Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Real Fish in the Library

My blog fish are easy and fun to feed. These are real fish temporarily living in the library. They are a prize for our Read Across America guess the fish contest. They are active and noisy and already trained to come to eat when I approach the bowl. I just may need to get an aquarium when they leave on Friday.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Digital Natives are Restless

Teens Tech Savvy, But Still Need Guidance

This article is in the SLJ Extra Helping that comes to my e-mail about every 5 minutes. I thought it was very interesting. Even though I am not involved with teens, the article refers to those "digital natives" I keep hearing so much about. Turns out they do need us after all!

I really liked this article, but I guess it has "expired" or something, the link is broken, and will no longer go to the article- it is not available anymore. Sorry.

Monday, February 22, 2010

I think these are my final thoughts. . . are they?

I think that I am done with all of the exercises for this course, but I am not really sure. I am ready to receive some feedback, and see if there is anything I still need to do. I can say for sure that my mind has been expanded and is about to burst. . . or is it just explode? In order to summarize my experience effectively, I will answer the questions posed in item #10:
What were your favorite exercises or discoveries on this learning journey?
I like my blog. There, I said it. I think it is cute, though I may change it soon, and I enjoy posting on it. Once this is over, I may keep it and just post other random stuff. One of our teachers has a blog for family photos and recipes and musings and it is so interesting to read. I read everyone else's (in our course, I mean) blogs, too. And I click on "next blog" every time I go to any blog, mine or someone else's. I find the whole blogging world fascinating. There are so many creative people out there. And lovely families who want to share their life's journey. I know that this has little or nothing to do with the tasks at hand, but I have discovered a world that I had no idea existed!
I will also continue to use delicious. I really wish I had done this before my last computer was fried and I lost all of my bookmarks. Even though I can live without them, there were some that I know I will never find again. It is like a fire in a storage unit- you don't know what you lost, and it may have been a bunch of junk anyway, but someday you may go to look for it and it is gone. So putting all of my bookmarks on delicious (I know there are dots in the name, but I forget where) is something I will continue to do.
How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals?
There is so much to learn, it sometimes makes my head hurt just thinking about it! Some of these tasks were frustrating and time consuming, but each brought awareness of some aspect of the technical world that was new to me. I am a reader, and now there is even more to read- blogs and newsfeeds and wikis, oh my! Now I have so many more places to look for what I need to know. Time. Time is the only barrier to ever being finished with one's lifelong learning task!
Were there any take aways or unexpected outcomes that surprised you?
That I was able to figure out how to do things I didn't know how to do. Most of the tasks were things that needed to be puzzled out and figured out and then done. Difficult at times, but now I feel more confident about making the computer do what I want it to do. Surprise! And I didn't expect to like my blog. I like the wikis, and really want to get one set up on my library website. I would love to open up a conversation with students about books and reading.
What could we do to improve upon the program's format or concept?
One word- FEEDBACK!!!!! It would be nice to have comments more frequently. I think maybe submitting each module for critique would be good. I am truly not sure if I am done with this, and await word as to what needs more "tweaking." I guess I am too externally motivated- I need to know that what I am working on is working.
If we offered another program, would you participate?
I think so. . . maybe. . . we will see.
(I do want someone to help me with the wiki thing)
All in all, this project has taken MANY hours. I have spent most of the last several weekends submerged in it. Sometimes that is because I am lost in the online world, other times it is because I am inept and dysfunctional. I hope that I am done, but I will continue to explore. And post.
bye, for now.


