Some good articles about the eBook world, or about books in general:
Copyright Protection makes books less available, at least according to this article.
Greetings! You are invited to a luncheon to honor the 2012 Kerlan Award Recipient, Karen Nelson Hoyle, on Saturday, May 5, 2012 at noon at the Elmer L. Anderson Library, University of Minnesota Campus (directions here). The Kerlan Award is presented annually in recognition of singular attainments in the creation of children's literature and in appreciation for generous donations of unique resources for the Kerlan Collection for the study of children's literature. The noon luncheon is $25 for attendees and $20 for Kerlan Friends. The award recipient Hoyle will make a speech at 1:15 p.m. -- this is free and open to the public.
Karen Nelson Hoyle retired in January 2012 after more than forty years as curator of the University of Minnesota Children's Literature Research Collections, one of which is the Kerlan Collection. Dr. Hoyle's tireless work in building the collections, working with faculty to incorporate the study of children's literature into the curriculum, and raising awareness of the collections in the larger community have brought international renown.
Please register for the luncheon by Monday, April 23, 2012 using the PDF form here.
To learn more about the Kerlan Collection and the Kerlan Friends membership, please click here.
| Read-It Going Viral?
Wow, it seems like Read-It and stories of his March reading challenge are EVERYWHERE! On March 20th, he appeared with Commissioner Brenda Cassellius and Reading Specialist Kari Ross on the department's cable TV show, Education Conversations.
Read-It and MDE Commissioner Brenda Cassellius, March 20
| Adult Reading and Literacy Programs
Read-It joins new friends -- and readers -- for a fun and enlightening reading session during a recent visit to Neighborhood House. This wonderful organization helps take struggling families from survive to thrive though four main programs: adult and family education, basic needs, youth leadership and community building.
Read-It at Neighborhood House, March 21
| Read-It Visits the Education Department
Read-it was thrilled to see how many of his colleagues at the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) brought books and froggie friends to show their support for his March reading challenge. Friends encouraging friends as they read and learn together -- how great is that?
Read-It with MDE staff on
On March 23, I attended Argosy University’s Third Annual Conference on Sustainability in Business as I am interested in strategy implementation and helping others find relevance to strategy in their daily work. I am aware of the SELCO/SELS Strategic and Technology Plan, and as I sat in the conference’s first session, reviewing it online, I could see right where my own work fits into the plan. I also found this conference helped inspire me in regards to motivating others.
Dr. Brent Peterson, Co-founder and Chair of The Work Itself Group, spoke of work that people did that was not aligned with their organization’s strategies and goal. We learned that this ‘fake work’ that people do, work that is out of alignment, costs too much in resources and needs to be identified and replaced with real work, work that is critical and aligned to the key goals and strategies of any organization. And that every staff person can and should be challenged to do more real work.
David McMonagle, Senior Consultant at PDI Ninth House, spoke on motivation and leadership models and tips for being a leader for change. I found the motivational process he suggested to be sensible and self-correcting, rather a key to get me to try it on my own! McMonagle spoke about leading and engaging people, finding out what motivates a person rather than expecting her to adopt your motivation. About how important it was to be the bridge between your strategic goals and the people who will help your organization achieve them.
Ted Mondale, Vice President of Research and Strategy for Greater Minneapolis St. Paul Regional Economic Development Partnership (Greater MSP) spoke of his organization’s ongoing work to provide vision, strategy, resources and staff support to government and organizations within the thirteen-county area, the 44th largest economic area in the world. They help optimize Return on Investment (ROI) with targeted outreach, marketing the area’s strengths to the world. Conference organizers asked Mondale to speak of Greater MPS as an example of a business in line with its strategic plan, a plan with real work that will better Minnesota’s own economic future.
posted on behalf of Pat Johnson, Library Director, Stewartville Public Library and SELCO Scholarship Recipient
Macalester Technology Conference
Saint Paul, MN
March 14 & 15, 2012
The Library Technology Conference always enlightens and challenges its’ attendees to think outside the box and meet challenges with creative thinking. This year’s conference was one of the best that I have attended. The sessions I went to were aimed at getting everyone involved in the process of meeting patron demands for more eBooks and other social media.
- The first session I attended was How do I learn all this stuff? !; Keeping up with patron demands. This session really keyed in on helping the patron who received an eReader as a gift and is now trying to learn how to use it. For many of these users’ the process of downloading books to an eReader is like learning a foreign language. The question at our library is how to help the new users of eBook devices when there are several types of devices and we cannot be experts with all of them. This class stressed the importance of setting parameters of what you will support, when you should refer the patron to other areas of support and which staff will work with helping the patrons. This session reinforced the idea that communication is paramount in helping your library patrons have success in using the new array of eBook devices.
- Improving Library Services by Design: Service Design as a tool for Creating User-friendly, Competitive, and Relevant Library Services.
This session was so interesting and everyone in the class was involved in the process of designing a service that will meet the needs of an array of users with different needs. We learned the importance of understanding the services the patrons want in the library and how we go about designing and implementing them. An important key to success with any service design is knowing your patrons and what they need to be successful. A new service needs to be user friendly and it requires the library staff to listen to the patrons’ needs and frustrations.
Now it is almost impossible to meet everyone’s needs but how do we create or improve a service? Be a good listener when your patrons express the need for a new service in the library. Ask them how they would like to see the new service implemented. You might ask them to help test out the new service and most importantly COMMUNICATE through various modes when the new service becomes available.
- Online Smart, Online Safe: A Program for Developing Digital Citizens.
Although this session was designed for the academic setting, I learned many new ideas for helping the patrons in the public library to be smart and tech savvy when using the Internet. On-line safety is vitally important to everyone but sometimes we forget the importance of keeping our personal information safe. We are looking for solutions to implement on-line safety for our patrons whether they use the Internet at home or in a public setting.
Cyber bulling on social media sites such as Facebook is becoming more apparent. Several cases of cyber bulling with intense language/criticism have led to harmful consequences. From the examples the instructor gave about students involved with cyber bulling, it was apparent that they did not see or in some cases understand the consequences of their acts. The need for parents, teachers and other adults to help students understand how their actions can cause intense emotional pressure is becoming vital. The world of technology is exciting and the new emerging technologies have open many new pathways to obtaining information, but with all these new things we must all be safe and responsible in our decisions and be respectful to others.
For those following COSUGI via Twitter, the user group, just released its first quarterly newsletter. Kudos!
Nancy Sims, Copyright Program Librarian at the University of Minnesota, came to SELCO's office on March 21st. Her presentation was very well attended and interactive too with a lot of great questions from attendees. Here are some highlights from the morning workshop.
- Everybody owns copyrights, even if they haven't registered with the Copyright Office. As soon as you create a work, you own it's copyright.
- Copyrights can be signed over to others through contracts. The music industry is a good example of this - there are many musicians and songwriters who get royalties through the music company they work for instead of money directly from those that are buying their work.
- There are no copyright rights on US Government publications. States vary on whether or not they claim copyright on their publications.
- If you are a public institution (museum, library, etc.) and receive donations, you do not automatically receive the copyright of these items. So if you get a donation of a boxful of old photographs, unless you have the transfer of the copyright with it, you cannot necessarily use the images for your publications or for other uses. It is important to get that transfer from the copyright holder if it is at all possible.
- The United States is one of the only countries that has allowances for fair use.
- It is the responsibility of the copyright holder to police their copyrights - a library is not responsible for policing them.
A couple of great websites for more information on copyright & fair use:
- Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries - The Association of Research Librarians
- Copyright Advisory Office - Columbia University Libraries/Information Services
- Copyright Librarian - Nancy's blog at UM Libraries
- Nancy Sims Presentation Links - The presentation handout and more are here!
The best site covering what the threat of an FTC lawsuit means for eBooks in Amazon, Independent Bookstores, Apple, and authors that I've seen is PaidContent, specifically the following 3 articles:
Basically, while the lawsuit might be best for consumers, it will hurt virtually everyone else involved in eBooks, since Amazon sells a large number of its books, including eBooks, at a loss. Why do they do that? They want you in the Amazon ecosystem, both shopping on their site and using the Kindle. There's an argument to be made that letting the Big Six publishers have more control of pricing doesn't help booksellers or authors, either, especially since the traditionaly publishers don't pay authors as high a royalty on eBooks as Amazon does. Either way, this argument will filter down to how much we pay for books through OverDrive, we just can't see what effect that will have yet.
A lot of the new HP printers, both inkjet and laser, come with a new feature called ePrint. What ePrint allows you to do is register your printer with HP's website and they will assign your printer an email address. Anything emailed to that email address will automatically be printed. A person does not even have to be in the same location, or on the same network to do this. This also works if you want to print a document, such as a Word or PDF document. You simply email the file as an attachment to the printer's email address. The HP ePrinter will print your email message, then print the attached file. Because this is email based, this works really well for mobile devices such as iPhones, iPods, and Android devices. Basically just remember, if you can email it, you can print it.
Why is this useful to a library? As many librarians can tell you patrons come in to use their free wireless internet access. In today's world, this is not just computers anymore, but a multitude of mobile devices. The main problem with printing on patron devices was installing the printer. Most local printer installs require you to install the driver on the patron device. This can be complicated for a non tech savvy librarian who now has to deal with different operating systems, such as Windows, Mac, and Linux. But with mobile devices this becomes even less of an option as installing printers are not that easy on the mobile operating systems. With ePrint, being able to print becomes as simple as an email. All of the devices above have email capability. This also means that a non tech savvy librarian can easily help a patron print from their device by simply having them email the printer.
When using one of these printers in a library the next big question becomes security. With being able to send print jobs via an email, patrons could spam the printer while the library is closed. Creating quite a problem for staff as they would not be allowed to control who prints to the printer. HP ePrint does have one layer of security, and while it is not ideal it is doable. On the HP ePrint website you can set an allowed list of email addresses than can email your printer. This means if they are not on the allowed email list, the email print job would not go through. The problem with this is library staff would have to go to the HP ePrint website and add the email addresses of the patrons that want to use the service. The library staff could then remove them, or if it is someone who regularly frequents the library and staff trust them, they could leave the email address in the allowed list. While this is not ideal, it is doable. Some of our libraries have not implemented the security feature yet, only giving out the email address as needed.
So if your library is tired of having to tell patrons they cannot print from their laptop or mobile device, an HP ePrinter might be just right for you. HP ePrinters are not that expensive, usually falling between $150 - $500. This is a lot cheaper than some of the business level print solutions that try to mimic the same features, but can run from $2500 - $5000 or more. More information regarding HP ePrint can be found on their website, http://www.hp.com/eprint
It's been hard to be online lately without hearing about Pinterest. The social image sharing site launched in early 2010 but has seen rapid growth in the last several months. In December 2011, it broke into the top 10 list of social websites (measured by page hits) with 11 million visits in one week. For those who haven't had the time/inclination/opportunity to check out Pinterest, here's how it works:
Pinterest users create pinboards, which are collections of images gathered from around the web. The act of adding an image to a pinboard is called pinning. The beauty of pinning is two-fold:
- You can pin any image you run across online, be it a photo, a chart, a video, or a discussion. Pinning is easy; you can pin an image from another user's pinboard, you can install a pin button to the toolbar of your web browser, or you click an icon on a webpage that has chosen to provide a pin button. However you do it, all the images from that webpage are pulled up and you can pick which ones go on your pinboard.
- Pinboards can be organized in anyway you wish. Looking for ideas on bathroom decor? You can create a pinboard for pictures of bathrooms that you like for future reference? Or ideas for gifts. Or images of books you want to read someday. As long as its an image of some sort, you can pin it to a pinboard. And, of course, you can have as many pinboards as you wish to curate.
Your pinboards are innately public; there is no provision for making pinboards private. In fact, the public nature of the boards is sort of the point. By pinning images from other users' boards to your own, you create social connections. After all, if you were interested in an image on someone's board enough to pin it to one of your boards, there's a good chance that you might find other things of interest on that person's board. And vice versa.
I've heard Pinterest described as "Delicious for pictures" and I think the analogy is apt; it's like bookmarks of images rather than pages. In the United States, interest in Pinterest has been especially strong in women, many of whom are interested in crafts or DIY projects. Interestingly, Pinterest users in the United Kingdom have been more likely to be men. Pinterest describes itself as still in beta and you have to get an invitation from a current user in order get an account. Or, you can click a link to request an invitation directly from the site. Pinterest seems determined to keep their growth controlled. It's unclear whether this is an effort to manage the site's technical infrastructure, to maintain a tighter, more cohesive user community, or something else entirely.
With growing popularity has come some controversy surrounding Pinterest:
Copyright concerns--The ease with which users can pin images from websites has caused some to worry that copyright is being violated. The ball on such concerns really started rolling in February 2012 when Kirsten Kowalski, a photographer, lawyer, and avid Pinterest user posted Why I Tearfully Deleted My Pinterest Inspiration Boards to her blog. After seeing concern amongst her fellow photographers about people posting their work to Facebook, she began to wonder if Pinterest posed a similar problem. She did some research and concluded that, indeed, it did. Kirsten's blog post sparked a vigorous online conversation, which still continues. Those on the other side of the discussion cite the ability for copyright holders' to request their content be removed, which would seem entitle Pinterest (but not its users) to protection under the "safe harbor" provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Still others point out that this issue is not new; we've seen it with YouTube and other sharing sites already. Pinterest responded to the controversy by releasing a "nopin" HTML tag for use in image metadata on websites. Pinterest will not pin images tagged "nopin", thus giving copyright holders the ability to opt out. Flickr has implemented the tag to allow their users to make the same choice regarding their photos.
Affiliate codes--Affiliate codes are small codes that many websites add to their content in an effort to make money. For example, I might post a list of books that I like on my website, with links to the titles in Amazon. By registering in Amazon's affiliate program, I get a small code that I can tack on to the end of the URL in my link. If anyone clicks that link and subsequently buys the title from Amazon, I get a little cash. Not much, maybe a buck or two. But that can add up for large website. Note that it is customary to post a notification on your website that you are using affiliate codes in your links.
A few months ago, it was discovered that Pinterest was quietly (and without effective disclosure) adding it's own affiliate codes to the links for images its users were pinning. This raised eyebrows across the internet. Initial rumors that Pinterest was deleting affiliate codes added by its users proved false; Pinterest is only adding codes to links that have no affiliate code already. And it should be noted that Pinterest is not the first website to use this technique. But everyone seems to agree that Pinterest should have done more to let its users know how it was monetizing their links.
OK, so now you know the broad outlines of what Pinterest is. Enough to explain it quickly to a patron who is curious about this website she heard about. Let's go a step further. How can you use it in your library?
Showcase your collections--Most library use of Pinterest so far has been showcase collections. Pinboards of cover art is a great way to highlight new titles or interesting collections. Art and photographs related to library programs can also be pinned for promotions.
Cultivate your Pinners--Reach out to Pinterest users among your patrons by encouraging them to re-pin your images. Recruit a photography club to create a board of photos of your library in all its glory. In short, join the Pinterest community as an active participant rather than just dumping a bunch of images in the hopes that someone sees them. It is a social website, after all.
Have a contest--This overlaps with the above point about cultivating your Pinners but the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University recently challenged its students to define the future of librarianship using only pinboards. Submissions were due by March 19 and I can't wait to see the winning entries.
