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Saturday
Dec092017

BFTP: 6 biggest library annoyances and how to avoid them

The website Lifehacker this week had an article titled: The Six Biggest Media Center Annoyances (and How to Fix Them) and I got excited thinking those smart people were going to help school media specialists become (even) more popular. The "media center" being written about, however, was the home amalgamation of TV, amplifier, speakers, and various tuners, DVRs, etc. - not school libraries.

But it is a great title that I have modified slightly for clarity to use for this post. I am putting on my library patron and parent/grandparent hat in writing this post...

Six biggest library annoyances and how to fix them

  1. Unfriendly/unhelpful librarian. I am always shocked when I see kids treated as an annoyance rather than as a reason for being by any library staff member. You fix this by firing the librarian with the negative attitude and replacing him/her with someone whose personal mission statement includes service to children. The librarian should be a primary reason for coming to the library - not the reason one avoids it.
  2. Book fines. Libraries with policies that seem to emphasis getting books back instead of getting books out, drive me nuts. Find positive ways of helping kids and teacher show respect for other library users by the timely return of stuff. A book sitting on a shelf is worthless.
  3. Computers "for school use only" policies. School libraries should encourage personal learning not just academic learning. OK, a library may have a limited number of terminals and priority should be given to school work, but there is absolutely NO reason for a library workstation to sit unused if there are students wanting to look for information of personal interest. This is a simple policy change. A computer sitting unused is worthless.
  4. Material checkout restricted by age or reading ability. It drives me insane to hear about my grandsons' book checkout being restricted to the "easy" book section or set of preselected materials when they go to the library. At the very least, librarians should allow a child to check out one book of personal choice from anywhere in the library along with the required book.
  5. Poorly weeded collections. A badly weeded collection is not the sign of underfunding but of professional incompetence. If funding is a problem, collections should be getting smaller, not older. The only fix for old, cruddy collections is a dedication to weeding - and a information campaign to staff about why weeding is imperative.
  6. Excuses. There is no excuse for a library program that is not getting better.  Problems with budget, staffing, facility, scheduling and administrative support are not good reasons for not providing kids and staff access to good reading materials, Internet access, and information literacy skills. It is our personal toward our programs, not our situations, that determines our efficacy. Get your head around it.

 So what are your biggest annoyances and how would you fix them? Oh, feel free to creat a similar list for your tech director or tech department. If you're going to dish it out, you better be able to take it as well, my mother always warned me.

Image source

Original post 10/25/12

Friday
Dec082017

Do you adhere to a clean desk policy?

A clean desk policy ensures that all important documents, confidential letters, binders, books, etc are removed from a desk and locked away when the items are not in use or an employee leaves his/her workstation. It is one of the top strategies to utilize when trying to reduce the risk of security breaches.

Having a clean desk helps to not only eliminate clutter, but also helps prevent the likelihood that anyone can gain access to your company’s information or the information of your clients. Clean Desk Policy - 5 Ways to Improve Your Security

Even after working in IT for 25 years, you still come across a new term now and again. For me this week, it was "clean desk" as applied to technology security. As part of our physical security assessment portion of our comprehensive network audit, we are getting dinged on not enforcing staff to have "clean desks."

Yes, I've long understood the need to lock one's computer screen when not at one's desk. And there is the long-running joke about folks writing passwords on sticky notes and attaching them to their monitors or under their desktop blotters. But thinking of sensitive documents, address books, keys was not really a part of my thinking when it came to keeping data safe. Seems data come in other formats than digital - imagine that. I did not connect the years I spent carefully locking my red spiral bound grade book carefully in my desk drawer when out of the room with today's clean desk policy.

Anyway, I am finding the physical security portion of our network health audit very interesting - and it may drive an initiative to make all our staff - and students - more contentious about leaving data in all formats just lying around.

So, if walked by your desk would I see only coffee rings?

Image source "Can you spot the 10 security mistakes?"

Wednesday
Dec062017

My educational Fitbit proposal now reality!

In January of 2015, I proposed an educational Fitbit after watching my kids with their physical Fitbits at Christmas.

So this morning it was fun to read that the Fresno School district is using a similar product. No, vastly improved upon and well implemented program.

I still have lingering concerns about this form of extrinsic motivation applied to learning and behavior, but I seem to be the only one. The rest of the world likes points and competition and tracking.

Damn, first I invent e-books, then digital citizenship, and now this. When will I learn to copyright/patent/traemark my ideas???