Thursday, May 31, 2007

A Big Welcome to New SLL 2.0 Users!

This is just my welcome to new folks starting the journey today or very soon.
  • School Library Learning 2.0 runs from June 1-September 1, 2007.
  • The URL is
  • I have been through the course as a "test driver" and it's been a real learning experience--one of the best professional development experience I've had in a long time.
  • California School Library Association (CSLA) members who have been through the course (including me) will "cheer on" participants who are taking the course over the summer. We really want you to succeed and cheering and otherwise encouraging one another along the way is a key part of the "summer 2.0 fun" experience.
  • School Library Learning 2.0 is the first and only learning 2.0 program designed especially for K12 library folks and with California Curriculum Connections.
  • School Library Learning 2.0 is the first and only learning 2.0 program that includes avatars. Why? Because in addition to it being fun, school teacher-librarians and their colleagues need to model safe Internet behavior to students--student photos and glamor shots don't belong on blogs for the whole wide world to see!
  • School Library Learning 2.0 participants can also get academic credit (2 units)--a nice incentive for teacher-librarians and other teachers. The link to Fresno Pacific University's Continuing Education registration site is now available. See and go to the "About" section for details.
  • I encourage you to take a look at my blog and those maintained by other test drivers to see what we were able to accomplish in our nine weeks. It's been a great deal of fun and I am planning on keeping my blog going. After all, with things moving at the pace they have been we really cannot afford to ever stop learning.
  • And finally, I hope by the end of the nine weeks you'll see just how wonderful belonging to a learning community can be!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Teacher's new blog

I had a bit of a success story today when the architectural design teacher came to me with a request for some information for his students about sustainable architecture. It seems the students are analyzing their projects for the use of green or sustainable technologies and he wanted to give them a head start by pointing them to some resources. After discussing the assignment a bit, I suggested that maybe a wiki or a blog would be appropriate. While I think in the longer term a wiki might be the better approach, my confidence with setting one up is not as great as my blog experience so I told him I'd set up a blog where students could, through comments, make statements about their projects.
He left and I was very shortly able to set up a blog called RHS Sustainable Architecture on Blogger. I added some links so that kids could immediately have a starting place for their investigation.
The proof, of course, will be in the pudding. I'm looking forward to seeing whether he encourages them to add their comments and how many will take advantage of the blog.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Why the OPAC sucks

The three previous posts were added from another blog where Karen Schneider has conveniently listed all the reasons she thinks OPACs suck. I happen to agree that they suck but it will take me some time to go though her reasons and see exactly what she's thinking.
In the meantime I am still in the process of getting AquaBrowser installed at school and will let everyone know when it's available. I'm not only installing AB but my tech has also set up a new server for the library which I will be able to use for library wikis, etc. Sometime next year I'm expecting the district to migrate to Follett's Destiny and the whole shebang will move to a server at the district office. I do feel I'm pushing the boundaries but that's nothing new.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The end!? (Week 9, Thing #23)

Well, this is it. I must say I'm disappointed to reach the end. I'm already looking forward to Library Learning 3.0
Some thoughts:
What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey? I would have to say that so far the most useful tool I discovered is LibraryThing. I have to confess that I had already discovered it and was beginning to use it at home when the assignment came up but the assignment gave me some ideas for school related uses and I took the time to do more exploring of the site. But there were so many "things" that were fun and interesting and useful that I will certainly keep exploring.
How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals?
I've been a librarian since 1974 and it's never been as exciting a profession as it is right now. I have no idea where we're ultimately headed but I'm looking forward to continuing to learn and grow in retirement when it eventually comes in the next few years. It's wonderful that I won't have to give up my connection to this wonderful field even if I'm living halfway around the world.
Were there any take-a-ways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?
There were many things I had heard of but not explored but in general I think I was ready for what came in the sense that the world of the Internet has become so intertwined with the world of work and leisure in my life that I'm eager to see what's just around the corner. I was surprised by the range and depth of the experiences provided by School Library Learning 2.0. Whoever set this up really did their homework.
What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept?
I can't think of anything right now except to keep exploring and finding new things to add.
If we offered another discovery program like this in the future, would you choose to participate?
How would you describe your learning experience in ONE WORD or in ONE SENTENCE, so we could use your words to promote CSLA learning activities?
"I was surprised by the range and depth of the experiences provided by School Library Learning 2.0. Whoever set this up really did their homework."
A big thanks to the School Library Learning team and the folks at the Charlotte and Mecklenburg County Library system for this wonderful experience.

eBooks, etc (Week 9, Thing #22)

Well, I'm almost through this experience.

I tried to download some audiobooks using a couple different sites. My main reaction is that we have to perfect the technology before this is widely used (I need to get a new computer which I'm in the process of doing!) In general, it takes too long to download the books and there is no standard technology yet. I'm still looking into audiobook services offered through Califa, the California state library consortium. I know they offer special rates on subscriptions to eBooks but when I last looked the emphasis was still too much on recent best-sellers. I am more than happy to look up a title for a student (and hopefully encourage them to do the same on their own) to see if it's available through the public library system.

I'm also still a skeptic about textual eBooks (pdf or html). Next year I am going to have a school subscription to Questia which includes thousands of eBooks and I'm going to be able to get a better sense of how students use the texts. My hypothesis is that they will use eBooks in much the same way they use print books, taking snippets of information from here or there in a book. Of course, they can't really cut-and-paste with print materials.

