Cherry Bomb

lisa11102010
Me, 11/11/2010

[A couple of gentle reminders: I’m still collecting addresses for the Ho. Ho. Ho. holiday card exchange. End date probably first week of December or roughly thereabouts. Second gentle reminder: The pick the literacy charity contest over at Excessively Diverting is running until 12/6! Lastly! I redid biblyotheke.net to be more portal-ish, so while I’ll still be doing my “Collections” every week or so of where I’m writing, you have a one-stop shop for everything Lisa.]

Last week I was ensconced at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa with my partner in crime, Kristin, for the yearly Michigan Library Association conference. Kristin and I presented our poster on Wednesday, “Critical Error: The Need for Michigan Public Libraries to Represent Themselves Online.” To be honest, Kristin and I were totally expecting people to come after us with pitchforks, ready to throw us onto burning pyres because while we weren’t specifically naming names at out poster session, we were in a very broad sense saying, “Hey! Michigan Public Libraries! Your library’s website sucks gonads, here are the reasons why and why this is killing you!” Instead, it seems that many (okay MOST) were like, “You guys, this is awesome. You’ve given us ammunition to take to our boards validate using these resources.” We were greatly relieved, to say the least, to not be run out of town.

What, then, is our research project? Dewey District Library the the nom de plum of our research endeavors. From our about page:

Librarianation is a blog highlighting research being conducted on the current state of Michigan Public Libraries and their relationship with online services. We are investigating not only which libraries have online services, but which resources they are using, how they are being implemented and how well they are incorporated with “Traditional Library Services” at each location. Our findings so far have concluded that there is a wide gap in the adoption of online services and well developed online presences between many Public Libraries in Michigan. The second step of our research will involve identifying the probable root causes of this gap and practical strategies to shrink it.

For our poster session, we randomly sampled 80 public libraries in Michigan, which accounts for 20% of the state total (383). These public libraries are classified by the main branch library for an area (example such as Grand Rapids Public or Traverse Area District), but does not include the branches of a particular library system. So GRPL and TADL are counted as ONE individual public library, instead of 8 (GRPL + branches) and 4 (TADL + branches) libraries respectively. These random samples were across the various classes (class 1 serves a population under 3999 persons to class 6, which serves a population of 50K or more) and we found a lot of interesting data. We put together a SlideShare of the graphics and info we used on our poster to make it accessible. We’ve also got an every growing bibliography. So what else are we going to do with the data? Glad you asked

  • Finish compiling data for the remaining 80%.
  • Blog, publish and present on the topic.
  • Create and distribute “How-To” via web/video/screenshots/whatevs.
  • Visit, photograph and check-in1 at each public library in Michigan. We’ve started this already.
  • Update/Add to LibraryThing Local, Yelp and Google Maps for each library location.
  • Blog and review each of the libraries as we visit them.

Not only are we interested in (essentially) cataloging all of the public libraries in Michigan but we’re also interested in their use of social media and how it is (or is not) affecting their community. Visiting the libraries in person definitely challenges what we find out about them online. Here’s a perfect example: Elk Rapids District Library. You look at their website and you’re thinking, “Esh. This library is nothing special, it has no personality and it is solidly stuck in the 20th century.” Wrong. Images of Elk Rapids District Library. JUST LOOK AT IT. As Kristin is fond of saying, “It is cozy as BALLS.” Granted it was staffed by OAP’s2 with one foot in the grave, but the library was obviously very well loved, cared for and taken care of. I could sit in this room and work all day long. They have a fantastic core collection, new titles, Free Wifi, public computers and loads of other services. This place is just fantastic, so much so that I called TheHusband from the library and told him to start looking for houses in the area RIGHT NOW.

If you’re interested in following us on the research project, which will always be in progress, you can find us at the following locations:

  • Website
  • Blog
  • Twitter [For announcements only.]
  • Facebook
  • Flickr
  • Slideshare

x0x0x,
Lisa


1. Check-in using geo-social services such as FourSquare / BrightKite / Gowalla. If the library is not listed in the service, create it.
2. Old Age Persons.

[Contest]: Pick the literacy foundation for donations from Excessively Diverting!

[This entry originated from my crafts blog, Excessively Diverting.]

