Thursday, November 4, 2010

NYLA Conference

Check me out posting again so soon. I had I feeling I wouldn't #blogfail you again so soon. (I'm sure all my followers are relieved...)

So this post is not about class or homework, but instead about some of the other stuff we get to do, specifically conferences! One of the great perks of being a library student is student rates on conferences. For all of you LIS student's reading (*chirp*chirp* <- those are the crickets...) take advantage of this like crazy. I still can not quite afford any of the big conferences, though I would love to hit up the ALA conference, the student pricing really makes the local conferences really affordable. I did NYLA today, I'm going to NCTE (my big expenditure of the year) in Orlando in a few weeks and then hopefully the YSS and SLMS (both NYLA divisions) in the spring. Another student perk is the chance to go for a scholorship as well, which makes is really afforadable!

NYLA was alot of fun. It was a multiday conference, but I was only able to go for one day, so I tried to cram it all in today. It made for a rediculously long day what with driving to and from the 'cuse to Saratoga Springs, but worth it. I was working the iSchool booth during the middle of the day, so in the a.m. I walked the exhibit hall and in the afternoon I went to a seminar.

The Expo Hall had some great booths, and I really enjoyed talking to some great representatives. Some of the things I was really excited to here about was using RFID tags to help librarians streamline and save time and money. Using the tags patrons can self check-out, the library can use the tags to make sure no books leave the library without being check-out and my personal favorite, you can take inventory by simply walking the stacks with a readers instead of touching every single book. I also really enjoyed talking to the Barnes & Noble's reps about using the Nook in school libraries. There was many more great reps and booths (including the stellar iSchool one), but those two stood out.

In the afternoon I went to a seminar on Storytelling and teaching kids to tell stories. It was a blast. I took storytelling in my undergrad minor program, and loved it, so this was a great reminder of the fun that I had back then. The presenters were wonderful storytellers and also gave us some tips on how to help childrens learn to tell stories, which will help them buld confidence and creativity (it's a win-win!).

I especially liked working the booth. As someone who used to hate being social, I've suddenly really started to enjoy getting out there more. The booth wasn't horribly busy, but I talked to a few people about the iSchool and had fun telling then about the different programs. I even got to explain the cost of SU, which far exceeded what the guy had hoped the cost would be! I'm really hoping I get the chance to work the booth at some future conferences/events.

I didn't get to do a whole lot at this conference, but I was able to do a little bit of everything. Mostly it has made me want to go to more conferences.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Blog Fail & Semester Updates

So in my overly ambitous last post I stated that I would be updating this blog once a week. That was almost 2 months ago. Clearly I was overestimating the amount of time I would have to blog. That's okay though- I like knowing that this blog is here if I need it. It waiting, ready and willing to assist me should I needs it's pages to use for an assignment (one of which I'm working on now- Hello IST614!).

This semester has been tough, but fun. For IST605 (reference class) I've been looking at alot of reference books and other sources. Who would have thought? it's been illuminating and slightly overwhelming. I spent 3.5 hours at the public library this past weekend looking at Encyclopedias and Almanacs and other reference sources. I looked at 20, and very quickly was reminded exactly how much I don't know. I emerged less confident and more confident all at the same time. Less confident in the sense that there is no way I can ever know all the resources that are out there, and therefore might miss the opportunity to steer someone towards the perfect resource. On the flip side, I'm more confident because I have a better sense of what is out there, and I'm now convinced that there is a place to find whatever information a patron might want, I just might have to dig a little to find it.

605 also led me to start volunteering at the High School Library. First it was for an assignment, I had to observe a reference librarian, but I pretty much just kept coming back, and now they are stuck with me. I've gotten a chance to see some cataloging and reference in action, I'm going to be helping with the weeding process, and most exciting for me, have gotten to participate in their book club. For those who don't know, I'm a book club addict. I'm in a few, and was super excited to get to see how it works at a high school level, especially when teens and their rediculously busy schedule are involved. Being at the High School also prompted me to officially go School Media, so I'm stoked about that as well.

