Saturday, May 26, 2007

Save the Date!

forwarded from Diane Klaiber, Executive Manager, MLA

On behalf of the conference committee, I wanted to share with you that the 2008 dates for MLA's annual conference has changed from May 12-14, 2008 to May 7, 8, & 9, 2008. The location will be Sea Crest in Falmouth. We learned that the Vermont Library Association had planned their conference during the May 12-14 dates but we were able to change ours to May 7,8,9th. Just a note that the 9th starts Mother's Day weekend and we have the hotel rate for that weekend so plan accordingly!

Obviously, the conference committee will be in touch later on but for those of you who like to plan ahead, we thought we would share the date changes.

PS. Have a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day Weekend.


Monday, May 14, 2007

More press about MLA speakers

Robyn and Terry MooreA couple of interviews popped up during the last week with comics creator Terry Moore, who spoke on an MLA panel about Girls + Comix. Last week Terry was featured in this article at Newsarama about ending the award-winning series Strangers in Paradise. Then there was an article this past Sunday in the Houston Chronicle with Terry and his wife Robyn (pictured left) about the independent publishing of comics. Check them out. They're great interviews.

Friday, May 11, 2007

PR Awards!

forwarded from Laurie Lessner

We have just posted the list of PR Award winners and photos of the entries & ceremony to the MLA site at:

If any of the awardees would like to write an article about your entry and how it has affected your library, we will be happy to publish it in an upco ming Bay State Libraries newsletter. Submissions may be made to Note: deadline for the Summer newsletter is May 15th and the Fall is August 15th.

Remember - save your PR efforts for the 19th PR Awards, coming in 2009!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

MLA Speaker in Sunday's Boston Globe

In a neat bit of serendipity, Jenna Freedman, librarian at Barnard College, and recent MLA speaker on Radical Reference, was interviewed for a piece in the Sunday Boston Globe entitled "File under other." The article discusses 'zines in libraries, the challenges and the benefits.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Launching Library 2.0: Working in the New Web World

Amy Benson (NELINET)
(this presentation will be on the NELA site)
Others have posted more complete notes, so this will be "Amy Benson: The Jokes" version, because her jokes illuminated what I think is a very important point.

An aside: Apparently the blogger table looked official—people kept asking where the evaluations were, and other “official”-type questions. At the end someone told us we looked like judges who should have held up scorecards!

I’ve heard Amy present before, and she’s lively and funny. She’s very good at making technical tools look easy and useful and fun. FUN is the key, because the interesting part of the talk for me was not the tools themselves but learning that Amy doesn’t choose to use a lot of them herself—and a lot of her jokes were about that.

In discussing Stephen Colbert, Amy called Comedy Central “Comedy Channel,” because, she admitted, “I don’t have cable. I don’t have a cellphone, either."
After the gasps, "I know, I know, this is all really cool—but I’m just not *ready*!”

On MySpace: ‘I don’t have a MySpace account either (I’m lucky I have a *car*). I’m not a people person—maybe this [MySpace] is where I should be.”

On Second Life (“we don’t want to have just one, right?”) for libraries:
“I can’t even manage *first* life!”

For me this ties in with one of the things Stephen Abram was talking about in his keynote address, that we need to play with all these technologies and learn about them. But we don't necessarily have to find them relevant to our *own* lives, we just have to wrap our heads around why our *patrons* might want to use them, so that we can incorporate them into our libraries accordingly. Our patrons don’t care if we prefer first life to Second Life, or if we like printed books and don’t care for downloadable audio and podcasts. But we *do* have to be able to demonstrate and explain the technology, preferably with some enthusiasm.

Meet Your YS Consultant!

In David Letterman Top Ten Style, we presented 10 great reasons to contact your regional youth services consultant before previewing the new online reading program debuting this June.

A PDF version of our slideshow is at:

10. It’s All About US!
We're lonely! In between our multitude of projects, we are just waiting for your phone calls, emails and IMs, asking us about all things related to serving youth in school, public, and special libraries. Contact info is at
Those of us who miss working with children and teens welcome a chance to share in your triumphs and commiserate in your disappoints. Liven up our day by sending a photo of a program, responding to a post on one of our blogs, or calling with a question.

9. Harness the Collective
We are well connected locally and nationally, and often first in the know about grant opportunities, professional development opportunities, children's literature events, and freebies (like review copies!) that we can pass along to you. Keep in touch with us so we know your interests and needs, and can pass along specific, relevant information in a timely manner We all have special areas of expertise:
Beth - Gaming, Teen Behavior, YALSA Serving the Underserved Trainer
Ken - gov docs ;) Running an Effective Meeting, Contract Negotiations
Janet - Early Literacy, Intellectual Freedom, Internet Safety, Massachusetts Children's Book Awards, Programming, Summer Reading
Maureen - NASA Certified, Programming with Science, Year of the Teen
Susan - Early Literacy, School Long Range Planning, Book Reviewing
Vickie - Financial Literacy, Performer's Showcase

8. Networking
We make sure to bring you together through workshops, emails, IM, blogs, wikis, and discussion lists (MassYac and Regional Email Discussion Lists). We want you to network with all of your colleagues, academic, public, school, and special libraries! One of the most popular and effective methods of networking that all six regions provide is discussion roundtables. Be sure to visit your regional library systems website to learn about upcoming workshops and roundtables.
Susan creates workshops based upon requests from members, a couple of her blogs are in direct response to workshop series (LMS and YA), and she has a Yahoo Groups Teen Services discussion; librarians throughout SEMLS have created discussion groups that meet reguarily throughout the year to swap program, craft and resouces ideas. We also have in existing a group of core librarians who make up our Youth Services Advisory Committe. Vickie meets with them quarterly to discuss upcoming projects and to seek their advice on creating new continuing education program offerings.

7. Try Before You Buy!
Visit the SEMLS Massachusetts Online Performers Directory! Preview the latest professional development titles from regional library systems, then purchase theone that is the best fit for the needs of your library - NMRLS uses LibraryThing to promote new titles. View new books from regions with review collections and write a review for your colleagues! At CMRLS, you can try out DDR with metal pads before deciding which software and mat to invest in. Whether it's Ellison dies, Guitar Hero kits, button making machines, DVDs for staff development, or the newest books about serving youth, we can save you (and your library) money, by purchasing and circulating expensive items that may be outside of your budget.

6. Collaboration
The regions are all about collaboration - in individual libraries among departments, between school and public, and with academic and special libraries! One great example is the recent Catch the Beat for Your Library Massachusetts Library Bookfair, which raised $4700 for Massachusetts libraries.

5. Mentoring
Are you at a time in your professional life when you’d like someone to call for advice or to be a sounding board? Someone who can help you shape your professional development or even your career? A mentoring relationship is a relationship of choice between two people, one who wants to see the world more widely, and another who has insight to share. The commitment that the mentor and mentee or protégé make to one another can be as simple as an initial meeting and followup IM or phone chats, or more formal with regular in person meetings. We act as mentors, and pair up folks as well! In 2001, Susan Babb paired YA librarian Beth Gallaway with new children's librarian in North Reading, Christi Showman. Christi's job was just part-time, and her heart belonged to YA services. Beth is now a YS consultant, thanks in part to Susan's mentoring, and Christi now has the job of her dreams as a YA librarian (in Beth's region, no less).
Leadership Institutes are a wonderful way of growing mentors: YSLEAD and LLMA. Take advantage of any training offered!

4. Summer Reading
Need a password? Want discounted or free admission coupons to a number of great MA attractions? Want to add an online component to your statewide summer reading program this year? We can't wait to fill you in! This is another area where we work really hard to save you money, negotiating volume discounts for incentives and paper products to promote and run your program valued at $40,000 to participating MRLS member libraries. Janet provided a wonderful overview of the history of summer reading in MA that truly demonstrated there is strength in numbers.

