Sunday, January 20, 2008

Off to SLA Leadership Summit

On Tuesday I'm headed to the SLA Leadership Summit. This year, the Kentucky Chapter is hosting, so my usual January travels are limited to Louisville this time--nothing too exotic. From the forecast I've seen so far, the weather promises to be cold, cold, cold. I feel bad for my Southern California and Florida friends and colleagues. Maybe we'll have the meeting somewhere warm next year.

For those unfamiliar to SLA, the Leadership Summit is basically our midwinter meeting, albeit on a much smaller scale than ALA. The Leadership Summit focuses on two things: association business/officer training and personal leadership development. Like any SLA event, the networking opportunities are outstanding. Only a few hundred people attend the Leadership Summit, but they are the leaders of various SLA units and many are well-known movers and shakers in the library world. Meeting attendees have numerous opportunities to network with SLA leaders and other leaders in the library world. It's one of my favorite meetings because of that.

In the past few years, the meeting has focused increasingly on developing leadership skills for use beyond SLA. We've had outstanding keynote speakers each year--last year was Chip Heath (Made to Stick)--and I expect Andy Hines will be no exception. One year we had a hands-on session for writing SMART goals; a few months later, we started using them at the library and I was ahead of the game. I always get something useful out of the meeting content.

In addition to attending all the sessions and networking opportunities, this year I have several responsibilities as a member of the Centennial Commission, the planning committee for the 2009 Annual Conference and year-long celebration of SLA's 100th anniversary. I also have a few lingering responsibilities as immediate past chair of the IT division. In addition, I was asked to give a short talk on blogs. Finally, I'm a proud member of the Kentucky Chapter and will help with local arrangements wherever I can. I think it's going to be a very busy week.

Several attendees should be blogging some of the events, likely on the IT Division Blog or the Blogging Section Blog. At the very least, we'll put up a photo album post-conference.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Blue 2.0 is Live!

Our library staff training program, Blue 2.0, has started with a bang. The first assignment just went up this morning, and already over a dozen participants have started blogging. How cool is that!

For the week one/week two assignment:

Though I blogged on group blogs for a couple of years, I didn't launch my own blog until July 2007. I wish I'd started sooner. Blogging helps me better formulate my thoughts and articulate how a particular technology or service might be useful to us. The catch is of course to motivate yourself to write (I've had a post about The Big Switch in draft as I've been reading it over the last two weeks--hopefully you'll see that post soon). I also enjoy sharing stories with other librarians about things we've done at the Hub. In fact, I've used my blog as a sort of librarian FAQ for the Hub. Ask me about my experience with Library Stats and I'll gladly share this with you.

When I began my faculty position at UK Libraries in August 2001, I became an AIM chatter. Since Library Technical Support was in a close cubicle environment, it was essential for everyone's sanity for all of us to use AIM as much as possible, though we certainly had our share of over-the-cube chats. We've been doing chat reference for years now, and you can even contact the Hub desk via chat. For the record, I'm buffybot27 on AIM.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Faculty Commons

I don't think of my recent posts as straying off topic--to me, many topics in information technology and librarianship are important to the commons--but I figured it was time for something focused specifically on the commons.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the concept of a faculty commons--basically a space for faculty collaboration and discussion, as well as a space to get in-depth help with library resources, course management software, using technology in the classroom, etc. We have a great relationship with several units on campus that are interested in discussing this further with us, though with looming budget cuts it's uncertain if such a project could become a reality any time soon.

I see a lot of possibilities in a faculty commons. As far as a collaborative space, we have a number of regular faculty visitors to the Hub--one is here almost daily to drink coffee and read or meet with a colleague. A more grown-up version of the Hub would have wider appeal among the faculty. We're often asked about reserving space down in the Hub but that's not really an option with our open floor plan. Of the faculty I've talked with, they've been really interested in a place here to get in-depth technology help--something beyond our help desk which handles basic questions like password resets.

IU is working on a similar project but they appear to be well underway (I'm still dreaming). This concept paper outlines many of the things I'd like to see us do. I've just started collecting a list of other institutions that offer some "faculty commons"-like experience:
I'd like to find more schools that offer these kinds of services and start a discussion with anyone who is interested.

