Monday, June 27, 2011

Thing 3: Branding and Spin-offs (aka Am I CSI:Miami or Joanie Loves Chachi?)

This week's topic is branding, which I have found has brought out some interesting questions today.

I have been on Twitter for a couple of years now and ever since the big explosion of ebooks in libraries, I have found myself talking more and more professionally on Twitter, and now has carried over to my personal blog with some posts about OverDrive and ebooks. When CPD23 came along, I thought it would be the perfect chance to split off the more professional discussion and go back to keeping my blog full of books and yarn and chickens. I created a blog name that suited me (three gadgets plugged into the outlet as I type), have been thinking about sprucing it up, and deciding how much I want to post and the topics I am most interested in (ebooks, Web 2.0, technology). I can definitely brand myself this way.

However, I have realized something: aren't I already branded? I have been "booksNyarn" on the Internet for over four years now. I have my real name and real photo up in most places. I talk with other librarians, publishers, editors and companies on Twitter. My opinion pieces on ebooks and OverDrive have been some of the most read posts on my other blog (along with my desire for chickens), so why did I think I needed to recreate the wheel?

I followed Jo's advice on the CPD23 blog by searching my name in Google. It seems that Kristi Chadwick is not as uncommon as it could be, and the assorted spellings are enough to knock some of my results several pages in. However, then I added "libraries" to it, and that made it all me for the next couple of pages (although that photographer Kristie Chadwick sneaks in somehow). I was amazed to see how many results I had. In fact, I was surprised to find an April article from Library Journal which actually quoted from my blog, which I didn't know about until today. I am already branded this way.

Which is what brought me to thinking for this post. Am I creating a spin-off that can be successful, or is this going to fold after a season? CSI has made it work from Las Vegas to Miami to NY. Law & Order did it across police departments and the country.  I did love Happy Days when I was a kid, but everyone knew it was Richie and Fonzi that made that show work, not Joanie or Chachi.

Being a librarian is a large part of me, but is there really enough of me to go around? Should I keep trying to give myself two brands, or just evolve the one that is already established? Should I fold this one back into the other blog, keep it for this project, keep going with it? Go ahead and take a look at my earlier posts here and at my other blog. What do you think?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Thing 2 Update: Visiting Blogs

It has been a little difficult for me this week to visit as many blogs as I have wanted to. I have been able to get to about a half-dozen for commenting. With several hundred participants, I am sure that I have not found half a quarter?) as many as I would like. I will keep checking out blogs through the remainder of the weeks with the help from CPD23's Delicious bookmark. The tagging they have done has been very useful, and while I admit to have just been going through the US bloggers to start, there are so many international librarians that I want to check out and see what similarities and differences there are in work with colleagues from other countries.

I was interested to see that I have the only blog tagged as "automation network". I guess I am the only librarian in a consortium participating? I do miss working within a library, although I have been thrilled with the opportunities I have received for expanding my technology skills. I have learned to build Drupal websites, rip apart html code, digitize two-dimensional materials, and still do some collection development with our OverDrive collection. Right now I am testing the new online catalog from Evergreen as our first group of libraries get prepared to migrate next week. Working with the consortium also broadens my perspective of what librarians need for services in different fields: public, academic, school and special. Unfortunately we cannot always provide a perfect balance to our service, but I strive to find out what the libraries need and help tailor it to their population.

Does your library belong to a consortium?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

CPD23: Thing 1 and Thing 2

Who doesn't love a Dr. Seuss reference?

This week kicks off Week One of 23 Things for Professional Development. As I indicated in my opening post, 23 Things is aimed at introducing tools that could help development (professionally and personally) as a librarian or information professional.

I decided to participate, and create this new blog, because of my work as a librarian. I don't work in a library anymore. I work for an automation network that provides ILS (integrated library system) and other technology services for about 150 libraries in central and western Massachusetts. My official title is Access Services Supervisor and I oversee the department that handles the online catalog, digital repository, reference databases, OverDrive digital catalog and online presence (website, intranet, Facebook page). Beyond that my department is part of a larger group that handles any helpdesk calls for library staff support with the library management system. We are in the middle of a crunch time as we get ready to migrate to the open-source system Evergreen in two stages in July and October.

