Libraries in the digital age

LIBRARIES_EBOOKS-268x300So there are a lot of exciting things happening right now in my life and yet at the same time I feel as if my thoughts are scattered in every direction. One of the new big things in my life is that come the end of January / beginning of February I will be starting a new adventure as a first time mommy. Big right?! Well before I go into full time mommy/librarian mode, I really want to finish up my certification. Luckily I will be able to do this in September when I am taking a class all about technology and libraries in the digital age.

This is something big to look at because the role of libraries and librarians is forever evolving in the digital age. What was important when I was a kid may not be as important today or in five years. These are all things we have to think about in the evolving role of librarians and libraries. It is very easy to argue the need for more space and more computers within the library to accommodate the growing population needs, but you also have to think about what questions may arise with the increasing number of technology advancements being made every day.

Change is never easy and it doesn’t happen over night. Yes there are a few things you can begin to incorporate within your library without breaking the bank. You can advertise to the public of the availability of one-on-one appointments where a staff member works with them individually on questions they have. This is a great way to connect with community members who may be unsure of how to use e-mail, load e-books to their e-reader, learning Facebook to stay in contact with friends and family all over the world, etc. It is possible by starting small it will increase the awareness of what the library has to offer and what it can offer in the future with more funding, increased number of devices available for public use, and encouraging the continuing education of staff members.

Some people think because I am young, that technology comes easily to me. This is not always the case. There have been plenty of times I have sat there and glared at something because I was frustrated and couldn’t easily figure out the solution to my problem. It is only because I play around until I figure out the problem, consult the user manual, and help page on the given items website that I am able to solve the problem in front of me.

As I said my thoughts right now are very scattered and hopefully with the help of making a lot of lists and putting pen to paper theoretically, I can begin to feel organized again.

What are your thoughts of libraries role in the digital era?

 

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Books, RDA, & overall craziness

homePosterBIGHey Everyone

I have not forgotten about the blog, but I do apologize for not posting lately. My life has been extremely crazy lately. I am finishing up the last of the credits (hopefully) that I need for my Vermont Library Certification. To me this is a pretty big deal because it is something I have been working towards for the last three years. My last class (fingers crossed) will be on Friday, May 16th! Outside of work and classes I am also busy planning my sister’s bridal shower and doing a lot of running around for that.

So as you can tell I have a lot on my plate right now. The class I am currently taking is all about basic cataloging. As a cataloger it’s great for me to be able to work with others to learn the new rules of RDA cataloging as opposed to AARC-21 cataloging. The class is a lot of hands on work mixed with lecture. This is great because of the repetition and breaking down the fields a little at a time to have it drilled in my mind what fields correspond with what type of information about the item in front of me that I am going to catalog. A lot of the cataloging that I do on a daily basis is called “copy cataloging” but there are the few rare occasions when I have to do original cataloging. In all honesty I try to avoid doing original cataloging like the plague. (Sorry listening to Dan Brown’s Inferno right now).

When I haven’t been in class, at work, or running around like crazy getting things done for the bridal shower, I have been able to spend a little time with friends. One friend in particular and I have been arguing about the roles of libraries in today’s economy. The reason for our argument is that we stand on different sides about our local library and a bond vote of three million dollars to redesign the current library. Being a librarian I do openly admit to being biased and also I know some of the people who work in the library we are arguing about so that adds additional bias to my side of the argument. I feel that libraries are important institutions in today’s economy because we offer so much more than just books. We provide technology to those who may not have access, programming, databases, technological help, classes, and so much more. We also see people of all ages come through our doors every day. Libraries are changing the way people see us and we are becoming more of a community center and the heart of towns.

Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the fact that my friend feels strongly enough to argue with me about this because it’s not often I get to argue about the importance of libraries to someone who does not work in the field. It’s also great that as one of my best friends he can see something that is important to me and makes a conscious effort to argue and agree with me about the importance of libraries and books.

OK that is enough rambling for today. Until next time!

Inner thoughts of a librarian

prehistoric-googlingSo I was going to write a post about collection development and how we decide what to add to the library collection, until I realized how uninspired I was to talk about it today. So I’ll talk about that another day. My personal life lately has been absolutely crazy, which is possibly why I was feeling a case of writers block. So bear with me as I try to free myself from my creative block.

