May 25, 2004

And with that Folks...

I'm heading to Traverse City for a couple of weeks.... I will not post here for a few. I'm unplugging.... A Cool Change if you will. (I'll probably blog a bit to the TC pages though)

Best to you all... I'll be back before I head to TX and the start of school....

Posted by Michael at 08:21 PM | Comments (0)

I'm a KCPL Fan!

Thanks Steven and Jenny!

I was totally impressed with David King's talk at CIL. The KCPL RSS stuff is incredible!

And I agree with Jenny... I'm working this way at SJCPL and the KCPL model is priceless!

Posted by Michael at 08:18 PM | Comments (0)

Cool Change

I left the Library today for 7 weeks leave. I have worked there full time for 13 years. I start my PhD studies in two weeks. This is what was on the radio as I pulled away:

If there's one thing in my life that's missing
It's the time that I spend alone
Sailing on the cool and bright clear water
Lots of those friendly people
And they're showing me ways to go
And I never want to lose their inspiration
It's time for a cool change
I know that it's time for a cool change
Now that my life is so prearranged
I know that it's time for a cool change

Posted by Michael at 08:13 PM | Comments (0)

May 24, 2004

URLS I need

Get Your EUID:

iServices: iServices Portal


Helpline: 940/565-2324

Graduate School: 940/565-2636

Forgive this self serving entry..I gotta geta grip on registering!

Posted by Michael at 09:21 PM | Comments (0)

IOLUG Snap (before My Talk)

Posted by Michael at 09:06 PM | Comments (0)

SLS Tech Summit Snap

Caught before the class: Jenny, Aaron & Bob

Posted by Michael at 09:02 PM | Comments (0)

Texas Center for Digital Knowledge

Posted by Michael at 05:44 PM | Comments (0)

I've Got GMail!

Within an hour of my posts about wanting a gmail address.... I had two replies!

Jeff Godin, library IT guy, from -- guess where -- TRAVERSE CITY IMed me! Thanks so much Jeff! Our deal? When I'm in TC I'll buy him a coffee and will talk library tech for a bit! Coolness! Jeff also gave me my invitation to Orkut back a few months ago and started a library community there.

I am now available at tametheweb (at) gmail (dot) com

Then I got an e-mail from Susan Vaughn at the Suffolk University Law Library. We chatted via e-mail and worked out a deal so my department at SJCPL can have an address for learning/training/etc. "I would like to donate it in a good cause (although the all you can drink Guinness on gmailswap is very tempting)," she told me....

Thanks to two kind library folk!

Posted by Michael at 09:01 AM | Comments (0)

May 23, 2004

Wow! Local news station adds RSS

Channel 16 RSS feeds!

I was tickled this am to see our local NBC affiliate has added RSS to their Web site! The format for sharing content certainly is gaining ground! I checked the Web site of the CBS affiliate -- WSBT -- and they have not added RSS as of yet.

Posted by Michael at 10:47 AM | Comments (0)

May 21, 2004


As part of our Staff In-Service day last week, the whole SJCPL team took the Myers Briggs Type Inventory Assessment Tool with our facillitators Sharon and Dan Wiseman.

I am an ENFJ. Seven years ago, we did the test and I was an INFJ.

The purpose? To show the library staff how differently each of us meets the world and experiences it. We broke up into types (NFs for me) and did an esxercise. It was pretty darn cool.

Posted by Michael at 12:04 PM | Comments (0)

Wireless Access... Nice!

Jenny writes:

"And that's not even counting today's adults that are already sitting at Panera every morning, surfing while sipping."

Uh oh! That's me for sure!

Take a look at Jenny's note about wifi success from Steve Oberg, who I've chatted with a few times.

Posted by Michael at 09:27 AM | Comments (0)

May 20, 2004

SLS TechSummit Class 5-19-04

Bob and I taught an afternoon session yesterday at the Surburban Library System headquarters for Jenny Levine. We had ten library folks from all different kinds of libraries in to talk about technology training. It was a blast! Bob and I play off each other well and I look forward to teaching with him again!

