Saturday, August 22, 2009

Crazy Times "Up North"

Finally! I am so happy to be able to share with you all Oliver's adventure in Wisconsin. We started out early, he slept most of the day since it's not exactly legal for monkeys to drive cars. For the first day of driving (yeah, that's right, first day) he didn't miss much. We drove out of Texas, then through Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri (just the corner of it), and Iowa. We stopped for the night in St. Paul, Minnesota. Here's a picture of Oliver in Iowa:

...not much to it (sorry if you're from Iowa). On the second day of driving, we passed along through the rest of Minnesota and up through most of Wisconsin to end up at our destination: St. Germain!

We stayed on one of the many lakes up there, did some playing around, shopping, and a whole lot of relaxing! Here is the link to my Flickr, where I post many Oliver pics:

One last thing about Wisconsin is that Oliver's eye patch died. I'm currently on the lookout for a replacement. More stories will come, but not today, I started library school today and my brain is pretty fried. Here is my fav Oliver Wisconsin pic:

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Oliver is coming back!

Sorry I haven't been able to share about him! I promise, promise, promise that we'll be back in action soon, including stories from Wisconsin and getting ready for the next couple of exciting trips, including Chicago and Austin!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Coming Soon. . .

Now that I've completed 23 Things, I just wanted to let the followers know that Oliver will be returning to the blog in the next couple of days.

He hasn't forgotten you. . .he's just let me take center on the blog to finish posting about the 23 Things project. :)

Thing 23: Reflection

Woo! Last Thing!!

This has truly been an interesting experience. I learned that I have a hard time randomly blogging about each thing and had to truly stop and think about what I wanted to say about each thing. When I started this project, a friend said blogging gets easier the more you do it. . . .I think it'll just be one of those things I'll always struggle with.

I think my favorite thing had to be finally getting on Twitter. I think that if I use it more and more, it'll help me develop my blogging skills. :) My least favorite was RSS feeds. I still think they're a great idea, just truly not for me. I'd rather have hard copies of items or go to each site I want to view. I think I just get way overwhelmed at the amount of information provided.

I think I did learn a lot about many of the things. As I mentioned in an earlier post, our library has already started a Twitter. I think as we become more aware of what our patrons view in their leisure time that we may explore other online methods of getting our information out to them.

Overall, I'm so glad I participated in this project and feel like I've learned so much about the different Web 2.0 resources available out there. :)

Thing 22: 23 Things at My Library

From my library, four staff members that I know of participated in this program. I think the concept of a 23 Things project is wonderful and can help increase so much staff awareness of what the public is viewing in our building (and out of it, too). I think this program, with some tweaks and changes to some of the things would be a great training tool at my library. I see it as a great staff development project that will help people be more comfortable assisting the public at our internet stations.

I'd like to go a step further and throw this idea out there: wouldn't it be great if public libraries could somehow get a community-wide 23 Things going on as a way for parents to know what their teens are doing online, as a way for teens to find new fun social networking sites, as a way for non-computer literate patrons to know what possibilities are out there as a way of keeping in touch with long lost friends and relatives?

I think it'd be worth looking into. . . .perhaps in a long while. . . after staff members have had an opportunity to explore and grow comfortable with these 23 Things.


Thing 21: Podcasts

Since I have started to work more closely with teens at my library, I decided to listen to a couple of teen-oriented podcasts. The first one was a public library podcast featuring a teen reading her 3rd place winning short story from a contest the library held. I thought the audio quality was good, she was careful in her reading and I thought it came across very well. I did not see a way to subscribe to this library's podcast, but I personally would not if the opportunity presented itself. I think if I was a patron interested in what activities and events were going on, then I would definitely subscribe in order to keep in touch with what is going on. The second podcast I listened to a speaker from InfoPeople talk about teens and poetry. The audio quality was excellent. I think if I had more time to listen to podcasts, I might possibly subscribe to this one.

I think some podcasts might be of interest or use to our patrons. Although we have a lot going on in the line of programming, I think at this point we don't have quite enough to qualify starting a podcast. We've recently started a Twitter, and I think that is currently grabbing the attention of a pretty large audience. The only downside to podcasting is finding the time to listen to them and download them.