Posted on behalf of Diana Tallent, Library Director, Lonsdale Public Library and SELCO PLA Scholarship Recipient
From Diana's blog 23 Things on a Director's Mind (click here to access the blog)
I wanted to attend this session as much for myself as for my staff. Once again, many of the ideas and programs that were mentioned were out of reach or impractical for my small library. Still, I like that they seem to have embraced an attitude of sharing the wealth of knowledge instead of treating it as proprietary as so many people in libraries seem to do.
At least now I have a thought in the back of my mind as to how to proceed with succession planning. The presenters, Renae Bennett, Danielle King and Bethany Stone, all from the Orange County, Florida, library system have set up three programs to mentor and train employees with an eye toward internal promotion, but without guaranteeing them one.
Spectrum is a program they conduct for assistant managers, Executive Edge is for experienced managers to enhance their leadership skills and to become familiar with administrative responsibilities and Career Pathways is geared to librarians and support staff looking to move into positions as assistant managers.
The coolest idea I came away with from this session was the video interviews they have begun creating and posting on their web site of patron's stories about how the library has impacted their lives. They showed us one video of an adorable older couple who met in the library and have now been together for decades. It was a heartfelt hurrah underscoring how important libraries are in our lives.
This session, conducted by Ron Gardner, digital services consultant for OCLC of Dublin, Ohio, was not about promoting your library's digital content as billed, but actually about how to properly begin and proceed with a digitization project. He discussed which formats to use and how to verify who holds copyrights, etc. Since I don't have much expertise in the area, I stayed in the session even after it came to light that the topic was somewhat different than the program schedule had advertised.
The most important thing I took away from the session was to check with my state library before beginning a photograph digitization project as Mr. Gardner explained that most state libraries have guidelines for these. I also learned that the industry standard for digitizing photographs is TIFs and not JPEGS. I had no idea there was an industry standard.
It hadn't occurred to me that handwritten documents would not be able to be digitized directly to text using optical character recognition software, but instead must first be changed into typeface, though in hindsight, it seems obvious. He also communicated that newspaper digitization has to be outsourced 90% of the time due to size.
I was very grateful to gain some insight into digitization and will be adding Mr. Gardner to my list of email contacts so that when I embark on a project of this kind I will have someone with this specialized knowledge who can guide me through the process.
This session was simply a rundown of two separate law suits brought to bear on two separate libraries/systems in recent years. Gina Millsap, CEO of Topeka and Shawnee County Public Libraries in Kansas was first to speak.
Ms. Millsap began by defining intellectual freedom as an individual's right to choose what content they consume without interference or restriction. She then went on to differentiate between censorship and challenges. Censorship, she said, is action by the government to prohibit or suppress information or access to it and challenges are requests by the public to censor materials.
She then went on to describe how a woman had ultimately sued to have four different books about sex, including "The Joy of Sex," restricted to adult access only citing the "Harmful to Minors" statute in place in Kansas. In the end, the suit was decided in the plaintiff's favor, reversed on appeal, rejected by the Supreme Court, then reversed again. The board policy now restricts access to these books.
The second speaker, Kathy Middleton of Contra Costa County, California recounted the recent lawsuit brought against her library system by a church which had been prohibited by the county meeting room policy to hold religious services in the library meeting rooms. Ultimately, the church was granted the right to hold their services in the meeting rooms.
No one tried to draw any conclusions or pass any judgments, but the undercurrent of high emotion was detectable in a few comments. Ms. Millsap admitted that she cried at one point in the early days of the lawsuit she went through. The overarching lesson here is to write your policies with forethought and care.
Subsequently researching whether or not Minnesota has a "Harmful to Minors" statute, I discovered that, in regard to libraries and Internet access, public libraries are required (within a reasonable expense) to filter all Internet accessible computers accessible to minors under 17, but that, "A public library, its agents or employees, are immune from liability for failure to comply with this section if they have made a good faith effort to comply with the requirements of this section." (section 134.50 INTERNET ACCESS; LIBRARIES. 2011 Minnesota Statutes from the Minnesota Office of the Revisor of Statutes.) SELCO (yay SELCO!) diligently filters my library's Internet, so I feel reassured on that front.
As for my library's meeting room policy, my board does not restrict religious groups from conducting religious services. In the end, when setting policy, it is important to remember to respect the First Amendment and the statutes or laws of the state we reside in. Personal morals or beliefs often have to be set aside to achieve that end.
What an honor and a privilege it was to have Betty White verbally give librarians a pat on the head for the meaningful work we do! At age 90, Ms. White's enduring enthusiasm for zoos, writing books, acting and really all aspects of life is inspiring. Thanks to PLA, Biblioteca, Penguin USA and G. P. Putnam's Sons for the experience.
And, last, but not least, a huge THANK YOU to SELCO for the scholarship award that enabled me to attend PLA '12. It was fantastic fun. I learned a lot and fell in love with Philly, a place I had never been before. My horizons are duly expanded. (AND, now I know where to get chocolate covered onions! See the picture for proof.)
|Peter C. Allen||Kenyon|
|Betty J. Benner||Austin|
|Tim J. Brennen||Austin|
|Lori A. Byrne||Rochester|
|Bev Jackson Cotter||Albert Lea|
|Deirdre Flesche||Lake City|
|Audrey Kletscher Helbling||Faribault|
|Michelle Meyer||Red Wing|
|Brian D. Murphy||Northfield|
|Jeffrey P. Muschler||Winona|
|Riki Kölbl Nelson||Northfield|
|Sr. Rafael Tilton||Rochester|
A total of 202 poems were submitted by 202 regional poets. 30 poems by 30 poets were selected for the 2012 Poetic Strokes anthology.
Click here for the 2012 Poetic Strokes Contest Report with county and city breakdowns. Congrats to everyone! Anthologies are being printed and should be distributed to libraries in time for National Poetry Month in April. Click here for the 2012 Poetic Strokes Press Release to be distributed to newspapers and to use in newsletters or mailing lists.
This project was funded in part or in whole with money from Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.
Ah, my stressful day. I had 2 presentations on the 2nd day of conference, "Surfing the Tide" and "Homegrown Usability Testing." I spent the night between the days of the conference prepping my eBook presentation with new information, specifically the outstanding PaidContent post from March 10, 2012: eBook Smackdown. That article was the first time I really understood what agency pricing had done to eBooks and seen how Amazon could be seen as good for consumers in that context. I was a little afraid about how my eBook presentation would go, since I went to someone who was sort of a Pollyanna on the eBook subject to someone that is starting to feel like John Blyberg's recent tweet: I find the whole eBook topic excruciatingly tedious and boring, mostly because there is no mechanism for eBooks in libraries to not suck. I want to get back to a place where eBooks are workable in libraries, but it's going to be a tough couple of years.
My other presentation, "Homegrown Usability Testing", went well. We were surprised at how many people showed up, considering there were two other competing sessions about usability testing, including "Your library website stinks and it's your fault" which had a much sexier title and was got some talk before the conference even started.
The only other presentation I managed to attend the same day was "Libraries in the Cloud" with Donovan and Mike. They did an excellent job that generated a flurry of discussion among the attendees, with some of them finally realizing the full use of some services, and some attendees mentioning their own favorite services.
The 4th annual Library Technology Conference started strong with a keynote from Andrew McLaughlin, Vice President at Tumblr and a former Deputy Chief Technology Officer of the United States under the Obama administration. Fight for the Future: Libraries, Tech Policy, and the Fate of Human Knowledge explored some of the technology trends that are transforming human society and some of the possible futures we are facing as a result. His ideas provided a lot of fodder for the continual conversation we library folk are engaged in these days: Just what is the future of libraries?
Andrew's presentation was full of quotable quotes and useful nuggets of information:
- librarians are fire-breathing, free-speech radicals
- the average smartphone today has more computing power than the lunar lander that Neil Armstrong and "Buzz" Aldrin, Jr took to the moon in 1968
- the promise of the future is technology with no scarcity of storage, bandwidth, and computing power
- the borderless internet is pitted against nations with borders and companies that may not have borders but do have a stake in how the internet evolves
- The future is already here — it's just not very evenly distributed. William Gibson, ground-breaking science fiction author
As you can imagine, that first quote was a hit with the audience and showed up in a lot of Twitter feeds.
The point about the borderless internet deserves a closer look. There are entire countries that get internet access through one large connection. In such cases, geography often combines with economics to make redundant connections hard to create. Just think of what it takes to get internet access for an entire country on an island, such as Australia, for example. Underwater cables are hard (i.e. expensive) to create and maintain. Satellite internet may come to the rescue someday but the technology isn't there yet. Sometimes, governments feel they have an interest in ensuring that there is only one internet connection to their countries. During the 2011 revolution in Egypt, the government shut down the internet for the whole country several times in a vain attempt to stop the protesters from communicating amongst themselves and with the outside world. This was made possible by a centralized network in which the whole country's internet traffic flowed through a handful of choke points controlled by the government. Many countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia are vulnerable in the same way.
In other parts of the world, the vulnerability lies not in centralized government networks but in Internet Service Providers (ISP) that also provide content. If your ISP is also supplying you cable TV services, what incentive to they have to allow a service like Netflix access to their internet customers? None. What they have is actually a disincentive. They would much rather you pay for premium channels for your movies than pay another company for access to the same moves online. What can they do about it? They can put caps on your bandwidth, allowing you to only download a certain amount of traffic in a given month (online video eats up bytes fast). Or they can slow down traffic from sites which they see as competitors. Or they can charge you extra. This is part of the concerns that motivates those advocating Net Neutrality.
Striking concept from this part of the presentation: government regulation of the internet may be the only way to avoid corporate regulation of the internet.
Toward the end of his presentation, McLaughlin proposed that we think of government as a platform rather than as a vending machine:
- Vending machine model--we put taxes in and services come out
- Platform model--we put taxes in but we also help run the machine, supplying our own expertise and knowledge to make the machine more efficient and effective.
This is not a completely new idea; Tim O'Reilly wrote a good article on the concept in 2009. After you read it, try a little mental exercise. Substitute the word library for the word government. What ideas spring to mind for making our libraries more than just a machine for converting revenues into services? How do we make our communities active participants in our libraries?
The first day of the Library Technology Conference was my easy day. I only gave one presentation on Wednesday, and it was a joint presentation with Michael Flores and Donovan Lambright, titled Privacy, Libraries and the Internet: Have the Rules Changed. I have to say this was the most fun presentation I've ever given. Maybe it's because we've worked together long enough, but I enjoyed that I could just bring up a subject, like the Path app, and we could then discuss it and lay everything out, mid-presentation, without even having discussed it that extensively in our prep.
Other highlights of the day included the lunch speaker, Chad Mairn. I have extensive notes on a ton of new services to play around with after his presentation, including Turntable, Book Lamp, and Visual.ly. I had read about the Open Library Project before, but Chad Mairn highlighted a feature (scanning your physical books) that I need to investigate more thoroughly.
The other major speaker of the day was Andrew McLaughlin and I enjoyed his more global perspective on our growing interconnectedness, and his insight into how difficult it can be for more conservative institutions to open up to new media.
As for concurrent sessions, the session I attended in the morning was "How do I learn all this stuff? Keeping up with Patron Demands?" It covered some of the things that all staff in libraries need to consider right now, such as "How much is enough help and how much is too much?". My favorite piece of information, though, came from their experience lending out netbooks. I asked if they had lost any, since that seems to be the major concern library staff have about lending equipment. Cedar Rapids Public Library got panicked once about having lost a netbook, but they used the installed GPS software to realize it had just been returned at the Waterloo Public Library by accident.
The only other session I attended that day was presented by academic librarians and it made me appreciate how flexible our IT staff really is compared with larger institutions.
Ah, the final day of PLA 2012. I can't believe that it went by so quickly but am very happy to have attended!
I attended to very good sessions on Saturday morning, the last day of the conference. As I said before, sometimes your not sure with a conference what the educational sessions would be like aside from their description; will it be a dud or goldmine?
The first session I attended was It Takes a Village to Raise a Reader: Creating Grant-Worthy, Outcomes-Based Early Literacy Programs. Once again, the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) presented on some great work that they are doing regarding programs at their libraries, this time with early literacy. BPL's presentation covered all aspects of their Weekend Stories Early Literacy program which is funded by the Altman Foundation. Now in its third year, the multi-branch storytime has been a rousing success. What I found useful with this presentation is that they were really trying to let all types of libraries (size or location) that this project could be accomplished just about anywhere and they placed particular emphasis on goals and outcomes (and not just outputs.)
The focus of the program that they put together were based on the latest practices from Every Child Ready to Read (ECRR). The five practice areas include the folllowing list. The items in parentheses are the original six skills emphasized in the original version of ECRR:
- Reading (Print Motivation, Print Awareness)
- Singing (Phonological Awareness)
- Writing (Letter Knowledge)
- Playing (Narrative Skills)
- Talking (Vocabulary)
BPL has built a complete program that addresses these five practices and their entire curriculum and evaluation tools can be found at on their wiki. One of the big "aha" moments for me was when they discussed how they made incorporated interns into this program. MLS students and students pursuing degrees in education were used to provide assistance to the program because as many other libraries are experiencing, they are short-staffed. By incorporating interns, they accomplished the goal of making this a successful project but also gave really practical experience to students on how to do a storytime.
The second and final session of the day (sorry, had to leave before Betty White did the closing session) was on board orientation. The Cleveland Heights-University Heights (OH) Public Library has created a personalized online orientation for new trustees (board members) using Google Docs and Site as well as YouTube. I was particularly intrigued by this program as we do a fair amount of orientation of SELCO/SELS Board members and maybe this is something we could incorporate into our orientation as additional tools. Plus, it also got me to thinking that as libraries are increasingly more focused on technology that wouldn't this be a way to gently guide new board members into using (and supporting) technology as part of their Board duties. To see their new board member orientation check out their website.
I'm glad to have had the opportunity to attend PLA 2012 and look forward to attending PLA 2014 in Indianapolis!
LaVonne Beach, LaCrescent Public Library and SELCO PLA Scholarship Recipient
I came late to Books for Desserts and it was one of those sessions that you just feel the spark, the vibe going through the room. The Port Washington NY Public Library developed a book club for developmentally challenged adults. This group of ladies talked about their program with such passion that the gal I was sitting next to and I turned to each other and said why aren't we doing this? They have developed a program manual that can be found on their website www.pwpl.org My brain was just whirling with how I would partner with ABLE in LaCrescent and how I would fund and staff this. The Port Washington library has recently received an ALA award that she could not name yet.
The second session I attended was Can't, Won't, Don't, Couldn't, Shouldn't, Wouldn't; combating Negativity Nellies in the Workplace given by Vicky Baker, regional manager, Mid-Continent Public Library, Independence MO. This session was packed and it was an encore presentation! It was a fast paced presentation dealing with all personality types. She recommended Gary S. Topchik's book Managing Workplace Negativity. I saw lots of head nodding and oh yeah's as she described the different types of personalities that we deal with in the work place. It was like attending a librarian revival meeting!
The end of the session was Betty White! Even though she was 15 minutes late, and the crowd was beginning to chant "Betty, Betty, Betty", she didn't disappoint. She gave us a full hour in conversation format. She was charming, funny and witty. Certainly worth the wait.
