As November Ends ….

……………This is one of those things that has to get done. It’s been more than four weeks now since my last post here, and with each passing day, it gets more difficult to return to writing here. I don’t want to miss all of November without having written something, however, and so I will string together a bunch of false starts, quick hits and random thoughts to share with you.

About Copiers/ Printers/ Scanners

……………I am now the defacto point person to turn to for immediate troubleshooting on the twenty something machines spread throughout the building. I am not terribly excited about this prospect, of course, but I am always happy to help teachers and other staff members get their work done. To that end, I feel that I should share what I know with all those I am trying to help, so that we may be able to make each others’ jobs easier.

  • ALWAYS check what printer is selected on your computer. TEACH this to everyone around you. Every student and adult needs to do this every time they print anything.
  • Remember that it’s just a machine … and a delicate, complex, amazingly wonderful machine. Don’t get angry at it. Walk away before you get toner everywhere.
  • Tell me about any problem as soon as you can; in the most immediate way you can. Call me at extension 1143, drop in to the library and tell me about it, drop me an email via the Spiceworks support link. If I don’t know about it, I can’t put it on my TO DO list.
  • Stop saying things like, “they’re all broken”. They have never ALL been down at the same time. There are more than twenty printer/ copier/ scanners in the building; there’s always at least one that is working.
  • Stop saying things like, “they’re always broken”. I checked the machines recently and discovered that collectively, we’ve printed or copied some 11 million pages in about a year and a half. That’s enough pages to print 28,000 four hundred page books; about the same number of books in our library collection. So obviously, they’re not “always broken”.
  • Think about what you are printing and what you are asking students to print. Instead of asking students to hand in full color powerpoint presentations, have them e-mail you that presentation … there’s no need to print everything.
  • Pick up everything you print and copy. There are few things as depressing to me as seeing the amount of paper that is simply wasted day in and day out in our building. As a child, I always wanted clean paper … lined, unlined, white, color, typing, oaktag, tracing … all kinds of paper were sacred and pretty scarce back then around our house. Today I have journals, diaries, sketchbooks, folders and file cabinets filled with that paper I collected and diligently filled with poetry, letters, essays, college papers, sketches, drawings, watercolors, paintings, collages. Paper is not cheap. Making good paper is neither technically easy nor environmentally friendly. Just because it is abundant, does not mean we should take it for granted.
  • Final word about the copiers is to please tell me immediately about any problems you are having. I will get to it ASAP, and at least be able to confirm whether or not it needs technical service. You are never bothering me with these kinds of calls, it is part of my job like shelving books and supervising students via LAN school.

About OPAC

……………Believe it or not, it’s been about three years now since we’ve had an Online Public Access Catalog or OPAC. This software is what allows anyone to search our library collection to see what titles we have. Amazingly there hasn’t really been any clamoring for one either. I’m not sure what this means exactly, but I offer a few observations.

  • Most research is done online nowadays, and students don’t feel the need to find books for their projects. Unless teachers force students to use printed books as a source, most students will use all online resources.
  • When students are given a choice to pick a book for “outside” reading, most prefer reading either fiction or biographies/ memoirs. These two collections are most accessible in our library, being near the circulation desk, and they are easy to navigate, being in alphabetical order, according to author’s last name and subject’s last name, respectively.
  • When classes do use our collection for research, each section is small enough to allow students to approach the shelves to see what titles we actually have.

……………Even though there hasn’t really been any demand for the OPAC, we have been looking at getting one that would allow anyone to search our collection. The two leading contenders thus far are Atriuum and Destiny. Destiny is owned by Follett, who makes the outdated cataloging software that we are still currently using. They are also affiliated with Aspen who makes the X2 software that we use. I’ve been calling them and trying to get a salesperson to talk to me about their Destiny product because it would probably also integrate information from the X2 database more easily than other software. But I can’t seem to get in touch with anyone. It’s like they don’t want my business, so I will be moving on and recommending that we try out the Atriuum software. Their salesperson visited me about a half dozen times, always unannounced and uninvited. I didn’t like that, but I appreciated his tenacity, and he obviously means to sell me something.

About Google Drive

……………I just recently started using the 5GB Google storage that was set up by our tech department. This is a great place online to drop school related info. If you haven’t explored it yet yourself, I highly recommend that you check it out. Just follow these simple steps to get to your online storage area:

  1.  Go to Google
  2. Find the “Drive” tab at the top of the page
  3. Type in your HHS e-mail, for example,
  4. DO NOT type in a password, just hit “Sign In”
  5. This will bring you to a new LOG IN page
  6. Type in your HHS username, for example, htoromoreno
  7. Type in the password you use to get into your HHS email

…………...I started using the Google Drive to store pictures that my Lit Mag kids take of the student artwork using the new iPads. I haven’t checked out what the prints will look like yet, but the pictures don’t look too bad. Here is an uncropped, unedited example:

dot dude

Hope you have a wonderful weekend, and thank you for reading.

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2012. All rights reserved.