3. Statewide Standards for Public Library Service to Youth in MA
The Children's Standards unanimously passed at the YSS breakfast, and the YA Standards were approved in 2005. They are online, and print copies courtesy of Walden Media are available from your consultant. We are well-versed in the benchmarks for creating a superior program of library services for youth in terms of collections, facilities, programs, and staff, and present classes on these topics on a regular basis. Did you know... we are also available for one on one consulting? Please contact us for help with weeding, space planning, tracking statistics, or staff management issues.

2. Long Range Planning
You can' t apply for MBLC grants without having one on file. Consultants at each regional library system have special training in long range planning for school libraries, and want to help you make your case that well funded, well staffed school libraries have a direct, proven impact on student achievement! Beth consulted with Patsy Divver at the Millis M/HS library on crafting a long range plan. The process included an initial meeting, setting up a pair of summer workshops for any interested members on how to write a plan, and ongoing support and feedback during the project.Vickie worked with Silver Lake Middle School in drafting their long range plan. She shared with them some actual long range plans from members in past workshops, suggested questions for their pre and post survey of students and faculty, offered comments during writing process and reviewed final plan

1. It’s All About YOU!
We are member driven organizations, and your feedback and input drives our resource collections, CE programs, and the statewide summer reading program components: theme, coupons, package, and PR. We can't stress enough the importance of completing SRP evaluations, getting active in MLA/YSS and MSLA, the SRP Steering Committee, or regional YS Advisory Committees.

Photos from the session are online at:
(thanks to Sonya for taking pictures!)

Keep your eye on for online summer reading details.

A preview of the MA Summer Reading Program templates is online at:

Great Websites for Kids Audio

Bonnie Peirce, Dover Town Library, talks about 2.0 sites for children and librarians

Laura Bernheim, Waltham Public Library, talks about entertainment, homework and writing sites for teens

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Extreme Makeover: Library Website Edition, etc

I noticed Susan Caulfield has already done a fantastic job blogging about this event, so I will just mention a few thoughts. First, Elizabeth Thomsen is just so entertaining and spot on in her observations of the current state of many webpages. We're about to undergo a series of usability testing this fall in conjunction with some of our Computer Graphic Design classes (one of the many perks of being an academic library is collaborating with faculty and students = free help!). We did this same battery of usability tests about 3 years ago right before we revamped our library's webpage. It is really quite facinating to see your users try to navigate your website. Especially users like faculty, who you want to assume already have some familiarity with its resources. Yikes is all I'll say!!

But Elizabeth's advice was a great starting point for the beginnings of our discussions this summer. I will forward her slideshow to the rest of our librarystaff to get folks thinking about this topic.

In general though, in this post, which is probably my final blog before "signing off" from MLA blogging, I want to convey how I'm impressed I am with the wide variety of topics covered at MLA and have very much enjoyed meeting up with my colleages at institutions from across the state. It was my first MLA annual, and I enjoyed have the opportunity to participate and blog (great idea Beth!). I look forward to future events, and would encourage planners to advertise widely to academic librarian circles, so that we can continue to work together.

Round Table Discussion: Public/Academic Library Collaboration

At first there were only academic librarians at this roundtable ... after a little while, thankfully some public librarians joined us. It would have been sad right, to only have academic librarians at a collaboration roundtable? I was heartened to hear so many of my academic colleagues talk about their interest in working with their local public libraries. I know we at Mt. Wachusett Community College find ourselves in a unique position - community colleges are somewhat of a hybrid, in that we serve both the greater community and also our more immediate community of faculty, staff and of course, students.

Here is a snapshot of the discussion:

Seven academic librarians and two public librarians

Do academic and public librarians handle reference differently? One participant had heard it was vastly different and participants weighed in on their views of the differences.

How do public libraries handle information literacy? There is a need for public librarians to start doing more to help their users become more information literate.

Vying for the same money with municipalities makes it difficult – need to make a special effort to bond and recognize commonalities.

Present together at conference – academic/public librarians - a great idea - I would love to present with someone (email me!)

Talked about the MassBlast program and others, teaming up public and academics - worked well at the Springfield Public Library. We at MWCC have also worked with MassBlast kids through visits by students doing the program through the Athol Public Library.

“My College Freshman” – day long event that gets all types of librarians together to talk about information literacy and writing - FREE - you should attend!! The 2006 event had a number of public librarians in attendance, including a YA librarian from Shrewsbury Public Library.

Tensions in relations between collaborations between public and academics sharing spaces/facilities ... Some specific situations were mentioned.

Training sessions – do together for users

How to fix the us and them issues … No easy answers

Thank You, Bloggers!

Thanks so much to our team of 19 bloggers for providing both blow-by-blow descriptions and introspective follow-ups to over 50 unique sessions and events! We generated more than 100 posts over 3 days, and more notes and session reports may still be coming in. Thanks for reading, viewing and listening!

Friday, May 4, 2007

Meeting the Challenge: Key Issues for Changing Times

Yippee--finally a session none of the other bloggers has blogged! Maybe bloggers are night owls? This was an 8:30 session on Friday.

Speaker: Keith Fiels, Executive Director, American Library Association
He’s been a librarian for 40 years in a variety of capacities, including former director of the Mass. Board of Library Commissioners.

Keith’s talk gave us personal, informal reflections on what he believes are the five great challenges facing us as librarians (and technology is NOT one of them, for a change). Then he provided his suggestions for meeting these challenges.

He had a couple of great handouts:

The first was a draft of a new ALA page, due to launch in June (but not there yet!) at

The page will include library-related news in the center, “Book Lover” information on the right, and Take Action/Find Your Library/Love Your Library/Ask a Librarian/Get Informed/Get Involved buttons on the left. It looks great; I think getting the public to find and *look* at it will be the challenge.

The second handouts were a set of bookmarks on cybersafety produced by the Illinois Library Association and MySpace. They’re great—just the right amount of text and information, good choice of format, and they suggest you “visit your local library” for more information. If I wasn’t so backed up in reading my RSS feeds I’d already have seen them; if *you* haven’t, you can download/order/read all about them here:

Keith’s challenges for us:

Challenge #1: Can we really do anything about library funding?

In highlighting some of the negative stories (e.g. Salinas), we sometimes obscure the positive things that are happening with library funding. Not all the news is bad.

In September, ALA will have a 2-person office for library advocacy, to help support local advocacy goals.

It is important to track library funding and its effect on users—ALA is looking to get real-time info on what happens with changes in library funding (a research effort led by Denise Davis).

We need to reassert the importance of our role in education.

We need to emphasize the data showing that school libraries are important for student achievement. Data for public libraries show the same thing.

See the 2006 research paper School Libraries Work! from Scholastic.

He referenced a study from the state of Florida showing the dollar value of library services:
Taxpayer Return on Investment in Florida Public Libraries: Summary Report September 2004 (7.18MB PDF)

The Florida study also showed that educational uses of the public library equals the amount of recreational use (which is not what many people assume), and that remote internet use is larger than people expect (1/4 of all library use). Online users also “visited” the library more often: they visit about 15 times/year vs. 5 times a year for physical visits.

Bottom line: We need to turn all this information into sound bites for the public.

Challenge #2: What can we do to improve library services *other* than increased funding?

We need to keep up the quality of staff, and make our current librarians *better* librarians (i.e., more training). He mentioned ALA’s Emerging Leaders program and some other ALA initiatives. We also need more training for our paraprofessionals. Library materials should be made as widely available as possible, so that everything is available to everyone (e.g., ILL, remote databases, etc.)—Massachusetts does a good job in this.

