Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


I am very pleased to announce that I have finished all 23 things. I didn't skip or skimp; I gave time and effort to each of the 23. My favorite discoveries/ exercises include LibraryThing, RSS feeds, podcasts/vodcasts, wikis, and online productivity tools.
This program fit in perfectly with my lifelong learning philosophy: we learn by doing. I learned much that I will use again, and certainly much that I forgot immediately. (Did I learn it, then?) I learned enough to feel comfortable discussing things such as wikis and rss feeds and social networking with my colleagues. And not only can I discuss them; I can USE them! I also used blogger to create a vacation blog for our summer vacation. We took photos daily, and I blogged, with photos, each evening, so my family and a few friends could experience the trip with us. Would I have done this before MD 23 things? Not on your life! Now I'm getting ready to do LATI, and guess what? We have to create a blog! I'll be so prepared for that!
An unexpected and pleasant outcome was finding kindred spirits as I read blogs of colleagues and co-workers. Who would have thought so many librarians at one branch are backyard birdwatchers/bird feeders? Or squirrel lovers? Or that we read the same books for fun? Or that we harbor curmudgeonly feelings about certain subjects.
If another discovery program were offered in the future, I would probably choose to participate. I would hope that the description of how much time we would be commiting would be a bit more forthright, though. We went into 23 Things thinking that we could spend an hour a week, or an hour per thing number, but in fact, we spent much more time than that. For people who spend their lives doing technology-oriented things, of course they could finish more quickly than those of us who use what is necessary when it is necessary. I still don't think that would average out to an hour a week. Our branch was very good in seeing that everyone had the needed time to work at the branch, but many of us still ended up taking some exercises home.
In a few words: sometimes frustrating, often challenging, frequently rewarding. When in the room with someone who managed to complete an activity, sounds of YaY! and WooHoo! could be heard, and everyone in the room joined in celebrating with that person. Sharing this activity with the staff helped make this a fun program.

#22: Audiobooks

It is quite an interesting world, this world of ebooks. I'm all for audiobooks; there's nothing decent on the radio anymore, and for long car rides, audiobooks are great. Hey - I "read" all the Harry Potter books in the car. (Jim Dale does the voices way better than I could in my imagination, anyway.) I haven't downloaded any, though; I borrow them from my public library.
However, books on my computer screen are another matter. I think it's fascinating that Project Gutenberg makes some really obscure literature available to anyone with a computer and internet. And I really like the idea that volunteers are doing the proofreading; in my next life, when I have extra time, I may even do some proofreading for them. I don't like the idea of reading a whole book online, though. In fact, whenever I have to read anything longer than a page, I print it out and read it from paper. I like the feel of the book in my hand; reading is, in part, a sensory experience for me.
The Overdrive and Netlibrary sites are easy to use; the netlibrary site could be used by little old men and women with next to no computer experience. I like that you can download music and videos as well on overdrive. I could see these sites being useful for someone who is housebound or incapacitated in some way. They will also be high on my recommended sites next summer when hundreds of middle-schoolers come into our small branch to borrow our few copies of the recommended readings for their summer reading lists. I know kids can do fine in front of a computer screen because they were practically born there.
I did not download any titles. The library computers will not allow us to download. I have a Mac at home, but Overdrive cannot be used on a Mac. The tutorials are clear enough that I feel I know what to do.
Again, although it's not for me, I can see many uses for downloadable audiobooks.

Friday, September 7, 2007

podcasts: Vegetarian Food for Thought

I viewed many podcast titles and listened to a few podcasts. Merlin even introduced us to a vodcast. I taught school for 30 years, and vodcasts and podcasts would have been very useful tools to have had in my teacher's toolbox. What great technology for new teachers! The examples of how podcasts are used in various libraries are inspirational; with very little effort, we, too, could have stories and poems and library news, and we could even invite our customers to give book reviews. What a cool readers' advisory tool! I do like the idea of podcasts.
The podcast I chose to put on my blog is Vegetarian Food for Thought. 'nuff said.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

YouTube experience

What do I like or dislike about Youtube? I dislike that there is so much stuff out there! It scares me that people spend so much time posting and viewing this stuff. Personally, I only view a video when it has been recommended to me (shopping penguin), or when I have to find one for a particular work-related reason, such as this one. I don't like spending time looking and listening. I also don't like to watch a lot of television, or listen to the radio (except for baseball and news.) Maybe these things are related. I prefer to be up and about doing something "productive" or at least physical.
I chose the video of the crow because I find crows to be brilliant birds, and this is one further example of how they adapt to their surroundings.
How can Youtube be used on library websites is a mystery to me. Frankly, I would have to spend more time than I am able to give right now to explore the kinds of videos we might be able to use. Instructional videos, maybe. Are there reader's advisory videos? I'm at a bit of a loss here. When I see kids (usually teens) in the library looking at Youtube, I am alternately amused and repulsed at what they view. We had some kids watching very violent "beat down" videos, and this leads to another whole kettle of fish.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Bird That Uses Cars as a Nut Cracker

THIS JUST IN...the youtube video vanished from my blog after about a month. (I noticed on Sept. 26) I wonder if there's a time limit, or a copyright issue, or something! I'll search for and link to another video, but I'm disappointed that my bird using the cars to crack walnuts has disappeared.

Friday, August 24, 2007

#19: Web 2.0 awards

This was a fun exercise. I spent (and enjoyed spending) time looking at waaaaay too many sites , but in the end, I decided upon Listdump as a favorite and potentially useful site. Touted as "a list junkie's dream," visitors are encouraged to contribute to existing lists, vote on other users' lists, and add their own lists. I can envision creating a library users list in which users do readers' advisory: a simple little "Favorite books." Or one in which they form a branch "wish list." (But I'd want to find a way to keep the younger viewers away from the porn-type lists!)
Incidentally, in looking at some of these lists, I wonder if I am looking at someone's rollyo.
For example, one user has a Best Food Websites list. If I am actually learning anything here, I think I recognize such a list as a rollyo. Yes or no?