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Library Bot 1000

1 min read

My friends were asked to make a few videos for my library's recent staff day. They asked me to help...and I did. Here's the video.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/OuOwuP7-MUw]

 

My friend has mastered time travel

1 min read

My friend Chris has mastered time travel!

He went back in time earlier this week, kidnapped Edgar Allan Poe and brought him to the library FOR THE CHILDREN. Here's the proof!

Grab some popcorn and enjoy the wonders of modern science!

[youtube=http://youtu.be/MSdnwZnlgSI]

 

The first thing my kids made with a MakerBot...

1 min read

was a Death Star!

[slideshow]

Many thanks to the awesome Melanie at Collegiate for letting us use their MakerBot. It was an experience my kids will be talking about for a while.

If' you'd like to print and/or improve our Death Star, it can be found here.

 

Friday Reads - Challenges Editon

5 min read

It's been a challenging week. Both of my kids are sick and that means a serious lack of sleep. On top of that, my father-in-law and his wife visited us the first half of the week. That's a good thing but there was no time to rest. But enough of the whining.

The real challenge for me this week was trying to stay positive professionally. I'm generally an optimistic guy who tries to see the good side of things. Lately I've been thinking about the future of libraries and it's been depressing. I want libraries to succeed and thrive because I believe that we are the only institution of government that is truly open to everyone. We have the potential to assist every member of society regardless of age, gender or economics.

The thing that has gotten to me this week is the realization that our future is far from certain. I'm lucky to be in a county that values its libraries. Will that always be the case? How can I justify our existence to someone like this without sounding whiny and/or angry? What I need to do is work on my 'elevator pitch' about the value of libraries. Maybe focus on:

  • how the library is more than books
  • we are about people
    • helping them improve
  • by helping individuals improve we are improving our communities

It's a start. I'll work on it.

The posts below have helped me this week. While I don't think libraries are quaint I appreciate Cooley's response. McGuire has given me a lot to think about and I'm still trying to sort out his post. I really like P.C. Sweeney and his optimism. Andy provides a funding option that I hadn't really considered.

On to the reading:

The post isn't nearly as good as the comments. There are lots of people defending libraries and getting mad at Mr. Cooley but his response is very interesting. The part that hit me the hardest was his take on the library brand. Here's the entire quote:

Brand: Libraries, first and foremost, have a major brand issue. They span physical books, digital books, public search, proprietary search, research assistance, career counseling, literacy development, computer skills training, free internet access, movies, games, lectures, reading groups of various demos, community forums, book sales and more. Sliced another way they offer news, history, data, entertainment, elder services, children’s' services, entertainment, training and more. Either way, it’s a broad offer best summed up as "making society better". Unfortunately, like "saving the environment" you get more lip service than traction from consumers on that one. (re)Focus your brand as an industry and good things will happen.)

Short version: we're doing too much to do anything well.

Hugh McGuire has written a great post at In the Library With the Lead Pipe (which is a very good site for library ideas, theory and philosophy) about what libraries are for. He raises many good points and questions but basically it boils down to this: our business model is changing and we need to change with it. The value of a library as place full of books for people to check out will decline and we should start focusing on the other things that make us important to our communities if we are going to be funded and relevant in the future. I think this quote is beautiful:

A world of ubiquitous free or near-free ebooks is coming, in 5 or 10 or 20 years. And when that happens, a library that defines itself as “a place where you can get free or near-free books” will no longer be an institution providing a service deemed important enough to be maintained by its community. But libraries have never been solely about free books. They are about something deeper, about information, about access to knowledge, about providing a public space where citizens can interact with each other, all within the context of an exchange of knowledge. Libraries are at the core of our understanding of civilization, and if we are to keep them healthy, we’ll have to make sure that they continue to answer deep needs in our society, rather than provide particular services because they’ve always done so.

I like this post and have been thinking about it most of the week. Sweeney also thinks libraries are changing but the core service of libraries doesn't have to.

What I’m saying here in a round and about way, is that we need to continue what libraries have always been, and that is to be enablers to those who want to learn and provide the resources that enable our communities to learn. It’s not reference, its enabling our patrons to live more fulfilling lives. After all… By answering reference questions wasn’t that the real goal anyway?

