Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Future of Libraries

What is the Status of Future Libraries?

Watching this video, you will learn that libraries are experiencing shifts, moving from thousands of physical books, to becoming more of a digital, information-commons type of structure. There are some scholars who believe that libraries are doomed, but this is not the case. However, in order to avoid the demise of libraries, these memory institutions must be willing to accept current trends, and adopt new methods on collection management and patron satisfaction. 

Currently trending is the ideal that libraries need to partner with local businesses and organizations, in that they will provide financial means to keep the doors open, while also serving as great promotion both for their businesses and the libraries themselves. Libraries also need to partner with IT professionals in order to digitize more collection materials, to pave way for more physical space being open to the influx of patrons who are wanting to return to the library

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Importance of Summer Reading

Summer is getting closer and closer, which means the infamous topic in the library is surfacing as well...

Summer Reading

I don't know about you, but I dreaded Summer reading all through school, but there are a lot of important uses for these programs, such as:

  • Children who don't read over the summer experience summer learning loss. That's right -- kids don't just feel like they've forgotten some of what they've learned -- they actually do forget it. And the effect is cumulative. Kids who lose reading skills over the summer will be two years behind their classmates by the end of 6th grade. By joining a Summer Reading Club, kids can prevent this from happening.
  • Summer Reading Clubs encourages kids to read whatever they want, which helps instill a love of reading for recreation. Studies show that kids who read for fun often out-perform kids who don't in school.
  • Summer Reading Clubs and all of its associated activities are absolutely free, offering everyone safe, educational opportunities throughout the summer.

Here are some ways to make Summer Reading fun:

  1. Create a reading nook in your home.
  2. Make an event of getting a library card for your kid.
  3. Add an audience.
  4. Start a book club. 
  5. Make a scrapbook.
  6. Read for pleasure, but recognize your child’s accomplishments.
  7. Send a letter to the author.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Technology Innovations for Your Library

Today’s hottest web and mobile technologies are offering libraries a new world of opportunities to engage patrons. Ultra-popular social media websites and apps combined with the availability of affordable cloud-based services and the evolution and adoption of mobile devices are enabling librarians to share and build communities, store and analyze large collections of data, create digital collections, and access information and services in ways never thought about before.

But there is just one question.. How?
It’s not enough to simply redesign the library website. Libraries need to start thinking beyond blogs and start diving into the rich IT content knocking on the doors of libraries. 
Here are 10 ideas for you to leverage today’s most innovative tools and techniques. All of these come straight from The Tech Set #11–20 series.

  1. Host a cloud-based collection

  • Libraries are going digital, thus putting a strain on their already tight virtual storage abilities. 
  • Multimedia collections demand extraordinary precautions to ensure their integrity and preservation (It isn't as easy storing digital content as it seems).
  • Libraries need to provide as much protection for digital object files as possible. Two options are Amazon’s S3 with Amazon CloudFront and DuraSpace’sDuraCloud service.

                  Create a Basic Mobile Website

  • Winksite is an easy-to-use tool that can create a mobile site using an RSS feed from a WordPress content management system, platforms librarians are most likely familiar with already. 
  • The site is free and allows five mobile sites for each user account. Dashboard views and form wizards guide you through the setup of your site. The dashboard features many options for creating different mobile page views and customization. 
  • You can add your library logo, adjust the header colors to resemble your desktop library website, or upload a background image to replace the default white page background.

Start a Location-Based Photo Stream with Instagram

  • Instagram claims more than 80 million registered users who have shared nearly 4 billion photos and their photo's locations. 
  • Libraries can expand social media campaigns and create a visual narrative around events, displays, collections, or projects. For a start, library staff can encourage patrons to snap photos of the library building and their friends at the library with Instagram.
  • Establish hashtags so you can gather a photo-stream from library staff and users around a theme, such as local history or a campus research project. 

Use Crowdsourcing to Create a Collection

  • Crowdsourcing can be used as a great tool for archiving. For instance, that is how the New York Public Library has transcribed and categorized all of the menus in its extensive collection of historical restaurant menus. The What’s on the Menu?” site encourages visitors to help transcribe dish descriptions on menus into a database. 

