Thursday, July 16, 2015

Google Guides: Gmail, Drive, and Calendar

Allegany County Library System recently requested that I create a few quick guides to help their staff orient themselves to the world of Google Apps and I thought I would share the finished products here in case anyone else is interested in getting started with Google or learning more about what Google can do for you. Click below to view and download the PDFs. 

Gmail Quick-Guide. 

Google Calendar Quick-Guide.

Google Drive Quick-Guide. 

ALA Annual Conference 2015

Author Name: Elizabeth Hulett
Library System: Western Maryland Regional Library

Top 3 things learned:

I attended several different sessions at the ALA Conference in June 2015 including once called No Sugarcoating Allowed: Four Honest Perspectives on Change Management. From this session I learned that there are several stages that people go through during change and one of them is grieving. Many people feel they are losing something when things change and those feelings need to be acknowledged and respected. It is also crucial to keep people well informed during the change process so they feel included and feel that their opinions are being heard. Also, expect problems and setbacks and be prepared for them. Those managing the change should also not take everything on themselves. Delegation of tasks will not only lead to buy-in from the staff, but will also relieve some
of the stress brought on by the changes.

How to implement: 

If a major change were to take place in my organization I would make sure to keep all staff informed about the reason for the change, what the steps are going to be to achieve the change and what is the
envisioned result.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Gmail on iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPads

If you don't want to download the Gmail app and would prefer to just use the default mail app that comes with iOS devices, here's a video that shows you how to do just that:

Monday, July 6, 2015

Awesome Onboarding: A Preconference at ALA 2015

Why I attended the preconference, Awesome Onboarding:

  • I'm working with 3 WMRL staff and the WCFL supervisors including the WMRL Associate Director and the WCFL Assistant Director to develop a standardized, consistent onboarding process for WCFL staff. We are in the early stages which means we have had 2 meetings and are currently in the process of discovering what each supervisor/department is already doing in order to identify overlap and gaps.
  • I've never developed (nor experienced) a standardized/structured onboarding process before and even though I have a lot of resources to reference just within the state of MD, I wanted to hear what has worked for others including such large corporations as LinkedIn - in order to get inspiration and to be able to inspire others.

According to Steve Weitz from LinkedIn, orientation is:

  • An event.
    • For example, New Hire Orientation! Next Monday from 9am-12pm in the WMRL conference room!
  • Information that is shared is to be downloaded by the new hire for navigation purposes.
    • For example, Where's the bathroom? When is payday? How do I check email?
  • Information that is shared covers Compliance and HR.
    • For example, Do I get health insurance? What's covered? How much vacation/sick/personal leave do I get?
  • Typically, the information is delivered in a classroom style environment, sage-on-the-stage style.

Whereas, onboarding is:

  • A process that spans several months (ideally, 12 months).
  • The employer/supervisor & employee discuss together: How can we partner to make both your career and our organization successful?
  • This experience is customized by role.
  • The process emphasizes empowering employees to connect with others.
  • Promotes quick and focused productivity.

The challenge is how to separate the two, because, yes, they should be separated. One powerful way to do this is to share information with the employee before his or her first day on site. Snail mail or better yet, email them the health insurance plans, the employee handbook, their account info (email address and how to access), etc. According to me, it would be a good idea to have a self-directed (asynchronous) pre-boarding course available to new hires for them to complete on their own time before the first day on site.

Exploring Out of This World Presentation Tools, Tips, and Techniques

Author Name: Tammy L. Gantz
Library System: Washington County Free Library

Top 3 things learned:

  • Best practices for presenting.
  • Powerpont do's and don'ts
  • Tools and techniques for presentations
  • Virtual presentation.

How to implement:
The best practices included an introduction and a little story, knowing your
audience, testing the technology and rehearsing.
For the Powerpoint do's and don'ts they suggested having an organized
structure, simple design, real images over clipart, do not read the slides
and work on stage presence.
Tools and techniques included Google Slides, Haiku Deck, Prezi and

Additional learning: 
Investigate some of the tools listed.

Stem Programming for Preschoolers

Author Name: Tammy Gantz
Library System: Washington County Free Library

Top 3 things learned:

  • Science is a way of thinking.
  • Tech is a way of doing.
  • Engineering is a way of doing.
  • Math is a way of measuring.

How to implement: 
Problem solving path - what is the problem?, Brainstorming
ideas, which idea is the best? Let's try that! Did it work? Let's share it
with everyone.

