On October 6, 2011, I presented at the Nebraska Library Association annual conference. I shared free online resources to use at the library. Approximately 50 people attended the 50-minute presentation.
Find the list of resources I discussed here.
Find It on the Web handout
Find the PowerPoint presentation here.
Find It on the Web presentation
I just tried Screencast-o-matic and it was amazing! I liked that I didn’t have to install anything and it was easy to use. I could see myself using this to help my grandma with the computer, to help patrons navigate our new catalog, and to show patrons how to download eBooks.
I have used screen captures many times. Recently, I did a presentation about free online resources to use at the library. I was worried the wireless Internet wouldn’t work in the hotel, so I created screen shots of each website for my PowerPoint to refer to if needed. It’s an effective tool for showing step-by-step instructions on how to do something on the computer.
I have never created a podcast, but I have listened to many using Windows Media Player. At my old library job, one of the librarians used an iTalk to record Teen Advisory Board members giving booktalks.
These are all great tools to provide interactive instruction to library patrons.
I will preface my post by saying I like PowerPoint. A lot. Now SlideShare gives us a way to share our fabulous PowerPoint presentations easily, even if our recipient doesn’t have the same version of PowerPoint or doesn’t have PowerPoint at all. Most recently, I have used SlideShare to share a presentation about the New Members Round Table of the Nebraska Library Association. I was able to share the presentation with the others in the group, then send the link to local library students to view and learn about the group. Additionally, I was able to embed the SlideShare presentation into our group’s blog. You can view it at http://nebraskalibraries.org/NMRT/2011/04/learn-more-about-nmrt/
SlideShare is a very useful tool for sharing presentations in an accessible format.
I finished my Master’s degree in December of last year. I’d heard about services such as these, but I didn’t take the time to explore them and did all my citations the old-fashioned way. Now that I’ve looked at these sites, I feel like I could have saved myself a lot of work, especially since I primarily used articles from online databases for my research and writing.
Having explored all three of these websites, I think Zotero seems the most functional for students. In my mind, the biggest benefit is its ability to cite everything correctly and in different styles. In almost every class for my MLS, we were told to use APA style. One class required MLA style. A tool such as Zotero would have made this much less painful; I wouldn’t have had to adjust to using a completely different style.
As I think of my library’s patrons, I can see recommending these sites to college students. To be honest, though, even having them stick around long enough to show them one online database is a feat. I hope my academic library counterparts have a higher success rate.
My library branch is a heavy user of Google Docs. All of our weekly and daily schedules, among other things, are shared there. This is helpful because I can check my schedule from anywhere that has Internet access and changes appear immediately. This also means supervisors can make changes to the schedule from home. Schedules are color coded to signify the supervisor on duty, closers, meetings, and schedule abnormalities. The only downfall to this system is if the Internet is down, we can’t access our schedules. I think using Google Docs for scheduling is a brilliant idea.
I have seen wikis used in the library environment in a few different ways. At my previous job, we were part of an organization for young adult librarians; the organization had a wiki of book lists and program ideas to which everyone could contribute. The reference department at my previous job had a departmental wiki used to keep track of projects and changes. I created a wiki for my current workplace with book lists. I noticed that most of our reader’s advisory questions came from kids and teens. The youth services librarian is well read in that section, but other staff members are not. I made book lists on a variety of topics, such as mysteries, Diary of a Wimpy Kid read-alikes, and teen supernatural fiction. Any staff member can add to the lists or create new ones. Anyone can view the wiki located at http://eiseleylibrary.pbworks.com
As someone who uses 4 or 5 different computers per day, I think Dropbox would be highly useful. Between work and home, I create documents and need somewhere to save them. I carry my flash drive in my purse, but it isn’t always handy to retrieve it. I have not used Dropbox, but I plan to download it to my home computer.
Online tools for saving and sharing documents are very handy and something I will continue to use in my personal and professional lives.
Google has so many great free tools! I am kind of old-fashioned when it comes to calendars. Every year, I buy a small planner that I carry with me to work. Because I have two part-time jobs and an irregular schedule, it is helpful to keep track of where I’m supposed to be when. I don’t always have the planner with me, though. This is where Google Calendar could come in handy. If I’m near a computer with Internet access, I could check my calendar that way.
I decided to do a trial run. I already have (and love) a Google account. I created a Google Calendar and, within minutes, copied what was written in my planner. I added my Google Calendar to my iGoogle homepage and voila! I now have my schedule in two convenient places. I’m not going to give up my planner, but I’ll keep up with Google Calendar for a couple of months and see if it works for me.
I could see how Google Calendar and its sharing feature could come in handy for libraries. As a staff member, I wish our library would use it. Our website is difficult to navigate, especially in a hurry. If we had a Google Calendar on the homepage, both staff and patrons could see right away what was going on that day. I see potential for an increase in program attendance and less phone calls.
Online networks have created an easy and efficient way for people to come together and to keep in touch. My grandma had never even touched a computer, but she realized the best way to hear from her grandchildren on a regular basis was to embrace technology. She now has a laptop and an active Facebook page.
I opened a Facebook account about four years ago. I almost immediately reconnected with a good friend from high school that I’d lost touch with after a move. Since then, I have friended (and unfriended) coworkers, friends, classmates, and family members. I have seen Facebook’s value in a variety of uses. When I was working on my Master’s degree online, my classmates (who lived all over the country) and I created a Facebook group to communicate with and support one another. An artist I know uses Facebook to share his work. The library has a page to keep patrons informed. I use Facebook for sharing pictures and keeping in touch. If you’re smart about what you post and use the custom privacy settings, Facebook is a great way to connect with people.
I opened a LinkedIn account in 2008 when I was preparing to move and looking for a new job. It has been a great networking tool. If I meet someone new in a professional capacity, I try to connect with them. I consider a LinkedIn profile to be a glorified business card- a reminder of who you are and how they know you- that won’t be lost or thrown away. Any time I consider applying for a job, I check LinkedIn to see if any of my connections work for that company or know anyone who does. I often wonder if potential employers do the same to me. If they do, I feel better knowing I have a professional, updated profile. In addition to networking, I have joined several “groups” on LinkedIn. Following discussions on different aspects of the library profession has been interesting and helpful. I would like to continue building connections on LinkedIn; if you would like to connect, my profile is located at http://www.linkedin.com/in/bethanygrabow.
I know some people are hesitant to have a presence on online networks, but I have enjoyed my experiences and would encourage everyone to give it a try.