Wednesday, December 9, 2009

December in the Library

December is a slow month in the library--at least at my library. The weather is bad, so nobody wants to get out and about. Today we had around 4 inches of snow. If you live in the country, it takes all day just to plough out.

It's also the Christmas season. In their spare time, people are shopping, baking, or writing Christmas cards. They don't have as much leisure time to read.

Children are in school--at least until a few days before Christmas, plus with the colder weather, they probably want to stay inside instead of venturing out to the library after school.

So what do we do when the books are all put away and the holds are pulled?

1) We decorate--we've gotten our two tiny trees and our plastic poinsetta out of the closets. We also have gold garlands hung from the ceiling with ornaments on the ends of them. And of course, we have our many books about Christmas on display.

2) We plan. Winter storytime is coming up. I've gotten a great book called Storytime around the Year and the "mitten' and "valentine" themes sound very promising. I've made a list of themes and now I am working on the activities, crafts, music and books to match.

3)We work on committees. I'm on the wellness committee and we've been e-mailing back and forth about how to conduct the program this year. The Biggest Loser concept seems like it might work. We did a plan like that a few years ago and it was successful, but some of us want more focus on healthy habits, like exercise and nutrition.

4) Okay, let's face it, we're not productive every minute. We shop a little on-line. We browse through Seventeen magazine for ideas on what to get our neices for Christmas. We drink a cup of Christmas tea and we write our blog.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Treating my Bell's Palsy

I have Bell's Palsy. The left half of my face is paralyzed. It is why one of my eyes is wide open and only one side of my mouth moves when I talk or smile. I am getting the feel of what it is like to be disfigured or handicapped. People have been looking at me with alarm, revulsion and concern.
Despite it's peculiarness, it is a relatively benign condition. According to the to Medline Plus and Mayo Clinic websites, it starts to get better in a couple of weeks and is pretty much gone in 3 to 6 months. There's not much that doctors do to treat the disease--possibly prescribing anti-viral medications or steroids. I've treated mine by reading about it on the Internet.
This doesn't sit well with some people. My brother--who first tipped me off that I might have Bell's said, "Do you want to go to the Emergency Room? It's right across the street." My co-worker, Norma, said, "Maybe you should go to the clinic." One patron asked "What doctor did you go to?" Others have expressed incredulousness that I haven't "gone to the doctor."
I'm not sure why I have avoided medical care. I don't have health insurance, but I don't think that's the only reason. As my husband says, "We can afford it if you want to go to the doctor." At my stage of life, I have grown leary of the authority of doctors. I have been to them enough to know that they are human and fallible. I trust my own knowledge and I know that doctors do not have any magical powers. I trust mostly in the human body to heal itself.
Americans may have to come to grips with this as they go about reforming their health care system. Too often we believe that more is always better and that doctors must do something. It is the great faith and value that we place on doctors and their tools--surgery, drugs, physical therapy--that have spent us into these excesses. Being "under a doctor's care" has such status to us that those of us who opt out of this system are shamed and pitied. The uninsured are even blamed for the high costs of health care. I just wish that the stakes weren't so high with health care. I wish I could go into a clinic and not wait for hours and spend hundreds of dollars on treatments and tests. Although I know modern medicine has something to offer, I also know that our ancestors lived long and healthy lives without it. For now I'm treating my Bell's with rest and aspirin.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Books are Life's Inspiration

I just finished reading Julie and Julia--now a popular movie--about a woman who decides to cook every recipe in the book Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julie Child. It got me thinking about how much a book can be a life inspiration. Another example is an article I'm reading by Ian Frazier (The New Yorker) and his travel across Siberia. Several times in his narrative, he refers to writers who have traveled across Siberia before him. How could these people have undertaken such wonderful and difficult life journeys without the help of a book?
Books are like time travel--they can take you to places you'll never go on your own and introduce you to people--to the point where you feel an affection and closeness to them even though you've never met them. The real Julia Child didn't think much of Julie Powell or her blog about cooking her recipes, but never mind, it was the book itself that was the guide and impetus. They whole experience also changed Julie's life in positive ways, giving her fame and (presumably) fortune.
Next time you are looking for a way to change your life, look in a book. Or write one.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