Use Google Voice to Implement Text Reference

  • Patrons love to text, so why not allow them to text in their reference questions to your library?
  • Google Voice gives you a single phone number that rings all your phones, saves your voicemail online, transcribes your voicemail to text, and allows you to send free text messages. 
  • Simply enter the recipient’s phone number, type your message, and click “send.” You can use the service to reply by text message to a voicemail, call, or text. 
  • Patrons can respond to your text from their phone, and you can respond from your Google Voice account and browser. Only one librarian can be logged in to the Google Voice account at a time. You can configure LibraryH3lp to route text messages through its interface, where librarians can respond as they would to any other message.

All in all, the big take away from this blog is that technology is out there that can pinpoint specific areas of librarianship that are currently struggling. In the examples above, the use of advanced technology actually brings patrons into the library, and encourages them to actively participate in collection development, and allows their voice to be heard in a way it never has been able to before. So don't be scared of technology, it is there to help us librarians and patrons out to make our libraries even better!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Are School Librarians Still Important?

With books being cleared out of the library, folks wondered back in 2009, what would happen to the person in charge of the room? Would librarians, now called media specialists, be phased out too, replaced, so to speak, with that six-letter noun/verb Google?


They may be an administrator's most underutilized resource. Learn how schools are freeing them up to help students, faculty, and principals find the information they need.

For a while, the forces seemed aligned to make this happen. The widespread recession hit school budgets and libraries especially hard. Simultaneously, Apple came out with the iPad and more and more schools opted for bringing-your-own-device programs to connect students directly with their digital resource of choice, whether in the library, classroom, or hallway. 

But a funny thing seems to be happening to librarians on the way to extinction. The savviest districts and librarians are remaking the position, breaking media specialists out of the library and bringing them into the classroom to help with projects and research-basically, the same skills that used to be cultivated in the quiet of the library. Let's look at the example below to see how today's librarian has indeed evolved from the past "librarian" and into a dynamic, ever-changing school superhero. 

Today's Model
Robyn Young could be example ­number one of the new type of librarian. In her 12 years, she has never shelved a book. She rarely helps students check out materials. Furthermore, the principal of the high school where she works encourages her to move about the school building freely, regardless of the bell schedule.

"The librarian is a different position," says Mike Swank, principal of Avon High School, near Indianapolis. "It serves a different purpose. She's got to have the flexibility to work with the rest of the staff, to share research and best practices."

The more robust the library ­program, the better students do academically. Not only that, but a credentialed teacher-librarian can become another instructional leader in the building and a go-to resource for the principal.

"A lot of the librarian's practice ends up in the classrooms," Swank says. "You might think that the success of a class is all to do with the teacher, but a lot of the support comes from the media center." 

Proof in the Numbers
The link between strong school library programs and student achievement is well documented. Over the past 20 years, numerous studies have shown that elementary schools with at least one full-time certified teacher-librarian performed better on state tests. In a 2010 study conducted in Colorado, more children scored "proficient" or "advanced" in reading in schools with a full-time, credentialed librarian than those without. 

The problem, librarians say, is that few administrators know precisely what they do these days. Many still hold on to the outdated stereotype of the librarian from their own school days-the one who shushed you on your first step into the library-and remain unaware of the potential resource at their disposal. As a result, these leaders are unlikely to go to bat to support librarians in their work or to invest in a strong program.

 "As certified librarians with a master's degree, our focus is on teaching our students," says Young. "If a principal understands that, that's a huge hurdle [overcome] right there." Breaking the stereotype of librarians just shelving books is the biggest glass ceiling that needs to be shattered throughout American schools. 

There are a lot of administrators who believe that the best way to manage staff is to make sure they are in front of 20 to 30 kids all day long, but this is not the case in the collaborative environment of a library. The librarian needs to integrate with everyone, students, teachers, administration, etc.

Equal Access
Strong library programs have the potential to help close the achievement gap for students who live at or below the poverty line. To make room for more library services, teachers nation-wide have agreed to give up their weekly prep periods and continue to have flexible planning time in the mornings with other teachers and librarians. This allows the librarian to collaborate with teachers and lead special lessons on how to use the library both in its physical space and in the classroom. 

