Thursday, March 30, 2006

PLA...a blur...onto Triconference

Wow...I can't believe I still haven't posted any of my notes from PLA. (More on that later...) But now I need to get ready for our state conference where I'll actually have to do a fair amount of work ; )

The blog is up.

Here's the technorati tag for all you crazy KS librarian bloggers....

Oh, and I'm not saying that Wichita is in the running to be the new Boston, but I'm excited to see amusing, interesting photos up on Flickr, too.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

"I just didn’t expect the library would do this. I think it’s cool.”

Our Spring-break Gaming Tournament made the KC Star--there's a nice photo in the paper as well, but the article, "Video Warriors: Spring-break gamers do battle at library" is online.

Here's my favorite quote, "'My mom thinks it’s good to play (video games), she just wants to make sure that I get some sunlight once in a while,'" said Nik Djikl, 13, Leawood. "'I just didn’t expect the library would do this. I think it’s cool.'”

Photos of the winners and info on the event are at:

Technorati Tag:

"I just didn’t expect the library would do this. I think it’s cool.”

Our Spring-break Gaming Tournament made the KC Star--there's a nice photo in the paper as well, but the article, "Video Warriors: Spring-break gamers do battle at library" is online.

Here's my favorite quote, "'My mom thinks it’s good to play (video games), she just wants to make sure that I get some sunlight once in a while,'" said Nik Djikl, 13, Leawood. "'I just didn’t expect the library would do this. I think it’s cool.'”

Photos of the winners and info on the event are at:

Technorati Tag:

Does your library have a commitment to building community (online or otherwise)? Read this.

Thanks to Creating Passionate Users (a fantastic blog that should be on all Webbie librarians' lists), I was tipped off to danah boyd's presentation "G/localization: When Global Information and Local Interaction Collide" from this month's O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference.

The whole thing is fantastic as she looks at successful online community-building entities like Flickr, MySpace, and Craigslist. And there is much for libraries to learn from here. Here's a snippet talking about what successful online community sites have in common:

"These three sites have many attributes in common. They all grew organically. They each have public personalities that early adopters feel connected to. The early adopters really felt as though they were participating in and creating an intimate community, even as the community grew to millions. Users are passionate. Designers are passionate. They feel a responsibility to it and are deeply invested in making users happy. Character was not boiled out of the site; the text on the system is natural and goofy, reflecting the personality quirks of the developers rather than the formal speech of a corporation. Each site has a unique culture that was born early on and evolved through years of use and growth. The culture evolves with the designers and users working in tandem.

Customer service is not a segregated group who simply answers questions of a finalized product. They are completely integrated into the design system and the senior people are the most deeply embedded in user culture. There is a strong commitment to the needs and desires of the users.

While the creators have visions of what they think would be cool, they do not construct unmovable roadmaps well into the future. They are constantly reacting to what's going on, adding new features as needed. The code on these sites changes constantly, not just once a quarter. The designers try out features and watch how they get used. If no one is interested, that's fine - they'll just make something new. They are all deeply in touch with what people are actually doing, why and how it manifests itself on the site.....

The designers of these systems are engaged in embedded observation. They are living in the culture that they are helping to frame. They are aware of the others living in that culture and constantly engaging with them to really understand the emergent behaviors. They recognize their power as designers and try to use it to benefit the collective rather than their own personal goals. Their design process is stemming from this embedded observation, producing a state of "flow" to use Cziksentmihalyi's term. The designers love what they are doing and infuse their passion into the systems. This is a very powerful way of doing design. " took all the discipline I have (and those who know me know that's not much) not just paste the whole text of the presentation here...check it out. And then find a way to ensure everyone in your Web & IT departments is infused with it as well.

Because, as boyd explains, to be successful, we "must live the culture that (we) are creating."

