Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Thing #11

Well, I'm up to Thing #11 on this journey called Nebraska Learns 2.0. The exercise for this item is to blog about technology, any technology. That's a pretty broad field so I think I'll try to keep to technology as it applies to our local library. I've worked there long enough to remember typing (on a typewriter, remember them?) a minimum of 3, up to 6 or 7 catalog cards for each item added to the collection. I remember when someone needed something we didn't have in the library we would try to come up with something to order on Inter-Library Loan using an outdated Books In Print because we couldn't afford the newer version. I also remember telling patrons they would just have to go to a larger library, maybe Norfolk, to have a better chance of finding what they needed. It's been a long time since I had to do that.

TECHNOLOGY has made the difference. Specifically computers & the Internet. There's an awful lot of downright crap on the Internet but there are also lots of excellent resources. One does have to be careful about sources, but now if I can't find exactly what a patron needs, I can at least look on Amazon.com or in other libraries' online catalogs to find a book to ILL.

The library got its first computer early in 1992, after using a loaner from the Northeast Library System for about three months. That was the first I had used a computer. Since then I have gone from DOS, through several versions of Windows up to XP. Windows Vista came on my lastest laptop but my printer would only partially work with it and my scanner not at all so I nixed Vista and put XP on. It's a Sony & if you are at all familiar with the way Sony does things you know there's a long story involved. Let's not go there.

Anyway, from the library getting that first computer in '92, we've gone to 5 public use computers with Internet access, an automated circulation system & OPAC, a digital microfilm reader that prints through a computer, and a laptop & digital projector. As the librarian, I've done purchasing, set-up, networking, repairs and lived through switching to automation. I've built web pages, added RAM memory, changed out hard disks and power supplies, set up wireless networking. Not bad for a girl born just barely after TV was making an appearance in the American home.

Technology keeps taking us in new directions. When I first started working in the library we had books, magazines and the vertical file (remember those?). Oh, and vinyl records, jigsaw puzzles & sewing patterns. The records, puzzles & patterns went by the wayside and we got books on tape, now books on CD or in mp3 format. Video tapes have given way to DVDs. Currently the big push is for gaming in libraries. Seems libraries try anything to get people in the door. The thing is, with all this great stuff how do you get the money to pay for it all? As a small library in a town of less than 400, with about 400 registered patrons we have to ask ourselves just what it is we want to be doing. Yes, we make use of technology to provide for our patrons' needs, but the biggest share of our budget is & will continue to be spent on books. Our library will not become the local gaming arcade. Spending money on that would take away from our primary goal of providing reading material and information for our community. We pick and choose our technology to best suit our goals.

Now, I've rambled on for long enough. It's time to check out the blogs of other Nebraska Learns 2.0 participants.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Pretty much a flop!

Saturday was the library's annual Scholastic Book Fair and I must admit it was pretty much a flop--didn't even sell $200 worth of books. We do it to earn books for the library and needless to say, this year we didn't earn many. I keep hearing, as does everyone, how bad, bad, bad the economy is and I guess it's so bad people aren't even buying inexpensive paperback books as Christmas gifts. I can't blame it all on the shoppers, or lack thereof, because Scholastic usually sends us 9 boxes of books and this year they only sent 7. Of course the ones they shorted us on were the sale books and the picture books---the biggest sellers. Oh well, it's over for this year & we have a few months before we have to commit to doing it again or deciding not to bother. We also are having our used book sale for the rest of this week and they are not exactly going like hotcakes either. I see the dumpster getting a big donation next Monday. Does anyone hate anything worse than sending books to the dump?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Basic is best

After trying several different blog templates I came to the decision that simple and basic is best. I tweeked it a little to make it easier to read and I can play with background and text colors. I'm going to call it good (just don't hold me to rigidly to that statement). I'd really like the whole thing to be wider but haven't figured out how to do that.

Update: Well, duh!! To make the whole thing wider all I had to do was choose the stretched version. How simple is that? Now I need to find a picture for the header to dress the whole thing up a little.

What's been keeping me busy lately

Here's some of the things keeping me busy lately. This is Quilt #2 quilted on my Gammill Premier Plus. It's one of my eBay tops and is prettier in the picture than it is in person. Still needs to be trimmed and bound to be called finished.

The pantograph I used is called "Swirl" by Norma Sharp.

And, here are some quilt blocks and pieces waiting to be pressed. Progress on this quilt top has been slow and part of the reason is pictured below.

I've been dehydrating pears for the last two weeks and that's what is in the small dehydrator. The big one is my new Excaliber 2900 with nine trays. It's full of Golden Delicious apples sprinkled with a little cinnamon sugar. It holds about 3/4 of a 5 gal. bucket of apples and is wonderful. The little one holds about 12 sliced pears so I suppose it would hold about the same amount of apples. I'd be doing this till Christmas!!