I was able to take the double decker bus tour in the afternoon. After I get home and have a chance to edit a few of the pictures I will post them. This has been one of the best conferences that I have attended and who knows, maybe in 2014 I will be attending compliments of ALA as a recipient of the best small library award after I implement some of the things I have learned! Indiana here I come.
Tyler Irvin, Regional Librarian
The final day of PLA began with the session “Get with the Program, Get Graphic: Using Graphic Novels for Programming for Teens!” The first speaker had an interesting suggestion. English teachers have a degree of reluctance to allow librarians to book talk graphic novels but a much better response can normally be received from art teachers or even current events (civics) teachers. There was a more elaborate description of how graphic novels are created based on The Storm in the Barn by Matt Phelan which covers the events of Hurricane Katrina. There’s also a wonderful graphic novel by the author of Bunny Suicides called Lies to Tell Kids which includes putting a piece of baloney in a DVD player causes a short film about pigs. Next, the author of The Storm in the Barn, Matt Phelan, elaborated on the creation/writing process from his perspective. There was also a discussion on how to approach book clubs; the same book may not be necessary, choose a theme such as Women in Comics, DC titles, etc. I am amazed there is only one copy of Library Wars, a graphic novel that features library commandos protecting books from a censoring government, in the SELCO system. Next, there was a discussion on legalese; a highlight was making sure the library is identified as not “in loco parentis” in policy. The final speaker, Svetlana Chmakova, was actually the artist of the “You Are Here” poster used by the Teen Summer Reading program last summer. She noted that as a non-English speaking immigrant, graphic novels are what maintained her love of reading when she moved from Russia to Canada.
My final breakout session for PLA (ten total now!) was “What’s New in Fantasy and Science Fiction for Teens and Adults.” Normally I avoid these general reviews of literature when I can identify them but honestly, nothing else looked appealing during this session. As such, I’m only taking notes on exceptionally sounding books. Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes features a Jekyll/Hyde type girl who sometimes is normal, other times she becomes a demon hunter. As a general note, there are a lot of novels set in historic England, possibly a relation to the current steampunk craze. Renegade Magic and Kat, Incorrigible by Burgis is geared more towards tween readers, probably girls but I’m unsure from the brief description. Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman features heavy influence of Eastern mythology where dragons choose an apprentice every year and the young boy Eon is hiding his own secret while attempting to be selected. Mercedes Lackey has returned to her Valdemar world with Foundation, somewhere she hasn’t been for nearly a decade prior. Garth Nix has returned to tween fantasy writing along with co-author Sean Williams in Troubletwisters.
That left only the closing keynote speaker, the Betty White herself. The talk started late and ended early, but the woman is over 90 years old, so I’m not going to hold that against her. It was entertaining and enlightening to hear of her work with zoos. It was also quite gratifying that she would occasionally throw a reference to the use of the library into her speech such as though seeing the animals may be the trigger to getting children interested, the library is where the facts on animals and nature can be found. She was just as humorous as I had hoped she would be and I am very glad she was our closing speaker.
All in all, it was an enjoyable conference. I can a few dud sessions but I learned a lot out of it as a whole. It was educational, entertaining, and a bit draining but I’m glad I had the opportunity to attend.
Posted on behalf of Audrey Betcher, Rochester Public Library, SELCO PLA Scholarship Recipient
The last day of PLA started with a very good program about out-comes based early literacy programs from the Brooklyn Public Library. They shared programming outlines and even the surveys. They targeted working families and provided programming on weekends. They provided surveys in multiple languages. They walked through their initial goals as well as how they had modified them over time. Good stuff.
The last session was on board orientation. The Cleveland Height Public Library used Google Sites for orientation. We’ve done that to replace the board book, but more as an on-going tool rather than a real orientation guide. It got me thinking about how we have it set up. (There are a couple of things I need to ask the board if they use. If they don’t, then I think I should take it off the site, and we should make the site public.) They also incorporated video into their Google site. I think there are enhancements that we could make that would make it more comprehensive and usable.
The conference ended with an interview with Betty White. She was charming and gracious.
Thanks again to SELCO for an awesome conference. I am going in on Monday and putting together a “to do” list from the conference, so I make sure we discuss/implement some of the great ideas from the conference.
Posted on behalf of Diana Tallent, Library Director, Lonsdale Public Library and SELCO PLA Scholarship Recipient
From Diana's blog 23 Things on a Director's Mind (click here to access the blog)
Wow. Rolf Hapel, director of citizens' services and libraries in Aarhus, Denmark has a forward facing view like I have never before seen from another librarian. It may just be because he is Danish and those Danes are techno savvy like almost no one else, and if that's the case, please let me go spend some time in Denmark soaking up that attitude.
When Mr. Hapel said we have to, "...liberate the library from analog media," I wasn't quite sure if he meant what I thought he meant. English is not his primary language after all (or so I assume from his accent), so perhaps he did not mean that libraries should move away from books. Toward the end of his talk, however, his meaning was crystal clear when he said libraries have to, "abandon printed books as the primary library branding element." He must not have customers who are emotionally attached to books in print like I do. I am continuously surprised by the number of people who object to e-books for purely sentimental reasons. When e-books first came out, I was excited to try out the technology, so I expected everyone else to feel the same. Surprise, surprise. It reminds me of my close-minded grandmother who will not even consider having a computer. I can post that on my blog with impunity.
But I digress. Mr. Hapel showed pictures of the new 175,000 square foot library they are building with roof plate offices and an automatic parking facility. Even after seeing the pictures, I still don't even understand what roof plate offices are, but, boy was I impressed. Video he showed of children searching a catalog displayed on the floor with their feet were amazing, too.
Probably my favorite comment made by Mr. Hapel was when he remarked that, "Every time someone downloads a book, they pay a fee." In light of the pitched e-book battle that's going on here in the U.S. between publishers, vendors and libraries, I proposed this exact scenario in an earlier blog post dated April 2, 2011 entitled, "A Compromise for Harper Collins." It's a rewarding feeling to find out that one of your ideas has been adopted successfully elsewhere.
Another favorite comment from Mr. Hapel was, "Play is allowed and encouraged at the library." That was refreshing to hear. I often see customers come into the library for the first time looking very unsure and intimidated. The old perception of the library as a quiet, serious place kept in strict control by a stern, humorless, shushing librarian is antiquated. As Mr. Hapel noted, the library needs to be, "The great, good place."
Knowing that the Danes are embracing and building a technologically advanced library that welcomes whatever the future may hold is encouraging. I hope Rivkah Sass hears about it. (See my earlier "No Fear..." post.) As Mr. Hapel so adroitly put it, "At least our aspirations are being acknowledged." Indeed.
This session focused on how the KACY library system in San Jose, California revisited their programming model to streamline it and make it budget-friendly, which is not really relevent to my library, but did give me insight into how to plan for program sustainability in the future.
Focusing on programming partnerships was one idea that I have given some thought already. Some local businesses are inclined to be extremely generous with the library, but we don't always recognize the possibilities. For instance, a new thrift store has recently opened in Lonsdale which greatly shortens the distance I have to drive to drop off items that have been weeded from our sales shelf. One day it occurred to me that they could make a great partner for the Summer Reading Program by offering a coupon for one of the prize levels that the kids could exchange in their shop for a book. Since I happen to know that they have quite a lot of good quality children's books because I drop off boxes of these regularly, this seemed like a great idea. In exchange, the shop gets more foot traffic as most of the kids are going to go there with their parents to pick out their book. Also, the library's heartfelt gratitude. When I approached the shopkeeper, she was very enthusiastic at the prospect. Yay for innovative partnerships!
The most striking information I gleaned from this session was the fact that this library system managed to get the funding to build five new libraries prior to the economic downturn. Now they have four newly constructed libraries sitting empty because they cannot afford to staff them and a fifth one that is still under construction which will also sit empty, presumably. It is a sadly shocking state of affairs. How it must pain that system director to drive by those lonely buildings.
The 19 branches in this system offer more than 2,600 programs every quarter. They have a Program Development Advisory Team and informational LCD screens greeting customers at every library. Some of these things are distant aspirations for LPL, but they encourage me to consider the vast possibilities and dream big.
I had planned to blog about each session during the breaks in between or at least in the evenings after I returned to my hotel room so that I would have the information fresh in my mind and would not have a daunting backlog of blog posts to write later. Well, best laid plans go astray, particularly when both the conference wi-fi and the hotel wi-fi are extremely unreliable and/or slow. The up side was I didn't have to lug my laptop around once I realized this, the down side, the afore-mentioned, dreaded backlog now awaits. Thank goodness I got ahead in my cataloging class assignments in anticipation of my trip!
So, now we will return to our regularly scheduled program...
Ironically, I actually left this "No Fear Management" session more fearful than I was beforehand. So many trying situations I had never even thought of were mentioned, from concerns over unproductive staff to having to deal with FMLA that I was a bit overwhelmed. Still, forewarned is forearmed, so I was grateful to gain the insight. The best of the takeaways was the first admonition to know the rules. Thankfully, I am a type A personality who always has to understand an issue completely, so I can already check that box.
The underlying issue for me in several of these PLA sessions was the challenge to relate the material to my own personal situation of being the director of a very small library who opened said library in the midst of the economic downturn. From the get-go I have operated LPL on a minimalist budget with a minimalist staff AND I have carrried money over to the next budget year - the City of Lonsdale allows that - every year. Because most presenters are people with long, proven track records who are well known at least in the library community, they are naturally the directors or other higher-ups who run large library systems sometimes with budgets in the hundreds of millions. In the end, though, nothing you learn is ever a waste of time even if it turns out it only serves as a cautionary tale.
When one of the presenters, Rivkah Sass, director of Sacramento Public Library in California, admitted that she lies awake at night worrying that libraries aren't relevant and may disappear, I felt such a rush of empathy for her that I wanted to assure her that it's only the view from the top that is scaring her. She may ultimately be right, but communities love and need their libraries still and I seriously doubt we will become extinct any time soon so long as we are providing needed materials and services. Hearkening back to her comment as I peruse my notes from that session also makes me realize I am not the only library director with fears and mine, thankfully, are of a more manageable stature.
Anyone can relate to having a Negative Nellie in the workplace or in their lives, so here are some helpful tips from this fabulous session (YES, FABULOUS!!). My favorite session of PLA!!
There are lots of negativity creators in the workplace: no feedback, favoritism, micromanagement, feeling trapped, insufficient equipment, unrealistic expectations, supervisors, change. Did you know only 26% of folks said that their jobs are a major source of happiness, meaning the others don’t? To help manage this negativity, offer little shots of positivity as they go a long way. Give staff little buttons with fun messages or thank you notes of appreciation. Human brains are hardwired to do the best work when happy feelings are present. We need to constantly look for possibilities. People who are in leadership positions determine workplace culture – these folks need to set an example as they interact with more people during the day and need to offer shots of positivity when possible to help folks be more productive. Obviously, happy workers = higher productivity in the workplace.
Here’s what you can do to help yourself when you are dealing with some negative situations dealing with your own personal and work space:
- Temperatures in the office -- Hot? Cold? Change your wardrobe and make yourself feel better.
- Furniture pain – talk to a manager to see if changes to your physical environment can take place.
- Privacy – if you don’t have your own private space, go for a walk at lunch or take time for alone time away from staff or the public.
- Clutter – keeping your space clean will lift your spirits and, if you have already done this, volunteer to help others manage or clean their spaces.
- Access to equipment – this might not be solvable, but talk to your supervisor about possible options.
There are also negative human situations to deal with – here are some tips:
- Irritating people – limit your time around them, take yourself away from the situation if possible.
- Interruptions and Distractions – how often are folks interrupting your workflow? Is it because of your radiant smile or the candy dish with 10 kinds of chocolate? Scan your area and find what’s attractive. Email is a huge distraction. Plan for e-mail time and limit it to certain times of the day to be more productive. Family visits to the office are also a distraction that you can’t control – eliminate the noise by shutting the door if you can.
- Noise – again, family visits and small children will make your environment noisy. Are headphones a possibility?
- Bored – Tired and bored of doing the same thing? Create challenges for yourself! Try doing your work in different ways.
Negativity can be a habit and some folks might not be aware of their own negative behavior! It takes 21 days to break a habit. Encourage yourself and others to be positive and watch your negative thoughts and interactions. Be patient with yourself and others during this process. There are LOTS of types of negative people. Here are the types and ways to deal:
Description: These folks are angry and hostile steamrollers, my way or the highway.
Solution: Don’t take it. Describe how it’s affecting your work, how you feel about it and how you want to communicate with this person.
Description: Their standards not realistic, excellent work is not acceptable.
Solution: Don’t take these statements seriously, work with them to set more realistic expectations.
Description: They love the status quo, they subtly accept change but implement.
Solution: Gradually introduce change to them and keep them in discussions.
Description: They refuse to do anything not in their job description.
Solution: Find training for them and give them opportunities to seek growth and advancement.
Description: They take out their negativity by spreading rumors.
Solution: Get as much factual information in the workplace out there as soon as possible.
Description: The world is a bad place.
Solution: Focus on adopting new practices with something very specific.
Description: They don’t take the job seriously and make other co-workers work more difficult, work is low priority and there is no urgency.
Solution: They need to be given clear goals, standards, expectations and they need to be communicated in more ways than one. They also need close monitoring.
Description: Their mission is to disagree with anything and everything being said and they never look for opportunities.
Solution: Ask for evidence, examples, and reasoning.
Description: They behave like children, withdraw, and cry.
Solution: Give them the most supportive environment and constant encouragement as possible.
Description: They come in early every day and stay late and do anything they are asked of, but they then complain about their workload to others and feel unappreciated.
Solution: Give constant positive feedback and praise these folks in front of others.
Description: They find problems with everything, have a low self-concept, and never see that they are doing well.
Solution: Give them assignments that can’t fail.
Description: They can’t accept responsibility for mistakes and they feel better when others get in trouble.
Solution: Give them concrete examples of how they are at fault.
Description: Sensitive people who often misconstrue messages.
Solution: Talk to them about work issues, never anything personal, and make sure they really understand the task before moving on.
Description: They focus on the very small parts of their job or project.
Solution: Get them in the habit of evaluating the whole project
Here’s a Top Ten List to help manage negativity in the workplace:
#10 – Time Limit: set a time limit for 10 minutes to talk about negative things and then be done with it
#9 – Big Picture: make sure to match the support you give to the person who needs it and give the amount that is needed for that person
#8 – 3 2 1 1 2 3: Let folks make their laundry list of negative things, narrow things down, and then create a list of positive things. Down with the negative, up with the positive. Folks can also do this for themselves.
#7 – Laughter: Keep a funny file at your desk or small toys or pictures on your deck as a small shot of positivity.
#6 – Rubber Band Slap: This is great aversion therapy. Put a rubber band on your arm and snap it each time you have a negative thought to retrain your brain. This does work.
#5 – Be Present in the Present: You can’t focus on hindsight or anticipation. Be grounded in the present and help others accept this. Nothing can be done about hindsight or anticipation.
#4 – Stop the Thought: Yell out (in your brain) “Stop thinking that!” The negative thought gets blocked off for a second.
#3 – Have a Favorite Saying: Have a favorite saying and keep it on your desk to fall back on if you’re struggling throughout the day.
#2 – Be Your Own Best Friend: Be kind to yourself.
