Monday, November 19, 2012

To borrow or buy what do eBook users do? Both!

Over the summer ALA and Overdrive conducted a survey of library users to find out what they're thinking and doing about books, eBooks, and libraries.  Check the survey out here.

Just a few highlights:

*  Over 75,000 people participated in the survey, the most (6005) were from New York state.

*  More than half of the eBook readers visit their physical library every month.

*  eBook borrows are also eBook buyers.

*  35% of respondents said they had purchased a book (physical or digital) after borrowing the book from the library.

*  57.5% (37,357 respondents) say they have discovered new books to read through their public libraries.  (Go Readers' Advisory!!)

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Future of Library Jobs

A great link that came to me through my library school's listserv.  Check out what's being said about the future of library jobs a the Library of Congress Digital Preservation Blog.  Some great advice and some great links to other blogs and presentations.

It's not an easy time for anyone to find a job.  Carving out a career in library science means more than just reading stories and selecting best sellers for purchase.  But anything worth having is worth working for, right? 

See you around the library!

Internet Librarian Presentations

Link to presentations from Internet Librarian 2012.  Some of these sound good.  Check them out here.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Tips and Tricks for Reader's Advisory

So it's not much of a post, but some links to some really great articles. by Susan Brown of blog fame. handout by Mary K Chelton from the Readers' Advisory: The Complete Spectrum workshop  using facebook for readers advisory

Saturday, October 27, 2012

You found what in that book?

Patrons leave the darndest things in library books.  We've found letters, photos, appointment cards, traffic tickets, credit cards, train tickets, cash, licorice whips, Q-tips and who knows what all in the books that come back to the library.

This week in Indiana librarians found a gun in a hollowed out book.  Check the story out here.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Late fees in the news

In other news a woman who's wallet was stolen has been charged $1000 in fees for books checked out on her stolen library card.  Check out the story here.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Library Cards

I just found this great link to the top ten list of people who need an online library account. I think it covers just about everyone.  Who doesn't need quick access to accurate information, a place to get movies and books for free, Ebooks, downloadable movies, music and audio books, book lists, reading suggestions, Weblinks, homework help ... ?

Get a library card.  The online account comes with it for free.  It really is the smartest card in your wallet. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Pinterest Again

Just found another great link to another great post about libraries and Pinterest.  This one is from Stephen Abram at Stephen's Lighthouse.  Check out the post here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Monday, September 17, 2012

Citation, Citation, Citation

Or how to slay that nasty dragon called plagiarism.

Or in other words, "Thou Shalt not Steal" (Exodus, 20:15, KJV).

There are lots of great resources out there to help students, and other writers, understand what plagiarism is and how to avoid it.  Here are a few quick links to help the average librarian get the point across.

For an all around writing course and citation how-tos try the Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University.

If you need help formatting a citation correctly Son of Citation Machine will help you plug in all the information and generate full citations and parentheticals for all the standards citation styles.

Kate Hart has created a great info graphic on her blog that's geared toward helping bloggers cite and link to sources correctly.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

There are no stupid questions

Patron: May I ask you a question?
Librarian: Of course, what may I do for you?
Patron: Can you tell me who wrote Bram Stoker's Dracula?
Librarian:  Bram Stoker.  Would you like me to check to see if we have a copy available?

It was very awkward.

What do you do?  How do you help someone save face?  It happens almost everyday.  Someone can't find a book on the shelf and when they follow you back to the stacks you find it instantly ... right where it belongs.  Or they can't find the start button on the copier.  Or ...

I have several stock responses.  "Oh, it happens to everyone."  "Sometimes it just takes a second pair of eyes."  I want people to be comfortable coming to the desk.  But if they're embarrassed once, will they come back?  And how do we prevent it? 

Saturday, September 1, 2012


I have been doing some reading on participatory librarianship and started learning about makerspaces.  I've found some wonderful information, but writing an essay that incorporates all the links I've found isn't going to happen so instead I've created a new page on the blog to include them all.

This is a somewhat unorganized, scattershot of links I have found about makerspaces. Makerspaces comes from the idea of creating community common spaces where people can come together to share equipment and tools that would be out of financial/practical reach of individuals.  I think it may have originated with hackers and gamers (so cool), but I'm still learning.

The whole idea is about sharing, creating, creativity, and community.  That's what libraries do, isn't it?

