Sunday, May 10, 2009

Social Software & Intellectual Freedom

Presented by Jessamyn West.

I find Jessamyn West's sessions entertaining and extremely informative. She has graciously posted her slides and links on her website:

Social networking defined:
1. Online location.
2. User can create a profile (unique to you).
3. User can build a network and link to others (friends). For examples, Flickr – levels of privacy. Wikipedia – profile page, not really a social site but network around topics. Delicious – bookmarks of friends.

Why are social networks like Facebook so popular? Facebooks 200 million users.

  • Free
  • No install, no download
  • Attractive for those who don’t have resources
  • It’s social. People collaborate.
  • "Get laid or get paid." Can meet people for a variety of ways.
  • Anticipation is the thing rather than the thing itself.
  • It’s where there friends are.
  • College age people are on Facebook.

The father of social network analysis research, Stanley Milgram, created the notion of 6 degrees of separation.

The spying problem – for profit companies house content. Achilles hill of social networking is privacy. Datamining and background snooping could possibly occur.

ALA’s intellectual freedom champion, Judith Krug, help draft ALA’s quote on intelectual freedom. Libraries take your privacy seriously.

Shall or deep? You can’t get information back. It is our responsibility (librarians) to inform of possible intelectual freedom infringement if teaching patrons how to use social networks.

Opting in vs opt out. Why do for profit companies make it so difficult? How many libraries have a privacy policy for catalog? View Cornell Library’s privacy policy.

Who owns the data? IM going through a different server. Google toolbar.

Computer can do new things with data. We can determine who you are by how you search (AOL fiasco).

Data types: personal, relational/transactional, behavioral.

Policy: take users’ experience into consideration, we allow vs we disallow. Moderation is okay and doesn’t make you a censor. Responsive=good; reactive=bad. It doesn’t make you a censor for guiding users how they should communicate in forum settings.

Millie Gonzalez, Reference and Electronic Resources Librarian, Framingham State College

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Graphic Novels Creator Panel

The Creator Panel offered an open look into the inspirations and histories of five great comics creators:
Dave Roman, Stan Sakai, Chris Schweizer, Gail Simone, and Raina Telgemeier. Here are some industry-related points that were covered in the discussion:
What is the difference between working freelance and working with a large publisher?
It's easier to acquire an audience when you're writing for a publisher using a title or characters which have already been established, but you're stuck without the creative control you'd have on your own. Most creators seem to be happier with a project in which they retain the bulk of the creative control or create totally on their own. When collaborating, it's best when the writer and the artist know each others' styles a bit before starting so that they can work with each others' strengths.
What audience do you write for?
Stan Sakai started writing Usago Yojimbo for a readership of one: himself. But he gets letters from five year olds to grandparents. Chris Schweizer said he writes for all ages, but is conscious that kids read his work. He said, “there needs to be enough to show that the villain is actually villainous and the protagonist is in peril. I try to make it appropriate for all ages, but I don't feel it's necessary to shy away from those things.” Gail Simone finds that approaching difficult topics in work aimed at kids is a benefit of the medium, “I don't believe in talking down to kids. I think this is one reason why kids went over to manga, because they don't do that.”
Dave Roman talked about the difficulty of appealing to kids when creating a kids magazine, like Nickelodeon Magazine. “When I self-publish I can do whatever I want and write for myself, but the more you meet readers, the more conscious you become of the readers.”
Raina Telgemeier started writing about her own experiences aimed at younger readers but quickly found that some topics, like her having her teeth knocked out when she was eleven, have a universal appeal that a lot of readers can relate to.
How does one get into the system if you can't draw?
The most important part is to write a lot and get yourself noticed. Gail Simone began with a weekly column which developed into a greater project, which led to her being asked to write Simpsons comics.
The process is hard work, but the important thing is to persevere.
Have you ever read a novel and thought “this would make a kick-ass comic book?”
The consensus was that the transition from comic book to a different art form can be good, but the same doesn't really go for moving towards a comic book medium.

Rebecca Krznarich, Reference and Adult Services Librarian, Whitman Public Library

State of the Industry Panel

This panel, moderated by Robin Brenner, consisted of a diverse set of experts in the comics and graphic novel industry including innovative publishers, national distributors and expert bloggers discussing what's going on in the market and what's happening in the comics scene:

Dave Roman: Associate Editor, Nickelodeon Magazine
John Shableski: Diamond Book Distributors
Ali T. Kokmen: marketing Manager, Random House Publishing Group/Del Rey manga
Calista Brill: Editor, First Second.
Brigid Alverson: Freelance journalist, blogger for mangaBlog, editor-in-chief of Good Comics For Kids (School Library Journal) and Digital Strips

I've transcribed the panel as best I could below:

What do you see thats coming up or new things you've noticed in terms of who's reading, what they're looking for and whats exciting? What should we be looking for for our various artists?
Ali: One that just came to me, we are seeing a whole bunch more of webcomics being done created for the “interwebs” which is great. Theres an increasing numbers of publishers being approached for webcomics and that's an interesting phenomenon that started in a void and is coming back to the publishing industry.
Dave: a lot of that content is content that was already published for free on the internet and people have already been exposed to it on the internet so by the time the artist comes out, the readers have already been introduced to it.
John: When you come in with a million viewers per month, your audience is already there when you publish.
Brigid: While webcomics are free, what's not free is comics on other platforms like the iPod. Supposedly apple is coming out with a “kindle-killer” tablet which will make comics easier to access.

How would we advocate for something to be put in a format that could be put on our shelves?
Make publishers aware of the need.
I'd love an email from a librarian saying “we have X number of patrons interested in this certain thing...”
Ali: At Del Ray and Random House, we've experimented with prose novels and gave away the first volumes for free to see how it went. Whats pretty clear ISN”T happening is that it's stifling sales. Giving it away for free encourages people to pursue it further.
John: Dave's with Nick and he and Chris did a survey online about graphic novels, but kids don't recognize that term. But when you talk about the titles, they're interested and want to talk about it. They just see it as a normal book.

It feels like publishers hear a lot from fans and booksellers, but where do librarians fit in and how do we make sure we're heard in a useful way that isn't overwhelming?
At First Second, librarians in the market are an enormous part of our business focus. We attend a lot of cons, we try to involve ourselves in the library world as much as we'd like libraries to involve themselves in our world. But an easy way to get your voice heard is to start a blog. There are a lot of blogs in several industries that present themselves as a representative of their community. It's also useful to have this outreach from the libraries at conferences.
Ali: in terms of “where do librarians fall in grand scheme of things” As such a tiny part of the huge company that is Random House, I can't really speak for everything, but often the Del Rey manga website, there are forms through which anyone can send feedback, and I read them all. All is taken under advisement. Librarians have been so important to us for graphic novels and manga.
Dave: Comics always been a small manageable industry. It's always been easy to reach out or go to cons and meet people. In other publishing industries, there's a wall of staff keeping people from the powers that be, but most comics organizations are just a few people and it's easy to reach them.
John: We wouldn't be here without librarians. When graphic novels were first coming out, it was thought that comic stores would be the first place they'd be sold, but Librarians came forward and were so passionate about what was being done...
Dave: Libraries really made the difference in expanding the genre. When I first started publishing, comics were mostly sold in comic shops. The bookstores weren't carrying them yet and it was before graphic novels. If a publisher wanted to put out a book but you couldn't get it into a comic shop, that was a deal breaker. Librarians helped expand that. Books that weren't being sold in comic shops were being picked up by librarians and marketed to a different audience. Now girls and kids are reading them more and we're able to sell enough copies to make more things worth publishing.

