Sunday, September 24, 2006

To Be Or Not To Be Shy

(Sorry, I know that's a lame title, but I feel that it's just so apropos to this whole contemplative discussion of shyness.)

Today I was reading, and in her latest post Jessamyn cited another blogpost that immediately appealed to me. It's funny because I just happened to be thinking about this exact same topic just yesterday. Well, I guess it started on Friday night when I was talking to my friend about my future because she asked me what type of library I want to work in. When I answered with "some sort of academic library" she cringed (having just finished her first masters) and said, "oooh so you'll have to be pusblishing or teaching," and made the Mister Yuck face. And I said, "yes I suppose, but I'm hoping to be able to publish rather than teach- I would hate to get a postition where I would have to teach also!"

But it's so weird because while I do think I would not like to teach an actual class, I'm kind of looking forward to being able to teach classes on how to use the library- in fact, that's a big reason of why I want to work in an academic library.

So that's where this post from T. Scott comes in. The conversation with my friend made me think about my shyness and why there are certain things that I just CANNOT do- at least without first feeling severely nauseated, light-headed, and cold and sweaty- and very similar things that I have no problem doing.

For instance, I hate raising my hand and talking in class, I prefer to listen and take it all in, and then later come up with my own ideas and opinions and write them down in papers, assignments, blogs, or notebooks. I am absolutely horrible at class presentations. No matter how much I practice and know the material, my voice always wavers, my hands always shake, and my knees always feel like they're this close || to buckling.

When I'm at work, however, I speak in front of people at meetings, I speak in front of group tours, and I sometimes train in small groups, all without a problem. I agree with T. Scott when he says that there's a point where you realize you must get past the shyness to get the job done. I also think there's a point where you just forget that you're shy because you're too busy getting the job done, and for me, that's not acting, that is natural.

It's part of my daily routine to come up and talk to people, so I do it, and they're usually expecting me to do it. I definitely still have my shy moments. Sitting in the break room or passing someone in the hallway can be painfully awkward at times, and I'm sure a lot of people at work still think I'm pretty weird. But it's nice to know that I can turn it off when I need to, or that it automatically hibernates for a while when I need to perform a specific task. I also feel that there's a value to shyness and don't really have any desire to change my behavior. I like sitting back and observing. I like being quiet. And I like that libraries seem to offer me the chance to be both shy and not so shy all at the same time.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Blog Post 6- Ask Me About The Bewberry Library

Are you thinking of doing some research in the humanities? Are you considering going to a research library in Chicago but you're not sure where to go or what to do? If you answered "yes" to any or all of these questions, visit my website now. Don't wait!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Blog Post 5- Actually, Thommy Should Be Gloating In His Grave

This may be cheating, I'm not sure, so feel free to let me know if you think I'm cheating with this blog post. If you read my previous post, then you know a little bit about the Thomas Ford Memorial Library and its Website. Well, this post goes a little further than the Website, because I am also impressed with all of the things the TFML is doing besides just having a great Website. I would've included this in my other post, but then it would've been way too long; and that would be, as my hero Jeanette Winterson once said (about people who write books with over 200 pages), "just mean."


So, TFML is really putting itself out there. I first found out about TFML from their Flickr page, where they had uploaded several pictures to advertise what they're about and what they're doing. TFML has pictures of books from the collection, pictures of posters advertising their reading programs, pictures of their frogs, pictures from their booksale, etc. They also have a set of pictures of readers with a poster of Thommy Ford in different cities, states, and countries of the world, which is just one more way for readers to get involved and be a part of something (I kind of think of it as patrons and the library sharing an inside joke). The way the TFML has set up their Flickr page provides another great opportunity for the library and its community to stay in touch with each other- it's a presence that offers a possibly lighter side to the library. AND they have a link on their Website to their Flickr page, which seems logical but I've been noticing that not all libraries do this.


Besides lending books, TFML also lends IPods and/or audiobooks. There is a list of the audiobooks currently available on the Website under the link "Books on IPod" on the right side of the page. Patrons can come in and borrow the MP3 and put it on their IPod, or borrow both the MP3 and the IPod. The list seems pretty impressive to me, a nice variety of books. And it's so important for libraries to not only offer the audiobooks, but the devices to play them as well. Also, if you're a little bit confused about how this service works, TFML offers a great FAQ page regarding the IPods and audiobooks. It seems like there's also a way to reserve both IPods and audiobooks if they're not available when you want them, so you can at least know when you'll get to borrow them.


Or, if you have any questions about using the audiobooks, IPods, or about anything else, you could email your question, or IM your question. TFML has three IM accounts: AOL, Yahoo!, and MSN.


And last but not least, TFML uses RSS to send their information to you. They have several different RSS feeds to choose from like a feed for what's new, a feed for the current bookmarks, a feed for "this week at TFML," and specific feeds for kids and teens like a podcast of "clickastory" (a podcast of a story read by a TFML librarian), and a podcast of book, CD, and movie reviews for teens. There are a lot more, but I felt that this was a good example of the exciting variety that they offer. TFML makes it really easy to be lazy, and still be involved with the library. They also offer an easy to understand step-by-step instructional page on how to set up a Bloglines account or other aggregator account to receive the RSS feeds. They make it sound so simple and useful, and not scary at all.

