Genealogy for Kids Program

Today my colleague Krishna and I hosted “Discover Your Family Story” program for children grades 3 to 6.

Participants will begin a family tree, learn how to conduct an oral history interview and learn about library resources that can help you discover your family story.

The materials took me four hours to put together. Do my research, design the program and the craft project (seen above), cut out 12 trunks and leaves and 200 nametags for the trees, and put together the handouts. The most interesting part were people texting their relatives to ask, “What were the names of your grandparents? I only knew them as Pop…”

Event Registration Using Wufoo and Drupal and Google Docs

  • Used only one content type (called Class).
  • Added information about the individual class in multiple CCK fields (stuff like title, date, instructor, description).
  • Made an additional CCK field called “Form_Embed” to place the code from Wufoo.
  • Made the first form in Wufoo with the bare minimum of information required from the patron (name, email, library barcode, member status). I duplicated this form for each class that required registration. Then for each class, I changed the title, how many people class, and set the length of the registration period. Each class has a confirmation message thanking them for registering and the patron will receive an email that states the same message as the confirmation screen.
  • I copied the Wufoo iframe embed code into the “Form_Embed” field for each Class content type. The form is currently closed but you can see it here until 01/16/2012.
  • Then to address the issue of patrons who still want to go on a wait list even after the class closes (Wufoo will automatically close the class when it reaches the selected number of submissions). The wait list is listed on a special menu and is a Google Form. I made sure to make it clear in the Confirmation message that we will only email those accepted.
  • Next I created a Google Form so people can add themselves to sign up to be notified of future classes. Later this will need to go into a mailing list through Contactology.

Going Out Strong

I thought this past week was going to be a complete loss as far as productivity went but the end of the week was more successful than the beginning.
I taught the first Web Writing class to four coworkers (everyone else will be this Wednesday). I spent the time prior to the class doing some experiments in the FCKeditor on the test website. Then I emailed back and forth with my boss about some of the finer details. The one hour session was not strictly about web writing since there’s no way I could have rambled for an hour on that topic. Instead, I mixed in a primer on what is going on with the website, the areas of a website, writing tips, and introduced our style guide which is based upon the New York Times. I received lots of good feedback on what staff thinks about should be done for the website. I had to keep pulling everyone back on track since they wanted to go into specific details despite me explaining that it’s basically only me working on the website since the content person left and I’m also working on a lot of the publicity materials and other documentation.

Afterwards I got pulled into a longer one-on-one meeting with the head of reference as we discussed the website. I was able to make a few of the smaller changes immediately. Then I met with the publicity person for the Children’s Library. She explained to me some of her issues with Contactology which led to me making a new template for her on Friday. We also talked about some of the stuff at the web writing class that she had missed. I am coming around to the idea that the Children’s Library is a separate beast that will need its own unique solutions. It was painful to hear the CL librarians talk about having to “learn to deal” with things being incompatible with their workflow. I reminded her once again that this is a large project (since the changes are coming a piece at a time instead of a complete revamp which would be easier), so while I can’t make everything better immediately, it’s good to think about what they want now.

This promised to be a frustrating day as it was time to update the Adult Technology Classes portion of the website. This is a beast which I have struggled with before. I will explain the process in the next post. The downside to this method is that we’re still relying on an outside source for help and I cannot edit the Wufoo pre and closed submission messages. As well, the list of classes depends on a status field (Closed, Open, Drop-in), to work properly for the Classes view (since I assume that people will want to know the status of a class. Once all this was done, I then edited my custom Views template to display the date/time. Thanks to the little bit of PHP I’ve learned since the original creation of this custom template, I figured out how to concatenate the fields. One surprise was needing to add the CSS within the print statement. I thought the Lullabot videos had mentioned that the CSS went around the PHP…

Then I made the new Contactology template for the Children’s Library. I still need to change the footer to the new type, but I had like 10 minutes to make the new one from a modified older one.

Finally, I created a widget in LibraryH3lp on the test site. We are wanting to add more relevant chat boxes throughout the website. I had to add the chat box directly to the tpl.php since it is Javascript based. I look forward to adding more chat boxes to the website this week!

