Tuesday, November 25, 2008


This is a quick simple explanation of what RSS (Real Simple Syndication) is,


Some readers:

Bloglines - From ASK

Google Reader - Google's

NewsGator - RSS news aggregator that runs in Microsoft Outlook.

There are alot of readers out there so if you don't want to try one of the above check out Yahoo's Directory of RSS Readers and Aggregators.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Video Tools Igniting the Digtal World

At Il 2008 Connie Crosby ( who btw is present in the you tube video below) presented new tools in instant audio and video. One of them is ooVoo a video chat service. The free service allows up to three people to chat via video. The chats can be recorded. You can get more people involved at the pay levels. ooVoo works best with windows but there is a macbook beta version out. The video is a real cool & slick presentation of ooVoo's maiden voyage ...so to speak


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Death Of Reference?

The Death of Reference?

Well not quite according to Kate Sheehan from the Darian Library, Joseph Murphy from Yale University and Ellen Petersen of Maui Community Library. But could it be the death of the Reference Desk? Maybe...

Both Kate and Joseph have implemented text messaging at their respective libraries. Could texting be the next logical step from IM reference?

On the other hand Kate at the Darian Public Library found herself and her staff without a reference desk during renovations...the solution...Roving Reference.

Each library is utilizing innovative ways to answer their users questions and maybe that what it's all about?

Cool Tools for Library Webmasters

Vischeck--Allows the user to see the world as color blind people see it.
Thumbalizr--Create a thumbnails of images.
Feng-Gui--Find out how people view your website or photo and which areas are getting most of the attention.
Color Palette Generator--Enter the URL of an image to get a color palette that matches the image.
Link Bunch--Lets you put multiple links into one small link which you can share over IM, Twitter, email or even a mobile phone SMS.
Truecrypt--Enables encryption of a memory stick.

Another tip: Create a fun 404 error page.

Back In Monterey

I'm so happy to be at my second Internet Librarian conference. I've been to so much already, it's hard to know where to begin. The beginning is one place. Yesterday I heard Nancy Dowd from the New Jersey State Library talk about a new kind of marketing. At least it was new to me. Her opening statement was "Our job is not to convice people they need libraries. It is to convince librarians they need people."
The message that jumped out at me was that we need authentic communication, and that we need to relate with stories. If we want to talk to legislators or the media, we need stories of how libraries change lives. This is a way to reach the influencers. She is going to begin an initiative in New Jersey whereby she will teach libraries how to collect stories, turn them into digital stories, categorize them by issue, and set up story banks. What an idea!! Then when a story is needed, it will be there (with the required permissions). Does anybody else think this is an idea worth pursuing? For more information go to themword.blogspot.com

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Librarian writes tell-all book, gets fired

This was posted August 12, 2008 on WorldNetDaily
The Librarian, (she used the pen name Ann Miketa) who wrote "The Library Diaries", a fictional account of made up library charachters was fired from her position at the Ludington Library in Michigan.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

An anthropological introduction to YouTube

Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State University Mike Wesh presented this to the Library of Congress, June 23rd 2008.
It's about an hour but interesting!

And here's his "Web 2.0" in just under 5 minutes"


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Fourth Annual Email Addiction Survey from AOL

AOL Survey

Some interesting numbers,
62% check work email on the weekend.
55% of mobile email users upgraded to a new phone just to get email .
59% check email from bathroom (up from 53% last year).

Are you addicted?

Friday, July 18, 2008

A Kinder Gentler Collection Agency?

No the Bucks County library system (PA) has not hired former President George H.W. Bush. They have hired the collection agency Unique Management Services Inc. instead. This agency in turn employs seminarian students from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, K.Y. to do the collecting. No matter how you feel about libraries using collection agencies you have to admit it's a "unique" idea.

And in case you were curious, the stuff that has disappeared in Bucks County, (according to the Inquirer article):
  • Test guides to help people get into the military, get onto a police force, or obtain a high school equivalency degree.
  • Baby-name books.
  • Travel books, which seem to never come back from vacation.
  • Anything by the guy who wrote Fight Club.

The full article can be found in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

There's always a but...

