Thursday, April 3, 2014

Let's play catch up...again!

So March was crazily busy, and I can't for the life of me understand how it's already April! From helping plan and oversee a week full of technology programs for teens to putting the finishing touches on and releasing a new website, library life proved to be quite exciting this past month. So here's what's been going on:

DIY @ Oskaloosa Public Library
The 9th through the 15th of March was Teen Tech Week, in which libraries across the country plan programs and events that promote the non-print resources and services they make available. At my library, I decided we should go all out and do a program every day that week! 

We started with a "Tech Take Apart" on Monday - teens got to tear apart some old computers we had sitting around. We followed that with "Build a Robot" the next night and let the teens build non functioning robots from the computer parts. Each of these programs were pretty popular (for our smallish library), drawing between 10 to 15 teens!

Wednesday, we got to Skype with John Corey Whaley, author of the Printz Award winning novel, Where Things Come Back. Sadly, we only had two teens at this program - but they had great questions, and John was brilliant! Thursday, we tracked down an Atari, Super Nintendo and an N64 for a classic video game day - another wildly popular program, and Friday we concluded with a "Pixel Art Workshop" in which we crafted with Perler Fuse Beads.

Overall, I felt Teen Tech Week was successful, and we were even featured in a video by the local news channel, the local newspaper, and even mentioned in an online article in Library Journal and School Library Journal's The Digital Shift!

A couple months into my directorship, I pretty much decided that the library's website needed a major face lift. I felt that the current site just wasn't easily navigable. You had to dig and dig for information. So, I started toying around with a blogger site - just to see what I could do. After months of transferring information, struggling with coding, and even half giving up and researching outside developers - I finally got to the point where I was happy with what I came up with.

I shared the site with staff, then presented it to the Board of Trustees, and we went live with it on March 17th! Now, I know it doesn't compare to other, more professional sites, but I think it's a big improvement on what we had. In my brief search for website developers and designers, I discovered it was going to take a lot of money - money that I felt could be spent on materials, staff, and other important things. Our situation may change, but for now, I'm pretty satisfied.

Books & Beer Club
Back in December, I tweeted an article about book clubs in bars to the local Cellar Peanut Pub, suggesting we start our own club - and we did! We meet at 6 p.m. on the last Tuesday of the month at the pub, and I have to say I look forward to each discussion. We started with Twelve Years a Slave in January, then Meg Wolitzer's The Interestings in February, and just had our March discussion about Doug Coupland's Eleanor Rigby last week. 

It's been an awesome way to meet and connect with others in the community, enjoy and learn about craft beer, and chat about books! This month, we'll be moving on to John F.D. Taft's The Bell Witch - which I need to start reading soon.

Osky Social Media Group
Another task I've committed to since starting as director has been trying to bolster the library's social media presence. I've noticed, though, that besides the crazily popular Facebook posts of an alternative local news source, there's not much activity here in Oskaloosa. A number of small businesses and organizations in Oskaloosa are on Facebook, and a few are even on Twitter, but getting people to interact and join the conversation has proved to be a challenge.


To help, I decided to start a Social Media Group. Along the same lines as the Social Media Clubs of larger cities, we meet on a regular basis to share ideas, learn new things, and chat about trends in social media. In February, I led a discussion on paying to promote pages on Facebook, and last week we talked about managing multiple networks. I'm really encouraged by the response I've gotten, and I look forward to the group growing!