To-do pileup

It’s been a long time since my last post, though I’ve been thinking about this blog a lot.  Excuses aside, some stuff that’s been going on…

ACRL 2009 was a good time had by all.  It was a real pleasure to see the fruits of the Green Committee’s labors–recycled carpet in the exhibits hall, shower times in the tote bags, few-to-no paper handouts, and recyling everywhere.  Robin Chase’s Sunday morning talk was terrific and thought-provoking.  She also graciously did a podcast, which is freely available.  When I wasn’t staffing the Green Booth I got to a few good CyberZed Shed sessions on iMacros, texting at UC Irvine, and Sony Readers.  Does ALA do these kinds of sessions–short, technology-oriented, practical?  I’d love to see more like this.

My colleague Anne Zeidman-Karpinski and I have maximum enrollment for our Library 101 class focusing on video games, video production, and general visual culture.  25 students in Eugene, with Annie teaching there and me here in Portland.  Videoconferencing, yes.  It’s an all-video extravaganza!  We’re using spring break this week to get our final prep work done for the syllabus and assignment outlines.  Final assignment is a group “TV” program made up of short segments from each student, filmed in the media studies center.  And I just read an interesting interview about games and gaming that might ring bells for some folks who are interested in the strangeness of grown-ups and college students playing games to learn…

I’ve also been working to plan two events in early April:  a panel session about creative professionals working in the recession, and a film screening of “Copyright Criminals,” a documentary by Kembrew Mcleod.

And I’m very pleased to say that Michael Stephens‘s awesome “Ray of Light” video for the St. Joseph County Public Library is back up on Youtube, albeit without Madonna’s soundtrack.  Thanks, Michael!


Happy New Year!  I’m in the office (note:  it snowed again, which is almost unbelievable for Portland) planning a spring-term class that I’m teaching with my friend and colleague Annie Zeidman-Karpinski.  It’s Library 101, and as you might imagine from the name it’s both a classic and a little bit dusty.  We’re shooting to blow some of the dust off by reorienting it in terms of visual content and videos.  Videoconferencing, video games, screencasts, you name it, we’re going to have it.  Obviously this begs some questions about the traditional syllabus for a class like this, which I like to call ‘WOTCA WETWODA,” or “Week One The Catalog, Week Two The Databases…”  In other words, a slow and ponderous introduction of research tools in the order we (the librarians) think is most important.

No WOTCA WETWODA for us!  We’re picking 3 ACRL research competencies and teaching to them, using whatever tools crop up.  We’re really interested in David Wiley’s online class in learning theory, which he’s teaching at Brigham Young University–and in which he’s encouraging his students to role-play as bards, artisans, merchants, or monks.

Return to posting: Designing from libraries

We’ve been snowed under in Portland for the last couple of weeks–work closures and the holidays have conspired to keep me from rolling up the garage door on the blog.  But now we’re thawing out (raining, actually) and I’m going through some of my Google Reader backlog to see what’s going on in the library-ish parts of the world.

Here’s a fun item from the New York Public Library (actually from Apartment Therapy and Design*Sponge, but NYPL is the sponsor.)

Design by the Book:  NYPL partnered with Design*Sponge to select and invite five visual artists to plumb the library collection, then create a work of art based on something they found that inspired them.  The NYPL then posted video interviews with the artists about their work.  Check it all out at the NYPL website (which isn’t loading for me right now, sorry.)

What a great example of something I’ve been thinking a bit about lately:  “activating” the collection.  That’s my own term, but I probably picked it up from somewhere else, since nothing is truly original.f  Every so often, in the midst of meetings and emails and drafting policy, it occurs to me that we’re sitting on these incredible collections, with really wonderful, mind-blowing stuff in them, and that the best way to reach out to our users is through that stuff.  Exhibits are great, but what are some other ways we can “activate” the collections to bring users in and remind them of the riches we tend and steward for the comomunity?  This is one terrific idea.

From the “It’s About Time” files

The College Issue – The Tell-All Campus Tour –

The NY Times covers, a free site where students actually attending college or university share their opinions about the school with would-be attendees.  An end-run around Peterson’s etc., with much more timely and specific information, delivered by people with similar values and concerns.  Kind of a good idea.  (And a good place to look up your own school, to see what the kids are saying about you.)

New site to watch

Library Teaching Space is a new site about…well, teaching space in libraries.  According to its “About,” it launched from the 2008 LOEX Conference, but I admit I found it because of Joan Lippincott’s ACRL webcast on reinventing learning commons (which I participated in today.)

With a well-stocked photo gallery, space for sharing floor plans, discussion forums, and pictures and discussion of furniture, this could be a tremendously useful hub of user-created content IF people find out about it and use it.  I think they could do a little better with their marketing, right now (and if anyone working on the site wants me to offer suggestions, I’m happy to do so!)

In the meantime, I hope to contribute some of the work we’ve been doing here at the UO Portland, and I encourage everyone else who works on library learning spaces to do so, too.

Friday shout-out: Google Reader in the library

I’ve been playing around with Google Reader, migrating my RSS feeds from Sage and figuring out some of the cool additional features that GR offers.

One of them–the ability to create and share a feed of your “top picks” from all the feeds you read–is being used in a cool, innovative way by the staff at Berkeley’s Environmental Design Library.  Check out the ENVI home page to see it in action:  at the bottom of the page you’ll see a feed of items drawn from blogs related to architecture, city planning, and environmental design.  The items are constantly updated so there’s always new, relevant, interesting content on the library’s home page.  It’s a great, simple way to leverage a free tool (Google Reader) to keep librarians and patrons up to date on what’s going on outside the library’s walls.

For more help with Google Reader’s sharing features, see the Google Reader Sharing FAQ.  Props to Matthew Prutsman and the other ENVI staff for setting this up!