Thursday, November 30, 2006

Those Walgreens photo CDs

I remember (vaguely) this going out on an email at one point, but you can't open Walgreens photo CDs on the public computers. Walgreens puts a photo viewing program on their CDs and the program tries to run, and it can't.

You should be able to open the photos in Internet Explorer (go to File - Open - Browse), although the computer I was working on hung up when I tried.

You can also open the photos in Microsoft Office Picture Manager. You should be able to use this to edit photos also, although I don't have experience doing it. Does anyone else? Does anyone have any other tips? Feel free to add a comment, or edit this post and add the info.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

AzLA conference notes: American FactFinder

This was part one of the presentation by Jerry O’Donnell from the U.S. Census Bureau. He noted that the regional Census office will send someone out to offer hands-on training to anyone who will provide a computer lab and do the publicity. One of the workshops they offer is for grant writing, focusing on doing the demographic research that grant writers must supply as part of their grant request. Information about their workshops is at this page .

While much of this information is familiar, as we have used American FactFinder before, they have added some new features and continue to enrich the data they provide.

The FactFinder homepage offers several ways to get quick information, including Population Finder, Fact Sheet, and the Fast Access to Information box at the top of the page, where you can search by county, city, or Zip code. The Census Bureau now provides official numbers from the 2000 census as well as data from the 2005 Community Survey. The American Community Survey is a new annual survey, which currently includes only communities of 65,000 or larger. Each year the Census Bureau will expand the number of communities they survey, and by 2010 they hope to have accurate estimates for neighborhoods and rural areas.

The detailed data sets for the Decennial Census can be accessed and customized. First you will choose your file. Summary File 1 has basic demographic data; Summary File 2 is best for in-depth research. Then you will be prompted to select a geographic area and desired criteria. These reports can be printed, downloaded in Excel, or saved online to load again later. Comparison tables allow you to choose areas to compare but are not further customizable, and they cannot be manipulated in Excel. Data from the 2000 and 1990 census is available. (Older data is not available because it is stored on tape reels.)

The American FactFinder homepage now offers an address search. Keep in mind that the data you retrieve will not be specific to the address you enter but an average of that census block. You can use a business or library address to find data about the neighborhood surrounding that location, as for new business owners analyzing their service area. Results also show congressional districts, and you can map a chosen district or tract.

Population projections are available at the state level only. City and county projections are best done locally, and can be found at the Arizona DES website.

Some other definitions and remarks:
* CDP means "census designated places." These are unincorporated areas.
* Official counts are done only at the 10-year census. Estimates are done at any other year (in the past; future years' estimates are called projections). The decennial census is done for the purpose of reapportioning seats in congress, but other public services need additional and more frequent data, so estimates are done.
* The homeless are not officially counted, as there is no official definition of the homeless. People in shelters and abandoned buildings are counted.
* Immigrants are counted regardless of their legal status. The census does not ask whether they have proper documentation; they count everyone residing in a household.
* Part-time residents are counted wherever they reside most of the year.

Also at is a help page that offers detailed tutorials, covering topics such as creating tables and maps and finding economic data. The Kids’ Corner has quick facts about states. And there is a page detailing how to cite American FactFinder as a source.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Adult Ed webpage updates 11/20/06

  • New citizenship class for February 6, 2007 - March 6, 2007
  • 2007 GED Test Schedule & Info
  • Change to GED testing fee: Effective January 2007, the fee for the GED test will increase to $65.00. (thanks for helping me wordsmith, Michelle) --this has been changed from $65 to $70 and back to $65, just so you don't think you're crazy.

AzLA conference notes: Library 2.0

A discussion of how the Pima County Public Library implemented "Library 2.0" features. Library 2.0 is the use by libraries of Web 2.0 features, including blogs, wikis, forums, and community networking sites. This "second-generation" web is focused on collaborative and shared information, and it is not so much a new technology as a "new attitude." Library 2.0 can be defined as a new, user-centered paradigm, where the user is in control of how and when they access information. Libraries become organizers of self-expression rather than sole providers of information, and library users become empowered contributors of information, not just consumers.

Librarians who work with young people have noted that this generation is especially receptive of Web 2.0 and Library 2.0. Young people using online services expect to be able to comment on websites, have their own user profiles, and have platforms for their creativity. Pima county’s teen book and poetry forum has been extremely successful. A recent program on MySpace, addressing the use of the service and safety concerns, was also very successful with young people and their parents, especially because they had media coverage.

Some examples of the use of Library 2.0 include podcasts at the Orange County Library System and Denver Library. LibraryThing allows readers to catalog books in their own personal libraries (and potentially at public libraries) and to assign tags, which act as customized subject headings.