Nicholas Carr askes in this months Atlantic, Is Google Making us Stupid? Though first he says we're reading more...but there's a but..."Thanks to the ubiquity of text on the Internet, not to mention the popularity of text-messaging on cell phones, we may well be reading more today than we did in the 1970s or 1980s, when television was our medium of choice. But..."

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Long Tail Meets Miss Universe

Last week my brother was in town and we were hanging out playing dueling laptops. He sat in one chair with his laptop and I sat in another with mine. I bring this up because at one point he called me over to watch this you tube clip...

I said to him afterwards "I didn't want to watch this the first time in 1987 ...when you made me"

and yes he "made me"

Anyway the point was that though I may not enjoy watching 80's clips of Miss Universe, there is someone out there who does. Who am I to stop them? But we can't archive everything...who gets to decide what to archive, especially the stuff that has been born digitally?

What restaurants can teach us

Last Wednesday I had the good fortune to dine at the Mesa Grill in New York City. For the non-foodies out there, this restaurant is owned and operated by the very famous Bobby Flay. The food was wonderful, but what really impressed me was the service. It was friendly but not over friendly. It was attentive, without being intrusive. The right questions were asked, and everybody received the correct meal. When I went looking for the Ladies Room, I was asked politely if I knew where to find it. Now I know that we in libraries can't say "Do you lovely ladies know where the Ladies Room is?" But it was nice to know that the restaurant employees were keeping an eye out for us, and that everyone we encountered wanted us to have a positive experience. It was, in a word, just so.....nice.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Digital Divide

Parks Associates
(a market research and consulting firm focused on all product and service segments that are "digital" or provide connectivity within the home.) recently released a very interesting survey.

Here's the Engadget blog post

Survey Says that One-Fifth of Americans Have Never Used Email

"Does this surprise you?"

Yes and No....

Sunday, May 18, 2008

What to call the VRC

Aaron Schmidt wrote such an interesting post on his Walking Paper blog. When the Washington County library community was trying to decide what to call their databases, they asked their patrons. And the top choice was................“Online Resources." Yes, I know this doesn't mean paid resources, but apparently this is what patrons understand. Why didn't we think to ask them as we struggled with this issue?

As Aaron says in his posting "trying to come up with the right terminology for a library website isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be all guess work either. Asking even just a few people about a term is better than asking no one. This applies not only to labels on our websites, but also what to call our services. For more on usable library terms, see Library Terms That Users Understand."

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Pro Quest Promo

Check out the neat ProQuest Video. ProQuest makes it easy for you to load this wherever you want. Originally a flash file we converted it to a Quicktime Movie played with the sharpness and it was ready to post.

Monday, April 28, 2008

“Have you been borrowed yet?”

This piece from the London Times was found by Sue at NBAB about the Living Library. The first Living Library was held at a music festival in Denmark in 2000 and a library in the UK recently held its first Living Library. So what exactly is a Living Library? A library allows readers to borrow people for a 30-minute chat. Some choices offered at the Uk Library: Gay Man, Muslim, Male Nanny, Police Officer, Social Worker, Immigrant and Disabled Person.

In total Living Library People were borrowed 47 times, almost 24 book hours.

Anne Kilroy an organizer says,
" To anyone who wants to organize a Living Library around the world, please feel free to contact me so I can share our experiences, as well as guiding you on how to stage a successful event. Thanks a lot to everybody who wants to participate. anne.kilroy@living-library.org "


Feedback from the Handheld Libraries workshop last week has been 100% positive. Everyone had good things to say, including one librarian writing as what she terms a technovirgin. Before the workshop she didn't see how being connected via a wireless device could help her in her daily life. She saw it as more of a burden. And now, like me, this person can't wait to get an iPhone. Commenters said they want additional forward thinking workshops. We at SCLS can't wait to begin planning something new. Again, comments and suggestions are always welcome.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Portable Libraries

Talk about your portable library service. Take a look at the Shifted Librarian's posting on "The Ask Cart, " and actual hot dog cart. This is an amazing example of taking the library to the user, complete with goodies. Maybe not Hand Held, but definitely portable.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

For those of you unable to attend the Program Hand Held Libraries here is a link to speaker, Aaron Schmidt's Blog Walking Paper .

And for those who just want to replay iPhone the musical by David Pogue, here it is :)


Monday, April 21, 2008

One Phone Call From Jail?