Back story:

There is a strange phenomena in my family where the men not only don’t read, it is almost always because they CAN’T read. My brother has pretty severe dyslexia. My father, when he met my mother in the late ’60s, had a fifth grade reading level and was working on his high school diploma when he died in 2000. My maternal grandfather, who grew up on a dirt farm in Detroit, had a reading level and education of a third grader. It is also my understanding that tracing back the men in both maternal and paternal lines, the pattern continues for generations.

What makes this a “strange phenomena” is that the women in my family (my mother and grandmother being the most recent examples) were college educated. One could also argue that it continues with me as I have a multitude of degrees (BA. MA. MLIS.) and my husband, who is one of the most educated and well read men I’ve ever met, doesn’t technically have a high school diploma as he was home schooled.1

Watching my father and brother struggle with what I seemingly have always taken for granted has pushed me in recent years to get active in the fight for and access to literacy for all. The ability to read (and by extension obtaining education and comprehension) should not be something available only for the few, but should be easily and readily available to all, regardless of who/where. In the past I have volunteered as literacy tutor2 but I want to do more. It was then I decided that one of the first things I would do is donate 10% of sales from Excessively Diverting to a literacy foundation. I would also keep a tracker of some sort on the blog page to show how much money was raised and donated for that charity.

Contest:
Because there are so many great literacy foundations out there, I decided to crowdsource for suggestions and turn it into a contest. Here is how the contest works: From now until December 5, suggest the literacy charity or foundation you think should get the donations. I would prefer a U.S. or Canadian based (as my father was Canadian) charity. Contest is open to anyone, domestic or international.

Ways to Enter:

  • Like Excessively Diverting on Facebook: Comment on the wall with your foundation/charity suggestion AND comment below with your FB username.
  • Follow Excessively Diverting on Twitter and tweet your suggestion using #dvrtngcontest: Be sure to ALSO include your Twitter username/suggestion in your comment below.
  • Subscribe to the blog: tell me you’ve subscribed in your comment below and don’t forget to include your suggestion.
  • Comment directly below with your suggestion with a legitimate email address.
  • Blog about the contest, the store, or interview me. Leave a comment below with your suggestion, link to the entry or contact info to set up the interview.
  • Link back to main page of Excessively Diverting blog on your blogroll: If you link back to blog, post your suggestion for literacy foundation/charity in the comments below along with the link to your blog showing the link back.
  • Favorite an item or store on Etsy: You can either favorite single item OR favorite the store. You cannot do both. Do not forget to comment below.
  • If you have already done one (or more) above prior to the contest, please comment below along with your suggestion for the charity/foundation.

Rules

  1. You may enter up to 7 times (one for each task above) but you may only suggest ONE charity/foundation.
  2. You MUST absolutely, positively leave a comment IN THIS ENTRY with what you’ve done and your suggestion for the charity/foundation. If you do not comment below, none of your entries count. For example: there is no way I can track who has subscribed to the RSS feed of the blog, which is why it is utterly important you comment below. Just doing the above doesn’t count if I don’t know about them.
  3. You may comment individually on this entry as you complete them or consolidate them.
  4. You MUST provide a valid and current email address in the comments for contact in case you’ve won.
  5. Cut off is December 5th. As long as the date stamp on anything you do has 12/5 on it, I’m satisfied.
  6. Rules are subject to change without notice.

Prizes:
You’re probably wondering, “Okay, I’ve promoted the hell out of your store and the contest, what is in it for me?” Good question!

  • Winner will be announced on December 6.
  • Winning charity/foundation, based on most votes, will receive donations quarterly from Excessively Diverting.
  • The winner of the contest will receive a completely customizable gift pack from Excessively Diverting! So far this includes a pin and a ornament, but will also include other goodies that will be completely customizable on quotes, colors, everything. Keep this for yourself or customize it for your favorite lit geek, the choice is yours. Gift pack will be shipped by 12/13 to arrive just in time for the holidays.

Okay, that should cover everything. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to comment below or email me.
Good luck!


P.S. Thanks to Bewhiskered for the contest entry suggestions!
1. My husband is the exception and not the rule as he has a rather high-up position at global corporation we jokingly refer to as TheMan. It does pay, seemingly quite well, to be a geek.
2. I’ll be getting back into this once we settle in a definite geographical location.