As for my other class (IST614- Management) I will admit to being slightly overwhelmed by the subject at hand. Having never taken a management class before it's all new to me, and sometimes I feel like I'm trying to learn a foriegn language. Luckily I have a great teacher (Gandel), who doesn't seem to mind all of the questions we keep throwing his way. I find myself learning a huge amount of information in this class, even if I don't have a handle on how to apply it all yet. Currently I'm working on two seperate projects for this class. One is a communication problem wherein I have to essentially role play (via memo) as a new Dean of Libraries at a University. This is a great assignment because I get to think about what my vision would be- especially nice when the possibilities are endless! The second project in dlightly more daunting- a case study of two Fortune 500 companies. not only have I never had a management class, but I've also never taken anything that remotely resembles a business course, so this project is like learning two new languages, simultaneously. I'm hoping that I can get a good handle on it all, and really finish up with a great analysis.

So that's about it. 2 months in one rather longish blog post. Chances are it will be another month or so before I get in gear and post again. Think of this post as my Mid-semester report. When the semester is done, I can do a nice wrap up. Although, with 2 conferences looming on the horizon (NYLA and NCTE) I may feel compelled to post earlier. No promises though, I'd hate to get your hopes up, only to BlogFail you again.

Until next time....

Thursday, September 2, 2010

And so it begins...

Well, it's that time again. Classes began this week at SU and I waded back into the fray, this time as an all-online student. Luckily, both my classes are easing us in slowly, and the the craziness will begin in earnest next week when assigned reading and projects begin. This week is all about getting to know our classmates and getting to know the format each class will use. Of course neither of my classes is using the same format- but that's alright, I think I'll get the hang of it!

As for this little blog- it was technically an assignment for a summer class, and there's no reason I need to keep it going, but I'm going to anyways. In my opinion, blogging is a great way to talk about the classes and share interesting information, so I say "onward"! I won't be posting everyday (I reserve that for my other blog- no way I can keep up with daily posts for two), but I will be posting at least once a week, a recap if you will of my week at Grad school. I think that will be a good format, but may tweak it as needed!

So- as I write this I have one follower (Hi Angelic!)- hopefully more people will find me in this new little corner of the blogosphere, but for now this is a way for me to organize and share my thoughts, even it's only with myself :)

Friday, July 30, 2010

IST600 Assignments.

I really enjoyed this class, and I got to do some really fun projects as part of it, which I'd like to share with all of you.
First up- my "Week in Review" presentation. We were given a lot of leeway on the project to express ourselves. I chose to use the one social networking tool we learned about that I had the least experience with, You Tube. I decided to make a slide show movie of some of the things I did during the week and upload it to my channel. Here is the finished product. Not too shabby for a first attempt (if I do say so myself...and I do).

Next up is our awesome group video which we filmed as a psa about the complicated world of social networking. I worked with Kai, Veronica, Carolyn, Donna and Rebecca on this movie and it was a lot of fun to take it from an idea, to a script and all the way to a finished psa. Hope you enjoy it!

Our last assignment for Social Networking in Libraries was to create a Library Marketing Plan. I'll admit, I was quite nervous about this assignment. I have no experience working in a library and despite all the various jobs I've had, none required marketing. So both ends of this assignment were pretty foreign to me. In the end I reviewed alot of marketing plans online and pulled the formating elements that I thought worked best for this assignment to use as the basework for my marketing plan. One thing I was kind of excited about was that I created a QR code to be used to link back to my Marketing Plan website. I don't have a smartphone, so I have to admit I have no clue if the code I created worked, but I did it! Hopefully it works for those of you with QR code readers, if not and for the rest of us, click HERE.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Social Networking in Libraries Part 2

So back in part one of this illustrious series (see part 1 here) I spoke about some of the way I thought Libraries and Librarians could implement some of the social networks out there. I wrote that post on June 29th. This is an important thing to remember, beacuse since the 29th a few really important things have happened.

1.) I took ist511, which managed to be inspiring and confusing (see my What do I Want to be post for more on that issue!) and left me re-evaluating alot of the things I had previously thought of libraries.

2.) I took ist600- Social Networking in Libraries. This class finishes up tomorrow, and while I didn't neccessarily learn a whole lot of new information about the social networking tools that are popular now, like Facebook and Twitter, I did get my whole world thrown off kilter when I learned about some of the other networking tools out there. It also made me look at the libraries role as more then just using these tools to connect with the members, but also as teachers and guides who can help members navigate the complicated and sometimes scary world of social networking as we move into the future.