Out of curiosity, I decided to search iTunes for public library podcasts. I was surprised at the results that came back. And I noted that a great majority of them were targeting teens or created by teen groups at public libraries. This is a subject that might need to be brought up to our teens to gauge their interest in podcasting to see if it would be something we might want to explore.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thing 20: YouTube

I am amazed at the number of public libraries using YouTube! I think they each achieved their goal of reaching a diverse audience. I think they wanted to reach those who don't watch tv often, have no cable access, and who like to support and follow their library online. I did notice that some things were targeted specifically to different age groups, and thought that was nice too.

I think that videos posted online would be a great tool to use for encouraging teens and adults to participate in library programs. I also think if they're updated regularly that this would be a great place to post information about upcoming progrms on your library's channel.

I certainly hope that this is a tool we can somehow utilize at our library in the future.

Thing 19: Google Docs

I really think I don't use Google Docs enough. I really love how they make it possible to save your information in a variety of formats. I am delighted that there is another resource out there that people can create Microsoft Office quality work on a free platform. At home, my husband and I use Open Office. I personally prefer some of its features to those in MS Office. I think that Google Docs is a great resource that allows someone who is away from their personal computer to work on a document, presentation, etc. and be able to save it online without having to email it to themselves or worry about saving it to a disk drive.

Also, as I was scanning the blog, I noticed that Google Docs admins were taking feedback from users and finding ways to implement the ideas. I think that is a very cool thing. Something I don't really get to see a lot of with online resources.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Thing 18: Wikis

I've been using Wikipedia on and off for a while. It's actually a pretty good source for some info (when verified). Sometimes I skip down to the bottom where the citations are and just click on those sites. My experience with creating a wiki was pretty good. It's easy and I can see how you can make something up to be really cool. I did encounter one problem. When trying to create the subheading "Books" I was unable to do so. I assume it's because someone else off the main page had already created a page with that heading on it. Other than that one hang up, I thought creating a wiki was fun and a good way to let creativity flow.

Thing 17: LibWorm

I think LibWorm is an intersting site. I liked the searching function that helps users wade through all the information available. However, I think the site could use some maintenance. I had a difficult time searching for my library. I was able to find a ton of articles about our public school libraries, though. I think this is a site that could be an information gold mine. . . .if you have the time to spend searching and wading through the tons of information.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Thing 16: LibraryThing

I think LibraryThing is a pretty cool site. It allows me the opportunity to do something that I've been wishing I could do pretty much my whole life: list all the books I own and tell people what I think of them. :) I think I mentioned in an earlier post that I will be starting library school this fall. ;) So far, I think it's pretty easy to use. I like how it draws title information from, so it's in a familiar format for most people. I can't wait to find that spare time at home where I can take my laptop to the shelves and start listing away!

I have heard of libraries using LibraryThing for Libraries. That could be cool, but I think for now I prefer to use it in my home.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Thing 15: Digg

Digg is pretty cool. I think it's a fun way to see what other people are looking at online. I spent some time clicking on articles and such that I had never heard of. But I like the fact that it enables the casual web browser to be able to see what is going on online. You don't have to be out there checking out all these different sites. And if you're active enough online it's a way for you to share with tons of others different stories you've come across. Overall, I give this Thing a Digg. :)

Thing 14: Delicious

I like Delicious. My experience so far is that it's easy to use. I had no problem signing up and importing bookmarks. I just went through in about 5 minutes and edited all of my bookmarks by adding tags. I also really like that on this site, just like other social sites, you have the option to keep some of your data private and only publicize certain parts of your profile. I have opted to share some of my links for the purpose of this thing. They are not library related, but more fun in nature (these are different sites I visit when I'm not working, but not all the sites I visit when not working). Enjoy!

