Friday, May 16, 2008

It's a High Tech Life

My 21st-century technology:

I adore my I-Pod Nano. I can download songs for a minimal charge. Any song I want (provided it's in the I-Tunes catalog). Current hits and old favorites. I hardly buy CDs anymore, mostly because I have no more storage space, but also because I like the idea of not having to spend $15.00 for a whole CD. Especially if there are only one or two songs from that I like from the CD. I now can spend 99 cents for each of the songs I like.

I like my digital camera. It's light-weight and easy to use. Just download the photos to my computer and print out on photo paper.

I think my Mac is brilliant. It's so intuitive and easy to use. The sleek white acrylic flat screen, wireless keyboard, and egg-shaped wireless mouse exemplifies high-tech design, of a quality suitable for a MOMA exhibit.

My 20th-century technology:

I still have all my records: 33 1/3 LPs and 45s. The album cover art is something that has gone by the wayside with the advent of audio cassettes and CDs. Now, digital music is all about the music. A completely different way of experiencing music. The nostalgia of albums, record stores, and the rock and roll experience is something only Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers can savor as the world goes digital.

I have my dad's camera collection. Old SLR cameras. They're gorgeous examples of mid-century design and how we experienced light and image. I took a photojournalism course in college and remember the detailed process of adjusting F-stops, flashes, and all those rolls of film.

I don't have my electric typewriter or my word processing machine or even my first Apple computer anymore. I first learned to type on a manual typewriter. I even won an award for being the fastest typist in my high school class; although that was not as cool or prestigious as getting a varsity letter jacket for basketball or making the National Honor Society. I don't miss using a typewriter. I sometimes wonder how I made it through two bachelor degrees using such primitive technology. By the time I got my master's in the late 1990s, we had these lovely personal computers, electronic databases, the World Wide Web, and other technologies that 21-century students couldn't imagine being without.

It's a high-tech life now, and the only thing is to enjoy the ride. Or get left behind.


Flickr Fun

Potterpalooza 2007
Potterpalooza 2007,
originally uploaded by nesta2007.
Library staff dressed up as Hogwarts professors and students for the Wellington Branch Library Potterpalooza 2007. This program celebrated the release of the final book of the Harry Potter series. The library staff had as much fun as the teens who came for this magical event.

I uploaded this photo to my Flickr account as part of our library's Web 2.0 exploration project.


Palm Beach County Reads "Memory Keeper's Daughter"

For the past 6 weeks, all of Palm Beach County read Kim Edward's best-selling novel, 'The Memory Keeper's Daughter", for the 2008 Read Together, One Book One Community campaign. Our library sponsored book discussions and programs on Down Syndrome.  These programs were well-attended, and the book was checked out by eager participants of this event.

Last night was the campaign finale at the Harriet Himmel Theatre, City Place, West Palm Beach. The evening featured a performance by Palm Beach Dramaworks, which provided a moving re-enactment of the story.  This dramatic performance captured the book's essence much better than Lifetime Channel's made-for-tv fare which starred Dermot Mulroney and Emily Watson.

Following the performance, author Kim Edwards spoke about the book and how she researched her background material.  She also spoke about the process of writing.  Ms. Edwards gave the audience a sense of what she, as a writer, tries to accomplish when telling a story.  As Nadine Gordimer said, " A writer is committed to trying to make sense of life.  It's a search." (

In all, it was an enjoyable evening celebrating literacy and reading.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

On Blogs and Public Libraries

Library blogs potentially have many applications, but primarily they can be used to inform your patrons about your services. A blog can be an extension of a library's web presence, that is, its web site.

As the adult programming coordinator for my library system, I can use a programming blog as a marketing tool. I can let patrons know about upcoming events, perhaps providing some more details than I can offer through our web site or print articles and announcements.

After the event, patrons can post comments about their experience. While we get feedback about the program by handing out evaluation forms, patrons might also want to share what they learned at a workshop, for example, by posting comments on the programming blog.

A programming blog might also be used for our book discussion series or our adult summer reading program. The interactive nature of a blog makes it conducive to talking about ideas, about literature, about life.

Ultimately, blogs are just one of the many tools librarians can use to communicate with their community.