Jenny moblogged it here and here. Aaron worked the virtual Reference Desk and participated!

Our PPT is here!

Posted by Michael at 03:34 PM | Comments (0)

I'll Swap Ya! GMAIL Please

Library folk -- have an extra gmail account laying around to offer? Check out my swap post at

Posted by Michael at 12:09 PM | Comments (0)

May 19, 2004

Ten Tips for Technology Trainers in the Trenches

In honor of our program today at SLS, I've been pondering some trainer's tips...

Be prepared! Prepare the training materials, such as updating notes, URLs and facts and remember how quickly things change in the technology world. Prepare the training space: set up computers, test equipment and test software. Get to know the room if it's the first time you've been there.

Know your audience. Who are they? Plan for specific groups: Students, Faculty, Seniors, Novices or Teens. A class for seniors will be different than a class for your teen users. Check out all the stuff you can find about learning styles, presenting technology to various groups and successful program planning.

Know your training equipment. Understand the workings of the PC or Mac and the projector set up. Be wary of cool presentation technology JUST for the sake of technology. Your folks in class may just be confused about the sudden breakdown of a Bluetooth/USB/touch pad/smart board/wifi.MP3/whoosits in the middle of class.

But - don't miss a chance to show off new technologies. Adding circulating MP3 players to your library? Host "Meet the MP3" night at your library and give folks a chance for hands on contact and time for questions. Do the same for a new wifi initiative. Use your wifi savvy staffer who can explain such technology to folks and bill it as "The WiFi Wonder" will be available for support and questions in the library computer lab on Wednesday night" --- a darn nice thing to do to promote such a service.

Enjoy what you do! Have fun with teaching and bring your interests & life to the class. Do you collect Fiestaware gravy boats by buying on eBay? The group will love to hear about it. Enjoy training and don't sweat the glitches with'll always be something!

Rehearse and know your outline but don't just read the script. No one wants to see you standing stiffly and hiding behind notes. We want to engage learners with an easy style, patience for snafus and an environement that does not threaten the technoterrified. Be comfortable with the topic so you don't seem nervous.

Know your topic well or find a staff member, faculty member, volunteer or contractor who does. Assign the class to someone with an affinity for the subject -- your staff eBay guru can teach the auction class! Embrace new technologies like Digital cameras, PDAs and MP3 players. Farm out stuff that you just don't have time to master. Photoshop class?? Find a consultant that teaches such and work out a deal!

Feel out of the know? Read blogs, monitor RSS and seek out anything in the media that covers the tech world. It'll filter into your training soon enough. I always grab USA TODAY when they have an extra TECH section!

Promote your classes: Use your library's Web site & blog, e-notification and RSS feeds, create fliers and brochures, and alert the news media.

Listen to your audience. What classes do they want? What are they asking about? Ask, take note of trends and develop new and exciting training sessions as the technology world grows ever bigger!

Bonus: I repeat: HAVE FUN!

Posted by Michael at 08:55 PM | Comments (0)

Instant Messaging at the Library: Re-Evaluating IM in your Library

The more I read (Abram and Luther in LJ this month!), the more I ponder, and the more I IM with colleagues and SJCPL staff, I realize we need to get serious about this form of communication.

I saw this recently in a library and it made me sad:

I totally understand restricting open chat rooms...but not IM. Just sayin!

Posted by Michael at 08:07 AM | Comments (0)

May 18, 2004

Update Your Digital Camera Classes!

Reuters Tech Story on Digital Cameras

And this!

Take a look folks!

"Digital camera shipments are seen rising to 68.6 million units this year from 47.9 million in 2003, research firm IDC said on Thursday in its Worldwide Digital Still Camera Forecast. Shipments rose 71 percent in 2003 from 2002."

Nice. This little article offers a lot of stuff for those Digital Camera classes!

Posted by Michael at 09:27 AM | Comments (0)

May 17, 2004

I'm over it - New e-mail

I have received over 500 spam messages this weekend. So I turned off the old address here... mstephens (at)!