#1 – Do Something for Someone Else: Change your focus! Go out and do something for someone else! Community Service!
From the book, The No Complaining Rule: Positive Ways to Deal with Negativity at Work by Jon Gordon, there are two reasons people complain – they are fearful/helpless and habit. Get off the complain train. Try and quit cold turkey. Monitor both your verbal communications and thoughts. Use the word “but” to turn a negative situation into a positive one. Stop mindless complaining.
From the book, The Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace: Empowering Organizations by Encouraging People by Gary Chapman and Paul White, there are five ways people want to be appreciated at work: tangible gifts, touch (be careful with this!), acts of service (help someone without being asked), words of affirmation (thank yous and praise), and quality time (spend uninterrupted time with folks). Make sure to reinforce the needs of the person you are trying to help – no one solution will fit all situations, so be flexible.
Basically, to remove negativity, you need to change your focus. Here’s another book to help with this: Managing Workplace Negativity by Gary S. Topchik. On a side note, I started reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin a week ago and I’m loving it! Everyone should read this book – an amazing perspective on how to get “happy” back into all aspect of your life.
LaVonne Beach, LaCrescent Public Library and SELCO PLA Scholarship Recipient
Beyond Booktalking: Innovative Approaches to Readers' Advisory with Teens and Younger Adults. I'm excited to hear what this group of librarian has to say. I am getting a little frustrated with the “download the app” instructions. Some of us just made the leap to cellphones with keyboards and think that texting is techie! Yeah, I know dinosaur stuff. Teens plus young adults = millennials
One of the defining characteristics is that they are very heavy technology users. 93% are most likely to go online. Pretty compelling reason to start tweeting! This group loses interest fast in a static page on
Facebook. Teens are a little less likely to use twitter. All of the statistics are posted on the PLA website as well as the handouts for this session.
Part of the reason we don't know how teens select the books they are reading is that we don't ask them. Surveys focus on what they are reading and not how they are getting the recommendations.
Developing personalized reading lists for teens: Put up a service on the webpage called “your next 5 books” provided a short annotation and a link to the book on the libraries website. They applied for and received a grant to include adult and children services. Check out the Seattle Public library website. Do not require a library card for this just an email address. Isn't that a novel idea? Questionpoint is a service that documents questions. Great tool. Their OPAC allows the staff to create individualized reading lists. These lists are available for all patrons then to see. Seattle has dummy cards for adult and teen services librarians to create the reading lists. The “Your Next 5 Books” has been a great tool and a great way for staff with limited reader advisory skills to help patrons. People love that personalized touch, it is a rare commodity these days.
I loved the library that said that new digital divide is now those that have smart phones and those that do not. This is also an economic divide because of the cost of the smart phones and their services.
Maximizing the Impact of Programming: Getting the most from your efforts. This was my 2nd session of the day and not at all what I hoped it would be. The community partnerships were briefly discussed and what you would expect. The majority of the session was by Eileen Newman, managing director of the Tribeca Film Institute in New York. She talked about a program called Reframe which was funded by a grant from the McArthur Foundation. It involves aggrading material and an agreement with Amazon to make material available on Amazon's website and Tribeca's website.
I actually managed to get all the way through the vendor hall today. Quite a feat I think. I did have to return to my hotel room to change shoes after this power walking session. It also involved standing in line at the FedEx station to ship home my stack of advance reader copies of books.
I chose to attend the TRANSFORMING LIFE AFTER 50 as we have a large aging population in LaCrescent. The panel pointed out the changing nature of aging and the relevance of boomers to public libraries. They received an IMLS Fellowship to develop curriculum and models of service & engagement. They have a Facebook site.
8 member panel. Suzanne Flint said that we have a conundrum on what we call old. Aging itself is changing. 1 out of every 3 adults in America is a Baby Boomer. 78 million Americans: 1946-64, silver tsunami! Life expectancy is increasing on average 5 hours a day. Boomers are the first generation to have the “bonus years” This generation has a desire for meaning and purpose.
To better serve our patrons think: stage (as in life phase); wellness; active aging; potential; independent. Promote ageless concepts. The CA libraries conducted a survey and found that 65% saw Boomers as important to their library.
Programming for Spring 2012 that has been developed:
Meditation; stress management; brain games; gardening series; healthy cooking series.
My last session of the day was another ConverStations: The Elusive Library Non-User. The facilitators were Donna Fletcher, president of Donna Fletcher Consulting and Paula Singer, strategist with The Singer Group. They were amazed that the room was packed to capacity. At first they talked about getting a recruiting service to develop a list of people to include in your non-user efforts. One of the audience members asked about the price of this and we were told that it was $95 per person! It seemed a little steep to the majority of the audience but we were told that was "cheap". The program was not a total bust though because a librarian from Colorado Springs talked about what they did to get in touch with their nonusers. Each employee was assigned to contact 5 people and talk to them about the benefits of the library. She mentioned a book called the BLUE OCEAN STRATEGY as the model for this. She said go to the patrons where they are, feed stores, implement dealers, grocery stores, etc. One last idea was to hold a social event with food & beverages and promote library services.
Tomorrow Betty White!
After 4 good sessions on Day 2, I was looking forward to more good sessions. However, as sometimes happens at a conference, sessions that seemed good based on the written description don't always turn out that way.
The one two sessions I attended today had to do with redesigning library spaces and services. In the session entitled "The Future of Libraries: Trends in Building Design, User Experience, and Community Partnerships, the presenters talked about the redesign of a couple of their branches. In both cases, the redesigns were focused on emphasizing the library as a place for people to go for programming, events, job training, and skills training. Yes, the collection was still important but it was de-emphasized as the focus of a library's mission. The redesigns took advantage of using materials like glass, comfortable yet functional furniture, and natural light to make the spaces open and inviting. One of the branches that is currently in the redesign phase is the Reston branch which is actually built over a body of water. Certainly the challenge with this branch is the difficulty in its current state to have the necessary fiber run to it to meet the technology needs. Additionally, because it is unique to this community, the community really likes having the branch as it is so it will be interesting to see where they go with this redesign.
Regarding a change in library service, the Daniel Boone Regional Library, based in Columbia, MO and the Mid-Continent Public Library, based in Independence, MO, (a suburb of Kansas City) have embraced what they call "Library-To-Go," which are installations of lockers, browsing collections, and public access computing in sites that aren't a full branch library. For both library systems, they were able to partner with businesses and other organizations to reach populations that they were unable to reach with a traditional library branch. With a $20-30,000 investment versus a $3-6 million branch library investment plus the flexibility of being able to up and move the lockers, browsing collections, and public access computers, this has certainly proven to be a winner for each community in times of tight budgets and a public with little appetite for more taxes. The added feature that these systems had that are different from other locker systems is that the materials in the locker are not checked out to a patron until the patron picks the items up from the locker. As one four year old boy described the system in the Daniel Boone Regional Library community in which it was installed, it is the "magic library."
Posted on behalf of Audrey Betcher, Rochester Public Library, SELCO PLA Scholarship Recipient
Session one today was “Transforming Public Libraries from Institutions of the Industrial Age to Change Agents for the Networked Society”. Rolf Hapel from Aarhus, Denmark talked about transforming his public library. The citizen is the consumer. He talked about how libraries now tend to be analogue and transactional and we need to transform to digital and relational. He strongly stated that we need to get away from branding libraries as books. He spoke a lot about engaging the community and the power of creativity. The modern library needs to have space for inspiration (experience), space for learning (discover), space for performance (create), and space for meeting (participate). The transactional part of the library is almost 100% self-service. It sounds like all 499 public libraries in Denmark are collaborating together. When asked about how that can happen, Rolf said that Denmark is a small country and the funding structure encourages it. They will also be building a brand new $300 million dollar library (including harbor and road infrastructure) in Aarhus. It will even have an automated parking. It looked amazing.
Session two was “Sustainable is the New Strategic”. We can no longer say “we will do more with less”; we need to say “we will do different with less”. We need to deconstruct and redeploy, tune up what we keep, define our centers of excellence, and develop new capacities. Make it show (link what you do with the community, get out of the library), help it grow (watch rising demand, prepare for success, meet increased demand in new ways, self-directed does not mean low quality), and make it flow (unlock your data, question your control points, schedule around the needs of working families, and let some stuff go). The speakers used some great examples that had us laughing mainly because we could see ourselves in the examples.
I used the lunch hour to run down to Independence Hall for a half-hour tour. I just couldn’t miss catching some of the history of Philadelphia. I grabbed a Philly cheese steak sandwich at a cart on the way back – more local experience.
I spent the next couple hours in the exhibits. I like to walk up and down the aisles talking to vendors we do business with and just seeing what’s out there. I always manage to find a couple new vendors that I think we should be talking to.
My last session of the day was “Library-To-Go: Putting your Library Virtually Anywhere”. I heard two library directors talking about their remote installations of lockers for holds, lock-a-shelf units, and public computing to provide service in underserved areas through partnerships with businesses and other agencies. For both communities, it was a way to expand services without adding branches. It was a comparatively low cost option.
Posted on behalf of Alice Henderson, Children's Librarian, Plainview Public Library and SELCO Scholarship Recipient
With the help of SELCO, the Plainview Library will soon be making iPads available for in-house circulation. The apps for an iPad inherently strive to make it a personalized device and we are in need of ideas that will keep our iPads valuable to a broader, public audience. I attended 2 “apps” sessions and my top 5 picks (all free) to further investigate for our project include:
- foodgawker: a photo gallery that allows you to visually search recipes
- Google Earth: a map app that includes millions of geo-located photos and geo-located Wikipedia articles
- NPR Music: a music app that lets you listen to albums, concerts and NPR music programs, make playlists, and the audio will run in the background while you use other apps
- SkyGrid: an easy-to-navigate news aggregator
- Skype or Vtok: video chat options to consider since we will not have FaceTime available on our devices
Another problem I was hoping to tackle was our process for planning the summer reading program, which has become a complicated one this year. This prompted me to attend Cheap and Easy Project Management with Rachel Gray and Jonya Pacey. They did quick demonstrations on several project management solutions and ended with the one that caught my eye, Trello. Trello is a free, web-based collaboration tool that allows you to create tasks, assign them to people, and view progress on each task. I think it has great potential for making sure my staff is all on the same page and that our good ideas don't fall through the cracks. Mike Flores also showed me that there’s also a Trello app for that!
Our library hosts school visits in the fall and spring for grades K-3. By grade 3, we find that kids know all of the information already. I would like to jazz up their experience and with our iPads, had been considering a QR hunt. This brought me to Where in the Library is the QR Code? by Rachel Slough and Kate Russell from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. They have implemented this in their library. Students will come for a scheduled visit and are put into groups. Each group gets a map and an iPod with a QR scanner and is asked to visit each site listed on the map. At each site, they scan a QR code (created at QReatBuzz) which gives them some information about the area and then they are asked to answer a question that proves they have been there. When everyone finishes, there is a short debriefing session to talk about what the students saw. I think this is a fun and inventive way to deliver the same old information and hope to give it a try in 2013.
As Plainview’s children’s librarian and a mom, I was very intrigued by the session entitled Online Smart, Online Safe by Karen Qualey of Bloomington Public Schools. In her district, they are working to implement a Digital Citizenship curriculum for grades K-12. It is a homegrown curriculum that combines public service announcements on youtube as conversation starters and a freely-available curriculum from Common Sense Media. Our community has nothing like this right now. This got me thinking about what role the library could play in teaching Internet safety. Perhaps, we could start with an Online Safety tab on our website to give parents a list of relevant topics. I also wondered about classes: either a parent class to raise awareness about online safety or an adult online safety class because many times, we are the place where people first come to use the Internet. I also thought about an “Internet License” where an unattended child would have to pass a “safety test” before they could use the computers. I suspect this is topic that I will keep thinking on for some time.
I would to thank SELCO for giving me the opportunity to attend this conference. My takeaways will be inexpensive to implement and have the potential to make a significant impact at our library.
I would also like to compliment the SELCO presenters at the conference. I found many of the LTC sessions to be focused on academic libraries; and I appreciated that SELCO brought some broader topics that I could more easily apply to my library.
Tyler Irvin, Regional Librarian
My first session of the day was “LEAP into Science: A Library-Museum Partnership to Promote Science and Literacy in Programs with Families” which featured, well, pretty much what it says in the title. The first stories concerned a partnership created between the Free Library of Philadelphia and the Franklin Institute, which is my favorite science museum. The librarians had discovered that while many of them come from and are comfortable with literary arts and visual arts, there was a lack of expertise when it came to science and math programming. Rather than trying to bridge the gap internally, they found partnership with the science museum. Programs included balancing a paper girl on a finger and trying to balance it; obviously it is too light with too even of a weight distribution. Adding paper clips symmetrically to her outstretched arms creates both lateral balance but enough vertical imbalance to hold her on a single finger. Another program in New York featured the use of mirrors and light with children drawing upside down via a reflection, aiming light to illuminate certain objects, etc. Interestingly, the Salk Lake City Public Library partnered with a local television station to bring the LEAP in Science program to their community. Surprisingly, the questions at the end of session had little to do with the programs themselves and more with the creation of museum pass programs.
Over the break between sessions, I returned to the vendors. There honestly isn’t much there that directly affects me although I did stop by the IMLS booth to get information on their new five year plan. And I don’t know what it is about Mango that fascinates me with their approach to language learning but I do find myself returning there to gather additional information. Also, I ran into my friend Jeff from grad school so I learned a fair amount about music collection at the Philadelphia Free Library and a bit about what he’s interested in for music storage options. I was also pleased to note that he has referred people to the Chatfield Music Lending Library!
My second morning session was “Maximizing the Impact of Programming: Getting the Most from Your Efforts.” Unfortunately I was running a bit late at this point so I missed the opening of the session. An interesting suggestion was rather than posting obvious signs that something is out of order (such as a computer), it would be a wise choice to discretely remove the object until it can be fixed. Other than that, I mostly got the feeling of just vague technologies will change and librarians need to be ready for it.
The first program of the afternoon was “Programs That Pack the Place: Successful Community Collaborations.” It began with an author’s recommendation for author talk programs, namely to suggest either hosting more than one author or having a feature event. Looking around during this session, I am amazed by the number of librarians who are using pens and paper for notes; I don’t see any other laptops although there are a (very) few iPads scattered around. The librarian from the Queens Library has worked with several funding institutions to work on her STEM programs such as the National Science Foundation. With the funding they were able to create a museum/children’s library hybrid. The library is also apparently working with the Franklin Institute! They must be getting their hands into everything. Finally, a librarian from Skokie, Ill. talked about an interesting cultural festival based on a very diverse ethnic community which rotates the focused culture each year. In addition to the benefits of collaborating with other organizations, the suggestion of series was highly recommended to alleviate those situations when a patron says, “I wish I could’ve made it to that.”
My final session today was my first Converstation (formerly table talks) and I still cringe at the name Converstation. The title was “LGBTQ Library Services for Rural Communities.” The presenters have only recently created their LGBTQ (alternately, GLBT, GLBTQ, LGBTQIA, etc.; stands for: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, queer/questioning) collections, one admitting she didn’t even know of the materials until 2010. An interesting marketing strategy was while the Stonewall Book Award books were named as such, no mention was made to LGBTQ in the promotion. The facilitators also noted the statistics on the collection may not be reliable as books would be “lost” then found in the bookdrop later. This session was not what I was expecting at all. I anticipated it being gay advocates telling people which titles should be purchased. Hearing people unaware of the gay rights movement until a couple years ago and developing a collection from there was far more interesting. They also pointed out that having materials for these communities is a good way for creating future advocates.