We should recognize and identify *good* practices, but also identify *bad* practices, so they can be corrected.

Challenge #3: Can we ever improve the salaries of library workers?

We have to do more than just “whine about it.” We need to get the data to make the case; the battle needs to be fought one library at a time. Trustees and library directors need to make the case. There’s no easy solution for this one.

Challenge #4: What can we do to make a difference?

We must continue to serve all, and lead the way in diversity to better serve our communities. Preservation of our First Amendment rights (CIPA, Patriot Act, DOPA). Libraries have done so much to use social networking to expand in the community that arguments for restricting use of these tools in public libraries and schools will no longer work. We need to fight to preserve access to government information (e.g. EPA’s dismantling of libraries).

We can lead the world! Library use is declining in England and France, but not here in the U.S. We should to reach out to the rest of the world, and share what we can do best.

Challenge #5: Can libraries even survive?

Some still say the library is no longer needed because we have the internet—but our libraries are busier than ever. People come to the library for more than a computer can provide: for social interaction, for inspiration, to get help and advice. People in an electronic environment value face-to-face interaction more than ever.

Nothing ever comes easy—people have worked really hard to get us the libraries we have today—the future is in our hands.

Extreme Makeover: Library Website Edition

Elizabeth Thomsen & Kevin Grocki
NOBLE (North of Boston Library Exchange)

The full slide presentation (with links and examples of some old/new/in progress NOBLE websites) is on the web.

I’ve heard Elizabeth Thomsen before and she’s great—enthusiastic and very funny. Her main point was that websites are like gardens or laws or houses or relationships—they need regular tending. Even a website with great content will become a “lava lamp land” of old looks and dead links if it is not evaluated and redesigned regularly.

Planning a website is like planning a new building—how will people enter, move around, and find what they need? But mistakes are less costly and can be changed more easily than in the physical world. So planning is good, but don’t get stuck there.

Writing for the web needs to be short and simple--“talk like a human being.” Use newspaper style, i.e., put the most important facts first or you’ll miss your audience (nobody reads to the end). Choose headings and links carefully, and avoid the “click here” syndrome (that highlights the *least* important information):

Think about your users—who are they and what do they want to know?--and make sure basics (hours, address, phone number) are easy to find. Put a catalog search box directly on the page if possible (save the time of the user). How did users get to your site (look at search logs)? When they get there, do they know where they are (not everyone comes in through the front door)?

Try to have just one link for databases, not “home” and “in library” (we need to change that one on *my* library’s website).

Add visual interest, but lose the old, bad clip art, and most animated graphics. The best images to use are photographs, book covers, book displays, and art by children & teens.
E.g., the website for Butler University Libraries has a right hand banner with an “Ask a Librarian” box, linking to a “how to contact us” page, and showing different librarian photos.

Keep the digital camera handy and take pictures of everything, and enlist patrons as volunteer photographers. Libraries should have a discussion about privacy rights and signed releases. Be careful about copyright.

Many photographs in Flickr have a creative commons license and can be used with attribution (e.g. flowers for a gardening booklist, etc.). Sort photo results by “interestingness.”

Try to have some dynamic content (content that changes, by JavaScript, an RSS feed, etc.), and get creative.

Then she got more technical, so for more complete notes, see the presentation slides.

Elizabeth and Kevin spent a LONG time after the presentation with me and another librarian answering some technical questions, which was much appreciated. We pretty much closed down the conference (all the cars were gone when I left). I came away with a lot of good ideas to implement for our website.

From There to Here: Gay and Lesbian Kids' Books in Transition

This is the session I've been waiting for. A chance to see Nancy Garden in person and a workshop on the experience of teens who don't necessarily fit the mold that still seems to be the only one promoted widely. Even (or especially) in Massachusetts, the controversy about gay marriage and gay issues in schools continues to divide people and communities. And bullying kids who are different than "the norm" is still prevalent in our schools, even in the most liberal or gay-friendly of towns. I see and hear it daily in the middle/high school where I work. So, even though we have come a long way, it will be interesting to see where we go from here. Nancy Garden has been leading the journey, and now we get to hear what she has to say about it.

It's the 25th anniversary of Annie on My Mind, a classic lesbian YA book that remains one of the best (in my opinion of course).

In the 50's, when she was growing up, gays and lesbians lived underground, closeted lives. No GSA's for kids. People didn't even think kids could be gay.

She and her partner of 38 years were able to be married here in Massachusetts.
What a difference 50 years makes! But it doesn't mean that everything is perfect. It's still hard to be a queer or questioning teen in most places in the US today. Just imagine being confused about your sexual orientation if you live Lexington, MA during the recent challenge about Who's in a Family, which even got the notorious and hateful Fred Phelps involved.

But books can help these kids and they are important in figuring out who they are. If there was even a mention of homosexuality in a book 50 years ago, it was not typically a positive view, to say the least.

In the 80's things really started to change -with the advent of GSA's in schools, but also of course, AIDS showed up but was absent in books with gay characters. Only in the 90's did main characters really appear regularly in literature. Marketers probably thought straight kids couldn't/wouldn't identify with those characters. And the fear of challenges probably had some hand in that omission as well.

Bullying is endemic in our schools. It affects GLBTQ kids tremendously, but it is not exclusive to them. It's been considered a rite of passage for a long time. To ignore it or "don't let them get to you." We blame the victims and tell them to do things that will make them fit in better. Teachers don't see or hear it all. And now it has branched out to the online world - as cyberbullying.

Garden's new book Endgame deals with bullying and school violence. She was bullied herself as kid. It is an often neglected problem, although James Howe's book The Misfits addresses it and led to the creation of the national "No Name Calling Day."

Just had to mention one of the other many books she mentioned - with a gay character, but the story is really about a future election of the first gay, Jewish president of the US; David Levithan's Wide Awake. But there are still struggles and as many steps forward there have been in the past years, there has also been a serious backlash against GLBTQ people as well. There are still kids who are scared, confused, bullied and completely on their own in dealing with the issues surrounding figuring out how to be who they are in that world of backlash.

LGBTQ kids are 5 times more likely to skip school because of harassment and bullying. But those at schools with GSA's and anti-bullying programs were not as likely to skip school and felt safer. There are so many more statistics that I won't list here.

Aside from the small turnout for this session (hopefully due to it's late time slot, not its content), I was so pleased to be here for this session. I think it should have been scheduled at a different time so that it would have garnered a larger audience. I fear that today's audience was there because they already know and believe that we need to provide GLBTQ kids/teens (and adults, too) with a range of materials that reflect their lives and a safe place to explore what it means to be gay, free from bias, prejudice and harassment.

Our books are stories first. Avoid thinking and using them only as bibliotherapy. Use the same criteria you employ to decide what is quality literature, or what belongs in your collection. Two books to assist with that, which Nancy suggests are
  • The Heart Has Its Reasons: Young Adult Literature with Gay/Lesbian/Queer Content, 1969-2004 by Michael Cart and Christine A. Jenkins
  • Lesbian and Gay Voices: An Annotated Bibliography and Guide to Literature for Children and Young Adults by Frances Ann Day (Foreword by Nancy Garden)

Blog's Eye View - Michael Stephens, Jessa Crispin, Jenny Levine

My Thoughts: The speakers were very informative, I really liked the diversity of their blogging backgrounds and different perspectives (props to the person who selected this panel!). I was particularly interested in what Jessa Crispin had to say since I was somewhat unfamiliar with her blog; I really enjoyed listening to her ideas and her humorous candor (comments not enabled, not an advanced technology user, phobia of online life, etc…).