How do we say what we want? It feels like we've been trying to communicate for a long time and it's taken a while for a response. What do we need to know about how the system works?
If someone gives you a perfect graphic novel today, how long does it take to run?
Calista: Something like 16 months for color, 8 months for black and white... If there's something that we decide that people need to be reading RIGHT NOW, what “right now” means is that we decide in January and it's out in September. That said, trends don't move that fast either and we're not in the business of picking up on every trend out there. One thing I have observed is the gap in the market for 5-7 year olds. There are submissions for terrific middle grade tween and YA books and the world could not be fuller of richness for them, but anything from 5-7 there's silence. I'm grateful for teen books, but there's so much less for this age group.
Dave: There's no market for it. There seems to be no publishers who want to make books for that age. In the comics industry, saying you want to make comics for kids is like saying “I don't want to sell the book.” You have to say it's for “all ages” because if you say it's for kids, bookstores won't buy it.
Calista: in the world of children's publishing, saying “all ages” is an anathema, it's poison for the book. It's much harder to sell books for all ages in the traditional publishing market.
Dave: cartoonists have a hard time working around that. What makes it hard is that the biggest success stories buck that. Jeff Smith (the creator of Bone) REFUSES to say that he made the book for kids. John: This generation of the comics industry thought that comics should be sold in comic shops, of which there's only 3500, but once they started selling to libraries they realized the greater potential; there's over a million of them.
Brigid: There's almost two different cultures here; traditional comic book culture and the book culture. Comics are small and disposable and you buy them certain places and they're floppy, but I'm thinking of Tiny Titans and it's not that at all.
Dave: The comics thing is huge. We did comics for kids and we found that we had to choose titles that were already there. Diary of a Wimpy Kid is one of the few that were successful without a TV show. Pokemon, Naruto, they're popular because they have a TV show. It was hard to make a kids comic that's an original story that nobody's heard of; you might only sell 500 copies.

Is there any possibility for large print graphic novels?:
Calista: On a practical level, there's an issue of efficiency. Comics aren't necessarily the most efficient way of telling a story, just in terms of the space they take up. There has to be some compromise to tell the story and not take 400 pages to do it. Its something we think about on the production end...

Librarians don't like to withhold anything and there's a lot of debate between which ratings are useful and which are not. What do you think of age ratings?
If publishers agreed on some form of self-censorship with someone to submit our material, that would be terrifying. It would take so much time and so long to process.
John: There doesn't need to be a label on the book because you will discourage kids, if it says 5-8 and there's a boy who's 12, he won't read it. It's hard for retailers and catalogers when buying them though, to determine who the target is for the books. The publishers need to help librarians figure out where the book belongs on the shelf so they don't get hurt later. It's important to be able to defend the book's place in its particular section at the library.
Calista: I think it's funny that publishers think they have any idea who the intended audience is. We put “adult” in the catalog but not on the books... With graphic novels, the things that are put out for teens, there's no way could be put on a screen. There's content issues in what you can show, they're very different from print publishers...
Ali: There are quantifiable measures you could take for a prose novel. Those are useful tools, but there's not an analogous tool for graphic novels. I just think that the way of taking in that information is different.
Brigid: My daughters are 14-16 and they started reading manga when they were 9, and when I saw it I thought “Manga! that's porn!” and I snatched it away. I read a lot of comics growing up, and when I started reading their manga I realized that it's the same sort of story type.
Ali: Check out !
Brigid: Other parents come to me about it. Other things about the ratings, kids always rate up. My kids watched PG13 when they were 10 and now they're on to R rated movies. Manga ratings are incredibly conservative and that's fine, but there's nothing there that they're not already seeing on TV. But if you take a book like Fruits Basket and one like Peach Girl and they look alike. As much as everyone hates ratings and they do have flaws in them, they're useful for parents.
Dave: Prose books have the advantage of being hard to read as opposed to comics. You can describe horrific violent illegal activity in prose, but you actually have to read it. With GN its like “There's nipples! There's a panty shot on that page!”
John: The editor is becoming more and more important. You don't want the creator to be chained to the story; the editor might ask “Is that gratuitous?” and unless they can explain why it's important, they might go back and take something out. The great thing about this format is that you can see if its dishonest or disingenuous in any way. It's more important for this format than it is for typical prose.
Calista: Eediting these books is important, especially for younger readers. There's some stuff you would imagine being an issue but things like lettering, text, how hard you want the reader to have to work to read it. It's a skill set you have to learn by screwing up again and again, which is when feedback is useful.
Dave: I don't think ratings are something the comics world is ready to deal with. Nick is coming out with an Iron Man cartoon and they wanted me to put it in the Nickelodeon magazine. Google Iron Man comic and the first thing that comes up is IM surrounded by strippers and he's doing blow in Vegas. I think SuperHero comics are drug dealers. They lure you in with Tiny Titans but they really want you to be reading Dark Knight. It's hard for kids to understand “this is YOUR Iron Man and this is OUR Iron Man. Your Batman, OUR batman.”
With age range, you said that people read up. Some pub will intentionally market things for teens or kids won't read them.
Calista: when I was at Disney, the worst thing you could do is try to do a younger version of something at the same time as an older cause you kill the older audience.
Ali: A huge factor for publishers is the great divide for age buyers. Kids readers used to want regular comics so publishers are highly motivated to make something not look like a kids book... Now there's more stuff that might straddle the line.
Dave: It's not only a censorship thing, it's a marketing thing. If comics sell 5,000 it's huge. Anything you did to cut off the audience is potentially alienating people.

Rebecca Krznarich, Reference and Adult Services Librarian, Whitman Public Library

Friday Lunch Business Meeting

12:00-1:15 Friday, May 8 Friday Lunch Business Meeting

Richard Callaghan had a few parting words before handing the reigns to his successor, Susan McAlister. Richard thanked everyone for making a difficult year more tolerable and manageable. Richard also thanked the MLA planning committee for all their hard work. Special thanks was given to Michael Colford, Gianna Gifford and Ellen Keane. It is evident from everyone at the conference that their hard work is more than greatly appreciated. I, too, would like to thank them for all their hard work in putting together a successful and meaningful conference. Richard talked about his agenda for the past year. Last summer Richard devised his agenda before he quickly realized the agenda was already set for him. Richard recalled the battle with question #1 (remember it?!) Relive the challenge here. A large groan gave way through the dining room in recognition of the challenges of the ballot proposal. If question 1 wasn’t enough, Richard reminded us of the challenges faced by the tanking economy.

Nora Blake stepped to the lectern to offer her thanks for being allowed to serve as Treasurer for the past year. She enjoyed every moment of it and hoped she could be of service again at some point in the near future.

Gerry Deyermond highlighted the success of the paralibrian programs, including workshops sponsored by the Paralibrian Section, such as “Manage Up!”

Robert Maier, MBLC Rep., stepped to the lectern to offer his many thanks, including special thanks to Richard for reminding us all of the challenges of question 1 and battling an ailing economy. Rob also thanked libraries around the state for their hard work and encouraged all to be vigilant of the challenges to come over the next year. In preparation, Rob encouraged all to be active advocates for their library and community.

Richard took the helm for one final stand (Richard’s last stand). Richard presented Susan with a gavel and stepped aside while Susan offered her promise to let us all finish our lunch and enjoy the great weather. (btw, the chicken was excellent!)

Friday, May 8, 2009

State of the Comics Industry 2009

Panelists: Calista Brill (acquisitions from First Second), Brigid Alverson (Editor for Good Comics for Kids), Ali T. Kokmen (marketing manager for Random House Publishing Group), Dave Roman (associate editor at Nickelodeon Magazine), John Shableski (sales manager for Diamond Book Distributors)

What are some trends?

Web comics. Originally published for free on the web but republished in print. When titles come out in print, they have a built-in fan base. Pre-existing comics are going on the web for free. Comics formated for Kindle or Apple device (like Kindle) will charge.

How can librarians help publishers of graphic novels?

Publishers would love to get feedback from librarians on what to publish (like which web comics should go to print). Publishers are trying different models – like giving some titles for free first to get fan base.

How do librarians fit into this industry?

Librarians are part of the business focus. Calista suggests librarians create a blog for publishers to notice them. Network with publishers via trade shows and conferences. Go to comics convention. Librarians have been important to manga category. Publishers rely on independent book sellers and librarians as their “boots on the ground”. Relationships with librarians have been very close. Librarians were first to act upon opportunity to introduce the graphic novel format. Librarians understand the genre. Roman claims that the graphic novel industry is hard to break in. New audiences do not necessarily go to comics shops but rather get their comics in the library.

There is a huge demand from kids. How do publishers meet demand?

The production and planning process is slow (many years to turn out novels). Calista sees submissions for tween and YA but not for 5-7 or 6-8 year olds (huge gap). Roman claims comics shops won’t order if comics target younger set even though billed as for all ages. Calista claims publishers cannot sell graphic novels classified for all ages but rather prefers classifying by age groupings.

Roman claims that comics for younger kids will likely sell more if associated with licensed package. Pre-existing franchises sell well (like Disney). Cartoon Network is doing the groundwork. Difficult to sell a comic with original story geared to the younger set with out the licensing pre-work all ready done.

