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NYS Summer Reading – YA Books Widget

One of the many fun projects that I have the privilege of working on is the New York State Summer Reading program website. We’ve been working on some redesigning, which is always a work in progress, and also lots of updates for this summer (not done yet)

I was checking stats today to see what pages were getting hits and was pleased to see the Teen Booklists (boring name I know) was the top hit getter. teenreads

Since I’m in no way an expert on YA titles, I wanted an easy way to add titles that appear on the many booklists available from different sources.  But also wanted something that had some graphic appeal. Since it’s a statewide site, I couldn’t pull a list of covers from a library catalog and link directly back to the titles.

Enter LibraryThing. I added titles from lots of different lists and used their widget building tool to create a widget that randomly displays 15 titles at a time.   There’s also a YouTube playlist of book trailers (again, that needs updating)

It’s easy enough to build your own widget, but if you want to use ours, here’s the code you can use to embed it on your own website.

<div id="w3ea6ee67fbfdc058028747e08628acc8"></div><script 
type="text/javascript" charset="UTF-8" 
href="">My Library</a> 
at <a href="">LibraryThing</a></noscript>

If you have suggestions for the booklist or the booktrailers widgets, let me know.   Maybe I’ll spend my summer vacation reading YA lit? What do you suggest?

(post was originally published on June 3 2014, republished for 2015 summer reading program)

Jauntful: Create your own travel guides

Jauntful is a great new tool for creating and sharing your own personalized travel guides. Create a guide to share your favorite places with friends. Create one for an upcoming trip with spots you don’t want to miss. Create a guide to your local area and share your favorite haunts.

Libraries could create a guide to the local community or a treasure hunt map for a fun summer event.

Students could use this to create a tour of an ancient or modern (or both) city for a school project. Or map out locations in a book, similar to a Google LitTrip.

Guides can be shared privately or with the world. Full color PDF versions for printing or taking with your offline.

Here’s my map of some favorite spots in Helsinki.


Friday Picks: May 4, 2012

Friday Photos : Clouds Obviously this isn’t really going to be a weekly sort of thing. You’d think I could manage that? But I’m barely managing to keep up with the weekly “Friday Photos” group on flickr. So let’s cheat a bit and make that my first pick this week.

  • Friday Photos 2012: Do you like photography. Interested in seeing photos from great folks all over the world? And you know you’ll never be able to keep up with the Photo-a-Day challenges? Then a weekly challenge might be just the ticket. Sarah Barker, a librarian from Wales, started this project. Each week a new topic is given. Post a photo to the group and you’ll have the lovely feeling of having accomplished something. This week was clouds, next week windows. Fun to see lots of creative interpretations.
  • Present.Me: Such a great tool. Upload your slide deck, turn on your webcam and microphone, record. Easy peasy. Voila, you have an embeddable presentation with your slides and your lovely face right next to them. Almost like a live presentation. Camera shy? Just record the audio. Audio shy? You can just upload slides. Free account: (more…)

Friday Picks: April 14, 2012

More odds and ends. Some new, some not.

  • New photo editor for Flickr – With Google having gobble up the Picnik photo editor, Flickr has turned to Aviary for photo-editing features.
  • Digging Into WordPress – New printed edition updated for WP 3.3 now available. I love this book, it’s chock full of WordPress tips and and information. I also love their sales model –  buy the printed book and get all future updated PDF versions for free. Same goes for buying  just the PDF version. (The link is an affiliate link, I wouldn’t have done that if I didn’t really recommend the book though)
  • Learn HTML & CSS – Free, painless AND fun! The amazing Codeacademy hits another one out of the ballpark. And when you finish that, start their Javascript course. I hear there’s a future for people who know how to code??
  • Send to Dropbox  – Not a new tool, but one that I was reminded of this week and find quite handy. Use it to set up an email address so you can email attachments to your Dropbox. I use it in tandem with a WordPress backup plugin that runs once a week and sends the backup file to my Dropbox account.
  • Slideshare and Google+ – better together? I haven’t tried this yet, have you? Sounds like a great idea. Present your slides in realtime and interact with others in your hangout. Mini-webinars?
Whoops – it’s Thursday not Friday!




Friday Picks: March 30, 2012

Some interesting things I’ve run across this week.

Trying to restart my “New & Not So New” posts that I used to do!

‘New Librarianship’ Pinterest Boards –  Contest that was run by the Syracuse iSchool. Contestants created pinterest boards reflecting their vision of the future of librarianship.  Voting has ended, but take some time to view the top 10 finalists. Fascinating stuff!  (via: Tame The Web)

How Librarians Can Successfully Navigate the 7 Cs of Social Media – a quick read with simple tips for success when using social media in your library.  My favorite tip? #4. Conversation: Always remember the “social” in social media. By Joe Walsh, Social Media Manager, Library Connect. (via: Rebekkah Smith Aldrich)

What about me? A picture of my digital life – Connect your twitter and facebook accounts and get a personalized infographic of the types of things you’re doing & saying in those spaces. Richard Byrne (Free Tech for Teachers) (more…)

Pinterest and WordPress

Embed Pinterest Pin

Embedding a Pinterest Pin

When I searched the WordPress plugin directory for “Pinterest” 2 weeks ago, I found 20 plugins. Today there are nearly 50.  These plugins add PinIt buttons to your posts and pages, provide options for displaying pins in sidebar widgets and also offer ways to block people from pinning your content.

Of course I wanted to test out a few plugins.

SHARING BUTTONS: I’ve added the Sharing is Caring plugin to replace the sharing buttons I had been using, which didn’t seem to be working anymore in any case.   Of course, for the Pinterest button to serve any purpose, you need images in your posts! Even so, a pinner might get the message “sorry, we can’t see any big images…” For more info on that error, check out this Quora post.

EMBEDDING BOARDS: Next I wanted find ways to show pins on my site. Pinterest doesn’t yet have a way to embed a board on a page and there aren’t any magic plugins for that. So you could take a screenshot and link back to your board, but obviously it won’t update. However, embedding individual pins is quite easy . When viewing any Pin there is an embed option to the right. Change the size to suit your needs, copy and paste, voila.

SIDEBAR WIDGETS: I also added the Pinterest RSS Widget plugin to add a display of my latest pins to the (already overcrowded) sidebar of my site. It quite easy and straightforward to use. You don’t need your full RSS feed to make that widget work, but if you want it for other reasons, it takes this form:

I’ll be on the lookout for more Pinterest addons!