Friday, October 06, 2006

...back again

Well, D and I made it safely back to Boise so that was nice. We had a really good time at the ILA conference - it was the majority of our conversation for 6 hours!

I really enjoyed being at ILA not just as an attendee but as a member of SPLAT (Special Projects Library Action Team). It was great to talk to other librarians about IM, RSS, Blogs Readers/Aggregators, MySpace, and Facebook. I'd say I pushed Blogs and Readers (Google Reader is my fav btw) the hardest. As much as I'd love for Idaho librarians to explore the potential that IM holds, I'd rather they waited a bit to do that and started reading blogs right away. Blogs are one of the key ways to learn about, and stay on top of, what's going on in the profession right now, which is why they are such an integral part of the ongoing conversation we're having about how to keep libraries relevant. I want other librarians to read blogs, learn about the concepts and technologies discussed therein, get excited, and put those things into practice. You don't have to wait for the next conference, or to listen to a really great speaker, to get all that shocking, important, useful information. You can find it in the blogs. Don't just listen to Stephen Abram, read him. Don't just wait for Michael Sauers to come do a training session, read him. Don't just wait for the information come to you, be proactive - go to it.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

ILA here I come

Well, in a scant 30 minutes I'll be tackling the scary, windy, puke-inducing experience that is HWY 55. D and I are headed up to Moscow for SPLAT and ILA. I'm really looking forward to getting to meet with the SPLAT folks and the discussions we're bound to have. ILA should be great. I'm not sure how many actual sessions I'll be able to attend though.

If you're up that way come check out the SPLAT area and let us hook you up with a Meebo accountm, a Google Reader, and maybe stay to play a video game with us. We'd also love to hear your take on the strides the library community is making and your experience with it.

And we're off!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

My OPAC Really Does Suck!

Sorry it's been so long since the last post, but I haven't really had anything I had to say...until now.

So, the library I work at and the consortuim it is a part of is getting a new automation system. The dreaded time of migration will be here in a c0uple of short weeks. Now as you may know, migrations are a big deal. You're saying adios to a system that, regardless of the many flaws it probably has, everyone knows how to use and is used to in order to bring in something that no one knows how to use and everyone is a little afraid of - even us tech savvy digital natives. Obviously there's going to be anxiety, a lot of frustration, a lot of unhappy patrons who don't understand how it could possibly be taking you this long to find out if Harry Potter and the____ is in, a huge learning curve among staff, and general chaos for quite awhile. Now, one hopes that you're going through this super happy fun time because, in the end, your old OPAC sucked and you're going to get something shiny and new (and not text based) with lots of bells and whistles that will make searching easier, check out faster, and have some nifty reports you can run. This is a normal hope right? After all, "they" wouldn't make you go through this hell without a reason, and a darn good reason at that, right?
I have a news flash for all of you out there: windows-based is not necessarily better than text-based. It's true. Really. I wouldn't have believed it before I encountered SirsiDynix's Horizon. I started out in a tiny library in tiny rural town but we had an amazing windows-based automation system called Athena put out by Sagebrush. I love Athena. It's got great features, it's pretty to look at, and it's incredibly intuitive - it only took me a few days to feel comfortable using it. So I was a bit shocked when I started at my current library to find that even though we're a huge library (by comparison) that's part of a huge consortium the automation system is text-based and looks like DOS. It took me a little while to learn the commands and was frustrating because it wasn't intuitive but I've come to like it and appreciate how quickly you can move through it. When I heard that we were changing systems I was hopeful that it would be something like my old one. But that hope has died. Along with any hope of the new system being an improvement in any way, shape, or form. It's slooowww, ugly, not intuitive, appears to have less searching features than our current one does, and is just all around awful. Everyone I've talked to at work is filled with the same sense of impending doom. I wish there was a way we could bail and just stick with what we've got, but that's one of the downfalls of being in a consortium like we are - autonomy is basically an illusion and you just have to grin and bear it.
This is my question: why?!?!?! Why did the consortial PTB pick this automation system. It's like moving from DOS to Windows 3.1, when the rest of the world is using XP. Let this stand as evidence that change is not always a good thing.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


OMG I am exhausted. This week (and it's not over yet) has been so great and encouraging and exciting, but it's sure taken a lot out of me. My mind is going non stop, but my steam is running out.

