Disposable Email Services

Disposable Email Services

There are several reasons why you or your patrons might want to use a disposable email address: maybe it’s for anonymity, maybe you want to avoid tons of SPAM from a site when all you need is a validation email, maybe you just want to make a post to a forum and be done with it forever, maybe you’re up to no good.  Who knows?  As a librarian, I don’t need to know why you need an anonymous email, but I can give you some tools to help out!  There are many options out there, but I’m just going to highlight a couple. Continue reading “Disposable Email Services”

Productivity enhancement using blockers

Productivity enhancement using blockers

So… I have a confession to make: I am not disciplined enough to have tried these website and app blockers myself.  ONE DAY, I will break my habit of checking Facebook 20 times a day and having 15 tabs open, but today isn’t that day.  However, after admitting I check Facebook so often, I know I have a problem and could potentially be much more productive and focused at work if I blocked such sites and apps on my work PC.  I have a feeling some of you probably feel the same way, so with the caveat that I can offer no personal experience using these add-on blockers, I am listing just a few I recently learned about here in hopes of publicly shaming myself into trying them. Continue reading “Productivity enhancement using blockers”

Literature-Map

Literature-Map

Today, I just wanted to share a fun reader’s advisory tool, Literature-Map.  You simply search the name of an author you enjoy, and the site creates a word map of related authors.  It’s super simple and fun!  I can see this being very helpful in the library when a patron mentions an unfamiliar author and wants recommendations for similar works.

Here’s one I did for Michael Crichton:

literature map

Enjoy!
-Dee

LibGuides v2

LibGuides v2

Have you guys tried the new Springshare update, LibGuides v2?  I’ve only recently been playing around with my beta site, and I have to say I really like what I see so far.  One of the complaints I’ve had about some library websites in the past has been that they look to “LibGuides-esque.”   I’ve never liked the clunky appearance.  Let’s face it, the awesome thing about LibGuides has always been the ease of use for librarians, not the ease of use for patrons.  That being said, they’ve really listened to users and stepped up their game.  If you haven’t ordered your beta site for v2 yet, go ahead and do it.  It’s simple to use, and there’s a ton of documentation to help you get started.  You can even choose to import guides from your old site if you wish.  If you decide to use their CMS, you can create your entire site on LibGuides and even have a very non-guide looking homepage.  I give this new product two thumbs way up!

If LibGuides is out of your budget, you might consider trying out a free alternative such as SubjectsPlus.  Many libraries already use this product, and the guides look great.  The sites are responsive and user-friendly.   It was created by libraries for libraries, so you are just the audience they have in mind.  Give it a go!

No matter the type of library, there is bound to be a need for subject guides.  If traditional subject guides aren’t for your patrons or colleagues, think outside the box and try something new.  I hope to one day create a “behind the scenes” dashboard guide for our student workers to use.  Ideally, it will have training modules, schedules and contact information, as well as expected tasks or duties for each shift.  What innovative ideas do you have for using LibGuides or a similar product?

-Dee

Professional Development on a Budget

Professional Development on a Budget

If you’re like me, opportunities to attend conferences and other professional development events are a pretty rare occurrence.  For one thing, I work at a very small, private institution.  I have a very odd job description (read: I have A LOT of responsibilities), including all “systems” activities, as well as all reference and instruction classes for the university, and the ever present “other duties as assigned.”  Also, if you read my February post, you’ll remember that my university, and subsequently my library, was heavily damaged when our campus sustained a direct hit from a tornado on January 21st of this year.  (We’re recovering quite well, by the way!)  So… for reasons beyond my control, it isn’t feasible for me to be away from the office.

Long story short: travel and spending isn’t an option right now, BUT I find other ways to make sure I’m working on professional development and growth.  One thing I really enjoy is finding free recorded webinars that I can complete on my own time.  You can find them on just about anything; topics include technical services, reference, information literacy, customer service, collection development, programming, and just about anything else.

Today, I thought I’d share just a few of my favorite resources for free webinars:

I think webinars sometimes get a bad rap, but I personally really enjoy and appreciate the opportunity to learn from others what they are doing in their own libraries and about up and coming trends in library land without breaking the budget.  Being able to complete them on my own time is well worth the wait for the recording, rather than attending in real time because I rarely get to begin and finish any task without interruption.  There are tons of resources out there beyond the ones I’ve provided, so don’t be afraid to get out there and Google your specific webinar needs.

Happy developing!
-Dee

Infographics

Infographics

Let’s talk about infographics!  Infographics are great way to get a message across with visual interest.  I especially like to use infographics when I teach library instruction classes.  I find that if I can give my students handouts highlighting the key points of our discussion, they pay more attention and are more interactive throughout the class.  I suspect this is because they aren’t frantically trying to write down everything I say.  I’ve also learned that it’s important how the information is presented.  When I first began teaching instruction classes, I gave my students WAY too much information.  Trust me, they aren’t going to read a packet full of library information.  They might even leave it sitting on the table when they leave.  (Ouch!)   However, they will almost always take a cool infographic with them.

If you’ve read my past posts, you probably know I’m a huge fan of Canva.  Canva is my “go to” when it comes to anything graphic design related.  It’s easy for me, a non-designer, to create a great looking graphic with this program.  Simply choose the infographic template option and start designing.

I’ll mention a couple more options for you if you’re ready to create your first infographic: Piktochart and Venngage.  Piktochart is specifically made for the design of infographics, meaning you can get a little more sophisticated with your layout than with Canva.  You can sign up for free and accomplish just about anything you’d like in a graphic.  Their support and tutorials are fantastic, and I can’t really tell you anything they haven’t already covered.  I suggest you just jump right in and get your feet wet.  Here’s a quick overview of their product.  Once you start playing around, you’ll notice the layout is very similar to Canva. Continue reading “Infographics”

#CareyStrong

#CareyStrong

I’m going to deviate from our typical posts today to share something personal with our readers.

As many of you know, a string of devastating storms swept through the southeast a little over a week ago.  The beautiful campus and surrounding community where I work took a direct hit from an F3 tornado early Saturday morning, January 21st.  The damage is truly heartbreaking.  All buildings on William Carey University’s Hattiesburg, Mississippi campus sustained damage, many severe and some beyond repair.

It was very emotional to return to campus and see the damage in person.  It was even more emotional to clean my desk out in the library and start the salvage/preservation process with some of our special collections materials.  Thankfully, most of our collection will be salvaged.  There’s no doubt that William Carey will come back stronger and better.  Our university lost an entire campus to Hurricane Katrina, so unfortunately, this isn’t our first rodeo.  That being said, we have pretty strong disaster protocols in place.  However, we couldn’t do it alone.  I can’t thank our neighboring university (and my Alma mater!), the University of Southern Mississippi enough.  They have gone above and beyond to house our students, set up classrooms and labs, and provide library access.

While the immediate needs of our students have been met, financial assistance will be needed to help out with textbooks, computers, clothing, vehicle repair, and the like.  If you’re interested in helping our students and/or campus, please visit the William Carey University Office of Advancement donation page.

Also, please don’t forget our surrounding community.  This tornado tore an approximate 25-mile path through Hattiesburg and Petal, Mississippi, following close to the same path as an F4 tornado which devastated our area almost exactly four years ago.  Numerous families and businesses are suffering major damage for the second time.  Various relief efforts are listed in this article from the Clarion-Ledger.

#CareyStrong,
Dee