I am just absolutely astounded by the TFML and how it is using every means possible to put itself out there in order to invite others to visit any of the spaces they occupy, whether it's the Flickr page, Website, or an RSS feed. They've made everything that they're doing seem flawless and easy, although maybe that always hasn't been the case. I feel like TFML is an excellent example of how libraries need to adapt and think of themselves as not only limited to their physical space, but as an idea that can promote the things happening in the physical space through other media and technologies, and all of these spaces can work together to create one giant "library" with arms reaching out and connecting to other "libraries" and "communities."

Monday, July 31, 2006

Blog Post 4- Thommy Should Be Proud

As I was scrambling around through Flickr trying to put together my part of a presentation (I say scrambling because somehow I have a TON of stuff to do right now- thank you goddess of summer- although I guess it doens't matter too much since I don't like summer anyway and all this work gives me an excuse not to go outside in the brutally bright sunshine) I came across the Thomas Ford Memorial Library's pictures, which led me to google the library, which led me to its fantastic Website.

The TFML Website is so clean and concise. It's seasonally appropriate right now too, featuring three sections: a blurb about available and free passes to the Brookfield Zoo; an advertisement for the TFML summer program (I'm careful not to say "reading program" because it's not only about reading, but includes other activities for kids to participate in such as movie nights and a writing workshop) called "Catch the Beat" and accompanied by a cool poster; and a highlight of Donald Hall's (the newly named Poet Laureate) children's book The Ox-Cart Man, which is one just one of his books that the library owns.

The main page has a frame around it with several options for other links. This frame appears with every page, so only the middle content changes, which is a great feature because it still looks clean, uniform, and easy to navigate. The top of the frame consists of separate links to pages for kids, teens, adults. The left side has links for "Do you want to...", and the right side as information broken up into 4 categories: Contact, Technology, Board, and About the Library. Although the site isn't the flashiest or most attention grabbing, it still does the job without being boring. There are enough pictures to grab a reader's attention, and the pictures that were chosen to display, such as the "Catch the Beat" poster and cover of Donal Hall's book do help make the library come alive.

Also, the wording of this Website is very simple, informative, and inviting (if you ignore the typo). Here's an example from the teens page about Summer Reading:

"Summer doesn't mean the end of reading, just the end of reading what you don't want to! Come check out the library this summer and find that perfect book to read in the car, at the beach, by the pool, or in the bed this summer. Not only will you be unable to put down one of the many excellent books we have here, but you more you read, the more chances you have to win amazing prizes at the end of the summer reading program party. So stop by June 5th to pick up your journal and start reading what you want to!!!"

I understand I am an adult and maybe a little biased toward books and reading, but I like to think that if I had read this as a teen I would've rushed right over and gotten an armload of books to read before the summer's end.

I think my favorite part of the Thomas Ford Memorial Library's Website is the "Do you want to..." section. The title stays the same on each page, but the options for what you may want to do change depending on who the page is for. The main page contains options like getting a library card, reserving or renewing an item, looking for a book or movie, searching the catalog, attending a library event, or listening to a story!!! (I'll come back to this later- possibly in another post). This sidebar then changes so it is more specifically catered to the type of person looking at that page. For instance, the teens page's "Do you want too..." sidebar contains links for "play video games at the library?" and "join the Teen Advisory Board?" among others. Meanwhile, the same sidebar has fewer options, but are still specifically tailored for younger kids on the kids page like "listen to a story?" or "learn about Reading Patch Club?" I feel that this detail really makes the page seem like it's for that particular age group, without excluding anyone. It shows that the library is a place that understands, welcomes, and encourages the participation of people of all ages.

I could go on and talk forever about what I found, and what I think about this Website, but I'm going to save some of it for another blog post. Hopefully everyone reading this will check out the TFML Website and the TFML Flickr page, and feel free to comment, argue, gush, whatever.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Blog Post 3- Wikis For All And Forever

Last fall when I started at Dominican, I took the Introduction to Library and Information Science. This class was really helpful in that it brought to light a lot of the issues that have faced and are still facing libraries today. One of those issues is that of communication-- libraries have a difficult time communicating with their community and patrons, whether it's about promoting themselves and their programs, asking for feedback, or even just putting the library's voice out into the community. I've been thinking of this problem a lot lately, and I really think that wikis are a great solution.

