Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Rave about Prezi

The timing for Thing 17 couldn't have been better.  I'd been asked to give a presentation on one of our databases, at a venue which wasn't going to allow for an online demonstration, so I was going to fall back on a good old PowerPoint.  Then along comes the blog entry on Prezi.  I was very excited, and went to work straight away.  As Ange says "there's no better way to get a grip on Prezi than to get your hands dirty".  I'm happy to report that it really is that easy, and even my basic effort looks very impressive.  I can't wait to try out one on a subject which will allow for a bit more creativity.  So once again, thanks cpd23 Things for bringing another remarkable, useful tool to my attention.

I'd come across Slideshare before, and agree there's some good material there.  I do think that if people are going to place their material there though, they should make sure that their slides show enough to make the message evident.  They have to remember that the speaker isn't there to elaborate.  I've gone through some presentations and wondered just what the speaker would have been saying when showing particular slides.  It's a real turnoff if you get several slides in a row like that.

Only 3 more weeks left of this programme - where has the time gone? 

Thursday, 15 September 2011

What I've done with what I've learnt

What an interesting exercise it was to look at the list of everything that's been covered over the last few months, and to consider what has been incorporated into my everyday life.  My list includes:
  • RSS feeds -  I just love the fact that these are sitting in Google Reader, just waiting for me to come along and read them.  No more remembering to revisit numerous sites to see if something new has been added.
  • Evernote - Another tool that has made my life so much easier.  The fact that I can access the content that I've dropped into Evernote from both my home and work computers is just brilliant.
  • Google Documents - Again, being able to work on something regardless of what computer you're sitting at has just the whole task so much more efficient.
  • Jing - can screen capturing be any easier?  I am currently working on a PowerPoint presentation, and Jing is proving invaluable.  When I think of the fiddle I went through in putting together previous presenations involving screen shots I just cringe.
So, as you can tell, I'm very pleased to have been exposed to these tools, and have embraced them.

Two that are sitting in the wings are LinkedIn and Google Calendar.  I can see their potential, but just haven't got round to doing anything more than setting them up.

And one tool I'm not sure about is this blog.  It's fine when I have a purpose, like recording my thoughts about the different Things as part of this training, but I'm diffident about its long term prospects.  I'd be sorry to loose touch with the few people I've been "following" but I'm not yet convinced a blog is the tool to be using to progress the relationships. 

Monday, 12 September 2011

Seeing and hearing online

2 more wonderful tools to explore and play with - thank you cpd23 Things.  I had fun playing around with Jing, and look forward to putting it to some practical use in the future.  Dunedin Public Libraries, where I worked previously, has already moved into capturing screenshots and presenting them online as short videos.  This example is for Health & Wellness database, using Camtasia.  At the moment you can locate the clips through Youtube, but ideally they should be placed on the library website itself.
Podcasting is not something I have done myself, and will hold off doing so until I have a reason to do it as time is precious and I have other things I want to achieve, but I have listened to podcasts.  They are great for catching up on that interesting radio interview you missed or have only just heard about.  Again, Dunedin Public Libraries makes podcasts of its weekly radio show, so you can listen at your leisure.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Speaking out

Personally I use every opportunity I can in my day-to-day conversations to promote the library.  All too often I find people are just unaware of what the library offers, and how the resources/services could benefit them.
When I write activity reports for management and council I try to include the benefits to the community of any activities, resources or services.  I believe it is important to do this, as the library is just one of many council-run facilities which are funded by rate payers, and councillors are always looking to trim budgets to keep rates down.  If they can't see how the library is relevant to the community they serve we just make ourselves easy targets for budget cuts.
At Dunedin Public all job descriptions have a marketing component in them, as it is recognized that all staff have a role in the promotion of the library.
Friends of the Library groups are also valuable for advocacy, especially in situations when library staff can't speak out themselves as that would put them in conflict with their employers.
Professional associations like LIANZA also play a leading role in advocacy.  Currently there is a campaign, here in New Zealand, promoting the idea that Public Libraries should be free for all, and LIANZA is at the forefront of that.

Events - being there in some capacity

Library conferences are great for networking opportunities, getting exposure to new ideas, and getting a glimpse of the BIG picture, and I have been fortunate to attend a few.  They are pretty full-on events, and it is important to take time out to reflect on what you've been hearing and experiencing.
Guess it goes without saying that reflective practice should take place with any event attended.

I have presented sessions at Weekend Library Schools and Library Assistant Days.  Having been through Toastmasters has been a great help with my presentation skills.  They really set you up with the appropriate skills and you have fun doing it.
My top 3 rules would be
  1. Be prepared
  2. Have a Plan B if/when the technology fails
  3. Keep a sense of humour
The same goes for any training event, and I've organised a few of those.  Mainly in-house, presenting packages on library resources e.g. databases, aspects of a new LMS, etc which I've developed myself.  I quite enjoy this aspect of my job, and it is an area that has potential to be taken further.