How to Find out the Books in a Series

I am learning how to make screencasts. This one shows how to use Novelist--one of the ECRL databases. I apologize for the last few seconds.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Be an Artist

With a summer reading theme called"Be Creative" we had to have a day of doing art projects. Fortunately we had Gail Dahlgren--budding art teacher--volunteer to show Mille Lacs Lake readers how to imitate the art of Henri Matisse and Claude Monet. Carolyn Avaire read a story called "Bonjour, Mr. Satie" by Tomie dePaola about Picasso and Matisse. Maybe because it was a rainy day we had a good turn out of 13 children on Friday, July 17th.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Reader's Theater

Reader's theater was a concept that I wasn't familiar with until this summer. It was an idea in the big book of summer reading materials. Luckily one of our patrons--Margaret Vos has had some experience with Reader's Theater. She came to our little group on June 26th and put together a cast for two little skits. She gave good advise to the children as we read through the scripts. The Baker's Dozen and Three Little Fishes and the Big Bad Shark were performed on Tuesday June 30th to admiring parents and storytime preschoolers.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Thing 43 - On-line TV and Video

I got a chance to join HULU yesterday afternoon. I looked at a little of the Daily Show and also the Office--two of my favorite shows, but I guess everyone else's too. They were readily available. I know that on-line TV is already changing people's habits. I have patrons who come into the library to watch the shows they missed the previous night--like Grey's Anatomy. For some people, going to a movie or even watching one is sort of social, but for others who just want to see the movie--the computer avenue may be the best route. It also could be a good way to find movies that are no longer available through their satellite dish. Television is already becoming more individualized with niche programming, but on-line viewing choices will make tv less of a shared experience. I can see the new way of watching tv affecting my daughters and their eventual children and families, but my husband and I will probably still watch TV together. I might start to catch up with The Daily Show and the Office now that I know how to through HULU though.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thing 41 and 42 -- Mash up and Music

I am listening to Pandora music--like John Mayer--so far so good. I've liked the first three songs. My daughter Alice has been telling me that I ought to try this site, so now I finally have. I have also put a jazz station widget on my blog--at leat I hope that I have. I have used radio on-line previously. My other daughter, Livia, was a d.j. on a college radio station so I listened to her a few times. It was hit and miss as far as whether I could get her or not, but the last few times I was able to get her through Quicktime--have a Mac at home. I think this on-line radio and music is certainly the wave of the future. Both my daughters have their laptops with them constantly, so that seems to be one of their modes of listening to music, along with their i-pods of course. Not sure how this will affect libraries, except maybe that people will be listening to the radio while they are doing Internet business. Most of the kids who come in request headphones. We've gone through many pairs in the past few years.

I also signed on for, but not sure how it will affect my life--didn't have too many things to put on it--Twitter, blog, facebook and delicious. I don't know anyone who uses this service, so that will affect my usage also. Trying to rush through the last few things--definitely wanted to try the music and it has been fun, but I could do more experimenting with radio stations.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Mashups--Thing 40

Mashups have been a challenge for me. I tried many, but somehow I just didn't really understand what made them different from other Internet applications. I asked my daughter Alice if she knew what a mashup was and she said no, so that stumped me further. I did find a little icon that shows places to go for lunch (nothing in my zipcode) and I am in the process of joining a twitter sight about books. I made a Warhol picture of my daughter sunning herself with Big Huge Labs. This site is somehow related to flickr. I also made a magazine cover of my friend Jean Francis who comes into the library to read People--put her on the cover of People with lots of innuendo--that seems to be lost in cyberspace. Libraries are always doing programming, so any way to generate more graphics can be an effective way to promote an event. The mashups themselves (at least the Big Huge Lab) was fun to use, but as usual, my postings are hit and miss--I was happy to be able to get my flickr pictures to my blog so easily. I can't say I've gone looking for mashups because I wouldn't know one if I saw one. I did read on Twitter that one of the people that I was following finished all of her Things on a Stick--before the deadline. I let her know I was impressed--not looking like I'll finish, but I'll try a few more things.

