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April 28, 2008

Creativity Break with Amy Tan

Novelist Amy Tan digs deep into the creative process, journeying through her childhood and family history and into the worlds of physics and chance, looking for hints of where her own creativity comes from. It's a wild ride with a surprise ending.

View the discussion at: http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/250

Writing, Technology and Teens

The Pew Internet & American Life Project, in conjunction with the National Commission of Writing (College Board), has published the results of a survey and study titled “Writing, Technology and Teens.”  It is available online at http://www.pewinternet.org/pdfs/PIP_Writing_Report_FINAL3.pdf.
 
The report presents some interesting, and sometimes troubling, conclusions--
 
·         83% of parents of teens feel there is a greater need to write well today than there was 20 years ago (94% of black parents, 79% of Hispanic).
·         86% of teens believe good writing is important to success in life – some 56% describe it as essential and another 30% describe it as important.
Yet
·         60% of teens do not think of electronic texts (text messaging, email, comments on social network sites, blogging) as “writing.”
·         38% say they have used text shortcuts in school work (e.g., LOL, IMHA, etc.)
·         25% have used emoticons (e.g., J) in school work.
Unfortunately,
·         Most teens write something nearly every day for school, but for 82% the average writing assignment is a paragraph to one page in length.
And even more unfortunately,
·         26% of boys say they never write for personal enjoyment outside of school.

Flashing Lights Warn Library Visitors to Be Quiet

From the Chronicle of Higher Ed
 

To tamp down the noise level in their libraries, some colleges are considering installing a warning system that looks like a traffic signal. Called the Deluxe Yacker Tracker, the device flashes a yellow light to indicate when the noise exceeds a certain level. When it exceeds the level by at least 15 decibels, the red light illuminates and a siren can go off, too.

What ever happened to just approaching students and telling them to keep it down?---Andrea L. Foster

April 24, 2008

AskMN Update

On March 24 the seven participating libraries and MINITEX Library Information Network launched AskMN: The Librarian Is In, a 24/7 cooperative online digital reference service for Minnesota residents and students. AskMN is dedicated to assisting patrons with their information and research needs focusing on questions on any topic - public libraries, and college research - academic libraries. Patrons may ask their question via a participating library's form on their website or from the main AskMN website: askmn.org.

I invite you to take a look at the AskMN's site to get a better understanding of what is being offered to patrons. Also, if you're interested in participating in the cooperative or would like to hear more of the benefits and specifics of participating in AskMN or would like to point your patrons to the 24/7 service for additional reference help beyond your library's hours by placing a link to the service please contact me, Carla Pfahl, directly at pfahl001 at umn dot edu and I'll be happy to answer your questions.

You can check out Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College Library website, http://www.fdltcc.edu/web/Library/ReferenceHelp.html to see a great example of adding the AskMN service link to your webpage.

April 23, 2008

Teens Know Best

 

School Library Journal just intereviewed Adela Peskorz, Faculty Librarian and Associate Professor of Adolescent Literature and Information Studies, Metropolitan State University (MN).  Peskorz "becomes den mother to anywhere between 20 to 45 teens, all clamoring to get their hands on new galleys from teen and young adult publishers. The self-titled Teens Know "Best" YA Galley Group is part of YALSA's Young Adult (YA) Galley/Teen's Top Ten Project which uses 15 public libraries and school library media centers from across the country to provide feedback to publishers of young adult books. "

To read the full article, visit: http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/CA6551777.html?nid=4302&rid=1529597745&source=link

April 22, 2008

Party photo phenomenon

On the MINITEX Reference Blog, Kristen Mastel talks about a recent article in C&RL News about a photo campaign UVM Libraries held with students engaging them in a contest that also highlighted the library services, specifically the Ask A library service.
Here are some links to more information about the project:
Link to the article online: http://www.acrl.org/ala/acrl/acrlpubs/crlnews/backissues2008/april08/partyphoto.cfm
Link to podcast discussion with the authors and UVM student: http://www.acrl.ala.org/acrlinsider/2008/04/04/acrl-podcast-party-photo-phenomenon/
Link to the UVM Flickr photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/uvmlibraries/sets

Free Comic Book Day

Saturday May 3rd, 2008
What is Free Comic Book Day?
Free Comic Book Day is a single day when participating comic book shops across North America and around the world give away comic books absolutely free* to anyone who comes into their stores.   This is a great opportunity for library staff to learn more about comics and graphic novels, along with building partnerships with local comic lovers and retailers. 

11 days until the next
Free Comic Book Day!