Kokmen claims that publishers take a great deal of time to classify books by age range. For kids, age rating can discourage them from picking certain books. The rating system works well for cataloguers, and acquisitions librarians. There is always the dilemma of where to place graphic novels on the shelf. Sometimes all of the novels are grouped together even though age range varies. Calista believes that publishers are doing their best relating to age grouping. Sometimes, novels are inaccuarately categorized because of images of brief sensuality or violence.

Brigid claimed that initially manga got a bad reputation as pornography because at the very beginning these types were of the first to come out of Japan. The graphics in adult titles at first glance look very similar to titles geared for a younger audience so there might be confusion.

Publishers need feedback from users – do they prefer small type or do they prefer oversized books? Roman stated that your favorite character as a kid might not be the same as the current iteration (many versions of Batman, Superman). Calista recounts that the industry has had success for graphic novels for younger readers from other countries (like from France – Tiny Titans).

Millie Gonzalez, Reference and Electronic Resources Librarian, Framingham State College

Graphic Novels 101

Presentation by John Shableski, Sales Manager for Diamond Book Distributors and Robin Brenner, teen librarian – Brookline Public Library

John Shableski, who became misty-eyed when talking about how libraries have helped the comic book industry, provided a brief history of comic books and graphic novels. Robin Brenner gave him cat ears to wear for the presentation because apparently cat ears are popular in conferences and in manga culture.

Colonial Era. Ben Franklin communicates through pictures and words (i.e. “Join or Die.”)

Late 1800s Literacy in America. Mark Twain publishes: The Innocents Abroad

1895 Yellow Journalism and New Kind of Literacy. “Yellow Kid” character wore a t-shirt that featured social commentary

1920-1930 Comic Books and Superheroes. Comic strips and comic books took off; Dick Tracy emerged.

1938 Action Comics. Birth of Superman.

1940 The Cold War, Manga and the Library Bill of Rights. Sci-fi and horror comics gain momemtum while superhero comics become not as popular. Manga emerges with elements of Disney and western influence. In 1948, the Library Bill of Rights was written.

1950s The Seduction of the Innocent and the CCA. Dr. Federic Werham, who wrote the book The Seduction of the Innocent, is credited for the comic book industry’s decline. He blamed the industry as a contributing factor to juvenile delinquency. The industry counteredwith the Comics Code Authority in 1957. DC and Marvel Comics wrote the code which advocated for less violence and gore. Self serving because they were promoting their comics (i.e. superheroes rather than vampire storylines).

1960 Mad Gets Even. Stan Lee (creator of many comics like X-Men ) wrote comics when he was 19. Mad Magazine was created. Other comic emerge outside of the Marvel stable and go underground. These alternative comics sold at head shops.

1980s Great expectations. The industry rebounds with critically acclaimed Watchmen, Sandman, Maus, The Dark Knight Returns.

1990s A Collectors Paradise, Bone, Emerging Voices and the Arrival of Manga. More of an industry for collectors emerged where limited edition runs of comics with sophisticated artwork and high glossy paper dominated the landscape. Superman got killed. Manga got traction with the Internet withPokemon and Naruto helping.

2000 New Age and the Library Market. Not quite a mature industry. Comic book industry is evolving with support from libraries, popular culture. It’s finding a new audience. Web comics become popular.

Robin Brenner, teen librarian, took over the second half of the session. She wore a beautiful kimono and said that it is a customary to dress up in costumes when attending mango conferences. Her half of the session was to address basic issues concerning graphic novels encountered by librarians. Brenner organized the graphic novel track - kudos!

Graphic novels are a type of format not a genre. Within that format are various genres. In her library, graphic novels represent 45% of circulating titles within her teen collection.

To understand the relevance of comics books and graphic novels, Brenner advocates reading manga. She acknowledges that reading manga takes some time to understand the format.

Fortunately there are many venues for librarians to read reviews of graphic novels: Booklist, Library Journal, Voice of Youth Advocates, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, LJ Graphic Novel Xpress Online, Good Comics for Kids (blog) on School Library Journal, and Graphic Novel Reporter. She also also reads many Internet sites because some don’t have word count restricion and also provide value.

Age ratings/age range assigned by publishers areproblematic. No standards and consistency to the way publishers assign age ranges. Contrary to western publishers, manga publishers do a better job of rating.
Brenner advocates working with cataloguers to make it easier for patrons to find books. She recommends grouping by titles and by style (i.e. manga, western). These titles you need to generally reinforce binding. These titles you can label by color to group via age range. Brenner organizes non-fiction graphic novels by Dewey call numbers.

Millie Gonzalez, Reference and Electronic Resources Librarian, Framingham State College

MLA Book Cart Drill Team

Pink cowboy hats, gold top hats, batman costumes, Shania Twain. That's right, its time for the Book Cart Drill Team. Mo Willems emceed the event with an abundance of excitement and enthusiasm and the acts themselves were incredible. There were three libraries competing and each of them put on an excellent performance. From the costumes to the music selection to the physical movement and stunts, this was an incredibly exciting event.

The awards were:
Biggest Wow Factor: Plymouth
Best Decorations: Methuen
Third Place: Methuen
Second Place: Andover
First Place: Plymouth

Rebecca Krznarich, Reference and Adult Services Librarian, Whitman Public Library

Get With the Program! Teaching, Programs and Hands-On Demonstrations Using Comics

Both Stan Sakai (Usagi Yojimbo) and Chris Schweizer (Crogan's Vengeance) create comics based on events in history and tell the story of the time from the point of view of a unique character; Schweizer's is a young boy and Sakai's is a samurai rabbit. Both say that they don't write for a kids market; Schweizer says he writes for an adult market and Sakai says he writes for himself. Despite this, both create comics with strong youth appeal.

The panel started with Chris Schweizer explaining how comics can help build vocabulary and reading comprehension for young readers. There is something inviting about comics that make them more attractive to kids than traditional prose. Even complex comics can be more interesting for kids to read and are less difficult to comprehend than their prose cousins, despite the advanced vocabulary and plot complexities.

On the surface, comics seem more fun, but it's a strong mode of storytelling defined by forcible exercises in logical deduction. Between two comic panels, the reader must logically conclude the events that are not seen. It's a classic example of Occam's Razor: the reader assumes the least complex and most likely explanation for things not visually presented in the story.
Schweizer noted, “I don't try to age down my vocabulary or sentence structure; I'm confident that readers will be able to discern the clues from the context.” He made the point that through the juxtaposition of words and pictures, comics have the potential to make unfamiliar words accessible due to the contest in which they are read.

Classic adventure books of 19th and 20th century, which were devoured by young boys, are shockingly complex reads today. As pleasure reads, they take a lot of conscious effort. Those same stories in the form of comic adaptations can be a staple for understanding canonical literature classics.

Schweizer's own comics highlight historical facts and showcase how various time periods relate to each other. He noted that kids often look at history as having very clear specific rights and wrongs, so his goal is to show multiple sides of different historical issues.

The best part Chris's presentation was hearing him read several pages of his comic in full voice actor mode. I think he managed to create a different voice with unique accenting for about ten different pirate characters in addition to sound effects.

In the second half of the program, Stan Sakai discussed the process of bringing historic fact into the creation of unique characters.

Sakai's early interest in comics and samurai movies led to creating his comic Usagi Yojimbo. Comics gave him a love for reading and he wanted to incorporate the two into a single art form and thus became a freelance cartoonist.

Usagi's adventures take place in 17th century Japan which is a time of turmoil in Japan and a very turbulent time in history. Sakai explained that Usagi is a character run story. One strong female character in Usagi Yojimbo, a body guard to a young lord in Japan, was based on the wife of a real historical character who, while her samurai husband was dying at her side, jumped on her horse, charged forward, and cut off the opposing general's head. Another character was inspired by a character in Japanese pop culture: a blind swordsman whose amazing sense of hearing led him to be very precise with a sword. The character in the comic is a Samurai whose strength comes from his strong sense of smell.

Stan finished his discussion with a quick comic sketch of what one attendee did on the way to the MLA conference. In the span of a few minutes, Sakai created a full paneled comic page that was clever and detailed.

Chris Schweizer's next book, Crogan's March, based on the French Foreign Legion, will be out in October. Stan Sakai's full color graphic novel, Usagi Yojimbo: Yokai will be out in November.