A few of the social media tools that I hadn't really been familiar with prior to my classes are FourSquare and then the broader idea of Augmented Reality.


FourSquare is an interesting phenomenon to me. In a nutshell it is a game in which you check in at different locations you go to, earning badges, and if you visit someplace enough, you can become mayor. From a personal level it seems so odd to me that you would want to not only say "I'm at the Mall" but also add in " 9090 Carousel Center, Syracuse". I instantly thought about things like now people know your home is empty, etc. I was also a bit put off by the idea that you can be somewhere like the Grand Canyon and the first thing you do is check in on your phone. Then you check out who else is checking in at the Grand Canyon and see where they are at and what they are saying. I was put off by this because I feel like getting too caught up in this sort of game means that while you are making huge connections in the virtual world, you are missing out on the ones in front of you. Instead of seeing what they are saying on FourSquare about the Grand Canyon, why not just look at the person next to you and ask them what they think.


Augmented Reality (AR) pretty well left me shaking my head and ultimately feeling pretty sad. I was excited to see how AR could be used in some environments. For instance, someone like me who is a big history nerd, would love to be able to be standing at Little Round Top at Gettysberg, or at Wounded Knee in South Dakota and use my phone to instantly have more information about the place I'm standing. To be able to layer a picture of the aftermath of either event over the view I'm actually seeing is increadibly exciting. On the flip side, the presentation we saw on AR also talked about how you will be able to use that same technology to garner information about the people around you, to see what they are tweeting or posting on face book, to see their stats and even ratings (based on what other people rate you). The presentation also showed how you could aim the app at a home and see who lives there, etc. and then insinuated that if you chose to opt-out of this sort of network and sharing that you will essentially be isolating yourself from your community. There were so many things I saw wrong here. Outsourcing your choices on who to be friends with to the people who rate them, the ability to gather information without the other persons knowledge and ultimately the way that this will remove the in-person, face-to-face relationships that are already becoming scarce. Even typing this I get a sense of sadness at where we may be heading. As someone who enjoys those spontaneous moments where you are standing someplace (we can use the Grand Canyon again) and you see the connection you have with the people around you by looking at them and seeing the same sense of awe you feel reflected on their faces, the idea that those moments will be replaced with looking at a screen is a shame. I hope we don't get to that point.

In the end I took away some great things from the class- the need to be a teacher to community, to not only know how to use the social networking tools to better the library, but to know how to help your members navigate them as well. It all comes down to how do we best serve the people in our community. I'm looking forward to seeing where we go from here, even if that means I might be swimming upstream against the crowd!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

What do I want to be when I grow up???

Probably not the question you expect me to ask upon completion of my first week of school. I can explain. Really.

I want to be a YA Librarian. I love working with that age group, I love the challenge they present as they are traditionally reluctant readers and don't frequent the library as much. I love that when they are excited about something, they are really passionate about it, and that when they hate it, they don't shy away from telling you. I've worked with teens for years in many different ways- from teaching theater and dance to costuming local high school shows- they drive me nuts, but I like it anyways. So needless to say I went into this week of on campus residency with an idea of where I wanted to be when I graduated in two years. To be clear, I still want to work as a YA librarian, but boy did we do some really cool stuff this week.
Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

Do you know what those are? Exhibit A- Darwin's On The Origin of Species. Exhibit B: First Edition Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Why are they cool? Firstly there are the obvious reasons. Secondly- I held them. Not only did I get to hold them and look through them, but I also saw a 14th century Italian Book of Hours, a teaching book of The Gospel of John in both English and Mohawk from 1804 that was used by missionaries, a book of Aquinas' Study of Rome that had Queen Elizabeth's seal on the front (meaning it was her book) and a page from the Guttenberg Bible. I was in history geek heaven for the hour that Professor Lavender showed us the books that Syracuse has in Special Collections. A few other students (who shall remain nameless) were dosing off or staring into space as Professor Lavender quizzed us on historic events. I on the other hand couldn't sit still in my swivel chair as I wracked my brain for the answers. Professor Lavender: "What happened in 1588?" Me: "Spanish Armada!" Needless to say, I was having fun. Suddenly a whole new path opened up. Special Collections. Cool, old books. Two things I love- history and books- all wrapped up into one

So where does that leave me. With more classes to take for one. I think I will keep my options open for as long as possible- taking classes that would be relevant in both potential career paths. I think that was one thing I took away more then anything else. That there are so many different opportunities for librarians and that for someone like me, who love learning, and who has really varied interests, Librarianship provides a career that can tap into almost anything. I finished my week slightly more confused about where I'm headed, but really excited about taking the journey to get there!