 

For more information, visit: http://www.freecomicbookday.com/

April 21, 2008

Party photo phenomenon

Have you ever considered a photo shoot to publicize your library’s services? The latest issue of College & Research Libraries News (vol. 64, no.4, April 2008) features the article, “Party photo phenomenon,” by Daisy Benson and Selene Colburn from the University of Vermont. In the article they discuss recruiting efforts for student models by having green screens and waivers at events and asking students to pose with an “Ask” campaign sign. The images were used in flyers, posters and bookmarks. Then the libraries carried the campaign into the Web 2.0 world, with posting the images on Flickr and Facebook. In Facebook they created a group called, UVM Libraries’ Top Models and used the Facebook event feature to display upcoming photo shoots on the UVM network calendar, which there are over 16,000 members. Students have met the campaign with an overwhelming response- they have tagged photos, downloaded them to their Facebook pages and joined the Libraries group. To read more about the article and listen to a podcast, including the unique Facebook Flyer Feature, visit:  http://www.ala.org/ala/acrl/acrlpubs/crlnews/backissues2008/april08/partyphoto.cfm

College & Research Libraries News

Did you see the latest cover of College & Research Libraries News?   The image on the cover features “a woman working with Zato-coding, a system of information retrieval that employs special cards with notches representing information in the document which the card referred.” The image can be found in the Charles Babbage Institute, an archive dedicated to the history of computing and information technology in the Elmer L. Andersen Library at the University of Minnesota. 

Follow Up to Smiling Online Webinar

OCLC has posted the presentation slides and audio for the Smiling Online: Applying face-to-face reference skills in a virtual environment webinar from last Wednesday, April 16.

Presentation slides: http://www5.oclc.org/downloads/research/webinars/smilingonline.pdf

MP3 audio of the presentation: http://www5.oclc.org/downloads/research/webinars/smilingonline.mp3

Additional resources

Learn more about the Seeking Synchronicity project:
http://www.oclc.org/research/projects/synchronicity/default.htm

Visit OCLC Research to learn more about current projects:
http://www.oclc.org/research/default.htm

The Millennial Instructor

For years we have been talking about the digital native and now the millennial student. What about the millennial instructor? This was the focus of a presentation by Carl Berger, from the University of Michigan- Ann Arbor, at the University of Minnesota this past Friday. 
Every year the University of Michigan surveys their students and instructors on technology use.  In 2006, with a 17% response rate (474 faculty, 2,057 students) to their survey, they found that digital natives were great at multitasking, are comfortable with technology and use it a lot, and the age of 90% of the population was between 18 and 30. The interesting thing they found was that 50% of the median respondents were younger than the digital natives. Meaning, not every young person thinks of themselves as a digital native or uses technologies classified as a digital native. The digital native’s least preferred way to learn was online computer classes and their preferred way to learn was by self exploration. According to students, both digital native and the majority, claim that an instructor not knowing how to use technology was their greatest barrier to learning through technology. Another interesting thing is that students do admit they don’t have all the skills to use technology, but later in the presentation when we move to instructors, instructors rank skills as a low barrier for students. There is disconnect there. 
In the Millennial Instructors group they found an interesting phenomenon, more students and instructors were indicated on the surveys than the number of surveys completed. The reason being many students serve in instruction roles (i.e., teaching assistant) and some faculty are in student rolls (i.e., finishing a degree). 90% of millennial instructors were between the ages of 20 and 34, however the ages ranged all the way up to 52!    Again, instructors did not prefer online classes and rather enjoyed self exploration. Again unfamiliarity with technology was the biggest barrier for use of technology for learning and not having the skills was the least (IT support and outreach is working)! 
To see some presentations and reports on the Millennial Instructor research, visit: http://carat.umich.edu/carat/files/auc2007milliennialinst.pdf
The University of Minnesota recently did a study on 21st Century Instructors, which also mentions key points. This report is available, at: http://dmc.umn.edu/surveys/faculty/fsreport07.pdf
 Also, Carl Berger, with assistance from others, has created a new online peer-reviewed journal called Academic Intersections. It can be found, at: http://edcommunity.apple.com/ali/story.php?itemID=9574

April 18, 2008

Spring Conferences!