Rebecca Krznarich, Reference and Adult Services Librarian, Whitman Public Library

How Can I Afford Retirement? Boomers, Libraries and Investor Education

How Do I Afford Retirement
Boomers, Libraries, and Investor Education
presented by the BPL
Carol Greenfield
Laura Pattison
Cynthia Sullivan

Grant funded project.

Libraries as resources for baby boomers, objective financial information
Investor proctor Trust funding, investor education fr your community, how can I afford retirement

1- provide people age 50-0 with access to non commercial impartial information on which to base soind retirement investment decisions
2- to facilitate greater understanding by people 5o-70 of their retirement finances and the risk that their resources will be jeopardizes by appropriate decisions
3-to create a repricale model for Investor Education @ your Library that specifficall adresses the financial management of people ages 5-70

Project Components
Multi-faceted Educational Program
4 part investor education series focused on the theme of "You can do it"
each event includes:
topical presentation by an expert
reference librarian briefing on lbrary resources
small grooup peer facilitated discussion
Q & A session with panel of experts

So Far So Good
developed a pilot curriculum at Central Library in spring 2008
Branch roll out bean fall 2008
Well attened, well received

Keys to Success

FPA-MA Consumer Awarness Group- provides fianancial experts as speakers and for Q & A
Investor Protestion Trust- for general guidence and coordination with hte Investor Protection in your community.
Massachusetts Scuritties Division for vetting of spekers and advisory role in ensuring strict standards
Advisory group for guidence on all aspects especially program development and publicity

Library partnerships
trusted information source
development of resource lists
collection development
library briefing at Session
Particiption in Q & A

Development of resource Lists
Discussion and resource Guide for each session
Focus n current publications and "classics"
selected print and online resources
collection development

Resource guide web listings, easily abvailable
"selected Business website by subject" (retiirement)
revelent topics e.g. Broke check, Investor protection, Jobs for older adults
creation of web pages for www.

Program Curriculum
Session 1- taking the Mystery out of Retirement Planing
Session 2- Closing the Gap: Investment and Expense Stratigies-Evenfor late Starters
Session 3- Investing Wisely to Avoid the fiancial Rick of Longer Life Expecatncy
Session 4- Protecting you investments- The Best Defense is a wise and Safe Investor

Additional Online Session
US Department of Labor- online worksheets for "taking the Mystery Out Of retirement Planning"
Social Security administration- online SS Estimete
Kirstein Business Branch-BPL Online resources

This progam is expanding to other Massahsusets Libraries , Washington DC, Jacksonville, FL, Arkansas ad Minnisotta

For more informtion: affordretirement

Sessions are stand alone however build on each other
Takes 2-3 months, sessions are 2-3 weeks apart for about 2.5 hours

Genre Blocks: Urban Fantasy

Genre Blocks brings together a librarian and an author to discuss specific genres from two deeply involved but different perspectives. Kim Harrison, author of The Hollows series, teamed up with librarian Leanne Ellis to discuss Urban Fantasy.

The conference program quotes Wikipedia's explanation of Urban Fantasy as “a subset of contemporary fantasy, consisting of magical novels and stories set in contemporary, real-world, urban settings -- as opposed to traditional fantasy set in wholly imaginary landscapes.”

Urban Fantasy comes in two flavors. In an open setting, magic or paranormal events are commonly accepted, as in Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse novels. In a closed setting, magical powers or creatures are concealed, as in Harry Potter or Twilight.

A common trait of Urban Fantasy is a first person female protagonist. These characters frequently, to quote Ellis, “kick ass and don't take any lip.”

As the name indicates, the stories are set in urban locales. The culture of that urban area sets the tone for the story and offers a unique way of presenting situations and conflicts. Supernatural creatures may come in many shades of good and evil and distinctions between each side may be subtle. Leanne Ellis noted that in more modern novels, the protagonist has a strong sense of good vs. evil and right vs. wrong and faces the perilous challenge of deciding between the two.

The genre comprises a cornucopia of supernatural creatures from vampires and werewolves to faeries and sprites. Different authors may have different ways of presenting the worlds they create, but any paranormal system has its own set of rules. Even when those rules don't go hand in hand with traditional rules (for example, vampires that come out in the sunshine and sparkle), a good author will provide the reader with what they need to believe that their system works.

Ellis gave readers advisory suggestions for the genre: readers who enjoy fiction that possesses a magical or mythic view of reality, like Alice Hoffman's books, might make a comfortable shift to Urban Fantasy if they can appreciate a well built fantasy story as well. Similarly, books that combine mystery, sexual tension, and humor like Janet Evanovich's series may be a good introduction to Urban Fantasy which prises those same elements.

Ellis provided a long list of recommended reading, which I will omit, but the names that seemed to come up the most were:
War for the Oaks by Emma Bull (this was essentially the first book in the genre and is essential reading for the genre)
Borderland by Terry Windling
The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher

Two resources for the genre that Ellis recommends are Romantic Times, which reviews romances but has a section devoted to Urban Fantasy; and the website Urban Fantasyland :

During the second half of the panel, Ellis interviewed Kim Harrison about her books, which I transcribed as best I could below:

Where did Rachel come from?
Desperation. It started as short story and took over. I wasn't big on urban fantasy at time and when I was writing it, I thought it should be fantasy... I had no idea Urban Fantasy would explode like it has. I just brought it together in a way that worked for me... I fell in love with the characters. It was something magical, but with the girl next door.

Did you come up with Rachel and work the world around her or did the world come first?
I used to think the world came first, but as I watched my writing style develop, I realized that it's the character that comes first. I just start with a name and an attitude, put them in a situation and see how they react. It's like when you sit down with a person for the first time, you get to know them and go from there. It's definitely the character that comes first.

As you write, do you find you go places you didn't think you'd go?
My writing style is based around the plot. I will spend two weeks writing out the plot, then write the dialog from there. But I never write out the relationships. The relationships evolve on their own... which can get me in trouble because at page 200 some of the little things don't work out and I have to re-write my plot.

Why vampires and werewolves, why did you include those beings?
A lot of that came from early reading; I loved the Sci Fi greats and things like The Blue Book of Fairy Tales, The Red Book of Fairy Tales, and The Brown Book of Fairy Tales. They were huge and I felt good when I was reading them. It was often the same fairy tale told different ways. Another influence was Ray Bradbury. He wrote about monsters in one book and they were right downtown. I read it and thought to myself, “How powerful, as a writer.” I try to bring the monsters in. I don't see them as vampires, I see them as the dark side of us.

Audience Q+A:

Do you ever get feedback from the Wiccan community?
I used to get quite a bit when the books first came out. Most were along the lines of “are you Wiccan?” and “Where do you get your research?” I'm not Wiccan, but I've learned from the Wiccan community who has contacted me that lot of my magic is organized the same way that Wicca is, which I found kind of interesting.

You're very popular in prison libraries, possibly due to six inch heels on the cover. You don't handle covers i assume?
No no. Actually, the majority of my readership is female between the ages of 19-45. Because of the cover design, male readership is growing by leaps and bounds. I get a lot of firemen and a lot of cops as well.

What started the Clint Eastwood connection?
I really like characters that CE plays, especially in his westerns. A loner coming in that can take care of town's problems but not necessarily eager to do so. But he does so in a just way, though not necessarily legally... I like that kind of character. Another reason is marketability. If a reader goes into a bookstore and asks for “that urban fantasy book with the blue cover” it's not much help, so if they tag onto the fact that it's got a Clint Eastwood title, it's easier for readers to get the book they're after.

Rebecca Krznarich, Reference and Adult Services Librarian, Whitman Public Library

Speak up! Speak out!

Dodie Gaudet
Bibliographic and Technical services

Some People fear public speaking more than death

" Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain" Ralph Waldo Emerson

What do you want to accomplish?

Know the situation, the audience, the environment
Why are my listeners here?
What do they expect?