I was very happy that they talked about how blogs can be a dynamic portion of library websites & that they get other staff members involved. I am a firm believer in staff taking ownership of and personal interest in their work (increases productivity and a sense of accomplishment), and blogs are one way that this can be achieved.

I should have taken a picture of the panel to post with this, since Michael Stephens took a picture of us for a Flickr account!

Learning Commons Roundtable

A group of approximately 12 people gathered to discuss the merits of Learning Commons. Some people expressed not truly understanding the notion of what a Learning Commons is. It appeared that many folks were here to get information as they are planning for their inevitable Learning Commons. Emily Alling was able to help us understand the Learning Commons concept by describing the LC at the University of Massachusetts. She described a dynamic place where students can collaborate and have access to several library and campus services all in one place as well as technology tools. Furniture is flexible and the environment is noisy and vital.

Defining the Learning Commons isn't easy.

Emily's definition paraphrased (not a quote): A library plus; a collaboration with other outside services...bringing all these services into one place, convenient, good tech support, meeting most needs in one place, technological, informational...

Some people felt that public libraries are ahead of academic libraries when it comes to user services. I'm not sure how true this is but it was interesting to hear how academic and public libraries could learn a lot from each other. Being a supervisor of the Learning Commons and Technical Support Desk at UMass, Amherst, I do see user services becoming a priority. The Learning Commons is about meeting user needs and quality service is of the utmost importance.

This roundtable discussion about Learning Commons was interesting as we had people from various libraries, all interested in Learning Commons and all with ideas about how they impact our users.

Overheard at MLA, part III

Presenter: "I go on MySpace and get drunk and stalk old boyfriends."

Presenter: "I was really drunk one night, it sounded like a good idea..."

Presenter: "That's what he does, he buys people drinks."

Presenter: "The only thing we could decide on was to agree not to decide anything."

Presenter: "I almost feel like, not everyone needs a blog."

Presenter, explaining Second Life: "And here I'm sitting, I love sitting, this is a superior chair, they have all different kinds of poses..."

Blog's Eye View

Okay, so it's kind of odd to be blogging about blogging. Sort of like one of those movies like Being John Malkovich where the lines are blurred between story and reality within the plotline. But we'll see what happens.

Michael Stephens, Jenny Levine, and Jessa Crispin make up the panel.

Jessa Crispin, and admitted technophobe, who started blogging because she thought that she could do it better than her then-boyfriend's boring blog. Within two years it turned into a full-time job and an "in" into the publishing world.

And it seems that we assume these blog-masters (if that's a term) are more tech-savvy than we are, but it may not be true.

If you are a blogger, create a personal blogging mission statement: what and how you will blog about. You don't necessarily have to post it or make it public, but it helps you decide what the focus will be.

Jessa: Because of a lot of hate mail, she has seen blogs somewhat taken over by comments and managing/deleting inappropriate ones. Her site actually doesn't have comments enabled for this reason.

Michael: Find the 10 or so voices that speak to you and follow those blogs, don't try to read or follow everything. Use an aggregator to get the information easily through RSS feeds.

Jenny: Separate things out in folders of your aggregator so you can scan the feeds easily in a short period of time. Information overload is not a myth. It's okay - you don't have to read every single thing every single day.

Jessa: I don't actually read blogs...

How has it affected your industries?

Jessa: not necessarily a good impact - people blogging because of free books...

Jenny: I really trust a review on a library blog, and that librarians won't post a review just because they got a book for free. It's hard to make decisions unless you really keep up to date - and blogging makes that possible much more than print articles can.

Michael: I think I'm notorious for neglecting vendors. It's a different side of the profession that people need to know about.

Do you see library blogs replacing library websites?
No - it serves a different function - to share dynamic, changing information.

What is a site that is indispensable for you to keep up?
Critical Mass

Any reason to use list-servs?
Yes, it's a way to find community if you can find the right one. The tools overlap - it doesn't have to be an either/or.
You can suck them into your aggregator.

On advice for someone who wants to start blogging but hasn't embraced it yet?

Best quotes from Jessa Crispin:
"MySpace scares me - because I just end up getting drunk and stalking ex-boyfriends."
"I almost feel like not everybody needs a blog."

Decide what you want to talk about. If you're passionate about it, it will be easy and it will be a good blog. If you have any inclination, try it. You can always stop.

In our prof. lives as librarians, it's important for us to know what is going on for our patrons. So he encourages students to try something (like blogging or second life, etc.) just to see what it is like, how it might relate to librarianship and libraries. That's valuable information to know/experience.

Blog's Eye View

Just in case some of the content of the presentation went over the heads of attendees:

A blog is a website with periodic chronological updates that you can subscribe to for notification of updates. A blog can be text, audio, images, video, or a combination of all three (an audio or video blog is called a podcast). Commenting is a popular but optional feature that allows blog readers to communicate with blog posters and the community responded to them.

A feed is a data sent out from a blog to let subscribers know the blog has been updated. The title and post are sent as an attachment. Feeds may be in RSS or XML format. A feed is added to a feed aggregator - just like you need a mailbox to collect letters, catalogs, and packages, an aggregator collects blog content. One sifts through the aggregator to decide what to read, watch, view or listen to.

An aggregator may be a plugin added to your brower, like Sage for Firefox users, a download that you install and use on your computer, like FeedReader, or a web application like Bloglines where you create an account and log into from anywhere. Many browsers are incorporating live bookmarking, which means when you save a site, if it has a feed, they show up as individual bookmarks under the main bookmarks.

Jessa Crispin, Bookslut
Jenny Levine, The Shifted Librarian
Michael Stephens, Tame the Web

Michael spoke about why we blog: to build community, primarily. A blog can be a personal information manager for remembering things.

For a blogger code of ethics, turn to Imaginon in Charlotte, NC:
  • Respect Yourself
  • Respect Others
  • Respect the Space
Jenny talked about how software made blogging easier - from handcoding on one machine, to being able to type into a form accessible from anywhere, to migrating from just text to media rich content. She emphasized that we wouldn't we where we are in the discussion of Library 2.0 without the biblioblogosphere.

Jessa spoke about the shift from blogging part time to making a career of it, and about the unexpected things that have fallen into her lap, such as insight into the publishing industry.

I really wanted to pick their brains on how to develop a voice. Their advice? Say something different. Say something honest. Be fearless! Be authentic. When disagreeing, focus on ideas, not personalities. A consistent voice allows your audience to evolve with you. Finally, develop a personal blogging mission statement, even if you don't post it on your blog.

Is Reference Dead?