Planning for spring conferences is heating up! There are (or have been) a number of new and ongoing learning opportunities specifically for or including reference services staff this spring 2008:

• PLA, March 25 - 29, 2008
• MnPALS Reference User Group Workday, March 28, 2008
ARLD Day (Academic and Research Libraries Division, Minnesota Library Association), April 25, 2008
MINITEX ILL Conference, May 5, 2008
e-Learning Summit, May 21 - 22, 2008
Midwest Library Technology Conference, May 29-30, 2008

In light of these exciting and unique opportunities, the planning committee for the University of Minnesota/MINITEX Library Information Network Reference Symposium has decided to cancel our 6th Symposium, on May 12, 2008. Rather, we strongly encourage you to register for and participate in these unique opportunities. We'll see you there!

April 17, 2008

Future of Blogging

There's a couple of interesting posts I ran across today I thought I'd share. One from Chronicle of Higher Ed talks about Blogs May Be Obsolete by New Technology. It cites:

New sites are cropping up, such as the recently-opened beta of Shyfter, which allow users to not only share their feeds, but also discuss specific posts in one place.

These new sites may bring the discussion and comment thread piece currently available with individual blog posts out of the main website and into a new forum, taking away stats and moving a bloggers community to another location. I'm interested in seeing how this trend progresses. I don't think bloggers can control this environment. Communities prosper and flounder based on interest and room for growth/change. As I mentioned in a post yesterday, mnspeak is another one of these types of community sites, not as much of an automated aggregator, but still bringing together information from various sources and giving space for community interact. Mnspeak, itself, has seen it's own ebb and flow in this environment but has still managed to chug along.

Another post I ran across today I wanted to share is from TechSurfBlog. I today's post the author talks about Blogging Less, Twittering More. An interesting look at what may be a larger trend as people find blogging to take up a lot of time and twittering to, maybe, fill in the holes.

EBSCOhost 2.0

Dear EBSCO Customer,
We are pleased to update you with the following information about new and upcoming features:
In Support of EBSCOhost 2.0:
EBSCOhost and EBSCOadmin Updates - Available Now:
EBSCOhost and EBSCOadmin Updates - Coming Soon:
  • Multiple Database Limiters will appear with those limiters common to all databases being searched, even when they do not apply to all of those databases. Any of the five most popular search limiters: Full Text, Published Date, Publication, Peer Reviewed and References Available may be included in the common limiter area, above the database-specific section on the search screen, provided they are supported by at least one of the databases being searched.
  • Enhanced Clustering will provide more cluster types (controlled by the library administrator), including Publication, Company, Geography, NAICS/Industry Codes, etc.
  • SUSHI Web Service Support means that library administrators will be able to generate COUNTER Reports using EBSCOhost's secure SUSHI Web Service. The automated process will begin when a library's electronic records management (ERM) system requests a usage report to be automatically transmitted to EBSCO via the library's SUSHI client, after which a COUNTER report will be prepared and returned to the library.
Online Training Classes:
Please visit EBSCO's Support Site (http://support.ebsco.com) to learn about new features, search among thousands of FAQs, download Flash tutorials, Help Sheets or User Guides, or communicate with Technical Support at any time, using the EBSCO Support Form (http://support.epnet.com/contact/askus.php).

April 16, 2008

Smiling Online :)

I attended a webinar this afternoon presented by Lynn Sillipigni Connaway (OCLC) and Marie Radford (Rutgers) titled Smiling Online: Applying face-to-face reference skills in a virtual environment. The information they presented in this webinar came from the research project they have been working of the past 2 years, Seeking Synchronicity where they have been conducting extensive research interviewing librarians, patrons, and non-users of virtual reference services (vrs) as well as mining the data from hundreds of transcripts.

Here are some of my notes from today's session:
Age groups identified:
Boomers - born between 1945 - 1964
Gen X - born between 1964 - 1979
Millennials - born between 1979 - 1994
(subgroup of Millennials - Screenagers - born between 1988 - 1994)

Contrasting the differences between Adults and Millennials in reference to chat:
Millennials approach chat (vrs) as a social engagement
Adults approach chat (vrs) as a more formal, goal oriented process

Millennials more open to trying new things.
Adults more apprehensive, want to know what they're getting into
On average, Millennial tendencies in vrs:
-abrupt endings (no good-byes)
-impatience - want something instantly
-rude or insulting - but seeing this decline
Can't determine from research if these tendencies are just because of age or a characteristic of generation as a whole.

