Monday – #libday7

July 25, 2011

Today’s #libday7 post is sponsored by the word WATER.


Noun: A colorless, transparent, odorless, tasteless liquid that forms the seas, lakes, rivers, and rain and is the basis of the fluids of living organisms: chemical formula H2O.

WATER is the basis of the library.
A living organism
right in downtown
Winnebago, Minnesota.

Here’s a recap of my day:
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#cpd23 Thing 8 – Google Calendar runs my life. Almost

July 25, 2011

Thing 8 of #cpd23 focuses on using Google Calendar to help straighten out your life (personal, work, kids’ etc.). I use Google Calendar each morning when I wake up, when I get done walking LeRoy (the pup), it’s up at work constantly and when I go home from work. It really tells me what I need to do each and every day. Kind of sad. But also awesome.

Here are some aspects of Google Calendar that rock my socks off:

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An explanation & invitation

May 26, 2011

So, new job, new house, new everything and the poor, loyal blog gets abandoned. Sorry!

Here’s an extremely short version of what’s going on right now:

The job at Muir Library is going wonderfully. I’m in full Summer Reading Programming mode and therefore cannot talk about it or I won’t be able to stop. I will say, if you haven’t sent my library a postcard yet, please consider it.

Other parts of my job as library director include:

collection development, paying bills, telling kids to wash their hands after going to the bathroom, putting puzzles together, ILL, updating the Facebook, writing columns for the Winnebago Voice (weekly newspaper), preparing bags of books to be sent to the local nursing home, writing reports for the city council meetings, making coffee, creating bulletin boards, reading books about princesses to 3 year olds who want to be princesses, searching for information about egg candlers, etc.

I moved into a new house in a new town and took on some new responsibilities like – feeding a fish – and tending a garden – and ironing – and finding time to do other things.

Over at Hack Library School, we’re hacking different library school (iSchool) programs and sharing our thoughts, concerns and hopes for library school in general. Please visit it and share your ideas. We’re always looking for new writers – contact me if you want to be one of them.


I’m not entirely sure what you want to read about now that I’m done with school and have my grown up job. Do you want day-to-day rural library director things? What kind of “things” interest you? Do you want my more general views of what’s going on in libraryland? (I would say that I could combine the day-to-day and libraryland but to be honest, sometimes there doesn’t seem to be that much of a connection. I feel like the area I’m in at the moment is far behind the libraryland I follow on Twitter and blogs). Tell me what you’d like from me and I’ll do my best to get it to you!

I love a good audiobook!

March 31, 2011

My latest tweet: I really do love a good #audiobook — in the car, on a walk, at work, while I clean, bake, crochet, etc.

The Audio Publishers Association has a new contest called Get Caught Listening! You can wish cash prizes and it ends May 15. Make a video of why/where/how/when/yougetthepicture you listen to audiobooks and enter the contest! I’m seriously considering this. I’ve been in LOVE with audiobooks for years and I can’t even count how many times I’ve had a conversation with someone who says, “I just can’t listen to them. That’s not REAL reading…”

Here’s what I think – listening to audiobooks is more difficult than reading a book – It’s as though you have to learn how to “read” books with your ears! It takes a certain book and a certain voice to make a good audiobook; however, once you find a book you like and an activity you can do while you listen, you’ll yearn for an audiobook at every silent moment.

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Winter Quarter 2011 Preview & the FUTURE!

January 8, 2011

I just began my final quarter of my library school experience! I’m amazed that this has gone so quickly and I will be heartbroken to leave my friends and classmates when I graduate; however, I have a lot to look forward to.

Before I preview my final classes, here’s why I’m graduating early and I hope to do after school.
(this is your warning to skip to the end if you don’t care)
I’m finishing my degree ahead of schedule because I took more credits than are recommended (to “get my money’s worth” since I am paying out-of-state tuition) and I took a class during the summer. I could stay another quarter, but I have decided to graduate because I feel ready and prepared to enter the profession as a librarian, and I do not want to take out more student loans for credits I don’t really need.

I plan on moving back to the region of the country I love to call home — the Upper Midwest. I would like to find a position at a small or rural library in a smaller community. I grew up in a small town and while I’ve loved my time in Seattle, I think my career path and my lifestyle are leading me back to the rural areas. My interests lie in community collaboration, outreach and partnerships and I think I will get a great understanding of this as I start out in a smaller area.

So, if you know of any small libraries in the Upper Midwest that are hiring, please let me know!

