Monthly Archives: September 2015

Interactive poster assignment

Here’s my first poster attempt using Smore.

smore poster

Here’s my final Glogster poster.

final glogster poster

Discuss the tool you selected for your finished product, and why you chose this tool. You might mention any comparisons with other tools during the practice stage.

For my project, I tried three different digital apps – Smore, Canva, and Glogster. I chose the poster I created in Glogster as my final product. What I liked most about this tool was the flexibility it afforded me in being able to completely customize a template to get the feel that I wanted. In Glogster, I could create a poster completely from scratch (which I did) or use parts of an original template (which I tried). In Glogster, I loved how you had several options for changing the font style, color and size. This was one of the biggest limitations in Smore; for the headline, you had about 3 different font options, but for the rest of the text, you were only able to make it bold, italics or underlined. While you couldn’t change the font style, color, or size at all in Smore, you could in Canva.

What really aggravates me about Smore is that it forces you to order the different pieces of your poster in a very linear fashion. You had to drag the components (text, video, event, image, etc.) into the poster, but then you were only able to stack each of these components on top of each other. In Glogster, on the other hand, you could shift all of these components anywhere you wanted on the page, adding to the creativity and making it easier to create an aesthetically pleasing design. Certain features in Smore, especially, were very non-customizable; for instance, the event box was very scripted and you were unable to change the layout regarding how these event details (who, what, when, where, etc.) appeared.  

Canva was highly frustrating because there were very few “free” text boxes, images, and layouts you could use, which meant you had to import a lot of original content; ultimately, I gave up on Canva for this very reason because it made the program far too limiting. In Glogster, you could import content; however, there was a much wider selection of text boxes and images you could readily use that were free. Another aggravating feature about Canva is that you are not able to upload video or sound as far as I could tell, only images. And once you imported images or clip art, it seemed like the controls for re-sizing these images and adding different colored borders and frames were very restricting.

Describe your experience in using the app you selected. Did you feel your creativity was supported or constricted? How so?

As mentioned, I felt my creativity was pretty well supported in Glogster. For instance, I was able to replace the originally very scary Jack-o-lantern faces with not-so-scary, imported pumpkin clip art. I was able to move all elements (images, text boxes, etc.) around freely. However, one of the bigger limitations I had was being forced to scale my imported clip art and the text boxes to predetermined proportioned sizes. If it was up to me, I would have made the pumpkin clip art images longer instead of more squarish, but it wouldn’t let me do this; I would have also made the rope text box wider and narrower. I finally decided to create a poster without using a template because as nice as it was to have the templates make everything seem so easy, it really restricted your creative thinking about you to design a poster that really conveyed the feel you were intending.  I was also limited to using only the text box styles that were available with the program; while there were a lot of options, there didn’t seem to be many that really created a Halloween feel, but at least I could make all the text boxes look uniform in design. One of the really cool features I could add with Glogster was creating colored, shadowed box frames around all the images and then blur all of the font to create a spooky feel.

Address your reasoning for using specific media in the poster. How did your plans for images, fonts, layout, etc. turn out?

I really liked that I was able to embed a video for the two  Halloween activities that were a little more involved (DIY slime and make your own scary potion). This really helps patrons get a clearer idea of what these activities involve to entice them to come and to help them gauge whether or not these activities are appropriate for their kids. I think my Fertigo font style looked relatively spooky and I liked how the black background accentuated the white, orange and green font color scheme. Because I was proportionally restricted by how much I could re-size the imported images text boxes, I do feel the poster might look a little crowded in places; however, I tried to balance the composition by positioning a video, image, and text box clip on the left and the right sides of the poster with one text box and image in the center and two equally sized pumpkins in each corner. I also wish I could have found a different text box for the Halloween Family Story time title box as the rope just really takes up unnecessary space and doesn’t really add to the Halloween feel; that way, all of the font in the center of the poster could have been bigger as well. And I would have liked to have found some kind of unifying border to go around the whole poster that had a particularly Halloween theme; this would have required eliminating some of the other text boxes or graphics to give the poster a less is more feel. However, I feel all the media and text utilized are crucial for giving the viewer a flavor of what to expect.

Are there alternative media available? If so, why have you opted to use those selected?

