Thursday, April 27, 2006

Networking and Learning!

One great benefit of TLA is seeing so many other librarians from around the state. I have met several librarians that I first met last year in Austin. It seems that everyone has bags and carts full of free stuff and are beginning to look a bit tired. Me too!!

I started today at the Technology Sampler Platter workshop present by David Whelan from the Cincinnati Law Library Association. Kudos to David for making technology understandable and interesting to those of us non-techie's. I overheard several people saying how great of a presenter David was - which unfortunately is not always the case! Anyway, I haven't had much time to explore tech sites that he shared, but plan to look at Plone - a Content Management System, and Open Source Systems for Libraries to stay abreast of developments with integrated systems and Open Source. It is hard to make it sound exciting here, but this is really beneficial information for libraries.

At the Leaders in Libraries workshop, David Bendekovic shared tools on assessing yourself and your library. At first, we took a quick overview of our leadership style - I am "Human Resource", which is a leader that thinks people first. The other three types of leadership styles were Structural - all about logic, facts and data; Political - the importance is building networks and allies; and Symbolic - the main task is providing vision and inspiration.

He also challenged us to look at the library's mission statement - and make it short enough to fit on a t-shirt. All staff should know the mission by heart. He gave several corporate mission statements as examples of being short, but powerful such as Disney's - We're here to make you smile.

My day finished with the presentation by actress Marlee Matlin - very inspiring! We all count and we need to be the library for everyone!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Happenings at TLA

I am busy once again at a conference - this time TLA (for those of you not in Texas, this is the Texas Library Association annual conference). We are meeting in Houston this year - surprisingly it is not too hot!

While I had many meetings today, I did manage to make it to several workshops. I was lucky enough to be on a panel discussing multicultural library programs with many talented librarians and community leaders. It was especially fun to meet author Pat Mora, the author of many books, including Tomas and the Library Lady.

My connection tonight is very slow and therefore I will make this entry short and sweet. I attended workshops on search engines and current trends in this arena, CE programs and how to make them stronger and finally advocacy - mostly dealing with current Friends groups. All were well presented and have me pondering my role in all of these areas. The day ended on a fun note - I watched several of the Book Cart Drill Teams - those Book Divas were in neon pink and really let loose. It was inspiring - I might just have to try their routine back at the NTRLS office!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Weeding Your Library Books: Turn them into Art

This article tells how The Portland Public Library in Maine has found a unique use for their old books. They gave them to artists who turn the books into works of art.

Mr. Whittaker works for the Portland Public Library in Maine, where a small portion of such ill-fated books are given a new life as art. And this art can now be checked out at public libraries across the country.

The article goes on to state how other libraries can check out the works.

(To borrow a work, go to the Portland library's Web site, Under the subject heading Altered Books, find the title of a work you want, its artist and call number. Take that information to the reference desk at your local public library and request an interlibrary loan.)

The Dallas Public Library has already requested some of the pieces. Why not your library? If you are about to weed, why not invite local artists to do the same to your weeded collection?

Friday, April 21, 2006

Garland Library Offers Downloadable Movies

Late fees on movies from the library could be a thing of the past for some library users as the city of Garland's library becomes the first in the state to offer free downloadable movies.
Nicholson Memorial Library on Thursday began offering a service on its Web site that allows library cardholders to download from 170 educational, classic and IMAX titles, said Mignon Morse, library services manager. For more information, see the article in the
Dallas Business Journal.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Think It, Then Plinkit

If you are going to TLA next week, you might want to check out this program. Plinkit is the content management system that the Texas State Library and Archives Commission will use for its website project this fall. If you have not heard about this program, TSLAC is going to allow member libraries to establish a web presence for free through the Plinkit software. It should start in the Fall.

NetFair on Wednesday, April 26th at 4:00 p.m.
The title: Think It, Then Plinkit
Two presenters: Eduardo Loera (Library Technology Consultant at TSLAC) and Len Borowski (Linux System Administrator at TSLAC)
Plinkit is a Web authoring system designed for public libraries that shows what open-source software and a collaborative approach can accomplish. In a nutshell, this tool makes it simple for library staff to create and maintain a dynamic, professional Web presence.
for more information on Plinkit

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Outreach to your Virtual Patrons

The Alliance Library System and OPAL (Online Programming for All Libraries) are taking outreach to whole different world. These two organizations plan to hold programming for people participating in the online game called Second Life.

Second Life is a 3-D virtual world entirely built and owned by its residents. Since opening to the public in 2003, it has grown explosively and today is inhabited by nearly 200,000 people from around the globe. There are shopping malls, events, homes, lands of different types, and best of all, participants can contribute content, buildings, and other digital creations. (taken from the email I received about this event)

They have two events currently planned: Getting Along with IT staff for Librarians and Educators and Second Life Library2.0 Book Discussion. They are looking for volunteers to help out. If you are interested, check out their blog.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Books via RSS

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and is an XML standard that allows bloggers and website creators to syndicate their content for distribution. You can then subscribe to these RSS newsfeeds via a News Aggregator. It has been used for about everything you can imagine, but this post might be of interest to Librarians. It is the timeline of RSS book publishing. If I understand the concept correctly, authors will allow readers to subscribe to a RSS newsfeed that sends them part of the author's book on a regular basis. The recent book, Pulse, is one example of this type of RSS book publishing. It reminds me of the old serialized novels written through magazines. Neat utilization of a neat technology!!!

