Tuesday, November 25, 2008
I Twitter could be useful for distributing new title lists to patrons. I know that was discussed in the School Library Journal article, but I thought it would be a good idea before I read that other libraries are doing it. I currently am responsible for posting the new title lists for adult books, children's books, adult DVDs, children's DVDs, music, and audiobooks. All titles link back to the catalog, and a patron can then place a hold on the item. However, I often wonder if anyone bothers to read them and places a hold on the catalog through the list. If patrons could get the feed from Twitter, I think people would utilize this service. I also think it would be a good way to for library staff to communicate with one another in a quick manner. Even though I am from a medium sized library, we have many different departments, and it is hard to keep up with what is going on in each department. This would be an efficient way to communicate internally. I wonder, though, when is it more appropriate to use a regular blog, as opposed to twitter or a microblog?
I like using Epicurious and AllRecipes.com. I decided to look for a nice veggie lasagna, and came up with this recipe from Epicurious Butternut Squash and Mushroom Lasagna. It sounds good for Thanksgiving or the holidays, especially if you have vegetarian guests. I haven't made it yet, but the reviews give me an idea what to do, and what not to do. Here is an easy Spinach Lasagna from AllRecipes.com, with reviews that give me ideas on modifying the recipe. Here's another recipe from Epicurious that I like for Butternut Squash Soup. I like that this recipe can be made quickly with frozen butternut squash. I always like quick recipes. You can also see I love butternut squash!
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
We have Overdrive here at my library like Boston does, and we even had the Overdrive truck come for a demonstration for library patrons this summer. So, I decided to see what the New York Public Library had. I was intrigued with their TumbleBooks picture e-books for children. I had never seen a picture e-book before. I browsed through their collection. They have a wide range of books, all with good reviews. Since I don't work in the Children's Department and don't have children I was only familiar with the a picture book, Porcupining: A Prickly Love Story, which I had read in hard cover. It was recommended to me by the technical services staff, who see every book that comes along. I found it charming in the online version. The story is read out loud, and the illustrations are animated. The text that is being read aloud is highlighted in red. Children today are more engaged with computers and electronic format, and I think it is good that through the New York Public Library they can be exposed to this at an early age. I think more libraries should make this format available to children.
Monday, November 17, 2008
I was intrigued by Pandora's description of creating a customized radio station for me, so I opened a free account. I created different radio stations with some of my favorite artists: The Beatles, Abba, Josh Groban, and I also created radio stations based on the songs The River by Garth Brooks, Smooth by Santana, and Mambo No. 5 by Vega. I also made a separate station by mixing all of these stations together. What is interesting is Pandora picks songs and artists similar to those you initially started with. If you don't like a song you can tell them you don't like it by clicking on the thumb downs sign; similarly if you like a song you can click the thumbs up sign. By clicking thumbs down, Pandora will try to stay away from songs like that; conversely, if you click thumbs up Pandora will try to find more songs similar to that. You can also "skip" 6 songs an hour; you don't have to listen to them, but you also are not voting on them. It's a little different than I thought. You can't listen to songs on demand, or rewind because of licensing issues. Also, the station picks the songs for you to put in your station. You can't search for a song (unless its your "seed" or first song for your station) and add it to your station. Still, it's as close as you can get to an Ipod or Mp3 player for free. It's also very tempting to keep voting all day long to "perfect" your stations!
Here is the link to our first website. It's not impressive at all because the Wayback Machine did not archive the images on our page. So, you cannot see the library, or the button links on the lefthand side.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Yesterday, I persuaded the Adult Services Librarian who is in charge of all the art displays to create an Agawam Library gmail account so we can have photo albums of our displays each month. Right now, she e-mails me the photos and I save them to the website, then paste them to the page. It is very tedious. I am curious to try out the Picasa album feature next month.
Yesterday, I had a nice chat with our teacher, Jennifer. One of the things we talked about was reference chat. I had used it at the Lansing, IL Public Library at the beginning of our class. I wanted to know how they set it up. I was referred to Kelli Staley in the IT Department. She e-mailed me back. I found out they use Meebo.com to create the (free) meebo widget placed on their website. They had used Trillan software in the past. Their chat interface is only available when the teen librarian is at work and online. Next week, the are abandoning it, as they have joined their statewide 24/7 virtual reference service AskAway Illinois (using questionpoint). She also referred to me to this website Library Success Wiki which lists a lot of Instant Messaging libraries (IM) and the software they use: