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Blog posts from August 2008

Digits are Mightier than the Sword, and the Buck

Submitted by Tom Peters on August 28, 2008 - 10:41am

The last half of August is a transition period.  For many people it is the end of summer as a human experience, regardless of how summer is defined in national holidays, meteorological averages or the wobbling of the earth on its axis.  It's time to get back to school and buckle down--time to work.

I've found that a transition period can be a good time for reflection.  During much of the year we are caught up in the "sturm und drang" of programs, policies, procedures, personnel, and pecunia, but occasionally a few days crop up when you can think about larger issues, trends and opportunities.
During these last days of summer, as I have been strolling down the straight and narrow lane (it truly is straight and narrow) that leads to my house, I keep coming back to the same thought:  Ultimately, inevitably, digits are mightier than the sword and the buck. 

  Read More »

Tech-Savvy Teens Can Help Design Your Library

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on August 25, 2008 - 11:04am

I think one of the coolest things about a library is that in addition to the service that it provides directly, it is also a forum. Each library serves a community and in turn, that community uses the library to discuss and learn more about who it really is, what its needs are and how they can be addressed. Libraries are the leaders in serving their communities, but only because they allow these communities to lead them.

For public libraries, young patrons are particularly important. A young library user is likely to be a lifelong library user, so the library must be a place where children and teenagers can feel like their needs are going to be met. In Massachusetts libraries are taking some exciting new steps to ensure that teens have direct input. Libraries across Massachusetts will be served by advisory boards with teenagers that will help design and develop new facilities. Read More »

TS Reader Photo

Submitted by Cindi Trainor on August 20, 2008 - 11:25am
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It's the Little Things, and People, that Count

Submitted by Cindi Trainor on August 18, 2008 - 12:29pm

DCPL covers their electrical outletsI have visited a lot of libraries this summer, looking for interesting architecture, technology, and landscaping that would make for good photos. I visited the new Daviess County Public Library in Owensboro, Kentucky, last weekend, and something really unexpected caught my eye--all the electrical outlets were covered with those little plastic dummies that render them harmless to toddlers. Being a parent, I thought this marvelous. Visiting a space that is not prepared for small children can be very harrying to parents; this small gesture (though probably the bane of many library staff member's existence!) may give parents just enough comfort to be able to enjoy their library a few minutes more. As far as I can tell, DCPL is the only library that I've visited this summer that's taken this simple precaution. Read More »

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Family Trees Get the 2.0 Treatment With Geni

Submitted by Michelle Boule on August 15, 2008 - 2:46pm

As a new mom, I’ve been thinking nonstop about family. I look at my son and wonder what I will tell him about his family. Genealogy has been a quest for every generation, and has become much more popular in recent years. Still, until now there have not been many online tools that could map out family trees.

Enter Geni. With the tagline "Everyone's related," Geni takes family relations and adds all the bells and whistles the Internet has to offer. The best part is that this tool is free, user friendly, and easy on the eyes. It was built by former employees of PayPal, eGroups (which was bought by Yahoo! in 2000), Tribe, and eBay and has many design features that users will find familiar. Read More »

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Library Technology in a Slow Economy

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on August 13, 2008 - 1:39pm

This past weekend CBS News ran this report, which examines how in an economic downturn, many families using their libraries for low-cost fun and entertainment.

While it’s clear that a rough economy increases the demand for public library services, that hardly means we’re recession proof. From Boston and D.C. to California, hard times have meant budget cuts for libraries. (check out ALA’s Funding News page).

The effects of these budget cuts affect all aspects of library service, and technology is no exception. Despite the fact that providing access to new technology is a high priority to many public libraries, in many cases libraries have had no choice but to reduce their technology budget. Read More »

What's on Tap for GLLS2008

Submitted by Jenny Levine on August 12, 2008 - 5:18pm

The preliminary program for the 2008 ALA TechSource Gaming, Learning, and Libraries Symposium is now available and registration is underway. This year's program includes topics for academic, public, and school librarians interested in all aspects of gaming in libraries and offers new tracks such as:

  • Beyond videogames
  • Collection development
  • Games and community
  • Games and academic libraries
  • Games and school libraries
  • Instruction & literacy
  • Managing gaming

Our keynote speakers continue last year's tradition of addressing games & learning while also helping to make sense of today's hot topics. Read More »

  • Andrew Bub - writer, parent, and GamerDad

Can Bookmobiles Help Close the Digital Divide?

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on August 7, 2008 - 2:31pm

Long ago, in the twitterless, 1.0 dark age of 2003, I got one of the coolest jobs in the world—I was a bookmobile driver at the Champaign Public Library.  Aside from the obvious perk of getting to drive a huge bus around town, this job really gave me a perspective on how libraries can be a bridge to bring different communities together. To me, the most fulfilling part of the job was knowing that in many cases, we truly were bringing library services to people who would not have had access to them otherwise.

The bookmobile served everyone—we stopped at retirement communities and pre-schools, the most-upscale neighborhoods and the most economically challenged.

I was thinking about my old job because I stumbled upon this post at No Shelf Required discussing Overdrive’s Digital Bookmobile. Read More »

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Keeping the Library Relevant: A Tour of the Georgia Tech Library Learning Commons

Submitted by Michael Stephens on August 4, 2008 - 11:12am

These results lead to the creation of spaces in the Learning Commons East and West that were inspiring, useful and flexible. We talked about creating an experience for students, making the library a memorable place. Bob said one goal would always be to "engage students from the beginning." I was reminded of the Welcome event Brian write about: poker, DDR, speed dating and more welcomed freshman to the library!

One thing Bob kept emphasizing:

"We don't build walls here." Read More »

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Librarians Exploring Cuil

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on August 1, 2008 - 9:30am

In the culture of the Internet, the sound byte and 24/7 cable news networks, as soon as something is praised, it gets torn down and trounced. This process has accelerated so quickly that it sometimes seems like the two things are happening simultaneously.

This has definitely been the case with Cuil As soon as Cuil developed a mainstream media buzz, the mainstream media was there to kill the buzz, declaring it “No Threat to Google”. As anyone who watches cable news knows, it can be tough to have a conversation when all you’ve got is two diametrically opposed sides screaming their heads off at one another. Read More »