Thing 13: Tagging

I think tagging is a wonderful tool that can be used to help browsers find what they're seeking. I haven't been using it on these posts mainly due to my bad memory. I usually finish typing and then forget that I can add labels. I think tagging is possible in libraries, as stated on the 23 Things site it is similar to subject headings. I think they are very similar. I wonder if there would be any way to view/track patrons who would be trying to tag inappropriately. (C'mon, there's always someone!) I say encourage it if we can monitor it.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thing 12: Twitter

I did it! I'm finally now on Twitter. A while back my husband joined and some members of his family, too. They all asked why I didn't have one and I told them I would only create an account when I finaly got to this particular Thing on 23 Things.

My initial thoughts on Twitter (upon first hearing about it a while back) were "What's the point? Will I be able to keep up with it?" But now that I've seen it in action at my house, I feel confident that it is low maintenence and can actually be a new fun way of keeping up with online interests and friends.

For those of you interested in following me (not Oliver) on Twitter, my user name is AggieLily. And just so you know it's the same person posting on Twitter as here, I've put Oliver up as my Twitter ID photo. :)

Thing 11: Instant Messaging

IMing is something my city already uses for staff. It's really a great tool to have when you need to tell someone something that is more urgent than an email, but not urgent enough for a phone call or a face-to-face meeting.

I also used AIM a lot when I was in college. IM was the best way to have a conversation with your friend in another dorm or room without having your roommate overhear everything. ;)

Now that I'm out of college, the only place I truly use IM frequently is at work. I'm hopeful that one day we can maybe explore IM Reference. It seems a lot more of our patrons would be comfortable chatting online instead of face-to-face. I'll just have to wait and see!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Thing 10: Ning

Overall, I am not too impressed with Ning. It seems like it'd be a really cool networking site...if you had enough people interested in joining your network. Problems I can see people running into on this site is not wanting to join it due to already having the more popular Facebook or MySpace, etc.

I have to admit, though, the one positive is that if you are a member of one of these networks, there is a wide variety of methods for you to share and gather information related to your network.

One interesting network I found was for the band Jet (one of Oliver's favorites). They had most of their music videos posted, tour information, band info, etc. So things like that could be pretty cool.

Over all, though, I think I'll stick to my Facebook (eventhough I don't use it very much).

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Thing 9: More Facebook

Okay, I just realized as I was completing the tasks listed for this thing that I have not revealed my name, so those following along will not know for sure that I have updated my status as requested. So, if I need to remedy this, just let me know.

Another task listed was to join three groups and then list them for all to see....over the years I've joined many groups, but just for this occassion have joined a couple more. Here is a list of three that I'm a member of:
  • Aggie Football
  • UNT-SLIS Unite!
  • Celebrate Your Freedom to Read! Banned Books Week
In response to the last part of the Thing posting, yes I have been surprised a lot lately by old high school friends contacting me (or "friending" me) out of the blue on Facebook. I have not actively looked for new people in a long long time and that is due to my lack of activity on Facebook recently.

Thing 8: Facebook

Ah yes....Facebook. I've had my Facebook account since college. Yup, back when the URL was, only people in college could sign up for membership, and back when the most fancy thing on your profile page was your wall. As I've said before, I'm a simple creature.....Facebook has gone from really easy and plain to very detailed and slightly complicated (at least for me). I remember how easy life was before they added Applications. I am still bombarded with application requests from friends every day.

I do have to say, though, I really enjoy the way Facebook has provided me with a method of staying in contact with friends I haven't seen or heard from in a long time. In college it was the easiest way for me to keep up with what everyone was doing and to let them know what I was also doing.

My thoughts on privacy on Facebook are these: it's the should always be careful what you put up there, Facebook allows you to restrict what certain friends, networks, and even the public can see on your page (for the casual Facebooker, you can see just the basic information on me), and as for all the information they need...well, I don't mind....I know who has my information and if any of it is abused I will pursue action through appropriate channels. :)

That's all I want to say for Facebook...for now. Can't wait to see what Thing 9 will hold in store for me next!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Thing 7: RSS feeds

I like the idea of RSS feeds. It is nice to know that there is another way to keep track of all the different things on the web that I find interesting.....and it's so convenient that I can look at all of them in my Google Reader. I do have to admit, though, the concept of how this particular Web 2.0 tool works still confuses the daylights out of me, but I'm fine not knowing all the details....for now.

