I am not sure what to write about for this week’s module. I am drained from working on the Director’s Brief and another report for my other class. It’s been a hard week, month, year both academically and personally. So at times it is hard to bring your heart to work.
I am blessed to have a supportive work environment. Well no surprise,I work for a library. In fact they are the ones that started me on this journey down the librarian road and are reimbursing the trip. Yet I guess that puts pressure on me to make sure that I complete the journey.
I am reflective on two articles in this week’s readings. The article on introverts rings a tone for me given that I am one myself. So it is kind of iconic that I would be spearheading my library’s social media campaigns. But this class has shown me and I then convey to the librarians at work how the way of Library 2.0 is all about communication and making personal connections.
The other article that struck me was the librarian’s account of how she was struck by an unexpectant, life changing event. Again I take from this article the way in which her coworkers supported her and gave her the time to recover. I often think of my coworkers as my library family. And although with the skills that I have currently I could be making more money working in a business environment, nothing beats the freedom I have currently working in academia where I am afforded the time and encouraged to be creative in my work.
So, I thought I would expand more one this subject as part of my Reflections post. I saw this article on i09 about houses with slides. How about a library with a slide? Here’s the LEGO office building in Denmark.
Michael Weidlich asked if there were any libraries with slides now. I found a blog article about the Panorama House which has a slide/staircase combination for a home library.
Not exactly a slide but Googling around I found this neat boat for a children’s check in area.
These are some neat ideas especially for public library settings but what about an academic library. The Information Commons idea has been in the academic library community for some time now. I remember my work library wanting to create a common’s area for over ten years now. What has happened? Why don’t we have one? Well, the biggest problem is the ability to generate interest within the university administration then to convert that interest into a plan and a funding source. Our library got the attention of the university president. We were given the go ahead to consult with an architect to re-envision the library space as a commons. Together we planned to move the computer area to the entry level rather than the 3rd floor where it is now. We planned to add study areas with smart boards and technology focused learning areas. We planned to rethink reference, technical services, serials and basically how all library service are delivered. We had a good plan.
Then the economy dropped out in 2008 and our plans and funding were put on hold. Our spirits were broken as we came close to archiving a real change in the library services and everything was put on hold. After an initial phase of disappointment, our library has been making small changes that ultimately will re-envision the library. Our heritage/archive room was completely redesigned to be more inviting. We incorporated opening the heritage room as a new entry into the library as per the original redesign plans. Our library’s 4th floor is being remolded now with plans to be reopened by the summer. It will have a fresh look and powered study tables (the 4th floor is designated as a quite study area so no radical changes in the workspace).
Finally, my thoughts drift to MakerSpaces. I wish there were MakerSpaces at my public library when I was growing up. That would have been awesome. But again, I see MakerSpaces being more for public libraries than for academic. Throw in a school of medical students and there is even less room for technical spaces. There are already medical simulators on campus and not a need for the library to house their own (plus they are expensive). The closest thing that I think we can do is to make available to the students for checkout the latest gadgets. For example, the library can stock the five best eBook readers either for checkout or to create a permanent kiosk to display the eReaders and let patrons touch and feel the technology. Drexel University has an automatic laptop checkout machine available 24/7 for students that need a laptop at anytime.
Serendipity. Last week I was walking my dog after dropping my son off from school and I came across this little outdoor library box. Then low and behold, Michael added his updated “Creation Culture & Maker Spaces” lecture ending with his Little Free Library. It must be fairly new. I just went to Google Street View and the box does not appear in the picture.
I am a little cynical of the impending dominance of the mobile market and the need for everyone, including universities and libraries, to immediately jump on the mobile bandwagon. It is hard to argue against shift in consumer device usage when PC computer sales are slipping and tablet/phone use is climbing to a point to surpass desktop use in 2014. Using similar statistics, it still seems that the majority of people prefer to use a computer when purchasing online or, not surprisingly, at work. Mobile devices dominate in games, social networking and app use but when “real” work needs to get done, it’s still up to the personal computer to accomplish it. A progressive school like SJSU requires that papers be submitted in Microsoft Word format; a format that has its majority usage with PCs (this is changing with the Microsoft Surface Pro and Office 365 products).
