Evergreen Open Source Library Software Implementation Expanding…09.30.08

30 09 2008

It seems like Evergreen is going more mainstream quickly as more libraries implement the Evergreen ILS software.  LIS Wire reports today [http://liswire.com/node/202] :

The Grand Rapids Public Library has gone live with Evergreen, the consortial-quality open-source library automation software. GRPL follows Branch District Library in Branch County as the second of seven public libraries in the Michigan Evergreen project that will migrate to Evergreen by the end of the year. Michigan Evergreen is a shared-catalog project administered by the Michigan Library Consortium (MLC). Equinox Software, Inc., the support and development company for Evergreen, provided bumper-to-bumper support during the data migration process.

‘The Evergreen catalog was developed for the 275 libraries in the PINES Library system in Georgia,’ said Marcia Warner, director of Grand Rapids Public Library. ‘The move to the Evergreen system allows us more flexibility to adapt the catalog to meet our patrons’ needs, offer innovative features such as freezing holds and creating book bags, while at the same time reducing costs.’

“We applaud the Grand Rapids Public Library in taking steps to transform their library service and to be at the forefront for the state as the leader in moving to this new technology and setting an example for other libraries throughout the state to follow,’ said Lakeland Library Cooperative Director Sandra Wilson. Brad LaJeunesse, Equinox company president, added, ‘In addition to up-front cost savings and a support plan that really delivers, MLC now has the security and flexibility that open source brings to software decisions.’

The Grand Rapids Public Library was founded in 1871 and was originally located in City Hall. Today the library operates out of its main location on Library Street as well as seven other branches located throughout the city. Grand Rapids Public Library currently houses 925,000 bibliographic items and serves a population of over 197,000 residents.

The Grand Rapids Public Library will oversee day-to-day administration for the new server for all seven pilot libraries, and MLC will provide support and training to the participating libraries. Equinox will also provide ongoing technical support to MLC’s Evergreen implementation.

The library’s website can be seen at http://www.grpl.org and their new online catalog can be viewed athttp://grpl.michiganevergreen.org . For more information about the Michigan Evergreen project, see the project wiki at http://mlcnet.org/wiki or follow the latest activity at http://www.mlcnet.org/evergreen, the Michigan Evergreen blog…”

How to Start Text Messaging Reference Service…09.30.08

30 09 2008

Here is a great post [http://librarianinblack.typepad.com/librarianinblack/2008/09/text-a-libraria.html] on starting or thinking about starting a text messaging reference service in your library by Sarah Houghton-Jan:

Interested in offering text messaging reference services to your users but unsure where to start?  Take a look at TextALibrarian.com.  This was created by a small start-up mobile Q&A service called Mosio.  They won the Mobile Category at SXSW this year.  They have a number of beta library customers including Yale, UC Berkeley, University of Kansas, and UC Merced among others.  There is a demo on the website that you can try to see how it works, including both sides of the conversation (basically you get to text in a question, and answer it yourself through the web interface). 

I was highly, highly impressed.  The demo interface was easy to use as the librarian–clean, crisp, simple.  No or very little training would be required of the librarians staffing it.  And for the user on the phone end, it was easy to ask a question and the response came back easy to read too (as text messages usually are).  Nice work, Mosio!

I am all over this as soon as our library is ready to go in that direction (which I hope will be soon).  I have a feeling I’m in the same boat as many other libraries who are also still hoping to get IM Reference into the library culture.  It will happen someday for all of us …  it’s just a matter of time.”

School Library Tutorial Part 1 Now Online…09.29.08

29 09 2008

Although I am not a school librarian and do not plan to be at this point, it is interesting to view the tutorial online by the Colorado Library Consortium as Blake posted on the LIS News blog:

Part 1 of the two Part School Library 101 tutorial is now available.
Visit our tutorial page for more information and the links.

This 35 minute tutorial is designed for new school library professionals and paraprofessionals and it provides an overview of running a school library and includes many resources for learning more on your own.”

Note: CLiC reports: “School Library 101 (part two, coming soon)”

New Data Shows Americans Expect Companies to Have a Presence in Social Media…09.29.08

29 09 2008

Cone, “…a strategy and communications agency with over 25 years experience building and maintaining trusted relationships between clients and stakeholders”, posted   [http://www.coneinc.com/content1182] the following that illustrates the growing importance of social media to everyone:

“BOSTON (September 25, 2008) – Almost 60 percent of Americans interact with companies on a social media Web site, and one in four interact more than once per week. These are among the findings of the 2008 Cone Business in Social Media Study.

According to the survey, 93 percent of Americans believe a company should have a presence in social media, while an overwhelming 85 percent believe a company should not only be present but also interact with its consumers via social media. In fact, 56 percent of American consumers feel both a stronger connection with and better served by companies when they can interact with them in a social media environment.

‘The news here is that Americans are eager to deepen their brand relationships through social media,’ explains Mike Hollywood, director of new media for Cone, ‘it isn’t an intrusion into their lives, but rather a welcome channel for discussion.’

When asked about specific types of interactions, Americans believe:

- Companies should use social networks to solve my problems (43%)
– Companies should solicit feedback on their products and services (41%)
– Companies should develop new ways for consumers to interact with their brand (37%)
– Companies should market to consumers (25%)
– Hard-to-reach consumers

Men, a much sought-after target in the online space, are twice as likely as women to interact frequently (one or more times per week) with companies via social media (33% to 17%, respectively).

‘The ease and efficiency of online conversation is likely a draw for men who historically do not seek out the same level of interaction with companies as women,’ says Hollywood.

Likewise, of younger, hard-to-reach consumers (ages 18-34), one-third believe companies should actively market to them via social networks, and the same is true of the wealthiest households (household income of $75,000+). Two-thirds of the wealthiest households and the largest households (3 or more members) feel stronger connections to brands they interact with online.

‘All of this is great news for marketers,’ Hollywood explains. ‘Men and younger consumers are traditionally the most challenging to reach, while the highest income households are typically very desirable; here they are saying “Come market to us and interact with us online.” This is really a license to put more energy and resources into this medium and do it effectively.’

About the survey:

The 2008 Cone Business in Social Media Study presents the findings of an online survey conducted September 11-12, 2008 by Opinion Research Corporation among 1,092 adults comprising 525 men and 567 women 18 years of age and older. The margin of error associated with a sample of this size is ± 3%.

