Monday, January 28, 2013

Welcome to the Library

There's a great discussion going on at the Marketing Public Libraries Think Tank group at Linkedin.  Do we send out welcome emails to new card holders?  If so what do we include in the message?  Some libraries give out welcome packets with each new card including the latest newsletter, library hours, etc.   No consensus yet on what the goals are and if you're not sure what you're going to accomplish how can you measure it?
We try to get an email address for each new patron who signs up for a library card.  It comes in very handy for email notifications about holds, upcoming due dates, programs and the like.  And, of course, all the notifications from Overdrive about downloads go through the patron's email address.  But we don't send out a welcome to the library message.  What would we say?  Should we have a welcome packet?  I like the idea of a refrigerator magnet complete with our web address, hours, and phone number. 
But what about an email?  Will they read it?  Or will they just hit delete and toss it out with the spam?

Friday, January 25, 2013

One Great Librarian

Thea Taube is a children's librarian a the Ottendorfer Branch of the New York Public Library in  the East Village.  For several years she has been quietly, and unofficially, loaning an American Girl Doll named Kirsten Larson to interested children in her library.  Read all about it here.
What a fantastic idea.  And what a great librarian.

PLA Edge Benchmarks

Check out this post at Public Libraries Online.  They've been working on a new initiative to help libraries evaluate, improve, and promote the way public access computers are being used, and can be used, to strengthen communities.  This is the list of  Edge Benchmarks.  They include standards for digital literacy training, staff education & support, and continuing evaluation of library programs & systems to ensure that the community's needs are being met.
According to the blog post, in the future the program will include tools to help libraries meet these goals including online assessments, training programs, and marketing materials. 
Great stuff!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

This Just In! Libraries Very Important Say Americans!!

The Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project (Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) conducted a survey to find out what the average American thinks about public libraries.  You can see the article, Library Services in the Digital Age, describing the survey results  here.  The findings are very encouraging, and in those cities where councils are making a mad dash to slash budgets on the backs of library funding, please note:

"Fully 91% of Americans ages 16 and older say public libraries are important to their communities; and 76% say libraries are important to them and their families."  Now THAT is a mandate.

Respondents cited borrowing books and free access to computers and the Internet as "very important" in almost equal amounts.  Librarians too are considered a valuable library asset. 

But "just 22% say that they know all or most of the services their libraries offer now."  This looks like a good place for some creative marketing ideas.

This is a valuable piece of research and a useful tool for libraries and librarians, to see where we are doing well, where we are falling short, and where we should be headed for the future. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

The War Over eBooks -- great articles at

David Vinjamuri at wrote a great article, "The Wrong War Over eBooks: Publishers Vs. Libraries." You can read it here.  In it he takes a fair look at both publishers and libraries and outlines their sides of the argument for access.  Then he posits that they are making the wrong arguments and suggests a different way to look at eBook access.  His first suggestion?  Instead of buying limited use licences for eBooks libraries could pay on a cost-per-circulation basis.  It's fair, easy to calculate, and both sides get value for the transaction ... more readers with more access.

In the second article in this two part series, "Why Public Libraries Matter: And How They Can Do More,"  ( found here) Vinjamuri points out that libraries are a gateway connecting readers and publishers.  Even in this ever changing world of eBook readers and tablets, libraries are the places where people are exposed to new authors and titles, book clubs abound, and reading is encouraged.  He warns publishers that they "limit public libraries' access to eBooks at their own peril." And warns libraries that by focusing on the best seller list they "risk missing the significant opportunity afforded by the explosion in the number of new books published each year."

Eventually libraries and publishers will come to terms that, hopefully, everyone can live with.  In the meantime it's the public that misses out.  Not everyone has access to an eReader.  Not all eReader owners can buy all the eBooks they want to read.  Libraries stand ready to fill the access gap, just as they always have. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Reading Wildly? What a great idea!!

I came across a great blog post by abby the librarian.  Abby is a youth services librarian in Indiana looking for ideas on how to get her staff to move from good readers' advisory to great readers' advisory.   Reading more seems to be the key.  We can only do so much with reviews and Novelist.  Really being able to talk about books involves reading them.

Several librarians commented on methods they are using at their libraries to encourage staff to read more.  Some are required to submit a book review to their library's blog each month.  Others do book talks at monthly staff meetings.  One suggested a genre reading plan organized by librarians down under in Australia called read watch play. Others post reviews on a shared Google doc.  Abby suggested organizing a program of "reading wildly" and encouraging her staff to read around the genres.  She's creating a Good Reads account and will ask staff members to create accounts also and record reviews there. 

My library doesn't have an organized plan for encouraging us to read more.  But I try to read a lot and post titles and some reviews to my Shelfari account.  This year I think it's time to step up the reading and especially to read more titles outside of my comfort zone.  I don't know about Horror, but perhaps some Chicklit, Urban Fiction, and Westerns? 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Do You Take Book Donations?

The library where I work doesn't have a Friends of the Library group and we don't take book donations.  A circumstance which sometimes annoys our patrons.  But we have a list of local institutions (the VA, nursing homes, the local college) that do take donations and that helps sooth the occasional ruffled feathers.

Here's a great article from the Sunday edition of The Durango Herald describing how the Durango Public Library handles book donations.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Dramatization vs. Narration

On the shelves in my library we have a flock of Agatha Christie audio books.  I love Christie's novels and after all these years they are still popular with out patrons.  However, most of these audio books are not straight narrations of Christie's novels, but instead are dramatizations.  They are radio plays adapted from the novels acted by a full cast of actors.  They are not, technically, audio books.  And they are, in fact, abridged.

Around here abridged is usually a bad word.  But there don't seem to be any straight narrations of Christie's works out there.  So the question is should these books be shelved with the fiction audio books.  Or should they be shelved in 791 with the rest of the radio shows?

If you're listening to an audio book shouldn't you get the entire work the author wrote?  I want to hear the descriptions of people, places and things.  I want to hear every "he said" and  "she said" not just the dialogue.