All in all, librarians absolutely do matter, but their roles have changed. Long ago is the day where librarians stay in the library all day, waiting for students to come through the doors. Rather librarians are truly showing all of their skills and spreading their wings throughout the school itself, reaching out to students instead of taking their historically passive role. 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Happy National Library Week!

It's the most wonderful time of year... for libraries at least!

For it's...

National Library Week!!!!!!

This year's National Library Week theme is: Libraries Transform. The theme is meant to serve as a reminder that libraries are not just what they have for people, but what they also do for as well as with people.

With technology become increasingly relevant in today's libraries, they not only are a place to check out books, but also serve as a place to possibly use a 3-d printer, edit a video, or use software such as music recording and production. Technology training is also an essential part of the backbone of library services in the Web 2.0 era. Libraries today also serve as the meeting place for groups and hobbies, due to the shift of their physical spaces being more of an information commons space.

But National Library week is not meant to just to show you of the ways libraries are helping patrons and tranforming lives, it is also meant to be celebrated! Here are a couple of ways you can help to celebrate National Library week at your own library:

  • Go and visit your library

    • This may be an obvious one, but libraries across the nation are hosting celebratory events this week, so go check it out!

  • Show Your Support on Social Media

    • Libraries are becoming increasingly more prominent and popular on social media platforms. Use your own social media accounts to share your love for the library. It serves as a free promotion for your local library and invites more patrons in. 
    • This week use the hashtags: #NWL16 and #LibrariesTransform to be apart of the national campaign of library appreciation. Also, follow "I Love Libraries" on Facebook to see how libraries nationwide are participating!

  • Create your own statement

    • During National Library Week we're asking you to create your own Because Statement. Just fill in the blank telling us why libraries matter to you or your community. One randomly selected winner will receive a $100 gift card and a copy of "Secret Coders," by Mike Holmes and Gene Luen Yang, our National Library Week Honorary Chair.

However you decide to celebrate is up to you, but be sure to in some way show your appreciation for your library, and all of the services it provides to you and your community! Libraries Rule!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

New Sport: Book Cart Dancing!

The Summer Olympics are just a few months away, so here is a fun idea... What about adding a sport specific for us librarian athletes out there?! 

Introducing.. Book Cart Dancing!!

The choreographed routines performed by librarians and graduate students in library science are an actual thing. This activity was popularized in the mid-2000s by Demco, the book-cart manufacturer, which sponsored a world championship competition at the American Library Association’s annual conference for several years.
Why such a craze about book cart dancing? Drill teams promote the library and build morale and teamwork, explains John Ison, who hosted competitions before retiring from Demco.
This fun, interactive library "sport" is indeed harder than it looks. In order to keep all librarians and their associated book carts in sync, you have to have hand signals and other visual cues, or else it looks like a bunch of librarians rolling on carts. 

A signature Gettysburg move as shown in the image above: the pinwheel, in which 10 carts line up, five facing forward and five backward, and pivot around a center point like a propeller. Gettysburg won the bronze cart in the 2010 world championship and is a instant success for all other book cart routine sequences. 
Currently, many graduate programs have adopted these book cart dancing routines into their school's homecoming parades. 
My challenge to all of you reading this, whether you are a librarian or a devoted patron, is to get a book cart dancing team together in your community. It is a guaranteed fun time, both for the participants and for the spectators. So be fun, be creative, and get to dancing!

 Let the games begin!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Rise and Importance of Bibliotherapy

The statistics about teens and mental illness are staggering.