Do more research than you need
Helps build your interest in the topic
Helps build your confidence in knowledge of the topic
Allows you to choose the best/strongest material
Good foundation for Q&A

Use 3 x 5 cards

3 parts to Speech/Presentation
Opening-tell them what you're going to tell them
get listeners attention
Establish your credentials and why youcare about ths topic
Give the listener a reason for listening
Involve the audience
Body-tell them
Remember people can re-read but cannot re hear
Stick to 3-4 major points because people can't remember more hat that
transition from 1 point to another logically
be simple honest and clear
Speak with integrity and passion
eliminate jargon
paint picture with words
give specific example; tell a story
be relevant; speak to listeners wants and needs
use gimmicks judiciously consider all learning styles: visual, auditory, kinesthetic

Closing-Tell them what you told them
end with advance notice
emphasize main ideas
end with conviction
end on time

visualize yourself giving the speech
visualize being successful
rehearse aloud 4 times- do 1 rehearsals close to the time of your talk-try to rehearse at same time of day you will be giving talk because energy level will be te same.
familiarize rather than memorize
visualize being successful
breathe gently and deeply

Overcoming Nervousness
be prepared know your materil, know you audience, practice
accentuate the positive
repeat affirmation
visualize being successful
breathe gently and deeply
Take care of your body
stay hydrated
avoid milk
avoid caffeine and alcohol
avoid overeating before speaking
eat a banana-lots of potassium- smooths out muscle contractions
be well rested
stay in good physical and mental health
arrive early and converse with audience members before the presentation so you'll have friends in the audience
If all of these fail- think about the worst thing that cold happen if your greatest fer is realized
brain freeze- index card
unexpected question- be prepared know your stuff take a moment to think
something unbuttoned, unzipped- fist double check- of turn it around and make a joke about it
start off on wrong foot-too fast etc.- take a breath, try to think about what cold happen ad fix it beforehand.

Stride up to the podium with confidence; avoid the lectern if possible

Podium-stand on a podium on a stage
Lectern-stand behind

Face- create rapport with the audience with a open face
smile, yur voice will follow your faces lead
make eye contact with audience, dwell on individuals rather than sweep around room
use appropriate facial expressions
stand comfortably, but erect; sternum up- (make believe you have a rod going straight up you back from sternum to head.
walk around
let your bod move
the larger the audience the larger the gestures

pay attention to volume, rate, diction pitch ( if you talk softer, people pay attention)
vary emphasis and tone
pause for effect just before and after important points
repeat an important word or phrase
eliminate ahs and ums and other oral ticks
bite your tongue if your mouth gets dry

Use props when appropriate (Powerpoint, article, animal, etc)
use them effectively
practice with them
practice with a microphone

give out in beginning so audience can take notes especially if informational

Dont spend time apologizing to your listeners
neve say yu are not prepared
acknowlede any problems that happen an continue.


Q & As- friendly

pause and think
repeat the question so everyone hears question, and understand questions
if yu don't know. say so
if possible get back to he to the peson
bekind to the asker, even if the questin is silly

Q & As- Hostile
pause and think
stay calm
DON'T repeat he question
DON'T get ddefensive
DONT repeat any negative words or phrases
Stress the psitive not the negative

Books n Public speakig
Carnigie, Dale Public Speaking and influency men inbusiness New York
Association Press 1935

Cook, Jeff scott The elelments of speechwriting and public speaking New York Macmillion 1989

Lustberg, Arch Winning when it really counts: quick easy stratigies for success in any speaking situation, New York Simon & Schuster 1988

Presenttion Zen
The Toastmasters august 1999, Chambers, Cindy Podurgal, Anything wort doing is worth doing badly

Stone Readers: Digital Librarians in the Cemeteries

Friday 2:00pm
Stone Readers: Digital Librarians in the Cemeteries
Presenters: Jim Keenan & Kathy Meagher
- Billerica Library Website (presentation on homepage - Monday)

Digital projects are a way to share unique collections while helping to physically preserve the originals.

This session discusses the Billerica Library Cemetery and Vital Records project:
How it was conceived, how it was carried out, where it is now, where it may be going next.

"Who the hell is Sheila Shea" is an actual epitaph on a gravestone in Billerica.

What can we learn in order to do our own local projects?

Origins...Greg & Kathy (local history librarian)-their ideas, trials and perils. They were trying to find a small cemetery in the woods behind some railroad tracks to catalog. They were almost hit by a train, devoured by bugs and vanquished by heat, but they finally found the cemeteries and used a digital camera to take pictures of gravestones and copied epitaphs into notebooks as exactly as possible. It was the first of many cemeteries that they would visit.

Some Terms...Digital Project - data stored in a database that people can access, Digital Object - consists of digital image and metadata, Metadata - information describing a digital object (who owned it and made it, where is it now, what size is it, etc...).

Types of Projects...projects to share widely and projects to preserve and share locally (example of archival scanning for a collection of collapsible lanterns at the highest possible resolution, without concern for sharing the images on the Internet).

In his resources links there will be information about how to build a bed for book scanning (cheaper than buying one).

Types of Digitized Materials...Books, pictures, maps, video, audio & metadata (don't need to limit your possibilities to just books).

Digital Resource Creation...Scanning originals, converting paper data into electronic data, creating objects out of composite materials, why? to share.

Creating exhibitions...Special occasion digital exhibition, "permanent" digital collections (for instance all the cemeteries, gravestones, epitaphs in Billerica with maps, metadata, etc... for research purposes), revolving collections, special purpose exhibitions. highlight features of the history of your locality and the people who lived there. An example is 1816 - the year without a summer or the Flu pandemic of 1918. Vital records can help tell the story.

Toothaker dies in prison...he had bragged about using reverse witch craft on a witch...and was later imprissoned. He was the only male healer accused of witchcraft and he was from Billerica. His family was buried in a small cemetery. Toothaker's wife Mary was later accused of witchcraft. She claimed that she made a deal with the devil to protect her from Indian raiders when she was interrogated. She was safely in prison when several homesteads near her home were attacked. Her testimony is digitized and available to read.

What you need...needs change based upon the type of project you are doing, but there will always be these four: people (interested enough to take on the project), time, software (Billerica project used Excel Spreadsheets) and hardware. You also need local support (library director, community, etc...).

Planning a project...The Cemeteries and Vital Records Project...the first surveys, there were no maps, if you find there are no existing resources, don't be afraid to be the one who creates them.

Local Involvement...the historical society, town cemetery department, boy scouts and data entry volunteers.

First Results...rough hand drawn maps and notes, photographs, transcriptions, the "archival" binders (organized information to correspond to maps).

Publicizing and Popularizing...begin telling your stories and sharing your data as quickly as you can. When people start getting excited about something they want to get involved.

Digital Commonwealth
will host your collections and link to them. Digital Treasures is another resource focused on central and western MA. You can also share metadata - creating a static repository to share OAI compliant metadata.

Fundamental Checklist...Plan to start small (the journey can be the destination), Work on paper then on computers, Organize your labor, Publish early - publish often - incremental growth is good, Identify your software learning needs (spreadsheet, web page creation, database), Identify your hardware needs (scanner, camera, recorder, video, web site, server), Do It!

DIY Session 2

Friday 10:45 AM
Do-It-Yourself: Blogging for Libraries
Panel: Karen Mellor, Jennifer Varney, Maryanne

Blogging for Libraries - Karen Mellor

A blog is.... a content management system, it can be syndicated (RSS), searchable, web-based (virtually) no tech skills required, interactive, free!

Why blog? Empower your staff by allowing them to publish in real time (without webmaster/support). The power of RSS feeds, they can be aggregated. It is a marketing and public relations tool (community and funding sources can see what is happening at your library). Virtual library (24/7). You can also use one to document a project or to share/store information.

Who is blogging? Visit Blogging Libraries Wiki or LISNews 10 Library Blogs to Read in 2009. Canton Public Library, Michigan using a blog as a website. Darien Public Library is using blogs to open a dialogue with the community. Iowa City PL is using a blog for Teens (fun with media). The Librarian's Brain: Fun with WordPress.

Blog hosting services...Blogger is very, very, easy to use. WordPress offers many useful tools like categories, statistics of use, etc...

Karen demonstrated how easy and flexible it is to use Wordpress to blog. She created a blog in 2 minutes with a blog title and a first posting. Next she added a new page (useful if you are using it as a website) with information about the library's hours/information. Then she created a link for the new page of library hours/information and gave it a category (About The Library). The link to the new page appeared on the right hand side of the front page of the blog. Themes can be used to change the appearance of the blog.

There are lots of useful plug-ins, and Karen recommends using the Kismet plug-in for eliminating spam sent to your blog. She demonstrated how she is using her Delicious links to feed them directly to a blog's sidebar.

