Ultra personalized Library cards??

When I read about this service on Springwise, my immediate thought was how cool! I would love to have a personalized credit/debit card with my daughters' shining happy faces on it – this would surely solve my problem of never having a photo to show aquaintances, especially when I meet them for lunch.

Anyway… how awesome would it be to have personalized library cards too? Just upload your image (book cover, family photo... whatever) when you signup for your card online and presto – you new personalized card is printed or mailed to you!

PS: I'm not sure the variable rate thing would fly in libraries. Can you imagine library users setting their own fines?

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AOL Launches Study Buddy

Just in time for BtoS, AOL jumps into the learning pool with another addition... Study Buddy:

"A new search engine promises to give schoolchildren results from sites pre-screened by teachers and librarians.

Time Warner Inc.'s AOL launched StudyBuddy in time for the school year. It is free, though a premium version with more resources is available for $4.95 a month. Users of StudyBuddy can even choose a grade range, such as K-2, to narrow choices even more."

I have to wonder what the extra things are in the premium version? And do you honestly think that libraries could get a subscription that they could use internally for as little as that?

Discovered via MSN

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LC opens in SL

"The Library 2.0 has been working with the Library of Congress on a Declaration of Independence display that was officially announced and which opened yesterday on Info Island in Second Life."

Read more from Business Communicators of Second Life

How Cool!

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3D Reference

As I said before, there's a lot of great things and thought provoking posts coming out of Learning 2.0, including this one from the Questing Librarian on 3D Reference and it's possiblities ...

"With all of this online communcation technology it will only be a matter of time before we start seeing 3-D library reference. 2-D reference like NCKnows/Questionpoint seems like online reference on steriods to librarians now, but 3-D reference will include an avatar for both librarian and patron...."

Read more.

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L2 - Week 3

Lots of neat stuff happening over at Learning 2.0 this week and this motivational poster created by a participant says it all...

L2 Motivation
Originally uploaded by Muggie42.

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Fab Friday Salute

Three weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend the Soul Calibur II gaming tournament showdown. This tournament was a summer long system-wide effort of eight participating branches which culminated in a great finale. I was lucky enough to catch a little bit of the action along with guests MS and MC and it was great to see these kids having fun while being supported by parents, siblings and even branch staff.

So this Friday’s salute goes out to all staff who assisted and supported this great 1st time summer gaming tournament:

Steele Creek
South County Regional
North County Regional
Freedom Regional
Morrison Regional
Mountain Island

Yes, the smiles on these faces say it all! Well done!!

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Google Catalog -- Library catalog!!

Google announced today a new feature - Google Library Catalog Search:

"Today, we're launching the Library Catalog Search feature in Google Book Search, designed to help casual readers and bookworms everywhere find gems in the libraries around the world. Queries on Google Book Search will automatically include results from library catalogs when appropriate. Each result includes a "Find Libraries" link to help readers find libraries that hold the book -- ideally a library nearby, or if need be, a library far away."

You can also search directly for titles ‘In library catalog” through advance book search

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Wake up, it's a Renaissance!

A great new blog (& L2 participant), YouthTech, points to a fantastic resource for discusions and insights about teens, Gen Xers, Millenials -- OK, let's just stop labeling them -- and just start calling them library users!!
"The longstanding belief that we live in a society in decline is a paradigm ready for retirement. On the contrary, we are poised for re-birth. Just look around you. Why do teenagers turn up in record numbers to poetry slams and post original short stories on their blogs? Why do 63 percent of Americans cite reading for pleasure as their preferred leisure activity? Why is a public library in Ohio, deluged with requests when it announces the availability of books on tape for legal download into iPods?... The world is poised for a second Renaissance."

Why not join the discussion and wake up to the rennaiasance - RenGen: An open forum on the rising clout of culture and creativity!

