Advanced WordPress Topics Librarians Want to Know

I asked on Twitter the other day what advanced WordPress topics librarians would be interested in learning. These are the responses and my quick attempts to answer:

Answer: Create a Network. However, your web server needs to support multisite functionality otherwise you cannot set up the proper URL subdomains.

Weak-answer: OpenBook Book Data plugin

Answer: Too many to name! Custom post type creation plugins, and I’ve used the User Role Editor plugin before. I have some ideas for niche websites as well — but that’s a secret at the moment!

Answer: A large chunk of my forthcoming book deals with the topic of plugins libraries use!

Answer: Nowadays there are TONS of responsive WordPress themes if you don’t have the time to learn responsive web design yourself. In fact, this blog uses the Responsive theme. I’m waiting to hear back on the variable part.

Answer: I ran into a few FAQ and LibAnswers style WordPress sites in research for my book, but the one by Bates stuck out for me. Unfortunately they did not respond to my request for comments on how they build their site. I can clearly see how their WordPress website works. I’m guessing their search interface is custom built though.

Answer: This is build right into WordPress. When you write a post or a page, just click on the Edit button next to “Publish immediately” under the Publish top right box. You can then set the date and time for the post to go live.

Chiming in on the School Media Specialists Debate

Today I was conferring with @spiderbrigade about a project we’re working on together. Somehow we got off the topic of navigation schemes to the topic of school media specialists.

My Student Experiences
School media specialists (or school librarians, take your pick of moniker) are charged with managing your children’s libraries. When I was growing up (graduated high school in 2004), the librarians were very traditional. Teachers would drop the class off and the librarians would point out some resources like encyclopedias. There was no talk of literacy or evaluating resources. They gave us hand outs about how to cite resources. Sometimes the librarian would pull all the books about the subjects of our papers and leave them on a table for us to fight over. Otherwise they were very hands off.

What School Librarians Said
When I entered library school in August 2009, I meant to get my certification as a school media specialist so I’d have a broader set of options when I went job hunting. I then hit a brick wall in one of my school media courses when it was revealed the school media program was explicitly geared towards people who were already teachers. My teacher wanted us to go into a school and know all subjects for all grades at any point in time. As well as pursue intense collaboration projects, teach information literacy, write papers, etc. When I interviewed local school librarians and those from my hometown, they just laughed. It was impossible because of:

  • teachers are overwhelmed and not being paid for extra hours required of them (NC is looking into either adding school days to the calendar or making the days longer or removing teacher planning periods)
  • many older teachers are not interested in collaborating and/or suspicious of “newfangled” librarians
  • the librarian has no assistants so they can barely scrap by doing the minimal amount of work let alone arguing with dozens of uncooperative teachers
  • one librarian told me that teachers had called her “a free babysitter”

On the flip side, many new teachers LOVE collaborating. Once a project goes off successfully, the teacher takes it back to their pod/group/grade and next thing the librarian sees are four more teachers wanting to collaborate. This is amazing. There is just not enough time to work with everyone!

There is no solution at the current time. North Carolina recently decided to rip into the education budget so teachers are going to be stretched even further. I applaud my teacher for her lofty visions of what school librarians can do, it is also currently impossible in many schools to get to that superior ranking in services offered to students and teachers. The danger is that as a profession, we are pushing for the collaborator and information literacy model, but our hands are tied. Therefore the public thinks librarians are dispensable since we do not have the time or the interest of our coworkers to be more than the guardian of the books.

Library Day in the Life Day 2

Let’s repeat yesterday’s lazy format:

  • Taking the car in for an oil change. I’ll be sitting in the lobby reading my #cataloging book. #libday6
  • Turns out I can’t read about #cataloging while people are talking at the oil change shop. #libday6
  • My new computer parts are here! I intercepted the UPS guy just before he left. #libday6
  • I’ve now applied for 20 jobs. #jobsearch #libday6
  • The printer hated the thick, fancy resume paper so it kept eating it. I had to print the same thing out 5 times. #libday6
  • Alright, finished most of the #cataloging readings. Now to skim through #AACR2 ch. 1 & 2. #libday6
  • I applied for a scholarship to the ER&L Conference in Texas. #libday6
  • Now in #cataloging class discussing tomorrow’s potential snow forecast. #libday6
  • Nice. The original AACR was full of “dead wrong examples.” #libday6
  • I’m surprising myself in #cataloging by remembering most of the rules I read earlier. #libday6
  • 1.7 Notes: Be as concise as possible to convey the information that is necessary. #cataloging #libday6
  • Annnnd I applied to job 21 today. #jobsearch #libday6

Note: the bangs look even worse today.

Library Day in the Life Day 1

It’s right after midnight here so I’ll just post my relevant tweets:

  • Googling recent alumni for ALA COA stuff. #libday6
  • @meozan :D Would you like to be on the @lisuncg #libday6 feature next week?!
  • I’m working in the @lisuncg computer lab pre-bangs cutting this afternoon: #libday6
  • I’m disappointed how many alumni are not showing up in my Google search. #libday6
  • Now back to answering work-related emails. I assumed that if the name was located locally, it was our student. #libday6

My hair prior to bangs: Hair before bangs
My hair post bangs: My hair post bangs