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ALA – Are You Going ?

June 20, 2007

Well I just arrived in D.C. this afternoon. I’m here super early, as I’m helping with my company’s booth setup. There is so much that needs to be done by end of setup on Friday. But Ultimate Frisbee legend Steve Atno has returned to lead our crew again, as he did at ACRL in Baltimore, so I think we’ll be ok.

I don’t have the official conference program yet, but I’ve been looking over the preliminary list of sessions and gatherings and trying to figure out what I can attend. I’m kind of “on call” just in case there are technical issues in the booth once the conference starts, so my plans are tentative. I’d like to get to the NMRT Meet & Greet on Friday night, the NMRT Student Reception on Sunday night, and the San Jose State SLIS reception on Monday night. I’m on NMRT’s SASCO committee for the coming year and there’ll be a committee meeting on Saturday morning that I hope to attend also.

I’m also hoping that some of the nice folks on the LIS Students group on Ning will be here. If you’re an MLS student and haven’t already joined this group on Ning by the way, please do so. Karin Dalziel has done a super job setting this up for everyone and she puts a lot of time into this site. You can check out the site here if you like.

Please comment if you’re planning on attending and what your itinerary is. Hope to catch some of you here in D.C. !

Your Well Read Life

June 7, 2007

I recently finished a book by Steve Leveen called “The Little Guide to Your Well-Read Life“. I mainly picked it up because I’m always looking for tips on how to retain more of what I read, which is not an easy task these days. Between newspapers, blogs, coursework, and books for enjoyment, there’s a lot to take in.

Anyway, Mr. Leveen also mentions that we should all have a Library of Candidates – a good supply of books on hand, so if you ever get “hungry” for a book, it’s there waiting for you. Now I have some really good libraries near me, so unless I’m snowed in, or everything is closed, this isn’t a major problem for me. But yet I still go to a good amount of library booksales and regularly scour Amazon for subjects I’m interested in. For me, it’s usually something on sports or U.S. history. I’m never quite sure what I’m looking for, but usually I know it when I find it.

Are any of you like this ? Do you accumulate books that you may or may not get around to reading, just so that you always have something to skim or read a bit from ? Is there something staring back at you from the shelf that you’ve been waiting to read forever ?

What’s in your “Library of Candidates” ?

A Passion For Libraries

May 27, 2007

I’ve been spending a good part of this morning browsing iTunes to fill up the iPod for the four hours or so I’ll be spending driving over the next couple of days. I’m about to make the two-hour trip to upstate NY to see my future in-laws (my fiancee is already up there for her bridal shower).  While browsing, I came across a recent podcast on PRI’s Open Source that’s called “Passion: Libraries”. The host, Christopher Lydon, interviews several library directors from across the U.S. and Canada, and gets them to talk about their own libraries and what got them hooked on libraries to begin with. I was most interested in the interview with Amanda McKeraghan, Director of the Stevens County Rural Library District. She mentions how much territory the district covers – about 140 miles, or as she points out “twice the size of Rhode Island”. But none of the towns in the district have a population of over 5,000, and some of the branches are quite small, about 800 square feet or so. Yet there is widespread wi-fi access throughout the branches in the district, and they have developed a wiki that’s not just for library events, but for all county info and happenings as well. She also talked about how the library can make meaningful recommendations to their patrons for reading lists, since they get to know so many of them on a first-name basis.

Anyway, give it a listen. You can find the podcast and blog (with over 90 comments so far) here.

“Getting personal with Google”

May 24, 2007

Google is stepping up their efforts to personalize our search experiences.

What’s your take on this ?

Summer Course – 9 days, half over

May 22, 2007

Today marks the 9th day of my online “Maymester” course at UNT in Technical Services, and the halfway point. It’s really flying by. There’s such a different feel to this course than the other online ones I’ve taken. With this compressed time period, it feels like I should always be reading or doing something for the course. But the workload has really been fair. I still have two more lecture units to read, two more unit discussion boards and the short research paper to finish by next Thursday the 31st.

I definitely have learned a great deal about the technical services side of libraries: firm orders, claims, subscription agents, etc. Most of my classmates are already working in libraries or seem to have an extensive background in technical services. I’ve enjoyed their postings and have picked up a lot just by listening (or reading, I should say). 

By the way, our next unit deals with cataloging. It’s more of a brief introduction and overview than a how-to. Have any of you taken your cataloging course online ? I’ve seen quite a bit about how much different, and at times difficult, it is to take cataloging online instead of face-to-face. Cataloging is an elective at SJSU, but I’m planning on taking it down the road. Just wondering your experiences with it…

Anyway, back to some more reading…. 

How Do You Keep Up ?

May 15, 2007

If you haven’t seen this already, Emily at Library Revolution had a great post a couple of weeks back on her discussion with a library friend of hers about keeping up. Emily’s friend mentioned that because of the responsibilities of her own job, she didn’t have the time to stay on top of the latest in technology and library land.

There’s been a lot written lately about this topic. And that got me thinking about the ways each of us keep up, particularly those of us who are library students. What I’m wondering is this…

  1. How do you find the time to juggle all of your required readings and coursework with “keeping up” reading on various blogs, professional sites, etc. ? What specific tools (RSS readers, etc.) are you using to do this ?
  2. What percentage of your “keeping up” is library-related compared with other areas, like education, technology, and general news ?
  3. How much time do you spend in a typical day to “keep up” ?

As Nicole mentioned in her post over at What I Learned Today…,

The fact is that we can’t afford not to keep up – there is way too much happening and living in a bubble is not going to benefit our patrons – or our profession!

I think Nicole summed it up beautifully. So…how do you keep up ?

Summer Course in Technical Services

May 14, 2007

Considering the slow pace that I’m taking courses in my MLS program, I’ve been looking for a summer class to take and finally found one. I should back up and say that I was hoping to take a summer class this year at San Jose State (where I’m enrolled) but there is a very important event that’s happening right in the middle of their summer session……my wedding 🙂 I don’t think my fiancee would like me writing a research paper in the middle of our wedding reception, so I decided to investigate other options.

After clearing it with my advisor at SJSU, I decided to enroll in a three-week intensive course at the University of North Texas during what they call their “Maymester” session. The class is titled “Technical Services in Libraries and Information Centers”. It starts today and runs through May 31. After looking at the syllabus, the workload seems pretty fair. There are four units to the course, each with a timed quiz and several discussion board postings, plus a short research paper on a hypothetical managerial issue in technical services. It’ll be a good amount of work, but I think it’s manageable. I started some of the course readings today and plan on posting to the DBs today or tomorrow. I know with a class like this, you have to keep up with everything every day. I’m looking forward to it, as I don’t know much about technical services. Plus I’ll be able to transfer the credits back to SJSU if all goes well. Anyway, more to come….