Posted on behalf of Diana Tallent, Library Director, Lonsdale Public Library and SELCO PLA Scholarship Recipient
From Diana's blog 23 Things on a Director's Mind (click here to access the blog)
This session with three of the directors from the small libraries that have won this award for the last three years was inspiring. The award is given out by the Gates Foundation and Library Journal and the winner receives $15,000 and a reception along with a mention in the Congressional Record.
Each speaker stressed focusing on the services your library provides and then they listed the many, many programs and services they have going at each location. I was surprised to hear that my library isn't alone in offering fitness classes! I thought I was the only one crazy enough to do that.
Paul Paladino stressed keeping your library "...vibrant, energetic and relevant," and made the point that things should be kept simple, but not easy. His library is credited by the local school principal with increasing student's test scores at a time when the school has had to reduce the school week to four days! This session is another example of great places for me to take my library in the future. Maybe Lonsdale Public Library will win Best Small Library in America some day!
By Josh Wacholz, IT Specialist, Rochester Public Library and SELCO Scholarship Recipient
I arrived at Macalester College around 8:15am. After registering and getting my name badge, I was able to sit and get caught up on some email while I waited for the rest of the RPL gang to show up.
The morning keynote was given by Andrew McLaughlin. He gave one of the best talks I’ve ever listened to. He talked about Moore’s Law and how accurate it has proven to be and how this has benefitted today’s technology. It once used to cost roughly $150k/month to operate a site like Loudcloud. Today it costs Amazon roughly $1500/month to operate their massive site. He showed how Moore’s Law combined with a powerful, distributed network, has allowed less technical people to be innovative on today’s internet. He also talked extensively on how governments have quickly fallen behind the rapidly evolving technology world. There are a lot of restrictions in place, mostly legal reasons, why governments fall behind. He also talked about how connectivity, an open internet, and copyright and the regulation of creativity are important for the future of libraries. I think most people felt like I did after his talk – Wow! It was extremely interesting to hear what someone with that kind experience and knowledge had to say about libraries and technology.
Maccabee Levine presented: Digital Branch Libraries: Serving Patrons Online Beyond the Website. Mr. Levine showed how the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh library was able to integrate their library services into the schools mobile website, desire to learn system, and mobile app. It was very interesting to see how the library was able to create ubiquity across their different platforms by simply having a small presence in each platform or tool.
Chad Mairn delivered another outstanding talk about enhancing library services. He gave numerous examples showing how his library did things to enhance services for their patrons. I found it interesting that they actually hold concerts in the library! I think that this shows that libraries need to start shedding the “quiet” stereotype and start embracing more fun and engaging ways to get patrons in the door.
I attended a hands-on lab on jQuery and had a great time! I had no idea how simple and easy-to-use jQuery is. In less than 2 hours, I had my own mobile website up and running!
Dr. Larry Johnson from the New Media Consortium gave a talk about The Horizon Report, which is a publication put out by the NMC, and about what he thinks ‘the network’ is. He informed us that the next Horizon Report will include a new section on Libraries – this prompted a boisterous round of applause! This quote from his presentation I found to be extremely important and accurate:
“The Network connects us, changes us, helps us, is us, is everywhere, and is invisible.”
The main argument in his talk was that too many times “our strategic thinking relies on a world that no longer exists.”
I attended a presentation by Peter Murray from Lyrasis about the tools that their website provides to libraries to aid in their decision on whether or not to choose open source software. www.foss4lib.org is the site and Mr. Murray did a nice job outlining how the tools they provide can help libraries decide if Open Source is right for them.
John Daniels from Minneapolis Community and Technical College presented on how their library has made use of API’s from Google and WorldCat. It was really informative and John provided a nice website for us that has code examples and other examples of how they are benefitting from API’s. I was most impressed with their online implementation of their featured books display. This is something I would be interested in using on our library website.
The final session of the conference that I attended was a workshop put on by the Minnesota Library Futures Initiative. They are a group of 18 individuals from all over the state that consider themselves “futurists” and analyze the future of Minnesota’s libraries. We did a lot of healthy group discussion that centered around what Minnesota and libraries will look like in 2025 and how we can prepare for technology in 2025.
I am extremely happy that I was able to attend the 2012 Library Technology Conference. It’s safe to say that they were “3 for 3” on choosing keynote speakers. They all gave engaging, thought provoking talks and really energized the crowd as we headed to our individual sessions. I left feeling excited about the future of libraries and hoping that I will be able to come back next year!!
Posted on behalf of Corrie Westphall, Media Specialist, Goodhue Schools and SELCO Scholarship Recipient
Prezi is an online, Flash-based presentation tool (www.prezi.com, or Prezi app for iPad). Think of it as PowerPoint on steroids! While it is a great program for presentations and lectures, there are also many school and library applications that are well-suited to Prezi. Sisters Becky and Amanda Canovan have created several Prezi examples that are great for libraries. Book club discussions, read-alike suggestions, and self-paced tutorials are included. Prezi can incorporate video, audio, and links to online content. The Canovan sisters' work can be found at http://sites.google.com/site/libtechprezi. Prezi does require registration and a user account. Users can choose the free account or pay for a more advanced subscription. Educators with a valid school email address may choose a more advanced free account.
Posted on behalf of Corrie Westphall, Media Specialist, Goodhue Schools and SELCO Scholarship Recipient
Lori Williamson from the Minnesota Historical Society shared her secrets to productive and effective blogging. She helped to create a popular blog that showcases the collections and events within the Historical Society. The blog can be found here: http://discussions.mnhs.org/collections/
Here are a few of Lori's key points about blogging:
- A blog serves two purposes. It is a direct link to the public and it is an anchor for new technologies. A blog lets people know what is going on in your library and acts as a home for podcasts, videos, and other kinds of media.
- When creating a blog, consider your audience. What kinds of things do they want to know about? What platform or layout will be most user-friendly for them? What voice will you use---serious and formal or more friendly and chatty? This will help guide your blog's style and development.
- Develop a plan for execution (how will I create this blog?) and a plan for evaluation (how will I know my blog is working?)
- Make sure everyone in your library is on board with the blog and is willing to contribute regularly. It cannot be a one-person show. Also, each post should be previewed by at least 2 staff people to insure quality work.
- It is important to find a balance between posting new content and not becoming blog-obsessed. Before starting, set a finite amount of time for blogging each day and stick to it.
- Evaluate your blog using trends over time, not solely by number of comments or hits.
- A successful blog has a combination of popular archived posts found through search engines and new content accessed by regular readers.
- A blog communicates your library's values to the community. It is a great way to build support for specific projects and increase traffic to your building.
Any library, large or small, can benefit from an online presence. Connecting to a well-maintained blog through Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube will increase public knowledge of what's going on in your building. Working together as a staff will benefit the public and benefit your library.
Presenter: Peter Murry of LYRASIS
Slides available on SlideShare<http://www.slideshare.net/DataGazetteer/introduction-to-foss4lib>.
The first part of the LYRASIS website (www.foss4lib.org<http://foss4lib.org/>) is collection of tools to help libraries decide if Open Source Software is right for them. One set of tools are based on survey that plots the results to help determine the libraries propensity for open source / closed source (proprietary) and self-hosting / Software as a Service. There is as another tool to walk the library through determining whether the parent IT org is open to Open Source solutions. There another tool for determining the total cost of the software. And another tool for software application selection. These tools are more for philosophical decision making methodology.
The second part of the site is for selecting which OS software is for them. They have a collection of information on different packages (including support sites and organizations, conferences, and download sites), we talked about OS ILS's but they have sections on CMS's as well. This set up to be a community as well.
Delivered via Confluence Mail
Posted on behalf of Renita L. McCabe-Irvin, District Media Specialist, Stewartville Schools and SELCO Scholarship Recipient
Day two of the conference was as good or better than day one. I started the day off at an early bird session explaining the services and products available through Ingram/Coutts. This was very interesting and worth the time.
The keynote speaker for the morning was Larry Johnson, CEO of the New Media consortium: fonder and visionary leader of the Horizon Project. Larry wowed everyone with the news of the expansion of the Horizon Reports. The numbers that flew around and the maps of technology availability were amazing. I have to admit as an educator, it is scary to think about what how fast the technological world is moving. Seems like we are teaching to the past and losing ground. Projections of 7 billion cell phones in the world before school is out this year. There will be more cell phones in the world than people in the very near future. Where do all the old materials go? Larry also talked about the ramifications of technology. The world is shrinking but the connections are not all good. While it was made everything available, it has also freed some areas in a way that is not acceptable to some governments. It has given people the ability to connect and build support, have a voice. But in the same light, copyright and open source will have to evolve to meet the new demands.
I loved the comparison Larry made about electricity being something we have become so accustom to having that the only time we are truly aware of the many way we use it, is when it is not available. The future generations, starting with the children today, will have the same jaded attitude toward technology as we do to electricity.
I attended a session titles "Solo Tech" and learned about shortcuts and time savers that may be useful, i.e. example keepass and ninite.
I also attended a very interesting session YouTube for Hosting Video Tutorials presented by staff from the University of Iowa. Great sessions with numerous tips and safeguards.
The last session I attended was, "It's Not Paranoia if Your Tech Really is Out to Get You" presented by Nancy Sims from the University of Minnesota. Nancy gave us valuable information about what is private and what is not, alternatives and safety nets for our personal information. Again, small town country girl is a bit scared when the possibilities of what technology is changing in our lives comes to light.
I really want to thank SELCO for the opportunity to participate in this conference. The knowledge, networking and experience are fantastic.
After a good morning of sessions, I was hoping for more on Thursday afternoon and was not disappointed.
First up was Building a Digital Public Library of America (DPLA). This was a really interesting session about work being done nationally (think Wikipedia) to build a digital public library. As the speakers described it, a very big tent project. The presenters were at this conference to dispel some myths about this ambitious project, educate public librarians about the DPLA, and encourage everyone to become involved.
The elements of DPLA are open source code, open metadata, good content, many tools & services, and a sense of community. These items provide the architecture for building the digital library which is needed just as an architect is needed for our physical buildings. Six work streams have been put together made of folks from all around the country in a variety of settings and folks are encouraged to join. Thus far, most of these groups have had or will have meetings together. The plenary meeting was in October 2011. In November 2011, a number of large and not so large public libraries gathered in Los Angeles to create a blueprint for building a national digital public library. They addressed issue related to what should be part of a library's digitization strategy, including content such as historic and unique local content, national/regional book digitization projects, eBooks and other commercial content, and content that was born digital. It will be exciting to watch what happens and it was nice that to hear that two myths dispelled: they are not trying to compete with existing public libraries and that this endeavor is not exclusively for research or even large libraries.
The second afternoon session was also a nice surprise. Common Grounds: Information Commons, Master Planning, and New Models of Public Service Delivery was a presentation by three staff from the Brooklyn (NY) Public Library and their desire to build an information commons as part of a larger master plan. Their master plan involved establishing a vision of what a library can be, increase efficiency, and allow the library to make the necessary improvements incrementally. First, they asked their users what they wanted at the library and came up with a list of items that included better technology, more meeting and study rooms, ample seating, and more access to wireless and electrical outlets. They also sought information about the community they served and found many new users with new needs: freelancers, designers, and the creative economy; community college and distance learning students, job seekers, and nonprofit and community based organizations. Putting this information together, they came up with the idea to implement an information commons, quite common in academic settings but fairly rare in public libraries. With a little luck, in July 2008, a time when the recession was hitting the community hard, they obtained a grant from the Leon Levy Foundation for just over $100,000 to take six months and think about what they wanted in a learning commons by setting up two teams that brought ideas to the table: a librarian-led program team and an architect-led design team. The teams worked together and in 2010, they were able to take their resulting idea back to the Foundation and received an additional $2.75 million to begin work on a really beautiful space that is scheduled to be opened in January 2013. This was not an add on to their existing libraries but rather a renovation of existing space.
This new learning commons addition is also having an effect on the Library's thought about service priorities. They are working to reduce the number of traditional service points and reduce the hours of service at select service points. They are consolidating departments and without laying off staff. They are also focusing on staff development and training, providing staff with the tools and skills that they will need to become effective trainers. A very ambitious project but certainly well within the vision and mission of most public libraries. It is being done to meet the changing needs of not only their current patrons but their community as well.
Day 2 at PLA was actually the very first full day of educational sessions at the Conference. I attended four excellent and very different sessions which is the great thing about a conference.
I started off my day with a little industrial engineering. Yes, you read that right, industrial engineering. Two libraries, Milwaukee Public Library and Ramsey County Library employed Hammel, Green and Abrahamson, Inc. (HGA) to assist them in projects that employed the ideas of industrial engineering to eliminate waste, look for efficiencies, maximize value, and produce results that equal cost savings (the basics of industrial engineering related to a concept known as the Balanced Scorecard.) In both cases, the libraries were looking at ways to improve circulation services in their libraries by employing automatic sorting systems. Both libraries mapped out the process for how materials circulate in a library setting, from checkout through checkin to returned to the shelf. In both cases, they found that a lot of time was being spent by staff on processes that either involved too many redundant or unnecessary steps or were filled with "legacy" steps (i.e. but we've always done it this way). Each took different paths but in the end found that for their busiest branches, adding automated sorting was the way to go. Milwaukee went from materials taking nearly 4 days to return to the shelf (!) to right around 24 hours (often less.)
Later in the morning, I was very pleased with my choice of a session on meaningful community conversations. I'll admit I'm skeptical of sessions where the speaker is listed as a consultant (not a slight by any means) as I don't want to be sold a bill of goods that doesn't deliver. However, Joan Frye Williams and George Needham (georgeandjoan.com) had the goods and sold it well. Their main point in this presentation is that if you want meaningful community engagement, satisfaction surveys and demographics are NOT enough. Good tools but they miss a lot of the really useful information. Instead, they recommend this prioritized list of tools for effectively connecting with your community:
- Effective community meetings
- Effective social media
- Effective interviews
- Effective focus groups
- Effective surveys
Notice that surveys are lowest on their list and demographics isn't even mentioned? The other thing that I took from this presentation is this gem:
"It is not the community's job to understand the library. It is the library's job to understand the community."
LaVonne Beach, LaCrescent Public Library and SELCO PLA Scholarship Recipient
My first session today was Successful Summer Science Clubs for Children
Hands on science in the library? Had to attend this session since we were the recipients of the IEEE science grant and are planning programming. This was a “ConverStations”, formerly known as Talk Tables. Room setup was the most notable difference with nice round tables, much easier to take notes. I think that should be a suggestion for MLA or any conference, all chairs should have an arm rest like the old fashioned school desks!
Karyn Dombrosky & Cicely Douglas were the presenters. Karyn started with “Clap twice if you can hear me” she said that she starts all programming this way as it really gets the attention of the younger children. She has been doing science programs for about last 8 years during summer. Each week is a different science and she tries to do 3-5 experiments during a program. She really stressed that you need a partner, teen volunteers make great partners. Have kids do experiment at individual stations; “Everyone grab your tussie and put your tussie on the floor” - gets the kids attention, then talk about the experiments. With smaller kids, teach the lesson first, sometimes use a chart, sometimes read a book to teach the lesson, whiteboard, powerpoint, streaming kid friendly video, Bill Nye video, whatever works.
by is the book that they use every single summer. Lots of good ideas.