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Filed Under - Cleverly Stupid

Yup, I couldn't pass up sharing this one

PS: And my other favorite discovery of the evening... this salute to video games of the past - Game Over


Fab Friday Salute

Wow! What a week! It’s hard to believe it’s Fab Friday day again. This week’s salute goes out to ALL 165 187 PLCMC staff members that have jumped on board for 8 weeks of discovery, learning and fun! Thanks for jumping in and proving that PLCMC has what it takes to become America’s best library. Like they say – aim high!

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POLL: Education, Information or Recreation ?

The other day I was talking with several colleagues about the future of libraries and information services and someone made this excellent point.

“We all know that libraries are about education, information and recreation. But if you listen to one expert, they’ll tell you the future of libraries is in education. Another will tell you it’s about information and a third will tell you it’s all about leisure. So you can’t really rely on that.”

I agree! Anyway, as I thought about this more that evening, it got me wondering … if I were "the expert" and someone asked forced me put all my eggs in just one of these baskets (education, information or recreation) as to bet on where the best stronghold of libraries would be ten or fifteen years from now - which one would I choose?

I know what my answer would be … but I’m curious to know if others agree with me. So here's a quick poll - Which basket would you choose?

Which basket do you think provides libraries with the best longevity and future?
Free polls from

PS: I’ll post the results next week. In the meantime … think about it and perhaps even post your thoughts. :)

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Talking DOPA

Interested in finding about more about DOPA and the implications on library services? Listen to the latest Talking with Talis audiocast. Kelly Czarnecki and Matt Gullet, both of PLCMC are active participants in this great panel discussion. Listen here.

More info on DOPA and from YALSA.

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Changes ahead ...

Some exciting news for Blogger users was announced yesterday ... Blogger has added new and imprioved features and gone back to beta. I've had a blogger account since 2002, so the announcement that the new version includes the ability to add categories and a drop-n-drag feature to rearrange your template as well as control who can read your blog is verrrrry exciting.

It's funny that this announcement should occur this week, just as 130 (that's the number so far & it's still growing) PLCMC employees have setup their own blogs and join the Learning 2.0 party.

When I logged into my blog, I see that I'm not one of the lucky ones to be given access to these new enhancements yet and since Blogger says they will transitioning all users gradually as they roll this new interface out, it occurs to me that some of these new-to-blogging L2 participants may have access to these new features before I do. :)

Anyway... I'm not worried. If the new version of Blogger is as user friendly as the current, then participants should have no problems figuring things out. Here's a tour of the new features. And if you're a Learning 2.0 participant and were one of the lucky one's that got this first, please let me know. I'd loved to know what you think of it.

UPDATE: Created a new blog through the beta site and was able to play around with the new enhancements --- Three thumbs up! Ok, two thumbs... but I'm impressed! Just one small note to Blogger-- the comments feature still needs an optional email address for non-blogger commenters.

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Calling all bloggers ...

Take the PEW Internet Blogging Survey

I always read these surveys with interest. Now, here's a chance to participate. :)


Think you're too old for YouTube?

Think again.

You can find Peter at Geriatric1927

Perhaps, an idea for a new library program? Creating Digital Memoirs

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Tagging? Anyone have good ideas?

With 6 weeks of content written and podcasted for the Learning 2.0 project, I’m working on Tagging & Folksonomy stuff this week. Yup, I didn’t have all this stuff completed before I launched the program. So for those staff asking can they have all the discovery exercises in advanced? Sorry! I’m still working on some of them. :)

Anyway, The reason for my post is this… I’m stuck at coming up with a good discovery exercise for Tagging. By week 6 in the program, all the participants will have been exposed in some small way to Flickr and LibraryThing (both which utilize tags nicely). I was actually hoping to introduce participants to tagging with social bookmarking sites such as of Furl during this week, but in trying to develop a simple exercise I’m running into a problem. Both sites utilize browser add-ons/buttons to easily access and tag websites of interest. This is probably ok for many of our staff utilizing staff PCs, since the image on their machines may not prohibit the addition of these. But for the majority of our staff in Circ areas, they will not be able to install these on their locked down machines. (Circ machines are locked to decrease malware installations that can affect access to the ILS and core functions) So, the question is…

Does anyone have a good suggestion for simple bookmarking tagging exercise that staff could do that doesn’t require the installation of shortcuts?


