I am the type of person who loathes breaking commitments, and my lack of blog posts over the last few weeks has been slowly gnawing at me. I have good reason for my slacking, though. I mentioned that I had an interview for a job a few weeks ago, and I recently was offered the position! I’m happy to report that I’ll be working as the Instruction & Reference Librarian at a small community college outside Charlotte, NC. I had to fly there with less than a week’s notice to meet with my new boss and the college president to get the official offer. I also had to scramble to find a place to live as I’ll be moving there on September 1st! So, needless to say, life has been hectic over the last few weeks. I’m going to do my best to keep up with CPD23 but moving is always complicated.
Thing 12 – Putting the social into social media
Thing 12 seemed to be similar to reflective practice, however, reflective practice is something that should be worked on regularly, so it does make sense. I have espoused the benefits of my newfound social media networking throughout this blog, and unfortunately I’ve been feeling disconnected from these burgeoning networks over the last few weeks. I haven’t had much (any) free time lately and I’ve not been able to keep up with the overwhelming number of Tweets by my fellow librarians. I hope to catch up soon as I know that they post valuable links to content, trainings, conferences, etc. that I can put to good use in my new position.
Social networking is certainly valuable, but can be disadvantageous if the connections being made aren’t adding value to your professional development. I’ve found that several of the librarians I follow on Twitter only post LIS related content, some post a mix of personal and professional content, and others lean heavily on the personal side. Oddly enough, it seems that those users who have the word “librarian” in some form in their user name seem to post the least LIS related content! I know that when I have the time I will be filtering out some of these users. I intend to be quite busy in my new position learning about the library and getting started in my duties, and I don’t have the time to network with people who aren’t adding value to my current life goals. I have certainly “met” several other librarians I wouldn’t have found on my own through CPD23, and I hope to continue those connections even when the program has ended. I’m also looking forward to actively working in the field and having more opportunities for social networking that doesn’t involve a computer screen!
Thing 13: Google Docs, Wikis and Dropbox
I just finished reading “The Googlization of Everything: (And Why We Should Worry)” by Siva Vaidhyanathan yesterday and it was a very good examination of the way Google has insinuated itself into our lives. It also had some excellent passages on the value of librarians and librarians, a good discussion on copyright law, and good discussion on the changing face of higher education. I personally found those sections more valuable than the beginning of the book which discussed Google’s PageRank system and background. I would highly recommend the book to all librarians because Google will certainly impact all of our lives personally and professionally.
Although I’m now more skeptical of my heavy reliance on Google services, I can’t see myself stopping my use of them any time soon! Like many others this week, I’ve already had the opportunity to use Google Docs to collaborate on group projects during library school. One project in particular was especially challenging, and our group would often collaborate on Google Docs in real time while we chatted in another window. The greatest strength of Google Docs for me is the ability to see when others are typing in real time and to be able to write documents remotely as a group. I don’t like that Google forces you to use their own web based editing tools, and our group ran into formatting issues when attempting to transfer content to Word and PDF. I have seen many discussions recently about authors using Docs to write their whole novel and to keep the most updated versions of their work in the Cloud, but I don’t think I’d prefer Docs for this after trying Dropbox.
Dropbox is awesome. I have only had about 15 minutes to explore the service, but I already can see great potential for its use in my life. I know that in my new position I will want to work on things from home and Dropbox is so much better and easier than emailing myself files back and forth (which I have done quite often in the past!). I also love the sharing feature and I’ve suggested it to my Mom for photo sharing instead of awkward and proprietary services like Shutterfly and Snapfish. Being able to move any type of file to the Dropbox is another huge advantage over Docs in terms of utilizing the cloud for personal storage. I am definitely going to incorporate Dropbox into my daily life and hopefully my work life as well.
Wikis are another tool that I am quite familiar with after my time in library school. I had one class who required us to make a wiki in a group, and another that had us post all of our assignments to a class wiki. I feel very comfortable using the technology, and it is very easy to grasp for new users. I actually made a wiki on information literacy as part of the presentation portion of my interview for my new job. I think wikis are great for collaboration especially in classroom settings. The ability to set permissions for different levels of user allows for faculty and students to collaborate on the same wiki without any concern for the students altering the work of the faculty. Part of my new position is going to be beefing up the information literacy education for all students, including distance learning students, and I’m definitely considering using wikis to help do this.
I wish I had more time to opine on these topics but, alas, moving tasks are calling my name!