New Web Page Prototype

Property of Darien Library

Property of Darien Library

The above is part of the new 21 Things for 21st Century Parents web page I am designing. It’ll go live next week. So far I have icons for the first three weeks: eBooks/eReaders, Makers, and Twitter/Facebook. The wrench and the telephone images took awhile to make in Inkscape. I then exported them out as PNGs. The technique I am using for this page is taken from this cool circle hover effect which uses just CSS3 transitions. What you are seeing in the above snapshot is the first image as shown when the transition finishes. If you check the demo, it is the fifth example. The UX Ninja and myself prefer the way this looks in IE actually. The modern browser version is very eye-catching, but a bit too over the top. However, out of these demos, only the fifth one also had a decent fallback behavior in IE.

The rest of my day was spent doing grunt work. For example, I was meticulously updating the eReader LibGuide with new information. We also had a piece of equipment fail on us, so I was doing research to try and find a replacement. The verdict was that you can’t buy a reflector (cone for a light) which is less than 10″ in diameter.

Snazzy New Web Page Coming Up

I finished prepping the website for the long holiday weekend. Most of the day though was spent on writing up documentation for the Digital Media Lab on digitizing VHS to DVD. Then I updated the library’s main eBooks web page. It’s plain but I’ll keep working on it!

First day back after Christmas! There was some chaos in the Digital Media Lab which has left me on edge. The supervisor of the area is going to be looking into it. Hopefully in a couple weeks we’ll have things settled and on-track regarding the room. The big thing for the day was working my two hour slot for eReaders are in the House. I had two patrons whom I spent an hour with each. They were non-residents so they cannot check out eBooks from us, but I could teach them about their eReaders. The rewarding part was seeing their confidence grow.

I worked on the forthcoming 21 Things for 21st Century Parents website today. Last year I put the website together very quickly. This year I am making each individual icon/badge in Inkscape. I am going with a circular design which is really hot in web trends at the moment. When I have the site ready to share, I will!

The 2012 version of 21 Things.

The 2012 version of 21 Things.


Image property of Darien Library for 21 Things

Ready for eBooks in the House

I’ve been creating or revising documentation non-stop these last two days. Yesterday, I started to revise the existing handouts for our eBook services (3M Cloud Library & OverDrive). Then I got overwhelmed at how many possible handouts I would need. In the end, there are a total of six. Five for eBooks and one for OverDrive audiobooks. We’re now looking into a discussion about the logistics of purchasing WMA audiobooks when this is a Mac town. If you’re unaware, WMA audiobooks can only be downloaded onto PCs. In the past, we’ve dealt with a few upset patrons who didn’t care for this at all.

5 of the 6 Handouts

5 of the 6 Handouts

The other big documentation project is adding more information about digitizing VHS tapes. Currently without images the documentation is around 5 pages long. I wrote most of it in-between helping patrons while on desk today. When I get this done, I’ll go “unlock” the DML’s Tutorial Handbook to meld these pages in.

Plodding On

I did not post any updates on Friday due to a busy day. Out of the corner of my left eye I watched the reports come in. First no kids. Then the number soared to twenty. Several coworkers huddled around a monitor watching a police press conference. I sucked down my tears and went back to pixel pushing. Then it felt like my computer was against me as it would not let me finish the mind numbing task of creating snowflakes in Inkscape. Then I went home and it was watching the President cry that finally broke through. I then had to put it together to go to my spouse’s office party before heading out to see The Hobbit.

Other tasks included finishing setting up the Tech Classes. I also finished putting my office together after moving back in following the flood. Those Ikea boxes on the shelf are much more attractive than the large cardboard ones. Then I attended a great webinar on how to use badges in the workplace and with patrons. Hopefully we’ll have some conversations about this at work.

Property of Darien Library

Property of Darien Library

A day of design. In the morning I scrambled to add patrons to the classes that I needed to add. These were people who had registered for a fall class that was eventually cancelled due to the flood. I then scurried about checking the publicity to make it was up everywhere: a web post, an email to Tech Class mailing list, to the teens, included in the Library’s weekly eblast, a digital sign on the first level, Facebook, Twitter, and a sign on the big Tech Center tv. Then began my design work!

