Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Webinars Work!

Today I "attended" my first Webinar. It was hosted by WebJunction, which is doing great things for public libraries nationwide. I was particularly interested in this webinar as it was focused on bilingual programming/story times in public libraries. Of course, this subject is very near and dear to my heart and I am always looking for new and innovative program ideas to attract underserved groups to the library.

The presenters discussed two programs from two different library systems: Seattle Public Library and San Francisco Public Library. Both geared their programming towards younger children to encourage family involvement. I thought this was a very good point that one of the presenters made: it is much easier to draw adults in for programming that is for their children than programming for themselves. It is also a really great way to encourage parent involvement in developing early literacy skills.

The Seattle Public Library first implemented its World Language Story Time to serve Chinese speaking patrons. The goal was to serve patrons in their native language as opposed to focusing on language acquisition skills. Community members fluent in Chinese conduct the story times, with start-up materials/kits provided by the library. Little staff supervision is required and story tellers undergo training to help them deal with any issues that may arise, and to make them familiar with early literacy skills.

The San Francisco Public Library Mission Branch has developed a bilingual Toddler Time conducted in English and Spanish for children and their parents or caregivers. This program was designed to fit closely with the Every Child Ready to Read program, and its activities are connected to the six early literacy skills important to development. By providing six activity stations (with changing activities) the program encourages child/parent interaction and learning in the native language. Though this program is only offered once a week it boasts a rate of 300 attendees each week!

Both programs showcase great ways to get patrons familiar with library services by providing children's programming. By getting families to become involved with developing early literacy skills it is likely that they will also become aware of the other great resources available through and at the public library. These great projects/programming ideas have certainly got the wheels turning!

Monday, July 27, 2009

One last project...

Even with almost two weeks left in my internship I am organizing one last project! I know, I know, but this is going to be fun I think.

I wanted to do another booklist but wasn't really interested in poring over reader/editorial reviews and absorbing a mindnumbing amount of character and place names. So, I decided to do a booklist/display (I'm getting a little happy with the slash, huh?) to showcase our cookbooks. Since it's an area I know a fair amount about (having done my collection development project in this area) I thought it would be simple and fun. My idea is to make a good, definitive list outlining some classic cookbooks, kid and family cookbooks, grilling (since it's summer), low-fat and healthy recipes, regional and international (Amish, Mexican, Greek), canning and preserving, and baking. I am only going to give a few titles for each category, but I figure that if one title interests a reader that will at least get them to the section where other books of the same subject are shelved. That makes browsing for specific books that much easier.

I also want to do a small display, maybe on a rolling cart, just kind of showcasing a few of the books (or related ones) on the booklist. I figure that will be a good way to promote the booklist while providing some delicious-looking, tangible examples. More on this and photos to follow...

Home Stretch

A few weeks ago I created a booklist/read-alike list for Christian fiction author Barbara Lewis. She mainly writes books with Amish themes and is insanely popular here at the branch. This was truly a lesson in keeping the patron interest at heart as opposed to personal preference because let's just say, not a fan. However, never having had a remote desire or even an inkling to read Christian fiction (let alone Amish themed Christian fiction) did not take away my ability to use the skills gleaned from Readers' Advisory. This project was pure proof that paying attention to editorial and reader reviews can really help determine the setting, tone, and characterization of a book. I made great use of resources like NoveList Plus, Fiction Connection, Library Thing, etc. to help me find reviews and recommended reads. Not every book I read a review for was a good match for the read-alike list, and I didn't need to read the book in its entirety to recognize that. I feel very confident that Barbara Lewis fans will also enjoy my selections because I knew what qualities to look for when searching for other reading choices.

This was excellent practice for doing something kind of out of my "element," and also satisfying because I succeeded in creating a great reading list for our patrons!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Trends in Libraries

I have been reading some really interesting articles about new things libraries have been doing recently and this is a great forum for expounding on that. First, I'll recap a little of this week at Ellettsville. Busy, busy, busy! I can hardly remember all that happened, in fact. I have had some time off desk to work on and finish my collection development project. What a relief to be finished with it! It was a lot of fun but it is a weight off of my shoulders to have completed it so far ahead of schedule! Our branch manager is out for two weeks starting today, so we will see what the next couple of weeks bring...

So, I read this great article in the most recent edition of Library Journal and it discusses collection development on the subject of volunteerism. This is a really interesting topic and you would think with the influx of unemployment, etc. that more people would be asking questions about volunteering. So far I get very few questions about that at the reference desk. Hopefully this will change as we get closer to September 11th, which has been declared a national day of service for the first time this year.