Some considerations should be kept in mind before implementing library blogs, wikis, or other Web 2.0 tools:
* Know how staff stand on new technologies. Administration must support this new vision of library service. The new tools should be thoroughly explained to other staff members, with examples of how they are relevant to daily work, so they do not feel threatened by the changes. Technical staff should take part in the implementation to make sure hardware, software, and server requirements are met.
* Work with what you have. Non-technical staff might have to learn to use these tools if a technical department is not available to work on them full-time. Be brave enough to try new things, even if you might have trouble with them, in order to keep up with patrons.
* Evaluate software options. Free software is most affordable, but it is often advertiser-supported, and patrons may think the library is endorsing these advertisers. Open-source software is free and can be edited and customized, if staff knows how. Proprietary software may be customizable, but added options can be very expensive. You should always consider whether the benefit is worth the cost.

AzLA conference notes: Electronic Databases

New databases, which we have seen on our databases page, are available through ASLPR, MCLD, and Pima County Public Library. These databases are now available to the patrons and cardholders of every public library statewide. This is funded in part by a grant, which the state library will try to extend if the databases are well-used.

Some new features of these databases include:
EBSCO now has a Visual Search, which allows you to search for published images and photographs. You can access the Image Collection by going to the Basic Search tab, then selecting Images. Newspaper Source now has transcripts from radio and TV news.

Thomson-Gale offers a Power Search that searches across all the Gale databases. Legal Trac is a new database that offers indexing and some full-text articles from law journals, as well as coverage of federal and state laws. Health Reference Center Academic offers articles such as those found on PubMed in full text.

Grolier has Passport for older students. Popular Science includes background information for science experiments.

SIRS also has a portal to search across all their databases: see the Database Features tab. They offer a Citizenship product, Federal Government information, and Discoverer for younger students.

OCLC FirstSearch offers bilingual searching of Latin American journals in the humanities through Clase & Periodica.

WebFeat is also provided by the ASLPR/MCLD/PCPL consortium to all public libraries in Arizona. This aggregate search tool allows you to search across all the databases simultaneously. The Advanced Search feature allows you to set limits such as date range; you can also select several databases to focus the search on rather than searching them all. Each library’s website is responsible for building a link to WebFeat to allow “All-in-one” searching. (See the Cochise County Library for an example.) Some libraries have not yet been able to get this link working, however, including CPL.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Friends' pages updated

Hannah revamped the Friends webpages, and I uploaded them. The info is current and looks a whole lot better! Official 'word' will go out soon, but they're available now:

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election day

The number one question for today: where do I vote? The only way to find this out correctly is to search by the person's address at this page on the county recorder's site.

Number two question for today: do you have sample ballots? Betty brought in a few but, again, you have to search by address to make sure the voter is in the right district. Search here to find congressional and state legislative districts. If the recorder's site is down you can try this one, but make sure to use the "Find & Map Your District" tool on the left.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Chandler Police Motorist Assist for jump-starts, tire changes. . .

Did you know that you can call the Chandler police nonemergency number to request a Motorist Assist volunteer (x4130) if you or a patron needs help jump-starting a car, changing a tire, etc? They aren't always available, and even if they are working, they may have other more important jobs to do, but it's worth a try! Make sure to tell them which library, and they'll want the make/model of the car they're looking for.

Here's a description of the program (from the Chandler PD's website)
Good Samaritans... Guardian Angels... Life Savers...
These are just some of the names people are using to describe the volunteer members of Chandler's Motorist Assist Program.
Serving as uniformed civilians, the Motorist Assist Aide (MAA) provides assistance to motorists who have encountered vehicular problems while utilizing Chandler City streets, and to patrol officers while in the field.
They will provide services such as:· Pushing vehicles· Jump-starting vehicles· Providing fuel, water or air· Assisting with changing tires· Or other assistance as is reasonably required
MAAs also work closely with sworn Police Officers and may be called to:· Assist at accident scenes· Conduct traffic control· Handle found property· Assist in searches for missing persons· Register bicycles· Assist Park Rangers· Enforce City Codes involving parking, primarily handicapped and fire lane violations
The MAAs drive marked police cars with "Volunteers In Policing" markings. The uniform consists of a light blue shirt with Chandler Police Department patches on the sleeves and a Motorist Assist badge.

Boston maps around Revolution - Johnny Tremain

A patron wanted a map of Boston around the time of the Revolution, so her son could see the places in the book Johnny Tremain. I didn't find anything big/clear enough in books, but there was a nice map online at the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library: . The reader allows you to zoom in and print what you see (that zoom level). That was what she needed, to be able to see street/place names. I printed the map as several pages, and taped them together for her.

Here's a description of the collection (it's not just Boston): 200,000 historic maps and 5,000 atlases documenting the evolution of the printed map from the woodcuts, copperplate engravings, and lithographs, of centuries past to the latest computer technologies of Geographic Information Systems. The geographical focus of these maps, atlases, and globes is the World, Europe, and America, with a particular attention to New England, Massachusetts, and Boston from the 15th century to the present day.