Sunday, June 21, 2009

Thing 6 - Blog Readers

I found Google reader very easy to use. I don't really follow that many blogs because I just don't have the time but I can see how having them all in one place and organized by folders would be an efficient way for me to manage them. I preferred the list view to the expanded view as that still seemed like overload to me - too many entries that I felt I had to look through. With the list view I can easily browse through the titles to see if there is something of interest. I don't see myself using the share or email features that much since for me the purpose of the blog reader would be to keep up with the content of the items rather than the need to share items or email them to other people. I'm going to try using Google Reader for awhile to see it if fits into my life or if it feels like just one more thing I feel I should be doing but which I don't really have the time for.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Thing 5 - Image Generators

I found some of these image generators to be interesting but many of them seemed pointless to me. I don't have a need to spell something out with zombies or put one person's head on another person's body. Maybe these things are good for personal blogs but they would not mesh with my library's website or blog guidelines as far as a consistent and professional look and feel.

Many of my creations looked really lame and I would never use them on our website. A lot of this stuff seems to exist for people who have too much free time on their hands (unlike me!). Since I did not care for many of the image generators provided in the list I searched for others that might have a real use for our library.

I used typogenerator to create the following image which could be used on our website, blog or myspace page.

I used to create a post-it note which I could use for advertising on our website.

I used the ALA Read Poster image generator to create the following image. It took awhile for me to find a photo that work size-wise without me having to spend time manipulating it's size or cropping it. I feel I could use an image like this in my library, on our blog or on our in-house video presentation. We also have a large-format printer that would allow us to create a poster.

I did find to be useful. I had some very dark photos that I was able to enhance the detail on. I used to easily create some website buttons.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Thing 4 - More Flickr

I played with several mashups and I would say that my experience was fun, frustrating, time-consuming and I wondered at the point of it all. I used Spell with Flickr to create the following image. It's sort of cute and it was certainly easy enough to create but I can't imagine using this type of application on my website.

R letter e letter A D i letter N G

Next I tried Captioner. It took several tries to get a photo that was the correct size so that the image would look good and I found that rather frustrating. Here is a photo is of my cat.

Next, I used Big Huge Labs. I tried Motivator, Magazine Cover and Movie Poster and had trouble with the sizing of the photos I chose for each of them. I finally used Framer to create the image below.

In the end, I'm afraid I just don't see the real application of these mashups but perhaps I am not being being creative enough. They just don't seem to be the types of images that I would want to use on my library's website or blog.

Thing 3 - Flickr

Our library already has a Flickr account and I am the one that posts the photos so I decided to explore Flickr a little more rather than to create a new account. We're doing a library renovation so seeing photos of other library interiors and exteriors is of interest to me. I tried searching "library" and "library buildings" as search terms but was not finding many photos of interest to me - they were mostly too broad. I decided to try searching for group which gave me hits more targeted to my needs. I found the following groups to have photos that will help us in thinking about our library renovation project:

Public Library Buildings

Library Interiors

Book Displays in Libraries or anywhere

Show us Your Library 2.0

2009 Library Summer Reading Programs

My favorite group one was the Library Signage group which had so many great ideas for signs and displays:

The photo I most enjoyed has to do with patrons turning down the sound on their cell phones and laptops which is a problem we are currently having at our library.

Thing 2 - Learning about Learning 2.0

I read John Blyberg's blog post - 11 reasons why Library 2.0 exists and matters and watched the Think Library 2.0 as You Watch This video.

Our library's first foray into Library 2.0 came after I read about Library Thing for Libraries (LTFL). I was already familiar with Library Thing as a great resource so the ability to use LTFL to bring user tagging into the online catalog seemed liked a good compliment to often-antiquated Library of Congress subject headings. Along with recommendations of similar titles we saw LTFL as a way to open up valuable new ways for patrons to find books of interest to them.
Bedford Public Library was the second library in the nation to implement Library Thing for Libraries in May 2007 and it has been great for both patrons and staff.

We evaluated other Library 2.0 tools to see which would be useful in our library. We wanted any Library 2.0 tools to be relevant to not only our users but to staff as well. We didn't want to implement something just for the sake of doing it or something that we could not properly maintain. We launched our blog in October 2007, followed by a MySpace page in December 2007 and then Flickr in February 2008. We considered Instant Messaging for reference questions but have not yet undertaken it since at this time we do not feel we have the staff to maintain it.

We found that implementing these tools made us think about and question some of our practices. We also found that we needed to develop some blog guidelines, adopt a social software policy and inform stakeholders such as the Library Board and city management of these new collaborative tools so that they would be comfortable with their implementation.

We've had positive responses to our blog and Flickr. We post a lot of events on our blog and photos from events on Flickr. We expected a lot more user interaction/comments from these two tools but have actually had very little. We do know that our photos are being looked at and that people are reading our blog posts since the hit counter keeps increasing. We're looking at transitioning over to Facebook since it seems to be more popular these days than MySpace. Overall I think what we have implemented has been very good for our library.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Thing 1 - Create a Blog

I've signed up to participate in North Texas 23 things, an online Learning 2.0 experience. The first task is to create a blog. I created the blog for the library but it's been awhile so I didn't remember everything. I think I will look for a custom template and see if I can make this blog look distinct. I also added a LibraryThing widget so you can see what I'm reading (warning - it's all romance). So Thing 1 is done and I'm ready for Thing 2.