Category Archives: Library

I miss #il2012 already!

Internet Librarian (#il2012) is easily my most favorite conference. I always learn something new, meet someone new, and get the chance to share new things going on with me with the library community. It was a crazy, whirlwind week, with two conferences within two weeks. I’ll use that as an excuse for the delay in my rundown of #il2012. My review process is as follows: look over my Twitter stream, and retype anything with the hashtag #internetlibrarian or #il2012. I didn’t attend as many sessions on Tuesday, but that’s mainly because I was preparing for mine. I’ll write up a separate post for it when I get the chance.

The bad thing about doing that, is that I don’t quite capture everything. However, for me, #internetlibrarian isn’t about writing down notes, but about being inspired. I’ve organized the notes as follows: web services stuff, ebooks stuff, everything else

Web Services:

Usability and the development of a mobile site for a university library by Danielle Becker of Hunter College.
1) Five guiding principles for usability: solid information architecture, clear navigation systems, strong visual appeal, understandable terminology, user-centered design.
2) Use a think-aloud process when usability testing – allows you to figure out what the user is thinking as they are navigating in real time.
3) It is important to cross link and have multiple access points
4) Design the mobile site to include what the students will use/ask for – database access, catalog access, etc. All depending on survey results

Web Analytics session
1) Eight principles of Information Architecture: Brown.pdf
2) Google Analytics has a lot of power behind it – I should look into it more.
3) Look into click analytics/heatmaps to figure out how best to improve the Library experience

Mobile UX with Roy Degler
1) Students prefer a web interface over a native app when it comes to Library information
2) Look into Foundation and Bootstrap as two frameworks for responsive design

User Research on user research:
1) Amanda Etches looked into how researchers at her university used the tools that were available to them for their research
2) Observation, rather than asking, a better way to gather data when it comes to researching researchers.
3) Sample question: tell us about a research collaboration that was conducted online
4) Another question: Tell us about the tools you use
5) Look into what Virtual Research Environment CSUEB has for it’s researchers

Cross Platform Linking
1) Using an XML file to update hours across all Library websites
2) Look into using Xibo as our digital signage platform
3) Think about using the mTouch table as our digital wayfinding device – interactive maps???

eBooks and Devices:

eBook session from Seattle Public Library
1) Know the target audience for whom you are implementing eBooks
2) Four levels of training for eBooks: getting started guides for patrons, classes for patrons, trainings for staff, practice for staff
3) Getting Started Guides live online – able to update them quickly
4) Provide staff with enough training to answer basic questions for patrons

eReader/Tablet devices in the Library session by CSU Northridge (I need to contact them about this – this was a very informative session
1) There is funding/interest in provide etextbooks in California (we know this as part of CSUEB)
2) Out of the top 13 activities that people do on their Tablet device, 5 of them are school related
3) There are a lot of challenges out there – like technological challenges, market challenges, content challenges, etc.
4) Future problems: Figure out why students aren’t using tablets and ereaders more (beyond the cost of the devices)

Everything else:

Big Data – I wanted to learn more about Big Data and this was a good introductory session on it
1) Five Characteristics of Big Data: Volume, Velocity, Variety, Verification, Value. Librarians have a chance to work with the last two.
2) Cool Big Data Tools to play around with:

Academic Makerspaces with Tod Colegrove
1) Makerspaces as collaborative spaces for work
2) Make incremental chances to increase buy-in
3) The Library has to be open to collaboration with different groups to create pride in ones library

Twitter Backchannel conversations:
1) Why doesn’t our online presence get as much attention as our physical presence?
2) UX is about desire and emotion, Usability is about “does it work right?”
3) Embrace the fact that libraries are hyper-local, yet connected to a shared network

Can’t wait for next year! See you all on the flip side…

Patron Privacy in a Self-Service World

Shelves and shelves of books, wrapped up in paper with peoples names on it. The infamous hold shelf. What once was behind the circulation desk is now out in the open, allowing anyone to come in and pick up their holds.

I used to be a big opponent of these types of self-service changes being implemented in libraries. I was worried that they would reduce the need for staffing, and as I was a library clerk at the time, I feared that these changes would lead to me no longer having a job in the future. However, these worries were unfounded – there will always be a need for some sort of staffing as there are tasks that only humans can handle – such as shelving books, pulling books, customer service and just plain on human interaction.

