Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Mission Accomplished

Still need to trim the dog ears then on to assembling the border strips.

It's Been a While

It's DEFINITELY been a while since you saw anything quilty from me so here's a little tidbit.

Yesterday I cut the brown triangles for the pieced borders on Roll Roll Cotton Boll. This quilt was my summer project and now summer's over so I should get busy and get the top finished at least.  This afternoon I intend to get those triangles sewed to the pink/green parts.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Something new

My women's club is planning to collect hats, gloves/mittens and scarves for a Giving Tree at the Library for Christmas. Member Jennie brought in her knitting looms and some yarn to show us how to make hats. After vowing to not start any new craft I came home from Norfolk with THIS on Wednesday:

That's right....a knitting loom set and a couple skeins of yarn. And just today I kicked myself for forgetting to take along my 40% off coupon for Hobby Lobby. Those looms would have been QUITE a bit cheaper if I had.  Now let's see what sort of hats I can come up with.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

CPD23 -- Week 13 -- Thing 19

Wow, a catch-up week....and I've just spent 3+ hours catching up!!  Great minds, and all that....  I might have time to read others' blog entries this week. Wow!!

It's nice to have a week to just look back on how far we've come and to think about how we can use what we've learned in our work/everyday life.  I already know there are some I will never use. And some that I use and will continue to use, like blogging, RSS feeds, Dropbox, Facebook.  I can see some uses for screen capture software for helpful tutorials for staff and patrons and I want to learn to use Audacity.  Also maybe dig a little deeper into the organizing programs such as Zotero.

Now, if I could be magically given many more hours in a day to do it all as well as keep up with work, home, family, quilting, genealogy, reading, etc. maybe it would all happen.

I do know that I am definitely looking forward to the next "things" on the list.

CPD23 -- Week 12 -- Thing 18

Screen Capture:  I've seen instances of this in action on how-to videos on YouTube, but knew nothing about how it was done. After reading about Jing, Screencast-O-Matic, Camtasia Studio and Lightshot, I now know how they do those videos.  The great thing is that these tools all have free or trial versions to try them out.  Jing and Camtasia Studio also have good tutorials...Camtasia's is very thorough.  While Jing and Screencast-O-Matic both have free versions, the later has a longer recording time which could make a difference as to which one to try.

After learning about these tools, my first thought was of using one to do a little tutorial video of learning to use the library's OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog). It's simple enough, yet someone using it for the first time is always hesitant....and they're so afraid of breaking something if they poke the wrong button.

I also thought of little tutorials on how to do helpful things on the computer, like making the text on a page larger or opening a second or third browser window. Those are things some of us do as a matter of course, but are new and wondrous to the less computer literate.

Podcasting:   Many moons ago I had iTunes installed on my computer (it may still be there for all I know) and had it set to record certain podcasts. However, I never got around to listening to them so I abandoned it. I'll bet a lot of us don't realize there are other "podcast catching" programs available other than iTunes so I found the site listing the others helpful and have bookmarked it.

As far as creating podcasts, I really don't think that's in my future, though I do appreciate the reminder of Audacity. I understand it's an excellent audio recording/editing program. And best of all, being the tightwad I am, it's FREE. (Open source is great and all the open source programmers deserve a big round of applause.) While I don't expect to be doing any podcasting, I do have some old record albums and cassette tapes at home that I'd like to record to MP3. 

It's too bad that CPD23 can give us all this wonderful inspiration but can't give us more hours in the day to make use of it all.  Apparently what every library needs is a person who deals strictly with the computer/digital stuff....or a librarian who only has to work the desk a few hours a week yet gets paid to do this the rest of the time.  We can dream, can't we??

CPD23 -- Week 11

Thing 15 :  Attending - Presenting - Organizing

I'm good at attending! :-) I've been attending meetings, workshops, etc. for many years now.  Sometimes the offerings get repetitive when you've been at it for so long, but I know to go to the event anyway because even if the presentation is a repeat of something I've heard before I will learn from other attendees. No matter what kind of meeting or educational opportunity I attend I ALWAYS learn something from others who are also attending. So, my advice is even if you think the event is just a repeat of something you've already learned, go anyway if you can because there is always something to be learned.

Presenting (or, YIKES public speaking).  I'm much better at attending, but I have had to get up in front of people and speak---County Supervisors, Village Board, county librarians, computer classes at the library. All I can say is do your preparation so you know what you're talking about and try to relax enough to actually be able to get the words out. And, if someone asks a question you don't know the answer to right off hand don't be afraid to say you don't know.....but tell them you will find out and let them know and then DO IT.

I must say I enjoyed Ned Potter's slides on how NOT to do a presentation.  How often have you seen all those things done? Or been guilty of doing them yourself?

