11 Days Left

There are 11 days left for PLCMC staff to complete Learning 2.0 and the 23 things and earn their reward of an MP3 player. However, learning does not really ever end.

To those staff who will not, for whatever reason, be able to complete all 23 things by October 31st, I hope that you will complete the activity anyway at your own pace.

Do you need some motivation to get back on track? Here are some tips for Learning 2.0:

  • Read all of Helene's blog posts and tutorials and listen to the podcasts. It might be helpful to print them out one at a time so that you can read them when you don't have access to a computer. Each post will give you the basics of what you need to complete the task.
  • Don't try to over do it. Sure other people have gone above and beyond but that does not mean that you have to. Just do what is required for each post and you can go back later to play with the things you like the best.
  • Remember that this is a self-discovery process and that the journey is just as important as the final reward. There is a reason why there were no official classes or cheat sheets for this program. Each and every person has the ability to complete all of these activities. Don't believe me? Ask Rosemary Lands! Believe in yourself and believe that you can do this. I hope that after Learning 2.o we will see a big shift in the way we think about training.
  • If you need help, ask! You are not alone. Over 100 staff have already completed this journey. Feel free to call, e-mail me, or if you are at Main Library stop by my desk. I've been surprised at how few people have asked me for help, but I am so proud to see other staff stepping up to the plate and helping other staff.
  • Support and encourage each other! Many departments that have already completed Learning 2.0 have said the biggest reward is the sense of community that has been established. Use this community to your advantage.
  • Have fun! If you are not having fun you are missing the point. Life is too short to not have fun!

MP3

Helene personally delivered my MP3 player today. Luckily it came with instructions. I am not one who likes to read instructions, but I couldn't have figured out how to work the player without them.

The first thing I did was download an audiobook. I have been chained by headphones to a computer for too long and the old MP3 player that I have at home does not have enough memory for even a short audiobook. Thank goodness this player has 1 GB of memory! Thank you Helene!

Some things to note for those who are going to download audiobooks from NetLibrary:

  • After you set up your NetLibrary account via the Online Resources page, log out, and from now on go directly to netlibrary.com to log in. If you access NetLibrary via the Online Resources page you are going to be routed through a proxy server at Main Library. If this happens your connection will be so slow that you will have little patience in waiting for a download--not to mention unnecessarily tying up our bandwidth!
  • Go to the AudioBooks page on PLCMC. There is a link to Downloading an Audiobook to a Portable Player that will show you how to get the audiobook from Windows Media Player to the MP3 player. I had a hard time finding the book because it downloaded to a temporary file, but once I found it and moved it to the Desktop everything went smoothly.
The ear buds were a little awkward at first and I thought they were going to fall out of my ears, but as long as I don't pull on the wires they stay in.

So there are 19 days left for PLCMC staff to earn an MP3 player. For those who have not jumped on board yet, what are you waiting for? You have over 200 staff who have completed all 23 things that can help you! Come on in the water is just fine!

Week 9 Thing 23: The end and the beginning

Wow have 9 weeks gone by already?

I knew this was a great idea from the moment Helene told me about it. I am also surprised at how many other libraries have picked up the idea and caught on. Every time I talk to someone from another library system the first thing I hear is, "Oh you guys are the ones that started the Learning 2.0 thing..."

Like Salad Days mentions it was really great to see a shift in the attitudes of some co-workers. I know of one person in particular (you know who you are) who I never thought would come to love technology.

I would say that the program was a huge success. What worked:

  • The fact that the entire program was created and participants used only free Web 2.0 tools that are readily available to anyone. I think this is a huge benefit and one of the things that has made other libraries so interested in following along with this program.
  • Little instruction. There were no classes and only two tutorials. This was truly an exercise in self-learning and discovery. Staff relied on each other for help and hopefully gained more confidence in themselves and in other staff as both learners and instructors. I heard some comments that the instructions were too vague, but I think that if they were more specific it might have defeated the purpose of the activities.
  • Creative scheduling at branches. I was so impressed when I heard that reference staff from Mint Hill were covering the desk for circulation staff so that circulation staff had time to blog. Way to go Mint Hill!
What could be improved:
  • Accommodations for staff who were not ready for this level of Web 2.0. I can see clearly now that if you learn a skill you must continue to use it or you will forget. Whose responsibility is it to make sure that learners continue to practice skills that they learn? The trainer? The learner? The supervisor? In Core Competencies training last year all staff learned the basics of using the Internet, but some staff never used the Internet past the Core Competencies training. In the beginning they were very excited and enthusiastic about Learning 2.0 but quickly became frustrated when they realized they did not have the basic skills needed to participate. I wish that I would have had more time to work with these people one on one to help them more. Now that Learning 2.0 is wrapping up, how will we keep staff interested in Web 2.0?
Other thoughts:
  • I've heard a lot of buzz and excitement around the incentives for this program. I think it is great that we are able to offer these, but I also hope that more staff come away from this feeling that the learning and experience was enough of an incentive to participate, and that they will participate in more self-directed learning in the future. Jersey Girl expressed this really well in her final post:
    I have to admit that in the beginning an MP3 player was the end in my mind. But along the way I learned that that was not all I was going to achieve when I finished this program. I learned about myself and what I can accomplish and I learned about my coworkers and what interests them in and outside of work. I also got to meet some people at other branches, through their blogs, that I might not have met otherwise. I learned that you can start out on one path expecting one thing and meander along to find the end is not what you expected, but that it is still okay. That to me is a great ending.

  • We will soon be offering opportunities for staff to participate in live online training. I hope that the experiences with Learning 2.0 have helped to prepare and make staff feel more comfortable in trying out another new learning environment.

A short rant about airport security

I love travelling but I hate to fly. There is just something about being thousands of feet up in the sky and not being in control.

