The Unclassifiable Library Remix

Friday, February 25, 2011

The LISNews Blogs To Read in 2011

I love to see the wide variety of writing topics of librarians - especially the ones that break the stereotypical molds. This is always a good list.

The LISNews Blogs To Read in 2011

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Just as I was learning FBML

Seems that every time I learn a new skill like FBML, a major change comes along making it obsolete. Facebook is especially guilty of constant mandated changes, and I'll be looking to see how this affects the Library's Facebook page. I wonder if the FBML I've already done will transfer over or have to be redone. I'm curious to experiment with the iFrames now. I hope this means designing in Dreamweaver first will be an option.
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No More "Standard" Tabs

Note: the new tabs will appear in the form of a list (there will be a maximum of 6 above the fold).

New Photo Strip

Profile Picture

The maximum size for the profile picture has been reduced from 200x600px to 180x540px.

User Interface Changes

Admin View of Wall (See Hidden Posts)

Post as Your Brand

Your Brand Can "Like" Other Pages

Fans Count Has Changed


Now displayed on Facebook Pages is your organization’s category (which can be adjusted). We recently changed ours from "Local Business" to "Internet/Software".

Development Changes

Facebook iframes Now on Tabs

From a web developer’s standpoint, this is the biggest and best change Facebook has rolled out. What does this mean? No more Facebook Markup Language (FBML)!
To use iframes, you need the most up-to-date layout. First and foremost: in order to use iframes, the page must be using the new Facebook Page layout.

Custom HTML and JavaScript

Facebook API for Facebook Pages

Saving User Sessions


With the changes scheduled to take full effect March 10, 2011, you should now be ready to take full advantage of the changes.
  1. Profile photo now has a max size of 180x540px.
  2. Display page category.
  3. Photo strip shows most recent tagged or posted photos. They are randomized. Watch out for inappropriate photos tagged with your Facebook Page. The dimensions of thumbnails are 96x67px.
  4. Admin view.
  5. Filter wall posts by your Facebook Page only or by everyone.
  6. Tabs are now on the left (under the profile photo) in the form of a list (maximum of 6 above the fold). Also, switch to Admin View to see hidden posts.
  7. If you’re an admin, you can view the people who have "Liked" your brand. We noticed it’s in order of most recent Likes. If you’re not an admin, you can no longer view those who have "Liked" the brand page.
  8. Your brand page can Like other pages. They’ll show up on your brand page.
Other changes not shown in the image above:
  • You can see a Newsfeed of updates from Liked Pages on your home page when using Facebook under your Facebook Page name.
  • Pages now support iframed tab applications.
  • Email notifications when users post or comment.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Facebook Customizations

As part of my work with the Library's Social Networking Committee, I've been playing around with FBML to customize our Facebook page. I've managed to add custom tabs for our IM widget, a WorldCat search, and a stream to our Youtube channel and am now ready to tackle adding a new landing page with a customized image look. I've seen some really nice customized pages. Hoping I can do it in Dreamweaver first then add the FBML bits. Once I get this done, it's on to figuring out how to create a search widget for III to use on Facebook. This web page I found very useful as a start - but always on the look out for other sources of sample code.

I'd like to think the following libraries whose pages gave me ideas:


Plainfield Public Library

Appleton Public Library

Southfield Public Library


Kent District Library
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Customize Your Facebook Fan Page With FBML

Add Images To Facebook Fan Pages using FBML
1)  Installing the Static FBML App
2)  Working with FBML
3)  Defining Application Settings
4)  Adding Your Image & Custom Naming Your Tab
And that’s it!
Like I said, FBML is the key to really bringing your Facebook Fan Page to life and defining your brand on Facebook.
Enjoy and let me know if you have any questions!  As always, feel free to contact me directly with questions.
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Things I Don't Have to Think About Today

A fan of the blog and the author, I have long loved this reminder to not complain of life's little inconveniences and be thankful for all that I have.

Also really love his blog's appearance...may have to do some redesign on mine.
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Things I Don’t Have to Think About Today

Today I don’t have to think about those who hear “terrorist” when I speak my faith.

Today I don’t have to think about men who don’t believe no means no.

Today I don’t have to think about how the world is made for people who move differently than I do.

