Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Thing 1 -- Set up your blog

Through the encouragement of Arrowhead Library System and NCLC, and as part of my work on the Minnesota Voluntary Certification program, I have registered for Minnesota's "23 Things On a Stick" technology learning program. This blog is the first of my 23 things!

Arrowhead Library System has previously offered a workshop in setting up a blog. Since I do not (yet--hopefully someday!) know HTML, following the workshop, I did set up a blog as a homepage for the Aurora Public Library. Because that blog is substituting for a homepage, rather than using it in the more normal journal fashion, I initially set up different sections for different types of information in the order that I wanted them to appear--and then I update each section with new information. Sections on that blog ( include "Selected new titles," "Upcoming Events", "Library News," a section with a link to search the library's local and regional catalog, and a "Teens Talk Books" area giving teens the option to share information about books they have read and enjoyed. (So far, the latter section has not taken off). I am also planning on adding a temporary section for reader's participating in the "Iron Range Reads" project to post comments and reactions to Tim O'Brien's book The Things They Carried. I also included a links section with links to a few regional and local sites--more could be done with this area. I have found the blogger web site very quick and easy to update,--although, like anything else, I do need to take the time to regularly do so.

I have created THIS blog just now and specifically as a part of the "23 Things...." project. I will use this blog in the more traditional pattern to comment on my experience of the 23 technologies.

My creation of an avatar for this blog was my first experience with using Yahoo avatars (_how_ long have I had a Yahoo account?....never mind!). I found the avatar easy to create, and the instructions easy to follow--although as several other participants have commented, you could take a lot of time with it!

Since I have used Blogger before, I did take the time to explore some of the features when setting up this blog. I also took up a couple of the challenges. First, I added a counter to this blog--something I have long meant to do for the library's web site. Having taken the time to put one here, I did promptly go and add one to the library's web site as well. I think that definitely points out the value and use of participating in the "23 Things..." project--having made the committment to participate, it places a priority on taking the time to learn about and apply various technologies. I also set up a poll on the library's web site (my initial poll asks how often people use the web site; I think the next one will ask which sections users find most useful...the options are myriad!). I am looking forward to seeing the data about how often the library's web site is accessed and to exploring how I can use that information to better market the web site and to improve the site to better fit user's needs.

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