One Tweet at a Time

Twitter can help library users draw the connection between pop culture, current events and library services.  This is what Rudy Leon argued last week during her presentation — “One Tweet at a Time: Developing Critical Thinking, Library Connections & Information Skills with Twitter” — at the Library Technology Conference at Macalester College.  (Her presentation slides are available here.)

Leon is a Learning Commons Librarian at the Undergraduate Library of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).  Earlier this decade, UIUC conducted a study in which they learned that: Freshmen are totally smart! And they will circumvent the system in order to work around whatever they can’t figure out at the Library.  At the time, the Undergraduate Library (UGL) system was extremely decentralized, and Leon and her colleagues were trying to figure out how they could revitalize their services and help students.  Fortunately for Leon, her predecessors had already embedded a Twitter feed for @askundergrad into the front page of the UGL Website, and she was able to repurpose this feed in order to centralize information about the Library in a highly visible location.

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Twitter Cheat Sheet

Totally psyched to have my Twitter Cheat Sheet ready to go for next week’s Library Technology Conference at Macalester College! So psyched, in fact, that I’m making it available to you, right here, right now. (Just click here for the pdf.)


Basic grammar:

@username = reply / mention
“@bananasuit Nice bananasuit!”

d username = direct (private) tweet
“d bananasuit Want to meet up and go bananasuit shopping?”

RT @username = retweet what someone else said
“RT @bananasuit 5% of Americans now own bananasuits”

#keyword = hashtag
“I think I’m ready to take the plunge and get a #bananasuit”

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Library Technology Conference 2010

My colleague (& partner in crime) and I are currently putting the final touches on the workshop we’ve been preparing for the Library Technology Conference at Macalester College in St. Paul, MN, in little over a week.  We’re giving a 90 minute hands-on workshop called “Second Life and Twitter for Librarians: Virtual Tools for Building Local and Global Networks.” Angela will be speaking about Second Life,and I will be speaking about Twitter.

I’m excited, but also pretty nervous!

I’m really looking forward to visiting Macalester, which is where I earned my undergraduate degree.  Sad, though, that my most favorite professors have all already retired or moved on to other Universities.  It really wasn’t that long ago, guys!

Anyway, I will surely be posting more about the conference before, during and after the fact.  Next Wednesday March 10, SLIS is hosting a dry-run of our workshop at noon in the U of I Main Library Computer Lab 3092, with cookies!

(click here to see more links for LibTech 2010)

Fabulous Ways for Librarians to Use Twitter


Clive Thompson from Wired Magazine — one of my favorite techno-journalists — writes that tools like Twitter can help us develop a “sixth sense” about the people in our networks.  All those seemingly mundane facts like “having homemade bagel & lox for breakfast!” and “reading Vonnegut during flight delay…” can add up to give us a picture of what’s happening in the lives of those around us.  As librarians, we can use Twitter to help our communities develop a sixth sense about who we are and what we offer, and we can also use it to develop our own sixth sense that will help us tune into the wants and needs of our communities, too.  For instance, if you see a lot of chatter in your network about the recent PBS documentary Copyright Criminals, you can schedule a showing at your library and then send a tweet about the event to all your Twitter followers!

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ICPL Technology Petting Zoo 12/11/09

The Iowa City Public Library put on a fantastic Technology Petting Zoo today!  ICPL’s Emerging Technology Committee offered an inservice session to expose library staff to new gadgets, including the Sony eReader, Overdrive eAudio, iTouch, the CanoScan Scanner, and eeePC.  I presented on Flip Video, which I’ve used with ICPL teens in Teen Tech Zone to help them produce their own YouTube videos.  You can check out my Flip Video presentation notes below, or you can click here to download the pdf.

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MIT’s Open Course Ware Is Amazing But Tricky

It’s an absolutely free gift from MIT to the global community—or at least those who have access to the Internet:  MIT’s visionary Open Course Ware (OCW) website offers free content from over 1900 MIT courses for the edification and education of humankind, including course descriptions, syllabi, calendars, reading lists, assignments, answer keys, study materials, exams, lecture notes, video lectures and “related resources” that the instructor hopes will supplement the course material.  It’s a truly visionary resource that embraces the philosophy of open access.  However, the content itself hasn’t been adapted for use outside the classroom, so it can be difficult for the casual online student to understand how best to interact with the materials.

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Kindle Demonstration & Notes

This Friday I got to demonstrate some features of my Kindle 2.0 to a group of about 20 staff at my library.  We’re getting ready to go the e-book route, which I think is very exciting.  I feel so grateful that my library is willing to embrace and explore new technologies — we circulate video game systems, laptops, flip cameras, and our reference services entail chatting, texting, blogging and technology instruction. . .

Anyway, I’m getting distracted from what I REALLY wanted to tell you about, which is libraries and e-Books.  It looks like my library is going to end up going with Sony e-Readers, because we already use the Overdrive service for audiobooks, and Overdrive just partnered up with Sony to offer content for their e-Readers earlier this summer.  This makes me sad for entirely selfish reasons, because I use a Kindle — but that’s just the way it goes in the format wars.  And it does really bug me that the Kindle is so proprietary and DRM-y — but all the better to hack, my dear!  (And lest we forget — Sony is not exactly exempt from the evils of DRM, either.  Remember that fiasco?)

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The Authentic Librarian, Teacher, Student & Self

Well, the fall semester is finally here, along with all the attendant responsibilities:  lectures, readings, research, assignments, collaborations, conferences, my graduate assistantship, as well as continuing Teen Tech Zone and Teen Advisory Group with the fabulous teenagers at my public library.  Maybe all this will help explain the recent lapse in posts here on Librarian in a Banana Suit…

This semester I’ve noticed something new in my classes, although I don’t think it’s a new phenomenon at all — it’s just the first time I’ve happened to observe it:  my instructors are nervous!  Sweaty palms, self-deprecating jibes, fidgeting with the AV equipment, mumbling nervously to themselves, etc.  They are TERRIFIED to meet a new crop of students who will be judging them on their aptitudes as teachers for the duration of the semester.  As the instructors get to know us, they will become more comfortable and relaxed, I’m sure.  It’s funny how I’ve never really noticed those first-day jitters before.

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