I think I had this thought in my head when I finally hit this chapter: "Research...ughhh" I will admit to having read this chapter very quickly the day before class was to begin. Now I've had a week to reflect on it and taken with the weath of infomation I got during class, I actually had to go back a review the chapter quickly.

One thing I was surprised by was the view that up until recently, research in the Library field has been poorly conducted. Ironic, right? As librarian we are there to help the patrons and the community when they need assistance with research, and yet we were failing ourselves by not using research effectively to move forward. On top of needing good research, we need to be able to conduct the research effectively. As someone who has done lots of research in the past for history classes, I only realize now (after reading the chapter and after taking 511) that I could be more effective as well and I'll be looking for a research methods class, or something similar, as I continue this program.

Haycock, K. & Sheldon, B. E. (Eds.). (2008). The Portable MLIS: Insights from the Experts. (locations 2609-2765 ). Westport, CT. Libraries Unlimited

How to Help Users Find a Good Book

How do you help users find a good book? To be honest, I hadn't really given this alot of thought before. I suppose that I assumed that books were recommended the same way I recommend books, meaning, that someone had read them before recommending them. It seems like a pretty obvious concept- read a book, love it, recommend it. I was amazed by all the different ways that librarians go about getting information about books and what went into the process. For me I think I would have trouble recommending a book I haven't read, but in the same vein, if a source I respected and trusted recommended the book, I think I'd be okay with passing the recommendation along.

I also liked thinking about how the set up of displays plays into it. I'm one of those patrons that can browse forever, be carrying stacks of books to the counter, and still pick up one more book if it's waiting for me on a display.

Once again- I've leaned how much I don't know about this field I've decided to go into!

Haycock, K. & Sheldon, B. E. (Eds.). (2008). The Portable MLIS: Insights from the Experts. (locations 2476- 2608 ). Westport, CT. Libraries Unlimited

Friday, July 16, 2010

Kindle Textbooks

Although not directly related to any of my coursework, I'm currently using a newer technology (innovation anyone?) that I want to talk about. Tada! The Kindle (feel free to ohh and ahh, I'll wait.)

I got my textbook on Kindle. Thank goodness I borrowed the Kindle, because as it turns out, this new technology is not for me! Beyond the fact that I find myself missing the feel and smell (yes, I said smell) of a real book, I'm also having trouble just using the Kindle. Obviously it is easy enough to use in term of reading, but I'm toatlly lost about what the heck those location numbers mean. Is it a paragraph number? When I'm sitting in class next week and the professor says "turn to page 65", what do I? I looked online and was given this equation for figuring out what page you are on:

"Current location divided by the number of location multiplied by the total number of pages in the book" (taken from the Kindle Discussion page on Amazon:

Pardon? So when the teacher says "Turn to page 65" I need to tap my neighbor on the shoulder, ask him politely how many pages the book has, get out the calculator and get to work determining what location number I need to be on. It seems a bit cumbersome to me.

Some other things I'm struggling with are jumping around in the book when I need to look back to recheck something. With my nice paperbook textbook, I simply fan the pages and look for my highlighting, or sticky notes (old school, right? I love a good sticky note) or note in the margin. It's fair to mention here that I LOVE taking notes, typing notes not so much, but actually getting the old five-star out and writing notes. So as I read my Kindle-book I'm taking notes (lots of notes), but if I want to double check my note I have to scroll around the book trying to remember where it was I saw something. Hate it. Absolutely hate it.

That's not to say the Kindle doesn't have it's place and it's advantages. The size of the thing is fantastic. I can tuck right in my purse, but I'm also in the habit of carrying around hardback books in there and occassionally a laptop, so size has never been a big concern for me. I also think that for reading a novel the Kindle might be wonderful. The idea that you can carry multiple books in the palm of your hand is great, although the perk of being able to purchase books from that same device might also be a curse.