Organizing events is always stressful. I don't care if it's a Story Hour for four year olds or weekly computer classes or an author visit.  But, it's part of a librarian's job and eventually we get over the feelings of panic. And, there will always be the event  no one comes to. To me that is the worst...I'm embarrassed, the presenter is embarrassed, and I just never want to plan anything ever again.  Yet I must and so do you, it's all part of the job.

Last, but not least, I learned how to embed fonts into Power Point presentations.  I'd never even thought of needing to do that before.  It's the little things isn't it??

Thing 16: Advocacy

Advocacy....a word we hear a lot. And one that no doubt means different things in different communities.  In my small community/library it amounts to doing everything we can to get our patrons what they are looking for, a semi-regular Library News column in the local newspaper, reports to the Village Board and County Supervisors, as well as short talks to both at budget time (they really don't like long-winded speeches).  Sometimes I lay in bed making lists in my head of all the things we do for our patrons, all the things we offer them, and especially justifications for our computers and Internet access in a place where way to many people in charge still think of the Internet as only games and and kids getting into pornography.  And also the belief that everyone has Internet at home. I imagine that if we were faced with closure or major budget cuts it would be different and we would pull out all the stops.  Hey, I write my best Library News columns when the library is faced with some sort of challenge.

I really think the best advocacy for the library, or our library at least, is by building good will among library users by doing all we can to help them in whatever way we can on a one-to-one basis.  If they make positive statements about the library to others even the non-users will see that the library is important to somebody. And we all know that if someone ISN'T pleased with the service they received they will tell even more people than they do when they ARE pleased.

Great meeting

We  had a great meeting of the Antelope Co. Library Association this morning.  We're a group of librarians, staff and board members from seven libraries in the county who meet every other month at a different library in the county each time on a rotating schedule.  At each meeting the host library lines up some form of continuing education that lasts about an hour.  Each attendee gets credit for one Continuing Education hour towards either Board or Librarian certification through the Nebraska Library Commission.

At this meeting Anita Hall, Antelope Co. Extension Educator, was our guest speaker.  She gave a presentation about how we can make a difference in the lives of the youth in our communities, including the 40 Developmental Assets for  Adolescents that the Search Institute of Minneapolis, MN has identified as the positive experiences and qualities that all of us have the power to bring into the lives of children and youth.  The presentation led to some lively discussion among those present. Since all but one of the group was age 50 or better we could also see very different ways young people are regarded between our generations and the current.

Anita's presentation made me aware that we don't always give our youth an opportunity to participate in ways that will help them grow up to be concerned, involved adults.  I don't know how or if we can work this into the library, but it's certainly something for us to keep in mind.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

CPD 23 - Week 10, Thing 14a,b,c,

This weeks Things were all completely new to me...had never heard of any of them before. After reading about all three and watching the videos I chose to explore Zotero further, thinking it might be the most useful to me though I don't expect to use nearly all of the features.  This thing is feature rich.  I like the word "free" too. LOL

As an add-on for Firefox it's ideal because Firefox is my preferred browser. I often find articles online that I'd like to keep....that's why my Bookmarks list is longer than my arms. Being able to share and access what I've saved from any computer is a plus too. Though as I understand it, all three of these "Things" have that ability. At times the ability to make notes about what I've saved would be ideal.

Since I don't expect to be writing any research papers or articles requiring lots of research I don't see myself much more that skimming the surface of the abilities of this program.  And since my library is small and rural we don't usually have college students researching major papers here and the high school students don't seem to do much in depth research for their papers, but a little info about this program and the others might be a topic for a library news column sometime in the near future just so our patrons know about it and can do their own exploration.

CPD23 -- Week 9, Thing 13

Since I am already somewhat familiar with Google Docs and Wikis I decided to learn more about Dropbox.  It's been discussed quite a bit on genealogy blogs as a way for family history researchers to save their databases, share them and sync them between computers.  One of my greatest fears is that I'll lose my database even though it's always backed up to a flash drive and an external hard drive, all the while knowing that it should be backed up off-site as well. What if something happened to my house and I wasn't there to grab either the computer or one of the backup drives? All that work lost....doesn't even bear thinking about.

So, I signed up for the 2GB free version, downloaded the software and installed it on my laptop. Following the directions, I moved the file with my database to the Dropbox folder and logged into the site. All the data in that file was automatically uploaded to Dropbox where I can access it from my computer or any other computer with access to the Internet.  One fear relieved.  Now I just need to install it on my desktop and sync the files. Another problem solved...I no longer need to worry about having something added to the database on one computer but not the other. Sneaker net doesn't always work as well as you'd think!!! LOL

While I had read about Dropbox on the genealogy blogs this exercise gave me the kick in the pants I needed to actually make the move to using it.  I also have lots of other files that need to be backed up off site but some of the off-site storage options are a bit pricey, including Dropbox.  I'm thinking one called Carbonite might be an option since for one price storage is unlimited.  In researching I also came across one called SugarSync that works much like Dropbox, but again, it might be too pricey for me. More research needed.