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Library News

LITA Highlights at ALA Midwinter

LITA Blog - Thu, 2017-01-19 10:00

ALA and LITA are heading to Atlanta for ALA Midwinter 2017. Whether or not you will be attending the conference, there are plenty of opportunities to check out what’s happening at the conference. All the LITA highlights are on the LITA at Midwinter webpage.

You can find the whole LITA schedule at the Midwinter Scheduler. Most committee meetings are open to anyone whether or not you’re on the committee, so feel free to stop by and check out what’s going on. There’s even a page showcasing the LITA Interest groups managed discussions.

Make sure you don’t miss the following:

LITA Diversity and Inclusion Committee – Kitchen Table Conversation
Saturday, January 21 from 4:30 to 5:30 PM

LITA’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee is thrilled to provide ALA and LITA members with an opportunity to provide substantial feedback on developing inclusive programming and member services, as well as meaningful membership outreach efforts over the coming years. LITA is dedicated to offering an inclusive community for our members and others attending our programs. This conversation series will be anchored by questions that will help us gauge how to improve in each of these areas: Where are our problems? What opportunities are we missing? How can we better support all of our members and attract and retain a more diverse membership?

LITA Open House
Sunday, January 22, 4:30-5:30 pm

All are welcome to meet LITA leaders, committee chairs, and interest group participants. We will share information about our recent and upcoming activities, build professional connections, and discuss issues in library and information technology. Whether you are considering LITA membership for the first time, a long-time member looking to engage with others in your area, or anywhere in between, take part in great conversation and learn more about volunteer and networking opportunities at this meeting.

LITA Happy Hour
Sunday, January 22, 6:00 to 8:00 PM

Please join the LITA Membership Development Committee and LITA members and friends from around the country for networking, good cheer, and great fun! We’re celebrating our 50th Anniversary as a division – don’t miss it. You can “Buy LITA a Drink” by filling up the LITA tip jar at the bar. Location: Gordon Biersch at 848 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, Georgia 30308 (404-870-0805).

LITA Top Technology Trends
Sunday, January 22, 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm

LITA’s premier program on changes and advances in technology. Top Technology Trends features our ongoing roundtable discussion about trends and advances in library technology by a panel of LITA technology experts and thought leaders. The panelists will describe changes and advances in technology that they see having an impact on the library world, and suggest what libraries might do to take advantage of these trends. This conference panelists and their suggested trends include:

  • Ken Varnum, Session Moderator, Senior Program Manager for Discovery, Delivery, and Learning Analytics, University of Michigan
  • Cynthia Hart, Emerging Technologies Librarian, Virginia Beach Public Library
  • Bill Jones, Creative Technologist, IDS Project
  • Gena Marker, Teacher-Librarian, Centennial High School Library (Boise, ID)
  • Meredith Powers, Senior Reference Librarian, Brooklyn Public Library

LITA Town Meeting
Monday, January 23, 8:30 to 10:00 AM

Even if you’re not going to be in Atlanta for ALA Midwinter you can still participate in the LITA Town Hall on Monday, January 23.  Tune in at 8:50am EST and catch LITA VP Andromeda Yelton reviewing the results of the Personas Task Force study and brainstorm how LITA can effectively serve our different types of members. This event will be streamed on Facebook Live. Make sure to like the LITA Facebook page to get a notification when streaming begins.

Join your fellow LITA members for breakfast and a discussion about LITA’s strategic path. We will focus on how LITA’s goals–collaboration and networking; education and sharing of expertise; advocacy; and infrastructure–help our organization serve you and the broader library community. This Town Meeting will help us turn those goals into plans that will guide LITA going forward.

We hope you’ll join us at some of these events in Atlanta, or follow #alamw17 on social media to join the conversation online.

Categories: Library News

Getting Rid of Distractions

LITA Blog - Thu, 2017-01-19 10:00

<Photo copyright 2006 by Jon Bell; used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)>

Distractions

So you’ve finally finished all your meetings, answered all your phone messages, helped the line of people outside your office, and wrangled your inbox under control. Now you can focus on some actual work.

