Revamping a profession

To quote a friend: “I don’t understand why a field that hinges upon continuous information turnover and constant education is being headed by so many people who hate technology and hate learning.”

There does seem to be at least one librarian in every organization for which this is an accurate statement. It really don’t make any sense. Why do these folks choose this industry? To sit around staring at books? As I’ve said before, down with the seat-fillers!

I, for one, love learning. When asked about my knowledge and interest in fundraising today, my first thought was, I can’t wait to research and learn more about effective ways to contribute to major fundraising efforts. Education shouldn’t be intimidating. Those who feel it is are only a hindrance to our profession’s efforts at making lifelong learning an innate process throughout the human experience.

Humans are just animals after all. They can all smell fear. If we continue to allow staff to shy away from their own development as librarians, we’ll scare off those who are gingerly exploring their own educational progress.

To prevent your own decline and to help your colleagues, explore this page developed by the ALA for topics in staff development: http://www.ala.org/tools/atoz/staff-development . Keep learning please. Let’s revamp this situation.

Mobile Wifi Hotspots

I’m getting ready to kick off a few of my new outreach projects this Spring, including roving business reference and a book bike. The one common thread with all of these projects is the WiFi issue. I want to be able to do reference and borrowing services on site no matter where in town I am.

Currently, the library uses Comcast for internet services. While Comcast has some hotspots throughout town (train stations), I’ve found that it’s not always reliable. It seems to go in and out often, and I wonder if this has to do with the volume of use. Some local businesses offer WiFi, too, but I’d prefer to use both of these free services as backups to a personally controlled device.

It took a few searches to come up with the appropriate keywords. It appears that what I’m looking for is a “MiFi,” and Novatel’s device was “Editor’s Choice” a few years back: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2385018,00.asp

xfinity MiFi

xfinity MiFi

According to some articles published in 2011, Comcast only charges $25 for the device. Naturally, a search of their site doesn’t show any pages with purchase details. When I chatted with a rep, she said that Comcast still has the MiFi. I can find it by looking on “comcast.net.” Ha. I didn’t have time to ask for a direct webpage and signed off. I plan to look more into the costs, etc. after the holidays.

Here’s to 2015 being the year of fun, busy, effective outreach!

Virtual business space @ your library

The one renovation desire that I have is for a virtual office space for patrons. It would be a space for people to “work from home” while enjoying all the necessities of an actual office: comfy seating, space to spread out documents, outlets always nearby, updated scanner/copier/fax machine, the ability to use cell phones, and maybe even a chance to collaborate.

I’m currently sitting in a local business that offers such a place for a price. They have a free Friday offer for newbies, so I thought I’d infiltrate and gather intel. I think this may be two hours of my life that I’m not getting back.

I honestly don’t see a benefit to working in their social business space versus the current library structure. Other than the ability to use your phone and a handy kitchen, the space itself is inadequate. Not only do the bright red tables have a distracting glare from the lights above, the seat is beginning to hurt my bum after about 90 minutes and I’m not a fan of chairs on rollers (I think it might be a short-person problem).

There’s also a TV that I keep catching out of the corner of my eye. Being a newbie and not wanting to step above my rank, I left the sound on until a regular opted to mute it. If I wanted these distractions, I’d just…work from home. This home office has led me to be more counterproductive that I had hoped.

I also think our library has already one-upped this business by providing mobile printing, which allows patrons to print wirelessly from their laptops. I see no option here and wonder, should I want to print, how I go about that. No clear information was given or appears readily available. [Note to self: signage and directions regarding technology usage must be easily visible.] Not that it matters because I’m running out of juice and there are only three outlets in view–none of which are easily accessible save for a few seats across the room.

But maybe it’s just me. The seats are 1/4 full so far and everyone seems to be plugging away at their respective endeavors. I wonder if, once a more accurately developed virtual office is in place at the library, people will opt for the free workspace. We shall see.

Link

Free software for all you Makerspacers

pixar-renderman-19-free-590x330Check out this article. It appears that Pixar has a version of its software that can be downloaded for free. It’s an industrial grade app, but if your computers are capable of running it, register and get it for your Makerspace.

It’s a great way to introduce teens to animation creation. Fun fun. I wonder if I can figure out a way to use it for adult programming?

Link

“Hotspot at Home” Program

“Hotspot at Home” Program

Chicago PL is trying to get a grant to fund a program whereby patrons in low-income communities can loan out an internet hotspot.

I can’t imagine how they’ll be able to coordinate such an effort. I also wonder if they’ll have some sort of income contingency, or a “hold list” with a limit to how many times a family can check it out each year. But what a terrific way to really reach out to serve information needs. Makes my outreach efforts pale in comparison.