L2 Recap

Learning 2.0 - Week 1 Recap.

Fab Friday Salute

I’ve been holding off on announcing this well earned Fab Friday Salute for more than a month now. Partly because there was so many other things going on and partly because we wanted to have at least one month of a quiet pilot under our belt before sharing this news. Thanks to the amazing programming work of our very excellent Web Services department, specifically Chuck Rigney and Curtis Hammond, PLCMC is now able to offer patrons the ability to pay for fines & fees by credit & debit card within the branch at the Catalog Kiosk.

Currently 3 locations are live with the online application and more will be added in the coming the weeks as we scale the application’s use up for both processing and the business office. By the end, patrons will also be able to pay for fines & fees from home online – yeah!

So … Thank you Chuck & Curtis for your weeks of long hard work on this project. You definitely knocked the ball out of the ballpark with this one and the best thing is … we don’t have to pay a vendor an annual fee for it. :) Great work!

PS: For those that are interested, I’ll grab screen captures of the application soon.

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I'm posting this just because it's FUN!

After reading about this in Springwise, I definitely see a Flipbook creation in my future. - How Fun!

PS: Can you say "Christmas gifts for Grammie" three times fast!


It's a bird, it's a plane, it's ...

Perhaps this already circulated blogosphere while I was on vacation. But if it didn't, it's definitely worth a share ... The Adventures of Super Librarian

It looks like the McCracken County Public Library has a whole series of fun videos promoting library service on YouTube including this spin on private detectives.


Wet, Dry & Wireless

I've kept this tagged as 'new' in my Bloglines for over a week now thinking I might find some relavance to libraries. But so far no go. So instead I'll just link it here and see if any of you can think of a connection ...

Laundry of future relies on Internet, cell phones AP 07.23.06

What do you think ... Do you think smart washers & dryers with wireless updates will fly?

Web 2.0 - 24 M Documentary

Just discovered a "Discovery Resource" for Learning 2.0 enthusists interested in Web 2.0 discussions from the business perspective. Featuring 8 CEOs from big Web 2.0 startups ... interesting

My Favorite definition from the video -- "Web 2.0 is about empowering the little guy to compete against the big guy." I wonder which "guy" are libraries?

Discovered on TechCrunch
Video hosted on Photobucket


3 RSS feeds every Library Director should subscribe to...

“That needs to be blogged” Michael Stephens added over dinner conversation at the Capital Grill following the Tech Summit last week. So, here I am blogging this … The three RSS feeds that every Library Director/Manager/PR Director should be subscribing to.

If your library is like our library system, you probably do some type of customer survey each year and also welcome comments and suggestions through both formal and informal mechanisms. But these methods only provide you with a portion of the picture of what your users are saying (and sharing) about your library. To fill in the gaps you should also be continually the scanning the web, espacially social networks. The good news with RSS, scanning social networks made up blogs, image and video hosting sites is easy. All you need to do for most is to create a few watchlists and access them through the RSS feed. Here’s a few I recommend:

  • Technorati - To track what people might be saying about your library in their blogs, create an account in Technorati and the add your library’s name and/or abbreviation as a watchlist item and then subscribe to the feed.

  • Flickr – To see photos that users may be taking in your library, do a search for photos tagged with your library’s name or abbreviation and then subscribe to the feed. You can find the feed icon in the lower left corner of the thumbnail results after you do seach from the Explore section of the site.