BTW, speaking of really useful materials, we have so many e-materials available these days that the challenge is, like with everything we do, getting the info into the user's "hands." That's why I catalog every issue of CQ Researcher, every issue of Congressional digest and its siblings. The kids find them doing keyword or subject searches in the catalog and then are able to log on to the database and find the article online. A tremendous resource but it won't "sell" itself!

Last post coming!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Video and podcast exploration (Week 9, #s 20-21)

I already posted a video to this blog (see April 17th) but I haven't seen anything yet that I'd want to put on my web page. I just found a site which gives awards to the best slide show presentation (can't find the the link just now!?) and emailed a link to one of the shows about sustainable development to my ecology teacher. We are celebrating sustainable development week at Redwood and I thought he might enjoy it.
I also found an interesting podcast by a librarian--sort of like a weekly radio show--which I though I might listen to regularly I RSS-ed to my Google homepage so I'll be reminded to listen in when something new is posted. On that note I also made a tab on my Google homepage just for RSS feeds. I don't like the aggregator because too much comes across and it's hard to keep up. I find that if I just have a feed for each blog or ... it's easier to see something new. I probably have about ten that I regularly follow now. And I have to admit I'm a bit addicted to the Mr Nice Guy Show!

Online applications and tools (Week 8, #18-19)

Here's my test document on Zoho.
I'm giving this a try to see how easy it is to use.
The first thing I notice is how small the little icons are. I solved that by using CTRL -+. It works.
I'll do a little formatting here.
How nice. Unlike Word it doesn't keep the formatting when you move to the next line!
ooo It doesn't automatically add a space between paragraphs which I don't like (an annoying trait of Word)
Spell check seems to work OK.
special character insertion βββΩ♥

As a follow up to my LibraryThing widget, I've now got 100 items added to the list of new books. Check it out form the library's home page.
Bessie Chin Library laughing

Monday, May 14, 2007

Wikis (Week 7; #s 16-17)

Well finally to wikis.
I've used wikis for a long time and even set one up on PBwiki thinking I would use it for library instruction. As with so many things (including Bessie's Blog) I find I don't have the time to work on it. I've looked at some of the examples of school library wikis provided in the lessons and some look kind of intriguing although many seem to show the problem people have distinguishing wikis and blogs. It's a problem I have myself although conceptually I think I can tell them apart.
I recently asked my district's tech director if he couldn't download MediaWiki software (the software that runs Wikipedia) and it turns out we already had it on one of district's servers. Not much there though, just some guides to choosing an LCD projector. I tried setting up a page and right away ran into a problem (Whenever they say something is easy or fool-proof just let me at it--I'll show them how easy it is to mess up and just how easy it is to make fool of oneself. ;>)
The best tool I saw among the examples was the subject guides put uo by the St. Joseph County Public Library system. They were well done and seemed easy to use. I think I'd be willing to give something like those for my library web site.
I'm also thinking that a wiki could be used for bibliographies I've developed over the years of books in different genres. Once again time is the enemy. Moving something form one medium to another is takes time. I'm really looking forward to getting AquaBrowser up and running and seeing what could be done to develop lists (tagging--back to Week 6) of read-alikes, etc.
Aha, I just though of something that might be wiki-able. I need to publish the summer reading list soon and maybe instead of just doing a web page I could do a wiki. I'm also working on a list of books that have been approved by the Board of Trustees for use in the various English classes. That might be worth wiki-ing as well.
Keep posted.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

LibraryThing on my website (Week 8, #19)

I did go ahead and add a LibraryThing widget to the library home page. It's still a work in progress. I tried experimenting with book covers but found that some books didn't have covers and came up with the little icon that indicates a nonexistent graphic file. I didn't like that. There is an option to only show books with a cover picture but it hasn't worked properly yet. So for now I just have the titles listed (only 4 currently because I don't want the list to go off the screen). I have a link to the whole list right at the top of the box, however, so the user can just click on that. I also see that by clicking on the "D" format once you get to the LibraryThing page you can order the materials by the date they were added which might be useful. Unfortunately there's no way you can know that except by experimenting. Perhaps I can find a way of making that the default. I just haven't found it yet.
I also started adding tags to the titles. It takes a little time but in the long run I think it could be useful.
Another really neat thing about LT is that if you click on the title of the work it takes you to a page which shows similar items (based, I assume on tagging) and if you click on the cover picture it takes you to That's useful for us because we've been adding a link to Amazon for every book we have in our library and this just gives us a slightly easier way to find the record for a particular book.
Interactive, collaborative, powerful!!!!! Library 2.0

Monday, May 7, 2007

New library materials using LibraryThing

I just got my widget up that shows new materials in the library using LibraryThing. Originally I had trouble because the site was blocked as a social networking forum. I got my tech director to unblock it which was relatively easy to do.
I set up an account for my library (setting up an account on LibraryThing is extremely (too?) easy). It's also easy to add items to to the list especially using the bar code reader at my desk.
I also put a link on my library newsletter in the place where I usually, painstakingly, add new titles one-by-one. Users will now just click on the link to LibraryThing to get to the BCL list.
I'm also going to put a link on the library home page and the catalog home page.
At some point I may be able to add a widget to the home page but until I look at the layout and figure where it will go I'm going to hold off. I do like the fact that you can show book covers just for the graphic interest it can create.
I'm not going to add tags right away, partly because it takes time which I don't have. But I may encourage others to do it at some point.
I did also add a Clustrmap widget to my library home page. I'll now be able to see if anyone outside of Larkspur actually uses the site!