Below I did a bit of a literature review to learn about some of the research surrounding the positive effects of bibliotherapy on struggling children and teenagers. These same findings shown below can transcend to any age bracket, and further prove the invaluable use of books and character identification. 
  • To my mind, as both a soon-to-be librarian and a writer, the answer is a resounding yes. Fiction has a special magic to it—the ability to weave a world outside reality. To simulate experiences and outcomes. For someone who feels alone, a friend awaits within the pages—someone who says, “Yes, I’ve been there. Have gone through that. Am suffering along with you.”
  • “Bibliotherapy can serve as an unobtrusive, non-threatening medium to help adolescents relieve their stress and increase their coping skills,” write Heidi L. Tussing and Deborah P. Valentine in their 2001 article “Helping Adolescents Cope with the Mental Illness of a Parent through Bibliotherapy,” published in Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal. Tussing and Valentine write: “They (readers) gain insight, on the problem-solving and coping skills of the characters, subsequently applying this learning to their own lives.”
  • Books offering insights into a peer’s condition are also beneficial, says David Rice, children, youth, and family services education coordinator at the Ch.O.I.C.E (Changing Our Ideas Concerning Education) Academy, an integrated transitional mental health facility and education center in Vermont. Rice cites an experience he had when his students read Anything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin, a novel about a character who has Asperger’s syndrome. “Only one of the boys in class had Asperger’s, but the most profound aspect of the experience was what the other students learned about how his mind works, and how he corroborated with his peers what the character was feeling,” Rice says.

Bibliotherapeutic books can be fun and enjoyable, and do not have to be stigmatized as solely "bibliotherapy." Find below some great recommendations on the Carnegie website on a wide variety of physical, mental, and emotional issues that readers can relate to characters about such as:
  • Divorce
  • Death
  • Physical Disabilities
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Bullying
  • Weight
  • ADHD
  • Moving
The list could go on longer. My recommendation for this week is for each of you readers to find a book that you could use as bibliotherapy in your own lives. Whatever the issue is, finding solace in a book can often be the best medicine. 

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Twitter and the Library

Social media is all of the craze lately, with patrons of all age ranges being obsessed with it. Often times, the library tends to shy away from social media, considering it an evil doer, and steering patrons away from library services only to dive more onto their smart phone screens. However, social media is not all that bad. Below are some ways that the library can use the Twitter platform in order to reach out to more patrons.

Report library happenings

If the library is closing early due to weather or if a printer is down, librarians can communicate via Twitter. If we are having events like an international photo contest or a chili cook off, we can let people know. It’s also helpful to let people know when new displays, art, or exhibits are put up. Posting an update every time libraries put up new book displays for the month as well as posting a picture of a particularly interesting cover can entice patrons who otherwise would not have come into the library in the first place.

Promote library resources/services
When libraries get new interesting resources, librarians can let people know via Twitter.  Libraries can also simply promote print collections at relevant times. For example, a tweet promoting Oscar Wilde’s short fiction could lead students to come up from the stacks with a James Joyce title due to being inspired by the library’s Twitter post.

Engage Users

 Twitter can be an active attempt to engage members of the community. Posting news articles of relevance and ask questions allows users to feel that their voice matters, and gets them thinking about the posts. 

Solicit feedback

Twitter is a perfect tool to ask for feedback on some service libraries are thinking about adding or some initiative the library recently implemented. Twitter is great for informally asking questions. When designing resources or services for users, it’s important to actually ask them. Twitter is one tool that could facilitate that. 

Create greater awareness of the library

Doing all the aforementioned things creates a greater awareness of the library and what it has to offer. Being active on social networking sites like Twitter makes the library more visible. Not every post gets noticed. And some that you think go unnoticed are actually effective. 
Facebook, email, and print are all important too and should be used accordingly depending on your community. But Twitter is great tool to have in your communication toolbox. It can be powerful in furthering your library’s mission due to its short and effective means of communication. 

Monday, March 28, 2016

The Early Bird Gets the Bookworm

Everyone has heard of the wise old saying, "the early bird gets the worm." With Spring officially sprung, this blog is going to highlight the benefits of bringing children into the library. 

                  Children Learn the Concept of Sharing

    • The library is one of the first places children learn how to properly borrow materials. Children learning that library books belong to everyone in the community is an invaluable skill to show how to handle books with respect, and returning them on time and in the correct place.  

             Community Involvement and Connection

    • With libraries hosting children's story time, this is a great way for children to learn how much fun community involvement is. By gathering in a circle and listening to stories alongside their peers, children learn how to get along with others and meet new people in the community

                      Multicultural Experiences

    • Libraries expose children to a plethora of cultures, both in the patrons it serves and the books it contains. Children can go to the library and read a book about the country of Chile, while sitting by and interacting with other children of different racial, social, and economic backgrounds. These experiences teach children how to get along and respect everyone regardless of personal backgrounds. 