So, to me it comes down to asking how much time and effort should be dedicated to mobilizing the library’s services? When I look at my university library’s server stats, a monthly report will show approximately 15,000 visits with 50 visits to the mobile optimized site. That %0.33 of the total! But to be fair, is an optimized site necessary? iPads and tablets will display the regular site and present a usable experience. The Samsung Galaxy S III screen size is 4.8″ diagonal which makes for a good full screen presentation without the need for mobile optimization.
What services need to be mobilized, that will have an impact on students? For me, I like to access SJSU’s Desire 2 Learn site with my iPad to read articles that are posted. I would rather search the library’s databases and gather articles on my laptop. Maybe I am just not getting it. There are new mobile apps from publishers like Ebsco, for SJSU students, that provide the search interface on the phone. Where else can the library optimize for mobile? Mobile alerts for renewals, holds and overdue make the most sense and then to provide a mobile interface for the patron to renew immediately from their phone, that would be a win-win.
I haven’t been a fan of GeoLocation apps like FourSquare. It comes down to the innate sense of privacy where we think to ourselves, “Do I really want everyone to know where I am at?” It was evident in the week’s lecture that Professor Stephens had reservations with phrases like “my close friends” and “not everyone.” That is an issue with GeoLocation check-ins that will be difficult to overcome I think.
An application that I am interested in is called Layar. However, I just looked at their site after a long absence and it appears that the company is focusing on print to digital presentations. When I first heard about Layar, they were starting in on the augmented reality (AR) market with an AR browser for mobile apps. They would present a person walking down the street, holding up their phone and receiving digital information from their layar browser. I thought it would be a neat idea to create a layar for my library’s heritage tour. I imagine the user taking the walking tour, holding up their phones and Layar presenting an AR view of “what-was-there” in the past. A virtual time machine. I have just not had the time to sit down and learn the Layar Creator to make my own Layars. Now, I will have to check if it is still free. In the meantime, I have used another website called What Was There? It adds a photo feature to Google Maps Street
View and is geared more towards historic photos than current although I have seen non-historic photos. An example I added illustrations this; use the fader bar to bring the present into focus. Lastly, it will be interesting how Google Glass is received and absorbed into the digital culture. I think it would be neat to have ready access to information right at “eye-level” but there are others that see the privacy concerns that comes with Google looking through your eyes.
In a previous blog post, I was debating if I should join Tumblr and in a broader sense, whether it was good or bad to sign up for every social network that’s out there (well maybe not every one). Thoughts of wasting my time and security fill my doubts about the usefulness of spreading oneself too thin in the social soup.
Then Henry Mensch commented that it might be advisable to create an account even if it is just to claim it so no one else can come along and claim to be you. This makes sense to me. If I tried Tumblr and did not like it, I could put a message in Tumblr that says, “Connect with me on Facebook.” At least I am more findable. (FYI – Don’t delete your Instagram account and try to re-enable it. Instagram clearly states that this is impossible and it is. Just create a new account with a different username.)
In this week’s lecture, one of Michael’s slides and comments struck a chord. “Willing to explore.” This is a good manta. It sparked me to at least giving Tumblr a look-see. So without further ado, my Tumblr page: http://starnight71.tumblr.com. So far I am just trying to learn what’s the big deal with Tumblr. It’s a blogging site, like WordPress, but more stylized. It looks more modern than WordPress. Tumblr seems to connect with other social services easier. The biggest difference is that Tumblr is a blog reader as well as a blog creator. It’s like Instagram, Facebook and WordPress rolled into one.
EDIT NOTE: Looking at WordPress.com’s admin bar, the “New Post” link takes me to a page that displays simplified options very much like Tumblr: Text, Images, Quotes, etc. From that navigation, there is a “Reader” link where you can follow your favorite blogs. It just doesn’t seem as obvious in WordPress than Tumblr.
So, I will continue to explore. I recreated an Instagram account even though I still don’t see the big deal either. I’ll probably create a Pinterest account next. As a future librarian, it will be my duty to be able to connect with people where the people are at. This takes learning new communication methods and enviably driving into new social media waters.