Sunday, February 28, 2016

Everything is Going Digital.... Even Libraries?

The 21st Century is going digital, and in a world where we all are surrounded by technology, whether that is our smart phones, computers, or tv's, the library institution is going digital too. 

So what is a Digital Library?

  • A Digital Library is considered a special library, that is focused on the collection of digital objects such as
        1. Texts
        2. Visual Material
        3. Audio Material
        4. Video Material
            • All of this material is stored as digital content in electronic media formats to increase
                • Organization
                • Efficiency
                • Preservation
                • Storage

A digital library is used as an information retrieval resource, meaning that you can access these digital library collections remotely via your own personal computer. This has become increasingly useful, especially in our fast-paced society where patrons often do not have enough time to browse the stacks at their local libraries. Now, with digital libraries, patrons can use digitized materials at any time that is convenient for them.

What Does this Look Like for the Future of Libraries?

Large scale digitization projects are currently underway, led by major internet moguls such as Google, The Million Book Project, and Internet Archive

These large-scale digitization projects are actively researching archival methods, so that in 100 years, patrons can access and read any materials as legible as its original content. 

Advantages of Digital Libraries

          • No Physical Boundary
            • You can access as many resources anywhere, anytime
          • Smarter Information Retrieval
            • Patrons are able to enter key search terms to find their resources quicker and easier
          • Preservation and Conservation
            • Once the technology is able to readily preserve ample materials in a digital format, such materials will last a lifetime
          • Added Value

Disadvantages of Digital Libraries

          • No access to those without Internet access
            • Patrons who do not have readily accessible Internet access would not be able to utilize these materials, but rather, rely on a physical library to gather necessary research or resources
          • Interoperability
            • Unless all patrons use the same computer software, perhaps operating systems across the board would not be as efficient or effective. To find a digital library that is utilized by all technologies would be difficult to achieve initially
          • Information Organization
            • Finding the correct classification terms would pose a challenge initially, in that some materials could possibly span across multiple platforms. 

At the end of the day, a digital library serves as a lot of exciting potential for the future of libraries, but still lack the access and affordability that a physical library offers all patrons. Before Digital Libraries can be launched nation and world-wide, there is still a lot of research to be done, in order to ensure patrons are given the same opportunities and access as traditional libraries. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Diversity in the Library

I just spent the last two days at a fantastic conference for STAPLE (Sustainable Training for Alabama Public Library Employees). While this organization is not applicable to those librarians outside the state of Alabama, I will simply dedicate this blog to sharing with you all some of the wonderful tidbits that I learned.

The overall theme of this STAPLE workshop revolved around Diversity and Inclusion.

About 40 of us shared the problem areas each of our libraries had, in terms of what groups we feel are excluded from the library, and how to become more culturally, socially, and economically accepting of all patrons who enter the library. The 20 hours that I got to share with these librarians from all different walks of life, and all different types of libraries was priceless. 

We were also fortunate enough to have one of the top Diversity Trainers in the United States, Susan O'Halloran, who showed us all some techniques on how we as librarians can create a welcoming atmosphere in the library.

We Mostly Discussed:
  • Listening Techniques
  • Realistic Outreach Strategies- such as how to target under-represented patrons to bring them into the library
  • Cultural Awareness

A Few Tips for You and Your Fellow Co-Workers- Some of the wonderful tips Susan O'Halloran discussed with us today, was how we as employees, whether we are librarians or not, can learn about our fellow co-workers culturally, which in turn will make our communication, respect, and understanding much stronger towards one another. 

We talked with each other about Cultural Training, where we all shared parts of us that shape who we are in the workplace. 

  • Example:  I mentioned that I was a college athlete, so therefore I am very goal-oriented, can take criticism well, and love working in teams, due to my background of athletics. 
    • This would be helpful for my co-workers to know in that they know I would enjoy group projects that involve deadlines, and they could feel comfortable telling me if I was doing something wrong without fearing of hurting my feelings. 

  • Another Example: A lady mentioned that she grew up in a family who often struggled financially. Thus, she is very stringent on her library's budget. She shared that her co-workers often get frustrated with her when discussing the budget, because they do not understand why she is working so hard to save every penny. 
    • This would be helpful for the above librarian's co-workers to know, because they would then have a deeper understanding and respect for why she is so strict with the budget. 

