in which I attempt to be a rockstar teacher librarian :)

Posts tagged ‘information’

Notes from #CILDC: Innovation “Sunrise” Session

I’m up and at ’em early this morning! Arrived before 8 AM, armed myself with a mug ..well, you get the picture. But in case you don’t:

Note: just because #coffeewithmarie is a theme doesn't mean I look bright-eyed and super psyched at 7:45AM. I'm working on it. Stay tuned...

Note: just because #coffeewithmarie is a theme doesn’t mean I look bright-eyed and super psyched at 7:45AM. I’m working on it. Stay tuned…

James King, Information Architect, NIH Library, National Institutes of Health and Past President, DC Chapter of SLA
Jill Hurst-Wahl, Associate Professor of Practice, School of Information Studies, Syracuse University
Heather Braum, Digital and Technical Services Librarian, Northeast Kansas Library System

James King:

Things are shifting – a lot of things are moving to “a self-service mindset”
Those who we serve want to/are able to do it themselves, but our library message HASN’T changed, which is problematic
“The skills that librarians/information professionals bring to the table are more valuable than ever”
question the status quo, everything, in your organization – “Realistic and honest strategic planning”
willingness to experiment is a necessary skill – craziest ideas can –> best ideas (selling shoes online?! CRAZY. except not.)

Heather Braum:

regional library system – in KS; 1 state, 7 rgl, 365 library buildings
the libraries are very independent from each other, but they collaborate in order to become better
they are vastly different from each other (size, budget, etc) – collaborate or die
some of them run an open source ILS
UK in Lawrence – works actively with open source initiative

And then we brainstormed as many “crazy ideas” as we could. Here are a few tweets from that…check the #cilsun tag for more!



The iSchoolSU heads to #CILDC!

I’m writing this to you from the main ballroom of the Washington Hilton near Dupont Circle.

Did you know this is the hotel where President Ronald Reagan was shot by John Hinckley, Jr? Well, now you do.

I’m sitting with a group of fellow iSchoolSU students. We’ve gotten muffins, bagels, and bananas, and are armed with some hot java to get through the morning. The keynote speakers, Brent Leary of CRM Essentials, and Rebecca Jones of Dysart & Jones Associates, will take the stage soon. Apparently it’s going to be an interview-style keynote. The topic?

Evolving Community Engagement: What Would Amazon & Google Do?

I’m psyched for this conference, can you tell? It’s a picture of me with a coffee mug!

In keeping with tradition, I have a coffee mug in m hand. :)

In keeping with tradition, I have a coffee mug in m hand. 🙂

That’s about ten minutes from now, and then things kick off for the rest of the day. Until then, I’ve got a bit more coffee to drink 🙂 and some decent music piping through the speakers to sing along to. Happy conferencing, y’all!

Year 2, Day 1: Quick Reflections of a Library School Schmedian.

Dear goodness. This day came upon me way too quickly. Or perhaps quickly enough. Either way… I can’t believe it. Starting year 2 of grad school. A year from now I’ll be… well, hopefully I’ll be, although where or doing what remains to be seen.

A few quick thoughts, because I don’t have time for a proper reflection (shame, shame):

  • This year will be harder and more labor-intensive than last year. Oh gracious… I’ll try not to think about that. But in addition to 5 more classes, I have 50h of elementary fieldwork, 240h of practicum, and a bevy of tests and training sessions and other required hoopla for certification.
  • We students often talk about our ‘learning style’, and then there is the ongoing, never settled debate of “how do you prefer to learn?” when it comes to on-campus/online styles. Myself, I’ve come to prefer online if a flipped classroom approach can be successfully integrated and used. It’s not always possible or likely. At this point, however, I have no choice, as my remaining classes (save one) are offered only in an online format. It made me wonder – what do our professors prefer? Some of them, without doubt, aren’t given a choice either… hmm.
  • I think there must be a mathematical equation for determining stress in grad school. It goes something like…
    Start with number of classes. Multiply by number of projectsMultiply by number of group projects (because they count extra). Multiply by number of group members, total. Stare at total. Gape at total. 
    Divide by number of weeks in a semester. Stare at total. Gape at total. Realize that work is never spaced evenly throughout the semester. Continue staring and gaping. Close eyes, breathe deeply, #facepalm. Open eyes, multiply by Planck’s constant to prove your brain is intact, ignore total. Close eyes again, breathe deeply, and get your calendar and multicolored pens out…
  • I may or may not have already completed the above assignment. On the first day of classes. Yes, that’s a sign of something…

Good luck, fellow library school-ers and fellow schmedians. Carry on, keep the faith, and remember that December isn’t TOO far away. If that sounds too stressful, remember – the Mayans said it’s all over in 2012, so go out with your bells on and projects done!