Is Reference Dead? Roundtable discussion
Facilitated by Carolyn Noah

How has reference changed at your library?
Patrons are more technology savvy, so we're helping them work through databases and
Constituency for reference desk is older. The younger folks are staying home and

What methods are you using for doing reference?
IM -- we just started using it
QuestionPoint -- helping kids with their homework and answering questions can transform the relationship with the library and the librarians. When it works, it works really well.
Reference by appointment -- making appointments helps add value to the time of librarians; works well with older patrons, younger patrons want answers now

How are you promoting reference?
In-house flyering, library website

How about reference space?
The reference desk is inconvenient, especially when you're trying to show folks what you're doing on the computer
People are going out from the behind the desk and doing reference at the public PCs
Collaborative space for reference work? Smaller libraries never had a reference desk, so they never had a reference desk to hide behind -- small mains and
Double-screens for reference computer, so patrons can see exactly what you're doing as you type
Tablet PCs walking around the floor

Reference collections?
Books -- collection is shrinking at least 25%, probably could get rid of more, academic library has shrunk it 50% or more
Dropping paper subscription in favor of online formats
The series collections that take vast amounts of space are going first/fastest
Patrons need it online or able to take it home or print it right off the computers

What do patrons want?
They don't want books, not even to photocopy. They want to just print it out.
Librarians are falling into the habit of not using/promoting our print resources -- one librarian started a "Reference Book of the Week" to promote the print sources that remain
Teachers are making them have a percentage of printed sources and electronic sources, both Internet and database
It's a teaching moment when you print out an electronic version of a print resource to show them that it's non-Web source
When we can, we confirm with the teacher what the intent is when they say, "You have to have a book source."
Also, is it a way to stop the flow of plagiarism

Role of reference librarian in the new age? Definition of reference librarian changing?
The role is the same, the tools have changed
Research questions are changing somewhat to social service referrals -- somewhat who speaks little English just gets an account number and complex instructions that they can't follow...they come to us to ask for help
Librarians are trained in putting together multiple sources, but the questions have changed in nature
A lot of little questions, a lot of handholding on computer use for non-users
Academic: it's shifted from complex research questions to training in online research skills, evaluating sources
Framingham PL -- developed a pathfinder for folks who are filling out online job applications
The older folks who are asking for our help are changing, too -- they need our support on
How do we help those who are too shy to approach us?
We can't make assumptions about what people should know and we need to just answer their questions
Some librarians see themselves as the arbitrer of information and won't ask others beyond their desk to provide service to patrons, they see it as a control issue
Librarian just takes a laptop into the YA room and monitors the conversation around them; if there's a question, she just jumps in and answers it and then the conversation grows by osmosis
"Community constituency builders" -- Natick Public Library, networked into community agencies advising and providing a structure for coalition building
IT Librarians

What do you need to ditch the desk?
  • Step 1: Get out from behind the one you have.
  • Watch and listen to the patrons as you walk around
  • Where do you have Circ staff send new patrons if you're out doing Walking Reference in the stacks? What other methods do we use to let patrons who need our help find us?
  • What do the patrons expect? Where will they go to seek help?
  • If you have the luxury of two people on the desk, have one sitting and one wandering
  • Laptop tables on wheels (with locking cables)?
  • Doing programs in groups
  • Get out from the library and do reference outside the building
  • Cordless phones or Vocera units
  • Office hours at the coffee shop
  • Distributing information about resources to new partners (like realtors) who can then pass on information to their users

What kind of training do we reference librarians need to have to do this new job
Customer service training, including training from the retail environment
Attitude is important
How do we shift our reference service online? -- "I feel like a coal miner right it's all going to be over really soon."
Email reference, IM reference, web form reference -- Some reference stats are going up, some down
Local history questions are going through the roof, they're coming in in Winnebagos and asking away
Our elders need us now, our new immigrants need us, our lower-income folks need us -- will this be the same or different in 10 years?
Lots and lots of tech support questions. How to search, how to find things, how to fix a stuck computer, how to format a resume, how to use Photoshop
Reader's advisory

More exploration of getting out from behind the desk
How do we staff these desks, both for security and for access?
Can we use expediting functions, information stations, to streamline the process?
Can we give some reference training to non-librarian staff as a part of that expediting process, so that the request for a book doesn't end with "No we don't have that."

A plug for Nancy Garden's talk

At breakfast in the Exhibit Hall this morning I met Nancy Garden, who is giving a presentation this afternoon at 3:15 on "From There to Here: Gay and Lesbian Kids' Books In Transition."

We had an interesting talk about kids, and bullying, and how literature can connect with all this, and she knows a lot and was very thoughtful.

See her 2006 book, Endgame, about a kid who is bullied and what results. I plan to read it.

She also mentioned two other books to me:

The Misfits, by James Howe
The Revealers, by Doug Wilhelm

I can't go hear her speak, because I need to attend the session on library website makeovers, but based on our conversation, I'm sure she'll be great! I hope someone else blogs it for me.

Radical Reference - Jenna Freedman & Eric Goldhagen

Summary & My Thoughts: This session was an introduction to the Radical Reference Service and the technology it uses to operate it’s online presence. I love the idea of this service and their efforts to not only operate a website but get out in the street and into communities to support activists and information seekers. While attempting to support activists they seek to create an authoritative site that librarians and information seekers will trust & utilize. It seems to coincide with the social software and increasing communication movement that is a major online trend. RSS Feeds/Email updates, Wikis, and other aspects of 2.0 have been included in their website to offer a high level of communication and interaction with site users.

They use open source software as a technological basis; Eric advocated for libraries and others to use these tools to increase collaboration, free access, etc… while also offering tips and ideas for getting started and using these resources successfully. He displayed links to lots of useful information on this topic and a slide that demonstrated open source tools that may replace different types of proprietary software that I found particularly helpful.

Tools Mentioned:
Open Office, Drupal, Ubuntu, and more, check out the presentation link online at

It Takes Two to Tango: How Librarians and Paralibrarians Support Each Other

Susan Babb, NMRLS, moderated presentations from two libraries successfully supporting paralibrarians. The presenters stressed the communication, mentoring, and starting small.

One thing that surprises me to hear (and I applaud it!) is the idea that a good supervisor helps an employee recognize when a job is not the right fit - either the job has evolved, or the staff person has wider aspirations than a small library (with no promotion opportunities) can meet. How refreshing to hear the concept that it's okay to let people move on when they have outgrown their job in some way!

I was running around taking photos and missed most of the presentation from Leslie Todd and Gael Nappa from Haverhill; they spoke about how Gael made a transition from being a library clerk in the circulation department to a children's assistant, and from there became an active member of of the MLA Paralibrarian Section.

The importance of continuing education came up several times. "Trainings and workshops are an inspirational thing..." said Marnie.
"How do you get them to go?" someone asked.
"Well, sometimes, kicking and screaming!" she said, drawing chuckles.

Leslie talked about the range of getting employees to attend, from gentle suggestion to assigning it, and said more often than not, the experience is a positive one. Someone in the audience mentioned it was part of their job description; later, someone said that if you want to make a request to attend a program, come prepared by working out any schedule issues first.

As someone working on the regional level, we are seeing a DECLINE in continuing education workshops, and would love to see more faces at our programs. They are enriching in terms of learning something new and helping you to do your job better, but they also provide a valuable networking opportunities and support, but they are also a break from the daily grind, and leave your refreshed and reinvigorated.

Marnie Oaks from the Reuben Hoar Library shared some small successes, such as closing to provide CE opportunities, cross-training staff, and making professional development into fun, team-building activities, from lunch together to field trips to museums. The success story is that the staff works well together, their contentedness comes across and creates a wonderful patron experience, and the trustees and community are happy to support the library. Marnie reports they haven't yet had an override that didn't pass.

The program concluded with a story (read by Leslie): Edwardo, the Horriblest Boy in the Whole Wide World by John Burningham, a parable about becoming what we are told we are by internalizing the feedback we get from people around us. The program ended at 12:10, and nearly a dozen people lingered to continue their conversation.

The handouts were great, and hopefully will be posted on the MLA website.

MLA Trivia Night and Auction!

the hardworking Diane Klaiber and Barbara Flaherty

the Deweys or Don't Wes

More great pictures from the Trivia Night are online at:

If I didn't remember the name of your team, please feel free to let me know what it was! I encourage comments to caption the photos, so we know who is in them :) Thanks for your help! Thanks to Overdrive for sponsoring this fun event, and thanks to everyone who paid their entry fee, purchased an item or otherwise made a donation to the fundraiser; monies are used for continuing education and library advocacy.