I have made a very valiant effort to connect with NetLibrary and download an audiobook. However, the spirits are not with me on this one, and I must finally admit defeat. When I open it at home, I am unable to set up an account, and am unable to find any sort of link on the LD Bell site. When I go to it at school, I am taken to the LD Bell site, but when I set up an account, all I see are ebooks- not audiobooks. So I tried going to the Hurst Public Library site from school to set up an account through them, but that took me back to the LD Bell site, and the ebooks. SOOOO, I tried going to Hurst Public from home, and it told me I have to set up the account at the library. Jeesh. I give up. I will, maybe, try to do this at HPL, but since I don't plan on downloading any books, probably not anytime soon. I know, I will go when I have a MP3 player to download them on!
I did make an interesting audiobook discovery, though. When revisiting the podcast.com site, I noticed a link for downloading a "free" audiobook. Curious as ever, I went to this link and read about audible.com. It is a division of Amazon, and is a monthly subscription service for downloading audiobooks. For $14.95 per month, you get 1 "credit"- usually worth one book. S0 you can download 12 books/year, and play them on any media player or your computer. This may be interesting, the 14 day trial would be a fun way to listen to something brand new. I would like to compare their library of titles to what is available for free at NetLibrary, that is if I can ever get to it! Anyway, I am an audiobook addict, so maybe once I have something to play them on (away from my car), I will investigate these resources further. For now, I am closing the book on audiobooks.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

NPR Book Review Podcast

I have added a link to the NPR (National Public Radio) Book Review Podcasts to my RSS feeds on the right side of this blog. I usually enjoy their take on new books, and Nancy Perl is a contributing reviewer. The particular program that comes up when you click the link is an interview with Jeff Kinney about the release of Dog Days last fall. I need to do more exploration of podcasts, I know that there are lots of words floating around out there that are waiting to be heard. Unfortunately, like the piles of "stuff to read," I could accumulate quite a collection of "stuff to listen to." I can see why it is easy to spend hours in front of the computer with not much to show for it!

God n Dog

God n Dog

This video is called "God n Dog." I am not a huge fan of dogs, but I find this so peaceful and comforting, I can't help but share it with everyone I know. It isn't really library related. I was going to load a book talk video, but I like this one better.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Web 2.0 Award Winners

As I said in my previous post, I am finding all of this web exploration pretty interesting. After surveying the list of award winners in all of the categories, I went to the books section and looked at 2 of the winners. Lulu was first place, and is a site devoted to self-publishing and the marketing of self published books. It was a very detailed site, easy to navigate and very clear in what it was all about- you pay money, download your manuscript and they turn it into a book. They also can turn your photos into a photo album or calendar. You can stop there and just have your creation as your own, or they will market it through the site, and you will receive a portion of the sale price. Judging from the forums and member comments, everyone seems pretty happy with this arrangement. Once again, I am fascinated by this online "community" of people who are linked through their common experience on a web site.
The other site I explored was Biblio.com, a site for finding hard to find and out of print books. I can see great usefulness for this site- there are often books that can not be found in the usual places, that may be located here. It would be a good resource for pricing, too. It was also easy to navigate and very detailed in content.
I was happy to see that many of the sites we have been visiting for this project are award winners- delicious, rollyo, googledocs, and one of my personal favorites- facebook! It wins my prize for biggest time user (waster?!) ever!!

zoho doc test

Mares eat oats and does eat oats, but little lambs eat ivy.

OK, that seemed too easy. Write the "document" (just a silly line from an old song) and then select "share" and follow some very simple steps to shoot it over to my blog. Was that too easy? Am I just getting good at this stuff? I can see applications for this, especially the aspect of sharing documents that could be worked on by more than one person. Who comes up with this stuff?? I find it all pretty amazing and very sophisticated, considering what a short time the whole online world has existed. I mean, in the vast measure of time it has only been around for about a minute and a half! When I was in library school (and even more of a novice than I am now), there was talk of the "invisible web," and the fact that we only see a very small percentage of all of the available material online. I believe that is very true. Based on all I have seen since starting this course, I would say most of the time we are aware of about 1/2 of 1% of what is out there. This has been very eye-opening and fascinating, for the most part, I think!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Wiki, Wiki, Wiki, Part 2

