Rock on Neil Gaiman!

Happy Tuesday! Yes, I am well aware of the fact that this blog post is late. I usually get a post up on Monday, but it has kind of been a crazy weekend and start of the week. So I apologize for the delay. But to make up for it, here is a post all about Neil Gaiman.

First off, congratulations to Neil Gaiman for winning the Newbery Medal for The Graveyard Book. Read more about it in this page about the Newbery Medal from ALA. That is really cool and Gaiman is a fantastic writer so celebrate by getting one of his books and reading!

Also, Neil Gaiman happens to have a fantastic blog which you can find at Neil Gaiman’s Journal. Honestly I don’t know how he can write as much as he does on his blog and Twitter feed (follow: neilhimself) and still have time to write such amazing stories.

Also, the claymation movie Coraline, based on Neil Gaiman’s story, is coming to theaters February 6th. Did you like The Nightmare Before Christmas? Well, this has the same director, Henry Selick and looks fabulously creepy. I can’t wait.

Haven’t heard of this before? Check out the trailer below:

And just in case, for some reason, you aren’t into Gaiman’s work, here is a little piece you might be interested in: a post about how to embed almost anything in your webpage. This is great. I learned how to embed the high definition version of the Coraline trailer that you watched above.

Enjoy your day, more later in the week.

Mobile Technologies and the Library

Hello! Wow, it is the middle of the month, but doesn’t it feel like a new year?

In honor of President Obama, here is a short article about the President librarians can love. I think it is just wonderful that the article says that Obama gave a “shout-out” to librarians in one of his weekly addresses. I mean, we got a shout-out. That is pretty darn cool. And, hopefully having an intelligent, well-read president will encourage more people to pick up a book and just read!

Next up, a bit unrelated but not really, is this great research article on the Information Ecology of Social Media. It is from 2007, but still is pretty relevant. I love the graphs showing interconnectivity among blogs and discovering blog communities in the blogosphere. I think librarians have a thing or two to teach the rest of the world about the blogosphere! I need time to do a closer reading of this article, but have office hours ssoon so that will have to wait.

How cool is it that the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) now have CDC Mobile? That’s right, they have optimized their website for mobile devices so you can now get credible health information right on your iPhone or other device. Rock on for taking on the mobile revolution CDC!

To end with, here is a great story about text messages saving languages. I think this is just wonderful, not only because I happen to be a huge fan of text messages, but because here is a use of text messages that I bet wasn’t on anyone’s radar when the first lowly text message was sent. However, if advocates succeed in getting more language options for predictive text on cellphones, think of what a boon that would be for the world’s languages, especially in the hands of teenagers (who, after all, are the ones who will be perpetuating the world’s languages). Not to mention, of course, the almost infinite crazy misunderstandings that will happen when people start creating text messaging lingo in their native languages. Now that is going to make for some interesting lost in translation moments! LOL

Mobile technologies are here to stay, a new day is dawning in the United States (sorry for the horrid use of a cliche, just couldn’t resist), and librarians can assist both with mobile technologies and with keeping our patrons informed and hopefully and really well-read. So rock on librarians! Have a great rest of your day, but now I’ve got to jet–I have office hours.

Reading and Audience Development Officers

I really enjoy being a librarian. I like teaching and doing reference work, playing with new online tools to see how I could apply them in the library and working with my colleagues. But sometimes I just sit back and scratch my head, because I just don’t get some of the things people do thinking it will better the library. 

Take this example about Edinburgh rebranding the librarians as Audience Development Officers. Okay, I am so missing why this is a good move. Yes, I understand that librarians do a lot more than people think we do and are reaching out to the community, in person and online, in multiple new ways, but audience development officers? To me this either sounds like the librarians are going to now be liaisons with the branch of the police force that deals with teenagers or they will become the opening act, like at a rock concert, and try to get the crowd moshing before the real show starts.

Branding good; audience development officers bad. I just don’t get why everyone keeps apologizing for being a librarian all the time. Librarians rock. Period. We don’t need a name change, but we might need some better marketing. What do you think?

In much better news, (because you knew I couldn’t bear to have a post without good news), people are apparently reading more fiction. That is a good thing. At this point, I don’t care if it is just a statistical blip or not, it is good news! But the gains are small and there is much room for improvement. So let’s get more people reading even if this article says there is nothing we can do to get more people reading.

If nothing else, read the two above articles to see just how different two takes on the same data can be. Very interesting, definitely a talking about about statistics, reading and librarians. And, just an aside, 100 books read in a year is a good number of books; that’s almost two a week. I think now I’m going to have to try to keep track of every book I read for a year and see how many I read. All I know is, it’s not as many as I want to read.

Final thoughts for this Wednesday: if you are a librarian, be proud of being a librarian and keep working to keep libraries relevant to your community. For everyone, keep reading. Reading is not an antisocial activity (I mean, way to put a negative spin on reading, right?); reading is a thoughtful activity that can be shared via reading to each other or afterwards by sharing how a book expanded your mind.

Have a great rest of your day!

Reading, OCLC, and Gadgets

Happy Monday! It is bright and sunny in the Bay Area and I am feeling very guilty about enjoying the day because it should be raining. Unlike other parts of the country, we really need it to rain here.

But enough about the weather, you are here for the techie and library related goodies! And I have some fun and some disturbing information to relay to you today.

I thought we better get the bad and disturbing information out of the way first: check out this analysis of the new OCLC policy. It sounds like member libraries could be negatively impacted by this new policy. I want to read the entire policy before adding to much to this discussion, but I think everyone should be aware of this coming change.

On to less disturbing news: online reading versus book reading–what is better? There is a lot of debate surrounding this question, especially as more and more of the information and services offered to students and patrons moves online. Check out a summary of research done on this very issue that says that there may be negatives to reading and learning online. I know this is a huge debate and there isn’t nearly enough research to say definitively whether online and print reading are equivalent in terms of cognition and comprehension levels. But I think it is a good idea to keep up on the research and discussion surrounding reading and learning as we spend resources and time on ebooks, online instruction and services.

Online reading works for me in small doses and for short periods of time, but I would never want to read the complete works of Foucault online. What do you think?

Now for the fun: you might have thought we were done with lists because, after all, it is January 12th, but no! Here is a list I just had to pass along: New Year’s Resolutions for Readers. I love this list; I find it inspiring and encouraging and will use it as a reason for my indulgence of reading more this year. So go forth and read; then let me know what books you liked–I’m always interested in what other people are reading.

Lastly, I couldn’t have another post without talking about some technology. Here is Wired’s list of 12 Good Gadgets for Hard Times. It is a thought-provoking list (as shown by the massive amounts of comments on the article, some of which are entertaining and others of which are not very nice). I think it is always interesting to see what someone else thinks are the go to gadgets. I have to say, after living in South America, I’ve got to agree with the hand-crank radio, multi-tool and some kind of water filtration unit. A solar powered or hand-crank laptop would be icing on the cake. Remember, don’t let technology rule your life or your work, make it be a tool that works for you.

Have a great rest of your Monday, see you again later this week!