What's interesting today

Simmons GSLIS: Cloonan To Step Down as GSLIS Dean
The dean of my graduate school has decided after a decade that it’s time to take a break. Thank you for making GSLIS an awesome place to become a librarian, Michèle!

American Libraries Next Steps: Broadcast Collaboration
A quick look inside the library at NPR. Did you know their librarians are embedded throughout the journalistic and production staffs? And also that they are going all-digital in preparation for moving to a new building in 2013? Sounds like some very forward-thinking folks.

Avos: Last Call for Delicious Users: Transfer Your Bookmarks
If you haven’t already authorized this (or packed up and taken your bookmarks elsewhere) stop reading and click here to make sure your bookmarks are transferred when Delicious re-launches. It’s also probably not a bad idea to export them today or tomorrow so that you have them in hand if you don’t like the new look of the site. (The migration is apparently happening this weekend.)

Insatiable Booksluts: Banned Books Week: What Subversives Are You Reading?
Despite the brevity of this post, the author is able to succinctly make several interesting points about the overall makeup of the books that show up on our banned lists, and why they’re being challenged. It is also a nice reminder that librarians do a lot more than shelve books and help you find journal articles, as a profession we are also dedicated to protecting your right to read whatever the heck you want. In a librarian’s perfect world, people offended by books would simply choose not to read them, and to prevent their children from reading them, thus leaving the rest of us free to bask in whatever “filth” or “smut” we so desire. Anyway, Banned Books Week starts on Saturday, so go head and pick up something to read! Try Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley, or The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, a young adult book by Sherman Alexie (and certainly one of those that is also resonant for adults).

American Libraries: ACRL Invites Applicants for Immersion ’12 Program
If you’re an instruction librarian, please start figuring out how to get yourself to Immersion. I’ve never been (not for lack of trying) but from everything I’ve heard from GSLIS classmates who have attended, it is amazingly helpful in developing as a teacher.

Best lab ever

This is the computer lab I worked at throughout library school – the Simmons GSLIS Tech Lab. Notice anything peculiar? I would wager that most of us have not seen general-use computer labs that are made up entirely of Macs. It’s not a Mac lab — it’s just the Tech Lab, which supports the library school. These gorgeous dual-boot machines (soon to triple-boot I hear) are greeting the new students.

On the one hand, I wish I was there to see this. On the other hand, I hear that it involved some very late nights on the part of the staff. And also, there will be lots of handholding for the Mac-wary students, and no doubt lots of griping. I do hope that this will at least help those who are not so tech-savvy get over some of their mental blocks about using Macs. They would always look so skeptical when I’d say “it works the same, it just looks different, and I’m paid to help you figure it out.”

Although, this will certainly scare off the non-GSLIS students.

Hey, someone should do a workshop or something. 😉

Photo credit:
GSLIS Tech Lab
Originally uploaded by candyschwartz

2007 Student Chapter of the Year!

YES! The official word from ASIS&T:

It’s a tie!

The Student Chapter of the Year Award has two winners this year! The Award will be shared between the student chapters at Simmons College and UCLA. A hearty congratulations to both chapters!

Simmons College student chapter

One committee member remarked that the Simmons chapter “has found a way to its members’ minds — through their stomachs!” The Simmons chapter has also done a good job retaining membership numbers. Their chapter activities take wonderful advantage of the resources available to Simmons because of its geography and academic connections (within and outside Simmons). Their chapter activities are offered consistently and reflect current interests of students and practitioners. The Simmons chapter maintains consistent communications and uses current media for communications. The chapter gave and received awards during the 2006-7 reporting year.

Simmons held a total of 71 meetings, events and workshops—this included 8 meetings, 16 events, 47 workshops over the Fall and Spring semesters. Emerging Technologies Workshops covered topics such as XHTML & CSS, Wikis, User interface design, Podcasting and Internet Radio, Setting up an RSS Aggregator, etc. Members assisted students in holding an Advising Day for incoming GSLIS students, and Speed Geeking II, in which five panelists spoke to small groups of 3 or 4 about technology related jobs. Current membership is 39, a slight decrease from the 44 previous, however they recruited 28 new members, and retained 11.

 Hip hip, hooray!!

This semester’s Big New Thing

Every semester, there seems to be a Big New Thing for me. Here’s the current one:

As part of the overall Simmons College “web refresh” project currently in the works at the Web Office, the GSLIS Publications/Web Team was invited to propose a new information architecture (IA) for the GSLIS web sites (http://www.simmons.edu/gslis and http://my.simmons.edu/gslis). Our team . . . put together a process and a schedule to meet our ultimate goal: to propose a new information architecture scheme to the Web Office by Thanksgiving, and to make any revisions before the end of the semester.