RDA and FRBR: Next Bib things in Cataloging

When Library of Congress librarian Barbara B. Tillett speaks about RDA & FRBR she talks about saving time, sharing information ("interfilable and usable"), and serving the user better at the international level. Emphasis is on changing the terminology and simplifing the concepts. New elements will effect MARC21, especially the GMDs (material descriptions).

July-September 2008 - Draft due to be available.
Early 2009- First release
View/listen to a 3-minute demo of RDA Online:

RDA (Resource Description and Access) will:
  • replace AACR2
  • simplify cataloging code
  • encourage worldwide use
  • provide consistency
  • address current problems with types of materials
  • be principle-based
  • support FRBR
  • be web-based ("not linear, but a we-tool")
  • be multinational
  • enable users
  • uses "take what you see" approach

AACR2 uses old terminology and does not include the concepts for moving into a more electronic world.

Why present these standards? Because in the real world, what has been known as "cataloging" is being done by authors, publishers, students, etc. It is not all MARC21, but we need to use other schemas.

See Drafts and Docuements:

FRBR (Fundamental Requirements for Bibliographic Records) is a thorough examination of anything that might ever be cataloged by thinking in terms of:

  • work
  • expressions
  • manifestions
  • items

FRBR User Tasks, which are the reasons people use libraries:
  • Find
  • Identify
  • Select
  • Obtain

Change is coming. Stay tuned.

Facebook Phenomenon--Susan. Herzog & Brian Lashley

A social networking space, Facebook is used by students for many things such as making friends, joining groups, advertising parties, private messaging and much, much more. Students should know that they can keep their spaces "private." (According to Susan, there was a case of a student expelled for posting certain material on his facebook page).

Their research (they conducted a survey) showed that most students log on daily and/or weekly. Now nonstudents (folks without .edu emails) can use Facebook.

There are security issues...students should know that their pages may be seen by potential employers, teachers, potential grad school admissions officers, to name a few.

Why should students care about what they post on their spaces? Susan showed us some revealing photos of a few students. Stalking can be an issue if a student shares too much information in Facebook. A student's image can be tarnished by a revealing Facebook profile (Susan showed some very interesting photos students had posted of themselves).

Brian showed us percentages of information that students post publicly. Students may be exposing themselves to risk by posting birthdates, AIM addresses, dorm addresses, class schedules, etc. They seem to be willing to take this risk or don't realize that there even is any kind of risk.

Susan and Brian talked about how the majority of students really like using Facebook. It's a major tool for how they communicate with each other. Several audience members expressed concern regarding the lack of privacy when using Facebook and the potential for very personal information to be accessed by others. There were also questions about the potential for Facebook to make their information available to outside vendors.

But, one member reminded us that there are positive aspects to using these social networking tools. Susan says that there must be a balance in order to use a tool with such potential for good use.

Interestingly, only one person in the audience admitted to having a Facebook page (that was me)! Please take the time to open an account and discover for yourself the many aspects of Facebook.

Talk with YA and Children’s Authors

Janet Ruth Young – The Opposite of Music

Why she chose to write a book and how…some advice to potential writers

  • Woke up one day in May 2001 and she did not want to go to work…
  • She felt that she had not lived up to her original dreams of becoming an author
  • She had a story running through her head because her family had a history of mental illness.
  • She had a little voice telling her to revisit this idea.
  • She made a plan to quit her job and work on her novel
  • She created a small manuscript and submitted for evaluation –
  • She won the Penn NE Award for new writers
  • She worked in “micro-chapters” and assigned herself one of these a day
  • The titles began as "The Scientists" and ended up as "The Opposite of Music"
  • She submitted her book as an independent writer but used many books to help her along the way.
  • She polled the publishers to get a feel for her ideas
  • While the publisher was interested, she need to work on revisions
  • The tone had to be tweaked and the voice must be true to her characters
  • She had tried to not preach but the publisher believed that half the book was missing
  • She made revisions…and then time went by…and she was eventually rejected
  • She made a new plan…to submit to more editors and more publishing companies
  • But this time she placed time constraints on the publishers
  • Finally she received an offer and negotiated for the best possible contract
  • But more revisions were asked for…more than she was willing to concede
  • Ultimately, she learned that she had to compromise…but her book was published!

Susan Lubner – Noises at Night & Ruthie Bon Bair: Do not go to bed with wringing wet hair

  • She writes children’s picture books
  • She loves to write in rhyme
  • She published 2 short stories in college
  • But got a “real job” after school
  • She took a course or workshop on writing children’s stories
  • Sold her first short story to a magazine
  • She showed the manuscript of her first book, only 350 words on 2 pieces of paper
  • Then she held up the large stack of papers involved in the revisions
  • Words are kept to a minimum in writing picture books
  • The only descriptions are one necessary for the storyline
  • Her first book was sent out 30-40 times
  • Ideas- everyday occurrences, watching nature, her reading or watching of the news, visuals, personal experiences with embellishment,
  • Even though these stories are short…sometimes they take years to write…
  • Suggest being part of a writers group to help develop their stories

Then the group was treated to a reading of Ms. Lubner’s book Ruthie Bon Bair… complete with her Ruthie “head of hair” on her head. It was enjoyable to hear her wonderful rhymes out loud.

Rural Library Sustainability Project - Poster Session

A large crowd of people came to see the Rural Library Sustainability Project Poster Session that took place on Thursday evening. There was a band playing, tasty hors d'oeuvres, and three innovative projects/posters on display.

The three projects dealt with the creation of instructional videos for patrons/staff (Milford Public Library), a new technology plan (Wilmington Public Library), and an assortment of staff & patron training tools (i.e. eAudiobooks Group Instructional Program, Individual Help Sessions, Staff Wiki - Oak Bluffs Public Library).

To learn more about the Rural Library Sustainability Project visit WebJunction and take time to explore the other resources available on the site as well!

Radical Reference

Radical Reference: Community Librarianship and Free/Open Source Technology
Jenna Freedman and Eric Goldhagen

Radical Reference has been providing library services to political activists and independent journalists since July 2004.
[Both presentations are online here]

Radical Reference is a collective of volunteer library workers who believe in social justice and equality.

"You don't have to share my politics. You can just share my tools."
It's not that hard to get started. First, the librarians who shared the political views got together and talked, deciding they wanted to do this. Then, they contacted a Radical Geek list and got them on board for the tech background and support.

Online reference
Online form for questions.
Reference Shelf of information for activists.
There is a collaboration between member librarians to answer questions. Librarians get an RSS feed or an email when questions come in, and then they go and answer them as needed.
They agreed to disagree on large numbers of topics, in the interest of serving the largest number

In the Street
  • Ready reference kits, pertinent to the event going on at the time
  • Handouts
  • Rumor control -- providing real information about what's going on at the event on the ground
  • Communications -- providing live-communications while things are going on

Conferences, IMC, classroom skillshares on fact-checking, FOIA&FOIL requests, public library resources, advanced net resources, 2.0 tools, open source software

Skillshares at Counterpoise -- now SRRT booth -- on police codes, blogging with Bloglines, street reference, alternative libraries, etc.

They need catalogers and tech services librarians, who can answer questions that fall more into those skill sets.

Helping ourselves, too
Community -- LIS Education Forum, Critical Mass, Pride parade
Local collectives -- Autonomous, salons in NYC (activism at work, copyright, race, social forums)

Here's the Boston Guild of Sassy Librarians marching in Pride 2006

Why do this?
Because it's important, and needs to be done. It can't necessarily hurt to have this on your resume if you're organizing and doing reference experience.
Advanced technologies: DRUPAL, chat reference, open source tech

Eric Goldhagen
Free/Open Source Software and Libraries
"With free and open source tools, I don't have to be a pirate."

