I made a little video for Follow a Library Day and so did a lot of other people. I enjoyed this small awareness-raising exercise. It made me look up a few new libraries on Twitter, it helped me meet a few new Twitter-aware librarians in the larger blogosphere and it was fun watching it ripple across my group of friends on Twitter. No nagging, no hectoring. If you were into it, you could post a little something. If not, no big deal. Nice successful campaign folks, good job.
I sort of have a “How can I miss you if you won’t go away” feeling about ALA most years. I went when I was a councilor. I went when it was near me. I went when I was speaking at it. This time, none of these things were true and I was still a little exhausted from ALA Anaheim last year where my credit card number was skimmed and I had to drive an hour to get a decent restaurant. This year ALA is sounding fun, from the reports. ALA is always a better time when it’s in Chicago. More of the staffers can go and more people are used to the location and can get decent hotel rooms and the weather isn’t horrible. At least that’s been my experience. My work travel this month is going to consist of a trip to New Orleans next week [another popular ALA summer venue] for MetaFilter’s Tenth Anniversary where I will be paid to drink beer and eat alligator and wear a catchy t-shirt. Here are a few links I’ve been seeing about what I feel I’ve been missing at ALA.
- Library Conference Secret Twitter Proves Librarians Sexy, Stern
- Zines! Takes me back to my early days printing out Cognots at ALA in DC.
- Watching the ALA2009 hashtag in real-ish time.
- Meredith got an award!
- ALA 2009 photo and tweet tracker (props to heather)
- Library Journal’s up to the minute news tracker including their amusing top-of-the-tweets report
It’s just like being there, only I’m still in my pajamas, and I slept til 11.
I’ve been reading more, typing less. My super-bloggy friends told me lat year sometime that a lot of their friends were blogging less and Twittering more. I was surprised to hear that since it hadn’t really trickled down to my neck of the woods yet, but lately it has. While I still stay on top of my RSS feeds, I suspect that I can only do that because people are blogging less. I don’t know if they’re twittering more, having babies, buying houses or doing something else. I know what I’ve been doing: reading.
I’ve also been travelling which is probably not a totally fun thing to read about [if I could delete everyone's tweets from airports, I would -- unless they're me looking for someone to hang out with when my flight has been delayed] but I go through periods of educating, followed by periods of learning, etc. I also made a resolution to myself for this year to write new talks (some similar slides okay, all similar slides against the rules) so when I give talks, they’re more work but also better, I think. I’ll be doing a 2.0 talk in upstate New York for NCLS and then a few talks at NJLA next week. Lots of writing, good stuff to pass on.
What’s been really on my mind lately is the Google Books settlement. I happen to be lucky that an old time friend of mine from the blogger days, James Grimmelmann, is one of the major players in the “explain this to everyone” field day that is going on. He’s also a keen legal mind and a great writer so it’s been a joy to read what he and others have been writing. Here are some links to essays that may help you understand things.
- James Grimelmann lays out principles and recommendations for the settlement, back in November
- The Google Book Settlement and the Public Domain by Mary Minow
- The Google Book Settlement at Columbia Part 1, Part 2 – slightly old, really worth reading
- James Grimmelmann and Siva Vaidhyanathan discuss the settlement at Georgetown (bullet point notes)
- A note about how the Internet Archive has gotten involved. Read the letter for more.
Just in case you want to read or interact with library vendors in a different way, Bill Drew has created a list of library vendors who use Twitter. Granted this doesn’t mean they’re necessarily accessible in that way, but for people already on Twitter it’s good to know. This is part of the larger spreadsheet that Bill is creating about library vendors who use social software.
Also, someone asked me to mention why someone who wasn’t using Twitter might want to. It’s certainly gotten the attention of some of the major media, but what’s in it for an individual librarian or library? When I talk about Twitter, I stress a few things
- It’s a box you can type into that puts data on the web in a standard form. This means you can repurpose the content, pull it into a sidebar on your website and/or publish or read your feed or someone else’s in a format you choose (I use a client called NatsuLion that rolls up the side of my screen. Many people at CiL were using TweetDeck)
- Being able to have a friends list means you can keep up with what other people you choose to read about are up to. I work at home alone most days and I like the collegial feel of knowing what other librarians are up to. When I travel, I just stop reading it unless I’m at someplace where many people are using it.
- At CiL it was helpful to know where people were at, you can “broadcast” to a friends list “hey, this session is full” or “We’re at this session and it’s great!” which can give you realtime updates about an event as it’s happening. I enjoyed reading people talking about my talk while it was happening (after my talk, before my co-panelist), in little chunks not the constant stream that comes from something like a Meebo chatroom.
- It’s really replacing blogs as the place to read breaking type news that happens in places where Twitter-enabled people are. This is a big caveat though. People have always said “news happens where the reporters are” When there were wildfires in San Diego, Twitter was very useful for people. When there’s a natural disaster here in Orange County Vermont, not so much.
Twitter, more than other social software, seems to me to be a case in which evaluation of your community is a good first step. Have people in your universe who use it, especially other media or established folks? Might be neat to either use their feed, start your own or just use the search feature for keeping current on what’s going on in your area. I don’t think it’s a situation where people will be asking the library “Are you on Twitter? Why Not?” at least not in the near future.
1. I saw the Providence Public Library’s Twitter feed today and I like it. A mix of library information and links to their very amusing tech blog. I like it.