New address:

mstephens7 (at sign) tametheweb (dot) com

mstephens7 (at sign) mac (dot) com still works as well!

Posted by Michael at 02:54 PM | Comments (0)

Seattle PL.. I'm swooning

Blake rocks!

This is a good one. SPL probably is the first library of the 21st century and will set some standards for study and emulation for years to come. Read the piece at the New Yorker. It fired me up big time this am as I sit at Panera!

Lordy! I love libraries!!

Posted by Michael at 09:37 AM | Comments (0)

Steven points to "Plogs"

Steven points to an article called "The Virtues of Chitchat", by Michael Schrage, which, Stven writes, "discusses the use of blogs within corporate IT departments, most notably with keeping everyone informed with ongoing projects. Schrage calls them project logs, or "plogs"."

Lovin' it!

Posted by Michael at 08:58 AM | Comments (0)

May 15, 2004

Up North!

I'm heading North for 36 hours to open the cottage. I am not taking the Powerbook so no updates until I return.

Posted by Michael at 09:34 AM | Comments (0)

Rosenbaum on New Technologies

Using a PowerBook (YES!), Dr. Rosenbaum took us through a review of a similar talk he gave 6 years ago and then looked to the future.

"Trendspotting: Libraries & Technology (or what do I have to learn now?)

Librarians getting together -- "Community of Practice" - Shared work practices

Six years ago:

The web is becoming a community
Digital Neighborhoods and virtual communities
Chat Rooms

Current Technical Trends:

*Wireless Libraries - Bluetooth/ 802.11g

*PDAs, Tablets, Cell Phones - Cheaper, more common, wireless and net access. Libraries need to think about a new range of services that serve these devices. Developing web interfaces for devices

*RFID - Making its way into libraries via retail

*Security - Hardware firewalls, Libraries need people who really know what they are doing when setting up security. This will be increasingly important.

*DRM - Controlling content

*Web Services - Standard means of operating amongst different platforms, W3C

*Semantic Web - Interoperable, sharing of information. Agents do things for us: auctions, tickets, etc

*Blogs - used in education, media and business

*RSS - Content delivery

Current Social Trends:

*Security - Preventing and detecting unauthorized use of a computer

*Spam - could clog the e-mail system in the future

What do I have to learn now? A lot - quickly - we have a sociotechnical environment that is changing quickly! What does the future hold?

Developing digital reference services
Developing and managing digital libraries
Creation of complex database driven web sites
Understand and negotiate DRM
Creating & updating a library blog with an RSS Feed
Being able to lock down your library's network
Delivering a range of library services through a wireless network (and to a wrist phone)

Posted by Michael at 06:21 AM | Comments (0)

Indiana Online Users Group Meeting

Got Questions? - Serving Up a Glass of New Technology
The Indiana Online Users Group Spring 2004 Program was yesterday at the Plainfield-Guilford Township Public Library in Plainfield, Indiana, on the west side of Indianapolis.

Here's the blurb for the day: "The world of library technology is constantly changing. Reading about those changes is good, but hearing how your colleagues are using new technology is better. Take advantage of this chance to ask questions and learn from others during the IOLUG Spring Program. Howard Rosenbaum of IU SLIS will give us an overview of new trends in the library world. The remainder of the day will include fellow librarians from Indiana covering a wide variety of topics. There is sure to be something to quench everyone’s thirst for more information."

What a great day! I got to see old friends, colleagues, new friends and discuss some cool stuff happening in libraries. A highlight was introducing myself to Howard Rosenbaum, who I have heard great things about. His talk was wonderful! (I have notes I'll post next)

I did an expanded and updated version of my blogging program from the Indiana Library Federation meeting in April.

The presentation is here.


Posted by Michael at 06:16 AM | Comments (0)

May 13, 2004

Support LISNews!

When I discovered LISNews, I wanted to teach everyone at SJCPL how cool it was to get all that news and info in one place. I've been evangelizing it for over a year... Now, we need to give back a bit! Blake needs some assistance with server costs. Read about it here and donate what you can!

