KidsClick! is a metacrawler designed by Ramapo Catskill Library System for kids to make surfing the net easy, relevant, and age appropriate.

KidsClick! doesn't block inappropriate sites.

It does rank age appropriate sites higher than inappropriate ones.

So how does this keep kids safe from the wrong websites? Psychology.

When searching the web, 90% and more of web searchers only use the results on the first search page for answers to their questions. Rarely does anyone go to the second page. Since Libraries cannot block mature sites, they use web crawlers that ranks sites for mature audiences lower than sites built for kids.

It's ingenious.


Airline Stupidity

Read this and jump back over.

Poor kid. He has none of the warning signals, just a book that, had it been stripped of its cover, would never have caused any alarm.

I totally understand wanting to be safe. What we have here is alarmist. When it became obvious that he was a kid going home to see his parents, they should have stopped the fuss.

God... Are we really this stupid?

Sun Salutation

Yes! Library Drones love yoga! We actually have physical fitness courses through the university for staff members on the go and yoga is one of them. I use the same Sun Salutation as Rachel Brice, since it helps me strengthen my muscles for belly dancing.

New to yoga? The Sun Salutation is a good place to start. Observe:


The Importance of 'Thank You'

You hear this occasionally from people and it sounds like wisdom, though it's terribly deterimental to any cause. Last night, while nursing my sick husband, I heard it again on a television show:

"Why should I thank you for doing your job?"

Why? Let's start with the obvious:

When someone does a good job, the best way to encourage them to do it again is to thank them. It doesn't matter if they are paid to do it or not, a simple thank you can mean the difference between a good job and a bad job in the future.

The biggest complaint among employees at any job is that the job is thankless. If you can change that with two simple words, why not? A fancy award ceremony months off means nothing next to a thank you that happens the moment it's needed.

And you never know when someone is going out of their way for you. That person on the other side of the counter may in fact be bending over backwards and doing hand stands for you. You just don't know. Say thank you.

When I worked a cushy job at a gift shop, I though the manager said thank you, the owner almost never did and tended to be sour. At the same time, I worked at a Wendy's where the owner (who literally made a million and more a year) worked the lunch and dinner rushes to help cover. She made a point of telling everyone thank you and made sure you knew your help was appreciated. I loved working there, as bad as food service can be, because I was thanked for my efforts.

I was sad the day I left, because a simple thank you is hard to come by in the 'real world.'

Thanking someone for a job well done can turn a bad day into a good one in seconds. And if everyone said thank you to another person at least once today, by the end of the day, we'd have a happier world.

So remember to thank the people around you. When your supervisor gives you hand, say thanks. When a subordinate leaves for the night, say thanks and tell them what a great job they've done. When a coworker does you a favor, thank them. When out to eat, don't just tip them and walk away, thank them verbally. When a loved one does something for you, even if it's only the smallest thing, say thank you.

It honestly does make a world of difference.

Self Checkout

A new round of sickness is making its way through the library, but it's actually a mutated strain of an older flu bug from january. Yuck. So between dropping like flies and staying home to take care of loved ones who dropped like flies, we've been pretty short. Thankfully, the weather's been nice, so everyone wants to be outside.

That makes this the perfect time to pimp out the self checkout machines.

Who wants to stand in line? No one. But most of our student population doesn't know that we even have a self checkout machine, let alone five of them.

The admin has given us these nice, bookmark sized, advertising flyers for the self checks, which are placed neatly around the desk. The only problem is that no one is picking them up.

If your in business, any kind of business, you know that this is bad advertising. And so we, the drones, are being much more agressive in our tactics. (After all, more self check use means less repetetive injuries for us!)

First, we've been sticking the bookmark/flyers into the backs of books as they are checked out.

Second, we've been reminding patrons stuck in line that the self checks are available.

Interestingly enough, we have met some resistance to the self checks. These are the three biggest issues:
  1. "I'm afraid I'll break it." - Well, that'd be a feat in itself. The self checks are immobile and pretty indestructible.
  2. "I never see anyone using them." - Of course not. That's how fast they are.
  3. "I believe people should do their jobs." - Well, I believe in not wasting money and the university pays out a nice chunk every year in workers compensation and physical therapy charges because of just such an elitist attitude. Where did your raise go? The left wrist is $60 a session and the right is $125 (it doesn't respond well to treatment).
Our self checks come from Libramation. Here's a pic of the model we chose.


The Beauty of Humanity

The search for "paint" in a world full of dollars.

How is this library related?

Simple. Libraries collect fines.

Sometimes, the bills have messages written on them.

Sometimes, we respond.


Gaming at the Libraries

Everyone knows I'm a gamer. Though a lot of libraries are experimenting with gaming on site, here's a library that is renting them out like books. They are also implementing their own system to help parent's choose appropriate titles for their children. They are also going to keep innapropriate games out of a minor's hands by not purchaing games rated M.

Smart cookies, ne?


PowerPoint not all that powerful after all

You know how you sit at a powerpoint presentation and afterward you felt like you learned something, but couldn't put it into practical use later? Yeah, apparently, we need to fix that.

The University of New South Wales did a study on how PowerPoint overloads our brains and makes learning new information difficult.

This spells bad news for library faculty and staff who love powerpoint. During our inservice day, the powerpoint was the all-mighty tool for teaching.

Powerpoint presents information to an audience while a presenter reads the information or repeats the info in a different way. End result? The audience has their attention split in two. They are trying to pay attention to the screen and the presenter at the same time which makes the learning even more difficult.

Effect use of a powerpoint involves having two or three important points on the screen while the presenter talks about them. This makes sense when you think about the program's name: PowerPoint. It's not meant to present vast quanities of information. The presenter is.

Instead, we often use Powerpoint as a crutch. We put everything we want to say on the presentation rather than having seperate notes. Instead of presenting, we end up reading aloud. Good for story time, but not when an audience is trying to pay attention to two things at once.


More Pet Peeves

The weather is getting nicer, which means that patrons are in more of a rush to get out into the sunlight. This also means that patrons are not paying attention to the signage.

Everyone hates standing in lines. We're always afraid that one line will move quicker than the other. To relieve that tension, we have one line to the desk with a BIG sign that says 'Please Enter Here.'

So what do they do? Enter the wrong way.

When its late in the evening and there isn't a line, it's no big deal. But, in the middle of the day, at our busiest, its a nightmare. The patrons will fight over who was there first and argue with staff.

Case in point: A patron was unable to find a book on the shelf. Instead of going to the help desk on that floor (which he had to walk by to leave the floor), he came all the way down stairs, and tried to cut in line by entering the wrong way. When told to enter the other direction, he argued that he was there first. The poor girl who'd been standing there for the past five minutes let him go first. After finding the book on the shelf (in exactly the right spot), I check it out to him.

He's still fuming about the entire situation when he leaves, which would have been avoided entirely if he'd slowed down, asked for help on the floor, and checked out at the self checkout station.