Today I don’t have to think about whether I’m married, depending on what state I’m in.

Today I don’t have to think about how I’m going to hail a cab past midnight.
Today I don’t have to think about whether store security is tailing me.

Today I don’t have to think about the look on the face of the person about to sit next to me on a plane.

Today I don’t have to think about eyes going to my chest first.

Today I don’t have to think about what people might think if they knew the medicines I took.

Today I don’t have to think about getting kicked out of a mall when I kiss my beloved hello.
Today I don’t have to think about if it’s safe to hold my beloved’s hand.

Today I don’t have to think about whether I’m being pulled over for anything other than speeding.

Today I don’t have to think about being classified as one of “those people.”

Today I don’t have to think about making less than someone else for the same job at the same place.

Today I don’t have to think about the people who stare, or the people who pretend I don’t exist.
Today I don’t have to think about managing pain that never goes away.

Today I don’t have to think about whether a stranger’s opinion of me would change if I showed them a picture of who I love.

Today I don’t have to think about the chance a store salesmen will ignore me to help someone else.

Today I don’t have to think about the people who’d consider torching my house of prayer a patriotic act.

Today I don’t have to think about a pharmacist telling me his conscience keeps him from filling my prescription.
Today I don’t have to think about being asked if I’m bleeding when I’m just having a bad day.

Today I don’t have to think about whether the one drug that lets me live my life will be taken off the market.

Today I don’t have to think about the odds of getting jumped at the bar I like to go to.

Today I don’t have to think about “vote fraud” theater showing up at my poll station.

Today I don’t have to think about turning on the news to see people planning to burn my holy book.
Today I don’t have to think about others demanding I apologize for hateful people who have nothing to do with me.

Today I don’t have to think about my child being seen as a detriment to my career.

Today I don’t have to think about the irony of people thinking I’m lucky because I can park close to the door.

Today I don’t have to think about memories of being bullied in high school.

Today I don’t have to think about being told to relax, it was just a joke.
Today I don’t have to think about whether someone thinks I’m in this country illegally.

Today I don’t have to think about those who believe that freedom of religion ends with mine.

Today I don’t have to think about how a half-starved 23-year-old being a cultural ideal affects my life.

Today I don’t have to think about how much my life is circumscribed by my body.

Today I don’t have to think about people wanting me cured of loving who I love.
Today I don’t have to think about those who view me an unfit parent because of who I love.

Today I don’t have to think about being told my kind don’t assimilate.

Today I don’t have to think about people blind to the intolerance of their belief lecturing me about my own.

Today I don’t have to think about my body as a political football.

Today I don’t have to think about how much my own needs wear on those I love.
Today I don’t have to think about explaining to others “what happened to me.”

Today I don’t have to think about politicians saying bigoted things about me to win votes.

Today I don’t have to think about those worried that one day people like me will be the majority.

Today I don’t have to think about someone using the name of my religion as a slur.

Today I don’t have to think about so many of the words for me controlling my own life being negatives.
Today I don’t have to think about still not being equal.

Today I don’t have to think about what it takes to keep going.

Today I don’t have to think about how much I still have to hide.

Today I don’t have to think about how much prejudice keeps hold.

Today I don’t have to think about how I’m meant to be grateful that people tolerate my kind.
Today I don’t have to think about all the things I don’t have to think about.

But today I will.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Second Life virtual-reality game: It's not time travel, but it's close

It's good to see SL get some good press. It's a very timely exhibit, but the principles hold true in other teaching and learning situations as well. With such immersion, learning possibilities are endless. As the article does point out, this is still very much in the exploratory phase for much of academia, but definitely worth the experiment in order to open new worlds not before possible to access.

Second Life virtual-reality game: It's not time travel, but it's close

Monday, February 21, 2011
Not just an excursion into computer geek territory, Second Life is a computer-based tool that takes students into a virtual world where history comes alive.
"You're giving people an opportunity to time travel," Partridge says. "You put them into an environment to move around in a space where they can understand these places and what it feels like to be there."
Participating in a simulation such as Second Life can be a more interesting alternative to experiencing history than listening to a lecture or memorizing names and dates, he says.
The virtual world seems like a natural venue to provide new learning technologies and opportunities, for example, to learn a new language or meet with people sitting in different places around the world. But, according to Partridge, the technology hasn't gone mainstream yet; it still is in the developmental phase. For example, students need special software to access Second Life and other virtual-reality programs.
"Rather than just look at a picture in a book, you can get in and walk around," he says.