We are doing some (of what I understand to be) classic usability testing: creating user personas, doing a card sorting study, and running paper prototyping. The work is being done by a team of 9 GSLIS students, 6 of whom are participating as part of an independent study, and three of whom are working on this as volunteers. This is in addition to myself and five staff members. The schedule is ambitious, but we have an excellent team and (at the moment) I’m not worried. Continue reading

Hit-and-Run at ALA

We’re back from the trip to DC for ALA, and the poster session went quite well. Traffic was a bit less than I had hoped for, but the folks who did stop by seemed very interested in talking to us about the workshop series. Many of them were involved in doing technology workshops at their libraries, and we encouraged them to look at and use our materials. We also had some Simmons alumni stop by to say hello and introduce themselves, which was really great.

As you can see, the poster looked great, and was perfectly sized to fit on the bulletin boards provided by the convention center. Other than the poster session, and some time spent wandering around part of the exhibit hall, during which I was attacked in true politician style by Jay Inslee, one of Washington State’s senators, who was there to promote a clean energy book (Apollo’s Fire) coming out this fall. We had a very strange conversation about how Massachusetts is a great state that really cares about the environment, and how because of that I should read his book. Had I been less overwhelmed by the exhibits, we could have had a slightly better conversation about WashPIRG (for which I still feel some affection, despite my non-affectionate feelings for whicheverPIRG and The Fund and Environment Fill-in-the-Blank).

Anyway, click through for more photos of DC, including a series of closeups of the poster in case you are curious to see what the heck we were talking about.

DC Weekend: American Library Assn.

ALAIf you’re going to be at ALA this weekend please stop by my presentation on Saturday afternoon and say hello! Jen, Ellen and I have a fantastic poster and are really excited that we’re going to be participating in the poster session. I know there are a lot of other great programs going on during the same time slot, but if you can dash by and find us, we’d love to see you.

Saturday, June 23
1:00 – 2:30PM
Poster Session II: The Educators
Front of Exhibit Hall C

And if you’re not going to ALA, but you’ll be in DC for some other reason, feel free to give me a ring and see if we can meet up (although, if you don’t already have my phone number, you now have a very limited amount of time in which to contact me and get it. Oops.) I’m there from Friday afternoon – Sunday afternoon. I haven’t actually looked at the conference schedule for Saturday or Sunday, so I haven’t made plans to go to any sessions. 🙂

ALA Poster Session Abstract

Woo! Poster session abstracts for ALA are up! (Interestingly, apparently Simmons is now in PA, where Jen lives.) If you’re going to ALA and will be there by Saturday afternoon, please come say hello!

SESSION II: The Educators: Posters on Distance Learning, Continuing Education, Library Education, Literacy, and Research Methodology

Saturday, June 23, 2007; 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm

II – 10: Emerging Technologies, Emerging Teachers: Collaborative Workshops at Simmons GSLIS

More famous librarians

One of the things that kept me busy this week was an ASIS&T event that I organized for Wednesday evening. I had invited Casey Bisson (far left) to come speak about Scriblio, the online library catalog he built on top of the WordPress blogging platform (which, incidentally, powers Spinstah). He recently won a Mellon award for his work on this, and was also named a 2007 Mover & Shaker by Library Journal, so this was a pretty big deal! I was thrilled when I found out he was bringing along Lichen Rancourt (next to Casey), who has started working on the project with him, mostly doing outreach to try and get libraries in small communities to adopt Scriblio, which they can also use to power their entire library website. That makes it much easier for staff without knowledge of creating websites to keep the content fresh, and enables patrons to search the library website and the library’s holdings at the same time. Yeah!

The interactivity (comments) also enables patrons who can’t normally get to the library to participate in what’s going on. Lichen told a great story about a homebound patron who is now commenting like mad on the Scriblio site his library is using (Cook Memorial Library in Tamworth, NH). How wonderful is that?

We had opened this event not just to the current GSLIS community, but to our alumni and to members of NEASIS&T, so it was important to me that things go well. And overall, they did — the only problem we had was with catering. They had my order, but hadn’t processed it. I know this because when I called to find out where the food was, the woman I spoke with knew exactly what I had ordered. They sent over what they could, but it was not the spread I had wanted. Such is life.

People really enjoyed the event, though, and we had great turnout. So now, on to the next thing . . .

Library School (TM) on Flickr

So, I just made a new group on Flickr: Library School (TM). It’s for photos of anything and everything related to library school — projects, meetings, events, future librarians, whatever. If you’re affiliated with a library school or an ischool, please join and share any photos that meet the parameters.

OK, now I am really going to go start finding LC subject headings for my indexing project.