Posts Tagged ‘social networking’

Computer Dance

Here’s what we’ve got: 12 “adult” computers, 4 “juvenile” computers, and 4 “quiet room” computers. I have put these adjectives in quotes because, from the patrons point of view, a computer is a computer is a computer.

And our folks want access to a computer when they walk in the door. Why do they come to our little library? We are their link to email, gaming, social networking, and the world. Either they don’t have a computer at home (oh, yes, there are lots of folks here who don’t have a computer) or Comcast (our local cable company) is doing the bandwidth dropping game, or the home computers have been attacked by a virus and are non-functional.

The teens and pre-teens come after school and use our computers to network virtually and in reality at the same time. They actually txt on MySpace and Facebook with people who are in the building. Go figure.

The good news is that we have computer reservation software whose responsibility it is to equitably divide up the computer time among our patrons. From Noon until 8 pm, our computers are occupied and the reservation system is busy. And while some people get confused and much of our time is spent helping people sign on to the reservation computer, the regulars have learned to beat the system. If they are bumped off, they get a new guest pass and grab the next computer. Or, they’ll watch the time and juggle their sign on’s so that they start a new session when the computers are not totally maxed. The system gives an hour from start. Some even barter time with others who finish early or trade passes to be with friends. It’s quite a scene.

So, that’s the dance we librarians watch: the teens and regulars gliding from one computer to another, one session to the next.

But I do feel sorry for the general public who just want to look up a book … or do some research on their most recent doctor’s visit … or look for a job … or do homework. How do we serve them as well?

We don’t. We can’t.


PLA: Hype to Help, Making a Difference with New Technologies

Speakers: Marilyn Mason, Executive Director, Web Junction; Michael Porter, Community Associate, (Seattle) (aka LibraryMan blog), and Janie Hermann, Technology Training Librarian, Princeton Public Library.

Here’s another list from these speakers on technologies that could/should be used to build our library customer base.

  • YouTube – only two years ago just a handful of libraries have videos on YouTube, now there are over 1500 library videos.
  • Amazon Wish List – libraries are creating wish lists and encouraging their patrons to buy those books donate them to the library. Over 380 libraries are doing this already.
  • IM – particularly through Meebo and Trillian, this is a great way to do IM reference, PLUS, you can also create “room” for patrons and group discussions.
  • FlickR – this is already a very popular tools with libraries. Plus, you can create groups here as well and create “photo pool” to which many people can add their images. See Libraries & Librarians group by LibraryMan. See his 365 Library Days Project where libraries are putting up a picture a day from their library and then creating posters from all the images and selling them.
  • Delicious – favorites lists… how you use your tags is critical to what people can find and share. LibraryMan has created a tag: 365 libs … check it out.
  • MySpace – hundreds of libraries are now on MySpace and Facebook. Go where the people are!
  • Second Life – growing popularity, but not for everyone yet.
  • OCLC article on privacy – Sharing Privacy & Trust in our Networked World with many examples! Emphasis on Content not Containers.
  • Emerging Technology Conference (E-Tech) for more examples.
  • Janie Hermann comments.
    Keys to getting staff & customers ready:

  • Hands on classes … train together (staff WITH customers)
  • Use a blog for discussion and challenges before & after the training
  • Make use of webinars & online training development (lots has already been created, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel).
  • Try “blended learning” approach whenever possible
  • Create and host your own podcasts, screencasts & other training resources with branding.
  • Try a lunch time training like 2x month or a Tuesday Tech Night
  • Take individual 2.0 technologies and do a single class on them
  • Try forum technology to create threaded discussions
  • Try a weekly tech challenge and offer a raffled off prize
  • Try a Friday Food for Thought concept
  • Modify 23 Things to 10 things for staff AND the public
  • In addition to WebJunction classes/webinars, check out PEN (Professional Education Network)</li>
  • Screencasts & slidecasts: WINK and Camtasia & Captivate are products for these.
  • (see Arizona Leadership Academy as an example of how to use NING)

Lots of ideas … and lots from WebJunction… should spend more time there! It’s free to join with tons of benefits.