Lifetime of Intellectual Freedom and Imagination

    • Children learn in the library about the priceless value education and intellectual freedom truly is. Not only is the acquisition of knowledge invaluable, but also the ability to dream and imagine in the library  is limitless. Children can read a book, and then utilize library materials to draw a picture and expand on what they have learned. This safe zone allows children to explore worlds and possibilities that may not be available to them as readily in their home or school environment. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

What's So Special About Being a Special Librarian?

If you’re not really sure what special libraries are, here is a good starter definition – they are essentially libraries or information centers within corporations, private businesses, government agencies, museums, colleges, hospitals, associations, etc. 

I can’t sum up an entire course worth of information on special librarianship for you, but I did want to let you know that amazing jobs in nontraditional library settings are out there, and give you a broad overview of some helpful resources.

If you are even the tiniest bit interested in a nontraditional library job, you should look into a student membership with the Special Libraries Association, or SLA — If you’re interested in going to the annual conference, it is WELL worth it. Here are some of SLA’s resources I have found invaluable:
  • My SLA annual and MLW conference experiences. At SLA annual, I met librarians who worked for Target, the Department of Transportation, the European Union — you name it. I truly couldn’t believe some of these positions existed.

  • SLA Divisions — There are so many divisions to choose from! Many of the division pages contain excellent resources,and browsing these is a great way to get to know some of the unique positions out there. Also, each of the divisions have a special dynamic and many awesome librarians to network with! In SLA, you are not alone, even if you’re a solo librarian.

So, do you want to be a special librarian? Here is my ultimate tip. After you have done your research about what types of positions interest you, try to find an internship in that kind of position. While it is possible to get a job based on your other library experiences (transferable skills!), having even a little bit of experience in that position will make a world of difference, especially in more difficult to obtain positions.  This is where networking can really help you, so don’t be afraid to contact special librarians! Being a member of SLA is a huge icebreaker, but there are definitely other ways to get in touch — Twitter, for example.

Do you work in a special library? Please share what you do and how you got there! Do you have any other great resources to add to our list? If you’re a student, do you have questions about special libraries, or any of our personal experiences? We’re happy to answer whatever we can, and we’ll find answers to the questions we don’t know!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Prison Libraries

Prison Libraries are a Positive Light

Public libraries have a huge mission, to provide information and intellectual access to their public. So this means that library access does not just extend towards patrons with access to the physical location of the library itself, but also to patrons who are unable to utilize the library in the freedom it has. 

Prison libraries are a touchy subject to all key players in the conversation, be that the librarians, tax-payers, law makers, and prisons themselves. All of these previously mentioned characters in this story, in addition to those not mentioned, have their own stake in this discussion, each with an extremely valid argument as to why their stance on prison libraries is correct. Since this is a library-based blog, I am going to write in the context of why libraries are supportive of prison libraries, and how their services benefit the inmates both in the present, and future contexts. Below are some key points as to why prison libraries are helpful both the prisoners, but also their communities. 

Background Facts

  • In 2010, over 2.25 million American adults were incarcerated. 
  • With this above number being so staggeringly high, the American Library Association believes it is libraries across the nation's duty to "encourage public libraries and systems to extend their services to residents of jails and other detention facilities within their taxing areas."
  • Providing library service to inmates and those returning from prison is fulfilling the democratic mission of the public library because it allows “a wholly segregated group of people” access to information that most Americans take for granted.
Rehabilitation Services

  • The outstandingly high number of Americans incarcerated also suggests that there are a lot of current inmates, who are not sentenced to life-long jail terms, meaning that they expect to be released from jail in a relatively short amount of time. 
    • The use of prison libraries, therefore, can provide these inmates with opportunities to learn of opportunities available to them, via educational training, job resources, and simply, rehabilitation material they can utilize to ensure that they do not return to jail at a future time. 
Libraries are Safe Zones