Back in the day, I was the list owner for Enchanted: the Stevie Nicks Mailing list and I had to ask for donations a few times to pay for server space etc. The support was overwhelming! So I totally understand how important it is to kick in a couple of bucks to keep a good thing going!

Posted by Michael at 08:34 AM | Comments (0)

May 11, 2004

Art of Blogging VIA Blogs in Higher ED

Run don't walk to: and check out Ken's commentary and link to George Siemens' presentation "The Art of Blogging" at

I'm presenting Friday in Indianapolis at the Indiana Online Users Group Meeting and this is great stuff to think about and discuss!

Some of Siemens' key points:

RSS will be bigger than blogging
Not everyone is a blogger
Everyone is a potential RSS subscriber
Personal blogging and work may not always be wise

OH yes!

Posted by Michael at 04:12 PM | Comments (0)

May 10, 2004

Power of Blogs & Content

How cool is this? I just posted that bit about our two staffers doing the program in Indianapolis. I posted it here... because I'm tickled for them and I think their topic is very important. I posted it to the SJCPL LIfeline as well. And THEN I posted it to our internal news blog! Three places... same content...(I did change the article title each time -- Internal Title: "Congrats Larry and Ralph!") shared with you all...our library users...and the staff!

Posted by Michael at 11:31 AM | Comments (0)

Security & Crisis Prevention in Libraries by SJCPL Fellas

Congrats to Larry Bennett and Ralph Takach!! They presented a program attended by over 100 people in Indianapolis on Thursday, May 4, 2004. "Defusing Hostility and Preventing Violence in the Library and Techniques for a Safe and Secure Library, sponsored by the Indiana State Library, was a success!

The program offered librarians the chance to:

• Learn how to recognize early warning signals of anger or hostility.
• Become aware of how to handle unsettling situations involving patrons by using a variety of communication styles.
• Learn how to keep the behavior from escalating into a crisis and how to protect library staff through intervention techniques.
• Learn how to maintain composure in a stressful situation involving a patron.
• Decide when to call for security or the police.
• Learn about library building security and how to protect your building from theft and crime.

The two presenters bios & topics:

Ralph Takach, Facilities Manager, St. Joseph County Public Library, is a Certified Trainer in the “Street Smart from 9 to 5” program designed by the Crisis Prevention Institute. He will give an overview of skills and techniques that have proven successful at the St. Joseph County Public Library.

Larry Bennett, Head of Security, St. Joseph County Public Library, was employed by the South Bend Police Department for 33 years and was the Chief of Police in South Bend for the last three of those years. He will address various methods that are used at the St. Joseph County Public Library to keep patrons and staff safe and secure.

And of course, the photos:

From left to right: Larry Bennet, Ginny Andis, Planning Consultant for the Indiana State Library, and Ralph Takach


Posted by Michael at 11:24 AM | Comments (0)

May 08, 2004

10 Things A Library Can Do to Boost their Techie Stuff*

(*without breaking the bank)

(Thoughts this am, connected to Panera's WiFi network, an iced tea, and the whole weekend stretched out before me..)

Blog! The tools are free. Blog internally and externally. Promote your stuff to your users. Promote the library to the staff. Bring out your staff's hidden creativity. It's time well spent.

Send out your Web content via RSS. Not everyone may know what's up with RSS but they soon will. That little on your site says a lot!

Use IM to answer patron's questions. The software is free! Publicize your library's screen name and see what happens. A small investment of staff time brings your resources right to people you want to reach.

Investigate WiFi. Implementing a wifi network in most small or medium-sized libraries would not be hugely expensive. Routers etc. are reasonable... We're talking ACCESS...that's what libraries are all about!

Meet and greet with other tech folks and librarians in your city, county, region. Lunch with folks from the local college library and the public library offers loads of knowledge exchange for the price of the meal!

Educate the staff about all the cool new things this post is about. Do they know about blogs, RSS, and WiFi? A tech-savvy staff shows our library users how well a library system is allocating resources. "Do you have WiFi?" a patron asks. "What's that?" should not be the reply!

