misc-joy

Explorations by Kenley Neufeld

Library

Making Things Right

By on October 13, 2010

This year we launched a revised web site for the library and I decided to incorporate new elements that I thought would be beneficial to students. Other library staff were challenged by one of new elements and made their case for not moving ahead. I felt strongly about the element and decided to move forward anyway. How could I act counter to how I would like to lead?

I am responsible for the operation of a community college library. That responsibility includes vision, leadership, staffing, budget, and working directly with the students and faculty. Two important aspects of my job are (1) being able to communicate effectively and (2) being able to admit when I am wrong.

Two recent blog posts inspired me to reflect on the second aspect on making things right. I’ll save my reflection on communication for another time because I believe that “right speech” is probably the most difficult precept to practice. Roy Tennant covered Managing Personal Change with some great strategies that can be applied in many circumstances. In particular, I like learn as you breathe and be grateful. The second post by Seth Godin, Demonstrating Strength, reminds readers to apologize and to offer kindness.

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Web Redesign Efforts: Luria Library

By on September 14, 2010

Web site redesign efforts are important for any organization if you want your www presence to remain fresh, creative, and functional. This past August, we launched a new web site for the Luria Library at Santa Barbara City College. We don’t have a large staff to create, implement, and manage the library web infrastructure. In fact, all the work has typically been my initiative and been my responsibility. Probably because of our size, on our campus we have relative autonomy in what we do with the web as long as we follow some basic guidelines established by the College.

In 2006, when I put the last redesign in place, we took the big bold step of implementing a blog-based web site. Out went the traditional web and in came something unique and different. At the time, both Moveable Type and WordPress were viable options for backend software. We decided on Moveable Type. In the following four years we innovated with using Twitter, GetSatisfaction, Flickr, Meebo, and ultimately settling on LibraryH3lp (a chat service). In hindsight, these were good years for our web presence. It brought us attention both locally and nationally. We had fun and we felt creative. But times change.

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Hiring Library Workers

By on August 17, 2010

Aerial photo: Santa Barbara, California
Image via Wikipedia

There isn’t much turnover at the Luria Library, so when we have the opportunity to bring on a new person, we have to consider someone for the long term. Up until four years ago, the average length of employment in the library was probably around 16 years. The longest term employee in the library is also the longest term employee on campus – 45 years! Of course, this can’t be maintained forever and our average has gone way down because three of the nine employees have retired, including the most recent vacancy. This time we were hiring for our evening circulation person.

We didn’t hire because of growth, though we certainly could justify that, but because of necessity. Without this position, the library would not remain open in the evening. (more…)

Wired on the iPad, My Experience

By on May 27, 2010

As you may know, the June 2010 issue of Wired magazine is available as an iPad version. It will cost you $4.99 to try it out. I’ve been a subscriber and reader of Wired since its founding in the mid-90s, and continue to be a subscriber. I had already read the print version of the June issue before the release of the iPad version, so in reviewing the new product I primarily looked for added features. Here are my thoughts.

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To Check-In or Not to Check-In at ALA

By on May 13, 2010

I’ve been pondering the use of location-based social networking tools. For ALA Midwinter, there were a handful of people using these types of services. But, with the huge media coverage after SXSW Interactive this year, I’m expecting more adopters in Washington D.C. for ALA Annual. In fact, we may see some contests organized by ALA staff using one of these services. ALA Staff will be doing some things with Gowalla because that company has been responsive and interested in doing things with the Association. If you haven’t grabbed Gowalla yet, give it a try. Here’s something small to consider before you go…Washington DC Trips.

I’m giving my heavy use of Foursquare and Gowalla until the end of June. Part of my decision to continue using the service will depend on the ALA experience. Though I’m somewhat impartial to Gowalla, I’d like to use the service most widely used by ALA attendees. Please help me out and share, retweet, post of Facebook, etc.

Which service will you use, if any, in Washington DC for ALA Annual?

For the record, my user name on all the above services is kenleyneufeld.

Revisiting Books

By on April 9, 2010

On my 1-hour flight home yesterday, I used Instapaper Pro to go back and read a web essay from last month by Craig Mod (and type this post in the WordPress app). The essay is called Books in the Age of the iPad.

It seemed important to revisit the article now that I have an iPad and to see if I read the ideas any differently. Two quotes stand out:

When people lament the loss of the printed book [what are] they talking about. My eyes tire more easily, they say. The batteries run out, the screen is tough to read in sunlight. It doesn’t like bath tubs.

and

In printed books, the two-page spread was our canvas. It’s easy to think similarly about the iPad. Let’s not.

This raises two concepts. The reading of print material in the digital format and how the digital for at could look in the future. I read a lot of digital material, but have not ever read an entire novel or book digitally. Portions yes, but not the whole thing. I have loaded on my iPad, You Are Not as Gadget, that I hope to read soon. I’m intrigued and not fearful of digital novels and non-fiction.

I’ve had the iPad almost a week. I’ve done some reading of long pieces. Most of it is fairly traditional in nature. Read, “turn” the page, read some more. Much like the book reading experience. That’s all good.

I like the second concept that Mod presents in his essay. The idea to repurpose and reconceptualize the medium, and even to allow and build value for the print medium too. The ipad does not change anything yet, at least not with its ibook app. It is a nice interface, but it does take what we know and simply make it digital (with some minor tweaks). I look forward to what other producers and artists can create.

I encourage you to read Mod’s piece and reflect. What kind of reading experience do you value? I always thought we’d keep the paperback because it’s cheap and disposable but maybe that content is better suited for the digital environment? For librarians, we’ve already seen this transition for magazine content. Does the iPad pushes further into the digital?

SXSW Interactive: Authors & Keynotes

By on March 23, 2010

This is Part 1 of my SXSW reports. After an introduction, the focus is on authors and keynotes.

I’d heard of South By Southwest (SXSW) for many years; the music festival, that is. However, in 2009 I heard about Interactive Conference that precedes the Music Festival when a few librarians reported attending. I’ve always wanted to attend the music festival, but didn’t feel it was justified in mid-semester given the time and the cost. The Interactive Conference, with its focus on technology, was clearly work related and worthy of investigation. Despite no travel funds, I registered early (paying $395), bought a plane ticket with miles, and arranged to stay at a friends house. Low cost and worthy endeavor.

The trip and conference were well worth the time and I came away energized by the technology community. The conference was certainly different from a typical librarian conference, particularly given the primary demographic – young, hip, technologists in a party atmosphere. I wanted something different to shake my brain up a bit; to give me a new perspective. Also, I wanted an event where I didn’t know many people and didn’t have any committee meetings. SXSW paid me back well.

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