I just realized what our 23million things wiki reminds me of- those notebooks we used to pass around in high school. Each page was a different favorite or question and you filled in yours then passed it on. It was always fun to see what everyone else said. I guess now we can all do it 2.0 style. . . I wonder if that is something the kids are doing, too. It is certainly what a book wiki on our web site would be. Interesting: old activity- new approach.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Wiki Wiki Wiki

What a great word! I have visited the book review Wikis, and they just remind me that I want to get something like this on my library web site. I would love to have a forum for student readers to discuss their favorite books. I added my 2 cents to the 23million things wiki, but I am such a novice- I had to go back in and add my name to my posts. In general, I feel that the world of wikis is okay, a fun way to share your opinion and find out if others agree.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Library 2.0H NO

Just kidding with the title, I couldn't resist the "stereotypical" response! I read several of the Library 2.0 and Web 2.0 articles listed, and found most of them to be biased toward the concept of 2.0, as expected, and at the same time implying that this is something that meets a lot of resistance from us old folks. The whole idea of "digital natives" vs. those of us seen as "tourists." I am still not sure that I see the students I deal with as "natives." They may consider themselves computer "experts," able to click and travel around in a web search, but they have no vocabulary for what they are doing, and little idea of what to do once they reach their destination. Being their "tour guide" can be frustrating, if they don't end up with some sort of "game," they have limited ability for using the information they find. It comes down to having to read something, after all, just on a monitor instead of a page.

I found the Wikipedia entry on Library 2.0 interesting, and went to some of the links. One I found most intriguing was about making the OPAC "fun," more like Librarything or Google, with lots of ways for the patron to actively engage with it while searching. Hummm- seems like that would be like saying "why doesn't my dictionary get up and dance?" If you want to "play" with books, find reviews, post opinions, engage with others, etc, etc, then, by all means, go to a site that does that- Shelfari, Goodreads, Librarything- but if you want to look up a book and see if it is in the library and available to check out, then the good old OPAC is what you want. Do I use a dictionary much anymore to look up words? No, I go to the online dictionaries. Do I use an encyclopedia much anymore to do research? Nope, I go to the online encyclopedias. Do we still teach students to use dictionaries and encyclopedias? YUP. Do we also teach them to use the available online resources? YUP. Web 2.0 is with us every day in a number of very important, and very routine, ways. But I see these tools as existing along side of the more traditional tools, at least for now. It is fun exploring all of these technological marvels, and I can see where we will be moving toward incorporating more and more into our daily lives. But I am not ready to chuck all of the books just yet. . .I think we will need them for at least a little while longer!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Yummy. . . It's Delicious!

I ended up doing this at school, because (like Beth said) most of my "favorites" are saved on my circ desk computer. I had a ton on my computer at home, but when the nasty porn devil took over, I had to junk that one. Alas, I can truly see the value of having a site to save bookmarks - I may never know all that I have lost! I will continue this little adventure at home this evening. My delicious account is http://delicious.com/deberogers. I am not sure about the sharing part. I will be exploring that some more. So far I have 54 bookmarks. It was interesting to see how many of my favorites are "dead." Oh, well, it happens to the best of links!
Oh, and my blog has a new design. I found another source of free fancy stuff, and was able to upgrade yet again. It may change again, I am still searching for the perfect style!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Making my blog pretty- NOT an assignment!

As I have said earlier, I just love snooping around other blogs- even apart from our little blog block- and in doing so I have been struck by how CUTE many of them are. Feeling very un-cute, I noticed that all shared a little spot in the upper left corner that said "cutest blog on the block.com." EVEN our leader's blog sports the logo. Hummmm. . . perhaps this is a web 2.0 tool, too. Sure enough just a little java script/html and gadget later- here I am. . . CUTE! I may try out some other backgrounds, and combinations of format items. But for now, my blog is quite posh, thank you very much!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Library Thing and Rollyo