  • YouTube – To find videos that users may be taking within library and posting on the web, setup a RSS feed for tagged videos in YouTube. YouTube provides instructions for doing this here, but I’ve found that you need to substitute “http” for the “feed” at the beginning of URL in order to make it work.
With more and conversations happening online these days, it’s important to listen and see what your users are saying about you and your library. These observations can often be much more valuable then your once a year survey or the “We welcome your opinion” form. And the best part yet is that you don’t even have to solicit them … they’re delivered right to your news aggregator’s door.

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Heat map your homepage ... for Free!

My site id when I signed up for the free trial was below 500 for the free trial, so I know I’m among the few (relatively speaking when you look at the size of the web) who have tried out this new amazing tool. offers a free 30 trial that provides heat, click and hover maps of your website. All you need to do is signup, add a small bit of javascript to your homepage and away you go. I used the new Learning 2.0 homepage hosted on Blogger -- That’s the one thing I love about Blogger; it’s easy to modify the style sheet and HTML code – to try it out and know that this will be a 'must do' when we preview the new PLCMC website for staff & patrons in the next few weeks.

It’s probably not the best tool to test on a blog site since the main content on the page updates so frequently. But since I plan to keep the initial announcement about this program up for two more days, I thought it might be interesting.

Below is a screen capture of the heat map. I think it’s important to note that this web service only really measures what users click on on where the mouse hovers on your webpage, not how a users eyes do. Even still, this tool can offer an amazing insight into how users navigate around your homepage to find things. Try it out.

Click on image to enlarge. This capture only shows the clicks gathered in the first 15 minutes -- just long enough for me to whip up this post (35 clicks).

It will be interesting to check out the map again after a day or two.

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Fab Friday Salute

With a much needed break consuming most of my July, it’s time not only to get back to posting on a regular basis, but also to resume the Fab Friday Salute. This Friday’s salute couldn’t be more appropriate, especially after last week’s vote of fear by the House of Representatives in favor of DOPA. Education is always key, especially when dealing with unknown and that’s why I wish we could run every 410 uniformed members of the H of R through our Library’s latest program for parents titled MySpace for Parents.

So today’s well earned salute goes out to Matt Gullet & Jesse Vieau, both on staff at ImaginOn, who have done an outstanding job in tackling this subject. In July they presented two very successful programs that have been highlighted by local media.

Take a look for yourselves. Here’s the story from News 14 and accompanied video

Thanks Matt & Jesse for taking the lead in developing this informative and useful program. Do you think we might be able persuade you to modify this program a bit and take it on a road show to DC? ;)

Learning 2.0 & Tech Summit

Yesterday, after two very engaging and thought provoking presentations by Michael Stephens & Michael Casey -- BTW: What a pleasure it is to get these two guys in the same room -- the Learning 2.0 Program that I’ve been working on for the past few months was finally unveiled.

Stephens and Casey were both great and offered lots for both staff from our library and neighboring public and academic libraries to think about. I don't have time to blog about their awesome presentations myself, but Lauren already did it well here. Anyway, it was a great day and I’m just pleased have this program launched and am looking forward to giving away a lot of MP3 players come October’s All Staff Day.

For any PLCMC or neighboring library staff who attended, please be sure to provide us feedback about the summit. The evaluation URL was on the blue program sheet. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did … and further yet, I hope you join in the Learning 2.0 journey.

Thanks for a great day Michael Stephens & Michael Casey. It was wonderful!

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Library 2.0 – It’s more than Flickr and YouTube

A posting about this subject has been bouncing around in my head for awhile, but without adequate time to fully develop my thoughts on paper, I’ve hesitated jotting something down for fear that I wouldn’t have time to do the subject justice. And then … while catching up on all the information bits in my news aggregator that had accumulated while my family vacationed along the west coast (BTW: I highly recommend Humboldt County, CA as a great family vacation spot), I came across these two thought provoking posts that also in a way touched upon this idea - that is that the impact of “2.0” in libraries goes far beyond libraries merely figuring out ways to take advantage of these new technologies; it’s about acknowledging, understanding and adjusting to the fundamental changes that are rapidly changing the way users receive and assimilate information. This to me has a far greater effect and impact to library users (both current & future) then merely getting your library to blog or create a Flickr or MySpace account.