My creation

My creation
Originally uploaded by islelibrary
I've Warholed my daughter Alice sunning in the backyard.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Scrapbooking -- Thing 39

Click to play this Smilebox scrapbook: Nintendo Wii @ Library
Create your own scrapbook - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox scrapbook
I made my scrapbook using smilebox. I uploaded some pictures to Voice Box, but then I couldn't figure out what to do with them, but oddly enough, when I signed on to smilebox, my pictures were already there. There was no "library program" theme page, but the rock band theme seemed to work okay. I needed lots of pictures so I added in a few extras, including one of Elvis. This was a teen program we had last night with Nintendo Wii--June 11, 2009. I can see posting more pictures from programs on scrapbooking sites.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Thing 38 -- Screencasting

Screencasting is fun and I can see how it could be addictive, especially to former teachers such as myself. I looked at a few different screencasting tools--Jing and Skitch. I tried to download Jing, but it seemed to take forever and I was anxious to get on to the screencasting after I got a feel for what it was. I looked at Skitch, but it was more about copying your screen to a blog or facebook or whatever. I finally settled on Screen-cast-o-matic. It was extremely easy to record--I didn't add any audio because I don't have a mic. All I did was place the screen square around the ECRL catalog and place a hold. I redid it a few times because of some glitches (no holds allowed on this material, already have a hold on this material), but I think it turned out fine. It is 1 minute and 31 seconds long. It was very easy to make, but as usual I had more trouble trying to figure out how to get it onto my blog. I did end up putting a link to my screencast on my blog, but the whole screencast isn't there. I hope that is good enough. It is two clicks to get to the screencast rather than right on the blog, like my slideshow. Not sure if I know how to put it directly onto the blog. I can see lots of uses for screencasts on a library interactive webpage--we get numerous questions about how to place holds or use the databases. This is a perfect tool for showing people how to use library resources.

My Screencasts | Screencast-O-Matic

My Screencasts | Screencast-O-Matic

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Thing 37 - Photo Tales

As you can see I used the "Slide" function to make a slide show. I'm very pleased with it and it was very easy. I hate to write this lame blog prompt because the slide show is so cute and I'd prefer to highlight that. All I did was upload my pictures and add a few captions and the program did the rest. I probably had some other choices of presentation, but this one turned out great.
I can see many uses both personally and at the library for the photo sites. I opened a flickr account and ECRL has photos on flickr, but I still have to ask someone at headquarters how to add my pictures.
We just received a Lumix digital camera for our library as part of an LSTA grant, so I am very happy and excited to have the use of that. Mainly we will use it to highlight our programs, but it is fun to take pictures of patrons and Friends of the Library also--Friends meeting starts soon, so gotta go.

Discovery Zoo

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thing 36 - Generators

Although I'm not sure how useful it is, I have had fun with the background generators. I made my own tartan--sort of neon blue and green. My aide, Norma, didn't seem too impressed--"They changed something else on the computer now!!" I have now used the make your own background site to change it to purple swirls--hope Norma can handle that one. I can't think of how I'd use the generators in the library--perhaps if I had to do some sort of hand-out for a program, I could add a cartoon or a wordle. I guess I could generate some graph paper if a student wanted to do some math and they forgot their graph paper--of course this has never happened in my library. I liked the comic generator--I did think several of the cartoons were funny but I don't have confidence that I can come up with something funny. I would use the cartoons to e-mail something funny to my fellow librarians or put something on facebook. I really liked the wordle site--seems to poetize ordinary writing. I can't recommend any other generators, but I enjoyed the ones I worked with at these sites.


Here's a wordle of a recommendation letter for Carolyn Avaire to got to library school:

Wordle: Carolyn

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thing 35 - Books 2.0

Although there is some talk about the demise of reading and books, I see a few more fat years for popular writers and publishers. In my library, as is probably true elsewhere, the older generation are big readers. Once the baby boomers start to retire, they'll want to spend some of their leisure time in the relaxing pursuit of reading. I see parents who want the best for their children and so they encourage reading. Even though they love their computer games, there are still kids who come to the library to check out books. Library circulation keeps going up gradually. And one way to get rich is to write a popular book--just read about John Sandford in the Star Tribune.
The book tools can only enhance reading. If you are obsessed with your library, Library Thing is a good way to organize your materials. I have too many books and not enough time to pursue that site. I do like the "Daily Lit" site and have signed up to get a James Joyce book on a daily installment. Some other favorites include "What should I read next?" and "What's next?" These sites offer answers to questions I am asked on a daily basis. I will definitely turn to them if I am stumped in what to offer a patron. I also enjoyed some of the children's book sites. It was cool to read stories from 1890 in the International Digital Children's Library. I also read a great book about a pig on Sillybooks. I will recommend these sites to parents who are looking for educational computer sites. I also liked the Book Browse--seems like it had some good reliable reviews. Reading Group Guides is a site that I have used a lot and will continue to use both at work for reading groups and in my personal book club.
The only other site that I can recommend is "". It's been around a long time and it has full text of classic works from Shakespeare, the Bible, etc. There are also quotes and a dictionary. I've used this site if someone is looking for a classic work of literature and they only want to look something up, not read the whole book.
Computers nowdays are big competition for books, but books still offer a richer, more complex world than can be portrayed with mere images. Books still offer more depth and they are more portable. I feel a little fried after using a computer all day, but reading a book feels wonderful--a great luxury.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Thing 34 - Answer Sites

I looked at a few on-line answer sites, including "Askmetafiler, Chacha, Allexperts, Askville and Answerbag to see what the appeal was. The main appeal seems to be to make some sort of connection with other people. Some questions such as "How is the economy affecting you?" illustrate that the answers are not always something that can be found in a library. I found many different types of questions including: "Was Bush behind 911?" "Where is a good meeting place for people who want to play board games?" "How much does a Burger King chef make a year?" "Why doesn't the microphone on my laptop work?" Though some of these can be answered by a librarian--a library meeting room was suggested as a place to play board games--not all of them have to be. I think people use these sites because of their convenience. People nowdays are very busy and they are usually connected to a computer. They probably can get their answer faster. Some sites ask you to register with them. Perhaps if someone is signed up for an answer site, that is where they go first. Naturally looking up a library number and then having to wait for an answer takes more time and energy and doesn't get the fast return iof these other sites. Although "Slam the Boards" might be a fun challenge for a reference librarian, I think a more effective way to compete would be to have a library sponsored answer site. This site could be syndicated so other libraries could put a link on their web site. I'm sure many libraries banded together could afford to have a 24/7 reference staff. Some of the questions I saw were best answered by a librarian so giving people an official library answer site would probably garner the best answer. I did not answer any questions, but then I don't consider myself a reference librarian. I also do not normally go to chat rooms or interact with people I don't know on the Internet.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Thing 33 -- Travel 2.0

Travel has been made much easier with the Internet. We've been using it to plan trips for the past few years. My husband and I go to various web sites to check flight prices and schedules--Orbitz, Travelocity, but also going on to the specific airline--Sun Country etc. It is also great for finding hotels and restaurants. The Frommer's and Fodor's sites can also give information about sights to see at that location.
Travel 2.0 has the potential of being even more helpful--as it involves more interactive and detailed information. I checked out some of the travel blogs and there was interesting overall travel information--lots of personal descriptions and pictures of trips. I checked out a gal's site who had traveled to Columbia, South American. There were plenty of good tips for those who wanted to try such an adventure. Another fun site was "The Cranky Flier" who related her nightmarish flight to Paris--complete with sitting on the tarmac for about an hour and a long line for customs and rude Paris officials. My favorite site was"tripadvisor". I've used it before to get information about hotels--often there is good information, but just as often there is a little note that says, "be the first one to write a review". The advisor sites are only as good as the people who use them. I like the idea of making my own trip site--seems like a fun way to share the trip with friends and relatives, like an on-line combination scrapbook and trip description. I tried some of the mashups, but again, not totally complete. I tried to find some green businesses in Winona, MN, where my mother lives, but came up with nothing. I did discover that there are lots of winerys around the Twin Cities area--might be fun to check a few out.
My advice is to check out sites that relate to what you want to see on your travels. My husband was able to find a rare "elegant trogan" by checking out birding sites in Arizona.
Although Travel 2.0 has a great deal of potential, it will take a few years before these sites are fully realized.
I think that these sites can be used like a travel guide would be--to help people find out more about the places they want to visit. Nowdays many people have the Internet at home, so the library may not necessarily be involved.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Thing 32 My Google Map

I made a map of two bike routes that start from Onamia and offer good birding opportunites. The lines aren't exactly straight--but I think people will get the picture. I like to use google maps to find restaurants near a theater where I am going to an event. ECRL might use a google map to show their branches on a website. They could put in a picture and hours over the little dot.

