Friday, January 11, 2013

Google - It's Tricky: Google Search & Earth Workshop

I was able to attend the Google Search and Earth Workshop in Ft. Collins yesterday. It was very interesting! Here are a few things I picked up that I thought were cool and/or useful for librarians:

The future of libraries? Samsung seems to think so.

NBC Learn is a resource that you can subscribe to as an institution (Auraria has a full subscription). It contains over 14,000 short, searchable videos that address a wide range of topic that have been taken from the headlines. Although it is not entirely free, there are also a few selected topics viewable for free.

Google Lit Trips is a website that contains free downloadable files that follow characters from popular literature using Google Earth. There are places marked on the map that have popup windows containing relevant resources such as media to help start up discussion. It also includes “real world” examples that students can apply. A neat resource.

Google also has a resource called Search Education, which some of you may be interested in. Geared at educators, it includes lesson plan activites and  “A Google A Day” challenges for all age group. Something some of you may be interested in is the Live Training and free Power Searching classes.
If anything, it will help you fine tune you searching skills in general.

These are just some things that caught my attention, but like I said, others attended too. Talk to your colleagues who may have attended. Maybe they will be able add some additional info on things that they found interesting that I might have missed.

P.S. There was a 3D printer there as well! I am including a few pics I snapped. Enjoy!


Thursday, September 13, 2012

So Soon? R2 Comes to an End: Telluride, Day 4

The previous few days of crystal blue skies and pleasant temperatures were replaced by hillsides snuggled by low clouds and and the smell of fresh rain on Tuesday morning.

But I am not complaining! It was just as beautiful as it had been the day before. Riding the shuttle and chatting with a local woman and her two bundled up boys, I was feeling good about what the day would bring. It was hard to believe this adventure was almost over...I certainly wanted to squeeze every bit of what I could out of it. So a clouded sky heavy with valuable moisture was a completely appropriate setting.

The day started off with us getting back together with our respective "Experience" groups, which meant sitting together again with my UpROARious team. We were tasked with creating a company and built it with core values, developed a company motto, discussed a creative hiring process, marketing strategy and come up with a marketing tagline.This is what we presented to the rest of the Culture group:

We also heard Donavan Roberson speak about the culture and how you could develop it in your organization. Funny, Donavan also participated in the Culture Experience and somewhat overcame his fear of snakes... ish. If you have never heard about him, look him up. His story is amazing.

Alas, this was the last time UpROARious would be together as a team. I can't believe how much I loved these people! We sat around and chatted about our adventure the previous day and what parts of our bodies hurt the most and who was the rock star and who wanted to do it again...and we LAAAAAUGHED. So fun. I hope someday we will meet again. It is hard to get away from the fact that we shared something so profound. And maybe I am just making a bigger deal of it than it really was...but at least that is how I feel.

The second part of the day was a IdeaJam with Tamara Kleinberg, "Chief Imaginator" of Imaginibbles. She was amazing. Her session was filled with a flash mob (awesome!) and several hands on activities that got you out of your seats to meet, brainstorm, and collaborate with complete strangers. We joined together to develop new and innovative libraries, out of the box services, and build weird little tennis ball holder thingies, like this one:

It was a blast.

(SIDE NOTE: Tamara was sneaky, because she was actually in my UpROARious team and I did not even know she was "the" Tamara who was speaking at the conference until after our adventure. I can attest to her down to earth quality and her genuine friendliness. She is one of the nicest and funniest ladies I have ever met. I had a blast hanging out with her.)

The day ended with a Happy Hour. Everyone was buzzing with excitement and new ideas, busily chatting to anyone who was close enough to listen. It was a really exciting way to finish up the conference. And even though I was exhausted and ready to head home, I was equally excited to get back to work to share what I had learn with others. I am bubbling over with information and ideas that I want to initiate, cultivate...MOTIVATE. 

Stay tuned.... 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Creating Culture, Amazing Race Style: Telluride, Day 3

So, I first should apologize for the delay in posting this entry. Yesterday was quite the whirlwind. It started off with a great keynote speaker, some lunch and a yummy sweet snack of European popovers in the cute little courtyard. It was a beautiful morning in Telluride and although I was completely soaking up the amazingness of this mountain town resort , it was the afternoon that I looked forward to. Yesterday marked the arrival of the highly anticipated "Culture Experience" I had been nervously anticipating over the last few weeks.

And let me tell was a doozy, people.