Reasons for choosing VRS:
1. convenience, convenience, convenience
-immediate answers
-lack of cost
-available 24/7
-efficiency
2. enjoy medium
-millennials find much more enjoyment
-lack of intimidation (of face-to-face interaction)
Millennials want quick answers
Screenagers:
-greater connection to the librarian
-opportunity for dialogue
-elimination of geographic boundaries
-less intimidating than the ref desk
-librarians reactions more clear
-easier to express thanks to a librarian

Non-Users: Reasons for not using VRS
-may use libraries not necessarily vrs
-qualities of the individual librarian - appeared knowledgable/trustworthy
-(FtF) perception that librarian is too busy
Boomers and Millennials - Reasons for not using vrs:
1. Didn't know it was available
-service availability
-librarian can help
-24/7 availability
2. Satisfied with other information sources
Boomer concerns:
-computer literacy - not good enough
-complexity of chat environment

Important to both VRS Users and Non-Users
1. Librarian Qualities
-knowledge of sources and systems
-positive attitude
-good communication skills
2. Accuracy of answers/information
*they found that is boost accuracy if the librarian clarified the question
-answer specific question asked
-clarify question before you push general info
-make sure it has specific and exact answer to user's question

For all types of queries:
-clarify the question
-use a follow-up question (does this answer..., do you have another question...)
-finalize interaction with the user

Implications for Practice
1. Communication critically important!
-difficult process
-generational differences
-user education
2. Greetings - crucial moment, capture it!
-chance to establish personal relationship
-use self-disclosure to build rapport
3. Recognize that any user may be impatient at times
-question complex?
-context - what do they need this info for? assignment, research, son's homework?
4. Encountering Rude or Impatient Behavior
DO use common sense and intuition
DO remain polite, use humor, if ok
DO apologize as appropriate
DON'T take it personally
DON'T mirror rudeness
DON'T reprimand user
5. Encourage Non-User to try VRS
-creative marketing
-promote full range of reference options
-reassure young people chat is safe

In Conclusion:
-use basic interpersonal skills
-chat and FtF are very similar interactions
-relax about time pressure
-be yourself and show your smile

Libraries in the news

I thought I would highlight an article from rakemag.com about libraries: No Ones Reading and Our Libraries Are Closing and a string being discussed on mnspeak.com: Libraries in crisis?.

The rakemag.com article talks about how libraries are booming across the country but seem to be ailing in MN, specifically, Minneapolis libraries. It's true, Minneapolis Public Library system has been plagued with budget cuts and financial woes for a long time. I don't think anyone can deny that. Granted, this is a very thin and short commentary about MPL. I appreciate the author's highlight of the need/want for more library hours and bringing this to other's attention. The more noise there is about libraries, in general, the more (outspoken) support there will be for them. However, he fails to mention the merger of MPL with Hennepin County Library System, impact on both systems and what some outlooks are for the new merged system. It would have even been great if he attempted an interview with one or two staff from MPL or HCL.

mnspeak.com's discussion string is very interesting. Certainly a lot of people are interested in keeping libraries strong and thriving (yay!) as you can see from the number of responses in this string. For those that are not familiar with mnspeak.com, it is a community support (mainly) Twin Cities blog that brings to light various topics concerning Minnesota and allows anyone and everyone to comment about that topic. It's a ginormous virtual chat room. I pay close attention to the comments posted here about anything related to libraries because it's like being able to poll your entire community and hear straight from the what they think without any bias or leading.

Things I found interesting from some of the comments are:

- No one has any really good Flickr pictures of libraries, so I'm not sure if it's worth going.
- I like how I can use my library card to use various research databases for free through HC library. I was suffering from database withdrawl after graduation. Does anyone know if I can do this via Mpls libraries?
- Yes you can use MPL databases remotely with your library card.
- google books making libraries obsolete makes me laugh.
- I am all for phone free zones with in the library but I think in order for libraries to survive they must get on board with the open office lwork style embraced by todays knowledge worker.
- I also like going to the Central Library and getting a huge pile of books to page through while sitting on the north side in the comfy chairs and all the windows. Once I'm done, I get to leave them there and someone else reshelves them.
- I gotta say that filters suck. Librarians professional ethics tie their hands- they're in the information business not the censorship racket.

You can read the comments for yourself. mnspeak.com does have a good library discussion going at least once a month. I must say, there are a lot of people out there that appreciate and support libraries. Maybe this is something we as librarians could tap into or at least watch closer to get a better sense of what our community is saying about libraries to others rather than to libraries directly.

April 14, 2008

The Semantic Web - more than a fancy term

 Tom Zillner, Research Coordinator, at Wisconsin Library Services wrote a wonderful summary on the semantic web and its importance for library staff and our patrons. 

Zillner states,  Takeaways From This Article

• The potential of the semantic web will soon translate into reality.