About Cone:

Cone LLC (www.coneinc.com) is a strategy and communications agency engaged in building brand trust. Cone creates stakeholder loyalty and long-term relationships through the development and execution of Cause Branding, Brand Marketing, Corporate Responsibility and Crisis Prevention and Management initiatives. Cone is a part of the Omnicom Group (NYSE: OMC) (www.omnicomgroup.com). Omnicom is a leading global advertising, marketing and corporate communications company. Omnicom’s branded networks and numerous specialty firms provide advertising, strategic media planning and buying, interactive, direct and promotional marketing, public relations and other specialty communications services to over 5,000 clients in more than 100 countries.”

Library School Survey Results Posted…09.29.08

29 09 2008

The following post by Meredith Farkas [http://meredith.wolfwater.com/wordpress/2008/09/27/library-school-survey-results/] is fodder for considering the state of librarian education:

“A few weeks ago, I posted a survey to Survey Monkey to get people’s views about their library school education and what they think should be taught in library school that isn’t (or wasn’t when they were in school). The 91 responses I got were really interesting and I wanted to post them so everyone could take a peek:

Basic Survey Responses (PDF)
Open-Ended Responses for #1 (PDF)
Open-Ended Responses for #2 (PDF)
Open-Ended Responses for #3 (PDF)
Open-Ended Responses for #4 (PDF)

Some interesting things from the survey:

Of the people who responded, less than 50% thought that library school didn’t prepare for them for their work in libraries. Some who said yes mentioned that they only answered yes because of their internship/practicum.

The biggest things that people thought should be taught as part of the LIS curriculum that weren’t taught when they were in library school were management (#1 by quite a lot), Web 2.0/emerging technology, instruction, web design/programming, and conflict management/customer service/dealing with difficult people. A lot of schools are teaching the first four topics these days, but not all are doing it in much depth or in a practical way. I was surprised to find that still, Florida State is only offering one instruction course and it’s designed for people in a K-12 setting. Considering that instruction is a part of the work of librarians in just about every setting, it’s surprising to me that it isn’t being emphasized more in library schools (though I’m sure others are doing a much better job). Management also really isn’t taught in enough depth in library schools. I frequently think about getting an MBA, because I want to know more about managing people and resources, budgeting, strategic planning, marketing, etc. The one class we had that was about management was really interesting, but it was very focused on theory and I really wished there was a ‘Management II’ and ‘Management III’ that would have gone into more depth and would have been more focused on the practical. With some librarians going straight into management positions (or even directorships) after library school, it’s critical that students are prepared to be great managers by library schools…”

“Compentent” People and Change…09.26.08

26 09 2008

I liked this post today [http://stephenslighthouse.sirsidynix.com/] from Stephe Abram (Stephen’s Lighthouse);

Scott McLeod quotes Seth Godin this week:

‘Competent people resist change. Why? Because change threatens to make them less competent. And competent people like being competent. That’s who they are, and sometimes that’s all they’ve got. No wonder they’re not in a hurry to rock the boat. . . . In the face of change, the competent are helpless.

It doesn’t take a lot of time to change … to reinvent … or to redesign. No, it doesn’t take time; it takes will. The will to change. The will to take a risk. The will to become incompetent – at least for a while.’

Here’s the original Fast Company article ‘Change Agent‘.

Our field is loaded with very competent people and that’s pretty good – – and bad. This article and quote would make an interesting discussion group topic for groups of competent people. A wide ranging and open discussion facilitated by someone who put the discussion on the right path for the best responses to times of turbulent change would be quite exciting.

The opposite of competent management isn’t incompetent management. It’s comfortable management. It’s myopic management. It’s careless management.

‘In times of change learners inherit the earth while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to work in a world that no longer exists.’ (attributed to Eric Hoffer)…”

Free Webinars – “MaintainIT Project”…09.26.08

26 09 2008

The following Beyond the Job post [http://www.beyondthejob.org/] contains some helpful and FREE resources:

“Join us for these free webinars. Attend these sessions from your library, no travel needed!

The MaintainIT Project, (www.maintainitproject.org), interviews hundreds of librarians about how they maintain, support, and sustain their public computers. They publish all of these experiences, successes, and challenges in guides called Cookbooks, so librarians can learn from the experiences of others who’ve done it before them. The best part? Everything the MaintainIT Project does is FREE (thanks to a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant), and everything is on www.maintainitproject.org. They also produce free webinars every month!

Sept. 30th Cookbook Book Club:  How Much Help Should You Provide Patrons With Laptops?
When:  09/30/2008 9:00am – 10:00am Pacific
Where:  Register on MaintainIT’s webinar space. Download and read the Cookbook chapter (pdf) here.

This month Brenda Hough will lead a lively discussion where you can share ideas, feedback, and ask questions about providing help and support to patrons using laptops. Find out how other libraries have handled troubleshooting, security, parking lot surfers, space issues and more!”

Oct. 8th Train-the-Trainer:  The Power of Stories in Technology Training
When:  10/08/2008 11:00am – 12:00pm Pacific
Where:  Register on MaintainIT’s webinar space, and come prepared to share your training tips, too.

Library trainers from around the country are finding this popular webinar series a great opportunity to discuss training tips, techniques and resources. This month we will focus on how storytelling can enhance your participants’ learning and retention.

Oct. 16th 30 Minute Webinar:  Get Your Game On: Quick tips to start a gaming program.
When:  10/16/08, 11:00am – 11:30am Pacific
Where: Register on WebJunction’s webinar space

Join Lori Reed, Employee Learning Coordinator at the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg, as she interviews Beth Gallaway, a library trainer/consultant specializing in gaming, technology, and youth services. This will be a fast-paced and interactive session introducing the idea of gaming programs in libraries.

Please share this invitation! [nmrt-l]

Digital Preservation Overview…09.26.08

26 09 2008

Infoblog had an interesting and thoughtful post [http://infoblog.infopeople.org/2008/09/keeping_our_digital_future_fro.php] on the preservation of digital data:

“Imagine the loss of all your stored email messages, Word documents, and flickr photos. Now broaden your thoughts to include the loss of your library’s digital resources, and you’ll see why Gayle Palmer, Digital & Preservation Program Manager for the OCLC Western Service Center, is concerned. And doing something about it.

