used the public library. UT had some good ones, though the pace was a little slow. They included one on their widgets. Putting our story times on You Tube is a nice idea. People can check out our Booker's Ally story times in our system, but we might have more interest in them on You Tube. I liked the tour of the Azle Memorial Library. It's a nice way to show it off. There were many videos that were rather predictible. There were pictures of books, smiling staff, computers - the usual. Nothing exciting there. Gaming in libraries and the special events weren't bad overall. There were some cute specialty ones, such as the Library Ninja silencing the cell phone user. I guess that one is therapeutic for me. I did enjoy some of the Book Cart Drill Teams. I noticed that the University of Phoenix (Two Friends Earn Education Degrees) managed to be on every page when I searched Academic Library. And Paula Grace Designs had links in several places.
I understand that You Tube might be useful for the library, but if the product displayed is mediocre it won't do us much good. I'm not sure how we could make the library look fun and exiting. Stop action animation, collages, kaleidoscope effects - none of that really works. We aren't really exciting; we are useful. And that's hard to market.

Thing 19: Google Docs

Most of the programs (Document, Spreadsheet, Presentation) seemed pretty much the same as MS Office except for the sharing bit. I do like that. It saves a little time. And I know that if I designate someone as being able to edit, then they can manipulate ithe information. It's a pain to receive an email attachment and find out I cannot do anything but read it. Then the emails start back and forth, and I get more and more frustrated. Google Docs will be a help in doing committee work that needs input from all of the members. We can all share. In the Presentation, I never did figure out how to adjust the speed of the slide show, or of the fade-in of one of the pictures. Neither did I find out how to have it open as a slideshow. As for the Form part, I found that one a little difficult. It would not display properly for me, though someone I sent it to said it came up with the selected background theme. I think maybe it was because I haven't done anything similar to that before. But I did like the spreadsheet response for the questions in the form. I need to play with that a bit, but overall it worked well.

I looked at the GoogleDocs blogspot. I think Google Checkout is particularly good. I wish we'd had that back in the days I worked retail for small Mom & Pop stores. Some of the other stuff was good, but I don't have a reason to use them. Still, one never knows, do one?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Thing 18: Wikis

Roller Derby was the subject I chose to look up in Wikipedia. There was a lot of information, including the rules of the present day game. I also looked up the history because I have rather vague memories of watching Roller Derby on TV waaaaaay back when I was a young woman. I checked Discussion and History on the first search. I was surprised at how short the History was considering how long the Discussion was. There were, and probably still are, some heated debates going on in the Discussion. One contributor went so far as to list his/her interpretation of the Wikipedia rules. Lots of deletions, repostings, and some rather angry messages going around. It's nice to know people are passionate about posting information, and that some are worried about legitimacy. There was discussion about whether or not lists of movies and music should be included, or if the lists should be a seperate entry. I was surprised that the 1970s movie "Kansas City Bomber", with Raquel Welch, was not on the list. But I didn't want to get involved. One of the rather heated discussions had to do with crossing the line into Original Research. I was intrigued by all of this. It actually makes me feel better about using Wikipedia as a source. Of course, I would check it against an acceptable source.
Now to the second part. I had trouble creating my own page on Wetpaint. But third time was a charm. I trust that the false starts I had will be deleted eventually since my emails were forwarded to the appropriate person. A good part of the problem is my ignorance, but I think more detailed instructions might have helped. For instance, I had no idea where to put my information when I first made the page. But I figured it out. And I noticed there were a lot of comments left on this assignment. It made me feel good to know I was not alone. That being said, I'd like to add that I very much appreciated not having to create my own account. It was much easier this way. Thank you.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Thing 17: Libworm

I was not impressed with Libworm. One of my searches did not provide satisfactory results at all. I was looking for information/discussions about the minimum age for children to get library cards. I phrased it several different ways, tried different options, but I still came up with stuff that was not what I wanted. There was one result from someone who was interested in this same question. Unfortunately, I had to join a group to read it all. I didn't do that because I wasn't convinced there would be more than the one blog. Also, some information I looked for (different questions) was dated. Maybe it's the full moon, maybe it's sun spots, or maybe it's the operator. I did look at some interesting items that were not really related to my searches. I think if I had a lot of time, it might be interesting to browse Libworm. Overall, it was more trouble than productive. I admit I was peeved because I couldn't access it from either of the computers I work at. I used a public computer for this assignment and that definitely took me out of my comfort zone. I'm not used to having kids playing Runescape right next to me. This could have influenced my opinion. Maybe I'll try it again sometime.