It will be interesting to see how devices like the Kindle are integrated into the school community and how students, teachers and even publishing companies react. One place to look is a High School in Clearwater, FL which will, starting this fall, be losing the textbooks and going all Kindle. ( This could revolutionize how kids learn, and I certainly applaud the initiative. To give students the resources to learn in a way that is stimulating, effective and efficient is amazing. I'm pretty sure the fact that I love the idea of new technology, while at the same time refusing to use it, means I've somehow become a part of the older generation. It's kind of a terrifying thought!

For me, for now, I'm looking forward to ordering whatever books are assigned while I'm at SU. My sticky notes are waiting.

The Personal Side of Librarianship

The personal side of librarianship is the side that I love the most. When I was a kid the only way to use the library was to go to the library, which in my town was located in a small house on main street. If memory serves correctly, it didn't even encompass the entire house, I think the Historical Society had the top floor. I haven't been to that library in close to 15 years (give or take), but I can remember the layout and the way it felt to be in there. I remember the little cubby of a kids area, and how it felt like you were part of something when you were in there. I also remember the wonderful librarians who I quite honestly thought were some version of the fairy godmothers from Sleeping Beauty, because it seemed like whatevr I asked for they found as if magic.

Today, many people don't see the need for the librarian's help when finding information. Admittedly, for many years, I didn't feel like I needed one either. It was all there on the internet, or in many cases, at the bookstore. I think that what I look forward to is not just being that fairy godmother who finds the books, but also the person that can help you find anything, in any format. If you build the personal relationships with the patrons and the community, they will be able to come to you to get the answers they need because they know you will be there to help.

I can't wait to have those interactions and build those relationships with the community!
Source: Haycock, K., Sheldon, B. (Eds.) The Portable MLIS Insights From the Experts (locations 1990- 2321). Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.

Information Retrieval

Design- theres a word that covers a ton of topics! For this chapter we looksed at designing and evaluating information systems, something we all use (hello Google) but if you are like me, you don't give a whole lot of thought to. It was really interesting to read about how and why you create an information system.
I particularly liked that the chapter started out with a great analogy about how you organize your closet, and what that means. You organize your closet to best serve you as you get dressed each day. Information systems are essentially the same, you have to design them to best serve the clients who will utilize it. Instantly it made sense for me (I love good analogy).
I was particularly interested in the section on tagging, especially since the example used was flickr a photosharing platform which I use alot. When I began, tagging my images was a new concept. I tagged things pretty specifically. If the photo was my horse Paint, it was tagged Paint. I was tagging so I could find it later. As I joined groups on Flickr I began tagging for others with more general terms like horse and the group name. It was enlightning to see how this form of tagging (social tagging) related to other systems.
On a seperate, but related note, as I read more chapters I'm quickly realizing a few things. One- how much I don't know about the library profession. This has me both excited and slightly nervous! Two- how much of what I do in my normal real life is related to and can be applied to Library Science. I can't wait to see how everything fits together!
Haycock, K. & Sheldon, B. E. (Eds.). (2008). The Portable MLIS: Insights from the Experts. (locations 1748- 1989). Westport, CT. Libraries Unlimited

Reflections on Creating Informational Service Collection

Have you ever wondered where those books in your library come from? I always figured that there was alot of work put into what to get and how to get it, but this chapter was enlightning in that it really gave me an idea of how the process worked and what needed to be considered.

For me, the points I took away the most we that you need to be engaged in the community and the profession. Knowing what your patrons both want and need is what keeps them coming back. If they can't find what they are looking for, or they have a sense that you are not interested in getting it, will result in a loss of faith in the library. Being interested in what the public is looking for will create a relationship that extends beyond checking out a book. In addition to building relationships with community, you have to build relationships with vendors and the people who fund the library. These connections will benefit the library!

In addition to staying connected, I enjoyed hearing the thoughts about what to collect, especially as it refered to changing technology. The point that you have to weigh repurchasing books or music in new formats v. spending that money on new releases was interesting. It's a simple point, but one I hadn't really thought of. With all the changing technology it's impossible to keep an entire collection up to date, so you have to choose carefully and thoughfully what to buy.