Yes, there were certainly different images and videos to choose from. As mentioned, I wanted to find a video for the DIY slime and witches potions so that people could understand what these kinds of projects entailed. The images were all taken directly off Pinterest as exact replicas of all the activities we’d be having, so they were crucial to include as well. The pumpkins provide a more juvenile, less threatening feel for the poster, which is crucial for targeting the audience I intended to come to the event.

What design decisions you made in this project make you most proud? Why? Which ones, if any, would you change? Why?

I liked how I was able to group the text box, image, and video that went together by highlighting each group with the same color blurred border around each element. For instance, the slime video, text box, and image are all united by a similar green color border around each element. The two pumpkins in the corners are held together by a similar color orange border box. This special touch gave the poster some uniformity and cohesiveness. I also thought the three unified wooden text boxes with the pointed arrows really gave the poster some cohesiveness. 

I really am not crazy about the green rope text box choice used around the title “Halloween Family Storytime.” I thought it was just way too big of a box, but the font size was just not big enough; again, this had to do with poor proportion limitations. As mentioned, I would have made all of the font in the center of the poster a larger size, taken out a couple images, and added a juvenile Halloween border around the entire poster to simplify the design and make it a bit less cluttered.

How would you use this poster in your library or school? How might this poster fit into other components of an advocacy campaign?

I would print 8 ½” X 11 “ copies of this poster to place around the library (over the water fountain, on the front desk, near the preschool and school age books, and on the front door of the library). It would be really cool to create a QR code for this poster; people could then scan over the code on the printed 2D poster hanging on the wall, which would provide them with access to the library’s website, specifically the children’s services tab. Certainly, this poster could be part of an advocacy campaign that advocated for the value of children’s story times and hands-on, informal learning at the public library as a way of encouraging literacy.


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QR Code

Here is the link to my blog’s QR code.

One of the best suggestions for how to incorporate QR-codes in the Davidson and Cornelius public libraries where I work is using them for readers’ advisory purposes. According to Hampton’s “Extending Library Services with QR codes” article, placing QR codes on specific book covers to direct readers to perhaps a Goodreads page or book review page with suggestions for similar titles would be extremely helpful for our patrons. I think having this kind of convenient access to readalikes literally attached to the book would generate a lot of informal “book talk” type discussion among patrons as they wander the stacks and converse about the books that are being suggested to them. Librarians could even create bookmarks filled with QR codes for a particular genre; for instance, a historical fiction QR code bookmark would list numerous historical fiction novels in the library’s collection that might possibly cross into other genres as well.

QR codes for readers advisory would be especially useful in the children’s section, particularly for helping parents and children gain a better understanding of reading levels. Parents or children could scan a QR code on easy reader books and juvenile fiction to instantly link to a website that lists the book’s reading level according to a variety of leveling models (Lexile, Accelerated Reader, Fountas and Pinnell, etc.). This would be extremely helpful as parents are constantly asking librarians to look up book reading levels.

QR codes could be utilized on an “enhanced” level to engage children and teens in critical thinking in the library. For instance, they could potentially scan a QR code attached to a book that then links to the library’s catalog or some other webpage where they could then write and post a book review.  Patrons could then comment on other patron’s review posts or even share their review through social media.

I also like the idea of using QR codes for promotional and marketing purposes on a more enhanced level. I like the idea a patron scanning a QR code on a promotional event flyer or bookmark in the library and then being linked to the library’s Facebook page giving more details about the event. You could even scan the QR code to be redirected to a registration sign-up sheet without having to go online or tell a librarian. As an enhancement, after the event, patrons could scan the same QR code to then access a photo gallery of images from the event as well as a link to Survey Monkey. The ease with which the patron could access the survey would make them more inclined to complete it as opposed to emailed surveys that are essentailly forced upon the patron, who may or may not complete it.

At Hough High School where I’m shadowing, the school media specialist has created name plates to put on each teacher’s door, which include a QR code beneath their name that links to their email and classroom webpage. This is particularly useful for students to easily connect with learning in the virtual world.

Lastly, one of the best examples of how to incorporate QR tools in a more enhanced way is to utilize the codes as tools for promoting ONE Access. ONE Access is a new program that allows all Charlotte Mecklenburg students to checkout all Charlotte Mecklenburg public library materials by using their personal student ID numbers. QR codes could be placed in eye catching places in all Charlotte Mecklenburg schools where kids could scan the code and be instantly redirected to the public library website to access the catalog, search for books, and place holds right on the spot.

