The Rock & Roll Librarian

March 29, 2006

My Dream of Comeuppance

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tyler Rousseau @ 4:19 pm

I have this dream and I imagine most bloggers do as well.  For me, it is that I write a "call to technology" article so incredibly good it gets posted on other sites, linked to, perhaps even published.  In addition, however, my dream has a certain enjoyable twist to it as well.

 I write semi-anonymously since my supervisors, like many supervisors, tend to be wary of the blog.  Anyway, in my dream of blog-stardom, the article gets so huge, it winds up in an email and is sent to my supervisors.  Then, at the next supervisors meeting our Director pulls out the article, which is anonymous, and hands it to everyone at the table.  She starts raving about the wonderful points made in how we need to better ourselves technologically, how we need to look at the direction the Library is headed, and how this person actually knows what they are talking about.

Its at this point the dream gets hazy as there are so many options.  I could 'out' myself by standing up and saying "thank you very much."  I could try to stymie them further by coercing them to read more of my articles and then see how long it is until someone figures out I'm the author.  Or, I could simply cry as I've been touting these changes to them ever since I started.

 Are there any other techies out there who dream similar dreams?

March 25, 2006

Lessons in Podcasting

Filed under: Podcasting,Technology,Uncategorized — Tyler Rousseau @ 9:29 pm

MicrophoneEverything I had to learn about Podcasting I generally learned from scratch.  As I worked through my successes and failures with podcasting, I learned a few rules that, when followed, generally led to a successful podcast.  I've always heard you are supposed to do a "top 10" for advice columns.  I can't count that high.  Here are eight:

1. Be comfortable with the sound of your voice. Few people like the sound of their voice.  Not to worry, even if your fears were true (and you sounded like a wimpy version of Urkle) people would still listen if you had something interesting to say.

2. Podcasts can be too short or too long. The first podcast I did was a test and a little over a minute long. I got a lot of compliments for the content but every single reply also said it was, by far, the shortest they've heard. On the other hand, I've had many people complain that they've stopped listening to podcasts because they were "way too long." In general, keep podcasts over five minutes and a little less than twenty five minutes. This is the average attention span as well as the average commute to work for most people. 

3. Keep the podcasts semi-focused. Certainly have fun but have something to say. If you are doing random thoughts, connect them through some sort of segue; this is what every great comedian and storyteller does.

4. Take the time to edit. Editing can greatly improve the quality of a podcast. By taking out the 'uhs' and 'dead spots' you can keep a comfortable pace for the listener. Editing also allows you to get rid of the background noises that may take away from the focus of the production.

5. Don't Rant.  Anybody can pick up a microphone and complain for twenty minutes.  If you make a habit of doing this, you will find yourself with a very limited audience.  You can be critical, but your best bet is to be objective about it.

6. If you interview someone, know something about them.  The worst interviews you will ever listen to are ones made from cookie cutter questions by an interviewer who has no idea who their guest is. 

7.  Make sure you have a layout.  If you do interview someone, make sure you have a list of topics you can cover if need be.  If you are going to do a monologue, have an idea of where it is going.

8.   Use Inflections.  The only person to make a fortune by speaking in pure monotone was Ben Stein, but even he needed a sidekick to break the monotony. 

March 24, 2006

Gaming in the Library

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tyler Rousseau @ 5:22 pm

The sound from a Playstation and it's gamers is in and of itself loud.  Forty teens in a single room is a guaranteed noisemaker.  So, put six Playstations and forty kids into the same room and have them compete to see who is the best and you are left with the perfect setting for…

A Library?

Yesterday, we held what was clearly one of our most successful programs in a long time.  EB Games sponsored a PS2 Madden '06 Tourney.  They graciously brought over 6 brand new Playstations, TVs, games, T-Shirts, posters, and a $50 gift certificate to the winner.  FM&W, a local toy distribution company, donated various puzzles and educational toys to give to participants as well.

In a city that is notorious for having high-interest but low turnout at its programs, we had over 40 kids show up.  Some came to watch, others came just to hang out and be a part of the event.  All that came had a good time.  The response was incredible. 

 At the end of the day, I helped our sponsors load and unload their equipment back into the store.  I expressed how thankful I was for their support and told them that our community rarely has anything like this happen.  I guess they must have had a good time too because we've planned for them to come back and kick off our Summer Reading Program!

March 21, 2006

Adventures in Podcasting

Filed under: Podcasting,Technology,Uncategorized — Tyler Rousseau @ 6:44 pm

Over the past couple weeks I have started a brief adventure in podcasting.  Part of this is to try and create support for a possible Podcasting Librarians page for the IT-section of our state.  Obviously, I will likely have to do a little "cleaning" if the podcasts go professsional.  I currently podcast under the moniker of The Rock & Roll Librarian

 Thus far, it has been a blast.  Currently, I am using Podomatic for my testing platform.  This is a free site which also offers a basic device for recording your podcasts, just Bring Your Own Microphone.  The site is very user-friendly. 

