ASSOCIATES (2008, March, v. 14, no. 3)


My View from the Back Room

carolb.gifCarol Borzyskowski
Library Associate II
Winona, MN Public Library

I always put the library’s website on my columns. Not just because it is MY library’s website, but because I do it. Of course now that I am under the city’s auspices, it is a lot more formal and regular than it used to be. It is well, institutional, sort of like an old fashioned library web site. Before Library2.0 and Web2.0!

I took an on-line course on Web2.0 not too long ago, and then I went to MLA and sat in on seminars on Web2.0 and Library2.0 and have spent a lot of time trying to figure out what to use and how to incorporate some of these dandy new tools into our library’s web site. I have been busy browsing other web sites, and Dorothy we aren’t in Kansas anymore! (My apologies to you if your name is Dorothy and you live in Kansas—I am just using a metaphor trust me!)

I realize I am not only limited by my lack of knowledge and expertise, but by the functionality and protocols of our web server. Which is one of those web based servers that are basically made for nicely storing and displaying long government documents but not for utilizing lots of gadgets. However, and here is the ray of sunshine—Minnesota (yes it is cold here in the winter!) has started “23 Things on a Stick.”

This is one way to get into the swing of Library2.0 and learn about all the new ways we can help our library reach out to various patrons: patrons who are computer savvy and those who are not. It involves a bit a time but not an overwhelming amount because you can actually be a skimmer and surface reader/learner or go a bit more in-depth and really play with the options. I keep getting stuck in Flickr and run out of time! This is a good chance to take the time to focus on personal and professional development around Web 2.0 tools. It is a blast to explore these tools and figure out ways to use them in the library or in our own web site

“23 Things On a Stick is the Minnesota twist on the Library Learning 2.0 program developed by Helene Blowers at the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenberg County and adopted or adapted by many other libraries and organizations since then. 23 Things On a Stick was developed by the seven multitype multicounty library systems as part of the staff development the multitypes offer in their regions.”

There are three of us from our library going though the 23 things. It is building camaraderie, and excitement. One of the women on our regional board is doing the “things” and she stopped in to chat too. The first “thing” was to set up a blog, and we comment on each “thing” we get through. If you want to see some of my creations check out my blog! Bluecats23.

What I am really enjoying is the chance to grow and learn, and, to become a more valuable employee at our library. It isn’t always easy to carve out new territory in a government job (well, city government job) but it is really giving me something new to talk about in the break room. In fact I think I am friendlier and even nicer. That is what happens when I get to come out of my hobbit hole, under the steps Harry Potter room, ILL area! Besides, in the break room there are windows.

Many of you are far ahead of me in learning about some of these new social software opportunities, and many are wondering what the heck I am talking about. So, I really do suggest you check out the site if you want to read more, or follow some of the links they have listed. The 23 things are: Blogging, What IS Library2.0, RSS feeds, Flickr, Mashups & others, on-line image generators, Email–IM & SMS, Web Conferencing & MeeBo & Twitter, Sharing documents like Googledocs, and Soho, Wikis,, tagging, Digg & more,on-line productivity tools, LibraryThing, Libraries & games, Assignment Calculator & the Research Project Calculator, ELM productivity tools, YouTube & others, Podcasts, Face Book & MySpace, AND ways to KEEP learning!

Along with learning new social software tools (what Web2.0 & Library2.0 are comprised of) I am happy to announce our library is going to use a product that generates readings lists, best seller lists, or newsletters, and delivers them by email. Man oh man, this is not only a big step forward, but most of the hard and tedious work is done for us. So we are able to offer something new and fun to our customers while marketing our library, AND the lists don’t have to be updated by staff, and yes, they link to our catalog, and items can be reserved. Yippee! That ought to generate some new interest.

Even though it doesn’t require a ton ‘o work, it is still something new, and that means “here comes the learning curve” again. What I am enjoying is the fact that all our staff is excited about this new service and many are volunteering to take over a list or newsletter themselves. I don’t want you to think we are all sitting around in a big group hug or softly chanting, but it does feel good to work together on a project. Yes, it does. And, it feels great to learn and grow!


Carol Borzyskowski, Library Associate II, has worked at the Winona Public Library in Winona, Minnesota, for over 20 years. She is almost 2 inches shorter now than when she started. To the left of her computer monitor is a magic wand which she uses to answer circ questions and regulate the weather. She has been known to make lights dim when passing under them. She co-edits and publishes a “Dam Fine!” literary magazine (Main Channel Voices) and although she has not given up on being recognized as a brilliant poet, she realizes no longer can anyone say “and she did it all so young!”