Since time is of the essence, I wanted to participate in CPD23 on my own time and pace. While some of the tools that will be introduced I am familiar with, others I am not and probably wouldn't have as much of a chance at a guided tour of them without this program. I hope to not only be a resource for colleagues who may want this information in my consortium, but use them myself as I start speaking more and more. This year I presented for the first time at a conference, and I have stepped into a leadership role in the Massachusetts Digital Commonwealth. I am looking forward to continuing to develop professionally.

This week's topics are Thing 1: Blogs and Blogging and Thing 2: Investigate Other Blogs. I am well-seasoned in the first topic as I have been blogging for almost four years at Books, Yarn, Ink and Other Pursuits. This is blog has seen a transition from strictly personal to personal and book reviews, and I have been very pleased with its direction. There are many wonderful book bloggers out there, but I wasn't finding blogs about the topics I like to read and get recommended to, so I started doing some of my own. It also brings me back to reading and gives me a connection back to the work I used to do in public libraries in acquisitions and reader's advisory. While I have some professional blogs in my feeds, I am pleased that CPD23 gives us access to Delicious bookmarks of all the participants for Thing 2.  There are several hundred participants, and the bookmarks have been tagged by specialty (public, academic, corporate, network, location, etc).

If you have any questions, feel free to leave me a comment. Thank you for stopping by!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

OverDrive WIN: Is it really?

OverDrive is back in the news, just before the ALA Conference down in New Orleans, giving hints at some new platform enhancements that will supposedly "balance the interests of libraries and publishers" and streamline operations and reduce staff time devoted to both collection development and format tracking.

The platform will be called OverDrive WIN and will supposedly include, among other services:
  • support for the forthcoming Kindle Lending Library, plus all the platforms and devices being used by patrons
  • DRM-free EPUBs
  • Patron-driven acquisitions
  • new collections of always available ebook titles in various genres, including romance, children, young adult
Some of these ventures sound very promising. I know that library staff, and those of us at the consortium level that have to handle support, can hit a wall with some issues. OverDrive is usually pretty responsive in assisting, and it will be good to see them take a more proactive approach with patrons directly.  I like the idea of having more subscription models, but will wait to see if they are going to be more like their current "Max Access" audiobook titles or lean toward HarperCollins decree. Patron-driven acquisitions can be hit or miss, but at least they are describing it as an opt-in feature for libraries.

All in all, I will be cautiously optimistic with this news. I will not be at ALA this year, but am sure I will get all the news from my director and all those who are attending. 

If I find follow up responses to this announcement, I will link to them from the blog.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Welcome, Welcome!

Hi! Thank you for stumbling upon this blog. Many of you may know my alter-ego booksNyarn on Twitter or over at Books, Yarn, Ink and Other Pursuits. While I do write about some of my librarianship over there, I decided I did not want to flood all my followers only interested in my book reviews and chicken pursuits with shop talk. However, I will be linking between the two at times if it is relevant.

This blog will be getting its initial use this summer as I participate in CPD23. What is that, you ask?

From the site:

23 Things for Professional Development is a free online programme open to information professionals at all stages of their career, in all types of role, and anywhere across the world.

Inspired by the 23 Things programmes for social media, this new programme will consist of a mixture of social media "Things" and "Things" to do with professional development. The programme starts on 20 June and will run until early October 2011.

Each week the CPD23 blog will be updated with details of the next thing to be explored. Catch up weeks and reflection weeks are built into the programme, so it's not a problem if you’re going to be away for a week or two!

Please do spread the word to any friends, colleagues, or groups that might be interested: please pass on this message and link to If you’re on Twitter follow @cpd23 and tweet with the hashtag #cpd23.

If you are interested in the topics they will have, definitely sign up. I will be looking forward to participating.