I really, really wish blogger would make it a little easier to put the pictures where you want them. It seems like no matter how I try to position them, they go wherever they want.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

ANOTHER new page template!!!

Last night I tried out another new template for my blog. Actually I was trying to put a Halloween theme on, messed it up, tried another one & couldn't make it work, so just decided to go with something basic. The green floral was really pretty, but a bit to frou-frou for me so I ended up with this blue one. I like it but don't know if it will be the final one or not. There's just so much choice out there in cyber space!! LOL I also learned the hard way that changing templates can erase your list of blogs you read, widgets, gadgets, even your profile. And, sometimes they mysteriously come back. HA!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Thing #10

Image generators--fun I guess. Could be an excellent time waster, sure wish I had more time. I tried this one at: http://makesweet.com to create this:

Thing #9

Who would have thought there would be so many Flickr tools and 3rd party programs? It kind of looks to me like there are people out there with programming skills who don't have enough to do. LOL I played around with a few of them but didn't find anything I thought would be useful in the library, though that's not to say there aren't any, I just didn't have a lot of time to spend on looking. I did play a little bit with one called Gickr--allows you create animated GIFs (GIF animations) from your flickr photos. It's homepage is: http://gickr.com/
I thought it might be used to display photos on a web page or blog.
I can't say that I like the effect at all. The animation shows up on a separate window from the blog.

Thing #8

Learning about Flickr has been interesting. I have albums on Webshots & Multiply but had never tried Flickr. Maybe because it is "THE" photo site these days is why I shyed away from it---never follow the herd, you know? Anyway, I went ahead and set up an account, which was easy since I already had a Yahoo! identity. Then I posted a couple pictures to the Pets of Nebraska Librarians group--------and,ta da, here they are at: http://www.flickr.com/groups/petsofnelibrarians

Here are my two kitties, Nicky & Nuey. They are posted to the Pets of Nebraska Librarians group, but if you aren't part of that group you might not be able to see them.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Happy Ending

I'm happy to report that the lost dog story has a happy ending. This morning I put posters with his picture up around town & within an hour I knew he belonged to a local Amish family. He had followed their buggy into town on Saturday and was snooping around town when they went home so couldn't follow them back. I just took him home a little bit ago, and he was SOOOOOOOOO happy to be there and the kids were hugging and petting him. Everyone is happy, including me, who isn't stuck with a dog she really didn't want. I'm just wondering..........what will be the next critter to show up in our garage?? Better keep those doors closed.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Look what turned up in my garage

Friday night it was a possum, who was happy to leave once we got him out of the garage. Saturday night it was this sweet little dog, and once my husband coaxed him out of the garage he decided he wanted to stay. I have no idea where he came from or who he belongs to. He's very sweet and friendly and hasn't been lost for very long since he's nice and chubby. We really, really don't need a dog since we already have two cats. One has already shown him who's the boss around here and the other one would go back to living in the basement and never coming upstairs if he was allowed to stay. He's obviously a house dog and couldn't stay outside during the winter. Why do lost animals always find their way to us?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Thing 6 &7

I've taken to RSS feeds like a duck to water. It just makes keeping up with the blogs I read so easy. I read quite a few quilting and scrapbooking blogs and needing to check each one, each day was becoming a chore. Now, Bloglines tells me if there's an update & I don't waste time going to each one, only to be disappointed when there's nothing new. I've also added some feeds to library related & computer related blogs, now that keeping up is so simple.

RSS feeds were one of those things I knew about, just never took the time to learn what they are all about, how to use the readers and what was in it for me. Nebraska Learns 2.0 gave me the incentive I needed.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I did it!!

I know that I'm hopelessly behind the times, but last night was the first time I had ever IMed. I know everybody, young & old, uses Instant messaging all the time, including my granddaughter and the young people using computers at the library. My family & circle of friends has been content with e-mail for the most part. If we want instant communication we still pick up the phone. Anyway, I had a nice conversation with Allana at the Library Commission last night, so I guess I have completed Thing #5. I really don't see myself using it a whole lot though.

Would it be useful at our library? I just don't know. I'm certainly very clumsy at using it and I don't see my two aides being a whole lot better. For the present we will still rely on the telephone for reference questions that don't involve a patron coming in and standing in front of the desk. But, I can at least tell my granddaughter that I CAN IM. I doubt if she'll want to become my "friend" though. It's probably not cool to IM with Grandma. LOL

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Pears & more pears

Today I'm once again working on pears. There's a batch in the dehydrator and I'll can a batch. For dehydrating, I peel them with the apple peeler so all the slices are uniform, put them on the trays and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Dry until leathery. Delish!! as one of my favorite authers, Philip Craig, used to say. I just wish I had a bigger dehydrator than my little round one with only 4 trays. It can only handle about a dozen sliced pears at a time and we had a super bumper crop this year. Same goes for apples. I still have some of them in the fridge and want to try drying them with the cinnamon sugar too.

Last night was our Quilt Club meeting at the library meeting room. As it turned out I had to work so I was double tasking like mad, playing librarian and quilt club host at the same time. It worked, my fellow quilters and the patrons are all pretty tolerant, I just didn't get to work on a quilting project like I usually do.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

My Baby....................

I've talked about my quilting machine in previous posts so here's a picture. It's a Gammill Premier Plus on a 10 ft. table. That's all the bigger I had room for -- both room size and purse size! LOL

That's the only actual quilt I've done since I got it over two months ago. I have some not-so-beautiful tops purchased on eBay that I'm going to use as practice pieces. Only problem was that I didn't have backings & batting so made a flying trip to O'Neill last Friday to get some. There's at least 35 yds in this pile. Not so good for my quilt club goal of using what I have but it's needed to finish projects and that's allowed.

I'll start with the least-beautiful eBay top and work my way to the one I like the best. Maybe by then my quilting will have improved enough to tackle one of the tops I pieced myself and REALLY like. Don't know what I'll do with the practice quilts, guess they could always ride in the trunk of the car in the winter or become donation quilts. While they may not be the most beautiful quilts ever made they will keep someone warm.

Something Quilty

Even though there were two buckets of pears waiting for me to do something with I decided I'd rather sew today. So I did the second row of stitching on the corner pieces of my Indian Hatchet quarter blocks. When I trim the corners I'll cut between the two lines of stitching and have my quarter block and little HSTs to use in another project.

The Indian Hatchet blocks will be combined with these 16-patch blocks made of my hand-dyed fabrics to make the top.

Partial Indian Hatchet blocks & black & white strip sets cut to 5" will form the inside border. I have some black fabric with bright dots for the outside border. I'll have to remember to post a picture of the top when it's finished.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


There now, isn't this template a lot prettier than most offered as basic Blogger templates? I've found a wonderful new time waster on the computer---looking for Blogger templates----bet I could waste HOURS. Just what I needed, you know??

Backin' up a little

It occurred to me that I never posted about Things 1 & 2. I'm expecting NE Learns 2.0 to be a great learning adventure. Maybe everyone wouldn't agree but I always find learning new things to be a great adventure. I've been a life long learner for as long as I can remember, and a lot of things I've taught myself from books, videos & dvds. Now we have all these wonderful online learning opportunities.

Regarding the habits of lifelong learners, I'm probably best at playing--I play with computers, I play with my fabrics, I play with my quilting machine and sometimes working at the library is almost more play than work.

Now for the rest of them: #1. Always. When I learn how to solve a computer glitch the end I have in mind is a working computer. When I had to learn to time my quilting machine the end I had in mind was good stitches. When I learn to make a new quilt block I expect to have a quilt someday. #2. Always. If I don't accept the responsibility for my own learning, who will? #3. A computer that won't boot up is definitely a problem and a real challenge. #4. I guess I have confidence in my abilities as a learner because anytime there is something I want to learn to do, I do it. #5. You should see my collection of books, manuals, magazines, videos & dvds. Plus, I believe in always having more than one computer available for doing research when one of them fails. #6. See #5. #7. I guess I do this without even thinking about it. I'm always helping patrons at the library with using the library or computers or microfilm reader. People are always calling me with computer questions when they have problems & I help them as much as I can. Now, fixing a sick computer over the phone is a CHALLENGE :) Especially when the person on the other end of the line is pretty much computer illiterate. #7 1/2. Play, Play, Play. The part I love best!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Librarians are SO creative

How about a librarian's fashion show? Here's an address on Flickr showing pictures of a fashion show where all the outfits are made out of things from the library--romance novels, microfilm, cds, etc. If it's in a library they've used it.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Just startin' out

My very first post!! I set up this blog as a part of the Nebraska Learns 2.0 project through the Nebraska Library Commission. I have to admit that while I want to learn about these technologies that I'm not very familiar with, I also find the opportunity to earn those 15 CE hours without burning expensive gas as darned attractive :) Can you say "darned" on a blog post?? Oh well, I just did.

Just to tell you a little about myself: I am a Library Director of a library in a very small Nebraska town. My family consists of a husband, daughter, son, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, three grandchildren & two cats. Mustn't forget the cats, they think they should rate higher than any of the others, LOL. In my "spare" time I like to read (blogs mostly, of late), piece quilts, scrapbook digitally, research genealogy and learn to master my new quilting machine that I just got in August. I know I probably spread myself too thin, and now I'm adding the Nebraska Learns 2.0 to my list for the next few weeks. We'll see how it goes.