President Obama called on libraries to boost volunteerism and volunteering materials to their patrons and I completely agree with him. What better place than the library? First and foremost we can encourage people to volunteer AT the library, which would immediately benefit the library and the community it serves. In addition, this also allows the library the chance to educate its patrons on how the library functions. Hopefully, after learning the inner workings of the library patrons will feel more confident when searching for information and materials.

Libraries are all about service to their communities so why shouldn't that be the first place people go to start learning about giving back? One of the reasons I am so drawn to public librarianship in the first place is the service aspect. We are in a great position to provide valuable service and education to our patrons and to equip them with the skills they need to help others. It's kind of the, "it takes a village" mindframe and if people were more concerned about giving back, or just giving, than take, take, taking just think of all the obstacles this nation could overcome. It will be exciting to see how libraries establish their roles in these uncertain and stressful times.

"Cooking" Up the Basics

James, Julie. "Collection Development "Cookbooks": Cooking Up the Basics." Library Journal (2005). Library Journal. 1 June 2005. Reed Business Information. 9 July 2009

Discusses where to start when developing a cookbook collection. Mentions that beginning cooks are attracted to photographs as well as easy to follow and clearly written instructions. Also mentions that name recognition is key to patrons, and they will usually gravitate towards authors/personalities they are familiar with. Suggests that ringbound editions do not hold up to heavy circulation, and that lack of readable titles on the spines can also determine whether a book will circulate or not. Truly a case where the book is decidedly judged by its cover. Provides a list of the "must have" classics as well as some selections just for beginners.

No More Dewey?!

Oder, Norman. "Rangeview Library District, CO, First System to Fully Drop Dewey." Library Journal (2009). Library Journal. 5 June 2009. Reed Business Information. 21 July 2009

Dicusses the adoption of a new classification system, and the retirement of the Dewey Decimal Classification System at the Rangeview Library District in Adams County, Colorado. The largest collection in the system is 85,000 items. Closely follows the BISAC (Book Industry Standards and Communications) used by book vendors. Library staff worked closely with their vendor (WordThink) to create specific categories that would make browsing easier and more effective for patrons. First library in the country to full drop the Dewey!

Volunteering @ Your Library

Gray, B. Allison. "The Call to Service." Library Journal (2009): 28. Print.

Briefly discusses the influx of volunteering and the government initiatives to encourage it. Mentions President Obama's call to libraries to play a prominent role in getting more Americans involved in service to their communities. Suggests that public libraries update their section on volunteerism, paying attention to out of print titles as well. Also reminds libraries to build resources for volunteer managers as well. Provides list of resources divided by type.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Well, today I weeded books from the cooking section of the Ellettsville branch. I used a detailed circulation sheet showing me the statistics for all of the adult books in that section of the collection. That not only helped me determine what to buy but also what not to buy! Books that had never circulated were top priority for disposal, though some were too integral to the collection to let go, i.e. the only book on definitive French cooking. Unsightly, old, damaged books were also candidates for disposal, though if they had high circulation numbers I tried to find replacements to put on my 'wish list.' At first I felt like I was pulling a lot of books off the shelves to get rid of, but once I was finished I realized that I planned to weed about the same amount as I had planned to buy. Which is the way it should work out I guess.

Mickey (my supervisor) scanned the books I suggested we weed and there was only one that she thought we should keep: A cookbook for people who had just undergone weight loss surgery. She made a good point: There are no other books like that in the collection. So we decided to keep that one. There were a few others that might have remained but when creating my list of books to order I kept in mind which ones would be replacing outdated or unpopular volumes. For example, we saw no need to keep a cheese book from the 1970s that had almost never circulated in all the years the library has had it! Out the door! But I ordered a book that seemed to be a better replacement.

Even though I knew the numbers didn't lie, it was really hard to pull a shiny, mylar'ed book off the shelf and know that I was sealing its fate. The books that looked brand-new but had hardly ever circulated were the hardest. I kept thinking to myself, "Should we just wait one more year to see if someone wants it...?" Some I had put on my list to weed I didn't find on the shelves, which leads me to believe they are checked out. So at least they were saved from their fate! It's a tough decision to make when deciding whether or not to toss a perfectly good book. But if no one's reading it and we could replace it for one that patrons will read/use, what are we waiting for?

Hyperlocal Libraries

Lyons, Charles. "Hyperlocal Libraries." Library Journal (2009): 32-34.

