One Last Thing

Friday, May 25th

  • So the big launch is on Tuesda and this is my last day before then. I will have 4.5 days off, so I better finish up!
  • Social media
  • Fixing an Excel spreadsheet for a coworker
  • Film and edit a screencast for my project
  • Work in the computer lab
  • Put the finishing touches on this project
  • Make a single panel

I then went home and notably attended a Radiohead concert on Tuesday evening. The sound of the venue was terrible, so this time I was not struck through with the beautiful earth-shuddering magic of Thom York’s voice. I guess I won’t be seeing another concert in that location again!

Creativity in the Office

I love the days that my Mac/iMovie manages to process a video in a single day. Therefore I got to post a video of last night’s event shortly after noon today. Yes!

I then went to work creating more nautical themed vector images for the Children’s Library’s Summer Reading program. Today’s pieces included a mermaid, a pirate flag (with crossed swords!), and a pirate hat (somewhat inspired by Jack Sparrow with the string of beads and coin hanging down). While originally I was thinking of something very similar to the 21 Things (thrown together in an hour with most of the time spent on creating an archive for previous years). Now I want to create a rolling sea adventure with CSS3 transformation animations. This site is definitely geared towards kids, so I’d like to have some fun stuff in it. Maybe I’ll add winking sea stars to the individual quest pages…

Next I decided to use Keynote to create a quick mockup for a new digital page which would serve as the landing page for all of our digital content (ebooks & audiobooks, videocasts, and podcasts). It is not terribly inspired at the moment. I then went to work trying to configure a way to get video thumbnails from our Vimeo videos. No luck yet.

Then I rounded out the day by trying to shoot two screencasts on how to use the new eReader app on Apple and Android devices. Each piece of electronics plus the app continued to foil me. I will have to check tomorrow to see if any of the footage is usable.

Soft Launch

As the title gives away, today we did a soft launch of the new eReaders. The small group we presented to did not seem particularly interested (ah, lovers of the paper!), but they surprised me by taking a couple out. The big launch is next week which means I still have to create the publicity materials for it! A large chunk of today was spent tidying up the loose ends and preparing for the launch such as:

  • typing up and printing the liability statement (do not lose this eReader!)
  • creating tiny but adorable return checklist cheat sheets so patrons know what they need to bring back
  • recharging the devices
  • sprucing up the feedback form
  • sending an email to the department head who’ll be dealing with them with detailed instructions for what she needs to do, where to find all the information, and more
  • updating and restocking their handouts for the app

What remains to be done is the webpage, the digital sign, and probably a physical banner of some sort.

I then spent a lot of time answering emails, more training on the eReaders, updating the social media, going to a staff tech training session, and then web work. A lot of the things I do are over on the test website but have not made their way over yet. The current projects are looking at ways to shape up the blog like vision of major website sections to be more concise with teasers and getting video thumbnails to appear. The one big area I was hoping to change over this weekend is not going to happen since the work was not completed by others on that project.

I am reading Mobile First which is really having me evaluate all the clutter on the website. There is a lot of items that I would recommend that we get rid of and maybe even le-gasp completely revamp the site’s IA. I am somewhat pessimistic about the chances of either one of these ideas being approved. However, I will keep marching on!

Gremlins in the Machine

I knew when I awoke this morning that it would be an off day. So I slunk through my day, just trying to survive it. My work today included making vector graphics, looking up more supplies for the project that will wrap up soon, doing final testing on the 3M eReaders and then customizing them with a Loading… image and our logo and tweaking some other settings. Then it was off to work in the computer labs. Before I had even logged into my computer, the first patron jumped me. I then spent the rest of my 2.5 hours running, running, running. The machines crashed, software programs would not open, people got upset when I tried to help fix their issue. On the plus side, I did have a patron tell me that I’m really cool.

Purchase orders

I have been given the green light to go ahead to pull together and finish a project that I have been slowly kicking at since I was hired last July. This means I have to spend a fair chunk of money to complete it. My office is becoming crowded with all the shiny new things that will go into this project. Today was a particularly exciting event as the current complete collection of A Book Apart series was delivered. They are part of the revamp to the Tech Books collection that I manage. Now let’s kick back to what I have missed out on typing:

Thursday
More testing with the 3M eReaders and then writing up the documentation for other staff members. I put together a banner for the new Darien Library After Dark Facebook page. I rounded out the day with training more staff on the 3M eReaders.

Friday
I have been processing a lot of videos recently (five in the past week) and this one of Maurice Sendak speaking at the Library in 1994 is my favorite. I have hit against the upload allowance for the week so two of the new videos are only on the YouTube channel for the moment. I then managed to conquer the Views theming problem I had been having. The page doesn’t look like much, but before it was only 50% wide with all the text squished together. Then I had to put the finishing touches on the Adult Technology Classes — doing the last of the paperwork.

Monday
I started out the morning checking up on loose ends for the computer lab (routine things and making sure that things were being taken care of) and then writing the post to notify people that we will be closed next Monday for Memorial Day. My coworker helped me do some research and found this fascinating article about the veterans’ home that was in Darien from 1864 to 1940. I then lucked out and only needed to make one digital sign. I seized the extra time and spent a large chunk of my time working on the website project for the events programming. The gist is like so:

You have a speaker profile which includes their name, bio, and photo. At the bottom are Views which pull in all events and videos about the speaker. There are also two links on the speaker profile so you can quickly just click and add an event or video with the speaker field pre-populated. The part that is really cool is that I am using the node reference to pull in the speaker’s profile into the event page so that my coworker does not have to write it/copy and paste it each time. After I figured out how to pull this trick with Display Suite, I had to create a new build mode just for the bio. I am having to kick the wheels a bit to get the caption working correctly, but I am confident that I will be finished with this prototype soon. Then I can transfer if over to the main website.