2. I just noticed Phil Bradley’s list reprinted over at Tame the Web. I’m in a weird position on Twitter because I’m followed by librarians, MetaFilter members and at least a good handful of real life friends and family. I follow maybe a ninth of the number of people who follow me. My feed is open so anyone can read it, but I can only follow so many people (and I do stay up to date on my Twitter feed pretty much always so this is important to me). Here is my version of Phil’s guidelines and there’s a sort of flow chart in effect here.
a) Do they Tweet in English (or possibly Romanian but I’ve never seen this happening yet)? If yes, go to b.
b) Are they spammers or hypesters (following over 5000 people? pushing a product?)? If not go to c.
c) Do they update more than ten times a day? If so, they’re too high traffic for me. If not, go to d.
d) Is their Twitterstream just an automated version of their RSS feed? If yes, subscribe. If no, go to e.
e) Do they @reply to people as the bulk portion of their tweets? If so, they’re likely not interesting to me (for me Twitter is like a news ticker, not a conversation). If not, go to f, g and h and choose one. If none of these apply, then don’t follow.
f) Do I know them or know why they’re following me?
g) Do I find them amusing, astute, informative or otherwise intriguing?
h) Do I want to direct message with them and find that I can’t because I’m not following them
In short, my sister’s Twitter feed is one of my favorites, followed sharply by a few bloggers I barely know and a few random librarians who amuse the heck out of me. Then there are 200 other people and all told I probably scan through 600-1000 tweets per day. This helps me feel less like I’m up here in the fortress of solitude when I’m in rural Vermont and helps me stay in touch with a lot of plugged in people in the profession. I send all of my Twitter-related “soandso added you as a contact” email to a special folder and scan through it weekly. If I’m not following you and you think maybe I might like to, please feel free to drop me a note and/or a comment. I’m not suggesting this approach for anyone else, but it works well for me.
I am always at a loss when I do things called “workshops” and people don’t have computers. Replicating the 2.0 world [or heck even the 1.0 world] using pens and flip charts seems a little silly, but I’m generally a tough one to please when dealing with participatory talks/events. I don’t mind interacting, but I like to think it will be worth my while and not embarass me. I like Andrea’s Blog Her “speed dating” idea. Gets everyone moving, a little, doesn’t embarass them, makes them think.
If it were my workshop I think I’d have everyone be in two lines and person #1 would say “I work at [$NAME_OF_LIBRARY]” person #2 would say “I know [$THING_I_KNOW] about [$NAME_OF_LIBRARY]” and then they’d move on, 60 seconds, bang. Point being, I think we sometimes have a hard time understanding what our institutions look like to people from outside them and from the outside it can be tough to know what things look like on the inside. I was showing off some Kansas libraries using Twitter this week and naming one library sent a few people in the audience into giggles. I had no idea why. They explained later that it was because of some recent drama concerning the library and the local consortia that I would have had no way of knowing about. Knowing about it was actually a neat thing, more stories, more data.
If anyone’s been in a workshop with an activity — offline if possible though online is fine — that you’ve really liked, please feel free to share in the comments. I’m always looking for new ideas.
I’ve got one more privacy related post, but this is just a few things I’ve seen, noticed and liked. My goal for the summer was to catch up and stay caught up on RSS feeds, either through thinning my list, developing better habits or deciding to only follow friends and family, or only work people. I did a little of all of those and have been caught up for weeks now, even through ALA.
- Quick privacy-related link: why
- Speaking of Google, does anyone feel, like Sarah does, that they punk’d us?
- Ryan Dechamps tries out an EEE PC thinking about its potential use in a public library setting.
- Laura does some thinking out loud about the 2.0 aesthetic and what matters to us versus what matters to our patrons.
- David Lee King talks about Twitter best practices. Some very sensible suggestions for people who are newly starting out with Twitter, the how and the why.
- An older but good post from Lichen about a session she went to at NELA about library-wise IT proficiencies. That is, what proficiencies should we expect all library staff to have?
As may be obvious, I’m a little behind on my feeds. The good news is that there’s a lot of good stuff there. The bad news is that you may have seen some of it. Here are a few quickie notes that I think merit some attention. My apologies if you’ve all seen them before. My personal goal is to be all caught up on feeds by the time I leave for ALA — Thursday morning — and don’t get behind again. I think it’s doable.
- ALA’s Poor People’s Policy – Laura Crossett talks about a few things her library has done to remove financial barriers to library services for poor patrons.
- Librarian 2.0 and hockey and you. Ryan Deschamps does a little outreach, without books!
- Andrea Mercado talks about what the what is as far as Twitter goes and notes some useful Twitter tools.
- Ken Varnum looks at the ways the Iowa flood is being covered online. When I mentioned the Cedar Rapids public library yesterday, I was heartened to see that the library’s website had information about the library closures and the flood. It was just three years ago that Katrina hit and many New Orleans area library websites weren’t able to respond on their websites in anything approaching real time. While the floods remain a tragedy, this is progress in a library technology and service arena.
- The American Library Association’s International Relations Committee has prepared a detailed history of the “independent library” movement in Cuba and how IFLA and ALA see their relationship to it. Kathleen de la Peña McCook has put the report sumary online with links to relevant online material.
- Mary Minow gives Vermont libraries a high five over our strengthened patron privacy rules.