Discusses the emerging phenomenon of "hyperlocal" information, which is in-depth local information about geographical places (cities, towns, etc). Discusses ways in which libraries can connect with local community to provide resources about their specific community and its members. Suggests the use of placeblogs (blogs about specific places) to engender community discussion about the places they live and know well. These are ways of organizing the plethora of information available, and providing relevant information that users will find helpful. This seems like a great way for libraries to become even more active in their communities. The author mentions something I found interesting: most library users use the term "local library" to simply refer to the library that is closest to where they live. By becoming more involved in the community itself and providing information related to that community, maybe 'local' can come to mean something more.

"Cooking" Up Some Books!

I am coming along with my collection development project. For awhile there I was so swamped at the reference desk that it was hard to get anything done! I have finally had some time to devote towards getting my 'wish list' together and it has actually been really fun! I have been making good use of the various print resources distributed by book vendors to libaries. Choosing the cooking section of the nonfiction collection has been really fun, because it's something that I can actually relate to. I love to cook (see other blog) and love reading about cooking/recipes, etc. even more.
Choosing cookbooks to add to the library's collection was no trouble at all. Well, the trouble came in deciding what not to purchase as opposed to finding things to purchase. I tried to base my selections on areas in the library's collection that need beefing up, i.e. high circulation areas that needed more materials and underrepresented areas that might need some brightening so to speak. I also tried not to order books that the Main library already has, though in some selections it was unavoidable. Books that I thought would do really well at the branch I ordered, even if Main had a copy. Brand-new books that the Main library has just received I also put on my list, making sure to make a note of the books held by Main. Some of them I figured patrons could place hold requests for and get them sent over, but others I thought that Ellettsville deserved to have its own copy. That also went for lost/stolen items, because if I could find it still in print I ordered it. All in all it has been a very fun and rewarding project, because I really see all of the work that goes into ordering books to fill a collection area. I think that I probably had the easier job, to supplement and weed an already existing collection as opposed to creating one from scratch!
It's too bad that Publishers Weekly unveils its Cookbook publication in August! Of course, after I've completed my project, devoted to cooking. C'est la vie.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

GovDocs: Digital vs. Print

Bernholz, Charles D. "Federal Government Documents: Dead or Alive." Government Information Quarterly 1 (2008): 57-60.

Addresses the shift from print to digital in government document printing. The Government Printing Office has pledged to digitize all federal documents dating back to the Federalist papers. They have yet to do so and Congress is less than enthusiastic about paying to digitize all of those documents. Cites statistics showing that a large number of households do not have high speed Internet access which likely means that most citizens get their government information from their depository library in the first place. Makes a good case for the continuing need for document librarians to help citizens locate hard to find government documents.

Moving Right Along

Summer just keeps moving along and it's hard to believe the kids start school again in a little over a month! Things are going great at Ellettsville! I am learning people's names, they are starting to learn mine. I met a three year old, female Evan the other day. She was very interested to meet another girl with the same name as hers. I also received my first patron 'gift' from a little girl that I had helped. She left a pin a for me that has Ariel from The Little Mermaid on it. Maybe it's the red hair, I don't know. I now wear the pin with pride on my ID from the Main library. It's true that the little things make it all worthwhile. Knowing that one little girl was appreciative enough to give me something is a really good feeling.

I have had the opportunity to help out with another program. This year's nation-wide summer reading theme is Be Creative @ Your Library, so we had a craft-oriented program for the younger kids. Stephanie Holman, one of the children's librarians at the branch, has great ideas for fun activities that parents and kids can enjoy together. I am learning a lot just by observing the way she interacts with the kids and how she organizes the activities. For this past program kids were able make beads out of wallpaper and art clay and foam. They could then string their beads on a string to make a necklace. The table I was stationed at let kids create their own stationary. They picked the paper to use, then came over to my table and using embossing ink stamped a design on their paper. They then sprinkled glitter on the design and then a volunteer would put it under a heat gun for a few seconds to complete the embossing. We got to make our own too :) A lot of reminding kids to press hard on the paper and soft on the ink pad but nonetheless so much fun!

All in all I am getting a very well-rounded experience at Ellettsville, with all kinds of questions to answer and information to help people find. Not to mention that the staff is always so helpful and nice. Everyone is happy to answer questions and I love the 'community' mentality; if we are busy and the check out line needs help we jump right in! A lot different from some of the compartmentalized places I have worked. I can't believe this week is almost over...and so is summer!