Developing Your Blog...have a purpose, content and writing guidelines, comment guidelines - Free Range Librarian, brand your blog with a catchy name, frequency of posts, transparency - authorship, institutional connection, contact information, disclaimer (Rhodarian), editorial process (group blogs), blogging etiquette (give credit where credit is due).

Writing Tips...Keep posts brief, make writing accessible, develop a personality and be consistent, check your facts (spelling and cite sources), don't delete your posts correct them, read other blogs for inspiration.

Market Your Blog...publicize within the library/community, add links to website, feature in your newsletter, add to bookmarks-flyers-signature files, use the web!

The next speaker on the panel, Jennifer Varney, introduced us to RSS...

Newsreaders will bring the stuff on the web to you. Examples include Bloglines, Google Reader, My Yahoo, and Newsgator Online.

RSS stands for "Really Simple Syndication", site provide a feed from their page and you can tell your newsreader to gather these feeds from the site's you want to keep up with.

RSS feeds contain site content (text, audio, video), metadata, xml.

How to use RSS: Easy!

Step1 - choose a reader (Google Reader)

Step 2 - subscribe to your favorites via Google Reader (Click on Add a Subscription: Add the URL of the feed, search for the feed, or search for topics that interest you) or find a site and subscribe via a site (Click on Add to Google Reader or copy and paste the url of the xml page into Google Reader). Be careful when subscribing to "bundles" the number of feeds can be overwhelming, you may want to subscribe to just a couple of feeds within the bundle.

Step 3 - browse and read all in one place (Google Reader)

Step 4 - organize your feeds (rename, put into folders, create folders, unsubscribe, very similar to E-mail)

Why do this? Professional development, alerting service (monitor topics of patron interest), collection development.

Tips for using RSS - review your feeds daily, file and flag for follow-up, weed, limit and organize your feeds. Offer RSS feeds on your blogs, website, catalogs, etc...

Maryanne showed how to create a Facebook page for your Library...

Have to create a profile on Facebook (but it does not have to be public to have a Facebook page).
From the Facebook homepage click on the link to creating a page for businesses. The web form is easy to fill out and once you have completed it you must either create your profile or login to your already existing profile.

Now that you have a page...upload a picture, add your basic information (year that you were founded) and detailed information (website, overview, mission statement, products you offer) you can fill in as much as you want, get the word out (suggest to friends feature, put your Facebook info. on website and blog, publicity).

Examples of how it is being used well...Belmont (NH) High - librarian is interacting with students (giving them tips, etc...), Assabet Valley HS, Northfield-Mount Hermon (private school), Beamon Memorial Public Library, West Boylston - to communicate about events, share photos, advocating for the library, WPI - Gordon Library - advertising services, meet the staff videos, etc..., Regional Library Systems - communication with librarians, job postings, etc...

Send updates to your fans...use this feature to notify your fans.

Update your Facebook and Website at the same time to keep information synchronized/current!

Work/Llfe: Finding the Balance

Marsha Kline Pruett PhD MSE Smith college School for Social Work

Quality time is a myth- can't schedule time to spend with child, but some times listing to a problem in the car on the way to school is valuable.

Work & family stress contributes to mental illness

Quality childcare is a high stress problem for parents. Most infants/toddlers/prescholers are not getting quality childcare

Working parents lament: why didn't any one tell me...
it would be this hard...
it's scary to know so little about what you are doing...
you're on your own a lot... at home mom's left beind-get into work force late maybe when kids need mom more
'there's this life and deathness to it'...
it can be incredibly joyful...
fathers and mothers...

Good working parenting at any age
sensitivity to children's needs-teen years hardest
make children feel adored/valued-listen, talk, share
sustain strong values- find own way- let them find out who they are
Discipline- to teach
affirm uniqueness/expect competence
promote education as process
be an abiding presence- what ever comes
safeguard rituals and routines- don't change traditions

Working vs. Parenting: the bottom line
woman are happier when working 20-25 hours/week

Our Towns ten
1969- 60% childrens lives with breadwinner dads and stay at home mons
25% Marriages ended in divorce
40% moms with prescoolers are working
94% of 3 yr olds and 815 4 yr olds are not in preschool

30% of kids with breadwinner dads/stay at home moms
41% marriages end in divorce
300% increase in single moms
62% of moms with preschoolers work outside home
63% kids under 5 in childcare

technology has changed and we can stay connected 24/7- always on

Moms spend as much time with their kids as 40 yers ago

Families eat out more not at home for ease and smplicity

Differnt cultures have different socialization values.43% work stay/home delimma- moderate to severe stress about weather should stay home or work.
parents have changed; older, more vigilent, overworked, multitaskers, with fewer kids.. are they more competent?

Kids whose Dads are more involved are at ease with both boy and girl friends.
men who are involed wit ids are healthier, less likley to die early, less heartattacks and are happier. Dads who bond right away with their babies are less likey to abuse child.
Men need to practice childrens routines and women still need to be gatekeepers and make sure they do it.


Getting Rid of the Reference Desk

10:45-12:00 Friday, May 8 Getting Rid of the Reference Desk

Speakers: Kate Sheehan, Head of knowledge and Innovation Innovation Services, Darien Library; Gretchen Hams, Head of Children’s Services Darien Library; Frank Baudino, Head of Information Services, Northwest Missouri State University; Lori Mardis, Information Librarian, Owens Library, Northwest Missouri State University

Frank Baudino, Head of Information Services, Northwest Missouri State University; Lori Mardis, Information Librarian, Owens Library, Northwest Missouri State University

Many libraries are considering getting rid of the reference desk. This is coming full circle here at the conference. This workshop reminds me of Scott Bennett's "History of paradigm change." The idea of eliminating the reference desk meshes with the theme of reconfiguring the way we think about the library and the way we think about the idea of library as service. Salem State College has tossed around this idea while working with architects on the design of our new library. With more academic libraries considering the information commons, a change in reference services seems to make sense. Let's see what our speakers have to say about it.

Check out the "Getting Rid of the Reference Desk" presentation here: Owens Library Presentations

Frank Baudino thinks of getting rid of the reference desk as another arm of instruction at the library. Frank cites a decline in reference questions as part of the rationale for getting rid of the reference desk. Frank felt that there was a need to roll with current trends. If there was a decline in reference questions, the librarians clearly were not offering the service they were capable of offering. At the same time as a decline in reference questions, there was a steady increase in the demand for library instruction, a demand for online library instruction, and an increase in the use of library web pages. Frank stresses that it takes a lot of work to develop relationships with faculty, to assist in instruction initiatives with faculty, and to have time to perform all the other duties required of an information/instruction librarian.

Frank cites statistics that showed an increase in the use of the library web page as part of the rationale for a new model. This became an opportunity to target these web-based users. Frank also cited the loss of a professional librarian position (a position the library never got back), which taxed staffing. An increase in web page use (resulting in loss of foot traffic to the reference desk), loss of staffing, and an increase in the number of instruction classes facilitated a shift in the way traditional reference was viewed. These observations are neither good nor bad--it is what it is (thanks BB--go Pats!).

Frank explains that his library (Northwest Missouri State University Library) had paraprofessionals working at the reference desk. If students needed additional in-depth research help, the paraprofessionals would refer the student to the on-call professional librarian.

Some of the things Frank's library was considering was a change of signage to support the reference scheme they were devising. Frank also talked about the desire to market the reference consultation model (more to come from Lori). Frank says his library never followed the chat reference model, but looked toward other areas to supplement the loss of the traditional reference desk.
Frank explains that his library finally settled on the one-stop-shopping model. I like one-stop-shopping, but what exactly does this mean for the library? Keep reading!

Most of the reference librarians were for doing something different. The trouble was getting personnel in other areas on board with the new reference model. Frank developed a task force with librarians and support staff in order to look at the problem. The task force felt that reference should be offered in some way. There needed to be a way to train students, devise appropriate hours for service. There was also a a logistical recasting of how staff would refer in-depth questions to professional librarians for consultations.

Enter Lori.

Lori explains that the reference desk was merged with the circulation desk to create a Library services desk. The library settled on a model that used students and paraprofessionals at the Library Service Desk. the students and paraprofessionals were trained to identify when a professional librarian should be consulted. Generally speaking, Lori says anything beyond ready reference requires consultation. The professional librarians carried hand talkies (whatever they might be called) to communicate with service desk staff.

