Social? Yup! That’s me!

It’s all my sister’s fault. She kept nagging at me to get a facebook page. She had joined back when you had to have a college e-mail account (I had already graduated) and she was looking for a way to stay connected (she lives in GA).

So I joined. I threw a picture up there and jumped head first into the realm of social networking. I approached facebook like I do with most new things, especially technology related things. I rush in with the intention of being TOTALLY involved, check my page several times a day, spending time poking around on all my friends profiles, until eventually my life gets busy with the next new obsession and my passion decreases or disappears all together.

While I no longer spend hours on the site, or feel desperate to check in at work (okay, I don’t check it *often*) I do find that I check my facebook account as regularly or more so than my e-mail account. It doesn’t take me long, and it helps me check in with what my people are up to. I really resonated with what Michael said over at Read and Burn about connecting with people that life had previously separated, like my bff who moved in 10th grade or my college roommate who spent 3 years in Japan.

I’d like to comment on some of the articles we read about using Facebook from a professional perspective. I especially find Judi Sohn’s article about 12 Ways to Use Facebook Professionally. For example, while I’ve never thought of it this way, I do follow the principle of decorating you profile like you would decorate your desk. Of course, on my desk right now is a stuffed dragon, a mug from the show Wicked and a golden snitch made out of Model Magic. So YMMV.

One of the pieces of advice I have not followed is being selective about my Apps. Of course, I don’t use facebook purely as a professional tool, and none of the apps that I have chosen to include are particularly embarassing. (and I don’t care how unprofessional it is, I ❤ Flair. period.) And there are also some fun apps available for librarians. I have visual bookshelf and worldcat search, and my causes are banned books and creative commons. I need to look more into the Librarian App.

One thing I wonder about is the difference between personal and professional when it comes to beliefs. Obviously, I’m not a person who has a hard time sharing her opinion, but as I espressed in this previous post, I have chosen not to list my religious and politial affiliations on my Facebook page. My reasoning for this is, as a librarian, I need to present a neutral persona, so that all patron can feel comfortable in approaching me. But it’s really hard when I see cool groups I want to join or flair buttons I want to add. What are others doing about this? Do you think it is appropriate to display a political or religious statement on your facebook or blog?

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For my group

Here’s the video I was talking about

Library Video

Library as Kinkos

I’ll admit. I get a little annoyed when I have to help patrons use the copy machine. Not the occasional patron that needs assistance copying a homework assignment from a reference book. No, the patron who is copying most of their personal photo album and needs all of the pictures increased by 35.7% and double sided, in color on their own paper please. My comment to co-workers after spending time helping such a patron was always: “This is the library, not Kinkos.”

But I had two experiences this week that are leading me in a new direction as far as what the definition of library service might be.

First, I had a patron call the library to ask if we had Comic Life on our computers. I had never heard of it before. It appears to be a graphics program that allows you to make your photos into a comic strip, adding text bubbles and special effects. My guess is that the elementary schools in my area (which are Mac based) may have this program, and that this student had an assignment that she needed to finish. We don’t have this software, and at first I thought it was a strange product for a library to have.

Later, I went upstairs as a patron to use our library’s scanner to scan some pictures. The computer attached to the scanner is about 7 years old and even scanning pictures at 600 resolution took forever. Trying to print them, or even attach them via e-mail was a total nightmare. I talked to the IT guy (who is actually pretty cool and L 2.0) who said that he will be replacing the computer soon based on my suggestion and may be trying to update the printer and the scanner. But as I told him, it doesn’t make sense to offer a service (scanning) if it doesn’t work properly.

So this led me to thinking about what other places are doing about helping patrons create content. Such as the Charlotte Mecklenburg County library’s ImaginOn center that allows teens to create digital content, such as movies. Or the Loyola Information Commons which allows students to check out digital cameras and video cameras. Even Borders is helping people get digital.

Of course, not every library will be able to set up their own digital studio, but making these technologies available to patrons who would not otherwise have access to them does seem to fit within the library mission. As patrons (especially Millennials) become more and more savvy at creating online content, could the library maintain it’s relevancy by assisting in that process? Libraries will never be Kinkos, but we may be able to provide better library service by incorporating some of their ideas.

Virtually Community

It seems that since I was able to access the Internet, I have been involved in one virtual community or another. Initially it was a *very* small community of IRL friends who gathered in an AOL chatroom to play a traditional role-playing game over the Internet.