Planning a Class via Google Docs

The ALA Techsource class that I am teaching with Polly-Alida Farrington starts next month. Polly and I are using Google Docs to write the class content. An overview of the process so far:

  • Polly created a folder in Google Docs to hold all the documents for our class.
  • For each section that we write, we start a new document and give it a name corresponding to the week of class.
  • I am using headers (h2 and h4 respectively) to organize a document’s structure.
  • When a section is finished, I add to the end of the document title to indicate that the document is for review.
  • To control who is over which section, Polly has created a document about the class outline. I’m adding notes here and there in bold with my initials to ask for clarification.
  • I also created a document to keep track of stylization, major section titles which may be used repeatedly (e.g. More Information, Advanced Skills) and the timeline.

We ran into each other on one document and had a short “hello!” “hello!” moment of commentary across the topic of the document. Otherwise, it is strange writing out the class text since I am more familiar with screencasts and in-person teaching.

Using WordPress to Build Library Websites eCourse

The class that I have been hinting about is finally available! I will be working with Polly-Alida Farrington to teach a practical, hands-on version of her book that she wrote with Kyle Jones. It’s a small world since Kyle used to work at my library in reference! This past month at Internet Librarian, I got to meet Polly face-to-face where we had a great chat about this course. We will be covering some basic information that will get you familiar with the bolts of using WordPress and specifically how to use it for library websites.

My WordPress experience besides running this severely design-neglected blog (easier to clean someone else’s house than your own!) is having co-designed, built, and managed the Department of Library and Information Studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s website. It is currently being successfully managed by new webmasters. My professional portfolio is also on WordPress. I have also taught a others in face-to-face and virtually how to use WordPress. In fact, it’s come to my attention in recent weeks, that library patrons have been very interested in creating their own websites. I sent them a link to my introductory video and was then given a follow-up that they had started their own website!

My favorite WordPress + Librarians resource is the WordPress and Librarians group page on Facebook.

LIS Website Graphics

This banner is on the front of the LIS website.

The three images were suggested by my boss. I do think they spruced the accreditation page up quite a bit!

I have an agreement with the UNCG Library that I will promote their events on the LIS website whenever I have space to do so. This article layout is not perfect since I COULD NOT get the padding to the right of the image to work. On a personal note, I’m sorry this event is being held on a Tuesday night since I would have loved to have gone to hear this gentleman speak. But alas, I will be in cataloging that night!

In praise of an offline life

From a post I left in response to a classmate on our class’ Blackboard discussion board:

I realized that I’m suffering musical ADHD from having such easy access to music online (thanks, Pandora and Youtube!). My parents bought me my first tape player in 1996 and gave me only one tape (Deanna Carter’s first album–which is amazing!). I nearly broke it from flipping it over and over, for hours, days, months on end. I loved sticking my finger into the little jagged hole and winding the tape back. It was an experience all of it’s own. Tangible, real.

Now, I have access to an unimaginable array of music for every mood, for every earworm, so much that I’ll never make my way through every single by every artist I’m interested in. And you know what? I’m not any happier for it.

In regards to paintings, Mona Lisa is a great example especially when you realize that the painting is TINY! People assume when they see it on TV that it’s like….3×5″ or something. And you can’t replace the feeling of “holy crap” when you go to the Smithsonian and you see these paintings which are wider and taller than your house. You stare in slack jaw wonder as you try to figure out how the painter did them and even more puzzling, how they were moved around!

You lose these very essential parts of experiencing the world when you do it simply online. It’s no more being a “real version” than looking at someone else’s vacation photos and trying to pretend that you were there and these photos are your memories.

Objects are more than just the image or the content that can be shared online. It is also the experience.

Improving Cultural Literacy at the Glenwood Library

Situated in the piedmont region of North Carolina, the Greensboro Public Library (GPL) system hosts a central library and six satellite libraries to serve Guildford County. These seven libraries support a diverse community of 242,817 with 12.4% of residents speaking a language other than English at home (U.S. Census Bureau, 2009). The Glenwood Library branch located at 1901 W. Florida Street was established as the depository for the majority of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and foreign language materials held by the GPL. Since multiculturalism is among the forefront of current issues, we have questioned whether the GPL’s decision to host nearly all the multicultural materials in one particular library branch was an appropriate move for the Greensboro community. With the traditional user group of the library changing, libraries must adapt to the needs of these new demographics.

This is the paper my partner and I wrote for our Action Research Project. If you’d like to read it, please access it here.