Sunday, February 20, 2011

Old comic book ad for Public Libraries

Why does that kid know so much?!!! What's his secret?!! Hilarious old comic book ad promoting libriaries, reposted from boing

Friday, February 18, 2011

Library Value Calculator

Calculate the Value of Services Received from...Your Library (wonder if there is a way to extrapolate this to all libraries--or have a user select which Library they use most including school, academic, public, etc.)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Edmonton Public Library Promo: Spread the words

Can imagine something like this--on a State level?

20 Forecasts for 2011-2025

Here are a few that seem in line with our work and conversations:

Forecast #6
- Invention Becomes Automated

Forecast #3:
- WiMAX Networks Will Soon Create Country-Wide Wireless Internet Access

Forecast #4:
- By 2025, the Worldwide Average Life-Span Will Be Extended by One year Per Year—

Forecast #18
- Consumers Will Take Active Roles in Inventing New Products and Services

Forecast #19
- Virtual Education to Enter the Mainstream by 2015

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I can't be the only Futurist out there watching (well, following...since I'm always at work @ 4:30) Watson roll over the brilliant human competition on Jeopardy this week. Not only is it entertaining, but for a librarian it is scary--this machine is able to more often than not bring back correct answers to clever questions.

On the Smarter Planet blog, Steve Canepa says "The DeepQA technology that powers Watson signals a new age in computing and information analytics"--and this new age certainly has implications for information-finding librarians! At our Futurist meetings we agree that one of our long term, value-added services is that we can help people to find the "right" information for their needs. One of the reasons this service is unique is because librarians, being humans, know how to understand another human's question, the nuances of it, word connotations, and context. Will further improved DeepQA technology (remember, Watson the Jeopardy champ is the first big-time prototype to my knowledge) make this human-to-human service obsolete? How should librarians reinvent themselves if people can speak into a machine ("I like the Harry Potter series, Watson, so what kind of tattoo should I get?") and get a "right" answer (What is "a snitch")?

What do you guys think?

Learn more:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What's your idea?

A few weeks ago, I saw this post come across the Mental Floss blog. The third question asks the reader:

If you were put in charge of your local library and asked to come up with one weekly program that would generate positive buzz in the community, what would your program be called?

I was immediately intrigued and wondered what kind of neat ideas readers would present. Would they be totally off-the-wall or fall more into the category of "normal library programming?" The majority of suggestions were book-oriented, but there were a few ideas that did not specifically involve books:
  • Local Restaurant Coupon of the Week
  • "Word police" to enforce proper grammar
  • Sleepovers
Do you know of any unique library programming in your community? How might library programming evolve into the future? Will libraries find ways to balance innovation in programming, while still providing the literary events that users expect? If so, how?

ACRL/IRIG Visual Literacy Competency Standards Draft Released

The ACRL Image Resources Interest Group (ACRL/IRIG) has released a draft set of standards for visual literacy competency in higher education. The ACRL/IRIG believes that visual literacy standards are necessary due to the pervasiveness of online images, and the use of images within student learning and research. According to ACRL/IRIG, visual literacy is defined as a

"...set of abilities that enables an individual to effectively find, interpret,
evaluate, use, and create images and visual media. Visual literacy skills equip a
learner to understand and analyze the contextual, cultural, ethical, aesthetic,
intellectual, and technical components involved in the production and use of
visual materials."

In all, there are seven standards, and each of the seven standards include performance indicators and learning outcomes. The learning outcomes, in particular, seem to be the most useful and concrete.

The concept of visual literacy standards is not exactly a new one. The ACRL/IRIG reports that there is a large body of literature on visual literacy and visual studies. In addition, there are some K-12 and other higher education documents that include at least a few standards that are recommended by the ACRL/IRIG; however, the group feels that the “learning goals”, in particular, had not been well defined, and they aim to fill this gap.

The ACRL/IRIG Visual Literacy Standards definitely deserve a glance, and the interest group hopes for feedback and commentary on their blog.

I tend to think that a set of ACRL standards for visual literacy is necessary. Librarians hopefully will use the standards to plan their interactions (one-on-one assistance, reference interactions, workshops, etc.) with students, and also in conversations with faculty, deans, and other interested parties. Additionally, academic librarians will be “speaking the same language” by having one clear set of visual literacy standards to reference.

What are your thoughts? Are the standards necessary? How are they different from general information literacy or transliteracy standards? Is there a standard or a learning outcome that really catches your eye/interest?

Upcoming Series: Advocacy and the Academic Library

Advocacy and the Academic Library: An ACRL conversations series

This free series features interactive online talks with leading voices in advocating library value. Conversations in the series include:

Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011: “’Big Tent’ Advocacy: Shared Goals, Imagined Boundaries” - Andy Woodworth, Bordentown (N.J.) Library - 3 p.m. CST

Tuesday, March 22, 2011: “Digital Advocacy: Tools for Reasserting Library Value” – Kim Leeder and Memo Cordova, Boise State University - 1 p.m. CST

Monday, April 18, 2011: “Advocating from the Front Lines” – Maureen Sullivan, Maureen Sullivan Associates - noon CST

All sessions will be held in the iLinc online meeting software. Session access and an iLinc system check are available at

Monday, February 14, 2011

Information Interfaces and You

Librarians talk a lot about the barriers users face when trying to access online collections and services. The "four click" preferences and keyword search styles of average users doesn't seem to jive with the current manifestations of library catalogs and websites. New-Generation products may be able to solve these problems, offering us "discovery interfaces" better suited to today's users, and better prepared for the users of the future.

Check out Marshal Breeding's look at The State of the Art in Library Discovery 2010, from Computers in Libraries Magazine. What experiences have you had with these kinds of problems? What solutions have you explored to reconnect your users to your interface?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Scott McCleod - Provocative Questions for Tech Integration in Education

Some big questions for educators (and parents and policymakers)

Do you ever feel the need to defend your job? Then immediately afterward, ponder why you must defend it in the first place? Feeling this way may provide opportunities to appreciate what you're doing well, but may also lead you to reevaluate what you may be missing - either in thinking or services. The above link from Scott McLeod's blog, Dangerously Irrelevant, may leave some readers feeling "itchy" and others nodding their heads in agreement. What do you think?

Below is a statement from the above post specifically about libraries. Are you itching or nodding? :)

* Electronic versions of books on Amazon now are outselling both their hardback AND paperback counterparts. Reference materials are moving to the Web at an exceedingly fast pace. When all of the books in your media center become electronic, will you still need a physical space called a ‘library?’ Will you still need ‘librarians?’ - Scott McCleod