What is Free/Open Source Software?
GNU and LINUX -- At the beginning (1970s), software was largely in the public domain and the techies thought it should stay that way.
Richard Stallman and Linus Torvalis were the fathers of free operating system -- GNU LINUX
Sotfware is written as text (source code)
Software is most often distributed as an application (binary) that runs in a specific operating systema nd type of hardware (architecture)
Source code is modified (compiled) by another program (compiler) to create a binary
Free software and open source are in most cases equivalent and may be found abbreviated as FOSS, F/OSS, FLOSS

What do you mean free?
Free to read source code and evaluate it for security and other reasons
Free to modify source code for your own use
Free to distribute your modifications
Free to anyone for any use

Free as in speech (always), free as in beer (sometimes)
Free Software Foundation

"Copyleft" a progressive definition of 'ownership'

Why Should Libraries Care About Software Licenses?
Discussions of software license, fair use and copyright overlap
Creative Commons License for content is an outgrowth of F/OSS
End User License Agreements (EULA) limit rights
Free/open source licenses protect freedom and rights
You never own commercial software
Public access can be restricted by EULAs
Software licenses are a drain on limited library budgets
Knowledge as information to be shared vs. knowledge as property to be hoarded

Benefits of Using F/OSS
Collaboration with other groups -- because there's no restrictions, multiple groups can work on the same projects
Tools designed with you and your uses in mind -- if you need the thing fixed, it's fixed the way you need it and that fix will also be available for other people to use
Localization of economy -- groups work locally with local techies to make things happen
Sharing of resources with other groups
Seeing a connection between services provided at libraries and the tools used to facilitate those services
Open standards -- file formats are important, so if you have your documents in an Open Document format, which can always be converted
No vendor lock-in

Before you jump...
Understand that there's a difference between buying a product forma vendor and hiring a group to modify/customize F/OSS
Think about process, not product
Treat your FOSS team like partners not vendors
Make a wishlist, not an RFP
Take time to evaluate tools before implementing -- is there an active community?, will there be frequent patches?, how well do they respond to non-developers?

Internet Explorer ---> Mozilla Firefox; Opera
MS Word ----> Open Office Writer
MS PowerPoint ----> Open Office Impress
MS Excel ----> Open Office Calc
Oracle, MS SQL Server ----> MySQL,
Adobe Photoshop -----> GIMP
Quark XPress ------> Scribus
AIM ----> GAIM
Quicken -----> GnuCash; TurboCash
Adobe Acrobat ---->

Content Management Systems, BugTracking Tools, Project Management tools, Constituent & Donor Management, Wiki, Blogs, Tagging

When you get an error message, copy and post it to your blog to commuicate your problems and share knowledge.

Open source software creates a new model. Competition and collaboration enter a new dynamic. Contribution and participation are valued over ownership.

Free Software Foundation
Open Source Initiative
NOSI (Nonprofit Open Source Initiative)
Linux distributions -- Debian, RedHat, Ubuntu, Gnoppix
Where to find f/oss:,

People don't notice they're using Open Source tools until you point it out to them. It's almost seamless.

That said, don't try to make the jump wholesale. Make a slow transition and keep your old proprietary softwares as you make the change. Make sure you have a relationship with a techie. We've got to find ways to partner with the techies and not just be the beta testers. The whole point of open source is to take control back, and that's a part of it.

Jenna: jenna at stealthisemail dot com
Eric: eric at openflows dot com

Jordan-Miller - story telling

Well, this session just wrapped up and I have to admit that while I started with my computer on my lap typing away, I soon closed the lid and just enjoyed listening and participating in the program. Beth Galloway began the program by explaining about a grant that she received that would allow for the development of a program to introduce the art of storytelling to middle school students. I know, I know... you are thinking that story telling is only for little children. But lets be honest about what story telling really is...It is public speaking! If we can make teenager more comfortable speaking in front of a group this will ultimately make them more comfortable in front of a classroom doing an oral presentation and eventually in front of a business meeting.

Tony Toledo, a professional storyteller, grabbed our attention with a couple stories of his own. He began by telling us that he had just had his wisdom teeth out. While that may no sound so interesting in this blog...well you should hear him tell it! It just proves that any subject can be used to tell an just depends on how you tell it. When he had a group of adults envisioning his wife wearing his wisdom teeth as earrings..."as the only pair of $800 earring he will ever give her" the group was not only laughing but sold on the importance of storytelling at any age.

As an audience, we also got into the action by participating in one of the icebreakers used in the program. First we were instructed to tell the person next a story about "how we got one of our scars". Wow, does this open up many wonderful stories. Some of the audience even shared their stories with the group. Another suggestion for icebreakers was to have the students tell a story about how they got their name.

The highlight of the meeting was a young man named Arjun who attended the program in Chelmsford. He shared his appreciation for the program and how this program has made him more confident (These benefits cannot be ignored in this age group that notoriously suffers from extremely low self-esteem and identity issues). And then he told his story. If you can picture this group of 30-40 librarians being enthralled by one young boy telling his blended fairytale about a pig named Jack who climbs a beanstalk and rescues a sleepy but beautiful pig...then you will have envisioned only a small picture of this session. He was animated, funny, articulate, and creative. And the reason that this program exists. I could see the pride in the face of his librarian, as well as Beth...who initiated this program.

So, I may not have every note from this session but I have tried to capture just part of the magic that happens when you introduce such a powerful medium for sharing to a new generation. While I feel like the bulk of this conference has been stressing technology (and I have learned a lot in that department), I was glad to see a low tech program that brings us back to our human roots.

I would encourage any young adult librarian or media specialist to ask Beth about this program.

Book 2.0 and Sean Stewart

What is this strange hybrid of book and online interactive experience rolled into one? I'm trying to overcome my baby-boomer tendency to want written books to be linear and static. I'm not used to having to help out or participate in the stories I read. I generally want to sit back and enjoy the story; go for the ride that the author provides.

Sean Stewart talks of this strange "beast" of a "book" where you actually read, interact on-line, perhaps even call telephone numbers. What does this mean? It's not an easy concept to get my mind around, especially having not read his book, "Cathy's Book." But it sounds like these "books" are potentially the next literary/gaming experience to be welcomed by young adults (and others).

Imagine, you are reading a book, you get to a part where you need to call an actual telephone number? Or, you need to go to a webpage for information. (Bear with me, I'm guessing about these interactive books/experience). I can only say that I plan on reading Sean's book as soon as possible to get a better idea of what this is all about.

People in the audience had questions about how long the interactive aspects of the book will last (such as calling a phone number or game-participation as connected to the book). Sean said that they are working on these aspects; internet production is not without its problems (production costs, etc.).

Sean says that Cathy's Book even has an IM component...can you understand why I'm having a slow time grasping the idea of this medium; we're going beyond the idea of the "book" to a combo Web 2.0/written novel. Anyone feel free to correct me, I am slow to conceive of this idea having not experienced it yet. I'm trying to visualize this hybrid experience as holding a book while typing on my laptop...I'm getting better at this every day.

Blogging Beyond the Library World

Blogging beyond the library world is what I hope is happening during and after this conference. I just posted an entry on the Telegram's Westminster blog at to try to bring one library issue to my limited, but growing, readership. If this type of blog is something that interests you, librarians or anyone in Worcester County can still capture blogspace on the Worcester Telegram site by signing up to be a blogger. (Yes, it is a volunteer position.)

Thank you to Susan Caulfield for her entry about social networking, which I copied to my Town's blog.