I will have to give another Hurrah! to Google for how easy it is to use and modify my Reader. It is amazing to me how many web tools they have been able to develop for users of all skill levels to use.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Thing 6: Blog Readers

My first thoughts about Google Reader is that it will make everything easy to view online. Kind of a one-stop way of checking out everything online. As I play more with it and explore, I notice that it does take some time to customize it and make it easier for me to use. Personally I'm not the type of person who can organize her thoughts on a computer screen, much less in a format that I don't have design-control over. I'm more of a pad and pen type of person. But I can see the draws and may even try to use Google Reader to at least try to keep up with the blogs that I'm following while completing 23 Things and after that I might use it to follow local and national news feeds.

Thing 5: Image Generators

I decided to experiment with the Comic Strip Generator site. I've never actually used an image generator before. It was pretty easy to actually pick out a comic and then edit it. The only thing I had some difficulty with was figuring out how to share my image with other, but as you can see below with enough work on it I got it! I would think this could be a big draw for anyone wanting to edit their fav cartoon or image to be customized specifically for them.

Overall, this was a fun thing to play with. Maybe I'll play around with Big Huge Labs and come up with my very own demotivator. :)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Thing 4: More Flickr

A KMcElman_090516_A2 copy R G Graffiti exclamation

.......Oliver somehow beat me to the keyboard. I think it looks pretty great.

Overall, this mashup was pretty cool and easy to use. It took me a few seconds to figure out how to link it back to this blog, but as you can see.....even I can figure it out.

I think I'm going to try another one real quick, this is pretty neat and easy, I'm excited to discover a new toy!

Thing 3: Flickr

So I already have a Flickr account. I moved all my photos over when Yahoo! Photos ceased to exist. I usually will post pics of vacations, but will limit them to friends and family since you never know who is looking at your stuff.

Recently we went to go visit my family in south Texas, Oliver and I. Oh yeah, my husband was there, too. ;) I always have my camera handy and took some pics of my fav monkey pirate to help pass the time on the very long drive.

All the pics were uploaded to Flickr using their website. On my other computer I installed the easy uploader, but have yet to do so on my laptop.
As I mentioned in my previous blog, I had some issues getting some pics changed over to private but eventually figured it out. So far, this has been the only issue I've encountered with Flickr.

All in all, it's a pretty fabulous photo-sharing site and I love that it doesn't all that much each year to renew my subscription. Plus, photos are really cheap when you send them to Target which comes in really handy.

Here's the link to my Photostream.....enjoy the picks of my adventurous pirate monkey!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Flickr difficulties

I was all set to work on Thing 3 tonight, but for some reason Flickr is not registering some privacy settings on some photos in my account. I am going to attempt to get this resolved with them, since I do pay for yearly membership. As soon as it's all straightened out I will include the link to my photostream and you all can enjoy the rest of Oliver's shots from his trip to the Valley.

Road Trip: Success!

Well, I know we've been back in town for a while, but let me just say that preparing for Summer Reading Club is INSANELY time consuming! And I'm not even technically a youth staff member. But I will be co-coordinating our YA Book Club this summer....I just have to say that it will be awesome. :)

Anyway, Oliver survived his first trip out of the DFW area as Pirate Monkey. I think I will post a couple of my personal favs and then will include my photo set from Flickr when I talk about Thing 3.

So enjoy!

Oliver camped out on the dash the morning we left San Antonio to continue further south. You'll notice he stil has his hook. The boat got ditched as soon as he realized we would be surrounded by dirt and mesquite trees.

Oliver getting acquainted with the local livestock from a safe distance.....behind my father's pickup truck. We no longer own cattle, but our neighbors out there sure do....curious bunch, they are. As you will see, he no longer has the hook. After the hook sustained damage outside of San Antonio, I decided that I did not want to invest in repairs for it. Oliver took it as a sign that his confidence is growing, but assured me the eye patch and bandana would never leave his head.....would totally kill the pirate monkey image if they did.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

On the Road!