View Biking/Bird Routes in Mille Lacs area in a larger map

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Thing 31 -- More Twitter

Twitter is already a little too much for me. This "Thing" is a few miles long and I really don't have the time or interest--even on a deadly slow Saturday to go through the whole darn narrative with about 20 links--so please don't give me any credit for this one.
I do have two twitter reports
1) Britney Spears is now following me. I'm sure she'll be thrilled to learn the gossip around the Mille Lacs Lake Community Library, picking up book recommendations and whatnot.
2) Roland Hedley's twitters about traveling with Pres. Obama etc. in New Yorker were hilarious. (What can I steal as souvineer from Air Force One?)

I like Twitter, but am about at the preschool level with it. I know of no real people who use Twitter--just celebrites and other librarians involved with this project. If it ever becomes as popular as facebook, I will be prepared to jump on the bandwagon.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Hans Mayer

Hans Mayer will be giving a concert for parents and preschoolers on Tuesday, May 12 at 11:00 a.m. at Mille Lacs Lake Community Library. Mayer is a gifted musician who has played for children all around the country, especially at libraries. East Central tried to hire him for the summer reading program, but he was totally booked. Because of this, he has offered to do a free concert for Mille Lacs in his slower month of May.
Mayer has written and recorded eight CDs. He has won a Parent's Choice Approved Award for his 2008 CD "Funny Little Creatures." According to his website, he has appreared on the Today show, Austin City Limits, and written music for the PBS special "Songs of the Spirit". Mayer plays guitar, mandolin, and Native American flute. He has opened for Willie Nelson, Tori Amos, Pearl Jam and the BoDeans.
I asked Hans, who lives just north of Isle, how he got his start as a children's entertainer. He told me that his band broke up in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. He played various places around town, and was asked to write the theme song for a radio show that was sponsored by the LaCrosse Public Library. It was also there that he met his wife Carol, who is a librarian. Hans has been writing music and lyrics for a new CD and he said that he will be playing some of those songs at the Mille Lacs concert.
John is a delightful person who is a patron at the Mille Lacs Library (he favors books on CD) and I look forward to hearing the songs he has composed for children. Please stop by on May 12 and hear this local treasure.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Inspired by Bogus Brook

In the past week I've read two books that were both set in the impossibly small location of Bogus Brook Township near Milaca, Minnesota. The first, World Gone Beautiful by Linda Buturian is a memoir of a woman who comes to live in a sort of modern commune. A group of four couples pool their resources to buy a patch of land along the Rum River. Her book describes incidents on the acreage but also memories from her past. The second book, I Come to America, is a short memoir of Mina Anderson who bought a piece of land in Bogus Brook in 1894 as well as academic analysis of how her situation typifies other Swedish immigrant women.
Though written over 100 years apart, similar themes inhabit their pages. Both women come to the country mainly to raise their children. Buturian has a strong connection with her fellow commune members, but each family has their own house and her strongest alliances are with her daughters and her husband. Anderson has immigrated to America from Sweden. Though she spent a few years working as a domestic in St.Paul, when she marries, she and her husband, Jacob Halgren decide to move north. An economic downturn was part of the motivation, but it also seemed a healthier place to raise children than the city.
Both families need to commute to the city to sustain their life in the country. Buturian describes various jobs that she has had, but mainly is a writing teacher in the city. Jacob Halgren is a tailor and he lives in the city for months at a time while Mina runs the farm.
Both books describe the hard work that it takes to live in the country, including building houses, raising animals and keeping gardens. Both authors appreciate the beauty of their surroundings and are proud of the work that they have done to maintain their place in the country.
Both writers reflect back on their youth, trying to discover how they came to be where they are. Finally both writers seem to be satisfied that they have made a good choice by moving to Bogus Brook. Check out these books through East Central Regional Library.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

RSS and Delicios

Well, I might as well get this blog report over with. I really haven't absorbed all I need to know about RSS or Delicious, but unless I start moving, I'll never make it through this latest round of "Things". First of all I can't say that I do use RSS. I have a few sites marked, mostly the StarTribune lifestyle section, but I don't check it on a regular basis. I have some bookmarks on delicious, but again, it is not something I have checked since the last round of Things on a Stick.