The SPLAT meeting was great and I'll start blogging on there in the next day or so as well. We'll meet again tomorrow to talk more and hammer some things out. Thank goodness we're starting with coffee, though I'm thankful that at 9am it will be the latest start time we've had so far. The ICFL is really a terrific organization. I love how much time, effort, and money they're putting into the Idaho library community and the future. I've always seen my self as working at a public library, but I'm starting to wonder if I wouldn't love working at a place like the ICFL. I mean, I care so much about what's going on in the great would it be to have a job where you not only got paid to care and work towards the future, but you actually get to implement change?

Anyway, more later. Vegging now.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

More fun at the Evolving Library Services for Digital Natives conference

The "Panel of Experts" at the conference was great today. Alane Wilson facilitated and Aaron Schmidt, Sarah Houghton, and Stephen Abram were "The Panel". It was entertaining and validating and worth thinking about. Again, the best part, was that vital info and ideas made it into the hands and brains of the PTB - the people who actually make the changes. I find it very encouraging that the Idaho Commision For Libaries is taking the future of libraries so seriously. It's an interesting contrast with the many librarians I meet who seem to have had their heads in the sand for the last 10-15 years. I mean really, things like IM, blogs, wikis, gaming, etc, should not be striking revelations to librarians. Aren't we supposed to be a profession that values information and wants to get it in the hands of the public? Doesn't that include new information, technologies and ways to serve? Teachers have to keep learning, why don't librarians? Seriously - this stuff should be required.

There was also a panel of 9 Millenials - which meant teens from 12-17. I was a little bothered that non of the older ones (like people my age) were in attendence, but it was still really good. Again, not too many revelations, but still some things to chew on. The thing I found most interesting personally was that most of them think the world will be worse than it is now in 10 years. Like the song says: sad, but true.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I just gotta blog!

Okay, okay, so first things first: I'm not really a librarian. I'm a wannabe. Right now I'm a lowly LA1, but soon I shall be off to grad school to change that. I am however, a very fortunate LA1 who works for a great library that is very much into the professional development of its employees.

That being said, I just got back from listening to Stephen Abram of Stephen's Lighthouse give a really inspiring presentation at the Evolving Library Services for Digital Natives conference. I'm just so jazzed. It was a direct and honest presentation that put a lot of important information in the hands of a lot of people who really needed to hear it. I must say that not much of what he said was new or news to me, but that's okay, I feel very validated in my thoughts, ideas, and readings. I did appreciate his perspective though. I loved how, after talking about differences in Millenials, new technologies, keeping libraries relevant, and how we're not competing with Google, he brought the whole thing back to what it's all really about: the patron; the user's experience and not only our part in that, but our duty (that's my perspective anyway) to focus on creating a good, satisfying one. We are in unique and wonderful positions to impact people's lives - how cool is that.

Just one of the things I'm going to have to chew on when considering the user's experience is leaving children unattended in the Children's Dept. Now, my intial reaction is "Hey! I'm not a babysitter!" but, Abram interjected some very interesting info to make me re-evaluate my position. Big picture, librarians want a smarter, better informed, healthy society. A large portion of that society who are working on becoming more educated to create better lives for themselves and their children are single mothers. Single mothers who perhaps need to leave their kids alone in the Children's Dept. to do the research for the night class they're taking. Now for that mom, leaving her kid and knowing he or she is safe is an incredible service that has real impact on her life. She walks away feeling really good about libraries and is going to support them...her children likely will too. It's not just a matter of inconvienience for us...there are saftey and disciple issues that go into the issue to, but it seems like something that could be worked around, or overcome. much are we really there for the patron? To what lengths do we go to to make the user's experience good? *chews*

Friday, March 03, 2006

Sorry to Disappoint

Sorry, I just created this to post on another blog. I currently have blogs elsewhere, but may eventually move here. At least I got a great name.