Friday, March 17, 2006

Gaming @ the library... Integrating gaming into what we do

I just sent an e-mail to Sarah Handgraaf, one of the Web Content Team members, because another library is getting ready to launch a readers' blog, and they contacted me to know who they could talk to about our Readers' Corner blog. Well, that's Ms. H.

And in reply, I received this out-of-office reply from Sarah...

"I am assisting with the Spring Break Gaming Tournament all day on Friday, March 17 and will be away from my computer. Please e-mail the JCL-Web Content Team at if you have web-related requests. Happy Saint Patrick's Day! Visit for more info on the tourney!"

Ok...I know the tournament's going on, but something about this out-of-office reply warmed my heart..First of all, I love that now it feels like gaming is just what we do. Maybe not all the time, but occasionally--particularly during school breaks. I also thought it was really cool that Sarah put this info in her out-of-office assistant. 1. It's just good customer service. And I appreciate that she wanted her colleagues to know that she won't turn things around /reply as lickity-split as normal since she's at the tourney rather than burning up her keyboard. 2. I loved that she provided a link to information about the tournament and gaming in general. It helps to promote what we're doing to staff, patrons, community members, colleagues, Sarah's friends and family, everyone who happens to e-mail her today. I really like the idea of looking for every nook and cranny that we can use to help promote what we're doing and why, and use all those spaces to our advantage.

Finally, it reminded me of the very quickly traveled, but sometimes bumpy road we took to get gaming into our library...

Step 1. Less than four months ago we were trying to get the right people around the table to figure out how we could best incorporate gaming into our library through some sort of pilot project.

Step 2. We send three cool staff members (Atabong, Sarah, and Chris) to the Gaming in Libraries Symposium in Chicago.

Step 3. The JoCoLibrary Gaming Group of youth services, administrators, IT, and Web folks gels, and they pull of a really cool Gaming Tournament over winter break that gets terrific press on television and in the KC Star. Most importantly, we had rave reviews from the youth participants.

Step 4. Gaming starts to be more integrated into what we do...I'm not saying there weren't a lot of bumps between step 3 and 4, or that gaming is now totally integrated, or that all staff "get it," or even that the staff that do "get it" are sure that gaming is a better ROI than other programs. But today I realized that all of a sudden Xbox tournaments with really nifty big-screen plasma TVs, monster-sized projection screens, lots o' noise coming out of the meeting room, and tons of teenage boys in the library all seem like just another day in the life.... it's divine.

Technorati Tag:

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Congrats to John Blyberg: 2006 Mover & Shaker

Congrats to John Blyberg--2006 Mover & Shaker!

The listing isn't up on the LJ site yet (it's a supplement to your March 15 issues), but you should have it available in your full-text databases this morning (I found it in Ebsco--the title of his article is, "User-Centered "Geek"--it's not in Gale as of 8:01 a.m. CST.)

A snippet from the article is below. You can also learn more about John's awesome work and cool ideas from his blog at:

"When he's not working toward his ultimate objective of taking over the world and making everyone drive hybrid vehicles, self-described "library geek" John Blyberg keeps plenty busy with his day job. The three years he spent rebuilding the Ann Arbor District Library's (AADL) network and server infrastructure "from the ground up" and moving to an open source content management system culminated in 2005's launch of "AADL 3.0." Collaborative and dynamic, AADL 3.0 takes a revolutionary approach to library web sites, making the library's online presence "an extension of the 'library experience'—a highly personalized space that the patron can feel ownership for."

Oh, and this is my favorite quote....
"His commitment to Library 2.0 principles parallels his commitment to open source. 'OS transcends politics, hate, war, prejudice, greed, and everything else that stifles creativity and innovation. In my heart, I know OS is a doctrine I want to embrace.'"

Woo hoo!

