You can get 75K plus decent benefits to be a usability officer at ALA. They say “senior” but to the best of my knowledge there aren’t any other usability officers there currently. I’m not sure where officer actually comes from, maybe some ALA-er can explain? In any case, if I were the Usability Officer after I changed the job listings to not spell Website with a capital W, I would ask very specifically what this requirement in the ad means.
The ability to work in a team environment and between two universes of Information Technology and Librarianship is essential in order to maintain an outcome-oriented, global vision.
I’m curious why those are deemed to be two universes instead of, say, two moons orbiting around one big planet of helping people do the things they want to do and go where they want to go. I’m sure Jenny is asking the same questions. I hope they find someone, but I wonder what affect that person will be able to have on the in-process-for-many-years-already website redesign?
The Library Link of the Day today is an article in the Chicago Tribune called Training for the Poor Moves into the Computer Age. It’s an odd combination of two points
1. The digital divide is becoming more and more about technology literacy and not about technology access.
2. Gaming on computers is an important part of attaining that technology literacy.
I don’t know much about point #2. I like games generally but I am not a gamer (save online Scrabble which I suspect may not count). With a few exceptions most of the people I hang out with aren’t gamers so I’ve rarely been in a cultural area that is gaming-immersive. I’m curious, but it’s one of those things that falls outside the “things I have time for” circle. Jenny Levine has some good points in the article and I think the fact that ALA is mentioned in the same article as poor people needing technological literacy for finding better jobs and escaping the cycle of poverty is great PR for libraries.
That said, the article is confusing to me somewhat. It seems to be taking two disparate ideas and mashing them together as if it were the most natural thing in the world. I get the points that gaming and teaching technology through gaming is a great way to help kids with critical thinking skills and problem solving. However I strongly do not think that the best way to help older people — perhaps my age and up — learn technology has anything to do with gaming at all. So, the people who are in dead-end jobs and need to gain some level of tech proficiency to move to better jobs, they’re not the gaming demographic. I think, however, that as more younger people engage with technology they will bring gaming with them as they become people in my age bracket and that’s going to be an interesting shift. So, kudos for even talking about poverty and technology literacy, and nice job with xplaining why gaming is important, but I still wish this had been two separate (longer) articles instead of this one.
Jenny points out the UIUC library search which is a widget that can be put on any user’s facebook page so they can search the library catalog right from Facebook.
Facebook recently opened up their site to other applications and there has been a huge explosion in what people are sharing on their profile pages. From my own subjective perspective, it seems like these applications are getting more people to Facebook and keeping them there, doing stuff. In my 2.0 talks I have often talked about how libraries could create “presence” using social tools and I’ve pointed to Facebook groups like Awesome Resources which is a group of 30+ librarians doing what librarians do best: sharing resources and helping each other find things.
When I went to Ann Arbor this week, I connected with Ed “Superpatron” Vielmetti on Facebook and it’s one of the fastest and best ways to get ahold of a small subset of my friends. When I was at the Berkman Center event last week listening to them talk about Digital Natives (versus tired old “digital immigrants” like myself) a professor mentioned that they did a show of hands survey of their incoming class to Harvard this year and asked who had a Facebook page. The answer wasn’t “most of them” but every single one of them. Granted Harvard skews in some ways towards the clueful and plugged in, but what an opportunity, knowing the one place that all of your students go online. I’m not totally sure if we know what to there once we get there, and I share the same privacy concerns as others about how much information we’re aggregating and personally identifying there, but I also feel that the UIUC search box is a little breakthrough application, sort of the way LibX was for Firefox. Exciting times, no?
So five days after getting back to the US, I am caught up on my RSS feeds. This is mostly because I prioritized things like getting pictures on Flickr, going food shopping, getting to the pool, arguing about Twitter, and making this little YouTube movie. Here are some things I read that I think you might like to read.
- Chris over at Libraryola does some actual investigating into the hubub surrounding the WaPo article about the library’s weeding policy. He gets a much more well-rounded answer from Sam Clay, the system director, than what the newspaper published.
- Walt asks if SecondLife and social software networks are where our patrons really are. I love the idea of SL, and the immediate potential as a place for geographically spread out people to come together is great (free teleconferencing!) but not a single person I’ve talked to out here uses it… yet. So, for me there’s a difference between going where my users are and trying to make them go someplace I like. I’ll evangelize about the usefulness of the Internet generally, especially for poor rural populations who can use it to save money and save gas, but I’ll wait a little before diving whole hog into SL. The comments seemed to have turned into a Walt vs. Jenny debate, we’ll see if they stay that way.
- Casey (that’s Mad Scientist Mover and Shaker Casey) has reprinted the Ten Commandments of Egoless Programming with a caveat about copyright. My favorite: Treat people who know less than you with respect, deference, and patience, that’s gotten me further than most of what I learned in library school.
- Jenny points to a cool opportunity to be a virtual scholar for the Urban Libraries Council. It’s a little outside my usual interest areas of services to rural populations, but it might be just perfect for someone.
- Rachel at LISJobs ruminates on why online publications still charge for classified ads by the word, and uses the opportunity to mention how LISjobs is still free as in beer.
I’m sitting in a meeting room in Houston Texas listening to Jenny Levine and Michael Stephens talk about wikis and blogs and rss. I just wrapped up my talk, which is online: Revolting Librarians Redux Review. It went well. The next talk (on paranormal romances, no joke) started in ten minutes so I didn’t get to sit around and gab with people like I usually do. Thanks very much to people who came by and said hello, and especially Jeffrey Levy for handling all of my arrangements and being a thorough and capable host/handler.