Lori says that the staff at the Library Services Desk (a combination of the traditional circulation desk and ready reference desk) was encouraged to have a discussion about the question to decide whether to send the student to a professional librarian. Part of the discussion takes place between paraprofessional staff and students at the desk and the professional librarian. Lori says her library uses walkie-talkies. Lori says she takes the walkie-talkie around with her. If Lori is contacted via talkie at an inappropriate time (during a meeting), she can defer the "call" to another professional librarian. I am a little weary about the talkie. Lori explains that the professional librarians are only on call for three hour intervals (part of a rotation) and not on-call after hours except by choice.

Lori says the librarians put the web page to good use by developing an in-house "Ask A Librarian" feature on their website with links to all of the librarian's photos and job titles. This encourages students to contact a librarian they might have worked with in the past. Take a look at the library website here: B.D. Owens Library

The library web page was reconfigured to reflect the new reference model. There was an increase in tutorials and a concentration on each subject area to help students (not coming to a reference desk) to better find what they are looking for.
Because the librarians were not sitting at a reference desk, they were able to concentrate on planning and developing other initiatives, most notably their work on instruction classes. Spending more time on planning instruction classes led to more comprehensive and in-depth consultations with students--and faculty; the quality of service increased exponentially.

A couple of quick questions asked at the lecture:

Why not pursue chat?

An audience member asked why they did not explore chat reference and Lori explained that chat would still mean being tied to the desk and would defeat the point of re-purposing the new reference model.

How many librarians do you have?


Is that a large number?

No. We need the extra staff for subject areas.

How do you analyze the traffic to your subject guides posted on the library web-page?

We use google analytics. Otherwise we get feedback from students and faculty after presenting the sites in classes.

e-mail Lori and Frank with additional questions:;

Beyond the Book: Voice of Audiobooks

8:30-9:45 Friday, May 8 Beyond the Book: Voice of Audiobooks

Speakers: Mary Burkey, Teacher-Librarian, Olentangy Liberty School District, Columbus, Ohio; Johnny Heller, Narrator, Recorded Books

Mary Burkey, Teacher-Librarian, Olentangy Liberty School District, Columbus, Ohio

I'm a big fan of audiobooks. I usually hit the audiobook section first at my local library. I am eager to hear about the voice behind the books. Mary gives some background information. With all due respect to Mary, we are really waiting to hear the voice and passion behind audiobooks--Johnny Heller. Read on!

Mary Burkey began by exclaiming that she is an audiobook evangelist. Audio literature has its roots in oral storytelling. Mary talks about the stigma of listening to audiobooks. Many believe audiobooks are for those who can't handle the real thing.

Mary has a blog: where she often highlights free downloads. Right now you can get "Pendragon" for free.

Why do we listen to audiobooks? We love to hear the story. Many parents think kids are cheating by listening to the audiobook version. Mary says there are now workbooks that accompany the audiobook. Kids must be actively listening. There is still a strong language component that Mary says helps with language development and vocabulary. Audiobooks helps Mary with her speech.

Mary also talks about how easy it is for her to listen to audiobooks while being very active. She explains that people she knows use audiobooks when they are exercising or playing video games. Learning how to listen is an art, and even while listening on the move, listening slows down, too.

The interpretation of the book is enhanced. Mary remembers details of listening to audiobooks, even details such as where she was and if in her car, where her car was located. Listening has great power. Even NPR understands this, as evident in "Driveway Moments", a collection of captivating stories. Who among us can honestly say they have never been captivated by the telling of a story.

Booklist, booklinks (school setting), horn book (small but good section), audiofile magazine (online at offers great reviews and listings of audiobooks.

Johnny Heller, Narrator, Recorded Books
Johnny is currently working on a young adult book. He is, evidently, something of a stand-up comedian. If you have never listened to Johnny narrate a book, you should check one out. I cannot do justice to the power of his voice in dictating the ebb and flow of a story.

Johnny says that when he reads in the studio, he reads from xerox copies, not the book. Johnny also saves parts of the copies that offer a great opportunity to read to audiences such as ours. Johnny read excerpts from a children's book, a YA book, and an adult book. I must say Johnny's voice is electric! I've listened to him many times on recordings from Recorded Books. Johnny represents one of the main reasons why listening to audiobooks is so fascinating: it can be absolutely entertaining and funny, especially with the acting and inflection of the reader.
Johnny began by reading from "Hey, New Kid!", chapter 2: "Little dork that couldn't." He then read from "Al Capone does my shirts", chapter five, to be exact. He then read an excerpt from "Marley and Me." Marley and Me, Johnny explains, is one of his favorite books. With time left, Johnny decides to read from Dave Barry.

Johnny answered a few questions you might find interesting. He says he reads for three hour stretches in the studio. He explains that it is important for him to read the book first to make sure the voice is correct and pronunciation is observed. Mary jumps in to explain that part of critical listening is to pick up on accents. Johnny does his homework to get some inflection, pronunciation and accents correctly.

Find out more about Johnny Heller here: Johnny Heller

Listen to Johnny at audiofilemagazine

As a special treat Johnny read from "Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar." Am I spoiled, or what? What a treat! I couldn't stop laughing!!

Check out the session handout and suggested title lists available online. Here it is again: Audiobook blog

Happy listening audiobook fans!!!

21 Examples of 21st Century Libraries

Speakers: Kim Bolan Cullin, Library Consultant; Rob Cullin, Founder, Evanced Solutions. Bolan and Cullin are authors of Technology Made Simple.
I left another session to catch some of this (why do these conflicts always happen - you want to be in two three sessions at the same time, must be that our MLA planners did a good job choosing topics), and I did not see anyone blogging, so I'll try to blog a little, and post a link the presenter (Kimberly Bolan) promissed.

1st topic: spaces. Kimberly spoke about how library spaces have changed or need to change as our libraries change.
2nd topic: green library.

Concepts: browsable library, good signage and way finding; flexible library - lightweight yet durable chairs, tables, stacks on casters); small meeting, study, quiet rooms; separate teen libraries, with their own activity space; "Zoned" children's spaces (by developmental stages) - different size furniture, etc.

9: Signage: needs to be planned in advance, but can leave some signage for a few month later when you see the use patterns. Flexible signage: make it easy to change, e.g. painted detail signs would be easier to change; digital signage.

10: Happiness Cycle: put the customer first, and you'll be happy too.

Be more business minded: balance community needs with library mission. Suggested that libraries can charge for some things (Rob Cullin).

11: New staff models: hire for attitude. Libraries hire people people: you need to love people more than you like books to be a good library staff member.

12: Food, phones and fun: do not ban cell phones, ask to put them on silent, have a cell phone booth. Healthy snacks in vending machines. Regarding noise: think about zoning - create a quiet zone, a community talking spot where youput a sign " by entering this area you agree that people can talk to you".

13: Multi-age Governance: teens on library boards; adult advisory boards.
14: More "Liberal" Meeting Space Policies. Open the meeting spaces for private and for profit groups and charge a modest fee, especially if your meeting space is underutilized.
15: Demise of the big service desk.
16: Customer convenience: one stop shopping - a vending machine for office supplies - pencils, pens etc; drive through holds pick-up or ATM style pick-up, locker systems. An audience member suggested mail (regional centers used to). Drive - through coffee draws people into the library.
17: Collaboration, Outreach and Partnership. Bring library service to schools, Wii to a senior center, etc.
18: Supported Self Service. Self check helped by staff.
19: Virtual Spaces. Web.2 is dynamic. Reviews in the catalog (if your ILS is not offering it, try Chili Fresh).
20: Rethinking Tradition. How you lay out computers (collaborative computers), think about circulating laptops at your library, put a flat panel screens for information, sound domes instead of headphones.
21: Advanced Communication. Need faster communication method among staff, especially in a bigger building. Reach out using a Face book page, Twitter.

Ramsey County Library (MN), Maplewood branch implemented most of those changes, and their use increased very substantially.

Public Workstation Sanity

Friday 8:30 AM
Public Workstation Sanity: Approaches to Managing Time and Patrons at Public Workstations
Panel: Jim Keenan, Bernadette, Ira

There will be a link to many resources posted on the Billerica Library Website on Monday (including contact information for panel members)!

Jim began by providing us with an overview of the issues and public workstation environment. He also mentioned that the panel is not advocating for any particular solution, but presenting a variety of solutions that may or may not work for your institution. Each community/institution has different needs.

3 Management Areas: Time, Print & Computer

Who can use the public workstations? How long can they use them? How can the library exert control during patron sessions.