UK Second Life Island Now Open

UK now has a presence in Second Life. For the past couple of months, I've been serving on a campus workgroup focused on Second Life, and we have several interesting projects happening at UK. A couple of classes will be meeting in Second Life regularly this year. A few researchers are building on our island to take advantage of 3-D modeling. We're looking at ways to create a virtual campus tour for recruiting--some members of our workgroup even participated in an in world College Fair last semester. The library has set up a point of contact on the island--like Facebook and everything else, it is simply one more way to get in touch with us. We've all met with colleagues from other institutions on a regular basis in world--the Rowdy KYians are librarians and educators in Kentucky who meet periodically for discussions. We have many more ideas for our presence in Second Life and will be experimenting in the coming months.

I've had a blast working with colleagues from departments around campus as we learn how to build. I'm still doing simple stuff--mostly using items already built by someone else, though I have modified a few objects. Where I tend to shine is in landscaping. Beth has posted some pictures of the library stuff we did as well as the entire island. Like the sweeping tree lines and colorful flower beds? If only I could do that in my own garden.

Photo by Alice Burgess

Monday, January 07, 2008

Blue 2.0: Twelve Weeks to a Connected Library

We're launching our version of the "23 things" learning 2.0 program on Monday. We're calling ours "Blue 2.0"--partly because of our campus' See Blue campaign, partly because it sounded cool, and partly because we were all punchy trying to come up with a name. Blue 2.0 is a twelve week program covering these topics:
Weeks 1 & 2 (Jan. 14 - Jan. 27)
Chat and blog

Weeks 3 & 4 (Jan. 28 - Feb. 10)
RSS, newsreaders and wikis [I'm the guide for this topic!]

Weeks 5 & 6 (Feb. 11 - Feb. 24)
Tagging and Online Applications

Weeks 7 & 8 (Feb. 25 - Mar. 9)
Play week! [this is a catch-all for a number of topics--participants just choose a couple from a long list: project management tools, virtual worlds, image generators, and much more]

Weeks 9 & 10 (Mar. 10 - Mar. 23)
Photos, video and podcasting

Weeks 11 & 12 (Mar. 24 - Apr. 6)
Social networking
I served on the small workgroup that planned the curriculum for Blue 2.0 and so far we've had a blast. It's fun to come up with RSS feeds your colleagues might find useful, excellent library wikis, interesting YouTube videos, etc. To promote the program to staff, we held a pizza and gaming party in December. As you might expect, the Wii bowling was a huge hit.

82 library staff have signed up for the program so far (out of ~200). Many are excited about the program and some have even asked if they can get started NOW. What excites me even more is that some non-library staff have heard about Blue 2.0 and want to participate with us. Cool! Even better is that we're talking with other folks on campus about helping with a campus-wide (staff and faculty most likely, though open to anyone) Blue 2.0-type program down the road. What a great way for the library to play an active role in providing information about free, useful web 2.0 applications.

In addition to helping plan Blue 2.0, I'll be participating as well so several future blog posts will be a report of my completed activities for a given module. I'm labeling these posts "blue 2.0"--feel free to follow along or just keep on scrolling :-) Either way, thanks for visiting and I'd be glad to talk with you more about our Blue 2.0 experience.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Facebook Friend Lists

This may be old news already, but as I was catching up on some feeds, I learned that Facebook now allows you to organize your friends in lists.

For someone who has been on Facebook for a couple of years and has accumulated friends from a number of sources, this is a handy feature. My LinkedIn and MySpace contacts are pretty straightforward--my LinkedIn contacts are all business-related and MySpace friends are mostly old high school or college friends. But my Facebook friends run the gamut--some are students, others are SLA colleagues, several are co-workers, then there are a few college friends in there. Finally there are those people you meet at a conference and then friend on returning, rather than filing a business card in the rolodex. The new Friend List feature should help in organizing my Facebook contacts. An added bonus is that you can address a message to a Friend List, rather than typing in individual names (like an Outlook distribution list). So Facebook messaging my SLA friends or my co-workers will be a snap!