Thursday, December 31, 2009

Looking back, Looking forward


Here we go, new decade, fresh start.

I'm sitting at the circulation desk on New Year's Eve, and it goes without saying, things are pretty slow...

I'm clicking through some of my favorite links to stave off the boredom, and everywhere I turn I'm faced with "best of" lists and "decade in review" pages, and I feel like I should also take a moment and reflect.

In the past 10 years I've graduated high school, completed college and started my masters. I've traveled to Kenya, left my hometown and moved to the opposite side on the country. I've participated in the weddings for both of my siblings and I've helped a few of my friends and loved ones welcome little bitty babies into the world. I've gotten tattooed, pierced and grown one of the greatest beards of all time. I've done a lot, traveled a lot, and seen a lot. As I come to the end of my third decade, I realize that it's been an amazing and crazy ten years, but I'm really looking forward to the next ten. I feel like I am finally on a path of turning my avocations into an occupation.

I'm at a point in my life where I'm anticipating the future, both my personal future and our shared future. I'm excited to finish my degree and find a position in a library where my skills and talents will be utilized. I'm excited to see where in the world I will end up. I'm excited about being a participant in the continuing evolution of information dissemination. And I'm looking forward, in general, to joining and participating in the larger community of librarians and information professionals. The people I have met in the past year, through school, work and general library exploration have been some of the most fascinating, caring and genuine people I have ever met.

If I was asked what I imagine 2010 to be like when I was a child, I would probably describe a scene out of the film "Back To The Future II" flying cars, self adjusting clothing, holographic entertainment, the whole bit. We may not be there yet - but there certainly is a lot going on these days: iPods, iPhones and maybe even an iSlate. We've lost classifieds in the newspapers (thanks to craigslist), Encyclopedia Britannica (thanks wikipedia) and dial up Internet (actually glad to see that gone). With Twitter, Facebook, and Blogs we live in an era of instantaneous global communication. Banking & personal finances, education & entertainment, and news & current events are all conducted through our computers (and even our cell phones...). We no longer search for information. Information now searches for us. It's a grand time to be alive with all these new toys and technologies - and it seems like things are going to develop and change faster and faster. For example: will we see a day when a contact lens that transmit computer data and images directly into you eye? It might be sooner than we realize...

If you're reading this, I wish you well as we come into 2010. I hope you also have a chance to reflect and to look forward. I hope you have a chance to celebrate with people you care about. And I hope that you, too, are excited about the possibilities and challenges that await us.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A post for my fellow Oregonians...

Bare with me, as I indulge in another political rant....

Hopefully the readers of this blog who live in Oregon realize that a special election is right around the corner. We have an opportunity to vote on two measures, 66 and 67, that will effectively change the state's tax structure. Without going into too much detail, and on the verge of way oversimplifying things, it will essentially mean that those over a very high income level will pay more than those under it, as well as some changes to corporate tax structure.

For more information, and a better explanation of the measures, check out the League of Women Voters and the Oregon Center for Public Policy.

On that note, I think I'll step up to the soap box and encourage you all to vote yes on these measures. From what I have gathered, it seems that only 3% of Oregonians are going to see an increase on their personal income taxes, and if you are a business owner, unless you declare tens of millions of dollars in profits (or more) there will not be much of a change either (about $150 dollars more a year).

However, there will be some major benefits from these minor changes. Namely, many public services that have seen drastic budget cuts (such as public education and public health care) will see more funding flow their way....including libraries!!

Basically, hundreds of thousands of dollars will be directed to the Ready to Read Program (which has helped tens of thousands of Oregon children access books since the program started in 1993), the summer reading program, and the State Library (which, among many other things, currently circulates the state's Braille collection).

One example of the importance of these measures: without the potential funding, the Ready to Read program could be outright cut. It'd be like taking books away from children....That would suck.

No one likes ignorant children.

