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Ha! Just kidding.

23 Things on a Stick was, in a word, well-organized.  I’m impressed with the selection of tools and how useful they will be across the many different library-types that are represented in this challenge. I enjoy blogging (have kept a personal blog since Nov 2007) and plan to keep a more-work-related blog here, as a way to keep current, and to give a little thought to what I’m seeing.

Favorite Things were Ning and Del.ici.ous. I had been avoiding them for so long, and I can really see their usefulness.

How did I connect with others?  I left a few comments, but mostly I contacted people I already knew and said “hey, are you blogging?”  The thing I keep coming back to about online social networking is that the key word is still social.  I’m shy IRL, and I’m shy online.  But it’s getting easier.

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Playtime is good.

It is important to play with the tools and incorporate them thoughtfully into library services, and it is important to understand how they are changing behavior and expectations. For example, while YouTube is entertaining, it’s also changed the expectation that we see the video instantly. So, make downloadable videos available through the library. And the more one uses (facebook, flickr, blogs) the more one expects to be able to comment on what they see, so add a ‘comment’ function to your catalog. Let your patrons participate actively in your online presence. It’s radical trust, people.

I have found that blogging really forces me to give thought to something new I’ve encountered, and I intend to keep blogging about library stuff here.

Most importantly, I’m going to take a deep breath anytime I come across a new tool.

I would love to propose something like Gather or Ning to my Classics Book Club for teens this summer as a way to keep going over the school year. Last year they wanted to meet year round, but with my schedule and other responsibilities, I could not commit to the book club that they wanted each month. I tried. I looked at my schedule upside down and backwards, and my time just didn’t allow for that level of programming throughout the year. PLUS, I know how busy they get during the year. It would be nearly impossible to find a time that most could meet. HOWEVER, these tools could be used to keep the momentum going through the school year.

The problem? I have a hard time asking them to create an account with a specific social tool. Liability issues aside (for now), most of them are on facebook…so I could possibly create a Classics book club group there…but not all are on facebook. In the meantime, I’ll explore to see if they can participate anonymously in something, and keep exploring. And, think about how to propose this to my manager. 🙂

Any thoughts? Are you using these tools with teens?

Ugh. Ning. It feels less anonymous to me, for some reason. Plus, it looks too busy. So I have always avoided it.  I can appreciate it, but this was the first time in the Web 2.0 explorations that I felt like “oh, maaaan! one more thing I have to log into and check”.  The feeling will pass.

One good thing though. I forced myself to create a group. I pushed myself outside my comfort zone, just a little bit more. And, after actually creating an account and exploring a little bit, I can appreciate it’s capacity for letting people create a social network for a particular interest. And it helps me navigate the Nerdfighters group a little bit more.

My venture into the Web 2.0 world started with a MySpace account in November of 2006 to prepare for an Internet Safety training I was doing for the local community education. It was really quite fun, but also a bit anxiety-producing when I stumbled across old friends and ex-friends from high school. Should I read their profiles? Are they reading mine? I went right back to my own adolescence for about a month, and it was not fun. Got over it quick, though.

Professionally, I am more interested in LinkedIn (because the focus is professional connections), and Facebook (because businesses can create pages that are separated from your friends, unlike MySpace).

Facebook

I have been on Facebook since (probably) August of 2007, and I like it quite a bit. The “one-stop shop” aspect of it (email, playful apps, photos, IM) is really key, plus most people who are on social networks are going to be there. Some of the groups I have joined include Reading is Sexy (because it is), I Love YA Books (because I do), The Minnesota Library Association (because I like the events updates), and of course, the group a teen volunteer created for our library (only, it didn’t turn out to be as active as we thought it would be). She and I created the page together, and she invited her friends who were on Facebook to join the group.

I like displaying things about myself (my visual bookshelf, being a fan of Al Franken, etc) and being playful online with connections that I wouldn’t maintain otherwise. Libraries can do the same with their pages.

Thing 19: Podcasts

I’m an iTunes gal, and have subscribed to a number of podcasts over the years. At my height I listened to about 30 podcasts regularly — I’m now down to 2 (The Word Nerds and Grammar Girl).

I think that podcasting is a great way to involve your patrons or audience and keep them engaged in your programming. Recently I attended an author event at the University of Minnesota bookstore. (Lynne Cox. Awesome.) The bookstore extends their services by offering their author lectures in a series of podcasts too. I think it is a great way to involve a larger audience, and to keep those people who came *once* involved. Same goes for the MPR podcasts — smart way to keep your audience involved.

Am I inspired to create a podcast? Personally, no. Professionally, I think it’s important. My library system has made audio versions of booktalks available on our website, and there is a regular podcast created by teens for TeenLinks.

Like blogging, I think it would be important to create a unique voice or angle for yourself if you want to get and keep a regular listening audience.

Thing 18: YouTube

This medieval help desk video reminds me of the frustration with learning new technologies, but that we can and should embrace them….

I have used YouTube in library programs. Last year we read Project Mulberry by Linda Sue Park for the girls book club and, seeing as though I couldn’t get my hands on any mulberry leaves or silkworms, I showed videos of how silk is made so we had a visual of the project the characters were working on.

My teen volunteers are currently working on making a video for me to show to groups that visit the library this summer.  Other libraries in my system have held video contests, and posted the entries on YouTube.  The only downside is that the library currently does not provide video editing equipment or software, so we have to rely on the equipment that our patrons have.  Which is fine, just a bit frustrating.