Palmer, in a new daylong workshop co-sponsored by the California Preservation Program, Infopeople, and OCLC Western, is working to create an awareness of impending losses while showing all of us how we can use our existing knowledge to save the day—and all those digital resources we encounter and use during it.

Her “Digital Preservation: Planning and Activities” workshop, which will be held statewide through June 2009, is designed to inspire discussion; help participants review preservation software requirements and options for storing digital files; and prepare learners to return to their libraries ready to address issues of long-term access to digital collections.

‘The common misconception is that there’s going to be a technical solution to this—that some software is going to do this for us,’ she noted during a recent conversation. ‘The stable part of the process is going to be the policies and procedures that will be consistent over time. For every organization, it’s going to be a matter of establishing processes and procedures that let you respond in flexible ways.’

There is some encouraging news, she says: members of library staff already have much of what they need to be successful in preserving digital materials.

‘We will be using our existing knowledge in preserving our collections to address the digital environment, and then we will need to learn some new techniques that apply to the digital environment,’ she explains, and she predicts that libraries and archives will play a leading role in this endeavor.

Moving this up to an organizational level requires that we be good planners creating good organizations, according to Palmer. We need to maintain a long-term point of view. Through the policies and procedures we establish and implement, we must assure that files are transferred from one software to another as upgrades occur, and we have to continue backing up data on organizational networks—or begin doing so if we have not yet initiated that process.

‘The whole issue is gaining the skills to address collection and preservation in the digital environment,’ she concludes.

Those interested in learning more can register through the Infopeople website and can learn more from OCLC’s brief online overview of economic issues involved in digital preservation and links to more detailed articles on the organization’s website as well as from online information about the OCLC Western Digital and Preservation Programs.

Official Release of Latest Version Social OPAC–SOPAC 2.0…09.26.08

26 09 2008

John Blyberg posted [http://www.blyberg.net/2008/09/25/sopac-2-released-thesocialopacnet-launched/] that he has released the latest version of his social OPAC called SOPAC 2.0:

“So, I may have been a little ambitious when I thought I could get SOPAC2, Locum, and Insurge released within a week of launching the new darienlibrary.org.  But I can now finally say that SOPAC2 is officially released and a new project website launched.

You can visit the new site and download the software at TheSocialOPAC.net.

The purpose of the site is to help a build a community of developers and users around the SOPAC project suite.  It will undoubtably grow over time as the software does.  We have big plans for SOPAC and invite you all to join the community.”

Finding DDC Numbers “Quick and Dirty”…09.25.08

25 09 2008

Badan Barman posted “Classify Your Document with DDC by Using the Web” [http://lislatest.blogspot.com/2008/09/classifying-your-document-according-to.html] describing one fast method of finding DDC classification numbers which is quoted below.  There are other quick methods as well some of which I describe in detail in our departmental documentation for library resources management.  Anyway, here is the post:

“Yes, forget about Web Dewey, now you can find the DDC numbers over the web by other means also. I don’t think any of our LIS professional is following this procedure. It’s really interesting… Here is a simple way
1. Go to: http://isbndb.com/
2. Enter the title that is in your library and search.
3. Click on the most relevant title under the heading of “Books Matching (‘your enter title’)”.
4. Consult the ‘Dewey Class:’ or ‘LCC Number:’ under ‘Classification:’ Heading. This is your classification number you are looking for.
If you don’t find the Heading ‘Classification:’ or You find the Heading
‘Classification:’ but don’t find the ‘Dewey Class:’ or ‘LCC Number:’ then again
5. Click on any appropriate title under ‘Libraries this book has an entry in:’.
5. Now under the ‘MARC Record’ see against: 092: $a: or 082. This is your classification number you are looking for.”

Importance and Use of Podcasts in Libraries…09.25.08

25 09 2008

A good post from Infoblog [http://infoblog.infopeople.org/] today about libraries and podcasts:

“It’s not as if we haven’t heard of podcasting—producing simple and inexpensive audio and video recordings which can be shared online with anyone interested in what we are doing. We may, on the other hand, be wondering what it means to us and to the library members and guests we serve. As mentioned in the first of this two-part series, the answer can affect our ability to meet our users’ needs.

‘I think it’s something that is a technology or a tool that has become very mainstream,’ Infopeople instructor David Free noted recently in discussing the Practical Podcasting and Videocasting workshops he is offering between now and November 2008. ‘You can get podcasts of TV shows and radio shows. It’s a technology that people in communities are going to be more used to seeing in other areas.’

And it is already a format which is providing library staff and library members and guests with resources when they need the information—not just when we’re available to provide it. Podcasting is increasingly used to post basic as well as specialized information of interest to library users as well as to staff in need of brief and readily available training on a variety of topics.

Infopeople itself offers a large variety of podcasts on its websiteMichael Cart’s “Reviews” on books and those who write themJoan Frye Williams and George Needham’s “Thinking Out Loud” series on innovations and contemporary issues in libraries; and archives of Infopeople webcasts and webinars from a variety of presenters. Free also suggests other podcast archives which may be of interest to those unfamiliar with the full potential of the format and the content it offers: the Los Angeles Public Library speaker series which has featured podcasts hosted by Alfred Molina, Debra Winger, Robert Scheer, and many others; the “Library Audio and Video to Go” seriesproduced by the George C. Gordon Information Technology Division at Worcester Polytechnic Institute; and the“Behind the Desk Alden Audio Tour” produced by Ohio University Libraries.

Those attending Free’s workshops ‘are going to have a better understanding of what podcasting is—both audio and video podcasting—how libraries are using the technology for outreach and as a learning tool,’ he promises. ‘They’re going to have had the experience of creating an audio podcast. They’ll also have an understanding of how to make a video podcast. You don’t necessarily have to be an expert to use this technology in libraries.

‘I’m not going to say, “You all have to go back and make podcasts in your library”…but I think it’s important that everybody has an understanding of what it is,’ he concluded.”

