Librarian podcast idea – fleshed out

Thanks to Dave, who tuned the podcast idea into more focused form.

Each episode of the show will focus on one topic. The idea is to show off a number of perspectives on an area. Sometimes they’ll match up, other times they’ll be opposed.

Ideally, I’d like to keep a chunk of contributions, ready to mold into a show whenever one pile reaches critical mass. So please feel free to contribute to any or all of these topics for the first four themed shows:

-Beginning librarians – As a beginning librarian myself, I’d love to hear from others outside my University in the same position or just a few years into the field. Talk up your perspective! What do you think you bring to the job? How has grad school treated you? Any worries for the profession? Go in any direction you wish.

-Online publishing for libraries (Wikis, Blogs, RSS, Podcasting, etc) – Do you use any online publishing system in your library? Maintain a library-related system outside of work? What’s the setup like? What has patron/student/user reaction been? How would you like to see it used? I know there’s a bunch of resources on this topic already, so I threw it in as one I hope will draw up submissions fast.

-Google – A bad thing for libraries? Good thing? Somewhere in the middle? Google Print and Google Scholar in particular are hot button topics.

-Video games in libraries – I’ve seen strong opinions on this issue. Do they have a place in libraries? If so, which ones should be on the shelf? Got real life experience?

-Grab bag – While I’d prefer clips on the topics above for practical reasons, feel free to submit on any not mentioned here. An occasional random show could be fun, but I didn’t want to splinter contributions too much at the start.

And you don’t have to be a librarian to submit. Work in a library? Use a library? Your thoughts are valuable too.

Please try to keep submissions to at or less than five minutes. I’m scaling back my ambition at first, aiming for three contributors plus framing comments from myself. About 20 minutes total.

On to new business: The ‘cast needs a name. Best I’ve come up with so far is “Voice of Libraries”, trying to play off the Voice of America name, but it seems too clunky and unoriginal. Maybe “Radio Free Library”? Rescue me from blah names.

Again, send submissions to Also, please let me know if you’re planning on contributing.

Librarian podcast idea

I’ve had an idea rolling around in the back of my head for a while now. For some reason, I haven’t followed through. Then, yesterday I read Meredith’s post about making ideas into reality. So, I’m gonna give it a try!

I’m going to make a podcast. I’ve wanted to experiment with one, but never had a content idea meaty enough. Then a couple days ago, it came to me: call in radio. Of course, it wouldn’t be live. But it can still work.

How many of you have something Library-related to say? You might not want to start up a blog, or the item might not be fleshy enough for publication. So, record it and send it in! I’m aiming for a length of about half an hour. If I can get 3 or 4 five minute submissions per show, plus ten minutes of my own commentary, I really think it can work.

While I said that a five minute submission would be nice, don’t feel limited by that. Shorter is fine, and even a little longer too. If you don’t have the ability to record yourself, I’ll accept short text pieces and read them “on the air”.

I’m really hoping there’s enough interest to get this off the ground.

Send submissions as attachments to:

I only ask that you avoid profanity and keep the tone civil. Please critique this idea, too. Refinements, twists, practical issues I’m not seeing, etc. In addition, I’d appreciate recommendations of software for creating podcasts in Windows.

Update: if you’re reading this via LibraryStuff (Thanks Steven!), I have a new updated entry with more details here.

Buy a Slurpee, get a song

In celebration of the Slurpee’s 40th birthday, 7-11 is giving away iTunes songs with a purchase! Just buy a 32 ounce slurpee, and the code for a free song is printed near the bottom of the cup.

The slurpee costs just $1.39, so if you redeem the song then the slurpee is really just costing you $.40. Not a bad deal on these hot summer days.

I was confused at first as to how I should redeem my song – the code is a bit hard to spot. So look close!

I’m not sure how much longer this will go on for, so take advantage while you can. There’s also a contest of some kind going on, you can win more songs and such at

Library Instruction – (very) basic intro to RSS for libraries

Tomorrow morning I have to give a brief instructional session in my Library Instruction class. I’ve decided to go with a (very) basic intro to RSS for libraries and librarians. In an experiment, I’ll be running the whole thing from this post (with backup copies of links in hand, of course).

