Cheating on This Blog

I have to confess I’ve still been blogging pretty regularly since my last post, just not here! I recently revived my personal blog called “Girl In Half” where I talk about health, fitness, wellness, and my weight loss journey. That hasn’t had a huge impact on this blog, but it’s a good way to stay in writing mode on a more regular basis. The blog that’s been stealing my time for this one is my blog for the Hyperlinked Libraries MOOC that I’m participating in called “Hyperlib MOOC Reflections”. There’s great library stuff happening there and in the course in general, so I hope you’ll take some time to explore that too.

I did a post recently on my personal blog where I annotated a set of links that I’d found relating to my blog that I wanted to share with any readers. I’ve been keeping a “Blog Abouts” folder in my bookmarks and it’s filled up quickly with library related links. The online library world moves so quickly that I’m seeing response posts to things in my Blog Abouts section before I’ve been able to share them, so I thought that would be a good format for this post.

As I just reviewed the links I realized that some of them speak to a theme, so I’ll save those for the end.

Don’t Fence Me In” from the A Librarian By Any Other Name blog
This is one of my new favorite blogs, written by a medical librarian who blows my mind with her note taking and her insights. This post is about a book she stumbled upon that discussed conversation. She presents a nice summary of some points from the book, and then applies that to her work. The reason this post struck a chord with me is because she talks about setting an agenda for our conversations and how that can limit the potential interaction we have with a person. It’s good to be prepared for important (and impromptu!) conversations, but we need to have a set of talking points – not just one. I applied this to my conversations with faculty members. As a new librarian at this campus I want to make sure I engage faculty to tell me about their assignments, concerns, etc. and then pair those with services I can offer as their campus librarian.
8 Creativity Lessons from a Pixar Animator” by Leo Barbuta from Zen Habits
I love Leo Barbuta. I heard him interviewed on a podcast I subscribe to, and immediately added his Zen Habits blog to my feed. I read his blog more for personal reasons, but I love when my worlds collide and I can apply information from outside LIS-land to my work. This post is about Barbuta’s visit to Pixar with his son, and what he learned about creativity based on that visit. Every lesson can be directly applied to library work, especially to those of us working on long term projects or committees.

A pair of posts from my favorite Virginia Tech bloggers – “Curating Learning Experiences: A Future Role For Librarians?” by Brian Mathews and “The Importance of Phrasing: Librarians as (Virtual) Community Builders” by Lauren Pressley
Mathew’s article discusses his decision to purchase a WordPress theme for his campus. Mathew’s point is that libraries were created to add value to their communities and to meet their information needs, but we may have to start doing this in new ways. A great quote from the post “If our overarching mission is to advance teaching, learning, and research then where do plug-ins, add-ons, iPad apps, and things like premium blogs themes fit into that objective?”. I think this is something many libraries are grappling with. Pressley’s post builds on Mathew’s and examines what personal learning communities could look like, and the role librarians can play. Both articles discuss assessment, and I think that’s the biggest challenge facing libraries – how do we measure the new services we are offering AND do we still need to use circ stats and gate counts to prove our value?

The other articles I found kind of build on that theme of library services to students, where they are lacking, and how design can be improved.

The Illogical Complexity of the Walled-Garden Library” by Barbara Fister
It’s no secret that I love this woman. This article is a brilliant dissection of the unnecessarily complicated process our students must learn and follow to find information from the library. She tied it into the open access movement and the findability of information. A lot of academic library work discusses either students or faculty, and I like how she ties helping faculty make publication decisions and contribute to the scholarly conversation with helping students navigate that world as novices and learn to make use of information in a new way. Her conclusion contains the statement “It sure would be nice if we actually were preparing students with skills and habits that served them after graduation rather than teaching them arcane processes”. I LOVE THIS because I hate using class time to teach mechanics when I feel like teaching students to develop their research questions and evaluate information is the much more valuable use of our time.

Stop Thinking So Much Like a Damn Librarian (or how I started liking discovery layers)” by Joe Hardenbrook aka Mr. Library Dude
I’ve been reading this blog for a long time and always enjoy Hardenbrook’s posts. This one discusses his feelings about discovery tools and his realization that he was filtering his experience and his concerns through a librarian worldview rather than the perspective of his students. It’s a nice corollary to Fister’s post because he makes it clear that using these tools (especially with undergrads) can allow for more time to discuss information skills. Also, he made a great guide for students to discern when to use different tools – check it out solely for that!

Catalog by Design” by Aaron Schmidt
My degree is in digital libraries and I am a big proponent of user centered design in libraries. This article is short & sweet and has mockups of a potential OPAC design that is completely user centered. I bet most librarians from any type of library will be saying “Amen!” when they see this! 

“Good for what? Considering context in building learning objects” by Meredith Farkas
A great discussion on how to build learning objects that will actually be effective for your users. Much of this information has been published across the web and print world, but I like the way Farkas breaks it down here, and she has a great pie chart visual at the beginning of the article. A good read for anyone building learning objects, regardless of experience.

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