Except, your friend just shared a new meme on Facebook. Instagram and Snapchat pinged a few updates so it wouldn’t hurt to just take a quick peek. And maybe you should check and see if you can still reach that Pokestop from your office. Hours later you haven’t done any work but you have read a bunch of interesting Wikipedia articles.

Pomodoro Technique

Let’s investigate ways you can avoid distractions. The first line of defense is self-control. That works most of the time. If your day is like mine there’s too much to do. I’ve used the Pomodoro Technique in the past to help break up larger tasks while keeping up with ongoing smaller tasks—e.g., email—and at the same time providing time for breaks.

The technique’s name is derived from a tomato-shaped kitchen timer the developer used when he came up with the idea. It works like this: you set the timer for 25 minutes and work; take at least a five-minute break when the timer goes off; after four cycles of this take a longer break. This is a great way to train your brain to focus on tasks and keep deadlines.

Browser Extensions

Occasionally you need a little support in avoiding distractions. There are three browser extensions—one each for Firefox, Chrome, and Safari; sorry IE—that all do essentially the same thing: they let you block websites either completely or after a certain amount of time has elapsed.

I used LeechBlock for Firefox to great success in the past. For example, I created a group called ‘social media’ and put in URLs for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, and Youtube and then configured the extension to allow me fifteen minutes of access to those websites every four hours. If I used up my time those sites became blocked. There are more options including which days or time of day the block comes into effect, whitelisting sites that are allowed, and so on.

If you’re a Chrome user, StayFocusd is an extension that does essentially the same thing as LeechBlock. WasteNoTime is available for both Chrome and Safari. All three of these extensions are great ways to avoid the siren call of the Internet when you need to focus.

Freedom

Need something more serious that you can run across devices and platforms? Freedom is a piece of software that does the same thing the three extensions do but it will run on all your computers and devices. It can also be set up to block the entire Internet, including email, which is great if you really need to focus.

The one drawback to Freedom is that it’s not free. Prices run from $6.99 for a single month of access, $2.42/month for a year of access, or $119.99 for access to Freedom forever. They often run sales at up to 50% off the price of the forever option.

Freedom might be a better option for personal use but it’s something you can look into for work, too. Of course, you could accomplish the same thing by turning off your WiFi/Internet but Freedom lets you automate turning things off and on. I’ve used Freedom at home for writing projects when I don’t want anything to disturb me.

The Hosts File

Finally, if you keep circumventing the extensions by turning them off and the price of Freedom is too high, you can modify your computer’s hosts file. The hosts file predates TCP/IP and DNS and was used to map hostnames to IP addresses. When I worked as a computer programmer we used the hosts file to connect to our clients’ servers.

To block a site, you would set the hostname to the IP address of 127.0.0.1 (the localhost). When you try to go to the website you added to the hosts file your computer tries to find it on your computer and fails. That is, assuming your computer doesn’t actually host the website.

Obviously this last option is extreme and should be used with caution. The hosts file is a common target for computer viruses as it effects how the machine works with regards to the Internet. This is an instance where I’d recommend disconnecting from the Internet before modifying the hosts file but there could be reasons to use this option.

What are some things you’ve tried to avoid distractions?

Categories: Library News

Jobs in Information Technology: January 18, 2017

LITA Blog - Wed, 2017-01-18 15:33

New vacancy listings are posted weekly on Wednesday at approximately 12 noon Central Time. They appear under New This Week and under the appropriate regional listing. Postings remain on the LITA Job Site for a minimum of four weeks.

New This Week

Sonoma County Library, LIBRARIAN I or II – ROSELAND COMMUNITY LIBRARY, Santa Rosa, CA

Sonoma County Library, SUPERVISING LIBRARIAN (LIBRARIAN III) – CENTRAL LIBRARY FULL-TIME, Santa Rosa, CA

Visit the LITA Job Site for more available jobs and for information on submitting a job posting.

