Videos, Secure Data and Napping

Happy Monday!

So my library isn’t even open to the public yet (we open at 10am as we are between terms right now) and it is going to be a pretty dead day around here. Which means, of course, lots of work will get done-thus it is a happy (work) Monday.

So, why would it be a happy Monday for you? Because, faithful reader, I have a trio of resources and articles to inspire you to protect your data, make YouTube videos and, well, nap. So without further ado:

First up is this article on students using YouTube videos for help with classes. And, no, I’m not talking about those horrible videos on how to cheat. This article talks about how students watch videos on math problems, biology concepts and physics in order to learn. Yes, they learn on YouTube. This is just great, really! I use YouTube videos in my classes on information literacy all the time and I’ve seen some library videos up on YouTube, but I think it is a place where there is a lot of untapped potential for librarians to populate the YouTube sphere with great library videos. I mean, we’ve already got the vlogbrothers on our side. If you have no clue who the vlogbrothers are, please click the previous link and find out.

Speaking of retaining what you learn, check out this article on how napping helps memory. Yes, we should have students watch YouTube videos and then nap so they retain the information and can think of new ways of using the information they have now retained. I am totally for napping; we need to institute napping during the work day.

And, in order to keep your data secure, while you are napping or otherwise, check out Lifehacker’s guide to the top 10 ways to lock down your data. This is very important stuff. No one wants to be the poor person who loses the confidential company data. So do yourself a favor, and lock down your data.

As a bonus, just for fun because this is probably the last post before I leave on vacation, check out John, of the vlogbrothers talking about his library and other fun stuff.

Enjoy, happy Monday, and happy holidays!

Quotes, Transfer Students and Marketing

Again, no I don’t think I can tie these three ideas together. But who knows? Let’s try…

First up, this great list of the top 10 quotes of 2008 by The Yale Book of Quotations. Quick warning, if you are not into politics, or do not have a good sense of humor, you probably won’t find these funny or amusing. But I think they are hilarious, though scary. I mean, check out quote #4. And people at my work are worried about buying an extra toner cartridge. Oh, the irony.

Okay, moving on to something that is near and dear to all of our hearts in the academic world: trying to be inclusive of all the members of the student body. So why do I bring this up? I just read this great article on forgotten transfer students. I think that it is great that some universities and colleges are finally realizing that they need to help transfer students too and not ignore this part of the student body. I especially think of my own institution where “native” students must take an information literacy course but the course is not required for transfer students. I helped co-teach an instruction session on information literacy this summer and one of the students, who was a transfer student, came up after the session and said how helpful it was and how she thought it would be great to have a required course. We have an optional course that transfer students can take but not a course designed for them. Perhaps my school is too small to actually have a dedicated course as such, but surely the library could become more involved and proactive about making the transfer students feel at home. Just a thought.

So how would the library reach out to not just transfer students but the whole community? Take a look at this article on marketing by using Web 2.0 applications. Yes, I know the dreaded word “marketing.” Really, it isn’t a bad word and doesn’t mean you are selling your librarian soul to the big, bad capitalistic corporations of the world. Really, I’m serious, I am so sick of people in my field downplaying or being negative about marketing in the libraries. Marketing is a survival strategy, one that we need to perfect in order for people to perceive us as being relevant (we know we are relevant, but others need to perceive us as being relevant). Okay, off my soapbox now.

This article on marketing in a Web 2.0 world is great because it re-emphasizes that Web 2.0 is all about social connections and that by allowing customers, users and/or patrons (we can have a discussion about the choice of terms used in library discourse and their relationship to power later) to have control over a certain portion of your website and interact with each other, they actually become invested in your services and resources. Everyone wants their voice to matter and wants a way to interact with others. Humans, even librarians, are social creatures, to varying degrees. I think the library is an idea place to let people have a forum to discussion issues, ideas and *gasp* books together in an online world. Seize the positive in the messy, info-overloaded world and let’s market together!

And, the last fun bit of fluff for the day, check out The Best and Worst of Everything from BusinessWeek. Another end of the year list that is interesting and not all doom and gloom.

So tying everything together: Web 2.0 marketing is vital for companies, including libraries. Libraries could use Web 2.0 applications to reach out to transfer students in order to create a welcoming space that they could “own” at their new place of higher education. You could start a discussion around the Best and Worst of Everything from 2008 on a blog or wiki and of course link to the best quotes of 2008–because who doesn’t like a good quote? Okay, I think I’ve now tied everything together.

Enjoy your Tuesday!

What about Optimism?

So from the title of today’s post, you can probably tell that I’m getting a little frustrated by only hearing about doom and gloom all the time on every issue. It is easy to slip into pessimism about the state of the libraries, the state of the nation and the state of the world. But to me, that is way too much like giving up or giving in. Instead, let’s be optimistic–at least where libraries and librarians are concerned. There are a lot of great things that are happening out there and a lot of ways to turn a lot of glass half-empty scenarios into glass half-full scenarios. And no, I’m not saying to ignore reality, rather I’m saying let’s bend reality into what works for us.

Case 1: Jeff Jarvis’ amazing article Let’s Junk the Myths and Celebrate what We’ve Got.
I love this article. Jarvis could be describing how many librarians feel about the Internet and new technologies, couldn’t he? He completely underscores what I try to get across in this blog: yes there is junk on the Internet, but there is so much potential too.

Case 2: Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere
Everyone just has to get on board with the fact that blogs are not going away anytime soon. In fact, more are coming online every day. So libraries and librarians need to continue to get out in the blogosphere and engage others. It’s not enough to have a website and think that we have a web presence to the extent we need. Nor should marketing only occur through the library’s website–we need to be more than a website to our patrons in order to stay relevant.

Case 3: Library Quote #1 & Library Quote #2
There are two great photographs of pillars inside a library with library quotes on them. How cool an idea is that? The photographer, unfortunately, kept all rights reserved instead of using a Creative Commons License so I did not directly paste them in this blog. I encourage you to check them out though. But if you don’t want to click through, the quotes are as follows:
“A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library” Shelby foote
“I don’t believe that libraries should be drab places where people sit in silence, and that’s been the main reason for our policy of employing wild animals as librarians” Gorilla librarian sketch-Monty Python

Always remember, never take yourself or your job too seriously. If we can still have fun, we can stay relevant and be optimistic about our place and task in the grand scheme of society.

As I always leave my students with a final thought for the day, I’ll leave you with one too that will help you keep your optimism. “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” ~Mark Twain

Comments welcome. Stay optimistic and curious and you will be able to find creative ways of doing the work of the library.