Monday, April 25, 2011

Thing 5: Reflection, etc.

Ah, a respite :-)  Let me just say that as happy as I am to have some catch up time (especially as I fine tune my next round of K-5 Literacy Skills units!), I will miss tackling a new "assignment" this week.  This has been a tremendously positive experience for me so far, and I am thoroughly enjoying learning new, and exploring old, bits of technology.

I used my "free time" this morning to visit a couple other participants' blogs, and had a good time reading what fellow learners had to say.  It is amazing the variety of Library professionals that are represented, and the diversity of experiences and view points that we all have.  I am glad that as Lou Ann requested, these blogs will remain up into summer for future reading/exploring.  There is much to learn from each other!

And I hear that nicer weather is finally on its way - so enjoy your week!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Thing 4: Online Communities

Oh, man.... This was the one I was dreading.  Let me just preface this post by explaining that our superintendent frowns upon teaching professionals having accounts on FaceBook, My Space, etc.  This very topic was a rather large part of our opening faculty meeting.  No, it is not that she does not want us to connect with fellow professionals , or on a personal level, with our friends and family, but she does find that having such accounts creates other potential problems in a public school setting.  She gave the example of "friending" certain parents of your students, and not others; or similarly "friending" some colleagues, but not others.  And, of course, let's face the white elephant in the room: if you work in a public school, there are high expectations for you, quite possibly higher than for the average citizen.  Teachers act in loco parentis to hundreds of students, and as such, it is imperative that we be role models and viewed as above reproach given the trust that must come with such responsibility.

Okay, so that brings me to how I feel about social networking.  To be honest, I'm not a huge fan of it.  For one, I happen to agree with the concerns of our superintendent, even though I feel confident that if I did have a FaceBook or Twitter account, I would not be so irresponsible as to post inappropriate information about myself, my students, or their families.

Secondly, although there have been fleeting moments where I have regretted not having access to FaceBook, (such as to view the CDLC page!), for the most part, I don't feel crippled by living in the "stone age" of old-fashioned networking, using tools such as telephone, email, listservs, blogs, etc.  Then again, perhaps ignorance is bliss; maybe I would feel differently if I were involved with social networks?  All I can say for sure, is that I think I'm doing okay without it.  I'm participating in this workshop, and I go to conferences, and I regularly talk with library colleagues, and once again, I have to sing Dee Portzer's praises for her work to keep us all informed through Questar III.

Finally, let's face it - Social networking says something about our evolving culture, doesn't it?  It is only the "reality TV" generation that could possibly think the minute details of people's lives merit public posting.  Even watching the Common Craft video made me smile as I read through the example posts.  C'mon - who really cares if you're having coffee at that very moment?  Or if you happen to be running late that morning? 

But all that being said, I know GOOD things are also happening via social networking.  I agree that libraries can gain much by connecting with their communities through this valuable tool.  Today things like e-newsletters and email updates are not enough - not by a long shot.  And I love the ease with which things like book discussions and event updates can be shared and disseminated.  Polly, you could not have worded it better when you asked how libraries can connect with their customers.  It has never been more important for libraries to market themselves as a valuable resource and asset than it is today, in these volatile economic times.  Most libraries are publicly funded entities, and it is our customers who have to foot the bill.  As such, we need to reach these people and provide our services in whatever format people are using, and that, quite obviously, includes social networks.

It is with that optimism that I finally consented to join my first social network: Goodreads.  It seemed the "safest" option (who wants to ruffle their superintendent after all?!), and I know others who belong, so I'm sure I'll enjoy it.  You can visit my profile at . 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Thing 3: Photo Sharing

Oh, I'm old hat at this :-)  I've been using Shutterfly, SnapFish, Kodak, etc for years.  As a matter of fact, I started on that old SONY photo sharing site that was discontinued probably about 7-8 years ago now. But seeing as how I don't currently use Flickr,  I opted to explore it for this week's assignment.

Not needing yet another new photo account given I already have images stashed on 3-4 other sites, I decided to explore images.  What I chose to look for was an image of Jack "Legs" Diamond, the prohibition era gangster who was so prevalent in this area.  After reading William Kennedy's, Legs, for a Book Club group I belonged to, I was astounded that Kevin Bacon's rule of 7 seems to apply in much more intimate terms to Mr. Diamond.  As I would talk to people I knew about Legs, the conversation almost always went something like this: "Oh, yeah, my father used to drive for him", or "Your grandfather used to see him at the bar in Waterford when he moonlighted there as a bartender", or "My grandfather was part of his police escort from NYC to Troy"...  You get the "picture" (ha ha - I made a pun!).  It seemed as if everyone had some immediate, personal connection to this icon - and it was more like a rule of 1 or 2, not 7!!

So that summer, I took 3 of my book club cohorts on a fun Legs Diamond field trip all through Albany.  We visited the infamous Rainbow Room (Aside: My own husband floored me when I was babbling about the Kenmore Hotel and he piped up, "I know that building - I worked there for three years..."), his Dove street apartment (now owned by Kennedy), and several other famous Legs haunts.

But alas, I digress, and what you really want is a simple link to a photo of this notorious criminal.  Here ya go: uploaded by Flickr user "TG4 *"  I tried to upload the image into this blog using the tool above, but got this message:

We can't find the image at that URL.
  • Please check the address for typing errors.
  • Make sure the image is public. If your image is protected by a password, or on an internal network, we will not be able to read it.
I assure you, I entered the right URL, and the image is public, so I'm not sure what happened.

So my assignment to you this week is to ask several people YOU know if they have any connections to Legs, and let me know what you find out!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Thing 2: RSS

I've now added three blogs to my Google Reader, which I've placed prominently on my iGoogle homepage.  Although I completely understand the purpose and use for this tool, it may take me a while before I really incorporate it into my day-to-day life.  I'm the kind of person who doesn't even subscribe to a newspaper (print or electronic) because I know I'll rarely read any of it.  It's not that I don't want to stay current and/or involved; I think it's more that I have been using other methods to do so.  I realized as I was mulling over this week's assignment that, to be honest, I've come to rely on Dee Portzer/Questar and my other colleagues to share with me any news/updates/links to things that are truly important.  In a way, they're my RSS - but with a really cool weeding feature - and together we all wade through all kinds of information and pass on various valuable nuggets :-)  We, by nature, as librarians love to share a good tip or an interesting site.

It's not that I can't think of good uses for RSS in a library setting, but it'll just take me a while to make the shift.