There is a ton of different aspects to consider and I look forward to taking on and hopefully meetin the challenge if and when the opportunity comes!
Haycock, K. & Sheldon, B. E. (Eds.). (2008). The Portable MLIS: Insights from the Experts. (locations 1379-1551 ). Westport, CT. Libraries Unlimited

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Human Rights, Democracy & Librarians

As librarians we stand as guardians of knowledge. Anyone can walk through the door and learn. In Chapter 3 of The Portable MLIS we read about how what we do relates to human rights and democracy. To be honest, I was a little unsure on this chapter. It's always said never talk religion or politics, and I thought that we veered into politics a bit here.

A first we saw how librarians were nuetral, doing their job without neccessarily taking a stand on issues raging outside the library walls. However, when the fight began to come to them in the shape of banning books (like The Grapes of Wrath) and more recently with privacy issues including government entities looking for member information as it relates to security, librarians were left with the choice to do nothing or act. Which begs the question, do we, as librarians, have the responsibility to be a voice for human rights and social justice. I have varied thoughts on this.

In terms of banning books, I see it pretty clearly. All books have some sort of value and should be made available to the public. I don't much care if you think Harry Potter might make your child want to be a wizard, in fact I hope it does, becuase that means your child has an active imagination and a desire to read what is really a huge series of books. As a librarian I want to make sure that the public has the ability to gain whatever knowledge they are looking for.

Still, what if the knowledge they are looking for includes bomb building and floorplans for a public building? Yes, they have a right to come in and look. They even have the right to use a meeting room, or study desk or computer. Still, at some point the safety of my community, and their right to a safe environment has to outweigh the right of the individual who is looking to break the law. It's a fine line. I doubt the decision would come easy. There are only two outcomes, break the trust of the individual or break the trust of the community.

This also ties in with another issue, that of prejudice. You can't judge a person who enters the library on looks, race or religion. You have to be ready and willing to assist the public regardless of what they are looking for. This is one area in which librarians chose to take a stand during the civil rights movement. Jim Crow laws in the south still prevented African Americans from using the library, and this directly contridicted what the library stood for. Today the lines are less strictly drawn, but the attitudes and sentiments can still linger. It's up to us to create a safe and inviting environment for all patrons.

I will end with one last thought. The library as a nuetral means that it is a safe haven of sorts, but no place is free from the issues that exist around it. As librarians I think we have to be mindful of the political and social climate, while always remember it's the public we serve.
Haycock, K. & Sheldon, B. E. (Eds.). (2008). The Portable MLIS: Insights from the Experts. (locations 470-653 ). Westport, CT. Libraries Unlimited

Friday, July 9, 2010

Stepping Back and Looking Forward

For IST5111, we are using The Portable MLIS as a textbook and have assigned readings of several chapters. The first chapter of the book is Stepping Back and Looking Forward: Reflections on the Foundations of Libraries and Librarianship. This chapter really peaked my interest as someone who loves History. I really enjoyed taking the quick trip through the past as it highlighted the importance of libraries throughout history.

Starting with the Sumerians we saw how libraries have served many functions, and that these functions tend to come back around. A few quotes popped into my head: "everything that's old is new again" and "history is doomed to repeat itself". Both I think apply to libraries. Throughout history libraries existed within the trade market to collect and maintain commercial records, they functioned within the religious context to house religious writings, individuals maintained their own personal libraries, and beginnning with the great Alexandria Library served as a place for research and learning. Over the course of time these primary functioned repeated themselves depending on the core important beliefs of the time and place. Which brings us to the present and the mission of libraries today. The first modern library was in Boston, MA in the 1850's and it was open to all members of the public, managed by an elected board and was free to the public. Here we see the basis for the modern public library as we know it.