One of the best ways to go about communicating to the public and with the public is through wikis. Libraries can use them to post information such as hours of operation; special events or a program schedule; or they could promote certain books and include information about the book and book reviews given by staff and librarians. Wikis are wonderful for so many more reasons. Besides the fact that a library could post this information, wikis also provide the opportunity for the library staff to edit the content, so wikis are perfect for posting information that changes frequently. Not only that, but patrons can get involved too and edit the content as well. This is where it gets really exciting. This is where the librarians and patrons can communicate with each other without even having to meet face to face. Say Lisa's Public Library has an "LPL Calendar of Events Wiki" that lists there's a program on Sat. afternoon. Maybe the librarian who was going to lead that a program had to leave town quickly, so the library updated the wiki and took that program off the list. Maybe the patrons who read this wiki are sad that the program's not happening anymore. These sad and disappointed patrons could just edit the content to say they'd like this program to be postponed, not cancelled. That information is good for the library to know.

Not only can library wikis be good for promoting programs, but they're also good for promoting library collections. I think this is what excites me most about wikis. Because of their easy editing capabilities, wikis are good places for libraries to post any bibliographies, indexes, pathfinders, and maybe someday even catalogs. What a perfect place to provide information that is constantly changing. Unfortunately, I didn't come up with this idea on my own. This is what's happening on the Biz Wiki, a wiki created by Chad Boeninger for Ohio University's Business Library. I found this site through an ALATech Source article written by Michael Stephens. In this article, Chad says that so far there haven't been any students to edit the content in the Biz Wiki, but I think (and so does he) that it's so exciting that they have the opportunity to! How great to put something like your collections information out there and say, "Here, please play with this information and give us feedback so we can make it better." If that's not communicating with the community, I don't know what is.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Blog Post 2- Trade Ya

I too made a librarian trading card on Flickr. Please don't judge.

And for all those interested, this picture was taken at Leona's on Sheffield. Because of the size of our booth, the table, and my food, I felt like I was a little kid at a grown-up restaurant. The onion rings really were the size of donuts...and they were mighty tasty.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Blog Post 1- It's Not Such A Wide Webby World: Part 2

Or, It All Began With The Russians

Hi. I've been reading about the creation of the Internet lately, partially because I don't really know much about it or understand how it really works, and partially because we have to write a blog entry about it for class.

The website that I've been able to follow the best is the entry for the "Creation of the Internet" on (which I always spell wrong- remember there's no "c"). Anyway, here's what I learned from Wikipedia's entry on the creation of the internet:

Basically, it all began when the Russians launched Sputnik and the U.S. government was jealous and scared of being left in the dust technology-wise so it created the technological agency called ARPA. The creation of this agency led to the creation of other agencies that were all working on creating some sort of networking system for computers. One man involved, J.C.R. Licklider, even “saw universal networking as a potential unifying human revolution.”

The idea behind creating this network came from studies done by the air force in which they used packet switching rather than circuit switching, which is what phone lines were using. Circuit switching, according to the Wikipedia article about the ARPANET, is when the line is tied up and data can only be used by the two parties sending it back and forth (the phone line image really helps). Packet switching, on the other hand, is when the data is dispersed into multiple packets and can be sent to multiple destinations, and there can be several packets with different information all being sent at once. The author of the Wikipedia articles likens this idea to a mail carrier delivering mail to several different residences (which is again a super helpful image). So by using this idea of packet switching, ARPA launched the ARPANET, which was the father? mother? older sibling? of the Internet that we know today.

Like I said before, I didn’t really know much about the Internet, and I still don’t really understand it. But now I have some idea of how it came into being. I think my favorite part of the history is Licklider’s idea of the Internet as a “potential unifying human revolution.” It certainly is. Although the government began tinkering with this stuff in order to advance in the realm of science and technology, it seems that they were still aware of the social implications that a network like this could have on the world.

It's Not Such A Wide Webby World: Part 1

Ok. So, I have to write a blog entry about the history of the Internet, and I will...tomorrow. First, I have to preface that assignment with this story: I just watched a newsclip of a moose wandering around Maine on my computer. Here, I'll start at the beginning.

I was looking at my friend Anna's blog intothewildblueyonder to see if she had written anything lately (forgetting that she hadn't because bloglines didn't say so), when I noticed for the first time that she has a list of links to some of her favorite things under her picture. I went to my profile to see if I could add some of my favorite links to my profile, but couldn't figure out how to do it. (Anna, if you're reading this, could you help me?) As I was scrolling down my dashboard page, I noticed that the lovely people at blogspot had given me a list of other blogs to read, one of which was called LibraryThing. Of course I was intrigued and clicked on it.

This is where my story gets very sad.

Apparently, LibraryThing lives in Maine and witnessed the death of a moose today. In his blog he gives an account of what happened, as far as he could tell, but also provides a link to the story as it appeared in the news. This link contains text and a video of the moose wandering around. I didn't watch the whole thing, because it supposedly got hit by a car and being the animal-lover that I am, I couldn't bear to see that.

But that's when it hit me: I'm sitting on my bed at midnight listening to Bill Monroe and His Bluegrass Boys and watching a newsclip of a moose wandering around a city in Maine on my computer when I don't even watch the news on my tv at 5 or 6 o'clock about things that happen in Chicago. How crazy is that? How wonderful is that?

But I'm really sorry that the moose had to die.