How to Plead Your Case For Library Association Membership/Participation…09.24.08

24 09 2008

It appears many SLA members are in the same boat, including me, having problems trying to get their employers to see the need for membership and participation in professional associations.  If there is an opportunity to appeal to the decision maker(s), the following post [http://sla-divisions.typepad.com/sla_lmd/2008/09/dear-ulla-3.html] from Ulla de Stricker on the SLA Leadership & Management blog would be helpful:

Do be prepared to pay out of your own pocket if the following four key arguments wont convince the employer(I’m using SLA as an example but other associations may indeed be relevant for you as well):

  • In today’s environment of rapid change, it is essential to stay on top of all the new tools and practices. Membership in SLA enables me to obtain access to a wealth of learning and access to a vast network of colleagues who stand ready to support my development so that I may increase my value to the organization: Here, give a bullet list of members-only benefits such as the management library, the innovation lab, the division-specific offerings, and so on – stating concretely how each benefits the organization because you expand your professional capabilities. At the end of the bullet list, indicate ‘All for only $xx per year – a fraction of the cost of [some other corporate service taken for granted].’
  • SLAs annual conference gives me the opportunity to attend dozens of sessions with practical application to my work in supporting the organization (and whose equivalent cost in individual courses would be extremely expensive). Per session I can logistically attend – about 5 per day – the conference fee of X and travel cost of Y work out to a mere $Z – a very low investment given the return in terms of my ability to take new skills and insights back to the job.
  • Membership allows me to participate – on my own time of course – in myriad activities at the local and national level, each serving to build my management and team leadership skills at no additional cost.
  • Your support of my involvement with the premier professional association, at an annual cost of $X for membership and $y for conference attendance, is a concrete proof that you support the ongoing development and professional growth of staff at ABC Enterprise, and I pledge to deliver to ABC everything possible from that investment.

Finally, you could add a testimonial from a colleague in a relevant other organization (say, a competitor or organization your employer considers admirable). ‘As a result of my membership in SLA and my attendance at the conference, I have been able to … so that DEF Enterprise gained … ‘

Should the employer grant the budget, consider providing a brief ‘Value Report’ after the conference and at a minimum every year at evaluation time to state clearly the benefits you have brought back to ABC Enterprise from the investment (‘heres how I applied … to enhance our contribution to …’). Such a report may reassure the employer about the investment and should in addition serve to show that you as an individual are a professional who goes the extra mile for your employer.”

At some future time, there may be an appropriate opening to interject a request for my participation/membership in SLA.  I must keep my eyes and ears open to perceive that opportunity to act.  In the meantime, I’m on my own–not unusual for SLA members and especially solo librarians.

Change Indicators Relevant to the Evolution of Library Services…09.24.08

24 09 2008

Stephen Abram, SLA President, blogged today [http://stephenslighthouse.sirsidynix.com/]:

Blogging is expanding according to Technorati:


\For more see Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere report. It reports on their survey of 1,000 bloggers.

And text messaging is growing too

CNET reports that Americans now text more than they talk. The article cites a report from Nielsen that, in the second quarter of 2008, U.S. mobile subscribers sent and received on average 357 text messages per month, compared with making and receiving 204 phone calls a month.

Of course ‘The surge in text messaging is being driven by teens 13 to 17 years old, who on average send and receive about 1,742 text messages a month. Teens also talk on the phone, but at a much lower rate, only making and receiving about 231 calls per month. The report even suggests that tweens or kids under the age of 12 are also heavy text users, averaging about 428 messages per month.’…”

“Automated” Disaster Planning Resource…09.24.08

24 09 2008

Although we do not have a “disaster” plan in my library, I have broached the subject with departmental management.  The need is acknowledged but providing the support and resources to create and maintain such a plan has not been evidenced. 

LibrarianinBlack Sarah Houghton-Jan posted today [http://librarianinblack.typepad.com/librarianinblack/2008/09/dplan-disaster.html], however, about an interesting resource should “atmospheric conditions” here changes:

“At the ARSL Conference this weekend a friend pointed me to dPlan, a resource she discovered in another session.  dPlan is a free site devoted to disaster planning created by the Northeast Document Conservation Center and the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners with funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training.  From their self-description:

dPlan can help you create a plan for disaster prevention and response. Enter data into the online template to create a customized disaster plan for your institution. This plan will help you:

  • prevent or mitigate disasters,
  • prepare for the most likely emergencies,
  • respond quickly to minimize damage if disaster strikes, and
  • recover effectively from disaster while continuing to provide services to your community.”

WorldCat Becomes More Social–Now Allows Tagging…09.23.08

23 09 2008

Catablog reports [http://catalogablog.blogspot.com/2008/09/worldcat-tagging.html] today:

“Tagging is now available in WorldCat. It will be interesting to see how extensive, and so useful, tagging becomes here.   

You and your users can now keep track of your favorite items in WorldCat through tags—keywords that help you classify or describe an item. Tags are displayed in search results lists and may help you find similar items or organize items in a way that makes sense to you. You can add as many tags as you would like to an unlimited set of items. You can view and maintain all of your personalized tags from your WorldCat profile page. Plus, you can also browse items using the tags other people have contributed.”

Solo Library Management Dilemma Discourse–An Encore…09.23.08

23 09 2008

Unfortunately, I have continued to face the same library management dilemma for many months in my current position.  A “dilemma” is usually described as “a situation that requires a choice between options that are or seem equally unfavorable or mutually exclusive” (“dilemma.” Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. 23 Sep. 2008. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/dilemma>.).

Faced with a great desire and need to proceed with a massive–and growing–cataloging project that was indefinitely suspended/ignored/put out-of-mind at the end of last year, I am faced with the choice of perpetually ignoring the situation or once again (multiplied other attempts have failed due to matters of more pressing import to departmental management) taking the risk of approaching relatively uninterested, non-librarian superiors to try to convince the “powers that be” that decisions need to be made and actions taken to move forward with the project that already consumed large amounts of time and other resources. 

Should I be content with suffering “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them?” as our dear friend Hamlet points out.  Well, there won’t be a contemplation of life and death matters but the results of pushing too hard could bring a negative reflection on or perception of the librarian, the library resources, and/or the value of the huge amount of time and work that has already gone into the project.

Although I’m not in the habit of quoting Martin Luther King, Jr. in the context of librarianship, this quote seems apropos:

Cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’ Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it politic?’ But conscience asks the question, ‘Is it right?’  And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular because conscience tells one it is right.”