What does the Egyptian Police, the micro blogging site Twitter, a mobile phone and the word “arrested” all have in common?

April 10, UC Berkley journalism student James Karl Buck was photographing a demonstration in Egypt when he was taken to jail. Egyptian Police didn’t take his mobile phone! Buck typed out the message “ARRESTED” on his cell phone and posted it to his Twitter account. That message was then instantly broadcast to those who follow Buck’s Twitter account. It was those friends who called, UC Berkley, the American Embassy and the Associated Press. Buck was released the next day.

Hope to see you tomorrow for Hand Held Libraries

Thursday, April 17, 2008


PLA had a marketing track which included some great programs, one was presented by members of the Douglas County Library’s Marketing staff. Check out the blog that was set up by the marketing team at Douglas County. It’s the PLA presentation as well as tips on branding your library, how to get your programs in the local news and what makes an aesthetically pleasing flyer.


They’ll answer your questions if you email them and SCLS will be presenting the program Speaking with One Voice: A guide to integrating customer service, marketing & public relations with Libby Post June 5, 2008.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Going Local

I found the information at CIL on going local most interesting. Charles Lyons from the University at Buffalo talked about opportunities for libraries to enter local information using Library 2.0 applications. This is an area where I believe libraries can shine.

According to the presentation, the internet makes it easy so sip globally, but so far not locally. Although Google Local is adding in more local search results, and people can find local news using a Google News advanced search, the local web is primarily
user-generated, participatory, amateur, civic, grassroots, citizen’s journalism. The local web gives knowledgeable people a voice. (I would say it also gives unknowledgeable people a voice as well, but that's a topic for a different posting).
With information about neighborhoods, streets, buildings, and communities, the local web is bringing a sense of place to the internet.

Are libraries helping to bring a sense of place to the Internet? Our key strengths are local history, and genealogy, as well as providers of community information. However, there are opportunites for libraries to become more local. We need to become expert users of local resources, raise awareness and assist the community in using them, broaden the scope of local data, become active participants in community-focused resources, and create our own local resources. We need to become experts at using Yahoo local, Google maps, and Ask city. Place and community blogging is another opportunity to go local. Check out the Darien Community Matters blog.

This sounds like a good subject for a workshop, don't you think? For more information, check out Charles Lyons Dewey&Main blog.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

More Statistics on Portable Devices

Digital activities away from home or work

According to the Pew Internet Project’s December 2007 survey:

58% of adult Americans have used a cell phone or personal digital assistant (PDA) to
do at least one of ten mobile non-voice data activities, such as texting, emailing,
taking a picture, looking for maps or directions, or recording video.

41% of adult Americans have logged onto the internet on the go, that is, away from
home or work either with a wireless laptop connection or a handheld device.

This comes to 62% of all Americans who have some experience with mobile access to digital data and tools. That is, they have either used a cell phone or PDA for a non-voice
data application or logged on to the internet away from home or work using a wireless
laptop connection or with a handheld device.
Not only are young people attuned to this kind of access, African Americans and English-speaking Latinos are more likely than white Americans to use non-voice data applications on their cell phones
. The Pew Internet Project’s December 2007
survey interviewed a sample of 2,054 adult Americans, which included 500 respondents
contacted on their cell phones.

For more information, see the Pew Report on Technology and Media Use.

Monday, April 7, 2008


I want an Iphone. Yes, I'm a baby boomer, and I don't know html, and I can't usually understand the Windows popups on my computer telling me to do something, and only my kids own Ipods. But I want an Iphone. Right now, I carry around an MP3 player so I can listen to books on SuffolkWave. I carry around a PDA so I can keep track of my life which involves way too many appointments. And sometimes, I carry a digital camera, if I remember to stash it in my purse. So now, I have a very heavy purse. And still no access to the internet or my email.

Why an Iphone? It has high quality audio and video, a relatively large screen, a touch screen, a built in camera, access to music, and soon, access to SuffolkWave. And lots of memory. Also, you can interact with it using hand motions. Turn it sideways, and the page goes horizontal. Way cool. And here I am, planning a mobile conference, and all I have is my cell phone that sometimes let me use it to make a phone call. Hmmm. Could someone tell my husband that he could score a lot of points by buying me an Iphone?

