Educational Advantages via Digitization

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The Longest Covered Bridge in the World was declared a National Historic Site on June 23, 1980 and a Provincial Historic Site on September 15, 1999..

                                                                            Photo  taken on opening day, July 1, 1901

In 1898, a company formed by private citizens drew up the plan and specifications for a bridge to cross the Saint John River at  Hartland, New Brunswick to replace ferry operations.  The bridge was 1,282 feet long.

Taking 3 years to finish, the bridge opened on May 14, 1901.  At that time a law was established that a penalty of no less than $20 and no more than $40 would be levied for anyone riding or driving a horse or vehicle over the bridge at a pace faster than a walk.   For the first 5 years, the bridge operated as a toll bridge with tolls of 2 cents per pedestrian, 5 cents for a single team of horses and 20 cents for a double team of horses.

Around 1906 talk began regarding covering the bridge.  Concerns were raised about covered bridges being a hang out for untrustworthy characters but also that were the bridge covered, it would help preserve it.  Not until 1920 after damage occurred during the spring ice run, was the decision made to cover the bridge whilst other repairs were being made.  Covering of the bridge was completed in 1922 and it became known as  The Longest Covered Bridge in the World.  To accomodate traffic of the times, a man was hired to shovel snow onto the bridge so that horse and sleighs could get across.  Naturally as the use of automobiles increased, this position was no longer required.

Today, the covered bridge is a  major tourist attraction.  A little superstition is that if you make a wish and  hold your breath all the way across the bridge, your wish will come true.  (It hasn’t worked for me yet!)

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Covered Bridge

Smart Phones and Libraries – The Potential

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Every where you go, people are on their cell/smart phones, you are in the grocery aisle where there is only you and one other person, you think they are talking to you, you turn around to answer them and see that they are on their phone.  No, this hasn’t happened to me, yet anyway, but I sure would be embarrassed if it did.  The use of cell/smart phones is prevalent and it’s only growing.  Known for their ability to provide information, libraries have to keep up by providing services optimized for mobile devices.

With the Short Message Service(SMS), mobile devices are able to send short text messages back and forth.  SMS text messaging is the most widely used  data application in the world.  Numerous websites offer viewing on mobile devices and some of the many services SMS offers are notification if a book is available, a reminder if a book is due, the ability to renew books and check the availability of titles.  Most anything one can do on their PC can now be done on a smart phone.

To appease the demand, more and more libraries are offering downloadable content such as eBooks, audio books, music and videos,  all compatible with many smart phones.   Libraries have to meet the challenge of being fashionable and staying current with the numerous ways people are able to access their services.  As technology constantly changes, it is a challenge for sure but a necessity that libraries keep up.   With more conveniences on their  phones, and more more people using smart/cell phones, keeping current with new technologies is a must for libraries.  I’m sure that even while I’m writing my blog entry, some kind of new technology or app to do something new is being introduced.

How libraries obtain and correlate their resources, catalog records and store data will directly interact with patron access, most likely on a smart phone, its a given.

Open Source Software

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I personally have never used Open Source Software(OSS) or at least I don’t think I have.  Pardon me but I am still trying to absorb a lot of this technical jargon and relate it to my work and sometimes don’t think outside the box very well.

From what I understand of what I have read, a major advantage of OSS is that it is a bit of financial relief for a library.   In the case of  e-reserves, libraries can create an e-reserve service of their own providing they have the staff with the technical expertise, or they can collaborate with other libraries and share expertise.  Also, there are no annual fees.  Open source software can be revised by anyone with the technical know-how, thus the simple fact that one’s work can be observed and revised by anyone, makes them more astute to particular attention of the design and maintainability of their program.

Homegrown open source software systems have the gratification of being adapated to suit the needs of  a particular library giving them the advantage of being designed to coordinate with their current technologies.  A disadvantage to homegrown OSS is that a library must have the technical expertise to design it, which would limit this service most likely to larger libraries.  Also, with the progression of technology, ever changing standards pose a constant challenge of system compatability.   Another disadvantage of homegrown open source solutions is the fact that creating an OSS is time consuming and they many not contain as many features as commercially created sytems.

I look forward to other expressions of the advantages and disadvantages of OSS, I find each one helpful to my own understanding, all comments welcome!!

Content Enrichment

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New implementations are important income sources for ILS vendors, among the many improvements vendors are making is content enrichment services.

How great is it to be able to look at a libraries catalogue and see a books’ table of contents, sample text, images of the books cover and book reviews, without even having to leave the comforts of home, by augmenting MARC records Vendors have enabled this service.

Relating these services to the school libraries I work in, this would be a great advantage.  Often a teacher will help a student select their reading material by getting them to read the first few paragraphs from a book, especially a student they know is a struggling reader to make sure the student is choosing a book at their reading level.    Being able to search titles of subject matter that is of interest to the student and bring up sample text and even first chapters in an online catalogue is  a valuable asset which can save a lot of time on the teachers part and save the librarian valuable time putting books back in their proper places.  I usually search records to download using their ISBN but have yet to find one that offers content enrichment.

Having access to a books table of contents online is certainly an advantage over pulling the books off the stacks and searching through the pages, by using specific keywords, one is directed to the appurtenent chapter(s) without a lot of time browsing and turning pages.