Being “right” is great but can be costly and proper timing is essential.  I really dislike confrontation, believe strongly in the authority of institutional heirarchies and the required responsibility of appeal when perceived as necessary but attended with appropriate attitude regardless of the outcome, and don’t want to draw unnecessary attention to myself BUT I feel it would be wrong to rest on my librarian laurels and not pursue this subject which I perceive as professionally critical to my library resource management duties and our organization.

Since I am an isolated, solo librarian, this is my only forum–other than inside my head–where I can bounce the subject off the walls so to speak.  Hopefully, this is not a digression from the stated purpose of my blog.  It seems to be at the crux, however, of the solo, special librarian experience and should be documented for myself and others who may follow in my position.

The subject now becomes how and in what context can this important matter be re-addressed to the relevant parties who can facilitate restarting the process or at least the conversation…

Should DDC (Dewey) Rest in Peace?…09.19.08

22 09 2008

An article [http://www.southtownstar.com/news/1175144,092108ditchingdewey.article] about the reported impending demise of the Dewey decimal classification system appeared in yesterday’s Sun Times Group papers which follows below.  

Although I am certainly aware of the changes in users and promote the positive changes, I’m not ready to throw out the proverbial “baby with the bathwater.”  I currently support changes like the Ann Arbor Public Library [http://www.aadl.org/] has made by its installation of John Blyberg’s SOPAC [http://www.aadl.org/catalog/] combining the use of DDC with social input.  In some places, DDC may be “archaic” but I don’t find that is the norm based upon any of the the word’s definitions.

In the sober, settled atmosphere of a library there is a radical movement afoot that is knocking books off their long established shelves and throwing Dewey out the window.

At 6 a.m. on a Sunday morning, when most library patrons are pulling the covers over their heads, refusing to acknowledge the rising sun, two bold and daring librarians are stirring at the Frankfort Public Library, shuffling books and tearing off those time-honored Dewey Decimal System numbers that no one really understood anyway.

‘We know it’s a little radical, but that’s OK,’ said Melissa Rice, head of adult services, who along with reference librarian Joanna Kolendo is leading this revolution. Frankfort is the first library in the United States to retrofit its collection and go ‘Dewey-free,’ eliminating numbers and categorizing nonfiction books by topic, she said.

It’s an idea so new, the Illinois Library Association was not even up to speed on it.

‘You’re telling me they are throwing out the Dewey Decimal System? What are they doing? Organizing books by size?” said Bob Doyle, the association’s executive director. “This is the first I heard of it. Melvil Dewey might be spinning in his grave, but these ladies said they can still put their fingers on any and every book a patron wants. ‘After all, we are librarians,’ Kolendo said. Learning the code established by fellow librarian Dewey in 1876 and embraced by public libraries everywhere, is ‘archaic,’ she said.

What? If news of Dewey’s demise is causing cardiac arrest, check out a 612.12 or a 616.123 or peruse the books under ‘health and fitness’ in Frankfort’s new system. By the time you track down the Dewey number, (assuming you didn’t know that the 600s were technology and applied sciences) and locate the book on the shelf, it may be too late.

That’s the point.

‘People spend 10 or 15 minutes in the library. They are frustrated if they have to go to a card catalog and get the number. They are embarrassed to ask for help. This Dewey-free system takes out the middle man,’ Kolendo said.

‘I love coding. I read Dewey’s biography,’ she said. ‘As librarians, we have a hard time changing things. But it’s not about me. It’s about the patrons.’

When Frankfort’s patrons walk into their library, they can look for colored signs directing them to books on gardening, cooking, auto repair, health and fitness, travel, computers or whatever.

Cooking and gardening collections already have been retrofitted and broken down into subcategories, all clearly marked and alphabetized on the shelves. Within each subcategory, books are further alphabetized by author.

So if a patron wants Rachael Ray’s ‘Thirty Minute Meals,’ they find ‘cooking,’ ‘quick and easy,’ and find Ray’s name, instead of looking up the 641.555 RAY. (Ironically, this places ‘cooking’ and ‘heart attacks’ in the same 600 category, according to Dewey’s system.) If this is confusing, think: bookstore.

The gardening category now combines botany from the 500s, gardening from the 635s and landscaping from 717s.

This dynamic duo pores over one collection at a time and decides what to name each new category and subcategory based on what patrons are asking for and using words they can identify with.

It’s all designed to make the collection ‘intuitive, browseable and accessible,’ Rice and Kolendo said.

‘What’s the point of having a collection if no one checks it out?’ Kolendo said.

They want to get people ‘back into the stacks,’ have them check out more books and make the library a place where people feel comfortable.

They eventually would like to create’nooks’ among the shelves with comfy chairs or couches and a computer for additional research.

Rice said she is figuring it will take one year to complete the project, which started this summer, but she hopes it will be sooner. It’s a process that has been ‘evolving,’ they said. Fiction, biographies and compact discs are already organized by topic. In the meantime, they have a map to guide patrons through this major move. The hardest part is figuring out which collection to put where.

The books that circulate the most have been moved up front. Biographies will become neighbors with history books. Foreign language will mingle with travel tomes.

Dewey has not been the only game in town, but it was believed to be simpler than the Library of Congress classification system, widely used in academic libraries, and the Universal Decimal Classification, which incorporates punctuation marks with decimals. The Dewey-free revolution grew out of Europe, and word of it is slowly spreading here. It’s already proven to be successful in Maricopa County Library District in Arizona, which ditched Dewey when it opened a new library last June.

In Frankfort, this radical notion grew out of talks about building a new, larger library. ‘We were talking about new concepts and what we would want in a new library,’ Rice said. What transpired is the reorganization of 36,070 nonfiction books.

Rice acknowledged that Frankfort has generated a ‘lot of buzz’ in the library community. She welcomes other librarians to tour their building. It will have no impact on the interlibrary loan system. When a patron looks up a book on the computer, they simply will see Frankfort’s new classification.

‘I see other libraries moving in this direction,’ Rice said.

As a library science student, Kolendo said she learned that the purpose of being a librarian is to make access to information easy, to eliminate the hoops.

‘The Dewey Decimal System was easy. But when does easy become difficult? What is the purpose of classification?’ she asked.

May Melvil Dewey rest in peace.”

Librarian Job Feeds…09.22.08

22 09 2008

Jason Puckett posted the library job feeds he used while searching for his latest position [http://jasonpuckett.net/].  Perhaps they will help someone else so I am excerpting his post here:

“…In no particular order:

Combined LIS Job Postings from Library Job Postings on the Internet and LISjobs.com.