Lee Rainie Keynote

Yes, Lee. We know you are charming and smart and love librarians. We appreciate that. Especially the results from the last Pew survey: LIBRARIANS ROCK.

But seriously, this is what fascinated me and leads right into the SCLS Handheld Libraries conference on April 22nd. 78% of Americans have cellphones. CELLPHONES HAVE TURNED AROUND THE INFORMATION DIVIDE. Cellphone owners are using their devices to connect wirelessly to the internet. Email is important to them, and THEY ARE USING THE INTERNET TO STORE INFORMATION using their cellphones.

So how can libraries have a no cell phone policy? People are talking on cell phones, and they are USING THEM TO ACCESS THE INTERNET, ESPECIALLY WHEN THEY HAVE NO COMPUTER AT HOME!!!!

If you are not seeing this in your library, it may be due to the prevalence of the image above.

We need to wake up and smell the coffee, which by the way is Starbucks at the conference.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

On the Road Again

This blog is officially 5 months old! Samantha and I set it up when we went to the Internet Librarian conference in Montery. Now it's on to the next CIL conference here in Washington, DC. We only got lost once. Thanks a lot Google. We made it with the help of two mobile devices in the car. Neither was a GPS!

There were so-o-o many people gaming tonight! Amazing seeing the variety of games and people. You can't tell a librarian from her appearance. The meekest looking of us sometimes has the biggest singing voice. Rock on!

My plan tomorrow is to begin by attending a session on Library 2.0 going local. Local as in local community information. I love it when I go to a library home page and there is abundant community information there. Sometimes that is the hardest to find. Check out the Darien Public Library's community blog: Darien Community Matters. Great stuff John.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

PLA in Minnesota Brrrr

The weather was nice, cool and windy but no need for a parka and I only used the skyway once. Minneapolis is a nice green city with Hybrid buses and fairly accessible public transportation downtown.

Ok, now that I got that over with I wanted to share my favorite program and what I learned.

Really it's what I learned about myself..."Hi my name is Sam and I have Techno lust"... I want an iPhone....but i'll get back to that...

Technozoo was presented by Leonard Souza, President of Acidblue Ltd. The presentation was hands on and we were able to hold some of these new techno thingies in our hands. It was the first time that I had seen a Sony e-Book Reader up close and personal. It's amazing, the page refreshes to the screen and then the reader turns itself off and you stop using the battery power. The screen really looks like a page in a book.

Let me jump to the iPhone quickly because here is where I started foaming at the mouth! lol Apple is working on a deal with Starbucks that will let you order coffee from your iPhone...no waiting on the line...did I say want...no..."I need an iPhone"

Finally the other neat thing is Surface by Microsoft. Surface is an interactive table. Now why would you need an interactive table you ask? Well check out the Surface website. Surface should be introduced in Spring 2008...like now :)

Is your interest peeked? Well join us at System on the 22nd of April for Hand Held Libraries. This program will be highlighting some new handheld technologies and the implications for libraries.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Smithtown Library Bond

The Smithtown Library Bond Passed!

3566 to 3184

Monday, March 3, 2008

Will libraries disappear in 2019?

Will libraries disappear in 2019? This question comes from the blog Trends in the Living Network written by Ross Dawson who created the Extinction Timeline which among other things predicts that libraries will become extinct in 2019. On a personal note I wondered when the last time Mr. Dawson worked a public reference desk? I worked one last Saturday and found that far from feeling the "extinction trend" we were extremely busy and not with just helping patrons get on the computers, but with everything from research to locating items in the stacks....but I digress. Mr. Dawson seems to have revisited his Extinction Timeline post a second time because The Slate has a slide show titled, Borrowed Time which asks the question, How do you build a public library in the time of Google? and discusses the Extinction Timeline,

Ross Dawson, a business consultant who tracks different customs, devices, and institutions on what he calls an Extinction Timeline, predicts that libraries will disappear in 2019. He's probably right as far as the function of the library as a civic monument, or as a public repository for books, is concerned. On the other hand, in its mutating role as urban hangout, meeting place, and arbiter of information, the public library seems far from spent. This has less to do with the digital world—or the digital word—than with the age-old need for human contact.

