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Are YOU reading on the level?

A friend of mine, a librarian and lifelong reading enthusiast, shared with me the Excel spreadsheet her newly minted high school graduate niece keeps as a personal book record. Organized from about kindergarten through the present, this spreadsheet is an effective and evocative album closely akin to a well organized collection of snapshots and class pictures of this 18-year-old's reading experiences--or places she's gone and documented and remembered across her book life to date.

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The Power of Naming

Almost all of us of a certain age retain some vestige of memory about how we thought and felt about the cultural shift from the tripartate choice among Mr./Mrs./Miss to a slate in which Mr.'s female correlative of "Ms."  Whether it was immediately agreeable, or the answer to a personal and even long held political belief, or vaguely uncomfortable, or even disagreeable in its break with tradition, we learned that a simple change in moniker could--and did and still does--provide for allowances of perceptions unavailable when the term didn't exist or existed only "out there somewhere else unre

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The art - and act - of listening

For twenty years, I've been teaching library staff best practices in reference and information and referral interviewing. It's been way longer that I've been practicing reference work, and "practice" here comprises both repetition for the sake of skill building and working with comers who want and need the service (think medical or legal "practice", just two other professions which require constant improvement while consistently providing skills in the aid of others needs).

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Embed 'Em Where the Action Is: Watering Holes

Every week, I have the opportunity--often the opportunities--to provide on-the-spot reference services at a local coffee shop. Among other morning caffeine inhalers on hand as I make use of my own most portable electronics, some shyly ask about the rudiments of choosing and/or using specific creation-enabled tools (iPad, smartphone) . Others ask for help altering the settings on their ereaders. Another kind of query relies on my ability to connect them to online resources when they've been stumped by their own efforts to find the very specific information they'd like to uncover.

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Learning and Teaching by Pattern Recognition

There is no longer any credible argument that a range of tech skills aren't  important to 21st century literacy. Yet one worry/concern/unhappiness I often hear from public library staff is frustration with trying to teach folks how to navigate various databases and distinguish the user's perceptions of databases from the World Wide Web. Maybe reviewing what we know about our own--and users' --abilities to recognize patterns can lower that threshold of angst. Pattern recognition is something we do all the time:

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How Do Off Duty Discussions Influence Your Library Practice?

Over the weekend, I spent a couple hours in discussion with three lawyers, one practicing, one retired from an academic career, and a third disillusioned and in the throes of considering other vocational options. At some point, the talk turned to classification--within library systems of materials and, in hyper-contrast (?), by the Nazis of populations--and the question was floated: are you a lumper or a splitter?

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Learning and Teaching by Pattern Recognition

There is no longer any credible argument that a range of tech skills aren't  important to 21st century literacy. Yet one worry/concern/unhappiness I often hear from public library staff is frustration with trying to teach folks how to navigate various databases and distinguish the user's perceptions of databases from the World Wide Web. Maybe reviewing what we know about our own--and users' --abilities to recognize patterns can lower that threshold of angst.

Pattern recognition is something we do all the time:

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Happy New Social Media Year

Here at Infopeople, the new year brings a generous buffet of free webinars, high ROI online courses, and a variety of special projects. You'll continue to hear about these from time to time right here on the Infoblog.

This blog, of course, is one form of social media we use to spread news, ideas and experiences to you, our community of librarians, library fans, library lovers and cognescenti. We are stirring the pot in some other social media channels as well:

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New Year's Resolutions @ My Library

Once upon a time, when public library collections revolved around the paper of books and magazines and the vinyl of locking CD and video cases, the midwinter high school break was nigh and all of the teen workers employed at my public library wanted to schedule extra hours of work. One of the reasons we had created and maintained this worker classification was to give adult staff more awareness of how teens saw the library as a working environment, and another, of course, was to expose the teens to the library as a working environment.

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