Leap Day fun

February 29, 2008

A library must be useful but it ought to have a sense of humor as well. We want people to be happy to see us. That goes for our online presence, too.

This has nothing to do with libraries, mind you, but I’d love to see a library website fall apart like this retailer’s website in the Netherlands. Kudos to Hema [here is their normal website] for letting customers in on a little fun.

Over the years I’ve done a lot of goofy things on our intranet (mirror-imaged the home page, turned the “staff”web into a disease-ridden “staph”web, etc.) but we’ve been pretty tame on the public side.  Has your library website had fun?

Childhood flyover

January 16, 2008

It always happens. Every time I open Google Earth to check something, I wander and end up in another part of the world. This evening I wound up “flying” over the little German town of Herbitzheim where my family lived when I was seven years old.

My dad was in the Air Force at the time and he found a rental in the Alsace countryside near the French border. Looking at it now, I’m amazed how little things seem to have changed since then. Our house, marked with the red arrow, is still surrounded by an orchard. (I remember throwing pears and apples … and stepping in rotted fruit.) The home of my sister’s friend Rosie is visible, too.

I can also see the triangular block in the center of town where we caught the school bus, the little grocery store where I bought my first gummi bears (Gummibären) for a few pfennigs, and the big sportsplatz down Mozartstraße where German kids watched my brothers and I hit baseballs on the soccer field.

I dug around for related ground photos and business names, too. (My gummi bear store is now known as Edeka Irmagard Rabung, by the way.) Finally, using the topography tool, I did what I always do in Google Earth: I slanted the satellite image to swoop down and fly around. The virtual 3D photo at left includes Rubenheim, the neighboring town in the distance where our landlord’s friendly groundskeeper Oswald lived.

I’ve been using Google Earth for two years, but I’m still blown away by the stuff technology allows us to do these days. Flying over my little childhood village this evening was a treat. Have you zoomed in on any of your old neighborhoods?

Winter reading

January 11, 2008

No, that isn’t a woman reading to a child, but it sure looked like it when I came upon this snow-covered tree in the woods near Mt Rainier last week. The “woman” even has a ponytail.

Maybe it’s just a case of nature supporting literacy.

Patron T-shirt

January 6, 2008

What every library patron should have written on their T-shirt:

[This came to mind as I was thinking about having librarians as friends within social networks.]

Social Crosswords Made Easy

December 5, 2007

Alex Byrne, Youth Services librarian at the University Place Library (WA), decided to tape a crossword puzzle and a pencil to the wall. Anyone is welcome to add a word if they know one, turning this into a social crossword puzzle. How simple!

He plans to add a magnetic chessboard to the wall, too. Teens might enjoy the novelty of playing chess on the wall.

Not all collaboration has to be online, but offering fun ways to participate at the library — that’s cool!