Categories: Library News

Jobs in Information Technology: January 11, 2017

LITA Blog - Wed, 2017-01-11 14:43

New vacancy listings are posted weekly on Wednesday at approximately 12 noon Central Time. They appear under New This Week and under the appropriate regional listing. Postings remain on the LITA Job Site for a minimum of four weeks.

New This Week

Mid-Hudson Library System, Technology Operations Manager, Poughkeepsie, NY

Visit the LITA Job Site for more available jobs and for information on submitting a job posting.

Categories: Library News

#NoFilter: Social Media Content Ideas for Libraries

LITA Blog - Tue, 2017-01-10 10:00

In my previous blog entry, I introduced the #NoFilter series which will explore some of the challenges and concerns pertaining to social media and its use in the library. For this post, let’s consider a topic that can be simultaneously fun and perplexing: generating quality content for social media! Thoughtful, consistent, and varied content is one of the keys to cultivating a meaningful social media presence for a library i.e., opening up channels of communication with patrons and encouraging enthusiasm for the library’s materials, services, and staff.  Where does one look for social media content ideas? Keeping in mind that the intricacies of each platform necessitate different presentations in content, below are three suggestions for where those in charge of a library’s social media may find some inspiration.

Image accompanying a Tumblr post about the behind-the-scenes process of evaluating donations at the Othmer Library.

  • Behind-the-scenes – The day-to-day operations in a library may not seem like the most riveting subject matter for a social media post. However, in my experience, posts that feature behind-the-scenes work at the library often do very well. Think of it this way: isn’t it exciting when you get a sneak peek of what is to come or a look into processes with which you are not familiar? In terms of social media content, this could mean providing patrons with a photo of the library preparing to open, new acquisitions being processed, a book being repaired, a recent donation to the library still in boxes, a new addition being built, a new technology being installed, or a new fish tank being set up. For this type of content, consider consulting staff throughout the library such as those in technical services, collection development, or interlibrary loan. Not sure how a post about an ILL would look? Check out this great Instagram post from The Frick Collection.
  • Reference Questions – What questions have the library staff recently answered for patrons or for one another? What information was unearthed? What resources were consulted? What steps were taken to track down an answer? You may want to consider working with reference staff to compose social media posts that not only share the findings of research, but also the research process. Chances are that such information will be of interest to others. Additionally, this type of post highlights the expertise and talents of library staff. Individuals who may never have thought to consult your library before on such topics may find themselves reconsidering after seeing your post. One example is this “From the Othmer Library Reference Desk” post on my library’s Tumblr.
  • Events – Event-driven content is one of the most commonly employed on institutional social media outlets. There is an event coming up (e.g., an open house, a movie night, a special guest lecturer, edible book festival) and the library wants to get the word out about it. It’s not a guarantee of higher attendance at the actual event, but such a post, when written in a personable tone, does alert patrons to the fact that the library is a dynamic place, not just a repository of materials in varying formats. Taking this type of post one step further, a library’s social media manager may want to consider sharing stories that come about from the event. Did the library debut a new gadget at the event? Did a quote from the lecturer stand out? Did the cake you ordered for your National Library Week celebration arrive with the library’s name misspelled – e.g., the “Othmer Library of Chemical History” became the “Other Library of Chemical History”? The fun moments, the serious moments, the quirky moments – all can have a place on social media, all are demonstrations of what patrons can take away from participating in a library event.

    The History of Four Footed Beasts and Serpents (1658) on display at the 2015 Othmer Library Open House. An iPad next to the book displays a GIF made from one of the book’s illustrations.

Whether you are new to social media or an established presence on a platform(s), I hope the above suggestions have provided some creative inspiration for your library’s future content.

Where do you look for social media content ideas? What types of content seem to do the best on your library’s social media? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Categories: Library News

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