Use the KWL approach: What do we Know; What do we Want to know, What do we want to Learn.
It was a very interesting session and I really came away with some great ideas. We did have a surprise guest - a mouse ran across the trim on the front of the room.
Being the Best: Stories from the Best Small Libraries in America was my second session. We heard about how the libraries went about applying for the Library Journals award. Most of them stressed that it was not about the buildings but about the services that were offered. Key criteria for the application are found on the Library Journal's website. All of the presenters stressed the importance of keeping statistics. Some of the programs that were mentioned were Senior Memories, a joint project with teens recording senior citizens memories to give to their children/grandchildren. Donuts & Downloading - a program with e-books; however they are now doing this as a one on one program. One of the new programs they wanted to implement was a Halloween costume swap for families with young kids. |
All also stressed the importance of forming community partners.
I attended the author luncheon with David Baldacci. He is a engaging speaker. He had the room in stitches on more than one occassion.
After this session I headed to the vendor hall. This is a major undertaking! I food a couple of vendors that will sell used books for you and split the profits. I will be happy to pass the names along to anyone who is interested.
I also attended the Engaging with Teens on a Shoestring Budget. A couple points that I took away from this session was to create teen programmin at their convience, not staffs. One interesting theory was that if you increaase operating hours you will increase operating budget, not sure about that. Judy Boyce, director of the West Baton Rouge Parish Library was very impressed with Tutor.com.
Back to the vendor hall - I was determined to make it at least half way.
The last session of the day was Commons Ground: Information Commons, Master Planning and new models of public service delivery. While this session was mainly about the Brooklyn Public Library and their 7 million renovation(or something like that) I did get some information that would apply to any library. They talked about the importance of planning for future spaces, considering the flow of your library and what it is that your community needs. We all need to consider what the focal point of our libraries is and what we want it to be.
I ended that day by attending the audio publishers dinner. I was sitting at the back of the room and Lisa Scottoline came in to the ballroom. It was amazing having the opportunity to actually meet her and get a HUG from Lisa Scottoline! Karin Slaughter is an amazing speaker and we also got to her Carl Hiaasen. What a thoroughly enjoyable evening! Plus a goodie bag.
Wow is all I can say. Philadelphia – what a lovely city! I spent the morning before the PLA conference kick-off taking in some of the gorgeous sights and sounds! Visited the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University campuses, the Free Library of Philadelphia, and walked the streets to gaze at some beautiful architecture. In celebration of the bicentenary of Charles Dickens’ birth this year, the Philadelphia Free Library is hosting A Year of Dickens, featuring special events and art exhibits. I got to see an art exhibit in the West Gallery called Character Sketches from the World of Charles Dickens that highlighted the classic personas in settings right out of the novels. The exhibition features works of both the artists who worked directly with Dickens and those who were later inspired by his timeless creations. For more information about this exhibit and other Dickens events, please click here.
I also visited the City Hall in Philadelphia to view the latest art exhibit. Art in City Hall is a juried and community exhibition program that is part of the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy (OACDE). The new Art Gallery in City Hall also produces exhibitions reflecting the OACDE’s overall mission of serving the greater creative economy. The exhibitions are made possible by generous private donations. The current exhibit I visited was called Philadelphia Yarnbombing 101, an introduction to yarnbombing in Philadelphia, by Ishknits. For more info on Jessie Hemmons, Philly's Yarnbomber, please click here.
The PLA Opening Keynote speaker, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., had some interesting things to say about the environment and politics. Not really applicable to libraries but he did share some funny quotes, like “The weather is on steroids” and he did talk about using the ChaCha reference service available for phones with texting capabilities. After the keynote, I made it to the exhibit hall to champagne-toast with Envisionware and to visit with Tech Logic to see the new iPad check-out stations.
In the evening, MELSA’s Kathleen James and I met up with some children’s programming folks from around the country to chat about summer reading. Got some really cool perspectives on planning! We also briefly talked about transliteracy. Transliteracy is the ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and film, to digital social networks (from the website, Transliteracy). Librarian by Day blogger Bobbi Newman has posted work on this topic. Click here to see her slideshows and click here to see her blog. To see some collective work on transliteracy, click here.
Audrey Betcher, Rochester Public Library and SELCO PLA Scholarship Recipient
Today was filled with sessions that challenged and affirmed.
My first session was “Early Literacy and Learning Spaces: An ECRR Workshop”. All I can say is “WOW”. Jill Bickford from West Bloomfield township (MI), Amanda Ellington from St. Mary’s County (MD) and Maren Ostergard from King County (WA) showed off their early literacy spaces and showed how they reinforced the principles of Every Child Ready to Read. I’ve already warned Heather Acerro, RPL’s Head of Children’s, that I’m coming back with ideas. She’s ready and she sent me to the exhibit hall to see the Burgeon Group and their cool play spaces. Lots of ideas with lots of varying price tags – some we can even afford.
My second session was “Creating a Virtual Orientation for New Staff”. As we’ve done quite a bit of orientation for new staff this year, it often feels like we are reinventing the wheel with every single employee. Baltimore County has a lot more employees than Rochester, but I think there are some very good take-aways. The online orientation is not meant to replace some of the in-person orientation that has to happen, but it puts basic, key information in front of new employees in a fast, consistent way. Since reviewing the general staff manual is on my “to do” list, this session gave me a new way to think about getting information to staff.
My third session was “Creating a Vibrant Organizational Culture at Your Library”. I came out of the session valuing the culture at the Rochester Public Library. We are very deliberate about culture, and I learned we are doing many things right. I got some good ideas about assessment of culture.
My fourth session was “Saying Yes to the Community”. The session was about a strategic planning process in Durham County Library (NC) that very deliberately involved the community. They had a two day “search conference” with 100 community members. I can’t say I’m ready to run out and replicate, because it was very time intensive, but it was interesting. We are always challenged to make sure we are meeting community needs, and it is good to see how other communities learn about community needs.
The morning started out with a great keynote from Dr. Larry Johnson from the Horizon Project. He discussed global trends and technology. Particularly focusing on the internet and mobile networks. He explained how the "network" connects us, changes us, but more profoundly that WE are the network. Basically without us the network would not exist. Definitely something to think about as we look beyond the technology at the people behind it and empowering it.
The first morning session was actually another presentation for me. Donovan and I presented our, Libraries in the Cloud, presentation. The turn out was amazing, and everyone seemed to really enjoy it. What I truly liked was the last few minutes after we finished presenting, we had discussion from the audience about cloud technology and how they use it. And like the other times we have presented, we had a few people come up afterwards with questions and praise. I am not sure why they seem to like this talk so much, but after presenting it at Users Group, MLA and LibTech it does seem to be one people enjoy.
The session after lunch I went to the talk that Aurora did on eBooks. Mostly because I wanted to hear a talk from one of our own. Aurora covered a great many topics, and even though she feels she went on a rant of the current situation we are in with OverDrive and publishers, it was one that the people in the room shared. There were even some points that Aurora made that some of the librarians in the room were not aware of with Amazon and Overdrive. I think it is good for librarians to be on the same page and know what is happening with eBooks right now. As it is a changing technology, day by day, it is important to have librarians rallied and in the know. But Aurora's talk was not all about some of the problems with eBooks today, she also discussed a lot of great information such as the roadshows she has done with SELCO. Based on her numbers and roadshows it is amazing the demand patrons have for this service, even if the publishers are not in agreement right now. It is good to have someone like Aurora in the trenches staying on top of this, and keeping others up to date as well.
The next session I went to was on using YouTube for video tutorials. I know we are already doing this for SELCOtv, but I was curious on what other tools and procedures other libraries are using. I was not surprised to hear that Captivate was not one of their favorite tools for creating videos. Some of the ones they preferred were Panopto, Camtasia, and Jing. Products I am hoping to look at in the near future. Their main focus however was on setting up guidelines, so that all the videos have a similar flow, time limit and even open and ending pages. Their guideline for time limit is to not have any video longer than 5 minutes. They also recommended on the last branding slide to state, "You just watched..." so that the viewer remembers exactly what they watched from beginning to end. They also showed us some of the built in captioning options YouTube has if your video software does not do captioning. Vimeo was another site, similar to YouTube that they mentioned, but it is not as well known and has more limitations, such as not playing on mobile devices.
The last session of the day that I attended was on Islandora. I mostly attended this session as I was not sure what it was, but they mentioned it was an open source program. However I learned that Islandora is a product used to connect several other open source server programs to create a digital asset management system. While this was all very interesting, the applications for my work fell a little short. The people presenting were also not the people that did the technical work to set it up. Everything was talked about very conceptually, which as a tech person, left me a little wanting. But regardless it was a great presentation and a great idea, just a very specific use technology.
So all in all this was a great Library Technology Conference. A great big thank you to everyone who helped put it on. As always I walked away learning not only some great new tech tips, but some of the struggles that librarians go through, and what we can do to help them.
From Diana's blog 23 Things on a Director's Mind (click here to access the blog)
Having a great learning experience at PLA '12! This session focused on large library systems and how they cut their multi-million dollar budgets and advocate for more funding in tough economies. Floating my collection and combining my service desks (what service desks? I don't even have one!) aren't options at my tiny library. I did get a better idea about where my library should be heading as it grows, but I could teach all the bigger libraries a thing or two about how to be truly frugal, which I spent some time doing when I taught a session called Managing a Small Library at last summer's Branch Out Conference at St. Olaf, incidentally.
I was glad to learn that most of the tricks for advocating for your library I already have up my sleeve. Sticking to the facts and taking the emotion out of it were good pointers. Making sure the powers that be realize that libraries make a difference in everyday lives also was exactly what Lynne Young, Delane James and I did last year in our Rice County library budget increase request presentation.
A county funding graph was a great idea which could greatly enhance, in a simple way, how much funding has dipped in recent years, especially considering that the county gained a third library - mine. Another idea this session spawned was to have customers write "What I did at my library today" letters to the county commissioners and city council. Also, to tell the council and commissioners EVERYTHING the library is doing when they are doing it. If we inundate them with all the programs and services we provide, then they can't help but realize how much bang they are getting for their buck.
It occurred to me in this session, too, that we should show what the national average is for the number of libraries per county. I can't help but think that our 3 is low and that making that comparison would be enlightening.
From Diana's blog 23 Things on a Director's Mind (click here to access the blog)
Opening Sesssion with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. in the Terrace Ballroom of the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia this afternoon was surprising. He spoke about the real cost of fossil fuels, taking environmental impact and public health care costs associated with extracting these fuels and disposing of their by-products and waste into account. He next went so far as to say that our oil dependency has us funding both sides of the war on terror. Despite the fact that he was hard to listen to - not sure if he has been ill and that has affected his voice - and sometimes hard to understand (for the same reason), his speech drew me in and had me laughing and applauding along with many others in the ginormous crowd. I don't know how many people that ballroom seats, but it must have been hundreds and it was nearly full.
His speech was snarky - he commented that something like 90% of republicans and 70% of democrats are untrustworthy (I'm paraphrasing) - but it was surprisingly hopeful. It made me think of a recent environmentalist guest (can't remember her name) on MPR whose agenda is to teach companies that being green is in the best interest of their bottom line. Along those lines, Mr. Kennedy remarked that saving the environment and saving the economy go hand-in-hand.
In fairness, I should point out that his claim that England's abolition of slavery sparked the Industrial Revolution is not quite sound. The Industrial Revolution began in the mid-1700's and England didn't enact the Slave Trade Act until 1807, which only outlawed the trade, not slavery itself. It wasn't until the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 that slavery became unlawful.
Despite the error in his perception of that segment of history, Mr. Kennedy's overall assertion that we can and must stop our fossil fuel addiction was sound. My favorite line from his speech was, "It's easier to change your light bulb than your politician." He is right-on when he says that our government needs to stop being steered by companies who want the country to stay dependent on oil, coal, etc. because they have a vested interest in our doing so. I couldn't agree more that it is past time to stop the subsidies they enjoy and start forcing them to turn towards sustainable energy sources that do not have us brokering with countries that despise us.
It was refreshing to listen to a successful, intelligent man offer a clear vision of where our country and the world need to head in order for our children and theirs to have a world worth living in. So often the message is doom and gloom, but Mr. Kennedy reignited my hope with his assertion that a new day is dawning, even if it is happening somewhat more slowly than we would like it to be.
Posted on behalf of Renita L. McCabe-Irvin, District Media Specialist, Stewartville Schools and SELCO Library Technology Conference Scholarship Recipient
What a beautiful day to be at a conference that allows you to walk around during the day. The 4th Annual Library Technology Conference is underway.
My first session was an Early Bird: OCLO WorldShare: a vision for supporting the community through collaboration. This was very interesting to learn about the efforts OCLC is making to help all libraries be on the same page. While some of the features of the new OCLC site are still under development the possibilties look amazing.
Keynote speaker Andrew McLaughlin was highly informative about the speed of the spread of technology. The effects and affects of technology in the entire world have brought about other issues. While making the world smaller it was also make the world more informed.
Optimizing the Ipad-Apps that help you work smarter, and some just to have fun! was the first session I attended. A vast number of applications were discussed and their usage was explained. Discussion followed about issues and solutions IPad users have had.
Lunch Keynote Speaker: Chad Mairn was very enthusiatic about technology in the future, its use and possibilities.
The last session of the day for me was "Using Video of Your Computer to Teach". I learned alot about video productions tricks and trips. I am looking forward to playing with these tools to create informative lessons for the students. Well that was a lot to digest, more to come tomorrow.
Tyler Irvin, Regional Librarian
This morning I began my sessions with “Young at Heart: YA Books with Adult Crossover Appeal.” It featured four YA authors who started by discussing their works. While they all write for young adults, each works in a different genre. Alexander Gordon Smith writes horror, Siobhan Vivian writes realistic fiction, Gregg Olsen writes crime novels, and Gayle Forman writes somewhat supernatural. I have to say, Vivian’s book The List, which discusses what happens when schoolgirls release a list of defining characteristics, sounds most interesting. Forman’s If I Stay sounds equally engrossing as a girl decides whether to stay or move on after her death in a car accident. As the session progressed, we transitioned into discussion on the writing process but also how adults view YA lit when they read it. Something I hadn’t considered is how adults identify differently with the protagonists with more of an outsider’s view while teens directly identify by placing themselves in the protagonist’s position.
After a brief foray back into the vendors just to see who’s there, I went to my second session, “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know: Meaningful Community Engagement.” As the presenters pointed out, there isn’t enough funding to just guess on what the community needs/wants and while they can be useful, demographics aren’t sufficient for more than a few isolated cases. A fair portion of it was reminding librarians to use common sense when surveying the community. For example, don’t ask just the regulars how they feel about the library, it provides no real information; it’s people who already like it and also they don’t know how libraries work. Rather, ask them what outcomes they want and figure out the process. They did proceed to discussion different methods on how to survey. One that stood out in my mind was to use analogies; if someone likes the farmers’ market, ask what they like about that and then ask how the library could be more like a farmers’ market. As for the forum format, the primary suggestion was effective community meetings with effective meaning having the gatekeepers of communities, including businesses, and other representatives as the attendees. Other suggestions included effective social media (expanding onto people’s profiles rather than just the library’s), effective interviews (What’s keeping you awake at night? What do you wish you knew more about? Who else should we talk to?), focus groups (particularly for foreign language speakers and teens), and finally, surveys. Finally, thank participants for their service, not their time, money, or support.