This holiday weekend finds me and Oliver traveling down through certain parts of Texas. I probably will not post again until we return to civilization next week. Currently I'm using the Wifi at a hotel we stopped in on the first leg of our journey. After this, it's all dirt and mesquite trees. :)

I am taking pictures, since Oliver is very excited about being able to see new things and places he's never been. I will post these for all to see either on my Flickr or just here (as soon as I can figure out how to put pictures on this thing).

Thing 2: Library 2.0 and Web 2.0

I do not know a whole lot about Web 2.0 and Library 2.0. Even after reading the blogs listed and watching one of the videos. To me it's still kind of a huge deal. I will, however, share my thoughts on what I do know. :)

I think it's really interesting to see the rise of Web 2.0. I'm not sure exactly when it began, but one of the blogs listed an equivalence list for features seen in Web 1.0 and Web 2.0. While looking at the 1.0 list, I was thinking, "Hey! I remember that!" It is very obvious to me that 2.0 is very much alive, kicking, and the only real option online. As I said, I'm still wrapping my head around Web 2.0 and will continue to seek out information. Up until recently I didn' realize just what 2.0 encompasses. At my library, as I walk up and down our row of computers I see patrons of all ages on sites like MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, etc. Which leads me to my thoughts on Library 2.0.

At my library, Library 2.0 is certainly creeping slowly into how we do things. We have a Flickr already to share photos with the community of our events. I teach computer classes and am tailoring my subjects to what the public wants (based on my evaluation forms and just by seeing what people are using when they come in). And there are some ideas already bouncing around about trying to do more! Personally, I think Library 2.0 is a fantastic thing. Public libraries everywhere are already pulling away from being a fortress of silence where you are only allowed to ask the librarian for a particular book, where children aren't allowed to play and where absolutely no beverages were allowed anywhere near the books. They're all growing, changing, evolving into the place where teenagers hang out after school (to study or to play on the web), where children are very welcome and more than one storytime a week is now offered, where patrons can find DVDs, popular books, CDs (and anything they can't find you can order for them), etc.

I realize I'm rambling. But I really am a fan of Library 2.0. And I personally can't wait to have the opportunity to participate in its growth at my library.

“Library 2.0 simply means making your library’s space (virtual and physical) more interactive, collaborative, and driven by community needs. Examples of where to start include blogs, gaming nights for teens, and collaborative photo sites. The basic drive is to get people back into the library by making the library relevant to what they want and need in their daily lives…to make the library a destination and not an afterthought.”
Write a post on your own blog about your thoughts about Library 2.0 or Web 2.0 and how they apply to you and your library.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Meet Oliver, the Pirate Monkey

Ahoy, there! A long, long time ago, before he came to live on my desk, Oliver was the property of a traveling popcorn salesman. When I first spotted him at a conference in Dallas, the look on his face compelled me to save him from his buttery fate. Grateful to be relieved of the smells of popped corn and butter, Oliver gladly took up the post of guarding my desk at the Library.

It's best to not get into the long boring story of how he became a Pirate Monkey. But let's just say that thanks are owed to the Storytime Room and the kind person who gifted me with the coffee cup that now functions as Oliver's boat.

The important thing is that Oliver is now a pirate monkey and he's pretty excited about all the adventures he'll be a part of this summer.

We promise to keep you all posted. . . who knows, there might even be pictures! :)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Meet Lilia, the Library Technician

Hello! I work for a public library and have decided to give this 23 Things project a go. I've never really blogged before, so for all of you out there reading this, please have patience with me.....a LOT of patience!

Some basic things you may need to know about me are:
  • I just got accepted to UNT to pursue my MLS,
  • I've been married for just over 2 years,
  • I enjoy working with technology very much and am always looking to learn more, and
  • I love working at my library.
Pretty much anything I write about will center on one of those things. Anything else I write about will be focused on my pirate monkey, Oliver. But you'll get to meet him in my next post!