The journey of a future librarian

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Are filters "restrictive overkill"

This is an argument where I can see both sides from which most people come. I can see why there are parents who are concerned about their children accessing inappropriate material. However, is this really the librarians' responsibility? Shouldn't internet safety be taught at home, and monitoring be the responsibility of the parent or guardian. On the other side, I can see why there are those that feel as though restrictions go against a person's rights. That all the restrictions cause teachers to not be able to utilize the best educational benefits of the internet. However, there are too many people that have misused this freedom, causing the need to evaluate whether filters are needed. 

That is my opinion on the matter and there are many others that have voiced how they feel about this matter.

Recently I read an article by Mary Ann Bell, where she puts forth the idea that internet filters, banning access to certain sites, are actually limiting children's education. She does a really good job of giving and supporting her reasoning behind her beliefs.

The first point that Bell makes, goes a bit with the opinion that I stated earlier. She talks about the fact that having less filters allows for students to be taught the difference between good and bad sites. If students are not being taught this at home, at least they can be taught it somewhere. And when we are talking about good or bad sites, this isn't refering to the authority of the site. Bell mentions that filters don't block sites that are not authoritive, so this still needs to be taught. Therefore, internet education should encompass many topics.

Not only does Bell give reasoning of why filters are to restrictive, but she gives to great suggestions of what can be done. I agree with the idea that it is important for the educators to be educated in safe and smart internet use. It is just as important for them to practice what they preach as it is for them to teach their students. Bell's other suggestion is that of making sure that there are several trustworthy people with in the district that can over ride the filters. The examples see gives in the article, such as checking on students with a suicidal thought, really make you think about the importance of some being able to access the whole internet.

 I think that Bell made many valuable points to consider. This will most likely always be a bit of a touchy subject; difficult to make everyone happy. My final thought is that there needs to be procedures set for the district that are followed when such issues arise. It is hard to be prepared for all the possible options, however, it will be even more difficult to solve issues once they have gotten out of hand.    


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ah... the QR code

Last fall, in IST 605, I first learned of the illustrious QR codes. I even did a post with a QR code in it. If you want to take a look here it is.

QR codes are clever little guys. Not only can they link to websites, they can lead you to download documents or produce text when scanned. They are very versatile. Here are the ideas for using QR codes in an educational setting:
  • Library Hours or other general information
  • Link to the library website
  • Style manual download
  • Access to databases, research tools
  • Teacher specific links for projects
As with all technology, QR codes are not perfect, they to have flaws. If a link were to go dead, the QR code is not going to be smart enough to change. The information the code presents needs to be imputed by a human. Therefore, if you have generated codes that link to urls, they will need to be checked.

There is also the issue that not ever one has a QR reader, though I image that it won't be long till they do. Therefore, the information being provided cannot be exclusive to the code. You cannot expect every student to access the information in this way. However, it is nice to have the option available (and they look pretty cool).

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Like Google Docs, try this:

I have become quite a fan of Google Docs, how wonderful is it to have a place were you can write down your ideas on some project and then share it with other who can add their own contributions. I have found it to be a valuable tool in group projects, because it is hard to always be able to get together, so Google Docs provides the environment to come together with all our ideas in one place. No need to worry about lost emails anymore, it is all right there. 

However, there is an other online collaboration tool that I really like to use: It is actually advertised as a presentation tool, sort of like PowerPoint but not really. However, it has the wonderful ability of allowing multiple contributors on the same presentation. This tool can be easily incorporated into the classroom environment. Students are always asked to do presentations for classes, so why not have them try out something different from PowerPoint. They can put all their ideas down on the Prezi canvas, and then decide what ones they want to present. Again, no need to attach PowerPoints to emails and worry about formatting issues between computers. It's fabulous!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I made a You Tube video!

Okay, this is technically the second video that I have put on You Tube, but this one is just me. In all my splendor! It is for an assignment were we make a video announcement of what is going on in "our library. (Oh and it is even has closed captioning!)

I actually really enjoyed making this video. You Tube makes the whole processes pretty painless. If only I had an newer computer and better lighting, but beggars can't be choosers. Thankfully the video was suppose to be short so it made the process a lot less complicated. But even getting the closed captioning on there was so bad either (thanks to the tutorial Prof. Arnone posted!)