 • Yahoo! Search’s adoption of semantic web searching will provide a richer return of information to its users.

 • RDF (Resource Description Framework) is a format for representing semantic information.

 • Microformats can also represent semantics.

 • Watch for other search engines to weigh in with their own version of semantic search.

You can read the full article at: http://www.wils.wisc.edu/technotes/semanticWeb.pdf

Trends, Fads or Folly available via streaming

MINITEX is pleased to announce the following College of DuPage teleconference is available via streaming video. 
 
Soaring to Excellence 2008
 
Trends, Fads or Folly: Spotting the Library Trends that Really Matter
This video will be available via streaming for approximately 60 days.  After this date MINITEX will have a copy of the program that may be borrowed.
 
Here is the link for video streaming Trends, Fads or Folly.

Many desktop steaming participants experienced difficulties due to network problems on the College of DuPage end.   We extend our sincerest apologies that many were not able to watch the video during the scheduled time, but hope you will take some time to view it over the next two months, as it was a very engaging session.

 

One interesting fact I took away: In 2007, over 50% of the bestselling books in Japan were cell phone novels. 


Description: This program examines how these other trends are having an impact on libraries—and what libraries are or should be doing to integrate these trends into their services (e.g., gaming is an obvious one that libraries are using to draw the younger generation into the library). This show contains a series of case studies that demonstrate how libraries are using trendspotting to create the right services for their communities.

 
Speakers:
·         Tom Peters is the CEO of TAP Information Services (www.tapinformation.com), which provides a wide variety of services supporting libraries, library-related organizations, government agencies, technology companies, publishers, and other information-intensive organizations.
·         Lori Bell is Director of Innovation at the Alliance Library System. She writes and coordinates grant projects for ALS system members.

April 10, 2008

26th Annual Johnson O'Malley Title VII Indian Education Conference

Location: Fond du Lac Ojibwe School, Fond du Lac Reservation, Cloquet, MN

Dates: July 17-18, 2008 (1-½ days of workshops and speakers)

July 17 8:30-5:15
July 18 8:30-12

The mission of this annual conference is to provide quality training and resources for administrators, educators, teachers, and parents that meet the unique cultural and educational needs of American Indian learners.

Fee: $50 in advance/$75 after June 1

Program Proposals: If you have questions, please call the Department of Education-Office of Indian Education, Roseville at 651-582-8831 or Valerie Tanner at The College of St. Scholastica (218) 723-6014.

Registration:
For questions concerning registration please contact FDL Accounting: 218.878.7536

Bridget Paulson
Program Accounting Director
Fond du Lac Reservation
1720 Big Lake Road
Cloquet, Minnesota 55720
218.878.7536
Fax: 218-878-8152

For all other questions:
Fond du Lac Ojibwe School, Jennifer Trotterchaude, 218.878.7547

For registration forms and additional information: http://www.fdlrez.com/Education/jommain.htm

April 8, 2008

Midwest Library Technology Conference 2008

MARK YOUR CALENDAR!

Midwest Library Technology Conference 2008
May 29-30, 2008
Macalester College
St. Paul, MN

A conference bringing libraries from around the region together to share how changing technologies are affecting the services they provide to their users.

Featuring keynote presentations from:

John Reidl, author of Word of Mouse: The Marketing Power of Collaborative Filtering, one
of the founders of the company Net Perceptions, and a faculty member of the GroupLens
Research Group at the University of Minnesota.

Rachel S. Smith, VP NMC Services, and Alan Levine, Chief Technology Officer, from
the New Media Consortium, an organization which co-authors the annual Horizon Report
on emerging technologies that will have an impact on learning organizations and whose
initiatives include examine how technology can drive the formation of new knowledge,
expand dialog, and fuel the exchange of ideas.

A wide variety of sessions will be offered during the conference including sessions on:

· Usability testing of library web resources

· Digital gaming in libraries

· Designing multi-media content for libraries

· Creating and sharing local digital collections

· Use of open source software in libraries

· Next-generation web interface tools

Registration will be available soon.
Check the conference web site for additional information:

http://www.macalester.edu/library/libtechconference/index.html

April 7, 2008

SCImagine! 2008: Robots take over the Library

Three robots, three student groups…a battle of the intelligent versus the artificially intelligent.  

Friday, May 9, 2008
3:30-5:00 p.m.
Free, open to public
Upson Room, Walter Library 102
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Come see live robot demonstrations and the latest creations of artificial intelligence by students from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota. The presentations will be accompanied by light refreshments and stimulating conversation.