Back to the main point of this post – self-service holds. I really didn’t like the idea of it at first, because I love dealing with people when I am picking up a book from the library. There were instances when I would breeze into the library, pick up my hold in the shelves and check out at one of the machines, and then leave – not once running into a library employee. It was great for ease of check out, but I kind of missed running into people and then talking about what I’m reading at the moment.

However, I was always kind of wary of the holds area. The biggest issue with this area for me is that anyone can see what you have on hold. What if you were requesting a book that you didn’t want people to know you were checking out? We value the privacy of our customers, yet we flaunt it constantly by putting their holds out there.

Has anyone out there in libraryland come across any instances of privacy violations with holds? I would love to know more about it.

What is this #libday8 thing going on…I guess I should participate?

It’s been months since I wrote anything as part of the series Day in the Life of an Electronic Resources Librarian. What a better time to restart it than during #libday8 and talk about my week so far.

Even though it’s only Tuesday, I feel like I’ve had a long week….lots of ebook processing going on. Monday – I had to process a whole bunch of ABC-CLIO ebooks and come up with call numbers for each title. In our library catalog, we have it set up so that we include a copy record with any new ebooks that we acquire. This makes sense for us because this way, if we were to lose access to any ebook or ebook vendor, we could easily clear it out of our catalog.

Actually….let me back up a bit – how many people actually list their ebooks in the library catalog and add copy records for it? When I first got this job, I thought it was a bit silly to add copy records, especially once I looked at other library catalogs and noticed that they didn’t have copy records. Having dealt with them these past few months, it makes sense as a way to future proof our catalog.

Okay, back to the story – so I had to find call numbers for all of these ebooks. Man, was it a PAIN…I had to go through WorldCat and try to find a public library that had the ebook titles. Mainly because most of the catalogs that had these titles were colleges – while I wouldn’t have minded using LC…we’re a school library, gotta live in a Dewey world. Thank goodness I was able to find call numbers for each title.

Can you imagine….if I had to come up with these call numbers myself? YIKES! I mean, I love the idea of cataloging and stuff and building call numbers…but I don’t have access to OCLC…I would have had to use an abridged version of DDC13. *sigh*

One fun thing to come out of these adventures in ebooks is that I figured out the MARC field to add copies to your catalog! Go 852!

=852 \\$hCall Number$pBarcode

What up!

Definitely making dealing with the ebooks easier – before I used to just upload the records to the catalog, then go into each campus catalog and manually add a copy. Now? Only have to upload the records to each catalogs, which takes less time than having to add copies.

In the next installment…we will talk about what happened last October/November (because yes…it’s been that long) J/K – Already talked about my hard drive crash…up next..will be me talking about what I want to do with iBook Author.

What ever happened to teenage boy literature?

Even though I’m not too big on YA lit, I often find myself having to think about YA lit a lot – and not only because I work at a high school library, but because of the emergence of YA lit as a viable genre for publishers.

I love seeing the new books that come in from Ingram – every time we receive new books, it’s like unwrapping a Christmas/Birthday present (for me, it’s the same thing…) because I can’t wait to see what new books I’m going to want to check out. In recent years, I’ve found that I prefer nonfiction books as my pleasure reading. As much as I love reading a good fiction book and getting lost, I so rarely find that captivating book that just makes me want to READ.

I was lucky this past summer that I found a good fiction book – Almost Like Being In Love. But aside from that, I’ve mainly been reading nonfiction. I looked back at my history of reading, and made a realization today – I’ve read mainly nonfiction nearly my entire life. I wonder why I never got hooked on YA novels…

Then, I saw this list of Top 5 YA novels and made another realization – very few YA novels are geared towards boys. I guess thats an awful thing to say – why must novels be divided up by gender? Why can’t literature be cross-gender? In the YA genre, the last book/series that I can think of that had appeal equally among boys and girls was Harry Potter. The more recent popular books tend to be geared towards female readers.

Is there a reason for this? It’s not as if boys don’t read books – the Library rats at my work can attest to that (mainly boys!) I guess it could be because it’s so much easier to pinpoint what a girl reader would enjoy, hence making it easier to write? Who knows…


New series: A year in the life of an Electronic Resources Librarian

It’s been a while since I posted, but there’s a reason for this!

