Notes from the Black Lagoon

Posts Tagged ‘technology

For those of you who are fascinated by technology and technology in libraries, take a look at one librarian’s journey into the modern world over at The Game’s Afoot. Daisy, our intrepid Assistant Director, hated anything to do with technology because she feared it! Now she’s conquered her fear of computers and is now light years ahead of the rest of us. Daisy’s story sort of inspired me to take a minute and think about my tech-roots and how they’ve influenced me in the Children’s Room

So, for those of you who don’t know, I am a tech-savvy Millenial (formerly Generation Y) who grew up with computers and rapidly changing technology. We had a computer in our home when I was young, an old-school Commodore 64! I had computers in my elementary school. I don’t know how to use an electric typewriter and had never seen one until I came to the TPL. I most certainly do NOT know what filmstrips are or how to use them. My first stereo had a CD player and I’ve been using IM for over 10 years. I have a Facebook account and am in love with MS Word 2oo7.

Clearly, I’m down with technology. But I’m a different animal than Daisy. Daisy is a self-professed Geek. I would call her a tech-seeker, a lover of tech things for their own innate tech-i-ness. I’m more of a tech-consumer. I use technology because I need it or see it as advantageous for my life. I’m definitely open to learning new things, but I can only remember what I’ve learned if I need it for home or work! I don’t actively seek out new tech things just because. I need incentives..namely, “Can this make my life easier or harder?”. I think the process of determining that is an important one for people in my generation. Growing up and being bombarded by so much information and technology, you can start to think that anything tech is good just because it’s tech-y. Which is certainly not true! Good tech-consumers can pick and choose what actually does make their lives easier and more efficient while refusing to be bombarded by the constant flow of STUFF out there.

I think another key skill my generation has picked up from its exposure to technology is our ability to adapt to change. Technology is changing all the time and we can’t keep up with it. Millenials see technology as conceptual, as patterns that can be adapted across devices, programs and software. They can apply what they’ve learned before to a new technology that is presented to them. Very useful and time-saving skill, if you ask me.

I think the biggest influence my tech-savvy ways have had in the library is how we reach our patrons. We have used technology to catch our patrons’ attention on our website and in our programs. We’ve done podcasts of kids’ short stories and have an e-newsletter in Children’s. I also think I’ve affected the way the staff accomplishes our daily tasks. We, thankfully, no longer use the electric typewriter to make labels. Instead we use Word! Yay! So we keep evolving here at the TPL…maybe one day we can make it into the 21st century.

What do these two things have to do with each other? Nothing, unless you count Facebook as a convenient distraction from cataloging. Which I need to do today. Anyway, initially, I was against Facebook, saying that people with a real life don’t spend time on Facebook. HA! Another thing I was wrong about. Now that I have a Facebook account, I find it so much easier to keep in touch with my friends. For me, that’s essential as I’ve moved away from my hometown in New York and most of my college friends live all over the country. Recently, I just reconnected with two friends I met while living in Ireland for my junior year abroad! I hadn’t heard from them in ages and I just found them on Facebook. We’re all very happy to hear from each other and I’m hoping Patrick and I can maybe (and when I say maybe, I mean I have to convince Patrick) to go to Ireland on our honeymoon. In a professional sense, I’m also hoping I can connect with some other children’s librarians on Facebook. I’ve joined a few librarian groups on Facebook to see what’s going on. Nothing yet, but perhaps I’ll start a group for Children’s Librarians in MA.

Back to cataloging. This is another hat I wear here in Children’s. At the TPL, the Children’s Room is sort of like it’s own mini self-sufficient library. Both myself and my other full-timer, Mary Beth, catalog and process all of our materials and have complete freedom to put them where we like in our collections. It also means we know our collection REALLY well since we see everything before it goes on the shelf. The negative side is that cataloging is a total time-suck. I always have to do it and keep on top of it. It stops me from doing as many story times and programs as I would like. And I’m also not terribly detailed-oriented, so that means I’m not the best cataloger. I try though. A mixed bag all around. If you do catalog at your library, I would highly recommend OCLC’s Dewey Cutter Program for your desktop. This software allows you to type in the author’s last name or title or whatever and generates 4 digit Cutter numbers based on that. It’s a lifesaver when I’m doing my call numbers and I couldn’t live without it.

A final note: I love Errol Flynn. Patrick got me into Errol Flynn movies after we watched The Adventures of Robin Hood. Right now, we’re watching Captain Blood, but my favorite Errol Flynn movie is The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex with Bette Davis playing Queen Elizabeth I and Flynn as Robert Devereaux. Bette Davis is AMAZING as she plays an Elizabeth full of complications and rage and Flynn is her match as the charming but treacherously power-obsessed Devereaux. Fabulous movie.