 Those who registered for this particular track had a specific sticker on their registration badge, so we had some idea that we were going to be grouped. Mine was tiger-like, so naturally when I walked into the space where I was supposed to report to, I looked for something that gave me a hint of what I was supposed to do next. I found where I belonged fairly quickly:

Once our group assembled we learned it was indeed a activity that involved challenges, clues, and teamwork. Our first charge was to vote in a Captain to lead the group, which ended up being me(go figure) . Then came our team name. Playing off the tiger-theme, we chose "UpROARious". After getting introductions out of the way, came the real "challenge". Out team would chose team values we thought were applicable to our group and we would carry with us as we completed each activity at a specific station (there were eight), IT was timed, but not competitive, something that I was concerned about. After a few basic instructions, the organizers sent us on our way. We were off!

I don't want to go into the challenges too deeply, but I assure you it was an amazing race. We had to spell words with our bodies, throw frisbees into baskets, lead team members through minefields (not a real one!), rock climb, complete a marble race, make our way (several times) through a giant bouncy obstacle course, and play card games. Each challenge included a twist - calling on the individuals in the group to problem-solve, lead, and encourage others so that we worked as a cohesive team to complete each activity.

But wait...there's more.

The eighth station was called the "Courage Challenge". What greeted us as we walked in the room included a tank of worms, mice, a tarantula, a boa constrictor, and a black box with a hole in it. This challenge required us to pull cards that identified each of the critters. We then had to reach in each container and root around for our "tiger" poker chip buried in and around the creepy crawlies. I got the worm card, which was pretty appropriate because I have a real problem with worms, thanks to Elvira. But I was able to fight my urge to cry long enough to successfully pull our chip out. With encouragement, all of my fellow team members did the same.

As I mentioned, there was a beautiful snake. I barely could contain myself before eagerly placing her over my shoulders. As you can see, I was a pretty happy girl:

We came together with the other teams at the end of the day - exhausted but exhilarated. It was an amazing race, indeed! I have to say, even though I was the chosen "leader" I felt fortunate to have been placed among such an amazing group of people. Each person took initiative, encouraged others, and shined with their own strengths when the team needed them the most. Our team learned that our natural ability to come together to embrace common goals and core values as partners in this exercise of trust, initiative, leadership and empowerment created a very specific CULTURE. A group of people who truly represent their core values and mission will create the environment that sets the tone for the organization they represent ... and owns it.

Although I will feel the effects of the incredible adventure I experienced yesterday for the next several days, I am so appreciative to have participated in such an outstanding learning opportunity with nine others. People that started off strangers, but remain in my heart in memory as those I was fortunate to stand with and learn from.

And for that, I will always be grateful.

Stay UpROARious, team!


Monday, September 10, 2012

R2 Arrives: Read All About It! Telluride, Day 2

If there was any doubt that Telluride was excited to have close to 300 library staff from all over the United States (and one from Sweden!), maybe yesterday's front page might give you a clue:

My Library Lady Group O' Fun (I am just going to call us LLGF from now on) headed down into the town of Telluride Sunday to explore. We walked and talked and shopped and ate. It was a beautiful day and we had a lot of fun. I have never been to Telluride so it was a really eye opening experience. Oh, I have been to mountain towns before, but there was a real non-touristy vibe here. First of all - the local residents and tourists walked and talked among the tourists. It was very easy going and friendly. It is a bike and dog friendly town, so there are bikes parked in front of every store or business and bowls of water places at every door. I have never seen anything like it. Lots of cute puppies running around. It was really fun.

Eventually, we ran into fellow risk-takers. We chit chatted for a bit about the conference and what exciting things were in store for all of us when some one said, "Look, its R2." and pointed to the ground. Sure enough, there was a orange spray painted R2 logo. Of course, I had to capture the moment:

As we explored other areas such as the conference area and the small village of stores and businesses near the conference venue, we found more and more of these stencils. It really was exciting that the R2 conference was being embraced by the Telluride community in such a big way. I get the economy is tourist town and their livelihood is dependent on things like this. But I think that the Wilkinson Public Library in town has done an excellent job in involving the community and getting them excited too. We have met some locals who wen finding out who we were, ranted and raved about THEIR library and what great work they have been doing. We even saw a library station in a local grocery store advertising the R2 Conference:

I am so ready to get this thing started. What adventures await me as I stepped out the door? I am not entirely sure. But I inspired by those who are inspired. The town of Telluride is vibrating with energy and excitement.

So, shall we? Let's go. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Risks & Rewards Encountered: Telluride, Day 1

What a long day! Made the trip into Telluride today and arrived in town close enough to dinner to make our way to downtown Telluride to get a bite to eat. Hence begins my adventure into a weekend of many risks...waaaaay sooner than I expected.

My Library Lady Group o' Fun is staying at a condo (which is FAB, by the way!) in Mountain Village, which turns out to be an about a 20 minute ride on a gondola to get to the town of Telluride.

Uh, Oh.

I have never been on a gondola and truth be told, when I found out that riding it would be required, I had a mini heart attack. I am not afraid of heights, as much as I am depending on this little box hundreds of feet above the beautiful mountainside to chug me along a finger thin cable breaking...stopping...plummeting to the ground. So, unless I haven't made it clear - I was petrified.