Often times, as seen in the examples above, sharing parts of our culture with our staff and co-workers helps everyone as a work family understand why we often work in the ways that we do. I encourage all of you who are reading this to try to share a piece of your culture with your co-workers, friends, family, etc. I guarantee that you will not only learn something interesting about the other person, but you will find that you work with them more efficiently, effectively, and respectfully due to this learned cultural understanding. 

Recommended Book of the Week:

My recommended book of the week is "Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In" by Roger Fisher and William Ury. This is a fantastic book that shares insight of how to effectively communicate with others, without losing sight of your own goals. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Book Mobiles

One of the most interesting concepts I have learned so far in my Library and Information Science classes are the idea of Book Mobiles.

So... What are Book Mobiles?

They are exactly as their name describes, book mobiles are a vehicle intended for library use. The mobile library has shelves similar to that of a free-standing library structure, where patrons can enter into the Book Mobile and view the books on the shelves, while the Book Mobile is not moving of course.

  • Book Mobiles are known to have began in 1857, by Victorian Merchant George Moore, who created the book mobile to "diffuse good literature throughout rural populations." 
  • Book Mobiles were brought to the United States in the early 1900s, with several laws and policies supporting their cause, such as the: 
            • 1936-1943 Works Progress Administration where "packhorse librarians" would travel and bring books to citizens in remote areas of the country
            • The 1960's "Library in Action" program brought to the Bronx to serve the needs of inner-city teenagers of color

While the Book Mobile was popular in the early 20th century, they have since lost their luster, with critics claiming their worth to be tied down by high maintenance costs, advancing technology, and overall ineffectiveness. However, they are still around today, and their most popular American programs are found in:

    • Books on Bikes- sponsored by the Seattle Public Library, where librarians travel to community events on bikes, towing books behind them.
    • Street Books- Held in Portland, Oregon where librarians again travel by bike to deliver books to those in need around the city. 
    •, Pinterest, and HASTAC- Internet and social media sites that deliver free information about book mobiles in patron's areas, and other mobile book initiatives. 

Whether you have a Book Mobile in your local community or not, there are always opportunities to start one! Contact your local library and see how you can volunteer and provide books to those in need around you. Start by going to local community events, and bringing some books to simply display at a tent or a showcase. Book Mobiles do not have to dwindle away, but they need all of our help and support! Start now and get you and your books to become mobile!

Monday, February 15, 2016

There's Nothing More Presidential than a Library

Happy President's Day blogging friends! In honor of this day, I wanted to write a blog that highlighted the importance of Presidential Libraries


  • Began in 1939 with President FDR donating his personal and Presidential papers to the Federal Government
  • President Harry Truman followed suit, pledging part of his estate to go to a library to be used for the general public
  • The Presidential Records Act of 1976 deemed all Presidential records that documented Presidential Duties belonged to the Federal Government where archivists would then assume custody of records and build collections for patrons to view

With this rich history, patrons have been able to catch a glimpse inside the crazy and substantive life of the President, and how many important decisions he really does make. 


  1. You cannot go into a Presidential Library and check out a book
  2. They act more as a museum, in that the material is freely available to all patrons, but not for personal use, rather for educational and preservation-based purposes

Current Presidential Libraries:

  • Since the conception of Presidential Libraries, begun by FDR, there have been 12 Presidents. Thus, below are a list and location of all 13 Presidential Libraries:
  1. Jimmy Carter Library- Atlanta, GA
  2. Ronald Raegan Library- Semi Valley, CA
  3. Richard Nixon Library- Yorba Linda, CA
  4. John F Kennedy Library- Boston, MA
  5. Franklin D. Roosevelt Library- Hyde Park, NY
  6. William J. Clinton Library- Little Rock, AR
  7. Gerald R. Ford Library- Ann Arbor, MI
  8. Herbert Hoover Library- West Branch, IA
  9. Harry Truman Library- Independence, MO
  10. Dwight Eisenhower Library- Abilene, KS
  11. George W. Bush Library- Dallas, TX
  12. Lyndon B. John Library- Austin, TX
  13. George Bush Library- Houston, Texas

Friday, February 12, 2016

Library Lover's Week

It is not only Valentine's Day this weekend, but this entire week has been Library Lover's Week!

In honor of this week, let's dedicate this blog to what we all love so much about the library. 