  • A library is considered by most, if not all patrons as a safe zone. A prison library acts in the same way. Each inmate is treated with dignity and respect, and is not denied access to intellectual material, but rather, is encouraged to explore all avenues of the library. 
  • This stance the library holds takes the attitude of changing the prisoner's life in a positive way, because they are allowed to believe they are worth something, and empowered to start making a difference in their lives through library materials. 
Reintegration and Outreach

  • Studies show that 95% of inmates will return to their same community once they are released from prison. This means that these inmates will often be exposed to the same people, places, and things that landed them in jail in the first place.
  • By having public libraries do outreach in cooperation with local prisons, this spark of communication could lead prisoners to their community library, rather than back into the slump of bad decisions. 
  • This concept of "reintegration" is crucial to prisoners becoming productive members of society, as well as having a further connection of services that local public libraries can provide. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Let's Go Beyond Google

Google and BING are fantastic resources to use, and often times they both are able to effectively and efficiently answer all questions Internet users could possibly have. 

But what about those pesky questions that turn up empty handed when you throw them into a Google search?

Or what happens when the information you are searching for is just not coming up on Google?

There are other options! You just don't know about them!

There are a couple of great web service platforms that I want to take the time to introduce to you all here on this blog. They each have their own personality, and their resources can take an Internet search to the next level.

  • Using hashtags, you can discover trending topics circulating around the Internet much easier on this consolidated search engine. See the connections between topics and people. 
  • Most importantly, it's free!
  • Just sign in with your Twitter handle, and get started linking people, places, and things!

  • "Helping thinkers, designers, scientists – anyone involved in moving the human race forward – to find the precise information that will inform their own efforts is not just our job at Deep Web Technologies, it is their calling."
  • The above mission statement says it all: this platform is intended for business-related inquiries where you dive deeper into the business resources to discover the exact root of the history and processes of your question.
  • The company behind, Deep Web Technologies, also powers other platforms specific to medical questions, engineering, etc. 

  • searches other multiple internet websites to show how your question or topic of interest is shared via other websites and methods, such as images, videos, text documents, and more. 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Getting Teenagers into the Library

In order for librarians to get teens into their libraries, they have a lot to compete with these days.

So how do libraries nation-wide appeal to teenagers, and make them put down their phones and their personal laptops, and get them into the library?

It's Hard!

Luckily, here are a few easy and achievable tips and tricks:

  • Try getting out of the library
    • Teens need to realize that there is more the library offers than just the quiet physical building. 
    • By having librarians reach out to students in their local schools, where librarians can talk to students face-to-face about books, and what other services the library offers specifically to them. 
    • This gives the library a personal connection that otherwise is hard to achieve

  • Create a Separate Teen-Only Space
    • Teenagers may be avoiding the library due to the notion of having to remain quiet at all times. However, by creating a separate teen space, they now have a safe space in the library to mingle with peers of their age, without disturbing the other patrons. 

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Blind Date with a Book

Mystery Book Dates?

Here is a cool concept to incorporate into your library... have patrons participate in a Blind Date With a Book! Libraries around the nation are taking it into their own hands to set up their patrons with their dream book. 

The books are made anonymous in plain brown wrappings, and library staff members have decorated the outside with words and images in hopes of tempting you to take a chance and read something new and unknown. Blind Date with a Book is an exercise in, truly, not judging a book by its cover.

For example: An adult historical novel says, “It’s 1351 B.C. and you’re about to step into a world filled with drama, political intrigue and a little bit of romance…” A book for teens, tagged as being in the historical/fantasy/thriller genre says, “If someone told you a ‘spirit’ said the Titanic was going to sink, would you believe them?” How about an adult nonfiction title, which asks, simply, “Life of a Maine Farm girl… Is it paradise?”

Do you have a book you think your neighbors and fellow readers would enjoy? Let your library know and they can add it to the mix. Who knows, if you all have fun with it, this might continue indefinitely in your library!

So, if you’re feeling a little adventurous, and would like to take a chance on finding your true book love, come on in, take a look at the displays and see if any of our eligible books intrigue you. The book you choose may end up being a one-time thing, or it could lead to years of happy reading. Either way, we promise we won’t tell!