Now, if anybody is interested in the links I use in class, they can just come here and try things themselves!

What is RSS?
WebReference has an excellent intro guide to exactly what RSS is.

RSS example – my blog
In a shameless plug, this is the link to the RSS feed for my site.
Bloglines is a basic web-based aggregator (a method of reading and displaying RSS feeds)

Hennepin County Public Library – Minnesota
HCPL is one of the first public libraries I’ve noticed to include RSS functionality in their catalog. Look for the little orange ‘XML’ button.

HCPL search for “Rowling, J K”
Sample search to demonstrate the usefulness of RSS catalog feeds.

Wikipedia list of aggregators
If you’re interested in running a non web-based aggregator, Wikipedia has a comprehensive list.

If time allows:
ABC News Podcasts
And if for some unlikely reason I have extra time to fill, I’ll touch on ABC’s podcasts briefly.

My Portfolio

You might notice an extra button in the upper right corner of the site, labeled “Portfolio”. I’ve been looking for a way to show off some of my work, and this seems to fit the bill. As of now there’s only two projects featured there, but they each represent many, many hours of work. And as I dig through my computer, I’m sure I’ll find more things to put on display.

In case you’re reading via RSS and want to check it out, here’s a link.

Look Out Below!


I got my new fridge today! Only ten and a half months after requesting one. The delivery men decided they didn’t want to carry the old back down the stairs, so… off the balcony it went! Very cathartic.

Circuit City / iTunes Alert

For my birthday, I received an iTunes gift card purchased at Circuit City. Great gift!

Unfortunately, due to some unusual sales methods the card was almost useless.

This is what the card looks like upon purchase:


I, as the purchaser did, assumed that the code used to redeem the card was either contained on the back or within the folded cardboard that makes up the card.

But in fact, the relevant code is not contained anywhere on the card! Here’s the back:

(click thumbnail to enlarge)

That’s right, the code is contained only on the receipt. I didn’t notice this until I went to redeem the card two days after receiving it. Thankfully, the receipt hadn’t been thrown out yet.

Apple’s instructions inside iTunes itself for redeeming gift cards claim that the codes are contained on the backs of cards. Circuit City does not follow this model, and the cashier did not mention it at purchase time. I’m sure someone has overlooked this fact and ended up with a dud card. Just wanted to give a heads up.

Managing Your Online Presence

Prompted by a number of blog posts recently, I’ve been thinking about managing one’s online presence.

I’m very aware of the fact that potential employers can easily Google my name as a sort of introductory level background check. As I send out my applications, what will they find?

I’m not sure why I haven’t noticed this before, but a search for my name as “Chad Haefele” does not bring up Hidden Peanuts until page 2 of the Google results. Perhaps I haven’t used my last name enough on the site. My natural inclination is to hide personally trackable information online. But maybe in the case of this site, where I’m trying to establish a professional reputation, calls for different rules.

Despite not bringing up this site, all of the page 1 Google results, except one, are for the correct ‘version’ of me. I have a somewhat uncommon name, so this isn’t surprising. However, a couple of them are rather odd results. Perhaps foolishly, I used my real name in an online game tied in to the release of Halo 2 last fall. I made it onto a couple of sites related to the game, and will probably be out there to be found for a while yet. While there’s nothing too embarassing in the pages in question, they aren’t first sites I want a potential employer seeing.

Is this something we should be teaching college students? Or high school? Even younger? Everyone makes youthful indiscretions now and then – kids growing up in this hyper-connected era need to be aware that on the Internet, publication is often forever. As the old saying goes, you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. And carefully crafting your apparent personality and participation online could be a big part of it.

Interestingly, if you have a generic name like “Bob Smith” this is probably a non-issue; there’s no way to make yourself stand out to Google from such a large crowd.