Later, I dabbled briefly in a few chat groups through our college “dataphones” which allowed a text-only interface.

I was very intimidated by chatrooms, which are so hard to read and follow. I wasn’t a very fast typist back then, and always felt like, by the time I composed my response, that the group had moved on.

After college, I discovered the vast and sprawling Harry Potter community through a variety of websites, such as The Leaky Cauldron for news and information, and Sugar Quill for fanfiction. Even though I had user names on both of those sites (and many others) I was essentially a consumer: reading what others had posted and occasionally commenting, but never offering my own work or information.

The only online community to which I was ever a contributor was for a brief time when I was creating pixel art. I was part of a forum where artist would post their work and others would comment on it. My pixel period was not very prolific, however, and I soon left that community.

In the few online communities I belong to now, I never seem to get past the lurker stage. may be interested in greater involvement, but either don’t feel worthy or don’t know how.”  The part about not feeling worthy really resonates with me. Who am I to comment on whatever topic may be at hand. I’m content to just listen to the experts and absorb.

Now that I have my own blog, however, I have been force to put myself a bit more “out there.”  I may not be an expert, but really, how many of the members of my online communities really are experts? We’re all just folks trying to make a connection in a big world that keeps getting smaller.

Library 2.0 and trust

This happens to me every semester (see last semester’s rant for reference). I go to class, soak up all these interesting, original and important ideas, then I go back into the “real world” of libraries, and get very discouraged.

As an avid user of the social web, I highly advocate that libraries make their presence available on the web in a variety of ways. At my medium sized library, we’ve done a pretty good job recently of trying to expand our presence. For example, we’ve recently redesigned our website with the intention of making it more user-friendly (less library jargon) and we’ve added blogs for youth, teens and reader’s advisory. Soon, our consortium plans to overlay our existing catalog with Aquabrowser, which allows for many “Amazon-style” functions, such as user-tagging, reviews and ratings.

One of the aspects of Library 2.0 which Michael referenced in his talk is that libraries need to trust their users. John Blyburg states that libraries must content with the question of “authority” when it comes to the user. With our new catalog, users will be given the “authority” to tag records and to write reviews. But how does this question of trust play out in the physical library?

Recently, I was asked to keep an eye on a patron who was thought to have viewed “inappropriate content” on the computers in the children’s area. I’m not generally comfortable monitoring patron’s activity on the internet; indeed, to me, such monitoring infringes on privacy.

So what is the balance between insuring patron safety and infringing on user’s rights?

Another issue at our library recently has been extensive problems with graffiti and vandalism. The problem has gotten so bad that the library has decided to lock the bathrooms. Patrons must ask for a staff member to buzz them in. Michael Stephens says that a librarian 2.0 “does not create policies and procedures that impede users’ access to the library,”but which is worse: having to ask to use the restroom, or the possibility of facing human waste on the walls when you walk in.

If we trust users to comment on blog posts and to tag the catalog, shouldn’t we trust them to use the library’s resources appropriately? Is this too naive? How does Library 2.0 play into these issues?

No real answers here, just lots of questions. Hoping you all have thoughts to help me clarify my thinking.

Geeky Librarian

Geeky Librarian, originally uploaded by books4belle.

Here’s a motivational poster for you

I don’t know about you, but I think “geek” is a compliment.

Library of Hogwarts

Library of Hogwarts, originally uploaded by LaTur.

No… It’s not… It’s the Research Library in NYC, but I was there this spring and it is truly “magical”

aggregator

My professor has been talking to the class about setting up an RSS aggregator like Netvibes.

Anyone else watch Jon and Kate plus Eight on TLC

Is it just me or when someone says “aggregator” do you think of Alexis

🙂

Back in the saddle again…

Hello to all my new classmates!

My name is Renee and I’m “recycling” my blog from LIS753 for this class.

A bit about me… well. This is my last semester in the GSLIS program. I currently work at the New Lenox Public Library as a Youth Services Librarian and plan to stay there after graduation. I really enjoy public library service to children, though I wouldn’t be opposed to trying young adult or school librarianship at some point.

On a more personal note, I have a

and a dog

and a dog

Husband

Husband

a house

a house

and I love them all. My hobbies are reading teen fiction, especially about vampires (Breaking Dawn ::squee:: >.< ) singing and knitting.

Looking forward to meeting you all in class next weekend,
Renee

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