Over the lunch break, Michael Scott and I spent some time with the vendors. We stuck to 3M to see what they’re up to. At first we were just left to explore on our own as the associates were all occupied. However we did eventually get a viewing of their ebook system. While they don’t have the selection of a certain notorious library ebook vendor, they are working on it. The system itself is much smoother than I think SELCO currently uses; the interface looks a lot like NetFlix. They also have a gadget in their catalog that can function as a lendable ebook reader. The device is charged to last over 3 weeks and doesn’t feature a wireless connection.
My first afternoon session was “Engaging with Teens on a Shoestring Budget.” There were some interesting ideas of what activities to do with teen groups. A successful one featured the creation of an Art Club that worked with marshmallows and noodles to create art. Well, and a catapult to shoot marshmallows at a bullseye on the wall. Honestly, most of the session turned out to be feel-good stories with limited repeatability; lovely to hear but of negligible use. There was also emphasis on QR codes for ebook promotion and the importance of branding. There was also mention of a digital bookmobile that OverDrive offers free of charge to promote ebook use which would be interesting to look into. I also did hear about a flashdrive kit which featured 8 4Gb flashdrives loaded with programs such as Scratch and other freeware and programming ideas.
My final session of the day was “Robotix Blox; Robotics Rocks! Using Robotics in Youth Programming.” The concept is similar to the advanced features of Scratch in that it allows the creation of programming for a simple Legos robot. The program scripting program uses a visual interface to detail how the robot works. The program is of particular use for libraries focusing on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) skill development. The specific programs the presenter created involved literary themes such as Camp Halfbot (Percy Jackson), Mockingbot (Catching Fire), and Wimpy Robot (Diary of a Wimpy Kid) with related challenges such as crossing a board without touching the minotaur or freeing “animals” from the truck. The base set is $278 for a single unit.
Read-It enjoying a good book on a snowy February day
Read-It on a rainy March day
Read-It with Minneapolis Schools Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson
For more snaps of Read-it, check SELCO's Flickr collection.
Labels: library, technology, conference, historical, society, downton, abbey, ltc2012
In the Library Technology Conference session Blogging for Fun and Profit - or at least access and potential profit, Lori Williamson, Minnesota Historical Society, spoke about the social return on investment into their website. She wanted to show us how they bring collections to the public via the website. On an average, the library’s website gets 2,000 plus hits a month.
Increasing the use of the website and getting a higher social return on their investment was a communications goal, not necessarily a financial goal. While they do have service areas that bring in money, such as selling copies of the digital photos, the Minnesota Historical Center Library’s work is more for preservation and information management. Williamson said her goals’ outputs and outcomes were written to capture and report on the Social Return on Investment rather than the traditional ROI.
The Collections Up Close Podcast and Blog section of the website is really a showcase of some of their favorite topics. Developing a culture of blogging within her department took time and made her feel as if she was hounding her co-workers for articles but all is good. At this time there are weekly articles going up, written by a rotation through the department, and people see the value of the writing and research they do. Trending culture is frequently tapped for topics - for example, the second season of Downton Abbey, a popular BBC Masterpiece Theatre presentation, inspired a post about artifacts from the James R. Hill household at the Historical Society.
I did not know that they had a Civil War Day Book on this website, and I’ve enjoyed viewing some of the 3D objects they have digitized and added to the collection. This session has given me a fresh look at how a library can and should use blogging to extend the services outside the brick and board building and out into the world.
LaVonne Beach, LaCrescent Public Library and SELCO PLA Scholarship Recipient
Here I am in Philadelphia at the Loew's Hotel relaxing after a very early start to my day. I left LaCrosse "International" Airport at 7am this morning and arrived in Philadelphia 10 minutes ahead of schedule! I had enough time to register at the hotel, drop my luggage, and beat feet down to the conference center. The opening keynote speaker was Robert Kennedy Jr.! I was in the back of the room and did snap a picture to give everyone a sense of the room. He is a champion of the environment and was clearly passionate about America becoming independent of fossil fuels. He made a very interesting point that we are funding both sides of the war in the Middle East. We are subsidizing the foreign oil companies and we are funding the soldiers to fight.
It was clear that Kennedy had been raised with a social conscience. He relayed a couple of things that his father shared with him. One was the time his father told him that Virginia was one of the richest states in the union below the ground and one of the poorest above the ground. He encouraged us to become active in the fight to rid of country of its dependence on fossil fuels.
He recommended the book: LIVES PER GALLON: THE TRUE COST OF OUR OIL ADDICTION by Terry Tammien.
I loved his comment about politicians: Republicans are 90% corrupt and Democrats are 75% corrupt.
He ended with three reasons why we are still dependent on coal/fossil fuels:
1) Huge subsidies going to the coal companies and their far reaching lobbying.
2) We do not have the infrastructure to transport the energy. Our national grid system is misaligned and out of date. We need to rebuild the grid system and he referenced the way that Eisenhower built roads, etc.
3) There are 50 different utility control systems - each state has its own energy controls.
He encouraged all of us to follow him on Twitter.
I was asked by a library patron why this conference was such a big deal and I told them it is like attending the Academy Awards for Librarians!!
March 14 was the official start to PLA 2012 in Philadelphia. The opening keynote speaker, Robert Kennedy, Jr., provided attendees a glimpse into the work he is doing on behalf of the environment. His message included comparisons between the traditional sources of energy in the United States (coal, oil) and renewable sources of energy (wind, solar). His point was that the comparison is not a complete picture due to the fact that coal and oil are both heavily subsidized so the "costs" appear lower. He was also troubled by the increasing role that corporations are playing in government today and that in another time, that cozy relationship was considered fascism. Very thought provoking but I do wish he'd talked up the way that libraries might help people find out more information about the topics he discussed and be part of the process of educating them.
Tonight was also the opening of the exhibits at PLA 2012. One of the assignments that I had was to find out more information about a product from Tech Logic called MediaSurfer. It is a standalone kiosk for iPads, Android, and tablets that the company is currently developing. It would allow libraries to lend iPads and other tablets to their patrons. The photo below shows what the machine looks like:
The machine is designed to work with any ILS but is limited to only a single type of media device, so only iPads or Android tablets but not both in the same machine. They are certainly not inexpensive but might be an option for libraries to provide this service. They can be set up to require a deposit from a patron by having them swipe a credit card. Then, if the tablet doesn't come back in the allotted time, they will be charged whatever fee the library has set up. It is certainly an interesting development and might be worth looking into.
I also attended a session from Baker & Taylor on their new ebook service, Axis 360. It uses Blio, an eReading software that incorporates sound and images to "go beyond the written word." Right now, this service is available for iOS (iPad, iPod, etc.), Android devices, and the Kindle Fire. Availability on the Nook and Sony eReader is expected in April-May 2012 and digital audiobooks should be available in mid-2012. The product looks good and for all the catalogers out there, the MARC records are available the morning after the order is placed! I was wondering if Baker & Taylor was going to get into this business so it will be interesting to see how this develops.
Am looking forward to what Day 2 brings. Stay tuned!
Audrey Betcher, Rochester Public Library and SELCO PLA Scholarship Recipient
First I want to thank SELCO for the scholarship to go to PLA. It is wonderful to get the opportunity to learn new things and get energized by seeing what other public librarians are doing.
The conference started with the opening session. PLA president, Marcia Warner, welcomed us all. Then Sari Feldman introduced the Digital Content and Libraries Working Group (DCWG). ALA and PLA along with some publishers and vendors are working to bring libraries into the ebook debate. At RPL we continuously debate the value of ebooks when the costs are rising, the full range of content is not available, and staff support is significant. The landscape is constantly changing and I welcome the discussions as we look for new models that create a win/win/win for our patrons, libraries and vendors.
Robert F Kennedy Jr was the keynote speaker for the opening session. He is an environmental advocate. He spoke passionately about the need to make environmental decisions that make economic sense now and in the future. He made the case that the debate is framed by corporate interests and that if corporations were to pay the full cost without public subsidy, green choices would be obvious. (Example: in West Virginia roads need to be 22” thick to be able to handle the coal trucks. Most roads are 4”-8” deep. Roads are paid for with public funds.)
I thought Mr. Kennedy missed an opportunity to really connect with the public librarians. His only comment about librarians was not complimentary and was in relation to the app “ChaCha”.
Then on to the exhibit opening. What a great opportunity to have so many vendors in one place. RPL is thinking about a continuous improvement project for how we book meeting rooms, so it was very helpful to see different software out there to empower patrons in this process. DVD security and remote options are also on my list for discovery. I have so many more vendors to see…
The day started out with a great keynote from Andrew McLaughlin from Tumblr. He discussed the impact of technology and the internet, and how quickly it changes. It was then off to my first session, Optimizing iPads. This was a great discussion on uses of iPads how how they are very personalized devices. They went through some great tips, and then it was off to cover some of their favorite apps for Reading, News, Screencasting, Management, and some fun stuff. Some of the specific apps that they talked about that appealed to me were Notability and CloudOn. Notability is a great not taking tool, that also audio records the presentation while you take notes. This way you can refer back to it later as a reference. CloudOn looked like a great app as it gives you the ability to edit Microsoft Office documents right from inside your Dropbox account. The appeal here is that with iPhones and iPads, editing Microsoft Office documents usually falls kind of short, so I am always on the look out for apps to make this easier.
We then took a lunch break and listened to a great keynote from Chad Mairn talking about "Transforming Our Vision to Enhance Library Services". He talked about different programs and services the library can provide to their patrons, as well as how to use different technologies to do this. One of the many ideas he provided was to hack a Microsoft Kinect from XBox to use for interactive things, such as art, map searches, and even guitar lessons. He also discussed the idea of creating listening stations in the library, much like the ones you see at bookstores. These were just a few of the great ideas for programs, services, and technology that he had. More information on his presentation can be found at, http://www.slideshare.net/chadmairn.
In the afternoon I attended a session on using a platform called Boopsie to create a mobile app for your library. I honestly found this a little disappointing as the costs was very high, and the interface of the app pulled its data from Google Docs. The people presenting were from UW Eau Claire, and indicated that the initial cost was $5,000 with a yearly maintenance after that. This seemed very steep as SELCO itself is working on creating a presence in BookMyne that will do a lot of the same features, not for just one library, but for all the SELCO libraries. Making the BookMyne app one stop shopping for patrons as opposed to downloading several apps specific to the libraries.
After Boopsie, it was time for Donovan, Aurora, and I to present on Privacy, Libraries, and the Internet. We identified several of the different mentalities people have towards online privacy, as well as how these services impact libraries, patrons, and people. Overall I think everyone was really happy with our presentation as we has a lot of great comments show up on Twitter afterwards.
And so ends Day One of the 2012 Library Technology Conference. Tomorrow is another day with more information, as well as giving another presentation first thing in the morning.
| A little closer to home than PLA in Philadelphia, the Library Technology Conference is just concluding Day 1 in St. Paul. Those SELCO staff members attending and presenting include:
SELCO is also pleased to support attendance at the Library Technology Conference by five area library staff members.
- Corrie Westphall, Goodhue Schools
- Alice Henderson, Plainview Public Library
- Josh Wacholz, Rochester Public Library
- Pat Johnson, Stewartville Public Library
- Renita McCabe-Irvin, Stewartville Schools
The SELCO Librarian will include their reactions to conference programs and exhibits at this homegrown Minnesota technology event.
You can also follow the Library Technology Conference on Twitter. Check it out to get a general sense of conference activities or use hashtag #ltc2012 to see what attendees are tweeting.
| The Public Library Association conference is underway in Philadelphia!
SELCO staff attending include Michael Scott, Assistant Director and Regional Librarians, Mollie Pherson and Tyler Irvin. Each will share their conference experiences in a variety of social media formats from The SELCO Librarian blog to Twitter.
SELCO is also pleased to support attendance at PLA by three SELCO library directors, Audrey Betcher – Rochester, LaVonne Beach – LaCrescent, and Diana Tallent – Lonsdale. The SELCO Librarian will include their reactions to conference programs and exhibits at this national event.
Look for the hashtag #pla12 to follow their journeys.
The PLA Conference also has its own Facebook wall. Check it to get a general sense of conference activities.
Tyler Irvin, Regional Librarian
I swear, I didn't mean for that rhyme, it just happened. For the remainder of this week, I am at the Public Library Association (PLA) biannual conference in Philadelphia. For those of you unaquainted with the fact, this is a return visit for me as I previous attended Drexel University for my MLIS. Yesterday was devoted to travel and not much of note there fortunately. This morning, Mollie Pherson, Regional Librarian, and I did a brief tour of University City and the Franklin Parkway; most of it was viewing of old haunts and touristy so I won't go into that here. However, we did stop at the main branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia. Not a site I visited often when I lived here as there were branches closer to me. This time I looked at it from a visitor's perspective, a visitor who has been to many more libraries since then. When one considers the size of the city of Philadelphia, the library and its collections are incredibly small. The Austin Public Library has larger stacks. The Children's area is hidden in the basement and has a definite, shall we say, antique feel to it. That being said, it may be due to the fact the library is more in a business area than residential and serves more as administration for thirty-odd branches. They also had some excellent brochures and PR materials covering their programs.
As for the conference itself, it officially began this afternoon. We had a series of introductions which discussed the ebook issue and the importance of the library as an information broker. Finally the keynote speaker, Mr. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. came to the stage. While the majority of the speech was, albiet very persuasive, more geared towards enviromental awareness and a need to lessen the country's dependence on coal, oil, and corporations than libraries, a part did get me thinking. Kennedy mentioned something along the lines that what has been forgotten about democracy is that it is meant for the people. While I'm fairly confidient he was referring to taking it back from corporations, the phrasing got me thinking. If democracy is for the people, that is very different than democracy by the people, which is the most commonly held belief nowadays. I have to say, I find more comfort in the former than the latter, both as a librarian and personally. Libraries are, after all, a part of democracy and there to serve the people. As self-righteous as it may sound, that doesn't mean we need to follow the majority of the public's sentiments. If the majority said tomorrow that libraries should be closed, we should be out there protecting the minority who need us rather than listening to those who don't want us.
The only other event today was the opening session of the vendors. I stopped by briefly with Mollie and Michael Scott, Assistant Director, at the end of the opening keynote. EnvisionWare, the company which provides SELCO with credit card payment opportunities, was kind enough to even supply champagne. I was not aware of the host of other services they offer, including computer time management, self-checkout machines, and an automated delivery system. An interest range that could fully service a library although I'm afraid I don't know the cost. The only other vendor I hit up today was Tech Logic. A company out of White Bear Lake, they offer a rather inventive tower that houses mobile tablet devices such as an iPad. The tower allows checkout of the devices (I heard him mention credit cards at this point, but it should be applicable to library cards as well). Once returned, the tower wipes the device, restores defaults, and begins charging it. The tower is still in the proto-type stages but they are looking for libraries to host the first few and are even offering a substantial discount during PLA. The one limit I noticed is the tablets in a tower must be homogenous. It also got me thinking about how cool it would be if a credit card could be used to check out books. I immediately thought of three problems to this approach, namely credit cards aren't one-to-one, not everyone owns or can own a credit card (perhaps if libraries could issue their own credit cards of insanely low limits?), and credit card companies would have a surcharge. So for now, I've nixed that idea. Tomorrow, sessions start.