Of course, there are some short comings if you choose the free service.  You can only change the look of your page for the first three weeks (I found this out on day 22).  You can only house nine podcasts on your page at a time (archiving will liberate some of this restraint).  Working outside of the wizard can be a bit difficult to customize.  So, what you see is what you get.  But then again, it is a TRUE-FREE podcast site.

One great feature to Podomatic is the phone messaging system.  You can connect K7's free messaging service and link it to your podomatic account.  Then people can call the number and leave pod-comments!  Pretty neat, if I do say so myself.

Personally, I chose to use a different recording software and import to the site, mainly so I can place my own music at the beginning and it is easier for me to edit the 'uhs,' 'coughs,' and other various gaseous noises which might otherwise be found in the background.  I'm using Acid Music to create brief musical intros to my monologues.  Since I now have a newborn at home, this is about as much musical recording as I get to do, and it has been an absolute savior for my sanity.

If anyone is interested in getting into podcasting, then I would highly recommend checking out Podomatic for their first attempt.  As far as using it for a pay-site?  I haven't made my mind up about that yet.

Copyright Laws explained in a Graphic Novel

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tyler Rousseau @ 5:20 pm

Bound By Law?This is a neat site put together by three members of Duke University’s Law Department… and one of them is the bassist for “The Garden Weasels.”  That’s right, a super cool musician who also digs graphic novels… where have I heard that before?

When do you need to pay royalties on film footage, music, pictures, to celebrities, etc.?  Copyright and Fair Use laws are at the best of times a very gray area.  Bound by Law provides a great storyline which makes these iffy conditions at least a little clearer to the reader.  You can download a free version of the comic here or you can purchase a copy of it from Amazon.  A great addition to any library for light reading in a very heavy subject.

March 14, 2006

Kicking and Screaming Into This Year

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tyler Rousseau @ 1:47 am

 Okay, some of my coworkers "sort of" know what a blog is.  They “might have heard of" a podcast but definitely never used one.  They thought Firefox was an old videogame when I mentioned it.  One of my coworkers asked if we would need to teach our teen patrons how to use a Playstation 2 when we finally started lending video games.
Am I really that much of a techie or are my coworkers techno-dinosaurs? 
One of the most difficult things I have to get across to tech-wary peers is that the technology they hear about is not the wave of the future, it is now.  Podcasting was the word of the year in 2005; it is new but it is not unchartered waters.  Let's not even get into what is going to be available five years down the road; that is going to blow their minds.
 In fairness, I am a bit of a technophile.  I love blogging, podcasting, vodcasting, botcasting, certain wikis, and all the stuff in between.  I’m constantly talking about the RIAA, DRM, DMCA, and other issues of electronic information.  So yes, I do love technology, but none of this stuff should be unknown… especially if you are a librarian.
And it is the latter fragment of a statement as to why I am confused when my fellow Librarians are lost on technology.  It is not that I feel I am so far on the edge, it is that I feel these Librarians have lagged behind.  Don’t forget, Libraries are about information, not books.  Today, information is largely being posted on the Internet by way of pods, blogs, and vods (oh my!).  For Librarians to simply ignore the emergence of this technology, they have ignored a potentially valuable source of information for their patrons.  To do so, is not just poor upkeep of ones’ professional skills, it is an injustice to the patrons we are supposed to be providing for.

March 7, 2006

Katrina Revisited

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tyler Rousseau @ 1:01 am

I supposed it really shouldn’t be a surprise that a video came out showing President Bush knew about the potential dangers of Hurricane Katrina before its impending disaster.  I guess I really shouldn’t be shocked that he waited so long afterwards to personally address it or make his address to the nation.  In a way, I guess nothing disappointing about this administration should surprise me anymore.

 Nonetheless, I stewed over the video until I reminded myself of how he handled September 11th.  Then I relaxed a little.  If he did put himself in charge of this disaster it would have been at least another week or so before he talked to the country, then he would have waged a war against some ocean that didn’t actually have anything to do with the Katrina disaster. 

 But hey, that ocean could have something to do with the next one


March 3, 2006

Truancy and the Library, Part 2

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tyler Rousseau @ 4:54 pm

I have come to a conclusion on the issue.

 Yes, the children do attend the most violent school district in New Jersey and our Mayor seems to have no interest in correcting this issue.  It is also true that these kids live in a gang infested areas and kicking them out of the library puts them into unwanted territory on the streets.  My supervisor argues, “if we make them leave here, where are they going to go?”

My response to this argument now is, “If they don’t have a high school education and diploma, what are they going to do?”

 Education, no matter how god awful the system is, has got to be better than none at all.  If we encourage these kids to skip school and not attain their diploma we are doing far worse than calling a truant officer and kicking to the streets, we are giving away their futures.

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