I’ve been busy – finished up my web design summer school class, and have had two weeks of orientation for my new job.

That’s right folks, I’ve gotten a promotion – I went from being a Library Clerk to being an Electronic Resources Librarian. I think it could be fun to write about my experience as a first-time Electronic Resources Librarian (ERL) – first time in the sense that it’s my first professional job, first time in the sense that this is the first time my work has found they had a need for this and first time as the ERL at the school I work at. How many K-12 schools out there can say they have an ERL? I feel like I’m going down a path that few people have gone, so it feels necessary to blog about this, so that I may hopefully find a community out there.

There are going to be quite a few bumps along this road.

The first major issue is that this is something completely new for this school – they don’t quite know how to view this position, how to work with this position, what to exactly do. It’ll be a learning experience for work. As the clerk, I did a lot of the work of an ERL – managing our database subscriptions, troubleshooting outages, general technical issues, etc.

The second major issue is that this is something new to me – I don’t know exactly what is quite appropriate in terms of my responsibilities. As much as I know what to do in terms of the resources, what can/should I do? Is there a boundary that I need to respect? It’ll be a learning experience for me. As the incoming ERL, I want to do as much as I can to ensure that our resources are always available for the community. But I know I’ll probably also want to do so many other things. This will definitely test my time management skills, as well as my ability to make choices: I’ll have to learn to make hard choices about giving up on projects and knowing when to say “no”.

I’ll be blogging about this topic sporadically – only what can be shared and what is appropriate. I’m pretty jazzed, but I know I’ll be stressed out a lot. We will see how this goes. Wish me luck!

Creating a community of librarians – Thing 2

So I’m working on CPD23Things and this week…last week, we were to go around to various blogs and comment and read. This was a great oppurtunity to read the work of other librarians – I don’t usually read the personal blogs of other librarians, but I figure this would be a good time for me to find others who share my interests.

As it turns out, CPD23 categorized my blog as a School library blog (or at least, that’s what it looks like under the Delicious account). This is fine, since that is mainly what I do right now, but doesn’t accurately express my interests in librarianship. I should consider updating it, but we will see.

One thing that is definitely interesting is finding librarians who aren’t from the US. I’d love to read their interests and thoughts and hopefully form a community that spans different continents. I’d especially like to find librarians who are interested in technology, as I would love to find out how different countries are adapting to new communication mediums.

I’ve been awful, and haven’t really engaged too many people. Since I’ll have much more free time in the next few weeks, I’ll try to engage the community more. Other than those of you who have commented on my blog, I haven’t gone out to find others or engaged others in conversation. I really should, as this is partially the reason why I joined this 23Things! Time to get on that whole “networking” thing…

23 Things for Professional Development

I’ve been meaning to do a 23 Things for the longest time. I’m glad that one of my facebook friends posted that she was doing this, as it introduced me to the idea of doing this as well.

I’m doing this program mainly for the networking aspect of it. I want to see what others out there are doing in terms of professional development and see what I can glean from their experience. I’m already vaguely familiar, if not proficient in much of the technology being discussed but really, I could use a new perspective. I’ve been using the technologies in a certain way for the longest time and I think I need a breathe of fresh air and a new way of thinking about how to use them. I’m hoping to meet others doing 23 Things and to expand my network of similar-minded folks.

Actually, I’m pretty excited for the Personal Brand section. I feel that I’ve developed a certain brand, a certain style in my writing and what I talk about, but any insight as to how to develop a better brand is always welcome. Maybe I’ll even come up with a logo for myself. Who knows?

I’ll be setting up a Category for all of my 23Things posts, so that they will be easier to follow.

DIY and the Librarian Perspective

So this has been something that I’ve been kicking around for a few months but I have finally gotten the chance to put some ideas down on (digital) paper.

I’ve always been interested in the DIY movement, in the Maker movement, in different aspects of programming and digital life. To this end, I have actually gotten together with a friend and we are working on a project encouraging librarians to take part in these movements. It’s all very exciting right now and nebulous but I think once we get our thoughts straightened out, it’ll be a great project.