Artistic Rendering of "The Great Library of Alexandria." by O. Von Corven
from Tolzmann, Don Heinrich, Alfred Hessel and Reuben Peiss. The Memory of Mankind. New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press, 2001

Here a point was brought up that I'd like to talk about a little more. The common held belief is that the modern public library is there to allow learning and exploration for the individual, there was also a belief that the library, especially the early libraries, were used as a means to indoctrinate. In the 1800's and into the early 1900's there was a mass of immagrants coming into the United States, each bringing with them a culture and set of beliefs from their home country. The entered the US and by and large most settled into communities that were held together by a common culture (think of places like China Town and Little Italy in New York City). The proverbial melting pot wasn't neccesarily the way it worked out. The library then, which was open to everyone regardless of country of birth, could be used to idoctrinate the masses with strictly Americanized ideas. For instance, Andrew Carnegie, who funded multiple libraries was looking for a workforce with strong work values, and the library could be used as a route for imparting those values. This, I think, is an interesting concept to look at. Carnegie, in particular, by funding the library and having a hand in what was offered may have been able to effect what information was being imparted to the public, but is seems unlikely to me that you would be able to indoctrinate an entire population of immigrants in this way across the board. It is something I plan on looking into further though as time allows.

Old Wayland Town Hall, Massachusettes. One room was set aside as a library, becoming the first public library. Historic Building of Massachusettes (

This brings us firmly into the present and forces us to look into the future. Today, the library combines the functions of the past as we serve the community. In the second half of the chapter we looked at the ALA and the function of the librarian. We saw how libraries hold four core beliefs that are to be upheld. They are: The belief in intellectual freedom, the belief in service and the public good, the belief in education and the belief in the value of the past.

One topic that was briefly brought up when looking at the belief of intellectual freedom was the rights of young people in the digital age. Beyond the idea of banning books, librarians are also sometimes asked to restrict the access younger patrons have in order to protect them from harmful and objectionable materials. This is a tricky subject, and one that I have a strong point of view on, and even I waver sometimes. It's my opinion that you should have access to everything. This comes from being raised in a family where if there was a book I wanted to read, regardless of reading level, I was allowed to read it. This resulted in my reading of several books that were probably innapropriate (my usual example is Jean M. Auel's Clan of the Cave Bear series, which I read at 12, and from which I learned alot about the birds and the bees). However, it's my belief that every book has value and that you can learn something, so to restrict access to those is unfortunate. My thoughts generally carry over to the internet, but only to a certain extent. The thing that gives me pause is porn. In some cases schools put a search block on certain terms because they can yield results that are pornographic in nature, but those blocks can also result in the restricted access to educational sites, including medical sites that discuss anatomy. So what do you do? It would be time consuming and in the end impossible to try and block every porn site out there, and to blanket block using search terms would result in legitimate educational sites being restricted as well. I fall on the side of leaving everything open, and doing your best to keep an eye out for innapropriate use of the libraries computers. In the end, it's the parents job to give permission as to what a child is allowed to do.

The conclusion asked a series of questions and most looked at what role the library will play in the increased digital age. One question in specific caught my eye. Looking at young adults again, how will libraries be able to compete with the internet? I don't think it needs to. I think that you have to meet the kids where they are, and right now they are on the internet. I'll admit, that until last year, I was not a library person. I was a book person, and I read all the time, but I did not frequent the library, which is located convieniently 3 blocks away. I didn't really see the use, I could get what I wanted from the book store, or Amazon or from online, and it was only the fact that I was going quickly book-poor that I turned to the library, and quickly realized what I was missing out on. For teens, the instant access to the computer is invaluable. They are pulled in a million different directions with school, and sports and other extracurriculars, the time to go to the library is slim, especially if they have to get a ride, etc. I love working with teens and with Young Adult books, and I hope to go into that field at a public library when I graduate. I think that even though it is time consuming, creating facebook pages, a blog, newsletter and planning events to specifically reach teens is invaluable. You do what you can to get them interested, keep them interested, get them in the door and keep them coming back. You can use non-book related events, like dance classes, or author chats and contests to get them interested. By meeting them where they are, you can keep them connected and keep the library in their minds a place to go, even if it is only online.

Marcellus Free Library- Children's area- making reading fun for kids

Overall, this chapter covered alot of ground and gave me lots of food for thought. I finished it wanted to look into some topics in more detail, and thinking about the future of libraries in general.