Time Management Solutions: PC Reservation (Envisionware), Pharos, Patron Access Management Xerox, CASSIE, Librarica, CybraryN, Time Limit Mngr. (Open Source).

Print Management Solutions: Managing printers, print jobs, payment. Additional printing issues include coin machines and contract services.

Computer Management Solutions: Who can do what with the machines and when (can they download clients, change computer settings, etc...)? Different settings for patrons, administrators, automatic system processes.

CM Solutions - Products: SteadyState, Microsoft; DeepFreeze; Clean Slate, Fortres; Windows Policy Editor; CompuGard, Centurion; Fortres 101, Fortres; Trust-No-Exe, Beyond Logic; Userful.

Issues Mentioned:
How do we protect our computers and users (IE will save usernames/passwords for the remainder of the day when set to remember them for 0 days - Firefox has a setting that will not remember them)?

Integrating your systems: Getting everything to play nice (can't update anti-virus software at night if computers shut down). New version of Office (07) with file formats that are not backward compatible, and there are some combinations of software that do not work together (Roxio and DeepFreeze).

Pros & Cons of Open Source: It's free, tech expertise requirements, potential lack of support, possible additional system requirements (Linux instead of MS Windows).

Issues in Software Deployment: Do I have the expertise to install myself or will I need to pay for technical expertise? How much dedicated staff time? Consultants needed? Are there extra initial costs for setup?

Ira began by discussing... her experience and the evolution of computer management.

Her library took the technical experience of the library staff into account when selecting a CM Solution. Decided upon Userful and went from 5 computers in the library to 15 computers in the Reference and YA areas alone!

The Time Management has been great. They are using thin clients (5 PCs to a server), and the Linux operating system (required for Userful) and Open Office software are used on the computers.

Use notification of print costs to patrons to decrease the amount of lost fees (not using a Print Management system yet). Send messages to patrons when necessary (can send a message to teens that are being loud during busy times). Login to a webpage in the morning to manage the computers (it will show you if a computer has been dropped from the network and needs attention, usually caused by a loose cable or a similarly simple problem).

The library is allowing users to have an hour on the computers (staff can add time/decrease time as necessary). They use guest passes for people that are visiting (change the numbers periodically to avoid abuse). Some annoyance from the technically savvy people that are forced to use OpenOffice, but you can save in MS formats and OpenOffice has been accepted well by most people.

All computers can access the library catalog without the use of a library card. Computers turn on early and the anti-virus software updates automatically.

Userful trainer came and installed the system (headquartered in Alberta, Canada) and provided 2 days of training (it cost approx. $2,100), they have 4-5 servers and approx 31 public computers at a cost from Userful of approx. $33,000 for 3 years.

Problems: floppy disks not available on thin clients (purchased a USB connection-Floppy Drive to alleviate issue), Teens cannot access iTunes to download music, their older library has electrical infrastructure issues.

At Bernadette's library... she was asked to figure out how to install a print management system (OCS - Output Control Services) that had already been purchased by a library. There turned out to be issues with the system requirements not being met by some computers on their network.

Bernadette's library then installed PC Reservation on top of the print management system. Patrons were allowed to use the computers for 1-1.5 hours a day (twice per day), and the staff provided extra time to people for valid reason (completing tests, etc...).

Some nice features include being able to send messages to patrons via the system (people congregating around a computer and being loud) and PC Reservation shuts computers down at the end of the day automatically. Jim's library, Billerica, also uses PC Reservation for time management.

PC Reservation can be set to reboot after each session (this will delete usernames/passwords and help to protect patron privacy), but beware how old your machines are and how long they take to reboot.

Group Policy Editor is being used at Bernadette's library for security. Public Web Browser is another product that is similar to using the Group Policy Editor.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Partnerships that Work: Tikatok, Drop-in Science, and Community Learning Too

Wednesday May 6 2009 10:45-12:00pm

Boston Public Library (BPL) Director of Partnerships and Communications, (and 2009 Library Journal rising star), Koren Stembridge facilitated a panel to discuss the benefits of community partnerships and to highlight three from the BPL.  The BPL has over 100 different types of partnerships going on at any given time.  Most of these are neighborhood specific and can range from creating murals, to raised garden beds, to festivals.  This session focused more on system-wide partnerships.  But first....

Why partnerships?
  • Partnerships double our ability to reach outside of our own institutions to those who can help us.
  • As the technological landscape has become more participatory, it stands to reason that users now expect to participate more in our libraries.
  • The tough economic climate provides an excellent opportunity for libraries to serve as a port in the economic storm by providing career support, increased programs for kids and stress relief.  The evidence so far supports this, as use at BPL is increasing.  Overall use has gone up 10% every month for the last year and card signup has increased by 33% in the last year.
Before entering into a partnership, your institution should ask the "Five W's" (who-what-where-when-why),  Some of these questions may include:

  • Does it add value to your institution? 
  • Does the partnership fill a need?
  • Programs
  • Services
  • Giveaways
  • Fundraisers 
  • Schools
  • City departments
  • Individuals
  • Vendors.  Yes even vendors.
  • Timing is everything.  Partnerships have an ideal time.  Strategize for the maximum impact
  • Onsite vs offsite?  Benefits to both.
Whatever you decide to do, think outside the box.  However don't work outside the capacity of your organization.  Don't partner with orgs that don't support the core values of your library.  Use a partnership checklist.  (available at the back).  Be hands-on.

The following examples work for the BPL, but could easily scaled back for a smaller institution.

Tikatok Books is a primarily web-based 2.0 community where kids can write, illustrate, share and publish their own high quality hard, softcover or digital "print on demand" books. Tikatok works with BPL and other libraries to create a flexible online and offline program to help kids write books.  A couple weeks later, the kids have the books in their hands!  

Libraries are perfect environments for bookmaking activity, as they provide an environment where childrens librarians are enthusiastic and highly skilled at stimulating cretivity and patrons are education-focused.  

Drop-in Science
Beverly Nadeau, Boston public schools science elementary science specialist, gave an overview of how Drop-in Science works. Drop-in Science is a grant-funded program that provides easy-to-create youth explorations in science kits. These kits provide materials to create objects that educate students about scientific concepts.  Objects such as a mini-catapult, a thumb piano, or a mini-wind turbine.  The lessons associated with the kits fit into the Massachusetts curriculum frameworks as well as MCAS tests. After the lesson, the kids get to keep the item.  Lessons revolve around Physical Science (Chemistry and Physics) for grades 3-5.  The best part is that each kit comes with a manual designed for a non-science person.  So anyone can learn.

Melisa Baily, from the BPL talked about how successful the program has become.  Students at BPL, which has a large percentage of Latino and African-American students has been a huge success.  Instructions included to use when assembling kits with kids.  Having helpers is good as well.  Pairing little kids with older people helps as well.

Benefits: A whole different group of kids are coming in to work with the kids.  Word of mouth is positive.  Appeals to boys.  Not in school, which appeals.  Kids love being able to take the projects home and share with family and friends.

Krystal Beaulieu spoke about the Countdown to Kindergarten program whose mission is to enhance early learning opportunities for pre-k kids.  The program was started 10 years ago to ease the transition to kindergarten from pre-school, home, or wherever.  The program benefits kids and parents by explaining the process of choosing a kindergarten and how to prepare for kindergarten. 

The program includes:
  • Workshop for spanish speaking families.
  • Info to parents to help in choosing a school.
  • Working with the Boston Children's Museum on a Countdown to kindergarden night.  Such a sucess that it was turned into a permanent group.  
  • Transition activities such as
  • Talk, Read Play: A guide to help parents work with their kids to reach developmental milestones.  
  • Play to Learn: Free facilitated, structured play times.
The whole process takes place over the course of a year.  CTK works with libraries to have kindergarden days. Teachers from neighborhood schools come to the events.  Programming includes pennant making, face-painting, physical activities, and a parade to a local business.  Kids can also sign up for library cards at the library events.  Working with the library makes sense as they share the core learning values of the program. 

Sherry Eskin from the Honan-Allston Branch of BPL talked about how the program works from the perspective of a library.  Because the shirts that kids need to attend all CTK events are only available at BPL branches it brings people into the library that might not otherwise come.  The shirts are displayed in the library. Info on the program is available in 8 different languages.  The event shows that the library is a place for community gathering, and fun.