Understanding New Learning Technologies

Amy Finn discusses assessing and integrating new learning methods. She defines some of the current technologies below.

It’s important to make new friends and become acquainted with new technologies for a variety of reasons. Understanding what they are all about can help practitioners envision when, how, and where to incorporate them into our businesses. Below is a condensed, high-level overview of some of these newer technologies.

Weblog (blog), web-based publication consisting primarily of periodic articles
Accessible to large audiences, diaries, communication and collaboration (blogstorming)

Blend of words mobile and weblog (mobile weblog)
Content posted to Internet from mobile or portable devices, instant access to real time information.

Web application that allows users to add content (as on an internet forum) and edit content.
Easy way to develop private and/or public knowledge bases; sharing vast amounts of information simply and cost effectively.

Weblog that uses video as primary presentation format.
Distribute video content, audiovisual communication via internet.

Pod Cast
Technologies that enable automatic distributing of audio and video programs over the internet; publish and subscribe models available.
Enables independent producers to create and deliver self-published broadcasts.

Real Simple Syndication is a way to track blogs.
Updates to blogs are automatically sent to user computers; approximately 6 million people--5 percent of the U.S. online audience--use RSS.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Live Homework Help Webinars

Lewis Maurer from sent me this email about some exciting CE opportunities.

Hi Adam -
We have scheduled Live Homework Help webinars for April, May and June that your members may find interesting as they consider renewing and joining the NTRLS group. Would you please consider distributing this info:
Online demonstrations (webinars) of Live Homework Help are open for April, May and June. The webinars allow you and your staff to find out more about Live Homework Help, ask questions and see a live tutoring session. Two of the webinars have librarians offering LHWH as guest presenters. You can attend right from your office with a high speed internet connection and telephone. Please click on "See LHWH" at the Raving Fans website: to see the schedule and sign up.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Librarians Input Wanted: Microsoft Windows Live Academic Search

If you have use Google Scholar, you know how handy it is to search academic journals via a web search tool. Microsoft has decided to launch its own academic search tool. It is in beta, but has a very nice user interface that enhances the search experiences. I recommend you try it out and provide feedback to the creators via the feedback button.

Academic search is committed to working with librarians to continually improve the academic search experience. The most important thing you can do is provide us with input and suggestions. We want to hear from you, the experts who work every day with people who are seeking information and conducting research. We value your expertise and encourage you to share ideas on how we can make a better product for the academic user community. Please send your feedback to

It took bad press for Google to realize librarians exist. Microsoft has always valued the librarian profession much more than Google. I applaud Microsoft for taking this extra step to reach out to librarians.

Always Losing that Flash Drive?

Check out the Wallet Flash 1.1 (128MB to 2GB, $29.00 - $169.00). It is a credit card sized USB 2.0 drive that fits in your wallet. Also, look at the EZVue Vista USB Drive that displays files names on a scrollable LCD so you don't have to plug it in to check the contents.

Monday, April 10, 2006

The 2.0 Movement

I am sure many of your have heard terms like Web 2.0, Library 2.0, etc. This article describes it as Community 2.0. Very nicely done article for those looking for an introduction to the 2.0 movement...

Times have changed. The Web has too. What was once considered an ancillary feature of Internet websites has suddenly become the raison d’ĂȘtre. Community is the new consumption. With the emergence of new Web 2.0 tools, the non-technical person has been given a major voice online. In today’s online environment all users, regardless of programming knowledge, have been empowered and given a sense of value.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Best Blooks of the Year

No, that is not a typo in the headline. "Blooks" is the name given to books that arise out of blogs. Apparently, it is a way for new authors to be discovered.

The growing popularity of blooks shows that blogs are "the new means to discover talent and new voices that couldn't break into the world of publishing before," says blogger Jeff Jarvis, a former editor and publisher who writes the blog BuzzMachine. "You can go create a property and a voice and an audience without having to go through the publishing meat grinder."

With millions of blogs available today, I wonder how many blooks are actually printed every year. Good question for a reference desk....

You can read who won the award this year.

ALA's State of American Libraries Report

"The concept of the library as just a place for books is long gone. Today’s library is now more broadly defined as “a collection of resources in a variety of formats that is (1) organized by information professionals or other experts who (2) provide convenient physical, digital, bibliographic or intellectual access and (3) offer targeted services and programs (4) with the mission of educating, informing or entertaining a variety of audiences (5) and the goal of stimulating individual learning and advancing society as a whole.” (George M. Eberhart, Whole Library Handbook 4 [ALA Editions, 2006])"

Interesting report...outlines many of the high level issues libraries are facing today.

It might also be interesting to note that Bedford Public Library's closure last year was mentioned in the report.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Code for a Cause

This is a website where organizations, with a worthy cause, can post projects requesting the assistance of web developers and software developers. I created this tool because we are looking to upgrade Library Technology NOW. I couldn’t locate a website to make my plea so I went to to create one. I did this because allows you to clone websites. It took me about 15 minutes to set it up. If you need help, post a project. If you can offer help, let the community know.

You might also check out Neat site!

FBI Newspaper Articles

Search newspaper articles about the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) in more than 50,000 historical newspaper pages. The pages are PDF and most are in excellent quality. This is a great historical resource.