I don't really have enough feeds to organize, or filter, so I haven't really investigated that aspect. I did add a weather link to my delicious account. I'm not sure that I have enough experiences to recommend a specific site or feed. I'll give myself a very low C or perhaps high D on RSS and Delicious.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Google Tools -- Thing 29

Google has many fun applications besides just an A+ search engine. Actually I think Google Image Search has been the best invention that I have used. Before I could set up a "Google Alert", I had to set up a G-mail account because I am getting too much excess e-mail. I know it isn't entirely junk--so that's why I was happy to set up a G-mail account. I hope that I can change my twitter and facebook e-mail. At home, I have been sharing an e-mail account with my husband. Now I can start giving out my g-mail account. I haven't quite made the transition. I can't just announce that my e-mail is changing, because it isn't as far as many organizations and people are concerned. I will just be adding a further e-mail, so that means remembering to set up the address on new accounts and also more importantly to check it on a regular basis. I like the appearance of G-mail--I made mine into an ocean scene and the fact that it filters spam. I set up a calendar, but I'm not sure if I should make it public or not. There is a calendar feature in the e-mail that I use for ECRL, so I probably don't need another one.
I set up a google alert for "Yoga in Minnesota" and "Birding in Minnesota". I've gotten a few days worth, but the information seems largely happenstance or useless as though I accidently picked up something on the web that coincidentally had these words in them--like blogs or news stories or announcements. Not sure that this is useful. I think the "reader" feature is more helpful. I have the StarTribune set up, so I can scan the headlines and then click if I want to read more of the story. I had something set up during "23 things" that gave me only the health news in the StarTribune, which helped to filter things more. I still have to figure out how to get exactly what I want out of the reader and alerts.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Pageflakes - Thing 28

I have set up a pageflakes page over the past week or so. It is a personal homepage. I can make it into my homepage with just a click. I haven't yet because this computer is mostly used for the library. I did have fun working with pageflakes. I had many choices as far as background pictures and colors, so I chose a bright green and pink with flowers. I put my facebook and twitter account on immediately. I also added I was hoping to be able to add my blog, but I couldn't figure out how to do that. Maybe I need to have a google homepage to add my blog. I added the weather, CNN (default), to-do list, calendar and a sticky note. I was unable to figure out how to add my e-mail--perhaps because it wasn't yahoo or gmail. I have a flickr gadget of pictures of books and a quote of the day. I'm not sure what to recommend. I didn't dig extremely deep into the different choices. The beauty of the homepage is that you can set up the sites in one place that you visit often. It can be tailored to individual interests. I was frustrated that I was unable to figure out how to do some things such as add blogs, RSS feeds and my e-mail. Maybe this is something I should work on at my home cpmputer.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Twitter - Thing 27

Twitter is the newest type of internet blog. Now that I know what it is I have heard a few news stories about it. One was about a congressman who was on a top secret trip to Iraq--at least it was top secret until he twittered about it ("Now entering the green zone"). Silly. I read through the mountains of information about twitter before I signed up and I have to admit that the Twitter dictionary was the point where I quit reading. I'm not sure what to think of Twitter--is it like facebook? I don't have any friends on Twitter so I feel like I am reading mini news.
I did enjoy putting on a new background. It was not without difficulty though and I now have a kente cloth background on my computer as a result.
I have to say that I am totally ambivalent about Twitter. I liked the way that the Hibbing Public Library uses Twitter--just as an announcement board--storytime, board meeting etc. The Library of Congress twitter has some actually interesting links to articles (how big is the library of congress?) The MPR uses lots of abbreviations--might have to go back to that dictionary. Al Gore tells me that Antartica is melting and Britney Spears is having a great tour.
I still don't know how to interact with Twitter. Is there a conversation going on somewhere about the posts that I'm not aware of? I did reply to the library of congress saying "Wowee" or something lame.
I think the best use of my library twitter is to post events--Storytime Tuesday at 11:00, or information--get your MN tax forms. Not totally sure what a badge is but I do have a link from my blog to my twitter.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