Andy always writes thought provoking posts and this one isn't any different. He proposes that libraries be open to the idea of corporate sponsorship. I'm not against this idea. I actually think it could work in some cases. Would it fly here? I doubt it.

 

Robots in the Library!

1 min read

Our Bookmobile staff  is very creative. My friend Phil, who works on the Bookmobile, made a video this morning. He's got a collection of robots and he put them to good use for this video. The action takes place in the library our HQ shares a building with. I hope the staff have recovered from the ROBOT INVASION! I'll have to go check on them.

Enjoy!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6nVKtNvwfc]

Note the Robot Overlord.

 

Jack and the Wonder Beans!

1 min read

Last Saturday I took my kids to a great Library program!

Some students from Theatre VCU put on a great show at the Gayton Library. It was an Appalachian rendition of the classic fairy tale Jack and the Bean Stalk titled Jack and the Wonder Beans. They did a great job and all of the kids in attendance seemed to really love the show! A lot of the adults did too.

It was very fun. There was a lot of crowd participation, singing, dancing and loudness. It was perfect for kids! They are doing another show at the Twin Hickory Library this Saturday and we will probably attend it too. My kids liked it THAT much. It didn't hurt that my oldest daughter was asked to be in the show. The director asked her to be the cow that was sold for the beans. She absolutely loved it!

[slideshow]

 

Time Travel, History and Fun

2 min read

Last Saturday the Department of Recreation and Parks hosted the first Hunt for Henrico History. The event was held at the Deep Run Recreation Center at Deep Run Park. Over 800 people came to the day-long event to learn more about the history of Henrico County. This was the kick off to a year long celebration of the 400th anniversary of Henrico County's founding.

It was a fun day and I'm proud to say that we were part of the fun. My friend Chris Holliman from the Twin Hickory Library was asked to revisit his Time Traveling Librarian role and bring Patrick Henry to the children at the event. He graciously accepted and we set about producing a new video for the day.

Due to a scheduling conflict our previous Patrick Henry was not able to attend this event. Luckily, Chris was able to convince a historical reenactor from St. John's Church to play Patrick for us. He did a great job! They performed two shows and were able to entertain many kids and adults. The video below is of the second show. It's about 20 minutes and is very entertaining. Hope you enjoy it.

http://vimeo.com/19405849

 

Time Travel!

1 min read

One of my friends at  my old Library has done a few time travel programs in the past and I always wanted to film one. I got the chance a few weeks ago and this is the result. I think it's creative and funny. The kids at the program loved it! One day I'll get better video editing software.

[vimeo 14302773]

 

Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens

2 min read

This is a race weekend here in Richmond so today we did what we always do on a race weekend; try to stay as far away from the race track and do something outside with the kids. Today's outing was to the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens. This is always a fun thing for us. The girls enjoy all the flowers and the Children's Garden and my wife and I Iike watching them have fun in a beautiful environment.

Today we had the unexpected bonus of the Spring Plant Sale to enjoy. While we didn't purchase anything we did enjoy looking at some of the different varieties of things for sale. Maybe next year...

We did have a great time in the gardens! Instead of going straight to the Children's Garden we took the long way and saw a part of the garden we haven't seen before. I don't know the official name of that section of the garden but I'm going to call it the wooded/tranquil section because that describes it very well. There are lots of trees for shade and small streams running through the area. It is very peaceful and relaxing. I enjoyed all the varieties of rhododendron (I'm a sucker for rhododendron) and the girls really liked the streams. The youngest kept wanting to throw leaves in the water and the oldest wanted to swim.

We did get to the Children's Garden eventually and had a good time. We forgot to pack the girl's swimsuits so the water area  caused a bit of strife but we promised to let them play next time.  They did get to climb the tree, play in the sand, play in all the houses and pick up some free pinwheels! We had a nice lunch in the picnic area and played some more. By the time it was time to go home everyone was ready. We were all tired and ready for rest/nap time. I know we'll be visiting there again many times this summer.

I've included some pictures below of some of the interesting and pretty things we saw.

[slideshow]

 

Hamthrax

1 min read

In a post from ars technica about a (not at all funny) phishing scheme concerning swine flu they included this bit of art.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="oranchak.com"]Hamthrax[/caption]

That's funny.

H1N1 malware epidemic is more contagious than real deal.