And Mr. Dawson's answer to the above,

Absolutely we are shifting into a world where experiences and physical interactions are becoming more important than ever. For example, shopping in shops will never disappear. We will create new spaces where we can meet and interact. We are yet to see whether the spaces where people spend their time are those based around books and collected information.

I bring this up because I don't think the sky is falling, I think things are just changing as they always have. Public Library Reference services today are not what they were 10 years ago...and were they really the same 10 years ago as the were 20, 30 or even 40years? What do you think?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Free them from their desks and laptops?


Yale University Science Libraries have implemented the reference service "Txt a Science Librarian", this is offered in conjunction with their IM, Email and web-form reference service!

Michael Stephens' blog, Tame the Web has a post with Joe Murphy the General Science Librarian & Instruction Coordinator at the Kline Science Library describing how the Library offeres this service (they use iPhones) and,
"As instant message reference freed patrons from having to come to the library, text messaging reference frees them from their desks or laptops"

This service has limited hours and the number to text is not on public pages because Yale is only offering the service to students, faculity and staff.

The Microsoft Subsidiary Tell Me allowes you to text or call in your question and they'll text the answer back to you. Or there is the service Ask Me Now.

*Note SCLS will be holding a program Hand Held Libraries, which will be about mobile technologies like phones and PDAs April 22!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Overheard in a hospital

Nurse to Aide: "It doesn't matter what we want. What's important is what the patient wants."
Nurse to me: "Everyone around here complains."
Me to Nurse: "That's true wherever you work."

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Negotiating Skills

Last week I attended a workshop sponsored by the Long Island Association on negotiating skills. I thought the program would be about labor negotiations, what the presenter would call a "forced action" negotiation that must end in some achievement or plan. But this was not the case. The workshop was about sales negotiations,where there is no forced action. Someone can try to sell a product, but the buyer may or may not end up buying. At first, I thought the program wouldn't be applicable to me as a librarian. But then as I listened more carefully, I thought about the uses of negotiating skills as a "seller" of library services.

The presenter said that people buy benefits, not features. A feature is what things are; a benefit is what they do. A library has all types of information, a feature. The information can be used to help people answer questions or find something to read, watch a video, gather for a book discussion, all benefits.

People also buy relationships and value. As librarians, we know the "value" and the "benefits" of building relationships with our customers. We know that the values of a library are both tangible and intangible. If we build a library building, they may not come. But if we build relationships through our reference interviews, programs, and ability to give patrons what they want when they want it as opposed to what we think they need, they probably will come again and again.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Blogs and Wikis: What's the Difference?

Yesterday, Samantha and I conducted a workshop for librarians in Suffolk County on blogs and wikis. We discussed the differences between blogs and wikis as well as the differences they can make for both staff and patrons. It was a true collaborative effort, first between Samantha and me, and then between the audience and the presenters. We created the slides on Google documents so that we could share and edit simultaneously. We then uploaded the presentation in both Google Documents and SlideShare, so that it is readily available. The presentation was videotaped and should be available shortly via streaming video or DVD from SCLS.

Friday, January 25, 2008

About Books! ...Kinda

Librarian in Black blogged about this cool new board game called Bookchase check it out.

Monday, January 14, 2008


Check out this blog entry on the Impagnination blog:

Are Public Libraries Criminalizing Poor People?

Social Networking

Friends:Social Networking Sites for Engaged Library Services blog post, Data: Students + Facebook + Library Outreach discusses an interesting study by Suzanne Chapman, Mike Creech, Susan Hollar, Ken Varnum of the University of Michigan (Report Date: January 9, 2008). The study found that 23% of respondents said yes or maybe to contacting librarians via Facebook or Myspace. This number went up when looking only at undergraduates.

Check out the study
or Suzanne Chapman's Blog.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

So Sue (at NBAB) and I were talking yesterday about Mashups and how they always seem to incorporate maps…and how we don’t necessarily need to see everything connected to maps. SO here are some examples of Mashups that don’t necessarily involve Maps:

Songza- cool music site that Sue says her teenagers use all the time.

50 Matches- which searches for sites that have been tagged in del.icio.us, digg or reddit.

Quintura - a search engine designed specifically for children

All of these have been highlighted by the Mashup Awards.

:) Sam