Additional learning: 
I was disappointed in this class. The hands on
activities that we tried were all well known science concepts.

Bring Out Your Dead!

Author Name: Tammy Gantz
Library System: Washington County Free Library

Top 3 things learned:

  • Many published family histories are available containing information that is no longer available, photographs, and clues.
  • Destination libraries have unique resources and are unique. Patrons come to them.
  • FamilySearch is the largest genealogy organization in the world.

How to implement: Know how to find these family history books to help patrons
working in genealogy.

Additional learning:

30th Annual Children's Literature Conference Shenandoah University

Author Name: Jeff Ridgeway
Library System: Washington County Free Library

Top 3 things learned: 
I met and talked with 4 Newbery Medal Winners (Kwame
Alexander, Patricia MacLachlan, Karen Cushman, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor) , 1
Pura Belpre' winner (Meg Medina), 2 Newbery Honor winner (Steve Sheinkin,
Tanya Lee Stone), this year's Margaret Edwards award winner (Sharon Draper),
several Caldecott Honorees (Aaron Reynolds, Peter Brown, Mac Barnett, Raul
Colon) and other published children's authors. I learned from them about
their backgrounds, their passion for children's literature, how they found
what to write about, how a book goes from being an idea into being a tangible
thing, how the artists produced their picture books, and why we should make
read aloud sessions and readers' advisory skills primary facets of children's
library services. I also learned several teaching strategies that enable
kids to express how they feel and interpret children's stories. I attended a
session entitled "Best Bets for the Classroom" that gave me lists of books to
consider for collection development. I also attended a session facilitated
by the Handley Public Library to see what that library was offering children
this summer in their Summer Reading Club.

How to implement: 
Implementing what I learned involves using the books
written and illustrated by the authors/illustrators who were featured at the
conference and attempting to transfer their enthusiasm and knowledge about
their topics into my story times and in working with parents. I will also be
checking our shelf lists to see which of the authors' books we have that are
available for checkout. I am thinking about how I can create a read aloud
session for older children that will resonate with them beyond the actual
story reading time. I am planning on writing a paper to be submitted for a
grade and would like to use the research for a library program.

Additional learning: 
A conference of this type goes far beyond tangible
benefits--the authors presentations were wonderful in that they were able to
convey a sense of themselves to the audience to the extent that we could see
why they became authors/illustrators and why they became so fascinated with
the things that they wrote/ illustrated. I was also able to network with
other professionals who love books and reading as much as I do. It gave me a
sense that there is a community of readers who appreciate children's books
and who want to do what they can to communicate that excitement to their
students/ public.

ContentDM Users Group 2015 @ Goucher College

Author Name: Tracy Carroll
Library System: Western Maryland Regional Library
Learning Event website:

Top 3 things learned:
1. How to input data into ContentDM using a Google Worksheet
2. How to add funnels into reporting for Google Anayltics
3. When importing data from old WHILBR into Digital Whilbr, how to add extra
fields in ContentDM to keep track of the old record IDs.
4. How to add longitude an latitude to ContentDM and use it to plot data on a
Google Map

How to implement:
1. While we don't have to use Google Worksheets, we can use Excel to do the
same thing simply by adding a few javascript files.
2. By adding funnels in Google Analytics we can build reports for a specific
collection to see clearly the activity it is generating.
3. By adding an additional field on the collection table in ContentDM, we can
programmatically point users to the new record on the ContentDM website.
4. By adding an additional field on the collection table in ContentDM we can
programmatically plot locations using Google maps.

Additional learning: I also learned about some additional open source
resources that will allow us make the front page look nicer. Also, we went
through some of the XML coding and learning how to edit TMX files.

Beyond Book Groups: Fun Library Programs for Adult Readers

Author Name: Tammy Gantz
Library System: Washington County Free Library

Top 3 things learned:
Ideas were given about adult programming which included:

  • Hosting book clubs at bars using edgier titles or a book club on a ferry.
  • Book-to-Action events where you read a book about an issue, have a speaker, and then do a service project.
  • Literary pub trivia events.
  • Murder mystery night which you host at the library after hours.
  • Story nights - participants tell a true story, five minutes or less, relates to a theme. (usually have at a bar)
  • Speed dating for book lovers where they share a book.

How to implement: To implement some of these ideas one would need to research
a bar/restaurant that was willing to be a partner. Research would have to be
completed to set up a murder mystery night or questions researched for the
literary trivia night.

Additional learning: Even though they stated it was a lot of work I would
like to learn additional information about the murder mystery night.