 

But when will I ever use this?

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I remember math classes in high school, learning formulas which I thought ‘when will I ever use this’?  As hubby’s transfers evolved and children came along, I found myself back in school with my children and yes, using those same formulas to teach someone else, together with a few new ones.

Now I am thinking, when will I ever need to create a database.  My work involves using several databases in the run of a day but at this point I don’t see myself having to create one.  I do find it interesting and informative though, learning how databases are created.  I also wondered what types of libraries are more likely to create their own databases, or maybe it’s a matter of having enough knowledgeable employees, creating their own databases would be a cost saving measure.  In my province, public libraries don’t even do any of their own cataloging .

A blog for library purposes would be useful to me, I hope to be able to surprise and impress a few people within the two schools where I work, being a one man band with minimal hours I could not spend a lot of time and I know I wouldn’t need to.  I think it would be a very useful tool for all of the library workers within our school district as a support system for everyone.  The more I use the blog for work, I think  growth will happen and I will realize more benefits.  I will check out other school blogs and learn from them.

I keep reading the terminology throughout  Advanced Topics in Library Studies but I could not have an intelligent conversation with anyone, repetition of the course readings is helping and each time I reread the info, I gain a little more knowledge and a bit more confidence.

Busy Times in the Libraries

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Three weeks have quickly passed since start up of the 2011-1012 school year.   I’ve faced a few challenges and managed to overcome them with a feeling of accomplishment.

My first day at the Middle School where I work met me at the door with a cart load of returned books which somehow found their way back to the library over the summer holidays.  Many were books not wanted in classrooms, no one wanted to throw them out so they deposited them in the Library book drop.  I spent some time discarding as the books were old, old, old and I knew the students would not be signing them out, many were being weeded out of someone’s personal collection.  Covering my desk were 3 boxes of French novels of no more than 32 pages each, waiting to be catalogued and shelf ready, 2 of those boxes are still there!!

I only have 15 hours/week at this school library and spread it over 2 days.  Many hours have been spent so far reshelving the English fiction books.  My predecessor had the shelves jammed full so that it was hard to put a book back on the shelf because they were  packed in so tight, I prefer to leave space at the end of each shelf to accomodate new purchases or donations.  A technical challenge I had was figuring out how to use my Follett System to print off barcodes, I had always ordered them through Brodart but my predecessor had started printing her own, the blank labels were there so I thought it a good idea to continue her practice.  Mission accomplished, I figured it out on my own.  I guess it wasn’t really a technical problem, just learning some of the advantages of my system.

At the schools where I work we sign out text books to all of the students through the library so text books fill our storage room.  This holds the students responsible for the books they sign out, with the support of the high school administration, high school students do not get to attend graduation until all student fees, library fines and over due books including text books, are returned.  It is required that they get their diploma but participation in the graduation ceremony itself is considered a privilege.  Knowing this, students are more responsible with all of their books.  Former administration at the middle school was also more supportive, it is surprising how many books get returned from home when the students(and sometimes parents) are held to accountability.

At the high school where I work 3 days a week, I also have been reshelving and doing some badly needed weeding.  I am at the point where I have to stop weeding and delete the titles from my system as they are piling up.  The other day I offered some students the copies of the books I had weeded, they thought it was awful that I was throwing away books but as soon as they looked at the dusty, yellow, brittle pages and torn, battered covers, none of them walked away with any of the discards.  My major challenge at the high school has been repairing the laminator.  The two people who were able to “repair” it before have either retired or moved on to another school, leaving no one familiar with the equipment.  The machine is a bit tempermental, I’m not sure of its age but the first day when I hit “run”, it started going backwards and I knew I was in trouble.  Anyhow, I managed to get the machine apart, remove the plastic from the rollers and get it fed through properly again, another major accomplishment for me.

It is so great being back in the school libraries, I get to know every student and it is a much more pleasurable experience helping them find a book than working in a classroom with them always trying to push a little to get some work out of them and sometimes being told off.

I love my job, I’m looking forward to getting to the point where I feel I have the time to incorporate a blog into my busy schedule and take advantage of the knowledge I am gaining from my Library Studies courses.

 

Memorial University Library Studies Blog

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Creating a blog was easy but I was confused with the part in our readings about copying and pasting the URL into my aggregator and I tried to make subscribing to a feed more difficult than it was.
I believe technological changes are having a major effect on libraries but was much comforted during a visit to Chapters on the weekend and seeing the lineup at the cash, all with novels in their hands.   Blogging is an easy way for librarians to keep in touch and pass around ideas how libraries can best serve their clientele.  One of the purposes of a library is to provide information and what a great way to do it through a blog.  I am hoping to use a blog to keep school patrons up-to-date on new titles in the library but I’m also hoping to get ideas from fellow classmates and other library bloggers.
Being back in the school library is like winning the lottery for me, I am so happy to be there.  Start up in the Fall is always hectic to say the least as we sign all our text books out through the library so that each student is tracked for the text books they are using.  I’m sure taking this course and checking out other library blogs will be very beneficial to my work in the school libraries.

passwords and usernames

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Life is handing me toooo many usernames and passwords. It’s easy to say use the same one for everything but some of my most used sites require password changes every so many months. Eventually I’ll learn not only to write them down but also to put them where I’ll find them again when I need them!!