LibGig’s job feed: searchable/customizable feed. I set it to search for Atlanta jobs, and only ever saw one posting here.  Maybe it just hasn’t had time to catch on yet.

ALA JobList: also has a customizable feed — enter your search and subscribe to new postings for your area/field as they appear…”

Library Words of Wisdom from Some Old Jesters…09.22.08

22 09 2008

A great quote/library philosophy by some funny guys from the 70’s (photo: Alexandra Yarrow):

I don’t believe libraries should be drab places where people sit in silence, and that’s been the main reason for our policy of employing wild animals as librarians.”–Gorilla Librarian sketch by Monty Python

Getting Up-to-Date With Corporate Librarianship…09.22.08

22 09 2008
TTW contributor Lee LeBlan posted [http://tametheweb.com/2008/09/20/corporatelibrarians/] the following interesting bit about “corporate librarians.”  It is a long post but due to the nature of the subject, I think it’s worthwhile posting the whole enchilada:                                                                   
“I struck up a conversation with a corporate librarian.  I’m interested in the ways these professionals work.  Fortunately, Eric Bryan, a corporate librarian for Boeing was game to answer some questions.  After we exchanged some emails about vegan related matters, I wondered if he would field some other questions. (And how did we get started on this? Through blogging.)
That sounds like fun!  I’m not sure if we have any staff photos because we are scattered all over the country (we do a LOT of online meetings).  We are dispersed throughout the country.  Pictures are hard to come by because cameras are highly restricted in our buildings.  We have about 50 librarians scattered around the country, but most are in southern California and Washington (Puget Sound area).  I’m going to ask my boss about a staff and library bio, which shouldn’t be a problem, I just want to verify what I can/should say (we have very tight security and have to jump through many hoops to get info to the outside world).  I’ll get back to you very soon with the bios though.  Web 2.0 technologies and concepts are a really big thing here, so I know the rest of the library will be excited about this. –Eric Bryan
Once we were both clear about what we could talk about and how, we exchanged some emails.  I learned some cool stuff about corporate librarians, librarians working in high security organizations and librarians working in a distributed knowledge organization.  All around, pretty darn cool what some librarians are doing in their careers.  Not because of the place they work at but because of the fact that they’re bringing in emerging technologies to do their job better.

Here’s the standard bio from Eric for the Boeing Corporate Librarians:

Library and Learning Center Services (L&LCS ) provides Boeing employees with information, research and educational services in support of Boeing’s vision, programs and projects. Some of the services available via the L&LCS web site include:
  • Access to internal and external information including reports, documents, journals, and a circulating collection of books
  • In-depth research on request, including Ask us! real-time, online chat reference
  • Online, full-text access to engineering, technical and business-related resources
  • Self-paced training and certification materials* Information organization and retrieval services including thesaurus, glossary and metadata development, add your collection to the library catalog, user groups and more

Whether employees need internal Boeing documents, industry, military or government specifications and standards, or parts catalogs; or if they’re looking for e-books, electronic journals, or are simply searching for information related to a specific piece of technical data, the L&LCS staff can help.

Our Conversation:
Anyone in particular use -blogs, rss, delicious, twitter?  Can you tell me what is used, who disseminates emerging technologies information (whether formally or informally)?
  • Many of the librarians here make use of the staff blog as well as the library services wiki.  Our blog is based on the movable type platform, and our wiki is on the atlassian confluence platform.
  • Many of us subscribe to feeds and check them on a daily basis, and  those are the people who tend to disseminate the tech news.  We have also created a “daily digest” feature on our blog in which one of our librarians is responsible for finding cool bits of news on the web and compiling it in a daily digest format.
  • My colleagues Josh , Robert and I are the main “web 2.0″ people here in southern California, and we both make use of blogs, rss, delicious, wikis, LibraryThing, and various social networks. We don’t use Twitter, although we are familiar. Josh and I are also the admins for the blogs and wikis that the library groups inhabit, and we also manage content development on the various library web pages. Josh recently conducted a workshop at UCLA on Web 2.0 applications.
Do the librarians specialize: web searching, teaching information management,  or aggregating information/ information analysis?
  • We don’t really have librarians who “officially” specialize in one thing over another, although of course we have our research librarians, catalogers, and the much smaller specialty, which I ana few others handle, is the technology side (including marketing of the library’s services, outreach, and web/blog/wiki maintenance).
  • Our most unique challenge in relation to other libraries is the very strict firewalls we have here, due to the sensitivity of many of the documents and information.  Because of that, we tend to be a few years behind the rest of the world in terms of software applications and technology
  • We do have a great group of librarians who have embraced the web/library 2.0 concept whole-heatedly, and are always coming up with new ways to implement these concepts.  Our current project is to develop internal podcasts and video tutorials.

How is internal information shared: internal wiki, dashboard, custom portal, or something else?

We share information in a number of ways.
  • We have a staff wiki, the development of which was my first project when I started here.  We have a great deal of participation in the wiki, and I think this is due to the fact that we got people involved by giving them specific areas they are responsible for (i.e. tech news, book club, calendars, announcements).
  • We have a staff blog which is updated at least 2-3 times per day but quite often more than that, by various librarians.
  • We all make a conscious effort to utilize these new tools, rather than sticking with the old and tired formats such as mass emails.
  • We are alpha testing a few different types of internal social networks that has been developed by our technology department.  One is rather similar to digg and stumble upon, and the other is fairly similar to LinkedIn and Facebook.  Both are seeing a good deal of success, and hopefully we’ll be able to merge the best of the two once the final product is released.

Are Boeing librarians doing more stuff like this?   Can we get a list or other places presentations have been done?

Boeing Librarians are definitely involved in doing presentations, especially through SLA.  I’ve attended several SLA meetings and conferences and Boeing always has a very strong presence at these events.  As I mentioned, my colleague Josh gave a Web 2.0 workshop a few months ago at UCLA.  Unfortunately, there is no list of other presentations that have been done, but you’ve given me the idea to create a spot on our wiki where we can share info and schedules of presentations.  I know that the Boeing librarians are fairly active in this type of thing, so I’m sure it’ll see plenty of use.”