The first was to design new digital signs. Since we’ll be closed next week I put in extra effort to create enough to cover the time off. I then edited two images together to make a sign for our first Facebook Short Story Discussion this Thursday. I have no idea if anyone will be interested in chatting on Thursday, but there had been several Facebook members who said they loved short stories. I finished the book signs. Thanks to creating them in Inkscape it was easy to duplicate them. At the end of the day, I made a mockup of a new email newsletter. Currently I cannot share it as it is in active development. In a way it feels silly to work on this since the new website design will dictate redoing so many things.

Property of Darien Library

Property of Darien Library

I started today by making a second email newsletter mockup. Then onwards to making some changes to our 3M Cloud Library after getting in some new options. Then I found an obstacle that I needed to clean up. I was pretty upset at this item and perhaps did not handle it well. Later I realized that I am not alone in my frustration. Then it was off to the UX Luncheon. I brought along my notes and we discussed projects and work as we ate. My boss gave some great feedback on the email newsletter mockups. I came back and made the adjustments. The best thing about meetings with my boss is that he sends me off on a new path.

Destiny’s Child Sort of Day

Today being Thursday, everything is dominated by the chunk of time I am manning the Help Desk in the computer lab.

So I came in and worked on finishing preparations for the Winter 2013 classes. We decided to keep the structure the same this “semester.” Depending on the participation we see for this round, we may mix things up for the Spring classes. We are using Wufoo for the class registration thanks to its ability to open and close automatically based upon entries. Then I wrote customized confirmation emails per class. I’m also asking teens one-on-one what sort of tech classes they would be interested in. Tomorrow I get to utilize the Teen Librarian’s mailing list to directly email teens and invite them to sign up for classes. While working on this, I rocked out to Destiny’s Child.

Following that, I finished my part of redesigning the Readers’ Advisory page. The table mimics the layout of the main staff directory listing. I sent some suggestions onto the Head of RA on how to improve items.

Readers' Advisory page

Readers’ Advisory page

In-between items, Heather McCormack, formerly of Library Journal and now with 3M Cloud Library swept into the UX office. I was elbow deep in my work and heavily distracted. However, Heather recognized me and even the place we had met before (Digipalooza in August 2011). I was impressed! She’s got quite the memory.

The good news for today is that my goal to move the Tech Books collection from the Lower Level (basement) to the main non-fiction section is now under away! The Head of Reference is now looping in all of the relevant people to make it happen. I’m very excited for this to happen as this has been my pet project this year. Hopefully my circ numbers will start climbing.

Then I wrote an email advising on LibGuides to another library department today. I probably sounded like I was coming down too hard, but I want them to know what they’re facing. In short: creating LibGuides is challenging.

Help Desk was entertaining as usual. In between patrons I worked on my set aside project: doing a content inventory. I discovered a whole new batch of posts which are ripe for deleting. I’ve received the green light from that department’s head but need to talk to the person who wrote the posts. This is perhaps not the best way to carry out a content inventory, but vicious pruning makes it easier to see what gems the website has buried within its thousands of posts. I also managed to sneak in introducing a patron to the DML. Score!

Finally, I wrapped up the day with a surprise stint on the Welcome Desk (circ). I was called up to help load a 3M eReader. This led to me helping re-fresh one staff member on the process and then showing off the 3M Cloud Library kiosk and eReader to another patron. I had changed out the text on the 3M kiosk last week to be more direct “Don’t have an eReader? See the Welcome Desk” (which is problematic for EOSL folks — oops). It seems people are thus asking!

Superheroes Digital Sign

I finally finished my superheroes digital sign! Hopefully tomorrow I will remember to scan the original sketches. Can you tell what each superhero is supposed to represent? The hint is that the children look up to the heroes in their community (plus sports)!

