Monthly Archives: May 2009

Tell A Story In 30 Slides

Slideshare wants you to tell a story in thirty – that’s 30 – slides.

C’mon librarians – cowboy up – let’s do what we do best.

You could even do a teen program about this – or a computer class with this as the final project!

Learn more here: http://tinyurl.com/tellastory

The Kindle is the least of librarians’ problems…

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090524/ap_on_re_as/as_odd_japan_scary_toilet_paper

The bathroom could become a real threat. 😉

100+ Authors Who Use Twitter

Check out this great list of authors – both teen and adult – using Twitter:

http://mashable.com/2009/05/08/twitter-authors/

Definitely worth checking out!

Tech UnCamp is going on now!

Co-hosting a tech uncamp in Michigan – I’m participating via webcam from my office in Kansas!

An uncamp/unconference isn’t like your normal conference – a) it’s free and b) main topics of discussion are planned by the attendees the morning of the event.

View Tweets and Information in real time via Cover It Live:

Tech UnCamp 2009

Use those creative brains of yours…

I’m working on a great volunteer project called MyInfoquest.  It is a six month pilot project to get a librarian-staffed text message reference service off the ground.  People text a question, a MyInfoquest staff member responds!

The team thinks that “MyInfoQuest” is a great name, but it may require a bit of explanation.  To do that, we need to create a “tag line”  and would like your help. Here are some examples from other web-based help services:

Name:              Tag line:
AskAway:         Illinois Librarians Online
AskAway:         Reliable Answers Anytime/A Cooperative Service of Wisconsin Libraries
AskUs 24/7:     Chat with a Librarian
Know it Now    Answering your questions online, anytime

So, post your ideas as a comment by Noon on May 16!  The winner gets…my undying gratitude and that of the Infoquest Team!  Yay!

How much $$ do I save by using the library?

Saw this on Web4Lib Listserv this morning…while people are using those mortgage calculators, years until retirement, and real age online calculators, they might as well use this one too!  Thanks to Glenn Peterson for sharing.

 

Free Library Savings Calculator
(posting on behalf of Glenn Peterson)

EngagedPatrons.org now offers a Library Savings Calculator free to all public libraries. The simple web-based Calculator allows your patrons to discover how much money they save each month by using their library’s services.

 Start here:

 http://engagedpatrons.org/

 Library staff can customize the Calculator with the services their ibrary offers — books, DVDs, meeting rooms, etc. Patrons note how many times they use each service during a typical month and the Calculator shows them how much they would have paid out-of-pocket to purchase those services. Libraries can choose to allow patrons to report back their totals to the library and include a comment (a great way to gather praise from your users!)

Developed originally in spreadsheet form by the Massachusetts Library Association, EngagedPatrons.org enables any library to add the Calculator to their existing website by simply copying and pasting a web link into their website — no programming required.

Glenn Peterson
engagedpatrons.org

The definition of insanity…

So many moons ago when I was in the throes of an angsty phase, I was talking to my friend/therapist who calmly told me, “You know, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different result”.  I was flabbergasted by the thought at the time – it was a quasi-religious-no-shit-you’re-right moment.

I thought of that moment when I was sitting at a library not long ago just before closing time. The library had two doors at the front that during the day were both unlocked for patrons to come in and out of in either direction.  At about ten minutes to close, one set of doors was locked to help “manage incoming traffic” (whatever that means).  What this led to was a series of about 10-15 people all trying to use the locked door and the staff yelling out “that door is locked, use the other one”.  Because running into the locked door was not sufficient evidence to the poor patron.

I asked and apparently this is what they do every day

So every day about 15 people leave the library and the last experience they have is being embarrassed or frustrated for walking into a locked door and also having the mistake called out by a loud staff member.

Here’s a thought – a nice rope and sign to sling between the security/tattle tape gates just around closing time will have people bumping into a rope at worst – instead of a huge glass door.

Those fifteen people will walk out every day with that last moment at the library in their mind.  And while it might seem like a minor irritation and only slightly negative thing, it’s a part of the user experience.  You can get used to almost anything – and that is a crying shame. 

What policies or issues has your library staff gotten used to?  How is it harming patron-relations?  Don’t look at if from your point of view, look at it from theirs!

A survey option to consider…

**The graphics are a bit funky – this is due to my poor graphics skills, and not the eSurveysPro website.

If you’re in need of a free web-based survey option that provides a lot of customer service, I want to recommend eSurveysPro.

Our American Library Association Emerging Leaders team recently used  eSurveysPro to accomplish a major part of our assigned task.  Our project involved trying to survey thousands of small and rural librarians across the country to understand how they build community relations.

 Compared to other competitors in the online survey industry, we found eSurveysPro to be very easy to use.  Upon logging in, the options are neatly laid out and explained.  The site is very user-intuitive in that manner and it was a feature we appreciated.

This is the main page you see after creating a log-in.

The survey set up is very clear and easy to understand – we liked the tabs and the clear instructions available on the page to help in every aspect of sign up:

Survey options were easy to set!

Survey options were easy to set! We began our project as a free account, but when we contacted customer service with a question, we received very fast service and the answers we needed. Once we deployed our survey, we found it very easy to manage.The survey management page allows you to see the status of your survey.

With one click, we were able to change many functions, including opening or closing the survey, change survey options, or generate reports.  The “bread crumb” trail at the top of the software helps users keep track of where they are – in the case of the image above: You are Here > Manage Surveys > Survey List.

screen shot 4

You’ll notice we needed to ask a variety of questions and eSurveysPro allowed us to build the questions we needed very easily.

As you can see, the final survey looked very professional and easy to understand:

screen shot 5

As you can see, the final survey looked very professional and easy to understand.  Our whole team recommends eSurveysPro – the website is easy to understand, it’s a painless product to use, and customer service was GREAT.

If YOU are a rural library administrator, we recommend you take our survey at: http://tinyurl.com/CommunityRelations

A quick mobile librarianship post

If your library uses tablet PCs – I know only one that does! 😦 Or if you’re a fan of tablets, check out this cool blog: http://sumocat.blogspot.com/2009/05/two-tablet-pc-sightings-today.html

Written – quite literally- on a tablet!