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Archive for the ‘librarians’ Category

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Today I have been thinking a lot about book discussions and libraries, particularly academic libraries.  My library is sponsoring a faculty book discussion next week, around the book The View From the Center of the Universe, and it got me thinking about why my library doesn’t do more book discussion projects.  Time is, of course, the first reason which comes to mind.  But it shouldn’t be that hard considering we are an academic library and have access to great material and a faculty who are generally fond of the library and the programming we provide.   Laura Cohen writes about adding value to the library; not just through marketing our collections, but also through engaging users in social and participatory websites that discuss books.  One example she uses is the creation of discussion blogs revolving around campus reading programs or visiting writers.  A library website or blog is the perfect place to start these virtual discussions.  People recognize the word “library” and may have an old-fashioned idea about our mission or may see us as just dusty warehouses of books.  Since people are going to the web for book discussions, shouldn’t we be there when go looking?

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Kathryn Greenhill writes about the shifting of libraries’ power and Library 2.0 on her blog, Librarians Matter.   Kathryn makes some valid points about this shift in power:  users creating their own idea of a library and the power of libraries to take risks.  I think for years we were so bound by tradition and the idea of libraries as gatekeepers that it is exciting and liberating to be out there risking change to these traditions.  I know many libraries are still struggling with this fearsome idea of change and risk-taking — I mean, come on, many of us did not become librarians because we are in it for the adventure!  Taking on social networking tools and risking the house on letting users add tags to your catalog can be scary stuff for those who have done business the same way for forty years or more.

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Meredith Farkas writes about successful blogging over at Information Wants to Be Free:

What makes your blog a success depends on what your goals for it are. Why do you blog? Looking at the responses I saw in the Survey of the Biblioblogosphere, I didn’t see anything about having the most subscribers, having the highest Google Page Rank, or being the most well-known blogger. I saw people who wanted to share information with others, who want to keep current, who want to become part of a community and who want to process their own ideas about professional issues. So, if you want to share information with others, it’s probably important to have an audience, but it probably doesn’t matter as much how many comments you get or how many people link to you. If your goal in blogging is to keep yourself current or to process your own ideas about professional issues, popularity shouldn’t matter at all. If your goal is to be part of a community, it shouldn’t matter how big or small that community is, but you may care about things like “conversational intensity” because you want to be a part of the community conversation. So, think about why you blog and let that guide your vision of success.

I emphasize “share information with others” because I think this is what makes librarians so important. So much of what we do is intended to create access to information: we collect, organize and disseminate information to users and I think this why so many librarians have taken naturally to blogging. Its a perfect fit for so many of us.

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Great compilation of 2.0 tools for students.  The tools are aimed at mostly college students, but I suppose the list could be adapted for elementary and secondary ed students.  Tools like Zoho Office Suite which has a whole cadre of free word processing, spreadsheet and presentation applications.  JotCloud and ShortText for taking notes, Facebook and Stikipad for collaboration on documents, plus many more…

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Today I teach the Blogs, Podcasts and Wikis workshop at RRLC in Rochester.  Participants are from the Rochester, NY region and come from public, special, academic, school and medical libraries.  Tell me what you hope to gain or learn from this workshop!

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I found this piece while googling library elites for a podcasting talk I gave today.  David King wrote about Mary Madden’s recent blog post on the Pew Internet and American Life Project’s website: “This is Library 2.0“.  Mary gave a presentation in  King’s Kansas “neighborhood” and made a delightful observation:

While books are still obviously the main attraction, TSCPL embraces a “more than books” attitude and atmosphere. There’s a café, an art gallery, a conference center, a bookstore, a genealogy center and so much more. There are lectures, performances, classes and tours, and just an overall feeling that there’s more happening at the library than anywhere else in town.

Yep, this pretty much sums up what we ALL need to be doing at our libraries.  Now, if we only had the money to do so…

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