I’m also looking forward to living somewhere where I can have a garden, a cat and a front porch. 🙂

So, for my final quarter of my library school experience, I am taking the following courses:

LIS 521 — Principles of Information Services
— This is essentially a crash course in the resources and strategies and techniques used to answer questions at a reference desk (academic or public).
LIS 596 — Professional Portfolio
— This is a Culminating Experience option at the iSchool — as opposed to writing a thesis — essentially we will create a portfolio using artifacts and reflections from our coursework to market ourselves while looking for jobs. This blog may temporarily become my portfolio if I don’t learn how to use something else in a couple of weeks — you’ve been warned.
LIS 590 — Directed Fieldwork
— I’m doing an “internship” at the King County Library System — Bellevue Library in (where else) Bellevue, Washington. My role is researcher. I do this through observing, communication and collecting data about the adult services and programs. I’ll be collecting this data and writing a report that will be part of the User Needs Assessment that the library is doing over the next several months. If you want more details, please let me know.

What is Visual Literacy?

November 15, 2010

The term — visual literacy — has come up several times in a couple of my classes this quarter. So what is visual literacy? John Debes defined this term first as this in 1968:

“Visual Literacy refers to a group of vision-competencies a
human being can develop by seeing and at the same time
having and integrating other sensory experiences. The development
of these competencies is fundamental to normal
human learning. When developed, they enable a visually
literate person to discriminate and interpret the visible
actions, objects, symbols, natural or man-made, that he
encounters in his environment. Through the creative use of
these competencies, he is able to communicate with others.
Through the appreciative use of these competencies, he is
able to comprehend and enjoy the masterworks of visual

Essentially, visual literacy is literacy of images, symbols, photos, etc. It is critical analysis of visuals instead of texts. Of course there are combinations of text and images, images and music, and on and on, but the important part of this is that a person is able to interpret and “read” it all.

As I thought about this, I was a little frustrated because I connected thinking critically about images with being artistic. How can I instruct or encourage or facilitate visual literacy in the library? What if I’m not artistic? And I am not artistic. I avoided all art classes (except photography) in my schooling. I almost wish I could go back and take some art classes to get a better grasp on the history of images and visual learning. I need to explore this more. But, I think it is possible to become visually literate without this knowledge.

It takes patience and practice, though. Just like learning to read.

In my class that explores genre fiction for adults, we read and discussed [comix, comics, graphic novels, etc]. Many of us had a difficult time reading these books simply because we didn’t understand how to read the text and the images. Do you look at the pictures first? Which text do you read? Left to right? Up and down? Follow the boxes with pictures in them? As we talked about our frustrations, someone brought up that it was almost like we had to learn how to read all over again. We had to become literate in a more visual format instead of the text we are accustomed to reading.

I’m fascinated with this term –visual literacy– and I hope to have a chance to explore it more and share conversation with other people.

The Name Game

November 8, 2010

When I began my MLIS education, I took a class that had to do with Information Behavior. The behavior people use when interacting with information or the lackthereof. It could have been a fascinating class had we all not suffered from severe information overload and an instructor lacking skills to instruct. Ask if you want more details.

On the first day, we talked about what to call those people that go into the library. Are they patrons? Are they users? Are they customers? Are they students? What are they? We did not arrive at an answer that day. Now, a year later we were introduced to a new term: civilians. Are they civilians? I still don’t know…

Patrons — this word seems old-fashioned to me. It has good intentions — as patron is defined as someone who is supporting an institution, but that term just doesn’t sound right when it comes out of my mouth.
Users — this sounds like I’m describing someone who uses drugs, but it is the word I use most often because the people who walk into the library or log into the library web site** are indeed USING it.
Customers — well, we aren’t really selling anything at a library, so the word ‘customer’ (someone who buys goods and services) is kind of off-putting.
Students — yes, everyone is a student of life. However, overuse of the term may lead to confusion — and for libraries that have homework help for students (elementary, middle or high school), it could be even more complex.
Civilians — I associate this word with someone who is not in the military. When I looked it up, I found another definition: “anyone regarded by members of a profession, interest group, society, etc., as not belonging; nonprofessional; outsider” from I would hope that libraries do not consider the people who USE them to be not belonging or outsiders. That term just seems to describe the opposite of how libraries serve their communities.

**And, what about the people who access the library without going through the doors? They use the web site and download e-books or audio books and IM chat with the librarians. What are they called? I call them users. Should they be called something else?

So, I usually say user to describe someone who is using the library. It seems most appropriate, and if people give me an uncomfortable look (as in — the did you call someone a “user”?! look), I restate it by saying “library-user” to make my point clear. Because I do believe that anyone who enters the library (physically or virtually) is USING it. Some people spend more time actively searching and gathering the information they need. Others are more passive and pick up a book being held for them. It doesn’t matter — the libraries are being used by their communities. 

One more question to think about. I’ll write about this in another post soon. What do we call people who don’t come to the (physical or virtual) library? 

Other terms people mentioned when I asked on Twitter:
community member

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