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Archive for May, 2012

I will be working with generationwhylibrarian this summer on a poster for SLA.  I owe you more details but she sums it up nicely here:

The Poster Session.

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One thing I miss about working in a school library is the opportunity to make displays of books for different themes, weeks and months.  Children’s book week is in May this year!  I remember it being in November but since it’s earlier this year it overlaps with Asian Pacific American History month.  Below I’ve outlined a few picture books that speak to Asian American experiences that younger readers (or adults) will enjoy. I will be following up in the rest of the month with some chapter books for older readers as well as some adult books.

Filipino Friends by Liana Romulo and Filipino Celebrations by Liana Romulo & Corazon Dandan-Albano

I found these two books at the LA Times Festival of Books.  I loved the pictures, Sam and his friends seem to be having such a great time.  I was surprised at how many words Romulo was able to fit on a page.  My husband is first generation Filipino-American and can read Tagalog (ie. make the correct sounds) but he does not speak it very well.  He helped me pronounce most of the words and learned that some of the words he thought he knew were wrong.  For example, our niece (who is also his goddaughter) refers to him as “ninong” which, as we found out from Filipino Celebrations means “godfather” rather than “uncle” as he thought.  He also finally learned that a “kalabaw” is a water buffalo, not a cow.  We’ve loaned these books to my sister-in-law for my niece and nephew and I’ll take them back when they’re a little older.  These seem like a great introduction to Filipino words for readers of all ages who want to learn a more about Filipino customs.

Henry’s first moon birthday by Lenore Look

Cover art

In Look’s book Jenny helps her grandmother prepare for her brother Henry’s first moon birthday, complete with ginger and red eggs.

I have only been to one first moon birthday, for my friends’ son.  When you are celebrating a girl you take an even number of eggs for luck and an odd number for a boy.  I did not realize that I would be bringing eggs home and had hard-boiled a number of eggs a day before for use at home.  It was a very strange way to have an abundance of hard-boiled eggs!

The name jar by Yangsook Choi

Unhei just moved to the US from Korea and is having trouble adjusting to a school where no one can pronounce her name.  So she enlists her classmates to help her choose an American name by choosing a name from a jar.  Imagine her surprise when she chooses a slip of paper with her own name on it!

I could relate to Unhei’s trial of a difficult name.  Although Mary-Michelle isn’t hard to pronounce people keep trying to shorten it to Mary without checking with me first.  I love my name and would not change it but unusual names can be difficult!

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I forget if it was my academic adviser or one of the librarians at work who first suggested I join SLA but in my opinion the dues for the dues more than pay for all of the excellent professional development opportunities and tools provided by the association. The Future Ready 365 blog is an excellent tool, I have watched more webinars from SLA than from any of the other associations I currently subscribe to and I feel like I can always find something new and exciting coming from their website and their members. They will also probably be my favorite for a long time because they’ve accepted my first poster proposal (more on that project to follow) which will make them hard to beat.

Lisa Chow and Sandra Sajonas gave a wonderful presentation on the creation and promotion of your e-portfolio. I am going to begin work on my portfolio over the summer and hope to be able to come close to what they described in their webinar. An e-portfolio is an expanded online resume that allows you to keep track of projects and offer writing samples or other work to prospective employers. The strength of Chow & Sajonas’s presentation lies with the variety of tools they outlined and evaluated. Past articles I’ve read about the creation of an e-portfolio cover some basic information about arranging items aesthetically on the screen and are geared primarily to creative trades such as graphic designers and animators.

I loved the suggestion of adding constantly updating elements (for example connecting your blog reel to your e portfolio) to ensure that your portfolio will be higher on the list for a Google search. Both Chow and Sajonas use Google Sites for their portfolios. I’ve worked with Google Sites in the past and I found it easy to use and manipulate, I liked the amount of freedom you have in the details of the page and the control you have over the look. Google is a good tool because many of their tools are meant to work well together.

Another option they mention, that I’ve worked with in the past is PBWorks, which I’ve used for class assignments. I like PBWork’s ease of use but it is a workspace software and always looks slightly unfinished to me. Though part of this may steam from my classmates leaving the tracking edits widget in the right hand sidebar making the site look too busy. I will probably look into using WordPress since my blog is already here and I will continue to update it often. One of the drawbacks mentioned with WordPress is that it does not work with Google Analytics, but the Dashboard controls its own statistics.

The second portion of the presentation dealt with how to track and promote your portfolio once it’s put together. I’ve used bit/ly to shorten links for my Twitter feed but I haven’t been using it to track clicks. I’ve used Google Analytics in the past and it’s a great way to track who is looking at your site and when but if I connect my portfolio to this blog I’d be better off using WordPress’s statistics.

For more details on the presentation and for a list of tools that can be used to create your own e-portfolio, click here.

