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You Should Be Blogging.

October 26, 2010

Blog Handout

You and your library should be blogging. Why?

  • To market your SELF or your library
  • To interact with patrons or peers (Library 2.0!)
  • Librarians are blogging like crazy. Join in on the fun!

Or, take it from Andrew Burkhardt: “The web has become social, so we need to be social on the web.”

Whether you are a recent graduate looking to have a casual voice in the library world while marketing your SELF or a library with some cool new programs that you want to advertise, blogs can be valuable for the individual and community.
However, not all blogs are created equal.  To help you get started, or to help you improve your current blog, I’ve collected a few handy resources.

Starting a Blog

Where to Blog: My Top Picks

Promoting Your Blog

That is really all the how-to reading you need to do to be well on your way to having a hot blog (not to be confused with a hot dog).

Although, the most important step in creating/fine-tuning your or your library’s blog is to follow other blogs.  See what people are doing.  See what works.  More importantly, see what doesn’t work! Start subscribing to RSS feeds and pay attention to which blogs and posts tend to get a lot of comments.

Here are some of my favorite library-related blogs:

What are your favorite blogs?

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Creating a Library Ad

October 21, 2010

If you’ve been following, I have been working on an ad for NEIU’s library to run in the university newspaper. It is down to two final ads (one is posted below). I’d like to share my steps/tools, because it is really, really easy to create a simple ad.

1) Think about WHAT you want your ad to do.  Change patron’s perspective? Increase usage of newly purchased e-books?

2) Consider your audience.  WHO are they, and WHAT will they respond to?

3) Create a template. Not having a background in advertising, I went to About.com for quick set of guidelines in creating my ad.  They argue:

When readers look at your ad what do they see first? Research indicates that readers typically look at:

  1. Visual
  2. Caption
  3. Headline
  4. Copy
  5. Signature (Advertisers name, contact information)

in that order.

4) Insert content

Working with the above model, I used Gimp, an open-source image editing program, in order to layout my ad.  If you don’t have Gimp, you should download it right now.  If you have ever used Photoshop, they have Gimpshop, a version of Gimp with a photo-shop like interface that is very easy to use.  If you haven’t worked with image editing software, there are plenty of online tutorials to get you started.

5) edit, use, reuse

I used images from the web in my template (later replacing them with photos I took) and worked with a librarian to tweak the particular wording.  We wanted “Ask a librarian” to be the focus of the ad because of their “Ask a librarian” SMS reference feature on their website.  Also, the text emphasizes that librarians are both resources and people. The text “primary sources” and “peer-reviewed articles” are two terms that are confusing to many students at the library.  These can be changed to “paper due?” or “MLA bibliography?” or something towards the end of the semester. Remember to use words that make sense for the types of assignments students will be working with at that time of year.  If you are in a public library, you can use all sorts of timely terms: voter registration, summer reading, DYI gifts for the holidays… the possibilities are only limited by what your library can offer.

confused "college student"

Primary sources? Peer-reviewed articles? HUH?

LEEP weekend–the future (and now) of LIS education

October 16, 2010

If you are a librarian or are in library school you may be familiar with the mixed perceptions of what a librarian does and what it takes to become one. “You need a masters degree for that?” was a common question I received after announcing my acceptance to the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).

Similarly, I was co-teaching a first-year library instruction class the other week when a librarian asked the class, “what do you think a librarian does?” Their answer: puts books on shelves.  While librarians certainly do put books on shelves from time to time, the students misconception is clear.

I’d like to extend this idea of assumptions and misconceptions to LIS education, specifically the option (LEEP) that I take classes through.  I am regularly explaining how I attend class to those unfamiliar with graduate library science programs, and am happy to do so.  However, I’ve run into a few erroneous assumptions about how I attend class from professionals and students somewhat familiar with LEEP.

I am currently in a cheap hotel in Champaign, Illinois, 140 miles south of my home, a ritual I partake in three times per year because I chose not to attend my graduate classes on the UIUC campus.  LEEP, for those of you unfamiliar, is technically a scheduling option for students in GSLIS at UIUC.  Students may take all or some of their classes online–though registration priority is given to students who take all of their classes online, as they are likely only able to attend online class because of location (though some local full-time online students exist).