Monday, February 21, 2011


As a long time user of delicious - both for sharing bookmarks and simply for organizing my bookmarks across browsers, platforms, and workstations - the possible loss of the software leaves me wondering which alternative I would turn to. I truly hope Yahoo decides to keep it up. However, if not, then like every other time I have become dependent on software or a piece of hardware and it is ripped away from me suddenly, I will move on to something for better or worse.
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 'Delicious' leaves a bad taste
It seems that the rumours are true and that the social bookmarking site Delicious is to close, or perhaps just change. Whilst generally being regarded as a good product (by users) Yahoo! do not find it a ‘strategic fit’ for them and are seeking a life outside the organisation – i.e. they are looking to sell it (
Last week on many social media platforms the conversations followed with outrage and ‘what now’? Social bookmarking has become popular for storing, tagging, sharing and mashing community collaborations. Many users commented that Delicious was one of their favourite tools – including me.
So what now? Where to go from here? Well Yahoo! have announced that they're maintaining Delicious for the time being so bookmarks will not disappear overnight. But what are the alternatives?
So with Delicious possibly on its way out, if Yahoo! does not find a buyer, then I will plan for moving on.

Gaming for Success

Based on some of the quotes in the summary, I really would like to read this book and explore these ideas more fully. I'd also be interesting in seeing also whether social networking and non game virtual environments, such as Second Life, are included in this study of video gaming, or if the construct of gaming is limited to those avenues that are strictly a gaming format. I can definitely agree that virtual worlds, online social networking, and gaming can be useful, depending on context and application.
Jane McGonigal
The single biggest misconception about games is that they're an escapist waste of time. But more than a decade's worth of scientific research shows that gaming is actually one of the most productive ways we can spend time.
That's what I mean when I say -- in the title of my new book -- that Reality is Broken." The fact that so many people of all ages, all over the world, are choosing to spend so much time in game worlds is a sign of something important, a truth that we urgently need to recognize.
Fortunately, however, this temporary exodus is not a complete waste of time!

When we play a good game, we get to practice being the best version of ourselves: We become more optimistic, more creative, more focused, more likely to set ambitious goals, and more resilient in the face of failure. And when we play multiplayer games, we become more collaborative and more likely to help others. In fact, we like and trust each other more after we play a game together -- even if we lose! And more importantly, playing a game with someone is an incredibly effective way to get to know their strengths and weaknesses--as well as what motivates them. This is exactly the kind of social knowledge we need to be able to cooperate and collaborate with people to tackle real-world challenges.
So what's the optimal level of gaming? For most people, an hour a day playing our favorite games will power up our ability to engage whole-heartedly with difficult challenges, strengthen our relationships with the people we care about most -- while still letting us notice when it's time to stop playing in virtual worlds and bring our gamer strengths back to real life.
To find out more about the scientific tudies and games described here, read Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World (Penguin Press).

Generations and their gadgets

The full study is very interesting and I believe has a great impact on Access Services. Not only will these technologies impact how library services are sought and delivered, but the perceptions and attitudes of library patrons toward the applications of these technologies in service situations will greatly influence these trends.

Many devices have become popular across generations, with a majority now owning cell phones, laptops and desktop computers. Younger adults are leading the way in increased mobility, preferring laptops to desktops and using their cell phones for a variety of functions, including internet, email, music, games, and video.
Gadget ownership over time
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Monday, February 14, 2011

Blame Game

As the supervisor of Access Services, I am the one that gets to handle the complaints that come in from patrons - mostly concerning fines for late or lost materials. They always have a reason, and seem quite offended that we dare charge them at all. As the patron I describe below said, they "take it personally." Well, so do I.