Practically speaking building a wood/computer/electronics shop in the library basement with space for arts, crafts and 3D printing might not be practical.  But the idea has potential.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Pathfinders ... by any other name

I found a great link on the library school listserv today.  A student at LIU who's interning at a branch of the NYPL has been creating pathfinders to complement the art exhibits the library has been hosting.  Read the article here at the Library as Incubator Project.

It's funny 'cause it seems I've been creating Pathfinders to support our library programs for a couple of years now, I've just been calling them bibliographies. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Spanish for Librarians

How cool is this.  Mango, the language self-instruction program we offer at the library, is offering librarians something special.  Spanish for Librarians.  Excellent.  Here's the link to the website. I love the Mango programs.  I've used the Spanish instruction a few times, trying to remind myself of my college Spanish.  Also, just for fun they have a short course on speaking pirate.  My kids got a real kick out of it.  Something to remember since Talk Like a Pirate day is coming up in September.
I've just started working with Spanish for Librarians.  We started with the basics.  Hello, good morning.  My name is ...  Always a great place to start.  I can't wait to see where we end up.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Thursday, August 16, 2012

In defense of books

I came across an insightful article today about the importance of reading and books.  I must say I agree.  As Emily Dickinson said, "There is no frigate like a book."  Books transport us to different times and places.  They introduce us to new ideas and new ways of thinking.  They comfort us, protect us, challenge us, and teach us.  A life without books would be a very, very sad thing indeed.
And too many of us are living that very sad life.  We are so caught up in our gadgets and "social" networks and busy-ness that we have lost touch with each other and ourselves.  In a world of instant answers and instant gratification we have no time for books.  What a loss.  What a waste.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The end of Reference?

I visited a local library yesterday that has done away with its Reference collection.   The books are gone, the space has been repurposed.  There is a small ready reference collection behind the Information desk.  I noticed several copies of the most popular college guides in the circulating non-fiction collection.  I hope some of their other reference works have also been moved to circulating non-fiction.  There is a print encyclopedia in a corner of the YA department.  The head of Adult Reference explained that she felt the collection was unused and therefore unnecessary.

I wonder.

The Reference collection is the most underused collection in the library.  But does that mean it is unnecessary?  I don't think so.  I think it is time to re-think the Reference collection.

To that end I did a little (very little) research and found this blog post from Brian Herzog, the Swiss Army Librarian (cool library blog), about the overhaul he gave the reference collection in his library in Massachusetts. In brief, they weeded the heck out of the collection, moved many of the single volume books into circulating non-fiction, and converted the remaining reference collection into small, free-standing, easily accessible subject collections.  The circulating reference is 7-day, non-renewable, and non-requestable (by other libraries). They converted the space into three 8x8 quiet study rooms.

I like it.

I like that there's still a Reference collection.  If we dump the entire collection aren't we throwing up our hands and saying 'Google wins'?  I like the fact that Herzog recognized that patrons want more access to the books not less.  Is it scary to let a big, expensive reference book walk out under the arm of a teenager?  Absolutely.  But isn't it scarier to let that kid go home thinking the library is a pain in the butt and it's easier to find his answers on Google?

I think it's time to reintroduce our patrons to the Reference collection.  Tell them what we've got.  Show them how it can help.  It's time for a little good old fashioned marketing.  Maybe some subject heading signs next to the Dewey numbers.  Maybe a display of some eye-catching Reference.  Could we make the first 5 photocopies free if its a Reference Book?  And maybe, just maybe it's time to let them check a few of our babies out.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Keep calm and apologize

Yesterday, I got a call from the circulation desk, the clerk was transferring a call.  It was a very disgruntled patron who was convinced that the circ clerks had not checked in two DVDs he was certain he had returned.  So I took a deep breath and picked up the call.  Mr. M. was certainly cranky.  He was convinced that he had been mistreated by the circ staff and that they had bungled his transaction.  I apologized.  Not for any wrong doing, but just because he felt that he had not received the service he deserved.  I repeated what the circ clerk had told me.  They had checked for his items.  They would check again, but the desk was very busy and they couldn't do it right now.  I took his name, his card number, his phone number.  I confirmed the titles he was concerned about.  I told him I'd get back to him.  I said I was sorry for the inconvenience and assured him we would get it straightened out. He calmed down.  He said he'd check again to see if he still had the items.
Five minutes later he called back ... to apologize.  His wife had found the DVDs under the front seat of the car.  A favorite hiding place of missing items.  I let him off the hook and said we all have moments like that. 
It's amazing what an apology can do.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Pinning in the Library

