Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Virtual Library Branch

I have finished the 10th and final thing and am pretty happy about that. With help from Toby and Ricki, I downloaded Bob Dylan's CHRONICLES and listened to the first part on the computer and then on the mp3 player.

I then tooled around on the Library website, after looking at "the best library websites," on the provided wiki. Ours is certainly one of the most attractive. The menu on the left side is awfully "thick," to quote one of our patrons, who went on to say how long it usually takes him to find what he wants. I wish we could find a way to get across what we want to get across with fewer and less lengthy lists. Something to work on. I liked the Bedford Public Library's site the best, for its cleanliness and the fact that the lists were, to my mind, better broken up and less formidable. SkokieNet and Skokie Talk are undergoing a design change and from what I've seen, will emerge as usable as ever and even better looking. I very much enjoyed the SPL Flickr page. My compliments to the photographers. Right now, I'm not finding the new toolbar that useful, probably because I'm so used to the old way of navigating, my assumptions keep tripping me up. I need to take some time and devote myself to learning the advantages.

For improvements to our website, I think we can make almost all our pages more interactive by doing a lot more with blogs. We already do a good job announcing new services on our well-designed and attractive pages, but I think we can employ more lively ways of engaging and informing our users, through RSS and with blogs like lifehacker. I also think patrons would enjoy being part of a Library conversation, through wikis, as well as through bogging.

In conclusion, I want to express my admiration to the 10 Things Team for their inventiveness and patience in dealing with skill sets that must have been all over the map. You made it fun and for that you have my thanks.

Google Tools

I found Google Docs easier to use, in some ways, than Microsoft Word. It was more obvious how to change fonts and colors. I did have trouble editing my document, that wasn't as intuitive for me as using the other functions.

Of the tools I explored, I liked the ones on Lifehacker the best. Putting myself in the mind of a patron, I enjoyed looking through the Top 10 Free Windows File Wranglers. I was particularly interested in Stranded Holiday Traveler Helpline, and would consider making use of that. I believe patrons would enjoy receiving this kind of information regularly, informing them of new Library pages or databases, or changes in existing ones.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


It was fun adding things to the 10 Things wiki.

My thoughts on "radical trust:" First of all, the phrase itself is a little pretentious to my mind. It's referring to the way people have lived in communities since always. So why the "radical"? To live with others -- and do we have a choice? -- is to trust that most of the time "participation will work." Not a new idea.

I do use Wikipedia and I like it, but it also makes me nervous. It's a quick way to get information but how to know the accuracy? I tend to trust it if the article is well written, but that's really no guarantee. When answering a reference question, I may use Wikipedia to get me started, but I would not use it as my only source. It sure is fun and easy though.

I would think patrons would enjoy editing a Library wiki, as we did -- adding info about movies they enjoy or places they have visited. In a more professional way, a departmental wiki could provide a forum for sharing, adding to and building on information needed by staff.


Tonight I listened to two podcasts and have subscribed to one other I did not have time to listen to, but I promise I will. With the help of Richard, Julie Marks, and her husband -- who happened to drop by the desk and knew how I could adjust the volume on my earphones -- I listened to President Bush musing about the White House laundry chute on The Onion and part of the Shoemaker and the Elves being read by a librarian at the Thomas Ford Memorial Library. The latter is the library in Western Springs, where I grew up.

As to applications for libraries, I think the idea of librarians reading stories to children is a nice one. There were also podcasts of children reading their own stories. I would imagine that this feature would be popular. For SPL, a possible marketing feature would be to have a staff person, with a very nice voice, talking about upcoming programs at the Library or one of us giving a preview of new books or talking about "books you might have missed."

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Social Networking

I was more than unusually stupid in my experience with social networking. First, instead of simply clicking on the Common Craft video, I went into Common Craft and watched the video on zombies at Halloween. I kept looking for an analogy between zombies and bookmarking but none was apparent. Jennifer enlightened me about my initial mistake. Then, in trying to login to, I read the SPL login as "theskeleton" rather than "theskokieten." Obviously influenced by the Halloween video. After that, everything has gone smoothly.

Tags I believe would be useful for the Library are 'reference," "reader," "books" and how about "spooky"?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Today, with much help from Richard, I conquered Flickr. (ha!)

This is a photo taken by my daughter-in-law Christin, while celebrating her first wedding anniversary. With my son. The photo is not my son.

This experience was fun and easy, but I hardly did it myself.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Social Networking

I now have a presence on Facebook. Not an exciting presence but ..... I found out, in a search for possible "friends" from my high school and college graduating classes, that someone from my college is a Facebooker. However, I don't really want to connect with him. But it's interesting he's there, nonetheless.

On to Thing 5.