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I love working at a large library and working in ILL.  One of the great perks of working in ILL is you can see what people are reading and you develop a feel for what you may want to add to a to-read list.  Another great thing is the chance to work independently for a portion of the day, whether it’s banding, making records, clearing out idle requests or anything at my desk.  During these desk times I’m able to put in my headphones and listen to an audio book, music or podcast for a couple hours while I get my work done.  Lately, I’ve been having a lot of fun with a handful of podcasts and I wanted to share them with you.  Podcasts are listed in no particular order.

Up yours, downstairs presented by Kelly Anneken & Tom Schneider

Kelly & Tom recap the Masterpiece Classic series Downton Abbey and the recaps are hilarious.  I came to Downton Abbey fairly late and had to catch up with the first season on Netflix.  The show is a combination of snarky retelling of everything that occurred in given episode, recurring segments on Edwardian fashion, parts of history and show gossip.  They plan to go on to some other Edwardian related projects, either recapping other mini series or just making their recurring topics longer once they have finished the recaps of the first two seasons.  Beware while listening to these when too many patrons or co-workers are around, I found myself laughing hard enough for my eyes to tear up at some parts.  The podcasts are marked as explicit in iTunes, I can’t think of any terrible language off the top of my head but this is a headphones type podcast rather than a speakers, especially if you share your office with others.

Adventures in Library Instruction presented by Rachel B, Jason and Anna*

I just finished 35th episode “Guide on the side.”  This monthly  podcast covers topics of interest for teaching librarians.  I like the interplay between Jason, Anna and Rachel on the few podcasts I’ve listened to to date.  I am very excited about Meredith Farkas’s Technology in Practice article about the University of Arizona’s JSTOR tutorial.  I hope to figure out a way to either create something like this or at least incorporate some of the elements in it for the ILL article tutorial that has been on the back burner during the spring semester.  I look forward to listening to some of the backlog for inspiration on instruction ideas.  I know I will catch up and be anxiously awaiting more before the end of the summer.

TWiT presented byLeo Laporte et al.

This week in tech is a netcast which happens to have podcast versions available in iTunes.  It’s a great way to stay caught up on technology trends and offers a balanced overview of the pros and cons of different consumer technology.  Some of the discussions can get pretty detailed but I don’t feel out of my depth so I believe this is accessible to a beginner and mid range adopter.  I haven’t been able to watch one of their videos yet but I may at some point in the future (as I said, these are at work supplements so I need something I can listen to while processing).  TWiT offers a combination of hypothetical and hands on examples for technology questions; for example in episode 335 they discussed Twitter and when it is worth doing or in episode 351 they discuss Google glasses and Dropbox.  Their website allows you to search for past shows based on your interest, rather than limiting you to a browse feature, which is always nice.

Now that I’m out of class for the summer I’m going to try to post more than once a week and have some more fun posts. While I don’t think I will have three podcasts a week if this post is popular I’ll try making this sort of recommendation a regular feature.  If anyone has a podcast they love let me know!

*The trio use their last names in the podcast and I was able to find their full names elsewhere on the web but I decided to stick with how they present themselves in their blog.  Does anyone know the proper protocol for this situation?  Or suggest a good internet etiquette/APA crossover handbook?

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I recently attended a wonderful talk by Mary Ellen Bates on Speaking to be Heard.  I apologize for not having a direct link to the slides she used but I could not find them on her website yet, though there is a lot of very interesting information to look through if you have the time to take a look.

At the beginning of this semester I decided to start taking a look at professional development opportunities and to begin bringing my online presence and resume in line with some of what I was seeing in librarian position postings.  Part of this endeavor has been looking at a lot of job hunting articles and attending workshops at conferences aimed at moving up when I finish my degree next year.  I’ve been to several elevator pitch workshops and the concept of having a good sales pitch is useful, but it comes off as a sales pitch.

Rather than having a 3 minute pitch, you should be working on a compelling hook that encourages your listener to ask you more.  While you’ll have several scenarios planned for different environments the one I created for this workshop was “I help you get materials that University Library does not have.”  It sounds much flashier than “I work in inter-library loan,” huh?  And you’re less likely to slip into ILL.  It’s still a sales pitch but it is a sales pitch that makes what you are saying more interesting and palatable to the person you’re speaking to.  The other part of the pitch is to try to create a statement that makes you seem useful to the user.  The other person is more interested in what you can do for them than the details of how you get there.

Another portion of the presentation was on the ways to solicit feedback from users.  The biggest suggestion was to put feedback options where the user was most likely to feel frustrated.  The example given in the presentation was to put forms on the card catalog since that is something many users would have difficulty navigating.  Now you would put the forms by the computer or perhaps have a widget on the homepage for users to click on.  By asking for feedback at a point of frustration the user is likely to remember in great detail what the problem is and how it occurred.   If you are able to successfully fix or eliminate the problem now means that when the user returns they are fans of the library, not just because they can get what they want but because you responded to their frustration.

Last but not least, I heard the entirety of the Brand 1985 quote: “Information wants to be free because it has become so cheap to distribute, copy, and recombine – too cheap to meter.  It wants to be expensive because it can be immeasurably valuable to the recipient.”  Strange how it sounds less like a liberate information rallying cry and more like information has its own plans and strategies.

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