I am very confused about the difference between "widgets" and "gadgets." I have been trying, once again in vain, to put a shelf of books on my blog as a gadget, although Library Thing calls it a widget. The difference between the two doesn't seem to be something I can figure out. So there is a link over on the left to my Library Thing books. I am done exploring that site. Interesting and information packed though it is, I must move on. And after viewing the very scary, very inappropriate dreck that showed up on Angela's Rollyo, I am going to pass on any further efforts with that site. As Kiera has said, it is still in Beta testing, and would seem to have some major issues. I already have had to junk one computer due to hopeless infection by porn pop ups, I can not risk losing another. I am going to be a little old chicken and say NO! to Rollyo.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Library Thing and Shelfari

I have "played" on both of these sites and basically have nothing to show for it. I put some recently read books, both adult and kid, on Library Thing and made a list and all. It is nice to find reviews and such, but I tend to go to Follett for all of the reviews I can handle. I think the best feature is the list of related books. In library school I reviewed a database called something like "what should I read now?" It was very handy for finding another book to read- it would link what you already read and liked to similar books. I could really see a use for that in the library, as students are constantly asking for something to read and never seem to like anything I suggest. Unfortunately, I have never been able to find that database again. I think Library Thing would work for that- you can find out the last book the kid did like and suggest the ones that come up on the site. As for Shelfari, once again I saw something on someone else's blog (thank you again, CT!) - a book shelf of book covers with a little link below "get your own. . ." So I went through signing up for that, too, which seems to be a very similar sort of site, and built a 3 book shelf with the books I am currently reading. However, when I sent it to my blog, it just showed up as a link to my shelf, not an actual "shelf." So I deleted it to try again, and now can't seem to get it on at all. I may have to go to LDBell for a tutorial on all of these cool widgets/gadgets! Alas, I must move on to other tasks. I will revisit this later.

The Fish

OK, there they are- the fish. I loved Kat's fish, and really loved Cheryl's hamster, but I couldn't seem to get any of the other little animated creatures to be a gadget for me. I am going to continue to puzzle this out and try to get the turtles to come over to my blog. I have a turtle who lives in my library, so I thought having a couple on my blog would be fitting. As it is, I have the fish- though I did manage to change their colors. You can make them follow your mouse, and feed them when you click. It is fun. . . and another way to waste your time on the computer! Enjoy!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Just a little note-

Have you ever noticed that up at the top of your blog, on the left side is a little link called "next blog?" This fascinates me. I click on it every time I am on my blog- and usually when I am on other people's blogs, too. It just takes you to another random blog. I have never been to the same one twice, but they are all very unique, and many are very interesting. Where do all of these people find all the time to write so much and be so prolific and philosophical? Many are families with very photogenic children, some are people trying out new lifestyles- city people in the country, folks traveling all over. Sometimes they have music and you feel like these people have put their heart and soul into this bit of online chatter. I have only come across one that was a bit "off color." This pastime has nothing to do with this course, but it has opened up a whole new world that I didn't know was there! Try it sometime.
I also visit almost all of the other blogs in our "block" often- especially if I see someone has just been logged on (I click on "participants" to see who was on most recently). I am so nosy and snoopy! Fun times.

Image Generators- Playtime

I have spent lots of time on these sites- finding some fun things to play with, and some sites full of popups and ads. I liked the person that Beth created, so tried out the same site. It is like playing with paperdolls! I do not think this person looks like me, but perhaps I will look like her someday. Younger, thinner but with grayer hair. . .
Anyway, this site was fun. I enjoyed my play time.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Some RSS Links You Might Like-

Here is the Neil Gaiman Blog-
Here is what you need to know about Librarian Etiquette-
Who doesn't love WOOT? Great deals, fun to read-
There, did I do it? Did it work? I am never sure until I post it and see it in "real life." What an adventure. . . goodnight.

RSS Feeds

Boy was Kiera right when she said to take a DEEEEEEEP breath for this one! I started at 8:45 and it is now 11:03. . . on a Saturday night. Yes, I know that is a sad thing. No life. . .
I have spent all of that time on the Bloglines site (yes, it is quite confusing to have the Bloglines site and the Blogspot, too- don't these geeks think of these things?) trying to add RSS feeds to my account. I was able to add 2 and see them on the left hand side, but everything else I saved seemed to be saving, but did not show up in the list. Where did they go? Oh, those tricky little buggers saved themselves to my browser bar under a little Favorites spot with a sneaky little star. Hummm, however did I find them? Why, I screamed and tore some hair out, of course, and they somehow appeared. Joy! And since I had so darn many of them- they kept vanishing so I kept on subscribing to additional ones- I didn't move them all to Bloglines. My favorite is Neil Gaiman's Journal. I love him, and his posts are wonderful. He had to put his cat to sleep not long ago, and had a long post on the process- I just went through that last year so I shed a tear or two. Ok, so I admit being glad I found that. Will I read all of these things daily? I doubt it. How could they be of use in the library- well, isn't information always of some use? But, at the same time, aren't we already bombarded with information? There are an awful lot of feeds and blogs on knitting- maybe we could have a library knitting club. Cooking, too, and crafts- fun stuff, for sure. But who has TIME?? The little video said how this was time saving, but if I wasn't going to look for this in the first place, how is bringing it to me saving me time? It is just one more thing in my "stuff I want to read" pile, but the pile has now migrated to a new place. Jeez. . . I am tired. I will post this and then try to figure out how to post my RSS feeds. You will like the Neil Gaiman one. The rest are ok.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Flickr Photo, part 2

I think that I must have done this in a very round about way- the photo is there, but I had wanted it to be with the post. I wasn't able to do that with uploading within the post, but had to do it separately using the Flickr blogging tool. So it ended up being its own post.
While I appreciate the idea of backing up photos on the web, and I already have a Picasa account, I am not sure just how much I would use Flickr. It has taken me a long time to get this done, and haven't really experienced the "fun" of it.

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

This is the photo of the Carnegie Library- Free to the People- what a wonderful concept!

Flickr Photo

I would like to actually post this photo, and am still working on figuring out how to do that. But until I get that figured out, I will post the url for it. It is a photo of the Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh, PA. I lived in Pittsburgh for a number of years, and earned my BA from Point Park University right downtown. The Carnegie library was right near the Pitt campus, and not far from where I lived. I spent many hours in the children's room of this library. It was so beautiful, peaceful and classic. I became fascinated with the concept of the Carnegie libraries. Funny, I forgot all about it until I saw this group on Flickr- with hundreds of photos of Carnegie libraries all over the place! Maybe someday I will visit more of them- before they disappear for being to old!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

In the beginning. . .

I have begun this process, and still have little or no idea what it is I am doing. So far I have read everyone else's blogs, viewed various little videos, set up a Google account and fretted a lot about this. So here it goes.

I am a relatively new librarian who is very old. No, really. When I went to graduate school the first time, data for my thesis had to be recorded on punch cards and fed into a computer that took up an entire room- maybe even an entire floor. I had such great computer anxiety that I paid another student to do this for me! When I went to graduate school again, for my library certificate, things had come a long way- but I hadn't. I learned (under protest) how to put assignments into a drop box (what? where did that just go?), do online discussion groups, use online resources like databases (you mean I can't just look this up in a BOOK?) and such. Now I spend about 8 hours in front of a computer screen, both at work and at home, check my e-mail and facebook compulsively and wonder what I would do without this [dumb] machine! Alas, somewhere along the line, I drank the Kool-aid.

I do view blogging as one of the more repugnant aspects of the online world. It seems as if too many people (not us, of course) seem to think that anyone else in the world even cares about what they have to say, when in all likelihood they don't. And the people who follow blogs, well, they just need to get off their computers and get a life.

Okay- case in point. . . I just clicked on "preview" to see how this thing looked, then went "back" to finish it and it was GONE! I am sure that speaks volumes to my reluctance to take on this whole project. Thankfully, I have exactly half a brain and figured out that my draft had been saved and so all was not lost. sigh. It is on to my next task. More later, if anyone is interested!