A patron came in recently to agrue over a fine for an overdue laptop. I explained to him the reason for the fine and my decision not to waive the $10 charge. His library record was not blocked, but he was still very unhappy. I told him he could appeal to the Dean of the Library if he so desired, but that I didn't think he had grounds for a successful appeal. His parting words to me were - "It's ridiculous, I know I'm right. And I think you know it too!!" He then went on to write the university provost concerning his fine, in an effort to go "above the heads of those who run the library in order to get this matter resolved." He ranted and raved about how this small fine for his negligence in returning a laptop on time were "against the founding principals of democracy in America,and plainly ridiculous." He continues saying that "to be disregarded in such a way, and processed as "automatically guilty" makes [him] sick to [his] stomach."

Well you know what makes me sick? The constant stream of students in and out of my office who are unwilling to take even the slightest responsibility for their actions. "I didn't know they had to be back at a ccertain time." (No libraries just let you keep stuff as long as you want.) "No one told me when they were due back." (Staff do this, and you can check online, and we send you courtesy notices and three overdue notices before you are fined.) "The fine is too high." (You sign the agreement form for laptops before you borrow them which clearly states the fine.)

Seriously people it's not that hard. Turn the materials in or renew them to extend your checkout or pay the fine already - but please stop coming to me blaming everyone but yourself for your own choices. This is a university - time to act like a grown up.

Epilogue: Thankfully, the Dean of the Library and the Provost supported my decision in the above case. I truly appreciate such supportive backing.


"How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?"

Friday, February 04, 2011

2011 Begins as a Blur

We're well underway into a new year, and what an interesting one it has been. Getting the semester off late due to more snow than I've ever seen in NC was just the beginning. The month was a rush, and I can't believe we've hit February already. Well per my normal MO, I am late starting the reinvention of this blog yet again. I'm back to random posts about the day in the life of a librarian who does a little bit of everything.

This past month was a perfect example of jsut that. I worked with another library to begin implementing the circulation of iPads here at the library. We're starting with a pilot project of 5 iPads. Our desk is already so busy I worry how much this will affect workload and morale. It often seems that circulation is the default place to start new projects, and while I like to explore new ways of serving our patrons, I also want to balance it with the needs of already overworked staff.

Wore my HR hat far too often in January, but that was to be expected with having to do new contracts for some of our assistants. There always seems to be a problem with one or two at the very beginning of the semester, but things have all smoothed out now. The online time reporting and fingerprint time clock have made it a lot easier to do time reporting for assistants, but it is still a big job and now done far more frequently.

I also have been working a lot on our virtual services - both in Facebook and Second Life. Have practiced my FBML and added some custom tabs to the Library's Facebook page, but I still want to work on customizing the look of the page via FBML. The newest tab I've added is a WorldCat search widget. I really wanted it to be a local catalog search widget, but that is going to take some serious studying of programming. I also began preparations for our African American History Book Club series for Second Life. Getting a lot more interest on this one than the one we did in November, which is encouraging. I hope for a decent turn out. I'm marketing it everywhere I can - Facebook, internal and external lists, print flyers, and within Second Life itself.

Another big project I had this month was working with my reserves staff member to finally get all the Mass Communication equipment records entered into Millennium in order to bring them into the system. I presented at the end of the month at SIUG ( on bringing campus departmental collections into a shared ILS system. This is our third department we've added to III - preceded by Music and Education. I can't blame them for wanting a satisfactory way of tracking such expensive equipment, but boy are we glad to have the hard part behind us. The loan rules are up and running, and they should be in operation sometime this semester.

Aside from my regular campus committee meetings (Faculty Development and Welfare and SPARC - Strategic Planning) I worked closely with my student group SAGA (Sexuality and Gender Alliance) in planning our event for February. Our Hands Over Hearts Gala will be held to bring awareness in the community about AIDS/HIV and other STDs. Working with the Robeson County Health Department, I feel this is one of the most worthwhile projects I tackled this month. I have high hopes for the event, and am glad for the chance to show that SAGA can tackle the serious topics as well as be fun.

In my "spare" time (lol) away from reference and access services duties, I managed to squeeze out two articles (late of course) for my editor for The Journal of Access Services and my last two submissions came out in publication. Time to start working on the next issue.

I did treat myself to an evening out seeing the Color Purple on campus - it was absolutely fabulous. Have been singing it ever since - especially "Hell No" - for which I also have the tshirt. =) There are some days that shirt will come in really handy.