I then met up with the Children’s Library (CL) to discuss the Summer Reading website. They had been hoping for a fully immersive website for their kids, but alas, not quite yet. The UX department’s plate is full so hopefully NYPL will open source their cool website later this summer so we can use it for next year. I had the opportunity to teach the CL how to use Google Forms which is fun. I then ended the day by starting to make some quick vector graphics which will serve as “badges” for the website.

Projects Moving Forward & the Process Behind Them

Today I had an open schedule so I was able to focus on four projects that had been neglected: nailing down the process of transferring eBooks to the 3M eReaders and teaching three staff members this process (only a dozen more people to go!), finally getting my files uploaded to my Github repository (the terminal kept shutting down/going blank), working with the teen librarian to discuss her portion of the website redesign, and starting to gather information for the About page revamp.

I continue to worry over the web redesign since there is so far to go. Right now I’m working with each department’s information architecture. We meet a couple times to get everything laid out on the table and then I started sketching out plans and asking for feedback. They send me samples of designs that they like. I then go to work on the test site to see if the concepts we have created work in a real setting. Once that’s done, I transfer it over to the live site and send instructions on what they need to do to complete the transition. This goes fairly well until they get bogged down in completing their part of the project.

Another aspect is that I do not know what the visual redesign is going to look like yet, therefore I am trying to build within the constraints of the current site. I have a few websites’ homepages printed out on my desk to look at, but so far nothing has really jumped out to me. I also found out that Twitter Bootstrap is not a perfect fit with Drupal thanks to some coding issues. My boss believes the community is working on fixing this so that there will be a base theme for us to work on in the future.

Digital Signage Everywhere

As mentioned in the previous post, it was a family weekend which culminated in me feeling like I was going to toss my cookies everytime I took too deep of a breath. I’m usually healthy thanks to years of working with the public, so catching a bug always takes me by surprise.

Friday
With that in mind, I spent most of Friday finishing up the digital signage for my Library’s fundraiser. I hear they were marvelous and I wish I could have seen them. If you also saw my blog going haywire with posts marked private, that was because I was giving a hands-on demo to WordPress with a local organization at work. I am trying to introduce patrons to the benefits of a CMS and this just so happens to be the most accessible WordPress site to me right now. So thanks for the comments asking about what was up, everyone!

Monday
I dragged myself in for precisely two hours. In that time I produced six panels, answered some computer questions, and started processing videos. I was only too grateful to drag myself up the stairs and out to the foundation to wait for my ride.

Tuesday
We have some gaps in the computer labs schedule so today I spent most of my time in there. In between patrons I managed to transition all of the Children’s Library’s online resources to the new content type and… I don’t even remember now. I’m sure it dealt with emails and social media. There was also a conference call to learn about new 3M stuff (I need time to go work on this!). When that call ended early, I was free to work on converting another Nook Color to an Android tablet and ordering new software and hardware for another project. In the background, I started processing video footage. I wish iMovie would import it faster…

Family Here

…so I’m supremely exhausted from entertaining.

  • Wrote up a web post about the books I presented yesterday.
  • Worked on digital signage for the fundraiser on Saturday.
  • Met to discuss the Adult Technology Classes — no more summer classes after this year!
  • Researched mono sound on a VHS tape, a VCR, and importing it all into a Mac.
  • Started work on a new mini website for work.
  • Talked with the user research person who is coming next month.
  • Tried to figure out how to theme this Drupal Views’ table. I still need help.

Book Talking

Let’s get the mundane out of the way: updated social media, finished processing a video, met with the second fellowship nominee (she’s very nice!), listened to a webinar about responsive web design in Drupal, made a digital sign, look up images for the website, researched VCRs, and did testing on our 3M eReaders — this one was very exciting since two boys were very interested in what was going on and they were showing me how to use the software for something they had never seen before in their lives.

What this post is about is the one thing I dislike about my job: recommending books to this one group of older ladies. The reason being is that I have vastly different tastes in reading materials. On the other hand, if you get me near the teens, I can gush with them about novels featuring strong young women fighting to a make a difference in the world. It’s frustrating, but…

Project Book Groups Done

Today was Monday which of course means creating digital signage. I think I lucked out with making only eight or nine. I then completed the Book Groups pages. This particular project involved a lot of back and forth as sometimes I had to draft emails, set up Google Docs and Gmail, and create signage for this presentation. Tomorrow I will be at the Expo to be on hand in case anyone has any questions. However, I think the simplicity of the page should be self-explanatory enough. There is only one thing left to fix, so I’ll try posting on some forums tonight for help.

Our big fundraising event is this Saturday so I hit upon two further ideas for promotion. One is to share photos of some of the auction items on our social media. The second is to create a set of special panels to be shown only on the day of the event. These panels would list our accomplishments this past year and some of our goals for the upcoming year. I need to do some fancy talking in the next day or so to gather all the data I need to make the panels.

Finally, I edited together a podcast from unusable visual footage and processed video from another event. With a little luck, I’ll have that video posted first thing tomorrow.