Library Camp Kansas 2011

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to attend Library Camp Kansas 2011, my first library “unconference” a few weeks in Manhattan, Kansas at the Hale Library on the beautiful campus of Kansas State University.  This innovative and participatory model of learning allows participants to determine the topics for breakout sessions and focuses on conversation and discussion as the medium for learning rather than formal presenter driven presentations.  As we crowdsourced our topics, participants could volunteer to facilitate the session; each session also featured a volunteer who served as a “notetaker” in Google Documents that were set up ahead of time for each session and linked to from our agenda that was created organically in the initial morning planning/session from 9:30–10:15 while we enjoyed coffee and tasty breakfast pastries.

We cranked up our creative energies after our group planning session with a round of lightning talks in which people could volunteer to share a technology tool or resource they were finding useful.  We then attended our first breakout session and followed that with lunch; lunch was followed by a riotous Battledecks competition, which included the winning tag team of Heather Braum and Liz Rea!  The afternoon then concluded with two additional breakout sessions and a final closing gathering before we left for the day.

I attended three breakout sessions on:

  • Rethinking Lifelong Learning (facilitated by good friend and fellow librarian Heather Braum)
  • TED Talks :  how can libraries use TED Talks in programming and instructional services?  How can librarians participate in TEDx events and possibly sponsor their own through their library?
  • Book Talk:  what books are inspiring you professionally or personally?

I enjoyed all three sessions and enjoyed how the conversations all focused on supporting learning in libraries in each session.  My favorite new idea I gleaned from the day was the “Silent Library:  Using MTV Programming as Library Outreach Programming” from Heidi Blackburn.  This program focuses on cultivating relationships with students and emphasizes students getting to know librarians as people as a starting point for creating enchantment by establishing a starting point for building trust, likability, and exceptional service.  I would love to adapt this idea for The Unquiet Library!  You can read more about this fabulous and innovative idea on Heather Braum’s blog by clicking here.

Not only did I get to network with some innovative new colleagues from all areas of librarianship, but I also now have experienced a model of learning I’d love to pilot with students as well as our faculty; I’m also interested in working with other Georgia librarians to create this kind of learning experience in our state.

I’d like to give a heartfelt thank you to the sponsors who made this wonderful day of learning and fun possible for all of us who attended:  The College and University Library Section of KLA, The Public Library Section of KLA, Kansas State University Libraries, and The Northeast Kansas Library System.

Google Sites Now Offers Site Templates!
I am jumping for joy at the latest cool addition to my new favorite tool of the 2009-10 school year:  GoogleSites!  They are now offering pre-designed template to help you get started with your web design!  As someone who has used both SharePoint and GoogleSites, I can assure you it IS much easier to work with GoogleSites in terms of editing and filing documents—fewer clicks and a much cleaner interface.  Students and teachers who have used it at my school love it, and so do I!  Google Sites has been a staple in my Media 21 toolbox for my students this semester.
Here is a sneak peek of the templates—they are up and running this morning!  I encourage you to give Google Sites a try!

Library of Congress Now on iTunes!


Now you can access podcasts and resources from the Library of Congress at iTunes!  Here is what Matt Raymond of the Library of Congress blog has to say about this exciting new Web 2.0 addition for LOC:

Blog. Twitter. YouTube.  iTunes.  Yeah, we speak Web 2.0.

You nation’s Library has millions of stories to tell, so we’re trying to tell them as many places and to as many people as possible–whether on our own website or elsewhere.  And now you can add another biggie to the list: iTunes U.

For those who don’t know, iTunes U is an area of the iTunes Store offering free education audio and video content from many of the world’s top universities and other institutions. (The iTunes application is needed to access iTunes U, and is a free download from

The Library’s iTunes U page launched today with a great deal of content, with much more to come.  (Link here, opens in iTunes.)  A nice bonus, for those in the know, is that the content is downloadable and even includes materials such as PDFs.

As always, it’s also available in the Library’s own corner of the web.

So as long as people keep finding new ways to get information, we’re going to keep finding ways to get it to you!

Viewzi, the Visual Search Engine

I discovered several cool tools yesterday at the BIGGER Conference at Georgia Southern University—one of these tools is Viewzi, the visual search engine.  In a nutshell, Viewzi searches a wide range of content, including websites, videos, mp3 files , images, news sites, and Google Books; it can generate tag clouds related to your search and allow you to search content related to those tags, too!  Here is a visual representation it generated for me for a Google timeline on stem cells:


I think students, especially visually oriented learners, will enjoy this graphic way of searching and exploring results!  I am looking forward to exploring this fun alternative search engine.

You can read more about Viewzi in this Read Write Web article; you may also want to check out this TechCrunch article.  Follow Viewzi on Twitter! for updates and news on Viewzi.