I have been having fun playing with Pinterest lately.  I've created lots of pinboards to organize my own interests.  One of my boards is labeled Library and I pin all the great display ideas, funny or pithy quotes, and other library related items I find on that board.  Then when we're talking about such things at work, I can actually find them again to show my co-workers because they're all in one handy place.
Something I've noticed (and love) is the number of libraries that are creating Pinterest accounts and using the boards to showcase displays, events, and booklists.  Very, very cool.  If you want to browse these library accounts go to Pinterest, search for "libraries" and limit your search to "People."
Over at the RA for All blog, Becky has written a couple of posts about using Pinterest in the library.  I'll try any tool that will help connect people with books they'll love. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Some things never change

After helping a few folks with some eReader questions yesterday I was reminded of this video that imagines what tech support might have been like when the book was first released

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Lists, I love lists

Check out this link to the Reader's Advisor Online list of summer reading lists.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Have you ever felt like you were being watched?

I've been following an interesting conversation at the ALA group on LinkedIn about a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, Your E-Book is Reading You.  I suppose it was only a matter of time before we all found out that eReaders can and do collect data about us.
It shouldn't be a surprise.  Advertising and merchandising has always been dependent on an understanding of the customer.   Being able to find out so much about what readers do and do not like about their books is a treasure trove to publishers.
One problem I see is that it's early days for eReaders.  Not everyone uses an eReader, not everything is available on eReaders.  So the data set publishers are using reflects the reading tastes of only a percentage of all the readers and potential readers out there. 
Meanwhile, the data they're collecting: how long it takes a reader to finish a book, where they stopped, what they highlighted, doesn't tell the whole story.  Unless you know why you don't have the whole picture.  Maybe I stopped reading on page 53 because the kids got sick, maybe it took 2 weeks to finish the book because that was when the dog buried the reader in the backyard, maybe I let my 5 year old highlight that passage just to keep him occupied at the doctor's office.
As one comment noted, we have opened Pandora's Box and it's too late to go back now.  If publishers and authors can use the data to create books that reach more people (and sell more copies) that's a good thing.  If they end up stifling creativity to reach the least common denominator of readers that would be sad.

Friday, June 29, 2012

50 Shades ...

     The 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon continues, though I'm now only reserving it for patrons once or twice a week instead of several times a day.  What surprises me is not that people like the books or want to read them, but rather that people are still asking for the books and saying that they don't really know what it's about.  They tell me "everyone is reading it" or "my friend said I should read it" the wildest was yesterday when a woman came to the desk and wanted to reserve 50 Shades Darker, she commented that she thought 50 Shades of Grey was "disgusting" (her word, not mine), but she was going to read the second one in hopes that it got better.  I wonder if, perhaps, they're embarrassed and concerned about being judged, that stinks. Read what you want, to heck with what anyone else thinks.
     There was a great post about the 50 Shades controversy at the RA for All blog.  You can read it here.  I look at it this way, I'm a librarian.  My job is to supply the library with the materials the community needs and wants.  When selecting materials I try to make rational judgments based on book reviews, best seller lists, patron requests and my own training and experience.  I try not to make judgments about what people do or do not choose to read, watch, or listen to based on my personal opinions.  Afterall, not everyone is keen on the things I like either.
     Meanwhile, a tempest started brewing when one of the librarians suggested creating a bibliography of readalikes.  Another librarian suggested that it was one thing to have erotica on the shelves and another thing entirely to promote it.  Ultimately, a compromise was reached and a bookmark with a list of suggested authors (as opposed to specific titles and book cover images) was agreed upon.  Peace is wonderful.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Bench marks for a good day

A benchmark is an incredibly useful thing. 

Surveyors use them to measure elevation.

I use them as a way to measure my relative failure or success.  Lately in the library I've developed a few new ones.  For example, any day when the police don't come and there are no bodily fluids on the floor or furnishings is a good day.  It's incredibly easy to have a good day when you're keeping it all in perspective.  It just depends on where you put your bench marks.