Sunday, October 2, 2011


I will be the first to admit that I have been slow to jump onto the RSS bandwagon. My biggest issue is that I don't keep up with the constant stream of new blog posts, and then I start thinking what is the point of following all these blogs if I'm not going to read them. GoogleReader is actually my second foray into the world of RSS readers, the first one I had followed craft blogs and Cake Wrecks. Thankfully I gave this technology a second chance, because I feel that it does have real potential to be a very valuable tool. 

Therefore, I do not think that RSS should be on the way out. It should be standing strong and yelling out "You people need me!" RSS is a wonderful organizational tool for accessing information that too few know about, and everyone would benefit from. As I mentioned earlier, I almost got overwhelmed by the number of posts that would come into the reader in a day, I would just stop reading most of them. But think, if I didn't have all those blogs being brought into one location how much more difficult it would be to keep up with any of the information I was looking for. RSS saves time; something that every one seems to be looking for into today's society.

RSS can be of as much value, and possibly more, in a school setting over a personal setting. Teachers are busy, and constantly looking for new, fresh ideas to enhance their instruction. There are limitless blogs and websites out there offering up ideas and opinions, but teachers don't have the time every night to search around the web. That is where the RSS becomes such a valuable tool. All those ideas are pooled into one location; whether it be lesson plans, craft ideas, books discussions. It is all out there on the web just waiting to be feed!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Reference Can Happen Anywhere

I work part time at the front desk of a gym over in Dewitt. It is a fairly simple job; I wash towels, answer the phone and hand out locks. All your usual costumer service things. However, the other day it somehow turned into a reference desk for one of the members.

I guess that technically, some one at a front desk is equipped to handle ready reference questions for the business. I know the hours, the prices, and other little facts about the business. However, this situation went beyond ready reference; pretty much turning into a full on reference interview.

A member, of the gym, came to me at the front desk and asked me to look up a medical condition  he called diastolic zero; as well as looking for the term hyper dynamics. Trying to be the learned reference librarian that we are training to be in 605 I decided to go straight to, instead of using a Google search. Well let me just say that typing the terms that the member gave to me did not result in any search results at that site. So I started to ask clarifying questions to the patron to try to see if I understood what he was truly trying to get an answer for. I was bit concfused as to what I was actually trying to find for the member; what the codition was, how it happened, how to treat it? I didn't know.

However, the member just seemed to repeat the terms that he wanted me to find. He didn't say "I want to know what causes the some one to have a diastolic of zero." He really wasn't giving me much of a direction to look for the answer or information was that he wanted. Maybe I wasn't asking the right questions, but there was a communication problem going on.

At this point I started to get a bit frustrated with the situation. The member was hoovering and insistent on having the information quickly. Also, they wanted to go about looking for the information themselves, making me feel that I was incompetent of the search. Eventually, due to the inability to search on for the information I gave into a Google search. I figured the member wasn't really going for the creditability of the information, they just wanted it quickly. So, in combination with wanting to stop the members inquiring and a Google search I ended up giving the member a halfhearted answer.

I know that this member does not know I am going to school to be a library, so they were not aware of my pride that was on the line. However, I realized that this situation is the type of thing that I am going to face all the time working in a public library. Obviously this situation did not go as I would have liked, but it really helped me to think about how I should act in future reference situations. It is going to be important to keep a level head no matter who you are working with or what they are asking. It doesn't help to get frustrated with the member, you get flustered in your search and can jeopardize the end result.

In conclusion, I learned that the life of a reference library is going to be a trying career. However, the fact that you are helping others learn and be informed is the reason that we need to do this work.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

One Man's Trash...

I loved tonight how Dave talked about the fact that we can not determine the intrinsic value of something for another person. This is something that I whole heartily agree with. I realize that when I become a librarian I am going to be ask reader advisory questions about the types of books I don't normally read. And if by some chance I have read a series of books about a girl that desires to be a vampire to be with the man she loves, that doesn't mean I liked it and want to suggest it to others. But this is the point: I can't decide for that person whether they are going to like it or not.

The basis for this idea is one of the things that often makes me laugh in this program. We are all so different. There are those of us that want to be school librarians, special collections librarians, or public librarians; and that's okay. Goodness knows if we all wanted to go into the same thing getting a job would really be difficult. So, it is good that we are different. And with these differences we value different things.

The world would be a boring place it we all had identical values. Creativity would mean little, those who are the slightest bit different would be shunned. We would all live in ignorance. For we have learned the most from those men and women in history that went against the grain and followed what they truly believed.

As the title begins: One man's trash, is another man's treasure. May we all always keep our minds open to this possibility.