I told my friends of my close to the surface fears and they assured me it would be fine. It was safe. It will be beautiful. So I put on a brave face and climbed aboard and made the ride into town.

My friend snapped this picture of me:

Can you see the terror in my face? I hide it well, I think. I was absolutely sick to my stomach. There was swinging involved, periodic moderately bumping, and alarming noises. I didn't look around much, tried to quell my sinking feeling in my belly, and passed the long 20 minutes with nervous laughter.

But I survived. We met a fellow risk-heavetaker from California on the ride into town. We all walked the quaint streets and wandered into a cute little piece of Italy where I nommed on this lovely plate of heaven:

I will be honest, the ride back was scarier. It was pitch black. The thing even friggin' STOPPED! I spent most of the time looking at where the floor of the car would be if it wasn't complete dark. I hated it. 

But you know what helped me through? My fellow Library Ladies. They talked to me, they laughed with me -  they did what they did best. They knew I was scared and rallied around me to support me during a particular challenging event. I probably would never have got onto the crazy gondola without them.

I really can relate it to working with a good group of people in your library. You know you have a great group of people when they recognize you may encounter a challenge. They come together to help you get past. I have been very fortunate to work with many different and diverse staff. I have also encountered some real challenges personally and professionally. Never have those I worked with closely, fail to step up and help me out. Library connections are amazing that way.

I am still nervous about the next few days because I know I will be riding it regularly. But I also feel like each time, it will be easier and easier. 

At least I hope so....

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Are You Experienced? Choosing the Risks and Rewards of Culture

So I have been so crazy-busy with work, family, (LIFE!)... that I have neglected my beloved blog that got me here today. In my last entry I spoke of writing in it regularly to prepare for my upcoming adventure. Pshaw. THAT didn't happen obviously. But I promise to be better over the next few days, because the R-Squared Conference is upon us. WOOT! a participant at the conference you have to choose an "Experience".


Anyways, we have several to choose from (and commit to!) and I decided on "Culture". Now, culture can mean a lot of different things, but this is how the R2 folks see it:
"Staff culture is at the heart of any organization, and core values influence an organization's culture, including internal processes and community perception. The Culture Experience will help attendees understand the key concepts of what builds a vibrant, creative, risk-positive organizational culture and how employees at all levels can influence and support it."

Cool, right? I am intrigued. And to be quite honest, a little frightened. This disclaimer accompanies the description of this particular "Experience":
"NOTE: Participants will be on the move. Bring comfy shoes and a sense of adventure."

I read that as:
"HEY, YO! You will be running around and not sitting much so bring your sneaks...oh, you will also be doing some crazy stuff!" MWAHAHAHAHA!!!


I have heard it is an Amazing Race type of "adventure" and there indeed will be some physical activity involved. And perhaps some scary, not so safe things going on as well. Like your-feet-will-not-be-touching-the-ground things. A little worried I may be this person in the group:

But look at me...I am getting ahead of myself! I am just stoked to be going, participating and networking with  fun, innovative people from across the United States (and one from Sweden!). Look for more posts about my adventures in the next few weeks and follow me as I participate in this amazing risk-taking conference...and reap the rewards.

Next stop...Telluride! 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I'm A Winner! Next stop...Telluride, CO! happened.

The impossible? So it seemed to me.

But to my surprise and amazement, I was notified buy the R2 gods that I indeed had earned one of the scholarships that would get me to the library event of the year...the R-Squared Conference. Woo and Hoo!

I guess after the shock wore off a bit, my first thoughts were...nervousness. Weird, right? I guess I feel there is a lot of pressure from my co-workers, my library community, MYSELF to do good by taking this opportunity and running with it. I am super stoked to be going, but I know it is an important time for me. I want to share my knowledge and creativity and learn more too. I am really committed to making the most of this event, both personally and professionally.

And some is a requirement. Because in big giant neon-Vegas lights part of a scholarship winner's obligation is to actively PARTICIPATE and LEAD several aspects of the conference.

Say what?! You want little ole me to actually be part of this thing? Whoa. That is heavy, dude. I mean, it is awesome but also means that conference organizers trust and believe in me (and many other scholarship winners) to make this event a success. Far out! I'm in.

This blog was created in hopes of getting one of the coveted scholarships. Now that it has come to fruition, I have no use for it any more...and think I will let this baby die.


I actually am going to make it a permanent addition to my library lacy life and document my journey through this little adventure. Expect most of the entries to be about the days and weeks leading up to the conference. I also hope to be able to blog while I am there - adding pictures and stories to enlighten and entertain you.

And if you are unable to join me and some of my colleagues in September, I hope this blog will inspire YOU not to miss an opportunity like this again. :)

Ready? Here...we....go!