The USA Toy Library Association and Think Small: Leaders in Early Learning are offering a day-long conference titled Let’s Play It Up! Libraries for Literacy to be held Friday, May 4, at Think Small in St. Paul. Librarians, early childhood professionals, literacy coaches, childcare providers, health care providers, caregivers, and the public at large are encouraged to attend.
Sue Kirschner of Ohio’s Cuyahoga County Public Library will be presenting the keynote: “You Want Me to Lend WHAT??!” Several Minnesota librarians will also be presenting, so go out and support them.
The cost is $75 per person and includes breakfast, lunch, and an anniversary reception. Details may be found on the USA Toy Library Association website. SELCO CE Scholarship funds are available to help defray registration costs. Check SELCO's Continuing Education page and click the CE Scholarship tab.
| The Minnesota Library Association 2012 Annual Conference will be at the Saint Paul RiverCentre October 3-5. This year’s conference theme is Minnesota Libraries: A Capitol Idea.
The official call for conference programs will be going out in a few weeks---so start pulling together your great program ideas now!
Sessions will run 60 minutes (a length appropriate for 1-3 speakers) and will be in the following tracks:
Here is MLA's timeline for 2012:
- March 23 – Call for proposals will go out
- April 20 – Proposal deadline
- May 4 – Program selection meeting
- May 11 – Program acceptance/rejection notices sent
- June 1 – Deadline for complete program information
Need ideas for programs? Check out our sample presentation ideas on the MLA website.
An article in the The Voice for America’s Libraries published by the Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations (ALTAFF) describes how fundraising for a new Cannon Falls Library included a variety of methods including a Phone-A-Thon.
Library service will soon be shifted out of the current downtown location. A portion of the collection will be placed in storage and popular items will be moved to a temporary location for continued library service during construction of the new facility. SELCO staff are working closely with Library Director Justin Pladgett and city officials to prepare for the move.
With new board members and new library directors, the SELCO staff is often on the road sharing details about SELCO services and governance.
In February, I visited the Lonsdale and Brownsdale Public Libraries. In Lonsdale, orientation session was with new Board Member Bob Elliott and Library Director, Diana Tallent. In Brownsdale, I introduced Board Member Martha Hauschidt and Library Director Debara Smith to SELCO/SELS. Before the New Year, there were orientation sessions in West Concord with Board Member Louise Welch and Library Director Sharon Dahms and in Houston with Board Member Marilyn Frauenkron Bayer and Library Director Liz Gibson-Gasset.
The orientation to the SELCO/SELS Board of Directors follows the SELCO/SELS Board Member job description covering those responsibilities outlined in Minnesota Statutes:
- Adopt bylaws and policies
- Control regional library funds
- Hire an Executive Director to manage SELCO/SELS
- Establish fair compensation for staff
- Purchase or lease property
- Prepare and submit an annual report
In addition to statutory obligations, there are also those jobs that fall to a member of a not-for-profit board of directors, including:
- Support and promote the SELCO/SELS mission, services, policies and program
- Attend Board meetings and review meeting materials
- Serve on Board committees
- Act as a liaison with the local library community
- Assist with the development of the SELCO/SELS strategic plan
- Advocate for funding
- Support basic library tenets
Fall trips included board orientation sessions in Faribault and Caledonia and time spent with Marla Burns Caledonia Public Library Director and Liz Wanshura and in Faribault with the Director of Buckham Memorial Library, Delane James, and Mary Jane Holland.
And, the introduction to SELCO services does not stop with new Board Members. Donovan Lambright, Automation Librarian, and Michael Scott, Assistant Director, assist new library directors in becoming familiar with SELCO when he or she assumes a leadership role in the community. Early in this fiscal year, SELCO staff visited with Morgan Hansen as she took up the reins at the Van Horn Public Library in Pine Island. Plans are underway to offer support to the new Kenyon library director when that appointment is made to fill the soon to be vacated position held for many years by retiring Library Director, Linda Barsness.
In Caledonia: Marla Burns and Liz Wanschura
In Pine Island at the Van Horn Public Library: Morgan Hansen
If you, the library staff, or library board would like a visit from SELCO staff, just give us a call.
After a short hiatus, Kitty Pope is back to writing on a + note with her usual gusto.
Libraries that are actively promoting themselves and pushing out their products on all channels are growing their market share.
Library heroes are using ever channel, from print to Twitter, to reach an ever-fragmenting market share.
Check out her comments and a list of her library heroes including five great examples of pushing the library marketing window.
An invitation from Judith M. Smith, Program Manager for the Distribution to Underserved Communities Library Program Art Resources Transfer, Inc.
I'd like to invite you all to participate in the DUC Library Program.
The Distribution to Underserved Communities Library Program (DUC) distributes books on contemporary art free of charge to rural and inner-city public libraries, public schools and alternative reading centers nationwide.
You may browse the selection of titles from museums, galleries and art publishers on our website, where you may also place your order. All books are shipped completely free of charge!
Each institution is allowed to place one order per year (*please note: the DUC´s year runs from July through June). Due to the large volume of orders we receive, it may take up to two months to process and ship the books you request-your patience is appreciated.
One final reminder: the mission of the DUC is to distribute free art books to rural, inner-city, and other underserved public schools and libraries. Therefore, we are unable to fill orders from private institutions.
If you have questions about the program or the ordering process, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (212) 255-2919.
The DUC aims to actively further a more egalitarian access to contemporary art, and is committed to fostering partnerships between publishers, non-profit organizations, librarians and readers to enrich and diversify library collections. The program offers well over 490 titles by more than 90 different publishers. The program reaches readers in all 50 states and has placed over 300,000 free books in public libraries, schools, and alternative pedagogical venues.
The DUC is a program of Art Resources Transfer, Inc., a non profit organization founded in 1987, that is committed to documenting and supporting artists' voices and work, and making these voices accessible to the broadest possible audience.
ART RESOURCES TRANSFER, INC.
DUC LIBRARY PROGRAM
526 W 26th STREET, #614
NEW YORK NY 10001
TEL: 212 255 2919
FAX: 212 352 8448
Recently I attended a seminar on Integrating iPads and Tablets into Library Services. They discussed the impact of the current tablet market and how difficult it is to stay on top of it as it is changing so quickly. Nothing could be truer as they had to update some of their slides right before this presentation to cover the iPad 3. In fact according to their research, tablet sales increased by 261.4% from 2010 to 2011, and eReader sales doubled from December of 2011 to January 2012. Something we also noticed based on our circ numbers from OverDrive during that period.
The seminar also covered hardware specifics of the major tablets on the market, such as the iPad2, Samsung Galaxy, and Asus EEEpad Transformer. However when it was time to start talking about tablets in libraries, they did focus on the iPad, but indicated similar functions could be performed with Droid tablets.
However the main focus of this first seminar was to talk about how a library would assess and create a tablet program. This was particularly of interest to me as I am working with some of our libraries to create such a program. The three types of tablet programs they identified were:
- For Staff: Productivity, Exploration, and Experience
- For in-house use: Classes, Story Times, other specific purposes inside the library
- For Circulation: Allowing users to check out the devices for personal use
After deciding what kind of tablet program you want to run, they discussed assessing your needs. This included creating a technology and strategic plan. Gathering information from staff and patrons, as well as taking an inventory of the current services within the library. Using that information as well as some focus groups and interviews, a library could then look at their current needs to evaluate how to proceed with a tablet program.
Funding of course as discussed as a major bullet point as tablets are not cheap, especially when you start considering accessories, and even if you put into place a budget for apps. Donations and Grants were a few suggestions they had. More information on funding ideas and options can be found on their website at http://tabletsinlibraries.tumblr.com/funding.
Once funding has been setup, the next step they discussed was purchasing the equipment, accessories, and apps. The rule of thumb for purchasing apps that they used was 1 license per device. However some of the libraries they talked to used all free apps to avoid legal issues and keep the app budget down.
The next step they talked about was circulating the tablets. They indicated several key things to consider when doing this part:
- Physical Space
- Tracking the device
- Content that will be placed on the device
- Accessories that will either circulate or be made available
- Procedures to restore the device
Out of the list above I want to focus on talking a little more about restoring the device. As I said earlier they focused more on using the iPad in this presentation than other tablets. And as I suspected they talked about resetting the device when the patron returned and restoring it from iTunes. This method of course will take some staff time to do, unless you pay for some high end system to do this for you such as a Mediasurfer Kiosk, http://www.getmediasurfer.com/product-details.html. The time to restore the device is also related to how much content you put on the device. They talked about libraries who had loaded their tablets with a lot of free ebook content, videos, etc had a longer wait time to restore they device than ones that didn't load as much content on their tablets. Something to consider as you plan your apps and content out for the devices.
The seminar also touched on developing policies for the library tablet program. Things to consider in developing a policy are, user eligibility, in-house vs external checkout, loan period, late fees, damage fees, renewals, holds, and user agreements. In the tablet programs I am working on I know we are focusing more on in-house checkout, and not external. The idea of a user agreement was appealing to me too, that way there was something in writing before allowing the patron to check out the device.
One of the great suggestions they discussed was setting a time in the future to review the program's successes and weaknesses, and incorporate feedback from users. A survey was suggested to be used to have users who checked out the tablets complete a survey to get feedback. Information from circ stats as well as observational data would need to be incorporated into this review as well.
There is another session coming up on this topic that will cover more in detail case studies as well as specific tablet apps. Overall I found this seminar useful, even though this session was directed more at creating the program, and not so much on the technical aspects of implementing it. It did however give me some ideas to consider as I proceed forward working with our libraries on tablet programs. More information regarding this seminar, as well as their original presentation, can be found online at http://tabletsinlibraries.tumblr.com.
Tablet computers like the iPad have become wildly popular and are showing up in offices by the score, leading to debates within technology circles about the consumerization of Information Technology (IT). We here at SELCO decided to put tablets to the test in our office. Can these devices replace PCs or laptops, providing the same level of productivity with greater portability and ease of use? What role can they play in the library?
To find out, we purchased four devices and gave them to staff performing a variety of tasks. Two of the tablets were Apple iPad 2s and two were Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1s running Android. All of the tablets rely on only WiFi for networking. We used our tablets for about three months on a wide range of tasks.
Did they replace our laptops and PCs? Not completely. We found them useful at meetings for basic note taking and quickly checking email and calendars. We were unable to use the tablets with the wireless projectors in our meeting rooms. The iPads could connect but functionality was limited to displaying documents, which was a serious issue since we rely on a web-based content management system (CMS) for meeting agendas and other information. The Android-based Galaxy Tabs could not connect to the projectors at all. Dedicated projector laptops in the meeting rooms would negate this issue but defeats the point of purchasing wireless projectors in the first place: to make it easy for anyone at a meeting to project using their own device.
About that CMS. We use Confluence for this website, along with some internal pages for SELCO staff. The iPads were unable to edit Confluence pages while it was possible, but difficult, with the Galaxy Tabs. That really hurt our ability to give up our laptops.
So, were the tablets good for anything? Yes, they were. As I mentioned, basic productivity apps like email and calendars were easy to use with both platforms and the extreme portability of the devices made them useful for staying in touch. Our decision to purchases devices that only use WiFi limited their usefulness on the road to hotspots. We didn't find that to be a problem since most of our use happens in places with WiFi. For the occasions where we needed data and didn't have a hotspot nearby, our smartphones filled the void. All of our testers used their tablets at the Minnesota Library Association conference in October 2011 to stay in touch and blog with great success. Laptops are portable but the tablets are even better for dragging around a conference.
All our testers found the devices impressive for consuming online content such as websites, video, pictures, etc. Most of that use can't really be called necessary for work but all our testers had already embraced varying levels of intertwining between their work and home lives and the devices facilitated that. This is nothing new: commentators have long been finding that the line between work and home has become blurry for most modern workers.
We are also interested in how these devices might be used in libraries. The nature of the app marketplace makes tablets more personal than a laptop and this makes it more of a challenge to deploy them for use by patrons. Providing physical security for a device that slips into a coat pocket is also a challenge. These obstacles are not insurmountable, however, and we are currently working with Owatonna and Plainview Public Libraries to identify how iPads might be used to deliver direct patron services. As a first step, Mike Flores, SELCO User Device Manager, has created a set of recommendations for setting up and managing public-use iPads to minimize risk to the personal data of the patrons using them.
Have you used a tablet at home or work? Thinking about how you might use them at the library? Let me know your thoughts!
On February 23, 2012, I had the honor of attending Congressman John Kline's Star of the North Volunteer Ceremony where awards were handed out to folks who had displayed random acts of kindness and assisting others in need throughout Minnesota's Second Congressional District. Morgan Hansen, Director of the Van Horn Public Library in Pine Island, was contacted after her efforts for the Mayo Clinic Book Drive had been recognized. The partnership included the Van Horn Public Library, the Rochester DoubleTree Hotel, Mayo Clinic, the Rochester Chateau Barnes & Noble, SELCO, and other participating SELCO Member Libraries. The drive collected more than 6,000 books, which will fulfill the needs of young Mayo Clinic patients for more than four months.
Hansen, Rochester DoubleTree Hotel Director of Sales Deb Knox and I were recognized at the ceremony and each received a certificate and got our picture taken with Congressman Kline (see above). It was a great night! And it's amazing how random acts of kindness can affect folks in such a positive way.
The La Crescent Public Library held its annual Dr. Seuss night and it was a huge success! A local patron, Mr. Petersilie, read stories. 86 folks attended this year and enjoyed a feast of green eggs and ham and cookies. Each child attending got a "goodie" bag just like the Oscars! Each Dr. Seuss bag contained paper hats, a tattoo and a special bookmark. Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!
Michael Scott and I attended the ALSC webinar on their El día de los niños/El día de los libros program.
From the ALA site, this is a summary of the event:
El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children's Day/Book Day), is a celebration every day of children, families, and reading that culminates yearly on April 30. The celebration emphasizes the importance of literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds.
As celebrated by libraries and librarians, Día is an enhancement of Children’s Day, a celebration which took hold in 1925 following the World Conference for the Well-being of Children in Geneva, Switzerland as a day to bring attention to the importance and well-being of children. Each country selected its own day for the celebration with Mexico and many other Latin American countries choosing April 30.
The webinar had lists of great resources, like the following:
- the ALA resource page on Día.
- the PDF program guide.
- the Hennepin County guide to storytimes in world languages.
- the ALA Día Press kit.
- the California State Library guide to Día.
- the Texas State Library guide to Día.
- the Mora Award given out to successful library Día programs in libraries.
Good luck with any future planning!
Greetings! Today starts National Write a Letter of Appreciation Week! Take a moment and write someone you appreciate -- your family members, teachers, legislators, mail carriers, friends, etc. Doesn't have to be long! Letter writing is becoming a lost art with electronic media available at our fingertips. So, get out that notebook and pen and help preserve memories by writing a letter!