ILL by bike: an idea whose time has come

I’m co-chairing the ACRL Green Component Committee for the 2009 National Conference in Seattle–in other words, I’m working to help lighten the environmental impact of the conference.

And so this article in LJ’s Academic Newswire caught my eye:  the Ames Public Library and Iowa State University in Ames Iowa are using bike couriers for their ILL service!  It’s faster, cheaper, and more efficient than using USPS, and look Ma, no petroleum dependency!

Now the question is: how can this kind of idea scale for larger ILL operations?  And how can this kind of creative thinking inform other library processes?

Kindles for textbooks?

I’ve been talking to students and faculty recently about how well our library’s services and collections appear in our course management system, and one professor made a point of saying that she can see the day coming when all textbooks will be digital, and students will have e-reader devices like the Kindle. It’s not really such a far-fetched idea, and so I was very interested to see this article in the most recent issue of Campus Technology: The End of Textbooks?

One key point from this article: students (maybe even more than professors, librarians, or other campus types) are less than enthused about trading their books in for a Kindle.

Best tool for the job?

Here’s a question for the tech-minded folks who read this blog:  a colleague wants to be able to post a white paper online and allow colleagues to comment on it openly, so they can see each other’s comments and have an ongoing conversation about the document.  However, he doesn’t want anyone to be able to edit the document itself.

I’m not familiar enough with all the wikis in the world to know what might be best to recommend, but I suspect there’s a wiki out there (Wetpaint?  a PMwiki skin?) that would do this for him.  If not a wiki, perhaps a blog with a single post for his document?  (Or a sticky post, if he finds he needs to add more content over time?)

Any thoughts on the magic bullet tool for this situation?

New reference questions at Bibliophagus

After a long lull–sorry, things have been crazy busy around here–a new post to my reference question blog, Bibliophagus, where I keep track of questions asked at the UC Berkeley Moffitt and Environmental Design reference desks (as well as some questions from chat reference, too!)

I hope to be back to posting more regularly within the next few days.  In the meantime, thanks for checking in and if you need immediate, mindless entertainment (as well as a fascinating illustration of how incentiveless crowdsourcing works) spend a few minutes with the Google Image Labeler.

OLA/WLA 2008

Lately I’ve been busy getting ready to present a preconference at the 2008 Oregon Library Association/Washington Library Association Joint Conference next week.  I’m co-presenting with rock star librarians Rachel Bridgewater and Anne-Marie Deitering, on the topic “Tutorials 2.0: Developing a toolkit for user-oriented online library instruction.”

It’s shaping up to be a great day-long session of discussion, brainstorming, hands-on practice, and general play with the 2.0 world.  I hope to see some of you there!