Haycock, K. & Sheldon, B. E. (Eds.). (2008). The Portable MLIS: Insights from the Experts. (locations 175-347 ). Westport, CT. Libraries Unlimited

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Social Networking in Libraries

When I was a child the only way to get a book was to either walk to the local library or get a ride to the bookstore. Today the choices are exponential; the Internet allows you to order books and have them arrive a few short days later at your doorstep, ready to be devoured. With the advent of products like the Nook and Kindle, waiting has become a thing of the past. Simply head to the web, download the book and voila, there it is, encapsulated in a hand held device. In fact, your entire library can be carried around in the palm of your hand. So where does that leave the public library, it's rooms filled with shelves of hardbound books just waiting for a hand to reach up, open them, and read?

Libraries are essential, and librarians are a wealth of information and knowledge that shouldn't be overlooked. The public library offers resources that reach beyond the simple borrowing of books. They are a place for the community to gather, they provide services like tutoring, computer access and read-aloud time for children. The resources that the library provides should be enhanced by new technologies, rather then compete with new technologies. What libraries need to do now is strive to stay current, stay relevant and reach their audience in new and innovative ways. So, in this ever expanding digital age, what can libraries and librarians do?

Book Blogs: A daily or even weekly blog can keep members apprised of what's happening at the library. New books that come in can be reviewed and events that are being held at the library can be announced. A calendar can be updated to allow patron's to keep current with the library's schedule. Podcasts/Webcasts: The library is not just about reading. The idea is to get the information out to as many people as possible, so why be limited in how we do it? A great way to reach out is through podcasts and webcasts. With people carrying computers around with them as well as using devices like the Zune or Ipod, they can take follow what's new at the library through podcasts and webcasts. Book of the Month Clubs: In the past these types groups had to meet at the library. To be honest, this may not be a realistic expectation anymore. People are busy, and don't always have time to meet at the library. Again, the internet can create a community that is just as active (if not more) and will allow more people to participate. I currently sit as a moderator for the Eve's Fan Garden Book of the Month club. Through the website we are able to reach participating members across the world, effectively creating an international community of book lovers. By using the online medium, perhaps directly attached to the library's blog, more people can participate in book of the month clubs, or other groups that the library creates. By combining these with more traditional mediums, like a bulletin board or newsletter, libraries can reach more people and get more of the public involved.

Overall, I think that there are a variety of ways in which librarians and libraries can use technological innovations to reach out and involve their communities. As the technology in the public domain evolves, so must the technology of our libraries. Libraries are a integral part of the community. In order to stay relevant the library of the future must assume a leadership position in this digital age. By using technology tools like book blog and vlogs, virtual author tours, social networks such as Facebook, smart boards and skype, libraries can take their first steps towards assuming that leadership position.

About the Author

To start off- my name is Kate Taddeo. I'm born and raised here in Syracuse although I love to travel, especially to Wyoming and Colorado. I have one kiddo, and having her prompted me to take a good look at what kind of life I really wanted, for the entire family. So now I'm going back to school to get my Library and Information Science degree at Syracuse University. I anticipate that it will be stressful and difficult at times, but the reward is a big one. The chance to work in a field that deals with something I really love, books.

Books have always been the constant in my life. No matter where I've been, or what particular hobbies I've taken up, books have always been there. I have a library in my house that contains every books I've ever owned, I don't throw them away and rarely will I loan them out. Each book is a memory that I want to be able to revisit if the mood strikes. As to why I've decided to go back to school now, well, I realized that you have to do something you love. Working in an office was just not doing it for me. Then I got involved in a wonderful group online, Eve's Fan Garden, and became a moderator for their Book of the Month Club. We work mostly with young adult books, and let me tell you, there are some absolutely amazing YA books out there right now. Suddenly I was reading all these fabulous books, working with amazing authors and publishers, and connecting with other book lovers through chats, contests and discussion boards. I also have a personal book blog (A Reader's Ramblings) where I review all the books I read, including the one's that don't fall into the genre's covered by Eve's Fan Garden. Through these sites I had suddenly and quite unexpectedly found my passion. The next logical step was to figure out how to incorporate this into a career.

So here I am, graduate student at Syracuse University. Ready to embark upon the next chapter if you will. I'll be posting to this blog about how school is going, my classes, my assignments and the library world outside the halls of SU. I hope you enjoy.