23 Things on a Stick Ning -- Thing 26

View my page on 23 Things on a Stick
I have been navigating around a web network called "Ning". I joined it in the first round of the 23 Things, but I haven't used it since. I was able to see a few familiar names on the site--Sue of Olivia and Patricia of CMLE. I joined the CMLE group and joined a discussion about revealing identity (I'm all for it). I also requested that Sue be my friend.
I can see some use for the discussion forums as it relates to library business. I recently received a string of e-mail from the public library division of MLA about how to handle inter library loan requests. I'm not sure that I appreciated it on my e-mail. It could have been a great Ning discussion.
I already use "Facebook" to network with friends and relatives so I don't think I need one more site for that.
As a site like Ning gets used more, it will have more value to the librarians who use it.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Blogger's Toolbox -- Thing 25

Well, if anyone actually reads this blog, he or she will notice that I have changed some things around and added little gadgets or widgets to it. The background is different--I found it from a list of templates and it seems very dramatic--very dark. My avatar, which I can't figure out how to add for my profile picture, is of a winter scene. The other widgets that I have added--the slide show (which is my favorite), the snow, the outbrain rating, the clustrmap--were added because they were easy to add.

I have rejected things that are too complicated for me to add. I tried to add some audio components and picture editing but they involved a download--which I did, but then I was lost after that--how do I get it into my blog and what do I do with it once I get it there?

I have probably spent a total of about 2 hours between checking out,checking in and shelving books and helping people. I have been learning a lot, but obviously I have a long ways to go. In looking at the few other CMLE bloggers, I find my blog to be the most canned and least relevant--no good advice about books to read or websites to visit. I attribute this to being a total amateur when it comes to new technology.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Blogging -- Thing 24

Well the "things on a stick" program has resumed so I will start blogging about the "things", so if this blog is incomprehensible that is why--not that I have that many readers.

I have posted to this blog about a dozen times since the program ended. It has been a fun place to share things at the library and I have to admit in my own life. I put up a picture of my lovely daughter in her prom dress as well as an article from the local newspaper about my husband. I also posted pictures and narrative about a trip I took to Seattle. My latest blogs have related to library events, but I also have a few opinion pieces. When I get frustrated, my blog is a good place to vent. My best blog was a description of what goes on at the library after school called "I want one of the faster computers". I probably will continue to blog during and after this program because I'm finding it kind of fun.
I am not good about checking other blogs, so that is definately something I could improve upon. The few that I have looked at are the blogs of local writers who work for the Mille Lacs Messenger. The blog I have read the most was my daughter's when she was in Scotland for a semester. That seems to be a very good use of a blog--a letter to everyone when you can't see people in person.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Homeschoolers and the Library

According to the magazine Practical Homeschooling, homeschoolers now account for 20% of library checkouts. This statistic seems accurate to me. At Mille Lacs, we have about 8 regular homeschool families. They seem to check out more items and visit our programs more than other families attending public school, especially during the school year. For this reason, I put together a program this January that incorporated some American History and some library skills.
The impetus for the program was a collection of 40 poster-sized copies of famous American works of art. Picturing America is the name of the program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities. By taking the posters, we agree to provide some programming related to them.
Although we met for 1 and 1/2 hours, we really only got through 5 of the pictures. The first that we looked at was of George Washington. The 15 attendees to the program and 4 parents looked in the library for a fact about our first President. Children searched the Internet, encyclopedias, almanacs and biographies. All were able to come up with something. We studied his famous portrait by Gilbert Stuart. Paul Revere was another famous subject. We looked at John Singleton Copley's portrait of this silversmith/patriot and then read Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's famous poem "Paul Revere's Ride".
Two different landscapes helped to show the changes in America. from a rural to an industrial society. We compared and contrasted a "View from Mount Holyoke" by Thomas Cole (1836) with "American Landscape" (1930--a scene from the Ford motor plant near Detroit) by Charles Sheeler. The Migration Series #57 by Jacob Lawrence (1940 -41) was the final poster we looked at. We found a book in the ECRL library that showed the entire 60 paintings and also told the story of how blacks left the south around the time of World War I to come up to northern cities.
It was great fun working with the homeschool children. I think they enjoy the paintings and also being able to be around other children. I hope to have 3 more of these programs this spring and also try to incorporate more library skills in addition to showing children these classic American works of art.