A few months ago, I started down this path with a post I labeled “Information Literacy 2.0”, but since posting I’ve come to think about Literacy 2.0 as more then just understanding and exploring the tools and channels that information that can travel, it needs to also involve developing new skills within the profession that can teach users (including librarians) how to decipher garbage from gold in a literate world that is exploding around “soft information.”

When I really begin to ponder this thought, I am reminded that nearly all information starts out “soft” rumbling around inside someone’s head as thought, story or idea. The only difference between the way users received and consumed information almost exclusively in the past and the way that many users are consuming it today is through the channels. In the past (loose definition of past: before blogs, wikis, and social software or pre-2001) information was only really available to the mass mainstream user via the publishing and news media markets (Web 1.0 is included here) which acted as validaters and fact checkers for us. But with information these days being more time sensitive then ever and online networks providing the conduit to transform tiny social grapevines into full-fledged vineyards for mass media consumption, the need to figure out the means to authenticate and validate soft information will become more important than ever.

Just because the source of the information comes from a user generated blog or a wiki doesn’t necessarily mean it should automatically discredited. It merely means that a different set of skills and criteria need to be applied in order to validate it. Journalists and newspaper writers have been taught these skills for years, but have librarians?

I already blogged this a few days ago, but it’s worth noting it again here …

As my husband and I tuned into CNN over the two week course of our vacation to catch up on world events, we were surprised to find a good deal of their news coverage showing and acknowledging the power of “soft information” as they shared quotes from bloggers caught up in the conflict and videos posted on YouTube about the crisis in middle east. Why, because information is time sensitive.... because CNN didn’t have enough reporters in the area yet to cover the complete conflict... and because human interest/frontline experiences are worth their weight in advertising gold. (It might also help that they don’t cost the network a cent to air.) Anyway, CNN was very upfront about the airing of these videos as undocumented news sources, but even so they were information and they filled the great need for the “first person” experience.

So what am I getting at?? Simple, it’s this … 2.0 is radically changing the way users get information and that means big, BIG, BIGGG fundamental changes to the information profession and libraries as a whole. As I said to a group of librarians attending a recent presentation I gave … "I believe right NOW is the most exciting time to be a librarian in the information profession because information is changing!!" And not only is it changing, the channels are changing too!!! And what’s most important about this change is that users now are not only able to consume information while it’s still “soft”, they also have a way to participate in its creation and validation too! If that’s not earth-shattering-exciting to an information professional, then I can’t imagine what is!

So to this end, I’m curious … are there guides with criteria out there yet that help everyday users (& librarians) wade through the means to evaluate, validate or decipher reputable information found on blogs, wikis, etc? Ten years ago, I remember a flurry of online guides to help users evaluate websites. Many of the these techniques and criteria definitely still apply, but are there now other things we should be considering as we pull more and more information from blogs, wikis, and user generated content. I don’t have the answers and I definitely I hope I'm not the only one asking. :)

So what are your thoughts? -- should libraries be learning and teaching journalism techniques or developing new criteria for evaluation and fact-checking of these new information channels? Or do our traditional information literacy programs already cover social networking tools? I tend to think the former … for if traditional techniques held true I wouldn’t be hearing this roll off some tongues so easily ... “You can’t trust that information source because it’s a wiki/blog.”


PS: Thanks for making it to the end of this long rambling post. I try not to do these to often, but sometimes the thoughts and questions just have to get out. :)

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Happy Anniversary MTV

25 years ... Yikes!

The scary thing is that I'm not only enough to remember MTV's first years, I remember watching Martha, Mark, Nina, & JJ while drinking beer.

Yup, the drinking *was* lower back then ... :)

PS: I wonder how they'll mark the 25th anniversary of MySpace twenty-three years from now? And in what form may it still be around?

PPS: Don't ask me if I was legal. :)