Pinterest and Zombies

Aside from meeting the fabulous Nancy Pearl at Wednesday’s Staff Development Day, I also got to sit in on a couple of sessions by two of Kansas’ hippest librarians: tech wizard Heather Braum, and Matt Upson, mastermind behind the Zombie Guide to the Library.

HEATHER BRAUM is Technology Librarian at NEKLS, and she introduced us to 5 tips, 5 resources, and 5 tools to help manage professional information overload.  Heather started out by reminding us that “information overload” is as old as information itself, and that we have to dip in and out of the ocean instead of trying to drink it all in.

A few of my favorite librarian goodies of the session included American Libraries Direct, Dropbox, Mashable, and Lifehacker.  Lifehacker has showed me how to make a fridge out of a flower pot before, but now I’m inspired to try using it as a fun, user-friendly interface for approaching DIY library projects, too, like learning Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator.

And two brand-new tools that Heather’s got me stoked to try: Evernote and Pinterest.  Virtual post-its in the cloud, and digital collages of treasures and ephemera culled from the interwebs.  Yes please!  Thanks so much for the Pinterest invite, Heather.

MATT UPSON is Program Director at Emporia’s School of Library and Information Management.  He used a very cool Prezi presentation to talk about being creative with marketing tools, and illustrated his case with the Zombie Guide to the Library.

When Matt was Director of Library Services at McPherson College, he was frustrated that fliers with good information about how to use the library were being tossed in the trash by students.  In an effort to create an atmosphere of creativity, fun and innovation to get across basic information literacy skills, he collaborated with students and staff — some of whom happened to have “comic illustrator” in their arsenal of hidden talents — to get the Zombie Guide to the Library off the ground.

I love the whole scrappy DIY vibe of the project as Matt tells it.  They had no budget, so they had to be extremely resourceful and frugal.  To generate buzz and buy-in, they launched contests for students to win a chance to become characters in the comic.  And of course, they had fun with promotion, too.  Have you ever gotten away with holding a release party for an information literacy flier?  Didn’t think so!  Matt and his team built up to the release by creating teasers and posting QR codes.  And last but not least, they got the attention of School Library Journal, Library Journal, College & Research Library News, as well as Bleeding Cool, Boing Boing, and the satirical Zombie Rights Campaign.

Interested in creating your own library comic?  Matt recommends: comicbookproject.org, www.geneyang.com, comicstripcreator.org, and Understanding Comics by Scott McLeod.  Have fun… and be creative!

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