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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

“here’s to the crazy ones”

iPod Hacks pointed me to a “modern adaptation of the classic John Dreyfus-narrated ‘Here’s to the crazy ones’ Think Different Apple ad.” The ad is for the machine, but it’s also a great tribute to L2.0 warriors everywhere. You know who you are… stand up, be counted, and take a look:

3 June 2007 Posted by | change, library 2.0, play, progress | Leave a comment

four habits of highly effective… libraries

I read a worthwhile article yesterday about a few habits that could make it easier for library staff to work together more effectively. It was a timely article, as earlier this week I chatted with one of our library technology committees about L2.0 training for staff, how our natural human responses to change might effect the process, and what we can do to ease transitions.

I’m not a librarian and I’ve never played one on TV. I’m a technology coordinator. I work with librarians. I also work with other people who are not librarians. It takes all of us to bring our libraries to life and to bring life into our libraries. So I always read these “librarian” articles from a universal “we” perspective. And that’s how I read Todd Gilman’s “Four Habits of Highly Effective Librarians.” Change happens through all of us; it does not rest solely on the shoulders of the staff we call “librarians.” We can all ease our way through change with if we practice the habits that Gilman recommends:

  • Openness. Listen to each other, even if new ideas seem challenging at first.
  • Responsiveness. Act on what we’ve heard. Experiment with new ideas.
  • Collaboration. Let’s work together! We can use 2.0 tools like blogs, wikis, and social networking to connect and share our work and resources.
  • Communication. Keep it open, ongoing, and timely. We all appreciate being kept in the loop.

Now that I have David Bowie’s “Changes” going through my head, let’s flash back to 2003 and enjoy a video.

27 May 2007 Posted by | change, libraries, library 2.0, progress | Leave a comment

strategically planned

Jenn and I made it through today’s strategic planning meeting with no crashed laptops, interrupted wireless connections, or spilled drinks (although some of my pasta ended up on the table). Jenn did a great job describing the point and purpose of 2.0 technology and its applications in libraries. She dropped a few names, shared highlights from the CiL sessions, and demo’d the Hennepin County Library “comments in the catalog” feature. We were all wowed by the number of patron comments that are already posted about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. We’re hoping to soon crank up our installation of III’s WebPAC Pro module, which will make our catalog just as fun and exciting for our users.

Then it was my turn. My brain is nowhere near as organized as Jenn’s and I’m a very visual thinker. I need to use a lot of words to “draw my thoughts.” And so I did, adding a few more names and session highlights to the mix. Then we closed the curtains and debuted the community toolbar that Jenn and I put together before we left DC. The director asked how quickly I could get the toolbar ready for the public. I told her I could have it ready for external use by tomorrow, but that I really need to get my laundry done so that I can leave for vacation on Sunday. One person offered to do my laundry and another said she’d be willing to take my vacation for me. How’s that for teamwork and 2.0 enthusiasm?!

Our excitement just might be catching on. Stay tuned.

26 April 2007 Posted by | library 2.0, progress | 3 Comments