EqualAccess Libraries in MA

Equal Access Libraries in Massachusetts: Meeting the Needs of Youth, Older Adults, Boomers and Health Consumers through Community-Responsive Programming

EqualAccess Program
  • Lifelong learning
  • Health Access
  • Youth Access

Megan Allen, Thomas Crane Public Library, Quincy
They were in the middle of a long-range plan, and incorporating the EqualAccess process seemed a perfect fit.
One of the main processes is the Needs Assessment, finding out what your target community actually wants and needs as opposed to what you think they want and need.
Interviews, focus groups, demographic research, etc.
The focus groups were key, because they opened up the questioning beyond the 'people they already knew.'Allen contacted Phoenix PL, because they're a couple of years ahead of Massachusetts in this process, and they were great about offering advice and suggestions.
Focus groups are better than surveys because you actually get to interact with people and bounce ideas off them and get ideas from them. They also garnered some volunteers and presenters.
The focus group questions helped them develop a survey that they then passed out in the library and put online. They asked focus group participants to distribute the survey to folks they knew who didn't use the library.
They also had someone translate the survey into Chinese, because there's now a Chinese-speaking population (20% of total pop).
Be reasonable about goals/objectives for the first year
Objectives for first year: Advisory committee, resource center, technology programming -- all for older adults.
They didn't specifically market the technology classes to older adults, but that's 40% of who came. Right now they're doing computer basics, but they're going through a computer upgrade process and that should allow them to offer additional classes (digital photo editing, etc).
CyberTalk series is a conversational series, rather than hands-on and it's just as well-attended.
Programming is what builds excitement and brings people into your library. They're going to be shifting more of their focus to programming.
Again, they don't specifically say that the programs are for older adults, but that's who comes.
EqualAccess not only gave them a framework to do this planning, but it pushed them outside of their comfort zone and helped them improve their services. It's very adaptable to any individual library's needs. Once you learn the skills, you can use the same process for any target audience.

Tracy Kry, Chicopee Public Library
Health Access Project Coordinator

Needs Assessment: What were we lacking?
Staff - we have no staff who knew where to begin when asked a medical question
Programs - no medical information beyond books
Information Literacy - patrons didn't know how to search for medical information
Materials - our materials were woefully out of date

They did a survey to get information -- everyone on staff was part of the needs assessment from the director to the circ staff to the custodian.
Survey results - 39% of patrons use Google to find health information, 30% of patrons use reference materials, 10% of patrons ask a librarian for help
Goals of survey - where were people searching for information, how were they searching for information, what were they searching for?

Self-directed searching is key with health issues, because not everyone is comfortable with sharing their health information with complete strangers.

Staff -- they hired a new person with a medical background, next steps: education and training for all staff. It could be as simple as knowing that something is horribly mis-spelled and be able to offer the correct spelling.

Programs -- scheduled summer health programs based on survey responses; next steps - participating in Expanded Farmer's Market with a book cart, information about programs and ability to answer questions

Information Literacy -- invested in health database, offered computer classes on searching health information, new web page with health contacts/information/new health-related library acquisitions.

Private computer area (they need to ask librarian for a password) where they can search more privately for health information. The password keeps it more limited to serious searchers.

Challenges? There really weren't any that were unstoppable.

Chelmsford Public Library
Roberta Barricelli & Maureen Foley (youth services librarians)

Youth Needs
Groups of teens and tweens were already at the library, so they got those kids to volunteer as a teen advisory group (TAG).
TAG Plan: meet once a month, set small goals, give teens full ownership of the program and provide oversight
Programs were planned, created, organized and implemented by teens.
Get kids involved at any level, even just cutting stuff out or brainstorming ideas, even if they can't go to the programs themselves.
Halloween programs, Winter Holiday programs, Chinese New Year (teens designed and built a dragon for the lion dance, and they led a parade of preschoolers through the library).
"As soon as they heard that there was an art project going on at the library, they were right over there."
Teens enjoy the volunteering, younger kids love playing with the older kids, parents love seeing that not only does the library serve the younger kids but that it will continue to have something to offer older kids as they go through life.
Volunteer Fair, March 31st -- 25 community organizations came in and showcased their volunteer opportunities. Registration included a list of skills to remind teens of what they can do and offer to volunteer organizations.
Resulted in a group of high school guys helping with a Town Wide Cleanup during Earth Day weekend.
24-hour community relay race to raise money.
Harry Potter: 07/07/07 Book 7 Speculations -- paper around the room where people can write down their predictions about book 7. They're going to follow up with book discussion groups about Book 7 in August.
"If a grant is good, it's extraordinarily painful, because it's changing you profoundly. But when you've made it through, it's worth it."

Health Access is the cutting edge of library services and doesn't have a defined target audience, so they get fewer applicants for that part of the process. However, that's increasing.
How do you deal with 'turf issues' between government organizations? Thomas Crane Library met with the director of the Council on Aging and discussed what services they were providing and who exactly they were serving. Then, the library fit itself into a place that wasn't already well served -- Council on Aging and South Shore Elder Services served 65+, while the library focused on the Boomers who are 50-65. Lesson: Have the discussion and talk about how you can complement each other.
Medical information: we aren't medical professionals. Do we really want to start down the path of providing more than just basic health information? No, librarians should never be in a diagnostic role, only information and referral. Part of the EqualAccess institute is just to help librarians get enough medical knowledge so that they can help with the reference function.

I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. Demille:...- Scot Colford & Elissa Cadillic

Full Title: I’m Ready for My Close-Up, Mr. Demille: Using Video Editing Software to Create Instructional Videos

My Thoughts: There seems to be a wide range of applicability for the creation of these movies/screen casts for instruction and tutorials, attracting young people to the library, readers advisory, etc… I am excited to learn more about this and to see if we can try creating a video at our library (maybe a virtual tour, catalog instruction video, teen video creation contest, etc…). It would be nice to develop some partners to help with this such as teens, techies that come to the library, collaboration with other libraries, etc... I mentioned a teen video creation contest to our new TAG and one of them became very excited, so maybe this is a project we could do with some teens or in conjunction with the local High School.

If you attended the Rural Library Sustainability Project Poster Session later in the day you may have seen the fabulous video creation project that Bernadette from the Milford Public Library is undertaking. With the help of a grant, she has begun creating some very helpful instructional/tutorial videos for patrons using the Cantasia software and other affordable tools. This is a great example of how we can apply the innovative practices put forth in this session to help train/inform our patrons and staff!

Session Notes:
You need: a message, idea, camcorder (digital will make life easier), computer, video editing software.
Visualize your idea – make a storyboard!

Storyboarding: Organizes concepts into shots, scenes, sequences, stand in for shooting scripts, assists with editing later, if you can’t draw try

Shooting Footage: Use digital camcorder, learn how to use it first; use different angles (180 degree rule – stay on one side), extra footage, and think about sound in advance (Use external mic, record from the same position during various shots, check sound as you go, record the room tone (background noise in room)).

Video Editing Software: Cheap (Windows Movie Maker 2 (XP & Vista), iMovie (Mac); Expensive (Adobe Premiere Pro (approx. $800), Final Cut Pro (approx. $1,300), Other (“Lite” and “home” versions, bundled software).

Windows Movie Maker: import video (AVI, MPEG, WMV), still images, audio (WAV, MP3, AIFF, WMA); record narration; create titles; apply video effects, transition effects; Plugins (
-Can change audio volume, add music, video transitions (fading, shatter to right, etc…), video effects, save it as a project or movie file (to computer, cd, the web)
-Take individual shots/clips, combine them into scenes, and then combine scenes into a movie.

Screen casts: Windows Media Encoder (free), Macromedia Flash Player (little more expensive), Save often and rename your files (file names mimic the topic), Camtasia (another program), Fast Capture (free downloadable screen shot capture program).