SCImagine! emphasizes the Science & Engineering Library's role as an intellectual gathering place on campus. Each spring the library showcases university teaching, learning, and research in the physical sciences and engineering offering fascinating presentations and lively discussions.

State Library example of using emerging technologies

The Transparent Library column (LJ, March 15, 2008, vol. 133, no. 5) mentioned the State Library of South Carolina as one that is good with emerging technologies.  I went to their website, and was VERY impressed.  They have a personalized web portal with Joomla.  They also have direct links to their facebook page, YouTube videos created by the organization, Flickr pages of events and many other innovative ideas. 

April 1, 2008

PLA Conference TidBits

John Wood, Keynote at PLA

I probably should have blogged the conference last week as now things are a bit fuzzy since I let the weekend go by before getting all this down.  Though I did take lots of notes!  I thought I would share, in one blog entry, some highlights of the PLA Conference for me.  First and foremost was the amazing keynote given by John Wood, of Room to Read.  John wrote the book Leaving Microsoft to Change the World, which talks about his experience creating Room to Read and his belief that every child on earth should be educated and that "world change starts with educated children."  John worked for Microsoft for several years before going on a 3 week trek to Nepal where he realized that he could do so much more for the world by attacking three main problems:

1) 110 million children age 4-10 are NOT in primary school

2) 800 million people cannot read or write

3) Two thirds of that group are girls and women.

Two begin to conquer those three main problems, Room to Read focuses on buildings schools, creating multilingual libraries within those schools, and offering scholarships for girls.  John's motto is "dream big" and that's exactly what has made Room to Read such a huge success.  So far Room to Read has opened over 280 schools around the world and has distributed 2.8 million childrens books. 

John highlighted seven key points in his business model:

  1. hire strong and entrepeneural local teams
  2. engage the community with challenge grants
  3. invest heavily in human capital (train librarians who will in turn train others)
  4. monitor and evaluate
  5. have an intense focus on results (what gets measured gets done)
  6. make efficient use of donor dollars
  7. run like a business (fundraising, fundraising, fundraising)

John has amazing vision and passion about this project and is really making Room to Read a huge success.  If you ever have an opportunity to hear him speak I would highly reccomend it, but bring some tissue, because you just might get a tear in your eye, I know I did.

 

Great Libraries for Dummies

 

I really liked this session by Greg Buss of the Richmond Public Library, British Columbia, because he layed out 5 easy steps to achieve excellence in your library and also gave the top 10 things to do to achieve excellence in your library.  So much of this is common sense but sometimes we just need to hear it in a more organized fashion to really get it. His five easy steps to success are as follows:

  1. Think like a customer
  2. Determine the core functions of your library (empower the customer through information)
  3. Set priorities
  4. Manage resources
  5. Implement with urgency and enthusiasm

For more information on this session check out the upcoming April issue if Reference Notes!

 

The Cutting Edge: The Latest Information on Web 2.0

Jen Maney of the Pima County Library in Tuscon, AZ, made some great points about Web 2.0 and libraries.  Web 2.0 levels the playing field for libraries and allows us to meet users as individuals.  It gives us the opportunity to experiment with all of the Web 2.0 tools available to us.  Jen stressed that there is no "right" tool for all libraries.  All libraries, all users are unique and librarians should really experiment to find the right tools for their users.  As she put it, "design for uncertainty and accept that your future is uncertain." 

Everyone is Getting Crabbier

The last session that I'll highlight here is Everyone is Getting Crabbier, presented by Sandra Nelson.  Sandra is a Librarian and Consultant with Nelson Consulting (her own business) and gives presentations and training to librarians and library managers all over the country.  Aside from the keynote at PLA, this was probably my favorite session.  Sandra has a great sense of humor and had the audience laughing and participating.  One thing she said that is probably true for alot of us is that some days our biggest sense of accomplishment is writing a to-do list, when really our biggest sense of accomplishment should be checking things off that to-do list.  So what can we do about stress and crabbiness?  Here are the four things that Sandra reccomends to get us on the road to less stress and more happiness and contentment:

  1. Prioritize (be more effective then efficient)
  2. Plan and organize (as librarians I think alot of us already do this)
  3. Simplify (learn to say NO)
  4. Manage the clock

The fourth point, manage the clock, Sandra suggested looking at time in 15 minute increments rather than 1 hour increments.  She said that you would be amazed at what can be accomplished in a 15 minute period.

Summary

This was my first experience at a PLA Conference and I found most sessions I attended interesting and relevant for all types of libraries and librarians.