26 June 2008

MPOW of Learning 2.0 Extravaganza

My colleague and I officially launched our Summer Learning 2.0 Extravaganza today. We sent an e-mail out to our colleagues announcing the opportunity and are looking forward to hearing back from whose interested.

Here's the e-mail launch:
Have you heard the buzz? Library 2.0, Web 2.0, Wikis, Blogs, Meebo,
Flickr? Do those terms throw you for a loop? Not sure what they
mean, but want to find out?

Then come on down to the Tarver Learning 2.0 extravaganza and petting
zoo! We'll have a summer of learning new technologies and
experiences. In our introductory session, we'll cover what Library
2.0/Web 2.0 really is and how it can benefit you in your daily life,
both work and home. And we'll discuss just how our summer of learning
will work.

We will be offering three introductory workshops for a limited time
only! So, stop by on Tuesday July 1 @10am, Wed. July 2 @4pm, or on
Monday July 7 @11am in the classroom to find out about our learning
extravaganza. Please let us know which of these exciting events that
you'll be able to attend!

Then YOU have the chance to learn more in depth about these exciting
tools! We'll have a chance to explore using these tools in real life.
Just imagine the possibilities…by the end of the summer you can
upload and tag your photos in Flickr, create your own blog, or play on
social networks (and you'll know what the terms mean!) Impress your
colleagues and classmates, amaze young folk that you know the lingo!
So come on out and learn! We'll have from July 14-August 8 to

To help us get started please take the survey below to choose your top
four choices for learning topics. Once this done we'll, tally the
votes, and the top four choices we'll be the items we explore in a
petting zoo in July! Here you'll be able to stop by and experience
the technology in action. We'll see how they work, who's using them,
and how you can start using them yourself! Please respond to the
survey by Tuesday July 8 to find out who wins! (Please check out the
attachment for a brief description of the topics!)

(survey link omitted)

So stop on by and see how you can learn with us this summer!


Liya and Andrew

24 June 2008

Do you want fries with those statistics?

As you've noticed, I've been a bit...absent from blogging recently. That's mostly because I've been working on a ton of different reports from work which are taking up a lot of time. However, one of the things that I've realized from working on these reports is that libraries are in love with statistics and numbers. We wanna show off how many times a database is used, how many patrons walk through the door, how many books are checked out and so on. And there's nothing wrong with these statistics, they help guide us in materials to select, how late to stay open, and how best to serve our patrons. On a broader level they help libraries continue to exist as we can showcase the data to justify why we should get a budget or be able to have more hours or hire that new person to design our webpage.

But I've been thinking that we, like a lot of the world, have become so obsessed with statistics that we want to break everything down to its finest detail. Which patrons are using which databases at which hour of the day? Which departments request the most books during the month of August in leap years? (I'm sure someone what out there has to answer that last question, thankfully it’s not me.) Focusing on the smallest details doesn't really help us do our jobs better, in fact my observation is that it hinders us from achieving our purpose of serving our patrons and losing sight of the larger picture.

Why is this? It seems to me that we are often farm statistics out to someone else, generally to the lowest person on the totem pole, and ask them to gather the needed information and it often seems like ordering from a takeout menu. We tell them, we need statistics on this and that, but not that. And make sure you include the fries dangit! But putting together statistics shouldn’t be like a takeout menu. Doing so often means that you don’t get that full picture that you’re really looking for. Even if you looking at the statistics yourself is it possible you're missing something? Can you really know every statistical piece of data your library keeps?

So if you ask for something, give the person the full details as to what the project is. Of if your doing the collecting yourself, share with your colleagues! Why do these statistics matter??? Who's seeing this and why the heck is it so bloody important that you have it by next Tuesday? Because 9 times out of 10 the person you point you in directions that you didn’t think of and make your report that much richer. I like to think that I remember to let people know about the “total picture,” but I don’t some times. I do my best and I’m learning as I go which is about all that anyone can hope for and this post is part of my learning process. So let’s not treat statistics gathering like we’re ordering from a take out menu, let’s share the larger picture with our colleagues that they can help us present a report that actually means something and that isn’t missing half the story. And let’s leave the fries off…too fattening.

Library 2.0 fair

I'm please to announce that my library is taking a big step to introducing Library 2.0/Web 2.0 concepts to the library at large. This summer a colleague and I are going to launch (some yet to be determined catchy name) program that will give our colleagues a chance to see, explore, and use some of the tools that a number of us out in library land have already seen. While it is a possibility for them to integrate the tools into their daily workflow, it is a time for them to integrate the tools into their personal lives. A number of our colleagues are taking classes and furthering their education and learning these technologies gives them a chance to utilizie the tools in furtheirng their education. We recieved offical approval last week, so now we're throwing things into high gear to roll out what we want to do.

So here's a brief detailing of what our program will be:
Sending of the launch e-mail. The e-mail will have multiple parts to it. We're going to talk about what the program will be, a little bit about how it will work, include a survey, and have an attachment. The attachment will be describe selected web 2.0/library 2.0 topics, such as online music (Pandora), Wikis, blogs, etc. The descriptions will help our colleagues get a sense of the different topics that might be covered and help them decide what they want to learn about. The survey will give them a chance to choose 4 topics that they would be interested in learning about. The top four topics will be choosen for introducing to the library at large. Doing the survey up front gives us time to prepare for intruction.

We'll have an introduction for Library 2.0/Web 2.0 time! This will be our first face to face meeting that will give us a chance to sit and talk about what these concepts are, why they are important to know about, and how they will be beneficial to them. We'll cover how the program will work, what support will be provided to help them learn, and what they can look forward too. The program will run for four weeks.

The top four topics are choosen and announced to the group at large. If people are only interested in learning about one topic then they are free to attend the session on just that topic.

A "petting zoo!" The top four topics are displayed and demonstrated to the group at large. This gives participants a chance to see how things work, get a better understanding of what they want to learn about, and see how other libraries are utilizing some of these products. (I have to give thanks to Maurice Coleman, or (Almost)BaldGeek, from Harford County (MD) Public Library for the idea of the "petting zoo." His presentation at Computers in Libraries 2008 was exteremely helpful in deciding the best way to set up our program.)

Now comes the play! Participants are able to decide if they want to focus on all four topics, one, two, or three. They'll be asked to let us know which topics they want to learn about. Then instruction sessions commence! We'll offer multiple chances for participants to come by for short 30 minute detailed demonstrations of how to launch their topic. From here they'll be expected to being playing. While we won't have much time to all work together as a group, my colleague and I will be available to answer questions. And our hope is that they'll help each other. This is all self-paced learning. Their welcome to take all four weeks to learn one topic, or to learn about four different topics in the four weeks.

Capstone! At the end of the four weeks we'll all come together to showcase and demonstrate what we've learned. Participants will choose the end result that they are most proud of and share it and what they learned with everyone us.

We see this as just the beginning and will lead us into continued exploration of multiple topics. Most importantly though we hope to have fun helping our colleagues learn about new tools that they can use.