Saturday, September 24, 2011

Learning about wikis

A wiki is one of those computer applications I always approach with some caution. The great thing about wikis is that anyone can contribute and edit information. The negative thing about wikis is that anyone can contribute and edit information.

The wikis I checked out for this activity seemed fairly interesting. What I liked about the SJCPL wiki was that it pooled together great topics/resources that would be of interest for the surrounding community. It had information and links dealing with everything from education and local businesses to hobbies and pets. I think for a public library, this is a useful feature for its users who could find what they need in this one wiki as opposed to searching all over a website or online for this information. The Book Lovers Wiki from the Princeton Public Library was perhaps my favorite of the wikis suggested. It was so useful in searching through the different categories of recommended reading. Not only was the title and author given, but a synopsis and review of each book was provided as well. I'm always keeping my eyes open for suggested books to read, so I found this wiki very convenient and easy to search through. Library Success also seems like it can be a very useful tool for librarians. It provided quite a bit of resources for librarians on all matters pertaining to librarianship.

I can see from the above examples how a wiki can be used as an effective tool in gathering and disseminate information. I think though that a library ought to carefully consider whether or not a wiki would be beneficial for that particular library and its users before deciding to establish one.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Searching for Podcasts

So I spent some time today searching through the different podcast directories. Learning to use podcasts was a fairly easy process. Like many of the other Learning 2.0 tools, I have heard of podcasts, but never really used them until recently. I downloaded iTunes and browsed through their podcast lists. I found quite a few podcasts about novels I love. I'm a HUGE Jane Austen fan so, of course, one of the first items I had to look for was Pride and Prejudice. Sure enough I found a podcast on that. I also found a podcast on Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities, which is one of my favorite works of his. and Yahoo Podcasts would not work on my computer, but I checked out I did not really like it all that much because I couldn't really find anything that stood out to me. I did, however, listen to a couple of book review podcasts. Perhaps the most interesting of them was ABC Book Review in which two librarians from the Twinsburg Public Library in Ohio discuss heir thoughts on various books. It was a couple years old, but still okay to listen to. I also found a Jane Austen podnovel in which Northanger Abbey (my 2nd favorite Austen novel) was read. also had a series of podcasts pertaining to news and events from different public and academic libraries, such as "The Library Channel" from Arizona State University Library and a podcast from Lansing Public Library in Michigan.

NPR also had a huge selection of podcasts on all kinds of topics: music, cars, news, money, etc. They had quite a selection of podcasts pertaining to books reviews and interviews with different authors.

In all honesty, I cannot really see myself listening to podcasts a great deal. However, I am glad to at least I know how they work and what the different podcast directories are.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Exploring Flickr

My experience of Flickr was a bit exasperating at times, especially when I was first getting started. Though I knew what Flickr was, I have never used it before and more or less fumbled my way through. You would not believe the huge sigh of relief I gave when I actually got through it. Oh, the joy of success! The hardest obstacle I had to surmount was figuring out how I was going to take pictures of various items in the library. I do not have a digital camera (which would have been helpful for an activity like this) and the camera on my phone was not working (just my luck). My only option was using the camera on my laptop. I'm sure you can imagine what I sight I was in Lockwood Library taking pictures of things with a laptop! Oh well, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. My only solace was that I was able to find areas in the library where nobody was hanging around. At least I can look back on it now and laugh at myself. Anyway, I got my pictures and managed to figure out how to upload them onto Flickr. That too proved a bit of a headache as the first two times the pictures would not upload successfully. Thankfully the third time was the charm and there they are. They are basically images of the stacks, a book cart, and a few different signs; all very common sights in any library.  As much of a hassle (and embarrassment) as it was a first, I'm glad I did this activity because I came out of it knowing a new skill that I may use in the future. I think more libraries should explore and and take advantage of Flickr. It can be a great tool for a library to use to connect even more with its community.

Here's my URL for Flickr:

Sunday, September 4, 2011

7 1/12 Lifelong Learning Habits

This is my first ever blog...kind of an exciting experience.

       I found the 7 1/2 habits to lifelong learning an interesting array of points to consider. Many of them seem very common-sense, straightforward habits that, when followed, make for an excellent foundation to learning. However, I did find it a bit tricky in determining which habit was easiest and which was hardest for me. I find that it simply can vary from day to day. If I did have to pick one of the 71/2 habits though that has always been extremely important to me and which I have always striven to follow, it would be the habit of accepting responsibility for my own learning. My education, especially my higher education, has been something I never take for granted. I've always tried to get the most out my learning so as to make a better life for myself. Even at those moments when learning a new skill or subject can be downright hard, I persevere, ask questions and value what I do get out of the experience. I know if I fail to take charge of my own learning, my time in classes would be in vain. No one is going to do the work for me; I need to do it myself.
         Of the 7 1/2 habits presented on the site, the one I tend to struggle with the most would, believe it or not, using technology to my advantage. I have a basic knowledge of computers and have certainly used them a great deal. Yet I never have really challenged myself to expand my abilities. This past week alone, I have learned so much and have gained a greater appreciation for technology, especially computers. Technology can still be frustrating and requires a great deal of effort to keep up with its rapid changes, but it can really be a great tool for educational, entertaining, and informational purposes.