Friday, 29 June 2007

Wiki at Portsmouth Library!

Thanks to Paul Raven for mentioning this as I'm really excited to find our neighbours Portsmouth City Libraries have launched a library wiki for book lovers!! The Book Case is described as "Portsmouth Library Service's unofficial website for readers, guiding you through the overwhelming choice of what to read next and inviting you to share your reading experiences through reviews and recommendations" and it was officially launched today so I look forward to see how it develops. Congratulations Portsmouth - it looks good!

UK Public Library Blogs

I've come across a couple of blogs, finally, for UK public libraries! Both describe themselves as 'semi-official' and have a mix of library news, reviews and general information. Paige Turner has been writing on behalf of Swansea Public Libraries since December 2006 and writes short interesting posts on all sorts of topics. She also publishes pictures of new libraries in Swansea and some more personal posts about the library world in general. I'm not sure what the intended readership of the blog is as it feels much more like a personal blog than an institutional one but I certainly enjoy reading it! Sutlib Reader is a very new blog started this month and presenting itself as "The (semi) official blog of Sutton Libraries". Only 4 posts so far but I like the idea and according to the author it has the support of the Head of Libraries so I look forward to seeing how it develops. Congrats to the first UK public library blogs I have found!

Thursday, 21 June 2007

Wiki in the Library!

I'm very excited at the moment because we're using a wiki as part of our LMS training project! Only been going for a week or so but most people have edited it now and it has been a very useful way of sharing ideas. At the moment it is more a collection of conversations than an interactive wiki but it has been interesting to see how people use it and what their first steps are. It also saves me sending out an email with attachment every time I edit the training documents, instead I can upload the updated file to the wiki and everyone knows that the version on the wiki is the most up to date version. Final versions can go on the intranet as usual but this way I can make drafts easily available for comment. It's a useful way to try out a wiki because it is a short term project with a small group of people involved. Hopefully I will be posting more on this over the next couple of months looking at how we use it and what the pros and cons turn out to be.

Monday, 11 June 2007

Springwatch Live Webcams

The BBC's Springwatch programme has some great material on its website including the incredible Live Webcams currently featuring a nest full of hungry sparrow chicks and the nest of a golden eagle chick. Fantastic!

Sunday, 10 June 2007

An exciting week!

This picture sums up some of the things that I have been excited about this week. The CDs are Tom McRae from the gig that I mentioned on Monday. The books are Harlequin by Laurell K Hamilton (yes I admit to enjoying vampire novels on occasion!) and How to Use Web 2.0 in Your Library by Phil Bradley. The latter book is going to take a lot longer to get through than the former as every couple of pages I keep going online to explore the resources discussed. I was very excited when I ordered the book and so far it is surpassing my expectations. The strange document at the back is a copy of a document from the National Archives showing my ancestor's military service in the Suffolk Regiment (2nd Regiment of the Foot as it was then) in the first half of the nineteenth century. Thanks to this I know that my ancestor had grey eyes and was 5"8 tall and that received a good conduct medal. 150 years after he was discharged, John Chapman's great, great, great granddaughter could find out what colour his eyes were thanks to a document she ordered online. Isn't the internet fantastic?!

British Library Exhibition

British Library Entrance
Originally uploaded by swashford
A couple of weeks ago I headed up to London to check out the latest exhibtion - Sacred. If you have any interest in history, historical texts or the history of European culture, this is an exhibtion you really shouldn't miss. From a piece of the Dead Sea Scrolls to the most beautifully illuminated Qur'ans this is one of the most amazing collections of documents I have ever seen. If you can't make it to London then do have a look at the website because the British Library, as always, have done an excellent job of putting material online and have included some of the most spectacular in their Turning the Pages collection. They have also used Google maps to create an interactive map of some documents and there is a blog linked to the collection which includes thoughts from the learning team on taking young children around the exhibition. If you can make it to London before 23 September then go have a look for yourself, it's breathtaking and very thought provoking.

Monday, 4 June 2007

Tom McRae

Completely buzzing after a fantastic night at a Tom McRae gig. If you haven't heard of him check out his MySpace page and have a listen. I'm terrible at describing music in genres but I love his music because it's simply beautiful and I never tire of listening to it. Tonight I was also mesmerised by the cellist who's accompanying Tom on tour, Oliver Kraus, so here's a link to his MySpace page as well. May have to study the tour dates and see if I can make it to any of the others... or possibly go to bed since it'll be 1am soon!

Sunday, 3 June 2007

More customer service thoughts

And for more great thoughts on customer service in libraries check out the posts by The Leapin' Librarian and Helene Blowers. Leapin' Librarian writes about radical trust and not putting library "rules" above good customer service and Helene writes a very short but thought-provoking post about service vs. experience. Head over and have a read...

If I didn't work here...

It's easy to get over excited about different applications and ideas for ways to transform library services. Harder to make sure that we change things that make a difference to library users. Today I've been trying to think about what I would want from my library account if I didn't work at the library. Some are 2.0, others are just things that would make a difference to me.

1. Pay my library fines online with a credit card. If I didn't work here I would certainly have library fines and I would want to pay fines when I renewed my late books online to save time when in the library and stop my card getting blocked.

2. Manage my loans history. A chronological list is fine but if I can borrow 30 items at a time I would want to manage that list, save items that I may want to borrow again and mark authors that I didn't like so I don't make the same mistake twice!

3. RSS feeds for authors and titles. I'm pretty addicted to my Bloglines and I'd like a feed for new books by authors I have enjoyed and a feed for my wish list so I know when new titles I'm interested in have arrived.

4. A wish list! At the moment I add items I want to borrow to my Amazon wish list but I would love a library wish list that I could add to even if the book isn't available in the library. I'd then like to be able to search for and reserve items from my wish list.

5. Online ILL requesting. I know many libraries do this already but we haven't quite caught up yet and this is something I would really want as a reader.

6. Books due reminders. Again I've seen this elsewhere and it's something that would make a difference to forgetful folk like me! Email or SMS acceptable.

What would make a difference to you?

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