The Dutch Librarians’ Show

April 8, 2008

Day Two of the Computers in Libraries conference kicked off this morning with an enjoyable keynote speech* from three traveling Dutch librarians, Erik, Geert and Jaap. Well, keynote is a bit misleading. It was more like a improv talk show conducted in their living room.

I first learned about them and their project last year in the blogs and photostreams of my Flickr friends. I was very happy to see their show today and meet them later. The gist of their American story began last spring when they rented a motor home and traveled America making a very entertaining film about the future of libraries. From New York to North Carolina to Nebraska to California they interviewed people on the street and librarians in their workplaces about the profession, the challenges, and the future. Cleanly edited and mixed with music, the result is slick, insightful, and spiced with humor.

Moreover, it’s good storytelling. “If books go away, what will be left?” they asked at one point. Later, in what could have easily been an answer, they said a library’s “most important collection is the people.” It was fitting that people — not the books or the technology — made up the bulk of their film.

Another wonderful line from the film was uttered by Michael Stephens of Dominican University. Asked what libraries will do for people in the future, Michael said the library “will encourage my heart.” One of his students gave a description of library openness and access that is simply too long to transcribe here but (trust me) it was terrific.

Back on the stage between clips, Erik, Geert and Jaap hosted a few audience members on their couch, offered them cookies and water, and conducted live interviews to carry on the conversation from the film. Laptops; cameras; a fish bowl; assorted coffee table clutter. It was a very casual affair to say the least. Engaging. Fun. Participatory. In my mind, it was exactly what libraries of the future should be. I loved it.

BTW: There was plenty more to tell about the day, but that’s all the energy I’ve got tonight. More later…


The Pssst! Tab

April 1, 2008


I found this Pssst! tab in the Options menu pop up of some of our new office software (with Service Pack 4.1). That “Fix all PC problems” checkbox works like a charm. A few other settings are particularly tempting.  These tools are usually reserved for system administrators only, so it was probably distributed to a wider audience by mistake.  Oh well.

I made a short tutorial screencast for our staff but wanted to share at least this image with all of you.


Nominate Your Own Deadly Sins

March 11, 2008

You might find me advocating interactive social media morning ’til night, but even I realize you can take it too far.

NEWS ITEM: After warning against the Seven Deadly Sins for 1500 years, the Vatican announced Monday to append seven new deadly sins. Hmm.

Last night I read an online article in the Sydney Morning Herald. The accompanying interactive gadget (shown here) was just too much. I couldn’t keep a straight face. “Nominate your deadly sins”? Are we ready for wiki theology?


Fun with barcodes

January 23, 2008

We in the library biz use barcodes to track our collections all the time. We still make mistakes sometimes, but we wouldn’t be efficient without them. So I’m sympathetic to the folks at the postal services in two different countries who accidentally delivered our package to Dalmeny, Saskatchewan after it was sent from North Carolina. It was supposed to go to Puyallup, WA – 1,100 miles away from Dalmeny – but someone slapped the wrong barcode on the label. In this case it took a human eye to catch the human error, while the automation in between dutifully routed it across the border.


Clean Technology

November 21, 2007

John Blyberg started this meme with his MacBook in a Maytag shot. When Pollyalida responded, it made me realize that I had a laptop, an iPod, and a cell phone that needed a little rinse, too. The camera? Oh yeah. Let me toss that in now before the detergent cycle starts up.

:)


The Major-General sings Library 2.0

November 18, 2007

To the tune of “The Major-General’s Song”
With apologies to Gilbert & Sullivan… and you… :)

I advocate creation of a social network library,
Dispense with thoughts a-plenty in my blog much like a diary,
And show how common MySpace is, it dominates the territ’ry
‘Cuz people like to share their lives; it’s really quite extraordin’ry.

I upload pix of our events on a communal Flickr page,
And make it easy to YouTube; that latest clip is all the rage.
Encourage interaction for our young and old of any age,
Makes working here as fun as anything they do at Cam-ba-ridge.

I recommend Delicious, Facebook, wikis, Ning, and R-S-S,
Use tag clouds, gaming, apps and widgets, and I twitter to excess.
It matters that our patrons are involved with our transparency.
I advocate creation of a social network library.


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