On Sunday I was driving around with two of my best friends from high school, its been over ten years since we have done anything like this, and we talked about books we read and how we remember the old card catalogs. One friend shared a story with me about some kids on her bus who were talking about something and she overhead one of them say “just Google it”. As I was listening to her tell the story and how she suggested to the kids they go to the library the next day to find a book to answer their question, it made me think of when we were children and our lack of Google and technology at our fingertips. I pondered this throughout the day as we drove around going from shop to shop, using our phones for GPS instead of a physical map. On our way to one store the GPS misdirected us and it struck me to go through my “passport” to see if there was anything for directions or landmarks to help us find our way. Thankfully there was and we were quickly able to locate the shop within a few minutes.

To my amusement, across the street from the store was the local library. Throughout our drive we either saw signs for the local library or drove past the library which greatly amused me. All in all the day was a lot of fun and it was great to spend some time with friends who I do not get to see very often. Lets hope I can overcome my writer’s block soon.

TTFN!

P.S. It might come as a shock to some people but librarians don’t actually live at the library. Try to let others down gently if you choose to share this surprising fact.

LinkedIn: Social Networking for Professionals

2imagesLinkedIn is a great social networking site for professionals. You can use it to connect with co-workers past and present, track of your past job experiences, and connect with others in different professions. As many libraries in a small state know, there is not always enough money in the budget to pay for expensive guest lecturers or performers. LinkedIn is a great tool to use to explore the wide range of jobs out there today. It is possible through cultivating friendships with other members in the community, you can talk to them about doing a program for free at the library or work in conjunction with a local bookstore to host a specific speaker.

If you are looking to explore a new job opportunity in your current field or a new field,  you can post your resume for others to see. This can make searching for a new job less of a headache. Social networking can be used in very helpful and effective ways if you put your mind to it and work towards a specific goal. LinkedIn is free to use and you can easily install the app onto your smartphone or tablet to manage your account where ever you may go. It can be used as an effective tool to in working towards professional and/or personal goals you have set for yourself.

Lesson #7 Part 2

To Tweet or Not to Tweet

twitter-logoTo tweet or not to tweet that is the question. Please excuse my paraphrasing of the Bard. This week I created a twitter handle, if you like you can add me it is: @kmbear623, to explore how twitter can be used in both my personal life and my professional life. I can say in my personal life it has had very little impact as twitter is not something my family and friends use on a daily basis. I suppose you could say we are old fashioned in the sense we prefer to send each other random texts or messages on Facebook. We have even been known to talk to each other on the phone. Personally I will add, I do love the fact I was able to link my twitter account to Flipboard to use a single app to manage several apps. If you are interested in hearing more of my thoughts on Flipboard, read the post “Exploring a personal unknown: RSS”.

The idea of using twitter in a professional manor, I have to admit intrigues me. I started to follow several libraries around the state and a few local businesses to see how they use it as a promotional tool in a very technology driven world. In my observations I can see how using twitter to promote a specific program or announcing closing the library early / opening late due to weather is a way to communicate with the community at large in a timely manner. The idea of only using 140 characters can create a challenge in finding a way to effectively grab the reader’s attention and promote a program in a way that is effective and efficient. As a creative stand point it is intriguing to see what keywords will draw the reader in and compel them to inquire further. It would be interesting to experiment using twitter as a library to see if it would strengthen our ties with the community and possibly use it to attract people who may not think to come to the library to check it out.

I believe I will try twitter for a little while longer, it is possible it will grow upon me.

Lesson #6

 

Checking out YouTube

iTunesArtwork@2xThis week I am exploring YouTube. It is a site where you can upload your own videos on any topic imaginable. I think YouTube is an important resource tool for librarians to recommend to patrons for the simple reason is that it opens up a new world to people. It is more than music videos. For example if a patron comes into the library and says they would like to learn to crochet and you do not have any how to basic crochet books in your collection. I would recommend they check out YouTube and type in the search box “how to crochet.” As a result you will find a wide variety of movie clips of varying time lengths with step by step instructions. YouTube can also be used to promote a certain program or event happening at your library. Are you hosting a movie vs. book discussion and would like to tempt patrons with the movie trailer to bring them to the discussion? You can find those there too. It can open a world of possibilities in marketing tricks to promote your library events or to learn a new skill. The app for smartphones is also very user friendly, though there are some music videos that may not be set up to be played on a mobile device which may lead to some frustration.

Here is an example of a parody of Lord of the Rings starring Cookie Monster

Lesson #3