In regards to using augmented reality in public libraries, I think, for the most part, it’s a great idea. I especially like the idea in the “Augmented Reality with Aurasma”  article about using AR to provide students with a video enhanced tour of their school library. The Seattle Public Library, for instance, already offers cell phone tours of their 10 floor main library. Larger public libraries like this could begin offering AR tours where scanning your smartphone over an area overlays a video explaining the special features and services available in that section of the library.

AR video tutorial overlays could also be helpful for explaining more complicated procedures, such as how to conduct research searches through online databases or how to download ebooks on your device. I could envision the smart device scanning over patrons’ computers or over a poster promoting ereader downloads that would then trigger the AR video tutorials.

I do have some reservations surrounding AR usage in public libraries. The biggest is that some patrons still don’t have smartphones or the latest technology that would allow them to view these videos or images. Especially for older patrons, it would be kind of discriminatory to have so much more information available to smartphone users as opposed to non smartphone users. Another big issue is the fact that having so many virtual tutorials and instructional videos available 24/7 throughout the library makes that personal librarian-patron interaction even more obsolete and the librarian’s job even less important. Some patrons might rather have the opportunity to learn new skills (downloading ebooks, researching, etc.) while still being able to ask questions and receive the reassurance from a real live person. AR really doesn’t accommodate this. Otherwise, I think AR’s a very innovative technology that has much potential for the future.

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Interactive poster design blog 1

For my design project, I’m hoping to create a poster promoting a Halloween Family Story time at the Davidson Public Library.  This program is family friendly targeted primarily at preschoolers, school age children (K-5th grade) and their parents. I want to convey the 5 basic W’s in this poster.

What: A Halloween Family Story time featuring not-so-scary stories, Halloween games, spooky science experiments, and yummy holiday treats

Who: preschoolers, school age (K-5th), and their parents

When: Saturday, October 31st at 2:00 pm

Where: Davidson Public Library Community Room

Why: To celebrate the holiday with interactive games and activities for children that are fun, improve literacy, and build community

Other: registration required by calling 704-416-4000. Children are encouraged to wear their costumes.

Obviously, parents need to know the basic date, time, and place for the event so they’ll know when to show up. It’s most important that parents recognize that, even though this is a family-friendly program, the activities are targeted for preschool and school age children. Babies or toddlers younger than this would find the activities too challenging and any kids older than this would find the activities too juvenile. Like other story times, the parents are also welcome.

It’s also important for the parents to know what kinds of Halloween activities will be taking place; some parents are very reluctant to expose their kids to Halloween, so telling them up front what is planned is the best way to prevent parents from getting upset with the library for hosting an event they don’t approve of. Stating that costumes are welcome helps create a lively atmosphere for the program and is another thing sensitive parents should be aware of before taking their kids to the program.

Probably the most important piece of information on this poster is letting the parents know that they need to register themselves as well as their kids to attend. For planning purposes, the library staff needs to put a limit on the number of kids attending to ensure that we have enough supplies. Also, we have a fire code regulation stipulating the maximum number of people allowed in the community room at one time and if the weather’s bad, we have to make sure we can fit everyone safely inside the community room without violating regulation.

As far as the design layout goes, I plan to use orange and black colors for the font and the overall color scheme. I want to use a semi-spooky font type, although nothing with too much of a blood and gore feel, since it’s a family friendly program. I want to use clipart images of Halloween related things – pumpkins, smiling ghosts or spiders, haunted houses, etc. But definitely no devils or witches or anything that either seems too scary or could be interpreted as too sacrilegious to some people. Overall, the flyer should have a very light-hearted, family friendly feel with more of a fall festival emphasis than a scary Halloween feel.

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Photo sharing site critique – Seattle Public Library

I decided to examine the Seattle Public Library’s Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest accounts. I visited the library this summer and was very impressed by how state-of-the-art and technology driven their 10 floor main library was. Not surprisingly, they have a ton of followers on all three of their accounts.