FREE Introduction to “Second Life”…09.22.08

22 09 2008

Here is a source [http://slaconnections.typepad.com/click_university_blog/2008/09/do-not-post-yet.html] for learning all about the virtual world of “Second Life” from SLA and Click U:

“SLA and Click U are offering FREE Online sessions to help you learn about virtual worlds (such as Second Life) and to help you get ready to participate in SLA Second Life events with members from around the world.

This training is offered in two parts. Part 1 is delivered virtually via WebEx. Part 2 takes place in-world in Second Life. If you’ve never used Second Life before be sure to take Part 1 before taking Part 2.”

“Fresh Eyes” Needed…09.22.09

22 09 2008

This post [http://sla-divisions.typepad.com/sla_lmd/2008/09/new-librarians.html] promotes a good perspective to pursue–“fresh eyes in a library.”

“In this months issue of American Libraries, I came across an interesting article by Jen Waller entitled, ‘Consider the Jaybraian’. As a 2009 MLIS candidate at the University of Washington Information School, Jens article highlights the importance of fresh eyes in a library. A quote that I found interesting in the article was from Jens boss who told her several years ago that within Jens new job as a manager, she had six months to make change. According to him, after that time period she would ‘start seeing the same things the rest of us see day in and day out.’

Jen points out that new librarians should be encouraged to be innovative and that the solutions they come up with should be heard out. While more seasoned librarians may be quick to discount these suggestions by saying that it has already been tried or it wont work within the environment, this kind of negative attitude benefits no one. As a seasoned librarian, be open to new ideas and be willing to work together with the new professional to implement the valuable solutions that will improve your day-to-day processes and the organization as a whole.”

The Future of Libraries…09.19.08

19 09 2008

Here is an excellent presentation about the future of libraries from the blog post of Sarah Houghton-Jan, the LibrarianinBlack [http://librarianinblack.typepad.com/librarianinblack/]:

“…California’s Deputy State Librarian Stacey Aldrich presented about the future.

She talked about the brief history of eBook readers, including the upcoming Readius. She noted that it’s important for libraries fo talk amongst ourselves about where we think the future is going. We need to remember that the future does not happen in a vacuum.

She listed a STEEP acronym as a way to think about how technologies affect the future (it really works for anything). Society, Technology, Economy, Ecology, and Politics. What are the implications of the possibilities of the future?

How will developments in the outside world affect libraries? She gave the example of cellphones and cool-mobile tools like Midomi and the e-waste they create. Mobile devices also raise issues of copyright and technology privacy as it is now easier to record copyrighted material (concerts etc.).

She also talked about “Fabbing.” you send designs to the machine and it creates a real 3D model. Would libraries own fabbing machines to bridge the tech divide?

Stacey’s 4 trends

  1. Age of integration=making different things work well together like iGoogleUtterliCoziSocialightSemapedia, and iTunes. It’s all ahout adding value. What does a world that is completely integrated look like?
  2. Truthiness=What is truth in a world wbere evergone can create and mash-up information. She gave the example of the cellphone popcorn popping video that wasdebunked. Do people want truth or do they stop at one piece of information?
  3. Evolution of Digital Interaction=Examples: the hug shirt, the wonderfully cute NabaztagFlyPen that processes written information and outputs audio, telepresence, the way that the wii has changed our interaction with gaming, and a Sony patent for beaming sensory experiences directly to the brain.
  4. Development and Integration of Robotics=4.6million robots in the world today like the Roomba, the Hello Kitty receptionist, the Butterscotch horse toy for kids, and the Philip K. Dick robot(lost by an airline!).

She recommends watching Wired Science (past shows are all online).

Questions to consider: How do people know things? How do people find and use information? What is learning? What is community? What is entertainment? How can we integrate these 4 trends into the library?”

The Library Society of the World…09.19.08

19 09 2008

The video below concisely and quickly describes The Library Society of the World [http://thelsw.org/].  I am anxious to find the time to explore their website and participate. It is another excellent source, particularly for solo librarians.

Marketing the Value of the Library by Listening to the User Community…09.18.08

18 09 2008

A very good post from Lorcan Dempsey called “Public Library Value” [http://orweblog.oclc.org/] is relevant for all libraries and worthy of careful thought by all librarians is quoted in its entirty below:

“I wrote a blog entry from the fine public library in Cheyenne last year. I was interested to come across an article mentioning this same library in this week’s Economist.

Laramie County’s libraries are the best of an excellent lot. Their flagship is a three-storey, zinc-clad edifice in Cheyenne, a town best-known for its annual rodeo. In addition to a third of a million volumes, the building contains well-equipped meeting rooms and computer labs. It has a large area oriented towards teenagers which is often busy, in part because of the librarians’ tolerant attitude to food. In all, about three-quarters of Laramie County’s 86,000 residents hold library cards. [Public libraries in Wyoming | Why cowboys read | The Economist]

And this being the Economist there is a punchline ….

This attention to outreach and meeting local demands is partly the legacy of a long campaign to build Cheyenne’s library. In 2003, after more than ten years’ work, the librarians managed to put an initiative on the county ballot that allocated $27m in additional sales taxes to the new building. Tax increases are always a tough sell in Wyoming, so the librarians were forced to find out exactly what the people of Laramie County wanted for their libraries, and give it to them. In southern Wyoming, at least, an excellent library system was not built in the face of resistance to public spending. The interesting truth is that it is excellent precisely because of it. [Public libraries in Wyoming | Why cowboys read | The Economist]

I am reminded of a piece I have quoted before from Eleanor Jo Rodger in the September 2007 Library Journal.

Creating value for our host systems always involves three things: Librarians must understand their host systems; they must understand the source of their claim to being a legitimate part of their system; and they must do their work well so the system is better because they are there. It’s usually far more a matter of asking and listening than it is of telling and pleading.

Also relevant is the recent OCLC membership report From Awareness to Funding: A study of library support in America.

Related entry:

OPAC Training/Marketing for Busy Department Staff…09.18.08

18 09 2008

I plan on trying Yuuguu the next time that I want to demonstrate our special library’s ILS BHM OPAC to a staff member.  I picked up on this software thanks to Sarah Houghton-Jan’s (LibrarianinBlack) post today  [http://librarianinblack.typepad.com/librarianinblack/]. When that happens, I’ll report how it went.  