Image courtesy of Darien Library

Image courtesy of Darien Library

Otherwise today was a meeting defining our library’s values which led to some long but great discussions. Then I gave a tour of our digital signage system to a visiting librarian. I then rounded out the day with social media and setting up the Tech Classes postings.

New Fun Video: Happy Holidays

I made a reference to this video last week and here is the final product! Originally I was just supposed to set the video up and let the dancers handle it since I needed to take lunch before going on desk. Then I realized they needed some help. So I quickly pushed the camera around. One day I’d like to make a fully polished video with storyboards to plan it out. However, these short little videos are quite fun and easy to make! This video was going to be a shot by shot remake of the original (well, in regards to group shot vs. individual), but I had to rearrange the clips.

Pew Pew Pew

Erin with laser fingers

Then I realized that Erin may love a gif of her mad dancing skills. AKA this video clip kept cracking me up so I made a gif of it. Please forgive me, Erin!

Cleaning Up and Filming

The last couple of weeks have felt a bit out-of-hand with the random projects that come up. Yesterday I managed to squeeze in some more Github education time by sending my private repo files back and forth. I will get there! Then I just went to the Services page and started clicking on the links. When I found a page which needed some quick house cleaning, I went to work scrubbing it to it was new again! Hopefully tomorrow I’ll finish up the new RA page. The old one just had a few random paragraphs with uninteresting links. The new one will have descriptions to match RAs to their interests and encourage people to contact a librarian for recommendations. I’ll then cross-link this page to the No Results catalog pages to see if we get any hits there.

The big deal of yesterday was meeting with my boss and the reference head about LibGuides. He made a few suggestions which I am attempting to carry out. Namely, I need to replicate the LibGuides homepage onto our own website. Then the links will shoot people over to the actual LibGuides page. Copying over the initial homepage was easy enough, but now I have to fix it!

Today we had a staff development workshop. There were a few gems in there like how to manage other patrons when another patron is having an issue. When I got back to the UX office, my officemates and I debriefed on the workshop to see how it applied to our interactions with patrons. Then I busted out the fancy camcorder and tried to figure out how to get it to record strictly to the compact flash card. No dice! We used it and the usual camcorder to film this Monday’s surprise offering. I look forward to editing it tomorrow! Then I followed this up by working with the Head of Adult Programming to show her how to prep for doing a new video segment tonight. Hopefully it went well so I’ll have another fun, short video to post tomorrow.

GitHub Class: Collab

I decided to do some reading from Aaron Schmidt’s website, Walking Papers. In particular I was impressed by the story of the guy who deleted 70% of his library’s content and no one had noticed. I started doing a content inventory of the Library’s website before I got aggravated and just deleted tons of content outright when I realized it referred to a material type we no longer have (i.e. CDs). Feeling UX inspired, I took to changing out the signage on the 3M Cloud Library kiosks. Originally there had been a lot of language explaining this was a beta service, etc. but now that the system is working pretty well, I decided to reduce the language drastically. Later on, the UX Ninja and I had a discussion about his project. We looked at the different language options for the different platforms he is looking at. With any luck, he may be able to launch his project before Christmas.

Then I listened to an hour long GitHub webinar on collaboration. I learned a lot of new commands such as –author=NAME to filter the commit history by the author. You can read my notes. If things are quiet tomorrow, I’ll try to set about doing some more practice exercises in my private repository.

Up next was the Communication meeting where we discuss what the big events happening in the next month. I was surprised and gratified that so many people spoke out about having worked with me personally on projects. I have not been feeling so well as of late, so it had slipped my notice that I had been at work with so many people. I brought up the changes to the technology classes. Traditionally the classes have been catered towards adults, but I want to skew younger at the teens. We had a full and lengthy discussion on the topic. While we have decided to hold off on any major changes for the winter classes, hopefully we can see how things are going in the spring and make changes there.

I also wrote up a couple posts about forthcoming events and posted them to the web. Then I made some changes to the LibGuides which fixed an annoying problem there. Finally, I wrapped up the day by creating another panel, finishing up today’s stack of emails, and checking out a final UX article.