April 2007
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Month April 2007

wordpress theme generator

My love affair with wordpress is still pretty much in full bloom because it is the right tool for so many blogging jobs. Do you like wordpress too but need a theme different from one of the many nice ones available? You could always hack one up to your liking, but if you aren’t up for that, take a look at the wordpress theme generator. By choosing items from simple drop down boxes you can create a custom theme. The generator will give you a zip file which you can unzip and upload to /wp-admin/wp-content/themes/.

missing cat myspace

It is quite likely that using MySpace was the only way Vernie’s people knew how to get a website up and running.

Isn’t it great that people have the tools to do things like this? I love the details section. Height: 0′ 4″, Sign: Leo.

I found the MySpace page from a poster on a telephone poll in my neighborhood.

Hundred Flowers Bloom

On Tuesday I’ll be in Seattle giving two talks for the awesome King County Library System’s 27 Things which is an adaptation of PLCMC’s Learning 2.0/23 Things. In preparation for my visit I’ve been taking a look at what the participants have been writing about and came upon a great post this afternoon. From the blog Reference, Miss Watson:

OK, these mashups are a scream – except for the hamster sudoku, that was just plain scary.
Clearly we can use the trading card maker for the RA committee plan to create a set of trading cards of the 52 authors everyone should be able to talk about with patrons.

What an outstanding idea. Author cards would be fun to give away to patrons too! “Bunny Watson’s” small post is an example of the ideas that can be generated by getting a critical mass of library staff playing with and learning about stuff on the web.

InfoTubey Award Winners

Tuesday night at Computers in Libraries was the First Annual InfoTubey Award ceremony. I was on the panel of judges that looked at the videos submitted and presented an award at the ceremony. While there were plenty of great videos (and well over 60 institutions submitted) these were the best examples of great library marketing.

I was really excited to present an InfoTubey to Nick Baker of Williams College Libraries. Not only was his “The L-Team” video amazing, he’s also the force behind “March of the Librarians.” Why does he not have a videoblog?!

Here are the rest of the winners, and one acceptance speech via YouTube.

What’s Up? – Arlington Heights Memorial Library
The Adventures of Super Librarian – McCraken County Public Library
What Are Your Three Reasons? – New Jersey State Library
Seneca Library Holiday Song – Seneca College Markham Library (InfoTubey Acceptance Speech)


“library use only”

I’m guessing the sticker isn’t what prevented these items from flying off the shelves.

"library use only"

I’m guessing the sticker isn’t what prevented these items from flying off the shelves.

i hear the director is pro technology and totally cool

Maybe I’m a sellout now because I’ve put an advert on my blog:

Library Clerk (Part Time)
North Plains Public Library (Oregon)

Deadline: May 23rd

Do you want to work in a growing library with a friendly staff? Are you interested in helping us create a library that focuses on what’s best for library users? If so, this job may be for you.

The North Plains Public Library is seeking two 10 hour per week clerks to help the library serve its community. The ideal candidates are not only comfortable with computers, but like using them too. They should also be able to recognize and provide excellent customer service. We have a solid collection, great volunteers, and a beautiful new facility. Email [email protected] with your resume, or send it by May 23rd to:

North Plains Public Library
Aaron Schmidt
31334 NW Commercial Street
North Plains, OR 97133

Download the full position description at http://nplibrary.org/about/employment/

Salary: $8.50/hour

Are Reference Desks Dying Out?

“Are Reference Desks Dying Out?” is an interesting article besides the drama surrounding its interpretation of the Q&A session of an ACRL panel session. For the drama (and some further discussion of the important issues), see Reference Desk Backlash at Brian Mathews’ The Ubiquitous Librarian.

I’d like to mention two other bits in the article. One, it tells the story of University of California at Merced librarian Michelle Jacobs answering reference questions via SMS while she was in Baltimore for the ACRL conference. Neat. I’d like to hear more about that, in particular if they’re using some system or just her personal phone number.

The other good section is about the “Librarian With a Latte” program from University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. What’s with Ann Arbor and library goodness, anyways?

With a laptop and a wireless connection, he sets aside time to sit at a table at a popular Ann Arbor coffee shop and invites students to drop by for help. Dozens of students showed up for one of his recent sessions.

“‘Going to where students are seems to be a theme in social-networking discussions, and they mean virtually,” he says. “It’s equally important to go where they are physically.” The coffee-shop sessions help establish relationships with students that become online interactions later.


Incidentally, the article also has a funny quote from Derik Badman (that’s two posts in a row!) about his stapler, even though he spoke with the reporter at length about virtual reference.

another portrait at CIL

I certainly wasn’t going to make the request, but Derik Badman illustrated another portrait of me at Computers In Libraries this year! I look a bit more sinister compared to last year which may or may not be accurate. The Bauhaus like primary colors really do it for me!

Actually there’s one that includes the back of my head too. My better side?

Derik writes a webcomic titled Things Change that I’ve subscribed to since last year. He spins a good yarn.

audio tours from the library

Multnomah County Library’s Central Library is a really neat building. When I first visited I wished there was a guided tour that I (and other patrons) could take. Hanging in the library are all sorts of portraits that I don’t know anything about, neat details on the staircases and a great sculpture of a big tree in the kids section. Maybe there’s a pamphlet about the building but I didn’t seek one out.

It would be really great if MCL would record an audio tour and have it available as an MP3 on their website. With adequate promotion I’m certain they’d have people wandering around the library wearing their earbuds learning about the library building. The tour could even be a game. Clues could be left around the library, players could be given a sheet to fill out as they find the clues, and the results could be turned in to a Reference Librarian on duty. Expanding this idea, they could do an audio walking (or cycling!) tour version of their successful Branches and Byways which highlights the neighborhoods around MCL branches. I’ve heard these pages – library produced content – are the most popular pages on their site.

I don’t mean to be telling MCL what to do. I’ve just used them as an example because they’re my home library and I love the Central Library (and my branch – Belmont rules!). In other words, these ideas aren’t limited to Multnomah County, right? Many libraries have interesting features or are situated in locations around something worth talking about. The main strip of North Plains is only three blocks long, but maybe there are some good tidbits to share. If not, I bet a driving tour of the surrounding area could work. The only cost involved in producing such an audio tour is staff time.

An ambitious library committed to follow through could make a variety of tours, assemble tours from staff and people in the community and podcast the series. Not sure people would be interested? AudioSnacks is a website all about user generated audio tours. The site has a commercial model, but some of the tours are free.