Seattle Public Library’s Instagram account uses a wide variety of photos, suggesting the library is open to all types of people with all types of interests. For instance, there are pictures of kids, teens, and other community library patrons interacting with the facility through various kinds of programming 

community interaction

as well as archival photos

archival

and even close ups of books, artwork, and the interior of the physical library building itself!

library building

Surprisingly, the images in this latter category (artwork, books, building features, and other inanimate objects) seemed to attract, on average, more followers than pictures that included specific people. Perhaps generic bookish/literary/art images trend more broadly and show up on more people’s Instagram feed, including people who have never set foot in the Seattle Public Library, but because of the universality of these images, more people are apt to like or follow these images.

For instance, this image of book date stamps in various languages attracted the attention of other libraries as well as patrons and non-patrons to comment, garnering 138 likes.

stamps

Other than #seattlepubliclibrary or #seattle, I didn’t really notice any consistent theme in the images being tagged in Instagram. There were hashtags for things like #readingisfun, #librarycard, #reading, #read, #books, but then there were also hashtags for a wide variety of groups, including #ChineseAmerican (for a citizenship inauguration), #Pride (for a community pride fest event promoting banned books week, which also included videos of drag shows), or #Woodland Park Fest (for community art and science activities for families). So the biggest message their Instagram account seemed to send was that all community groups and festivities are welcome at the library, giving the library the image of being a very nonthreatening and tolerant place to visit.

There were a wide variety of photos, including culinary cooking events and African drumming circles. But every 5th or 6th posting always referenced books or literacy in some way, which signaled that literacy will always be at the heart of what the Seattle Public Library stands for.

video

Most of the Instagram posts were also targeted at enticing people to come to events using a very welcoming, nonthreatening tone. For instance, the caption for this Openair image states, “Our Open Air pop-up library joins you outside throughout the summer at events across the city! Monday was our warm-up for the hot weekend ahead. Find us this Friday at the West Seattle Summer Fest, and Saturday at the Georgetown Art Attack.” So Instagram is as much a promotional tool for the library as it is a promotional tool for groups or events coming to the library.
library popups

Including short video clips of performers also went a long way in really bringing the events to life and enticing the public to stop by and see what the library has to offer.

As far as the Twitter site goes, the Seattle Public Library joined in June 2010 and, already, there are slightly over 1,000 followers! The Twitter account seems to be recycling a lot of the same images as what appears on the Instagram account, just with slightly shorter messages. For instance,  both accounts are  promoting the summer reading bingo challenge, but the Instagram image on the left is encouraging patrons to interact and post their own bingo cards to the Instagram page, whereas the Tweet on the right is, I guess, just reminding people that this is happening.

bingo cards 2BINGO cards

Aside from promoting library programs and initiatives (signing up for library cards, etc.), every once in awhile the Twitter account will link to an interesting article (ie. the enduring use of political themes in science fiction) or Buzz Feeds (like“Your Next Five,” a service for recommending related books to users based on reading preferences), or possibly even retweeted posts (like this book recommendation link retweeted from Book Riot).

book recommendations

 

But for the most part, it seems as if  the Tweets are primarily centered around events and services available at the library that very day, which makes it super important the the person in charge on the library’s Twitter account stay on top of it all the time or else the Twitter account will lose credibility in the eyes of its followers.

The Pinterest account has 51 boards, covering a wide range of topics from silly to serious and everything in between.

pinterest

There are very practical boards like “books in a series” for helping patrons find the next book in a certain series; however, it’s not very extensive, which makes me think it’s not been very well updated and wouldn’t be very useful for most people. Then there are boards with an abundance of pins, but which have very inane titles like “awful books” (230 some pins) and “shelfies (25 pins).

There are also very few boards that feature programs and events at the library. Overall, it seems like the library’s Pinterest account is not so much designed as a tool for heightened publicity and marketing efforts for the library as it is a space to allow staff to culminate ideas for short term, “cutesy” projects that aren’t intended to be widely publicized. For instance, boards such as “Librariana” or “library cats” aren’t to be taken too seriously, but are just a way to get the library’s presence out there and to send the message to the patrons that libraries are fun, creative places to learn and explore.

Overall, I was most impressed with how well updated and curated the library’s Instagram account is as a powerful marketing tool for the library. I think it really says a lot about how well the library can entice a whole new set of virtual followers and, potentially, physical users of the library simply through a well managed social media sharing site.

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