Technorati tags: , , , library 2.0

Sunday, March 12, 2006

The goal of the chase, illustrated (take 2)

I just posted on this same Rockwell Kent illustration on our M-D blog, but it occurred to me that really, this is all pursuits illustrated. (It's also the print that is hanging on my wall in my office, but I never thought about it in this way.) Aren't all artistic-creative endeavors like this? Don't we always start out envisioning something that breaks all the boundaries...that leaps free of gravity and natural laws to something awe-inspiring?

Whenever I start to work on a grant proposal, I have the vague loomings of something amazing and incredible in mind. Air-tight arguments, charts of persuasive stats, and figures/charts that perfectly illustrate the need and solvency, all woven together in a clear, crisp, clever, even enjoyable narrative. Of course, I'm always terribly disappointed when the deadline comes, and I'm no where near my goal. And really, that goal was always a little soggy in my mind anyway.

And, when I think about completely rebuilding our JoCoWeb World, with a new content management system, a new look and feel, a new Web 2.0 philosophy, I think about something vaguely amazing and incredible. Of course, the actual world will fall far short of that goal, and be a bit disappointing, but somehow it matters that the actual goal is crazy and completely unattainable. To conclude, here's a little medley of M-D quotes....

Oh Time, Strength, Cash, and Patience!

Real strength never impairs beauty or harmony, but it often bestows it; and in everything imposingly beautiful, strength has much to do with the magic.

I try all things; I achieve what I can.

Friday, March 10, 2006

The Dread Pirate Bonney....

Apparently I don't have time to post to sort through my M-D notes and post about my favorite book, but I have time for this...

My pirate name is:

Dread Pirate Bonney

Like the famous Dread Pirate Roberts, you have a keen head for how to make a profit. You can be a little bit unpredictable, but a pirate's life is far from full of certainties, so that fits in pretty well. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from

Thursday, March 09, 2006

And the great shroud of the sea rolled on...or my brain is back

Ah! After working endlessly on a community partnership grant in response to the IMLS/CPB funding op, I'm back to the land of the living...

I have to admit that grant writing is my own monomania. I love the pursuit, and I let it become all encompassing. Although that doesn't mean my proposals are perfect. Far from it. I've never finished a proposal--only abandoned them at deadline. Alas..."I try all things, I achieve what I can" ~ Melville (oh, speaking of, my Moby-Dick reading shipmates have been posting to our blog and using tags to keep track of their loomings...we're almost all finished with this particular voyage...)

In addition to ignoring pretty much all other responsibilities, I haven't tracked my favorite blogs and feeds since, like, February or's amazing what happens in the library Webbie world in a few months. Here's just a few of the posts from the last few months that totally thrilled me. Where did all these ideas go before blogs and feeds? How did people transfer, track, and collaborate on all these memes?

Virtual Card Catalogs: Did you need another reason to join the John Blyberg fan club?

Library 2.0h yeah baby....
There are so many fantastic conversations this, I just have to link to the tags.. , . Sure, this conversation has been going on forever (like, I don't know, October?), but it's really interesting how the buzz has caught on and how everyone is chomping at the bit to make the library world (physical and virtual locations) way, way freakin' cool.

Ten Techie Things for Librarians 2006
Michael Stephens should win an award for writing and presenting information that both synthesizes the issues of the day as well as positively motivates colleagues to seize the opportunities. He has a great blog post on this, and if you want to hear Michael live and have a chance to ask him questions, join him online on Thursday, April 6, 2006 at 2:00 Central time for :Ten Top Technologies for Librarians in 2006.

This presentation is sponsored by the Alliance Library System and will be held in the OPAL online Auditorium. (Oh, and you should check out OPAL as well, but I'll write more about that later.)

Steven Cohen has lots posts on this, and here's the Wikipedia take. I need to read up. Quick.

I remember hearing about this, but it's getting a lot more play. Brenda at the NEKLS tech blog has a nice overview post. Also on my figure it out, quick list.

It's nice to have my brain all I need to do is clean up my office...oh, and implement a new content management system, and rebuild our entire JoCo Web world... I love my job.