Libraries in Rockhampton, Australia in particular are using this celebratory week to their full advantage. Such romance-themed library activities included:

  • Romance Trivia
  • Blind Date with a Book
  • Love-Heart Chess pieces for all the Chess lovers out there

When asked for the reason and inspiration behind Library Lover's week, Rockhampton librarian CR Swadling said: 
 "I'm really encouraging everyone, whether they're young or young at heart, to get on down to their local library as I'm sure they'll discover something entertaining and enjoyable, and I guarantee they'll fall in love with our libraries."

So I challenge all of you librarians and patrons alike, to take full advantage of fun holidays and incorporate themed activities into your local library. It will attract patrons of all ages to come and participate in the festivities of the library.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone, and remember, Love your Library!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Super Bowl? What about a Reading Bowl?!

Happy Post Super Bowl Monday everyone! For those who did not watch, the Denver Broncos, led by future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning won! It was an excellent game between two great QB's and two excellent defenses.

But now, enough about the Super Bowl,
 Let's talk about... a Reading Bowl!


  •  Mrs. Helen Ruffin, a school library specialist created the concept of the Reading Bowl in 1986
  • The intention was the challenge students to read a certain number of selected books, in which they would then be asked challenging questions regarding the content of the respected books.

Why it is so Popular:
  • The Reading Bowl creates a sense of competition surrounding reading, in which the goal is to not only read all of the books, but also to retain the information in the books so the team with the most story recollection wins the competition
  • Reading Bowl teams allow for students to all come together as one to discuss their interpretations of the books, and further learn about the various elements that go into each story

Create Your Own Reading Bowl

Whether you are a librarian reading this blog, a school teacher, or an interested patron, anyone can start their own Reading Bowl competition. Here is how:

  1. Advertise that you are having a reading bowl. Depending on how many people show interest will tell you how many books are appropriate to include in your Reading Bowl line-up
  2. Have one person in the Reading Bowl create a list of questions pertaining to each of the Reading Bowl books. Make sure these questions are substantive but related to the storyline of each book
  3. Set a time limit of how long each participant has to read the Reading Bowl books
  4. Plan your Reading Bowl party! Order pizza, bake cookies, get creative, this is your time to make reading as fun as it can be!
  5. Test your knowledge and see who is the champion of your Reading Bowl! 

Most Importantly... HAVE FUN!!!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Charity Work in Librarianship

We Need Your Help!

We are living in a time where awareness is being constantly spread about various global causes. I would like to end this week's blog post by shedding some light on some great library charities, what they do, and how they help patrons worldwide. 

Why Library Charities are Needed

**65% of fourth grade children read at a "below proficient" reading level 

**One of the best ways to promote literacy in children is to find ways to encourage youngsters to read at home

**2/3 of children living in poverty have no books at home

Examples of Global & Nationwide Library Charities:

Milk and Bookies
Milk and Bookies is a great charity that encourages patrons to bring books to children in needy areas of their communities. 

Book Aid International
Book Aid International is a global charitable organization that delivers donated books to needed areas throughout Sub-Sahara Africa. Since Book Aid International was established in 1954, over 30 million books have been distributed to well-deserving children. 

Reach Out and Read
Reach Out and Read is a fantastic charity that partners with thousands of Doctors and hospitals nationwide to deliver books to children who are staying overnight in the hospital.  

How You Can Help:

You can help contribute to library charity work by donating some books to your local library. Or by asking your local librarian about some volunteer or charity work you can do to help promote literacy. Everyone deserves the opportunity to read and learn, let's all challenge ourselves to help in anyway we can!

Monday, February 1, 2016

It's Cool to Go to the Library

Libraries have an uphill battle to climb when it comes to negative portraying stereotypes. Us library people are often casted as quiet, shy, aloof, nerdy, you name it.


Libraries are not just for quiet study corners, or being shhh-ed by the librarian. Below are some of the best aspects of the library that has anyone CHOOSING to spend their time in one!

Endless book singings and author meet-and-greets

  • Get social with countless clubs offered! These clubs are not limited to book clubs, but rather also include cooking clubs, knitting clubs, etc. 

  • Wi-Fi is expensive, so go to the library and use theirs for free!

Book Sales
  • Get cheap, gently used, or sometimes new books. Stock those bookshelves at home and get to reading!

Tutoring/Media Literacy Help
  • Whether you are a student, or need some help learning a computer program or device, the library offers free help to get you over the hump of knowledge.

Book of the Week:

To go along with the theme of this blog post slashing the stereotypes of librarians, here is a fun read to show insight of some librarian's inside jokes. Such humor keeps us librarians having a good time, and thus able to better provide excellent service to patrons.