Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The End...

Or is it really just the beginning? So much was introduced during these 23 Things Computer Technology journey that some of it still needs to be absorbed by yours truly. I can appreciate all this technology, really I can. And, I think I can be better able to help our library customers, if in no other way than that I know where to find the technology information (and the instructions on how to use it) that they need and desire. And, by using all this information as much as I can with customers and with myself, I might just get to the point where some of it will come naturally to me. That's where and when it will be the most useful. I am not sure, however, about all the extra steps to store websites and lists such as Technerati, RollyO, etc. Can't I just keep them on my computer tool bar or/and in my Favorites? For genealogy and other possible "group" sites where people share information, there are some great tools to use. How about a Family Reunion on YouTube or a podcast? And, yes, audiobooks can be really fun to listen to, but, not while I am driving!


I like a real book to have and to hold and to read. If I am driving and listening to an audiobook, I get distracted from the road and traffic trying to listen to the story, and I am suddenly driving 90 miles an hour or weaving or something worse. There are some audiobooks that are done by fantastic readers (i.e. Harry Potter), which I would listen to at home while doing chores. I do prefer to listen to rousing music while doing chores and homework. But, when I get my own MP3 player, I will practice downloading books. To have all these choices of books for free or nearly free is really a fantastic thing. It's like having your own personal library with which to pick and chose whatever and whenever and however you feel.


Okay, so I visited YouTube and was completely overwhelmed by the choices. You could play on that site forever! Most of it looked pretty awful, especially the warped news, politics and entertainment. Some of it was just plain sicko! That said, I did find my daughter Anne on an indoor drumline Rhythm X video which she participated in while at college... (I think she posted it on her blog.) I also found something very entertaining: the old television series Get Smart with Don Adams. As a library tool, well, there is that thing about accuracy.... YouTube could be a great teaching tool breaking down that four walls and a classroom thing, but can education be entertaining and accurate at the same time. And, any snapshot of life on YouTube is just that, a snapshot....a quick and simple look at something. And, lots of what we really need in life is more than just a snapshot.

Podcasts always make me think of those awful Al Queda videos of hostages being forced to say things they would never, ever say just to stay alive. even has that kind of picture on its homepage tonight! My younger daughter Sarah is a vegan and has been listening to Vegan Freak Radio for years. It's really "out there" and I am not at all sure that is a good thing.... Hardcore History sounded fun and needs more investigation. I would love to hear and see History Detectives have a podcast!

Zoho Writer Blog

    Blog Entry from Zoho Writer

     This is my latest Blog using Zoho Writer technology.  I could get fancy and try to create a trip itinerary or something.  I did find the new Mapquest useful with its "moving blue line" to create alternate driving  I did not find the Trip Itinerary Template very easy to use;  I need to spend more quality time with it and be much more creative.

       All this new technology could be really useful, if I paste them into my Favorites on my home computer and played and played and played....  Unfortunately, it won't clean my house or make meals.


Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Blogging and Library Buildings

Modern Libraries are already into that "next generation", but I am not sure I will ever have the confidence to be there, too. Luckily, our main mission as a library is still to provide customer service and accurate and complete answers. This is true on any level, and, there are still a lot of people (more than want to admit it) that know little to none about modern technology i.e. computers, blogs, youtube, RSS feeds, etc. These people still want to "play" with computers and have a living, breathing person, help them. It's these same people who want a live person at their bank, a live person on the other end of the telephone line to help them, a live person to talk with at the grocery store.

Now as technology becomes more and more available and universally understandable, librarians and libraries do need to try to stay "one step ahead" just to be a "living, breathing" source of information. That's where I am not sure I can truly be that answer person. The Library wiki that Whiteford and Norrisville created for computer troubleshooting is absolutely wonderful. These are the kinds of things that need to be on every Reference Desk Favorites to pull down and use quickly and efficiently. Instead of cumbersome notebooks with computer troubleshooting directions and master calendars, booklists, and other such things, these information goldmines should be available (and updated) on our reference computers' favorites just like many branches have started to do with other universal necessities.

Blogs and LibraryThings and such are really useful, too. They are, however, particular to the person who creates them. They may not produce the desired results quickly enough to answer customer quieries and reading advisories. Saying that, they are fun and keep us communicating with one another everywhere in the world for a pretty modest pricetag.

I still worry that all this computer technology will keep us isolated and not talking face to face with the person sitting next to us, our neighbors next door, people we encounter daily. Yes, we "communicate" with others on Blogs, Facebooks, MySpace, etc., but we never have to leave our computers or our chairs. Never say never, but are library buildings going to be nothing but shells to house computers? I can't get the hang of "reading a book" on a handheld device. (I am feeling very old, too.)

Today and in the future, technology is changing so, so quickly. It is for the young and fearless. But, will all this knowledge, the news, the Blogs, the quick answers, the wikis, etc. keep us honest and objective, keep us fair and balanced? Will humanity "create" their own personalities from the safety of that anonymous chair? This is all too 1984, but sitting in a hotel in Washington, D.C. on a computer in the lobby of a hotel surrounded by buildings and underground shopping centers, well, that's the spooky feeling I am getting.

Librarians are honest and personable! Yeah!!! to these traits.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Time Travel through the Stones....

Wouldn't it be the most fantastic vacation to (temporarily) time travel through the stones of Stonehenge and visit all your dreams? Maybe even find some long lost answers to your family genealogy?
No airplanes to worry about...
Agent 99 is raring to go.....

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

My Librarian Card: the path to Pismo Beach, California

My daughter just posted HER librarian trading card, so I had to do mine, too. Anne's a techno wizard; I am not.
If you ever get to California, go to Pismo Beach. It is the best beach in California. This is the staircase from our hotel to the beach. It's a long and winding way down, but so worth it.
Beaches in California are used year-round. They rarely become overly clogged with humanity. They are perfect for walking, building sandcastles, reading a book, or playing in the water. Do take a good sunscreen!