Meaningful Play – and reading! – at the Strong.

So I spent Monday through Thursday of the previous week in class. 9AM to 5PM, with occasional coffee refill breaks (you know how I am about my coffee) and of course time for lunch (you know how I am about eating). But IST 612, alternatively known as Youth Services, was a great class. Can’t underscore that enough. I absolutely loved it minus the parts where I was slightly overwhelmed and I learned entirely too much for my brain to comprehend in 4 days.

So, my new perspectives, ideas, thoughts, and creative quirks have spilled over into real life. Ack! I spent the weekend decompressing and continuing to caffeinate in Rochester, a city that’s right down the thruway/canal. May as well explore while I’m living in Upstate!

So, Friday late afternoon, I found myself at the The Strong. If you glance at their website, you’ll discover that The Strong incorporates several different facets of life and fun and museum-ish things.

  • The National Museum of Play!
  • International Center for the History of Electronic Games
  • National Toy Hall of Fame

Now, in my I need to decompress immediately before my brain collapses state on Friday, I chose to focus most on the National Museum of Play because…well… play. That sounded fun.

And it WAS. I sat on the stoop at 123 Sesame Street. I read children’s books. I built towers of blocks. I drove a stunt racecar using my hands with an XBox Kinect. I organized a laser light show. I tried on superhero capes. I played an electronic harp in the Giant’s kingdom. I discovered a secret door in the Mystery Mansion. I walked through a tilted room to see perspectives change. I saw the Lorax in person!

standing against a wall mural

Proof that I am taller than Mr. Snuffleupagus. He’s tanner though. If orange is considered tan. Is it?

Short summary: I had a lot of fun. But I learned stuff, too. Which is even more fun. (That’s just how I roll.) But there’s something else that, as a newly-escaped-from-intensive-class-school-media-student, I appreciated all the more.

The public library system of Monroe County has an entire collection at the Strong. The books are located throughout the museum – expect to find graphic novels in the superhero section, and primary-age books on color and letters and numbers in the Sesame Street section, and books of all shapes, sizes, and silliness in the ‘reading adventureland’ section. Kids who don’t have a library card can sign up for one – right there inside the museum – and take books home. Then they can be returned to any library in the whole county system! For those who return often, there’s a book drop at the entrance to the museum.

While I won’t spend enough time giving this idea justice… think about it for a moment. How awesome is that, as an example of how to reach your community? Parents accompany kids to the museum – especially if they’re younger kids – and now, they can combine their fun trip to play with a trip to the library. No extra car seat wrangling involved.

I love it. And it made me quite happy to see it. And my poor boyfriend had to hear about how much I loved it, in between me trying on superhero capes and trying to make them swirl through the air dramatically, so I figured I’d blog it out of my system so I can stop talking about it. What do you think?

(Edit0r’s note: no promises to stop talking about it anytime soon. Also, I spent 4ish hours playing the museum. It’s fantastic. Take your kids, take your self!)

Crashing a conference, #HEWebSYR style.

Last week I caught word of a conference happening mere feet away from my office, on the SU campus, focused on “higher ed web”. I had no idea what that meant – I mean, I’m immersed in higher ed, and I know what a/the web is – but I had no idea what would actually happen at such a conference. Do you compare websites? “Mine has great graphics, but man, your layout is so intuitive!” Do you talk about how to attract the right kind of students? “We want students that appreciate artistic Instagram photos, but if you want students that like good blogging, well, here’s how to do that.”
Summary: I had no idea
what would happen.

Here’s what I knew:
A conference of smart people was happening feet away from me.
I like smart people.

HighEdWeb Syracuse logo image

Image of HighEdWeb Syracuse logo shamelessly taken straight from the event website at


So I effectively crashed the conference, representing the iSchool while still getting to hear some of the presentations. And it wasn’t what I expected, but even better, I learned things. And we all know how I feel about learning! (It’s a good thing; I enjoy it. So now we really DO all know.)

