Thursday, July 30, 2009

keep track of your government

Although the only social networking sites currently offered to the public on Cardiff Library's People's Network computers are Facebook, MySpace and YouTube - many others could prove relevant or useful.

If you want to follow the Government - Downing Street, the Foreign Office, etc you might want to use Twitter for breaking news.

Twitter, the micro-blogging site, remains blocked at Cardiff for the time being.

According to The Press Association, the Government offers a 20pp document The Template Twitter Strategy for Government Departments. Download it here, as PDF.

You couldn't make this stuff up...Sir Humphrey must be twirling in his (virtual, fictional) grave.

U.K. government tells civil servants to use Twitter SF Business Times

The British government has told its civil servants that their departments should send messages on Twitter from twice to 10 times a day.

Twitter, the government says, “is experiencing a phenomenal adoption curve in the UK.” The service is being used by other governments and by many businesses, too.

This document describes why and how we intend to establish and manage a corporate presence on the microblogging social network,” says the British Cabinet Office’s “Twitter strategy” document, which is 20 pages long and has five appendices.

Twitter tools: Great for now, but will they last forever? Tech Republic

Check these tools, and perhaps you can Twit from your mobile, and not need the library to offer the service on their public access computers...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Content Creators

The image of hissing and shushing librarians guarding their precious books like dragons leaves out the fact that many library and information workers actually love books.

And rather than fitting into the mould of "Those who can, do, those who can't, teach" - quite a few library workers actually write books, too.

Mark Isaacs (who works in Cardiff Libraries) has recently had published Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths in Cardiff and will, apparently, be signing copies at Borders soon. He previously collaborated with the prolific Francis Frith on a book called Around Penarth.

When the Cardiff Bay development was causing a scandal, the local library worker Sian Best wrote A Whim Set in Concrete: The Campaign to Stop the Cardiff Bay Barrage.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Social Networking in Libraries

I feel all too well aware how awful adults trying to 'get down with the kids' can seem - but I had some good teachers myself, and have spent some time teaching when I seemed to have some respect - so I don't want to generalize too much, too soon.

We (that's the royal 'we' meaning libraries) intend to look at social networking as part of our communications network. A lot of staff do already use (say) Facebook.

At the same time, I know a lot of people think libraries have no business intruding on young people's social spaces, like a school teacher or policeman (otherwise known as parents) at a party.

I guess the image of a library as something to do with 'school' and 'work' doesn't go away. For myself, I used to play truant and go to the library as a way of educating myself, and when poor and on the road I found libraries great places to hang out (admittedly as a loner). Now Cardiff Central Library (and some of the branches) offer free Wifi you can just bring your laptop, find a quiet corner, get a coffee from the machine, and chill out. That has a lot going for it. We don't insist you do 'sensible stuff' - or 'spend your time wisely'.The Invisibles - one of the best adult graphic novels – compare - Watchmen

We have as much entertainment available (graphic novels, music, film and art books, biographies of celebrities, etc) as educational. We have a wide range of magazines and stuff to browse (and unlike the newsagent we don't gruffly ask "are you going to buy that, or what?")

So I hope this blog contributes to humanizing the local library...just a little...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Grassroots and Sprouts and young people's information resources

We are in a training session, looking at a website for local young people... The Sprout

The libraries are listed in Information Providers

I remember coming across another local listing site - My Village - there's a lot of it about, but keeping information up-to-date and interesting remains a challenge.

Maybe relevant?

Today's post from the Effing Librarian:

As I passed the computer area, two teen girls shared this conversation (verbatim, to the best of my memory):

Are you on MySpace?
Yeah. I think so.
How did you get there?
I don't know.
How are you spelling it?
I don't know!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

MyFace and SpaceBook

We are slowly moving into the 21st Century - as Cardiff Council has begun implementing the use of Learning Pool (the public sector e-learning exchange) to roll out e-learning as an economic and efficient plan for increasing staff skills (never entirely replacing face-to-face learning, of course, more of a supplement).

We are even considering using Social Networking to promote library use, or raise the service's profile or whatever - so if anyone has experience of this, or relevant tips to adding an organisation, or forming an interest group, etc, please do add notes in the Comments section.

Learning Pool also has a forum where these kind of issues get discussed. e.g. Access Denied - where people mention the fact that Council workers often cannot access these very useful tools - for a variety of reasons (from security issues, to perhaps not trusting that staff won't 'waste time' using them).

They can 'waste time' networking and gossiping on the phone, or round the water cooler, instead. :-)

The Learning Pool blog has some interesting discussion of just this topic:
The end of that discussion points to 50 Barriers to Open Government, a Wiki for discussion of Social Strategies - from Tim Davies at Practical Participation

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Glass Cage

The library contains all kinds of things aside from books.  We have a white grand piano (with headphones) that people can play on - and I have just been experimenting with Sibelius software.

The piece I made (as a test) has the randomness of a John Cage bit - the notes were the equivalent of typing like this oioadfjo3u50w]r0wewe r0r [ew - but it sounds amusing to me.

Friday, July 3, 2009

The library that never closes

Thanks to my partner for this link to an article in the Guardian.

I don't intend to join the discussion about paper books over ebooks right now (I use both for different purposes, and when researching like to have both - a paper copy for the bus or bath, foxed corners and pencil notes, and a PDF for searching quickly).

The Open Library.

And although I don't perform any more, I still love magic (my childhood hobby, part of my mid-life performing career, and now my equivalent to The Times Crossword, for mental stimulation) - so some people might find the attempt to digitalize all available (out of copyright) magic books interesting as a project.

Check out Chris Wasshuber's extraordinary Lybrary website, for books on magic, gambling, gaming, confidence tricks, etc.  Coming up to a tenth anniversary...
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