In My Librarian Mind

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Kenosha Day Trip

Today I hopped on the Metra and went up to Kenosha, Wisconsin. The day was without plan and led to one great adventure. Of course, I stopped by the public library. It was fairly small, but seemed to have pretty decent programming (there were quite a few fliers posted).

Upon my return I checked their website and was shocked by the lack of integrated technology, but at least they had a website. With all of the techno-driven library literature I've been reading and the fact that I live in a major metropolitan area-Chicago, I've started to take integrated technology within libraries for granted. Though, upon reviewing the Kenosha Public Library website, I was hit with what I believe to be the technology divide. There is still much work to be done in order to breach this divide. Many libraries, in all genres, are behind in the area of technology for a multitude of reasons and their services may be suffering. It seems to me that all of the "newish" technologies (blogs, IM, podcasts, etc) are being used in libraries in order to increase exposure and create presence.

I think we tech-savvy librarians need to create a presence within libraries similar to the Kenosha Public Library...

Friday, October 28, 2005

Feeling Better

So right off I'd like to say that I'm feeling better about blogs today. Bloglines has literally saved my blogging life. I'm starting to feel more at home within the vast biblioblogosphere. I also feel like I'm gaining a great amount of knowledge especially in the area of library technology each day.

This week I read Steven Bell's Where the Readers Are article which appeared in the Fall 2005 Supplement of Library Journal. (Steven Bell blogs at the Kept-up Academic Librarian.) The article lays out practical marketing advice for academic library blogs. He suggests integrating the library blog with courseware software, such as blackboard for better visability. Bell also compiled a quite useful list of "Tips for Successful Blogging."

The other thing I'm interested in and will blog about later is podcasting, etc... I've yet to bought an I-Pod, but am starting to see a real need.

Friday, October 21, 2005

getting blogged out

So today I looked through what seemed like millions of blogs and links and links and blogs--it's overwhelming. I started thinking about this biblioblogosphere and frankly I got confused and disappointed. There is so much out there--too much! I don't know who is what or what is who. What information is credible? All the links turn me in circles, I can barely stand it! Plain and simple, I have gotten blogged out... Though here I am one in the same blogging away and desperately trying to make it worth it.

Today I decided to see what, if anything, Walter Mossberg (Wall Street Journal) had to say about blogs and other related technologies. The brief reviews he gives on various technologies proved to be quite interesting to click through.

I also registered with bloglines and filled my feeder up with, what I hope to be, interesting blogs. I like the simple interface that a feeder provides--I was yearning for such simplicity. Feeders make reading blogs more efficient because only content is provided if it's new. That and all the blogs you want to read are in one convenient place.

I suppose I got overwhelmed because I have the desire to absorb it all. I see a link, I click--I need to make better more informed choices on which blogs I'm going to spend time reading and which ones I'm not. I need to think more critically about the biblioblogosphere and only spend time reading the information that is directly related to my needs--at least for now. Once that is accomplished I think I'll slowly delve out into the true depths of the biblioblogosphere more fully.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Interesting Links related to Libs & Tech

This week I came across some quite interesting information through various avenues. I was introduced to this new basic interface metasearch engine called now in beta testing. Its premise is that it is easily loadable for various web devices and is RSS compatible. You can sift through the specifics here.

I also went to the ALA (American Library Association) website and did a simple search on technology in which I was directed to the LITA (Library and Information Technology Association) website. Within this website exists a wealth of information concerning libraries and technology and I would greatly urge anyone interested in this field to check it out. There was a section about blogs that I found to be of particular interest. One blog that was highlighted within this section was "blog without a library" which, is self described as "a blog about what libraries are doing with blogs, rss, & other little technologies."

Another interesting website that I ran across is the Awesome Library. There is a technology link which is divided into various topics the ones on blogs and web page design are both full of quite interesting links.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Technology & Academia

Recently, The Chronicle of Higher Education has published several articles concerning the changing relationship between technology and academia. The ever-changing presence of technology creates the need for an ever-changing view of academia. In the area of academic librarianship a multitude of changes are occurring regularly due to technological advances. During these times it is important for librarians to be pro-active. We need to use technology in new ways and we need to be creative so as to not become obsolete. Due to the sheer volume of information available through the Internet, subscription based databases, and library catalogs library user instruction sessions are becoming increasingly important. The incorporation of non-traditional teaching elements has become essential. Richard T. Sweeney, university librarian at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, believes that incorporating blogs, iPods, and video games into to standard teaching practices to be of utmost importance in the teaching of the "Net Generation" or "the Millennials". He goes on to say that this, "divided attention span", new generation of students learn differently and may not want to hear an hour long lecture.

Michael Gorman, President of the American Library Association, among others believe that catering to a generation's needs is ridiculous. I disagree; times change, the world changes, technology changes, and consequently so do we (as a species) change. The ways in which we process the world directly depends upon the time and place of our existence. In The Net Generation in the Classroom Gorman is quoted saying that he belives "the idea that we have reached a watershed and we have to throw everything aside and come in with new approaches" to be absurd. Here too I disagree, who ever said that we have to throw everything aside? I believe it is our job to be technological savvy librarians by bringing together our collective pasts while simultaneously preparing for our future roles. We, as librarians, need to learn, grow, and incorporate all of our levels of knowledge into the norms and expectations present generation by generation.

Elizabeth Breakstone recently published the article Librarians Can Look Forward to an exhilarating Future. The first sentence says it all, "I expect my fellow librarians to be excited by changes that make information more accessible." That's right! Why then are so many librarians in all walks of life (often) fighting technological advances within librarianship with such a vengeance? Again I come to Gorman and his highly negative views on blogs and bloggers.

As Anthony J. D'Angelo said, "Become a student of change. It is the only thing that will remain constant." The life of a librarian, in my opinion, is one of constant learning. We as librarians come to this profession, I assume, due to some inherent love of the access of data, information, knowledge and wisdom. Many within our profession agree and great strides are being made in the field of librarianship. If the incorporation of technology based tools assists our patrons within their pursuits of higher learning, than I must say it is our duty to facilitate this need.

Carlson, Scott. The Net Generation in the Classroom. The Chronicle of Higher Education. 10/7/05 vol. 52, no. 7.
Breakstone, Elizabeth. Librarians Can Look Forward to an Exhilarating Future. The Chronicle of Higher Education. 9/30/05, vol. 51, no. 6.