It seems like there is a stigma in the term “online education,” and I’d like to explore this a little.  Five years ago Karen Glover brought up the issue in Library Journal:

According to a survey conducted by Vault.com, out of 239 human resource professionals, 37 percent of those surveyed believe that an online graduate school degree is as credible as a traditional degree, while 54 percent said that it was not as credible but acceptable. But these are the interesting numbers: roughly 40 percent of employers said they believed my degree is credible. That means 60 percent of employers view my degree as second class, which makes finding a job that much harder for me than someone with a traditional degree. (her article)

While she addresses the specific misconceptions identified in the Vault.com survey, I’d like to explain what graduate school is like for me.  I’ve never been in another graduate program, so I don’t want to compare the two options.  However, I will say that the admission requirements, graduation requirements, course content, and many of the professors are the same in the LEEP option as they are in the on-campus option.

Here is what LEEP looks like:

It begins with boot camp. After the joy of the acceptance letter subsides, LEEPers embark on a two-week, nonstop, 9am to 9 pm class/orientation on campus at UIUC.  We basically rent out dorm rooms (or find cheaper housing, as I did via craigslist) and pump out project after project as we slowly lose our nerves and have mini breakdowns.  Okay, it isn’t that bad–the break downs are real, but they often come more from being away from family and friends and less from too much hard work. As I see it, if you make it through boot camp, you are gold. (See my cohort 14.2 here thanks to the wonderful Alyse Liebovich)

From there, we take classes on our computers (whether that be at home, work, or elsewhere) in live sessions during weekly scheduled class times.  We wear headsets and interact with our teachers and classmates with text chat, voice chat, whiteboards, application sharing, and various other interactive features of Elluminate. We are almost always required to: have daily and weekly participation in class and on the Moodle, work in groups, conduct research, examine theory, and have some level of praxis in every class. Once per semester we all get together during LEEP weekend to attend and eight-hour on-campus class (per class we take, so two classes equals two eight-hour classes, for example) and attend professional workshops and functions–which brings us to why I’m typing this from La Quinta Inn. On campus I have: examined and described rare books, had hands-on training for the preservation of film (which included the difficult splicing of VHS tape and smelling of a film overcome by vinegar syndrome), participated in a mini reference practicum, and had a webinar with a wikipedia editor.

LEEPers live in Champaign, LA, Seattle, Las Vegas, Tampa, Chicago, Madison, New York, Montana…

LEEPers are mothers, fathers, recent graduates, educators, techno junkies, archivists, aspiring archivists, single, divorced, windowed, musicians, artists, writers, photographers, with full-time, part-time, no-time jobs in or outside of libraries.

Any way, I don’t know what could make my experience less credible than that of the on-campus students; in fact, being online has forced me to become somewhat more technologically savvy, and living in Chicago has given me the opportunities to volunteer and intern at unique institutions in the city I want to work in.

I wouldn’t want my MLIS any other way.

U.S. Centric Literary Awards

October 7, 2010

I compiled a list of U.S.-centric literary awards (international, national, and regional). They are in a table with some basic information on what makes a work eligible, how works a judged, the prizes (when available), and deadline/award dates.
Here it is for your collection development use: awards

Literary Fiction Awards

October 7, 2010

I’ve been asked to identify important awards for literary fiction, and I am happy to find some really great websites to help me in this quest!

1. Powell’s Books: First of all, Powells, the giant book seller of Portlandia, is to a future librarian what Gene’s Sausage Shop & Delicatessen is to an aspiring foodie (if you are in the Chicago area and eat meat, please check out Gene’s. Seriously).

Powell’s put together this useful list of awards for literary fiction.  This is basically all you need, especially if you are working in the Oregon area (some awards are geographically relevant).

2. Laurie Mann, self-proclaimed “feminist geek,” maintains a thourough site of literary awards with a heavy focus on speculative fiction awards
AwardWeb: SF Awards & More!

3. And last, but not least, my university has a great resource with a section on finding award winners, a list of award websites, and how to apply for a literary award here.

That’s it for now!

What other resources are available? I am particularly interested in finding independent and local awards.

Storyboard

October 3, 2010

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My storyboard

More on Marketing

September 29, 2010

I hit the holy grail of library marketing resources today when I was searching for something else.  It is an annotated bibliography compiled by Patrick Meyer, currently the Interim Library Director at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law.

Meyer’s bibliography includes a variety of resources including:  journal articles, books and manuals, audio recordings,
videotapes, listserves and discussion lists, and even software.

Check it out.

One of the campaigns discussed on his bibliography is the ACRL’s “@ your library” campaign.  They offer templates to get your out marketing campaign rolling (see below):

The footer for the ad template.

Now, wasn’t that easy?