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One New Thing
Monday, October 15, 2007
It's Blog Action Day today!

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

Here are some questions to ponder, inspired by Blog Action Day: how environmentally friendly is your library? Do you...
  • turn off lights and computers and printers when they are not needed, such as overnight?
  • Donate discarded items for re-use?
  • Recycle holdings lists, picking lists, all those other lists that accumulate in libraries?
  • Have a recycling bin in the lunchroom?
  • Have water-saving fittings in the bathrooms?
  • Look for companies producing products that have the least environmental impact?

There's lots of tips on the web for making offices more environmentally friendly; have a look around and see if you can apply any of these strategies to your workplace. The InterALIA newsletter from September 2004 has a few tips specifically for libraries; so there might be a good place to start! :)

Sunday, September 16, 2007
One New Thing: reCAPTCHA.

Well, it's been a long time between posts. But I've just found something very cool I'd like to link to: reCAPTCHA. CATCHPAs are those images with words in them that you have to type into some webpages - reCAPTCHA is a project that takes words that can't be read by OCR software when pre-digital-age books are being digitised, and displays them as CAPTCHAs in places where real live people can identify and type the word correctly. Spam prevention and book digitisation combined!

Link via EcoGeek, which is a very interesting blog that you should check out if you don't know it already. :)

Monday, March 12, 2007
Some New Things: More choir library tips.

I know there are lots of choirs, orchestras and other musical community groups out there, so I hope some of the things I post on here will be useful to those people who are the “librarians” for their societies. My group has just had a concert where lots and lots of music got loaned out then returned (over 800 individual scores, in fact), so here are some of the new things I've learnt from that experience:

  • In community groups where you are loaning out your own resources to members, you have to look out for people who run out of time to participate and stop coming to meetings or rehearsals. I'm thinking two weeks missed in a row, and then I will be calling them to check if they plan to come back – with our music!

  • When making lists of who has what music, I had been making one list per score, but this got silly if we gave out multiple pieces of music in one night (i.e. “Can you please write your name down on these seven lists for me?”). So I have designed a new loans form which is in the form of a table, where the names of the people go down the side, and the titles go across the top (printed sideways to allow for more columns). Then I can write the score number in the appropriate boxes – every second row is shaded, to make this easier. One double-sided sheet can have about 60 names and 12 individual pieces of music. It should also make it easier to see if someone didn't receive a piece, and is also easier to back up.

  • My group returns music directly after concerts, which means the librarian gets a very big pile to sort through. Bringing many small boxes seems to be the trick if there are multiple pieces of music being returned, because that way people can sort as they return and when everything is back, you'll actually be able to lift the boxes.

Thursday, February 08, 2007
One New Thing: To do lists.

It's probably very obvious that I need to be better at making useful to-do lists: for example, writing on this blog is one to-do list item that I haven't gotten to in months! I also need a list at work, to make sure that I remember all the little things I offer to follow up do get done. Having one slip of paper for each task worked quite well for me for a while, but became chaos whenever a breeze blew past my desk. So I made an actual list... half the stuff got crossed off in a day, the other half is tasks that will take several days or weeks to get through. That was when I realised that I needed professional help with list-making and ended up at 43 Folders, Building a Smarter To-Do List.
My big error was putting single tasks on my lists that actually involved a bunch of smaller tasks. e.g. If I was moving house, it would be silly to make a to-do list that included tasks like “Pack everything”.
I'm still trying to find or design a nice to-do list template that works for me...it's on my to-do list. ;)

Meanwhile on the topic of being organised I really want to share a very cool little app that I just discovered. PocketMod is a way of creating a little pocket-sized disposable organiser. All you need is one sheet of paper and a printer. Try it – it's fun! (Also a good way to use up old paper with only one side blank!)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006
One New Thing:Where to find fundraising ideas.

Some time ago I made the comment that for those of us on library committees – ALIA ones, or otherwise – it can be hard to come up with different events. I finally went and researched events, particularly fundraising events, right where I should have started – in the library! I found a book I got a few ideas from, although of course it wasn't a book about library events; it was actually aimed at sports clubs. So if you're looking for ideas for next year there is stuff out there, it just may not be where you expect it to be.

I'm still hoping to have the Library Olympics – shelf hurdling, trolley races, relay races with a book balanced on your head...

Monday, September 04, 2006
One New Thing:Guy Kawasaki's Ten Things to Learn This School Year. (found via Stephen's Lighthouse)

This is a great list. :) I remember what I learnt at uni, and I know what I do in the workplace now, and these are so very useful and so very true! Read and learn.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006
One New Thing: How to Make Friends and Influence People.

More from the recommended reading list from my leadership course – I think this one's a classic now, although it doesn't read like it was written 70 years ago!

My first impression of this book was probably established back in high school, when we found it on the library shelves and laughed at the title. When I picked it up a few weeks ago and looked at the chapter listing, it all looked a bit - submissive. Now after reading it, I see the point. Rather than actually just being friends with everybody, it's about getting to the stage where you and other people can comfortably communicate. And then, so that you can achieve what you set out to achieve and have the other person feel they have achieved their aims as well. If you work in any sort of client support role, or you have friends, or a partner, or children, read it. ;)

What's funny is that I picked up and flicked through a few more recent books on communication and dealing with people at the same time as this one, and although the terminology was different and the scenarios more up-to-date (e.g. emails), the concepts were pretty much the same. People mustn't have changed much...we've just given them technology, so they can have more avenues in which to be frustrated. :)