Space Solutions in Makerspaces at Darien Library

An image-heavy presentation of how equipment in the Digital Media Lab and TEA Room makerspaces are arranged. This presentation was given at the Connecticut Library Consortium (CLC)’s Maker Roundtable on Tuesday, January 19, 2016 at Avon Free Public Library.


While doing some research for a work project, I came across the Darien USGENWEB Project page. I noticed that the library’s address was incorrect and attempted to reach out to the coordinator listed on the bottom of the page. When her email bounced, I contacted the county level coordinator. There I learned that Ms. Steel had passed away. I was surprised to then be offered her former position. I checked with work and I, on behalf of the Library, am now the Darien Town Coordinator.

It looks like there are lots of opportunities for me to continue Ms. Steel’s work. I hope to do her honor as the site is updated.

Planning Out UX

An Infopeople student emailed me today saying that they’re starting up a UX team (yay!). They wanted to know how do you get a handle on all this? How do you start? How do you hold meetings?

Here’s what we do at work:

Each of us has our specialization and own regularly scheduled work that has to be done (for me, this is teaching and publicity)

We have a weekly standing meeting on Mondays for 15 minutes to an hour where we give a progress report for the past week and what we’re working on this week.

Once a month we have a big meeting where we do long-term project planning. Right now we’re consumed with the website, so our meetings focus on that. In addition, we’re also having a meeting every other month on a particular aspect of the website. Content strategy is next!

Shorter term, we do very informal interviews/chats with staff and patrons to pick up on what’s going right/wrong. If it’s something we can fix immediately, we discuss it in our Slack channel. Otherwise, it goes into our Help Desk ticket system to be addressed.

Each of us then picks up pet projects along the way. Since I work on publicity, I’ll meet with staff on some small project. Right now, I’m developing the automated welcome email which will be sent out via MailChimp. The public services assistant director is the one I’m bouncing this off on. My colleague, the Systems Administrator, is doing API work so we can get Polaris users to be sent to MailChimp so they’ll receive that email. From there, we’ll do a two-month test to see what patrons think about it/do.

My recommendation on how to get started:

First go around and interview staff. You don’t have to talk to every single person, but get at least two from each department. Preferably a mix of new people (new eyes) and old (long-term experience). Be careful about people’s biases which may not have any grounds in reality. You’ll also need to be careful about describing what you’re up to. For my website interviews, I made it clear that I wouldn’t be sharing the identities of who commented on what. I have it in my Google spreadsheet, but I’ve locked that column so only I can see it.

Then go through the comments and start separating the rubbish, things to pursue further, and actionable items you can do quickly. My boss is a big fan of uh… small investment, but big impact (can’t recall the business jargon). For example, putting new desktop wallpapers on the computers vs. designing a complete signage overhaul.

Once you have an idea about what you’re looking at (internal stuff tends to be easier to manage in some ways. You don’t have to chase patrons), you can start making plans on what to tackle first.

Shout-out in Libraries 3D Printing Report

Just a small thing, but I received an acknowledgement in Charlie Wapner’s Towards a More Printed Union: Library 3D Printing Democratizes Creation paper. :-D

Charlie is a great person to discuss 3D printing in libraries with. He currently works for the Office of Information Technology Policy with a focus on 3D printing. Many events held in Washington, D.C. and papers written on behalf of ALA are thanks to his work.

Researching Your German Ancestors

These notes are from today’s genealogy program at work. The speaker was Joseph Lieby. Handout

I didn’t quite get as much as I’d like out of this presentation mostly because I’ve sat through a dozen or so now. I have a pretty good idea what’s going on. So my notes are less comprehensive than last time.

************ for German family
International Genealogical Index at Familysearch.
Many naturalization records are available via ancestry. Could happen at any port of entry.
1811-1820 2,617 immigrants. Famine of 1816-1817. Thanks to Java volcano.
1821-1830. 2,302
1831-1840. 7,248. July Revolution of 1830. French in origin, but disrupted business
1841-1850. 19,241. March revolution of 1848-1849. Germany was not a country yet.
1851-1860. 73,462. Consequence of 48/49 Revolution. Most southwest states in Germany were Catholic. Merchants, newspaper, bankers were being lost to Germany. These were not poor people. Came with skills, money, and business savvy
1861-1870. 31,149. American Civil War. Some because they supported the Union’s anti-slavery stance. They also wanted the US to be stable since their own country was not.
Ask your relatives now. They won’t be much help once dead.
Records from Brinne are almost non-exist. You may have to reconstruct them.
Don’t take what you read as goodie truth.
An ancestor may be physically described in passenger lists with German words
There were no ships straight to the US. Everyone had to stop in another country. Many switched ships in England.
Many people were pressured to leave the area after the revolution.
Boston was not a great entry point. Baltimore, Texas, and Philly were better.
Naturalization records: look for Declaration of Intent
Naturalization and marriage records have birthplace listed.
Can’t find info? Check the marriage records of younger children whose marriage may be in a newly founded vital records office
Check the German archives sites online
Church records. Protestant Northern around 1520. Catholics in the south after Council of Trent in 1563
Civil records 1870s
Look up book, MeyersOats. Lots of info up until 1911
Germans love abbreviations