I don’t know exactly how many librarians would be into this idea, but it really couldn’t hurt to put it out there. I think there should be enough to start it off and then, with proper marketing and advertisement at conferences and social media, we will be able to get a good amount of people interested in the idea of DIY and Maker Faire-type events for Librarians.

Here are some things that I am currently working on/enjoy DIYing/having fun with:

  1. Learning Processing – I want to do an interactive art project regarding space in a gallery
  2. Learning Ruby on Rails – working on a few websites for myself and for friends. Working on creating an Assignment Calculator for work – students can use it to determine how much time they have, what steps they need to take, what resources are available to them
  3. Learning how to bookbind – I’ve always wanted to do this and it seems SOOOOO fun
  4. Knitting – I’m so behind on my projects, it’s embarrassing

So keep an eye out for an announcement regarding the beginning of this project. We are still hammering out minor details (such as the name of the project) but hopefully we can launch it by Internet Librarian 2011 – seems like a great place to launch a program like this.

The Freelance Librarian

It’s hard out there as a librarian to find a job. There are just way too many librarians applying for too few jobs. It’s kind of disheartening for a lot of my friends who have recently graduated. I’m not really at liberty right now to speak publicly about what is going on with my job search (it’s not that I have a gag order, but that I’d much rather not discuss it openly) so instead I’d like to talk about something else that I’ve been thinking about as a supplement: being a freelance librarian.

This really all started when I found out that Oracle, from the Birds of Prey series, is an information broker. That got me thinking, I could do this. I could be a freelance information broker, finding information for people, doing research for people, all independently and on my own time. Apparently, I’m not the only one who has thought about this. There is even an organization for Independent Information Professionals. I haven’t really put that much more thought into what I would do as a freelance librarian, but the possibilities really are exciting – I would not be tied down to one location, I can travel more, meet more people, and still perform the duties that I enjoy – finding information for people, doing research, maybe even doing a little bit of teaching on the side. Wouldn’t that be an exciting life?

To do this would also require some work, like how to setup your own business, what needs to go into being a freelancer, finding clients, etc. It could be much more work, but in the end could also be really satisfying. I’m really just throwing ideas out there and hoping it sticks not only for me, but for others who are trying to figure out what to do now that they are out of school.

Has anyone else considering this as a possible career path? I’d like to start off as part time, and maybe eventually have this as my full time job.

It’s official….

This past weekend was Convocation from SLIS. It was a long time coming, as I graduated a year later than I expected. However, that was fine.

This was a long weekend, so let’s break it down…

Thursday – my mom came up from Orange County to watch my graduate and I spent Thursday with her.

Friday, I had work in the morning, followed by an afternoon event that I had planned – a Pre-Convocation Faculty/Student/Alumni mixer. It was very well attended and, from what I heard, the faculty were very excited for the event, as they were able to meet students and relax after their Faculty Retreat. I got to meet one of my favorite professors, Dr. Susan Aber, and made some pretty good connections. It was interesting to find out that people sort of knew me. Does that make me infamous? After the mixer, a few of us went to P.F. Changs for dinner and that was great to have dinner with some friends – haven’t had one of those dinners in a long time. Since we were in downtown, I had suggested we go to my favorite bar – singlebarrel. The line was AWFULLY long, but worth the wait. I met up with some OC SLIS folks, and we drank and had a good time.

Saturday – convocation time! There was some drama that I’m not well versed on so I won’t make any judgments regarding it. The ceremony itself was VERY long…but all the graduates should be acknowledged, so thats understandable. Dr. Haycock was the speaker and his ten points really resonated with me. His suggestions regarding what to do now that we’ve graduated are things that I’ve been doing for the past year, so that felt good to be validated. He also suggested we carry our business cards everywhere – my roommate and cousin both suggested I should have given him my card on stage, but I didn’t think about it because Dr. Haycock went “so you’re Andrew Carlos…”, which really threw me off. My mom took us out to dinner at a chinese buffet and it was delicious. mmmm

Sunday – Woke up for dim sum! Then Paulo and I went to watch Thor – awesome movie! Highly recommended. Then I went home and slept for hours and hours and hours. I <3 sleep. Monday - feeling lazy, I keep looking at my todo list and groan at how much I have booked myself....