Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Facebook is so very over

I know at least one person theorizing that Facebook's loss of popularity was directly related to its lackluster market performance. And I've overheard some interesting comments about that once-so-ubiquitous social networking site at school:

Girl, to another girl: He's not on Facebook. He has a girlfriend, so he said that he doesn't need it.

Interesting thinking, huh? And given the statistics about Facebook being named in divorce suits, not entirely inexplicable.

And what about the statistics about social network penetration and demographics? How reliable are they?

Eleventh grade girl: How do you get Facebook to stop sending you messages?

Twelfth grade girl: I don't know how we did that. I deleted mine.There's too much drama on there.

Eleventh grade girl: I have three. I forgot the passwords, so I made a new one. I don't have Internet at my house, anyway.

Twelfth grade girl: I don't have Internet at my house, either. I use my phone.

Eleventh grade girl: Look at how long it's been since I've been on here. It's the last day of school. "Here's to our crazy amazing summer! Ha." So, should I make another Facebook? It's tempting.

And just who's using Facebook? I think I know the answer.

Twelfth grade girl: What's my mama's Facebook password? She has pictures [of the student's baby] on her Facebook.

But this may be the best strategy yet:

Monday, August 20, 2012

Culture shock

It's taken some adjustment. Things are different at my new school. In both cases, the administration had established policies which really influence the tone of the library. It seems like I will have a lot more time to interact positively with students and teachers if I don't have to enforce policies I didn't put into place.

Where I am now, students can bring their book bags into the library and food and drink, too. There are no overdue fines (and hence no real emphasis on due dates). There are no costs associated with printing, and as a consequence, printing is not library-mediated.

There are generic logins on public machines so students search the Internet or for books immediately, without loading a profile to the local computer. There is a default printer, so I don't have to walk the kids through choosing the correct one, and the home page set on all the public machines is the library catalog. There is open wifi. Kids and their parents sign a usage agreement, and computer services actually gives them network access.

Other things are different, too. I'm currently suffering from a compulsion to lock everything up. But I look up and it's a whole different world. Students can get to email. Teachers ask students for their email, and they use it to communicate. Imagine that.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


I've spent the week mostly offline, and I feel so out of things. I could spend all day today on the Internet, and still not be caught up...I guess that's the 21st century dilemma in a nutshell.

I finally hauled away the detritus from ten years at one school. I'm feeling great about the new librarian at my old school (someone whose work I thoroughly respected, too), which makes everything easier.

Some other things I've done this week:

Met many of my new colleagues from the school and district for a week of induction and preparation. They all have great energy.

Surveyed the library, poking into all the drawers and closets, found places for all my stuff, from my professional books to all the odds and ends I'd brought with me "just in case" I needed them.

Interfiled about 75% of the fiction paperbacks and hardbacks. There were basically three separate places any book could have been -- the main shelves, the shelves for required reading, or the five spinners for paperbacks. That seemed like too much to ask of teens... I sorted out the fiction and nonfiction, and am integrating the paperbacks with the rest of the collection to make things easier on myself, too. I've done fiction by authors J-Z and A-C, but need to reclassify all the nonfiction before I can interfile those...

I picked up lots of small pieces of random furniture and put it in a storage space. I can always grab it if need be, right?

Moved an empty bookcase, to the space where those spinners were, to display some of the really excellent new books. I'm using the YALSA Teen's Top Ten lists as a springboard, with those stickers on bookflags.

I had a desk moved into the main library. It was my initial impulse to leave the office as a sitting space, but I guess it is appropriate to have a desk since I do have a phone there...

I also moved the required reading. I never had to deal with this stuff before, it was in the English department's book room. I tried to create a curriculum collection, putting those paperbacks in a conference space with shelving that was used for periodical storage (necessitating getting rid of those news magazines).

Met with the wonderful former librarian who had spent 37 years at the school. She had given me a heads-up on the job, for which I am very grateful. She is going to be a tremendous resource in getting to know both the school and community.

School doesn't start until the 20th under the oppressive new state school calendar law, but there is an Open House Tuesday, when students will get their schedules. I have been trying to be all set for that, but have been grappling with rather basic things like bulletin board design (which I never had to do before, actually). Another confession: I keep forgetting about the wifi. I haven't checked it out at all. I'm that unused to being able to connect at school.

Anyway, I am really excited about everything on campus and can't wait to meet the other school librarians. It has been tiring, but altogether positive. I can't wait for school!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Getting more (p)interesting

I'll admit it: I didn't get Pinterest.

What was it for, exactly? At some point, I theorized that I could save clips of clothes I liked, to check to see if they'd gone on sale later, but by the time I got around to that, everything was out of stock. I experimented with using it for an online scrapbook. That was okay, but took WAY too long. Then, hearing that it drove tremendous amounts of web traffic, I posted all the Creative Commons pics I've used on my website (to no appreciable jump in page views). And according to that scary home page, we are obsessed with wedding swag, diabetic-inducing recipes, and inspirational quotes. So not my scene.

Not to mention the fact that practically nothing I wanted to pin was a discrete image. Thankfully, at our state tech conferencem Nikki Robertson showed us how to download and then upload a file and link back to it. That's cumbersome but better than searching for the perfect image for ten minutes only to find it would not appear on Pinterest.

Things go better when I started following enough people who were pinning enough cool stuff, but when I logged on this week, I saw a refinement that I LOVED.

It's Pinterest's Categories. I spent forever in there over the weekend, loving the Art and the DIY Crafts section, was a little surprised that Women's Fashion was much more R-rated than Tattoos. It was a perfect ethnographic experience. And it was intoxicating. In the Education area, I stumbled upon some bulletin board ideas. I had always hated that sort of thing, until I saw this adorable design that looked like a rack of mugs! All of the sudden, I HAD to create that bulletin board. And while Categories are not entirely foolproof -- there were some errant images in there, leading me to think that some machine intelligence is involved -- it is such a wonderful discovery mechanism.

I am spending almost all my free time trying to figure out how to organize the library at my new school.   I have been thinking about the collection in terms of the mess that was Pinterest. Perhaps I can highlight some of the collection just like that. I am really leaning towards genrification, at least for some sort of display. If that takes off, perhaps all of fiction will find Categories. Exciting!