Previously, I demonstrated a group on my laptop in a conference room connected to a large monitor.  Getting a group together is more difficult considering the usual tight time contraints on department members.

Here’s what a ReadWriteWeb post [http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/lightweight_apps_for_web_trainers_and_consultants.php] said about YuuGuu:

“…Below we offer our list of some of the best apps you can use in this kind of training activity and generally as a consultant or trainer…



You can show people how to go through multi-step processes by sharing your desktop in a tab of their browser with Yuuguu. It’s free, no downloads required, get sharing in seconds. Old versions of the software can be a bit buggy but the newest version has worked great for me.

There’s absolutely nothing like getting to watch someone else work on their own desktop – it’s a magical learning experience for people. I use it while talking to people on the phone, after IMing them the login and PIN to see my screen. I haven’t tried recording the sessions yet, but that could be really useful too…”

ROI–Library Return on Investment Advice…09.18.08

18 09 2008

Regardless of the type of library in which you are involved, the following post on WebJunction by Patricia Fisher [http://blog.webjunctionworks.org/index.php/2008/09/17/trustee-blog-library-roi-what’s-your-community’s-rating/] shares important information on communicating the ROI to your stakeholders whoever they may be. If you neglect your library’s “investors,” you may risk more than good will.

“Money talks! In good times and tight economic times, people are conscious of spending their money wisely. People also want their hard-earned dollars, given in the form of tax dollars, spent wisely. As a library trustee on a governing or an advisory Board, can you convince elected officials, your neighbors and taxpayers in general that they are getting a good return on their investment (ROI)? In other words, can you talk in dollars?


For-profit companies, non-profit organizations and government agencies need money to provide products and services. People who invest in these organizations, stockholders, individuals and grant agencies and taxpayers, all ask: ‘How do I measure my return on investment?’ and ‘How do I know if my investment is really paying off?’

Return on Investment (ROI)

In the for-profit sector:

Company officials and boards of directors have developed formulas to measure the ratio of money gained or lost on an investment relative to the amount of money invested. As stated in Wikipedia’s definition, this ratio is usually expressed as a percent and is referred to as ROI.

In library land:

Can you say your library users derive more than $4.00 in benefits for every $1.00 spent of taxpayer money? St. Louis Public Library can!

A pilot study of the St. Louis Public Library (SLPL) provided this claim of return on investment. The pilot study and its results are described in a Library Journal article, “Proving Your Library’s Worth: A Test Case.” The full research on library use of cost-benefit analysis to measure economic benefits and impacts is detailed in a how-to-manual:Measuring Your Library’s Value. Elliott, Donald S., et. al, American Library Association: Chicago. 2007.

In Public libraries pack a powerful $$$ punch”, Tom Story summarizes findings from studies to show the economic impact of public libraries. Among the findings were:

  • In Florida: for every $1.00 of taxpayer dollars spent on public libraries, income (wages) increases by $12.66.
  • In South Carolina: In return for an investment of $77.5 million, public libraries pump $347 million into the state’s economy.

Numbers Aren’t Enough

While numbers are impressive, you need to be able to put the numbers in context to emphasize your point. Some publications that put interesting numbers in context include:

1. An OCLC report, Libraries: How they stack up,which makes comparisons:

  • Five times more people visit U.S. public libraries each year than attend U.S. professional and college football, basketball, baseball and hockey games. If library patrons were to pay the average sporting game ticket price of approximately $35 per visit, libraries would generate more than $39 billion in annual revenues.

2. Quotable Fact Cards -state cards modeled after an ALA publication, proclaim:

  • Texas libraries spent an average of about $18 per capita for public library service in 2003? For a family of four, that’s library service for a year for only about $72.00. It would cost $130 for the same family to attend Six Flags Over Texas for one day.
  • Marylanders borrowed an average of 7 books per person in 2003. At $25 for a hardcover book, each citizen’s taxes paid for one book and $10 toward a second book. Each citizen saved $140 by using their public library.

Everything is Local

National and state statistics about return on investment (ROI) are nice, but as the song says ‘God bless the child that’s got its own.’ As trustees of local public libraries, you will be 100% more effective if you can quote numbers from your own libraries.”

The Proverbial Lone Wolf Librarian Solicits Your Questions…09.17.09

17 09 2008

Being a solo, special librarian without current activity in any professional associations, online contact is the only touch-point to library-land.  

Do you have any library-related questions within the realm of the experience of the Lone Wolf Librarian?  

If so, I will answer them expeditiously and, within the bounds of reason and decorum, will post them.

Hasta luego…

Getting Up to Speed — Gaming in Libraries Resources…09.17.08

17 09 2008

I surrender!  Even though gaming will not be a part of my special library, I concede that I need to learn more on the subject.  Here are some starting places to catch up on the subject of gaming in libraries:

Games in Libraries




Game On: Games in Libraries


Gaming and Libraries: Intersection of Services


A Quick Guide to Gaming in Libraries


Gaming in libraries: thoughts and links


Library Gamer


Gaming at Your Library


More on New Pew Internet & American Life Project Report on Gaming…09.17.08

17 09 2008

You can read more now about the new survey results from the Pew Internet & American Life Project post which I mentioned yesterday [http://www.pewinternet.org/PPF/r/263/report_display.asp]:

“Teens, Video Games and Civics: Teens’ gaming experiences are diverse and include significant social interaction and civic engagement

9/16/2008 | MemoReport  | Amanda Lenhart Joseph Kahne Ellen Middaugh Alexandra Rankin Macgill Chris Evans Jessica Vitak

The first national survey of its kind finds that virtually all American teens play computer, console, or cell phone games and that the gaming experience is rich and varied, with a significant amount of social interaction and potential for civic engagement. The survey was conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, an initiative of the Pew Research Center and was supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The primary findings in the survey of 1,102 youth ages 12-17 include –

Game playing is universal, with almost all teens playing games and at least half playing games on a given day. Game playing experiences are diverse, with the most popular games falling into the racing, puzzle, sports, action and adventure categories.

Game playing is also social, with most teens playing games with others at least some of the time and can incorporate many aspects of civic and political life.

Another major findings is that game playing sometimes involves exposure to mature content, with almost a third of teens playing games that are listed as appropriate only for people older than they are.”

View PDF of Report
View PDF of Questionnaire

© 2000 – 2008 Pew Internet & American Life Project


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