Conferences are expensive but try to send some folks. Look for ways to send staff that saves money. Some provide free registration for speakers! Some library service agencies offer discounts to big conferences. Grants and scholarships are available as well.

Let your new librarians stretch their wings. New ideas and fresh perspectives about technology come from NextGen'ers...give them some tech projects and watch them thrive!

Visit Web sites like Webjunction to take advantage of all the FREE stuff they offer. Training modules, advice, best practices... oh yeah!

Read your favorite tech magazines but also the mainstream entertainment/computer/lifestyle stuff. That's where the next big things will be discussed - What the 16 year olds are doing now is what we'll be talking about in 5 years! (Video chat anyone? AIM SN mstephens7mac)

Posted by Michael at 10:16 AM | Comments (0)

SFPL Plunges into RFID Sea

Via and RFID in Libraries:


Library officials will seek about $300,000 in the city's 2004-05 budget to begin the program, which could take at least six years to fully implement and ultimately cost millions of dollars.

I'll be watching this. Please please...will a librarian at SFPL start a blog and chronicle the project???

Posted by Michael at 09:50 AM | Comments (0)

Wanda in LA

Working on the article about "technolust," Chris introduced me electronically to librarian Wanda Bruchis in Louisiana. We spent an hour on the phone talking tech and planning it was just the coolest. Wanda's library was featured in that NYT article I mentioned here.

Thanks Wanda! I look forward to meeting you at a library conference someday!

Posted by Michael at 09:37 AM | Comments (0)

May 07, 2004

Kansas City is Rockin My World

I'm finishing up the first draft of my "technolust" article today. IMing with Jenny and reading over my notes, I've decided Kansas City is, in the words of Beck, "where it's at."

David King, cool IT/Web guy there just sent me this page for the KC initiative to get 100 wifi hotspots in KC, including some parks:"That's right - KC (the city) is providing free wireless access, through this company -  I think the goal is to have 100 hotspots in KC. They have about 87 now (some free, some not, I think). The cool thing is that some KC parks are now wired."

Cities, towns, burgs and villages - Please take note!

(Thanks David!)

Posted by Michael at 10:57 AM | Comments (0)

May 03, 2004

Liz lawley on Teaching New Technologies

Nice post at Liz's mamamusings::

I enjoy Liz's stuff a lot. This one I particularly liked.

As a fella who someday would like to teach, this bit was interesting:

The future, I think, is to let go of the traditional approach of teaching how to do things in a specific language, and instead offer a more studio-like environment in which students are given access to resources and tools, and then work on developing a project. (We teach most of our classes in “studio mode,” but in most cases they’re far from real studio approaches—they’re lectures with occasional hands-on exercises.) Surprisingly, it’s the students who are often most resistant to this mode of teaching—we’ve successfully conditioned them to see school as a series of core dumps, and switching gears into a more user-directed model often generates resentment and confusion rather than enthusiasm and creativity.

Posted by Michael at 02:57 PM | Comments (0)

May 01, 2004


Check out this Wired piece about shuffling:,1284,63068,00.html?tw=rss.TOP

As I sit here this chilly Saturday am at Panera Bread, writing the tech planning article and blogging, I'm shuffling and it's wonderful... I'd forgotten about "Love is a Stranger" by the Eurythmics and Blondie's "Shayla."

Posted by Michael at 10:29 AM | Comments (1)

Weblogs in Higher Education and the IUSB Librarians

Librarians are great!

One of the real pleasures of talking about blogging is seeing what people start to invent for themselves with the tools, rather than assuming that the tools are good for some handful of particular things. - Ken Smith

I had lunch yesterday with IUSB Director Michelle Russo. We always have so much to discuss in the realm of librarianship and technology. She told me about a professor at IUSB who blogs and who presented a session for her staff on blogging. Ken Smith teaches in the English Department at IUSB and writes about blogs and higher education.

He has some great things to say about RSS, libraries, etc.

Take a look at his posts about the IUSB Librarians and his Libraries category.

Posted by Michael at 08:55 AM | Comments (0)