T h e U t o p i a n L i b r a r y

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we made a toolbar… revisited

Back in April, I lost my head at CIL2007 when Hal Kirkwood, Purdue University Instruction Coordinator, unleashed the idea of custom toolbars for libraries. He had my attention for about 15 minutes before I was off to the Conduit Web site and building a toolbar for our library (sorry Hal… and thanks for the inspiration!). Our “Toolbar Zero” looked like this:

Skokie Public Library “Toolbar Zero”

Jenn and I have been working on the toolbar since we returned from the conference. Yesterday, our LAN Masters added the new (and much improved!) Skokie Public Library Toolbar to IE7 on all of our library computers:

Skokie Public Library Toolbar

We’ll formally introduce the toolbar to staff early next week, follow with a library-wide Firefox install, and then push public promotion later this month and during September. You won’t easily find the toolbar on our Web site yet, but for a sneak peek on your own computer, jump to http://skokiepubliclibrary.mylibrarytoolbar.com and give it a try!

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11 August 2007 Posted by | cil2007, computers in libraries, library 2.0, progress, tools | 1 Comment

first steps

At her CiL2007 session on Accelerated Planning, Rebecca Jones defined a stakeholder as any person who can offer a “stake of support or a stake in the heart.” I like this definition. It’s visual, easy to remember, and keeps me mindful of who needs to be first on board our library’s L.2 dreamboat as we paddle toward success.

Jenn and I had a great meeting with a few of those stakeholders this week. They are supportive, enthusiastic, and they crack a few big smiles when we explain how our project plans will benefit the library and help meet its goals for the coming year. Some of this is new to them, so Jenn and I do our best to describe things like toolbar customization, portal pages, feeds, ‘casts and… Guitar Hero!

Speaking of toolbar customization and portal pages, we’re still working on that, testing features, integrating the design with our Web site, and getting the thing ready for internal playtime later this summer. Jenn and I have run into a couple of walls between what we want the toolbar to do and what the hosting company has it programmed to do. We’ve sustained only minor forehead bruises, but we’ll get through with a few good lunches and some chocolate. And the webmistress is now on board. She knows much more than I about some of the work we need to do to make the toolbar work the way we’d like it to.

But for now, it’s a lovely Saturday in Chicago. iGoogle tells me to expect a high of 89 and maybe rain, so I’d best get on my bike real soon if I want to beat the clouds!

16 June 2007 Posted by | cil2007, computers in libraries, library 2.0, progress | Leave a comment

Illinois “day of unity”

In a press release issued on May 8, the Illinois Library Association‘s Public Policy Committee announced a “Day of Unity” on Monday, May 14. The ILA is encouraging libraries throughout the state to demonstrate opposition to House Bill 1727, the mandatory public and school library Internet filter legislation, by taking some constructive and creative action:

  • Speak up to our legislators. Call, write, fax, do it all.
  • Turn of the Internet and explain to patrons what will happen if HB1727 becomes law.
  • Install a demonstration filter and show patrons how it blocks access to legitimate information.
  • Crank up existing filters to their highest settings so patrons can experience the effects of full-blown filtering.

If you live in Illinois, contact your state legislators and tell them that HB1727 should not be passed. Even if you don’t live in Illinois, please support our intellectual freedom and share your thoughts with our state officials!

10 May 2007 Posted by | computers in libraries, legislation, libraries, sad realities | Leave a comment