And because brevity is a wonderful thing and I haven’t had enough coffee to do more, here’s a summary of what I liked/noted/enjoyed/remember:

  • Devices make life more convenient – and more complex. Don’t make the assumption that everyone has one, OR that they know how to use it. – advice from Jill’s keynote
  • Jill wins SO many points from me for putting an attributing link for every Flickr image used on her slides. YES.
  • Accessibility is a big deal, especially if you’re moving to lots of web content. Do you alt-text your images? Is your alt-text at all similar to what you’re actually alt-texting? Do you optimize for screen readers? (This came up multiple times.)
  • If you’re making a higher-ed website, consult XKCD first. Obviously.
  • Not everyone wants apps, especially people who don’t have app-centric devices. Even people WITH those devices admit to often using the web function instead.
  • Students are already talking about your school. Don’t be afraid to ask them to continue to do so.
  • Undergraduate students might not mind being paid in pizza. This graduate student probably wouldn’t – it would just mean more time at the gym. Nothx.
  • Tweetbook might be the coolest thing ever. *nerdy squee*
  • If your philosophy sees accessibility as something “that needs to be fixed” in the system… you might want to reconsider your philosophy before you “fix” the system.
  • Everyone loves old school, black-and-yellow Tweetdeck. Everyone.
  • People who write code are really, really smart. But they know how to talk to us non-coders. Quite the skill.

And that’s just the highlights. You can read through the pretty-active hashtag for the event, #hewebsyr, to catch more thoughts from more people. Thanks for the fun, conference attendees and speakers!

on web design.

Random, but we’ve got an interesting discussion going on in 605 on how to evaluate teh internetz and use it as a resource. A key comment that’s brought up on a regular basis is web design – opinions vary as to “If it looks good, I’m more likely to believe it” to “If it looks good, they might be putting up a sham front.” Like I said – opinions vary.

I remember posting something on facebook a year or two back – a statement of frustration that “if your website is poorly designed, I’m not giving you my business. I don’t have time to click around searching for everything I need.” Oddly enough – or not – this frustration came about when I was undertaking a search for graduate schools in library and information science. Go figure. And you know what? Students don’t want to have to take a class in internet research to learn how to use your website. And if you don’t make that information easy to find, I’m not going to spend the next ten minutes of my life searching for it. You should want to give me that information. It’s in your best interests.

So, web designers…colleges and universities…places that have an informative website that they want other people to actually read… more information isn’t necessarily more helpful. In fact, I would argue (based purely on anecdotes and personal opinion) that simple is better – even in this age of superfast internet.

And I suppose that’s all I have for you tonight. Keep searching, my friends!

thoughts and such.

We spent an incredible amount of time (read: three hour class) today discussing economics and how they apply to the information field as us, as information professionals. If this sounds like an incredibly boring topic to you, or even moreso, an incredibly useless topic, I beg you to think again. While I could easily play the nerd card and admit that I have always found economics fun to study – Marie plays the nerd card for +10 to a lack of street cred! – I’m re-evaluating what I already know and applying it to information and discovering all sorts of new things.

Information can be treated like a commodity or a public good. In this case, public good does not mean a good that’s supplied by the public, or owned by the public, or financed by the public per say but is defined by the non-rivalry inherent within. If I am reading a journal article online, I am not preventing you from also reading that journal article, and both of us are able to benefit from reading it. Thus the public good aspect of information.

For class, we had to read a book by Bruce Kingma entitled “The Economics of Information” that I would recommend everyone at the very least skim (also, if you’re taking 618 in the future, and you will be, it probably wouldn’t hurt, since it’ll probably be required again). Understanding how to effectively analyze and conduct a cost-benefit analysis *might* seem a bit complicated and overdone at first, but if you end up in a position of management in a library – or anywhere, for that matter – it’ll be ridiculously helpful. I’d by lying by omission if I didn’t admit that I CBA lots of things in my life. Making decisions based on opportunity cost and the time-value of money may not always work, but it certainly attempts to remove one from the situation and make a less emotion-based decision. And, well, I have no problems with that every once in a while.

And herein I apologize for how absolutely boring this blogpost is. And now I will shrug.