Security at the Seattle airport was a nightmare!

I must have picked the wrong line because it took over an hour to get through. A large group in front of me had the maximum number of carry-ons and they were all spot checked.

A young girl in line in front of me set off the metal detector with her barrettes. She quickly got through after a few frightened tears but was then taken away with her mother for another spot search.

The whole time I am thinking, why don't the airports just require that all items be checked and allow no carry-ons. I'm willing to give up the convenience to save time and to be safer. I'd even check my laptop if the airlines promised not to throw it.

When it was finally my turn I thought I would breeze through. After all I checked everything except my purse and laptop and had nothing but the essentials with me...so I thought.

I made it through the metal detector fine but my laptop case got stopped in x-ray because of "suspicious tubular objects." I was asked for a description of the contents on my case. "Network cables, wireless cards, card reader for my digital camera, that's about it." At this point the line was stopped and an announcement was made for a security guard to come remove suspicious baggage. I'm not sure why the technician could not remove it herself but apparently she couldn't, so we waited and waited and waited for a security guard to come remove my bag from the x-ray machine.

After what seemed like hours of humiliation and glares from the people in line behind me (with their own excessive carry-on luggage) someone finally removed my bag and examined the contents. The suspicious tubular items were found...flip chart markers.

The funny thing is that when I got home, I found that I had travelled with a pocket knife in my purse but that did not raise any flags. Instead it was the deadly flip chart markers. :)

With my rant over I have to say kudos to the airports for taking security seriously but this was my return flight. Why was no one suspicious of the tublular objects markers on my original flight?

After making it through airport security, I stopped at a coffee shop to get some caffeine and saw on the TV breaking news about a plane hijacked in Turkey. I quickly left and decided ignorance was bliss today. I sat down waiting to board the plane with my chai latte and opened up the New York Times to a front page story: Colliding With Death at 37,000 Feet, and Living.

It was clearly not my day to travel. Luckily I made it home safe and will have much to share over the next few weeks about our participation in the e-learning beta program with WebJunction.

Seattle Public Library

Spent Monday at Seattle Public Library. More about the meeting later. Here is my quick tour of SPL and click here to see all the photos.

The building is huge, close to 400,000-square-feet, and reminds me of some of the buildings at Epcot. It has a very industrial feel to it both inside and out.

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Upon entering the library I was immediately greeted by a nice woman at an information kiosk who was nice enough to let me take her picture.

The building is 11 floors high and connected by a series of escalators which do not go to all floors and do not necessarily take you back down. So navigating the building was a little confusing but in addition to the prominent escalators there are stairs and elevators and I understand from the staff that they are working on better signs to help people get around.

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The inside of the building is very open and makes great use of the natural lighting. Suprisingly the building was also quiet. I noticed very little noise even though the building was full of people using computers and reading. On the 10th floor there are what appear to be pillows in the ceilings to help absorb the sounds.

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Speaking of computers there were over 400 public computers located throughout the building. The largest lab contained 148 Internet PCs. SPL uses a similar reservation system with a one-hour time limit that we use at PLCMC. They also offer a one time guest card but there is a $15 fee for the 3 month guest card and $55 for a one year non-resident card.

SPL is not CIPA compliant. They have filters on their childrens' PCs but not on the adult PCs. All adult PCs have a privacy screen to prevent anyone not using the PC from viewing the screen. As a result of not being CIPA compliant, SPL does not receive any federal grant money and they also do not receive any state funding.

The most fascinating feature that I saw was the Library Unbound art project which shows items in real-time as they are being checked out system-wide. The items are grouped into Dewey 100s and appear to be falling as they are checked out.

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Beware if you are afraid of heights! Here is a view looking down from the highest point accessible to the public in the library--the 10th floor to the 1st floor.

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The one thing that most library staff have asked about is the automated circulation system. It rocks! In 2005 nearly 8 million items circulated. Items are taken by conveyor belt from the book drop and the circulation desk to the circulation workroom on the 2nd floor where they pass through a computer that uses a radio signal to receive the RFID code and check the item in.

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Once the items are checked in they are routed to additional conveyor belts to be binned for other branches (separated into bins for requests and transit) or shelved on carts if they are staying at the Central Library.

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Staff in the workroom have to move the carts and bins as they fill up.

The offices were all just as beautiful and each desk is set up to be ergonomic for the user. All of the desks have adjustable heights. Here's a view of telephone reference in action.
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I wish I could go back for the ALA conference. I did not get to spend enough time in this great city. Seattle combines all the best of Charlotte and the best of Asheville in one place!

Hello Seattle




Pike Place Market

Seattle Public Library
I left Charlotte Sunday at 9am and arrived in Seattle at noon. Had the day to explore. I walked down to the famous Pike Place Market which I learned is one of the oldest open air markets in the US. Yes they do throw fish, but you have to buy one. The funny thing was that there was another fish market there, and people kept asking when they were going to throw the fish. The guy working there must have said every five minutes, "We don't throw fish that's the other fish market."

Tomorrow I am meeting the folks from WebJunction along with some other library staff from around the country at Seattle Public Library which is conveniently located around the corner from my hotel.

You can see more of my photos from this trip here.

Week 9 Thing 22: Net Library

I've used NetLibrary for a few years for both ebooks and audiobooks so what interested me most about this particular Learning 2.0 thing was not really NetLibrary but the tool that Mary Kyle of ImaginOn used to create the tutorial.

It's amazing how many free tools are out there for trainers (and everyone else) to use and so hard to keep up with them all!

Week 9 Thing 21: Podcasts

I've listened to podcasts for a while now, but usually I listen to them on my PC. This semester at school I am taking a music class and our professor has a weekly podcast that we have to subscribe to. I was really impressed by this as most online training through universities is not very engaging.