Measure 66 and 67 are essential for supporting important public services as we weather this recession. So please, if you're an Oregon voter, vote yes. If you haven't registered to vote yet, click here and register, and again - VOTE YES ON MEASURE 66 AND 67 ON JANUARY 26th!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Interesting social networking study

The University of New Hampshire released a study examining the correlation between student's time devoted to Web 2.0 and their grades. Their findings? None. Their was an even distribution between students who considered themselves "heavy users" (more than an hour a day) and "light users" (less than a half an hour a day).

This seems to make sense. It comes down to time management, and there have always been ways to distract oneself from their schoolwork. Twenty years ago is was Super Mario Brothers, ten years ago it was spider solitaire and minesweeper, today it is mafia wars and facebook.

What is interesting is that 92% of the student who participated in the study were all on facebook.

As I said earlier, Big Brother has a new name, and it's Mark Zuckerberg.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

i love blogs.

Edublogs just announced the winners of their best blogs of 2009, and included a category for library blogs. Based on their winners and nominations, I've added a few more to my blog list and personal rss feed.

If you feel so inclined, here are a few that I really enjoyed getting introduced to:

Never Ending Search

Bright Ideas

Library Tech Musings

The Unquiet Librarian

Librarian By Day

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Big brother has a new name...Mark Zuckerberg

I know I've already posted today, but before I forgot about it, I wanted to get this up here. Just a quick rant before bedtime...

Ever since I saw the open letter on Facebook about its new privacy setting, I've been kind of curious, especially since they unveiled them today. So I did some research....

I think this article is one of the best posts I have found about Facebook's new privacy settings.

Although, I have to say that the best privacy setting is to be truly private. As my friend Anne once said, "Don't want someone to see something? Don't put it on the internet." Now that my mom is my friend, she's my new litmus test for anything I post, although I'm sure she still gets offended every now and again.

Although Facebook's mission is to help people connect with one another - we have to remember that they are a business. Any business's number one priority is profit. And if it's profitable to try and spread as much information about you as far as possible, then by-golly they're gonna try.

Oh - and for the record, here is another reason to hate mafia wars...

Pedagogy Without Borders


So here is an interesting article - especially if you have ever taken an online class.

To sum it up: teachers who teach online classes are better than ones who don't.

It's a really interesting argument, and one I can see the logic behind. I'm sure teaching an online class is way more difficult than teaching a traditional class. As the article states, you are forced to think more and more about the objectives of the course and the best implementation needed to meet those objectives.

I wonder if this could be carried into the library realm? Could librarians offer effective online research instruction? Already libraries have email/chat with a librarian programs" and social networking opportunities (facebook, twitter, etc.) available from their websites. As a distant learning student myself, rarely have I visited a library for my resources - which is ironic since I'm studying library science. This is mainly because my library is in Kansas. All of the materials I have used for classes and research have been downloaded from their website.

In essence, my library is just a website. It makes sense to me if I'm contacting the librarians there electronically anyways, instruction could also be provided electronically. And, if one were to adhere to the rules of logic and correlation, the actual instruction might be better, too.

Something to think about....

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Library Gyro

On my way to work today, I stopped in at the new Pita Pit that opened up on PSU campus to grab some lunch before heading up the hill.

As I was waiting for my lamb to grill, the guy behind the counter asked how my day was going and if I was heading to work or school, one thing lead to another and we starting talking about library school, to which he says "Oh, I love books...."

Sigh.

I didn't want to get into the whole conversation, but as he put together my pita, I quickly said that librarians don't deal with books any more, we deal with information. He looked a bit confused, so I threw out a line about information technology and databases, which he understood. I thanked him for the food and headed out the door.

As I come to the end of my first semester, I now realize that librarianship isn't necessarily about books, and its not necessarily about databases and websites, either (although they both are part of the job). Librarianship is about how we can best meet individual's needs. You never know what questions patrons might ask or advice they need. Although I work in a medical library, a lot of the best questions have nothing to do with medicine. In the past week, at the circulation desk, we've had patrons ask about formatting pictures for power point presentations, how to download and open adobe files, even bus options to get out the Oregon Coast. We literally deal with it all. And there is nothing more satisfying then helping some one find the answer they need...

And the pita was delicious, by the way. Although, for Portland residents reading this, The Pita Pit on SW 10th remains the superior Pita Pit.