Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Lifelong Library Experience (L2E)

I have written an featured article on about The Lifelong Library Experience (L2E). Here is snippet:

"As we move into a new age where libraries are evolving, It is essential that the different types of libraries, school, academic and public, come together to continue to offer consistent services to our patrons throughout their lifetimes. I am calling this the Lifelong Library Experience, or L2E for short."

Check it out.

Bedford City Council Meeting

Last night, I attended the Bedford City Council meeting. As you might have heard, the City of Bedford is considering outsourcing the library management to Library Systems and Services, Inc (LSSI). dona weisman, President of the Bedford Public Library Advisory Board, made a statement against privatization. From my conversations with dona and Maria Redburn, Library Director of the Bedford Public Library, this will be the first time that LSSI has taken over an established library that is not in a dire financial crisis. dona mentioned in her statement to the City Council that LSSI would be experimenting with Bedford. dona also mentioned that City would only save .2%($100,000) of the overall City Budget if they outsourced the management of the library. dona also praised the leadership of Maria pointing out the fact that none of the Bedford Public Library staff has left since Bedford was reopened and Maria took the helm. dona related that the advisory board felt it was too risky for the library to be an experiment for LSSI, and she mentioned a fear of a degradation of services and the loss of community if LSSI succeeds in their efforts. The City Council will vote on the measure on January 9, 2007. I plan on being there.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Library Service in Nocona

Yesterday, I visited the Nocona Public Library. Nocona serves a population of 3,230 in Montague County.

The library is decorated for the holidays and is very welcoming and festive. A big children's Christmas party is planned for this Saturday - and the goodies are ready to go.

It is amazing to me to see how much rural libraries provide for their communities. The Library Director, Mary Norman and Alicia Walker, Assistant Librarian, are expanding programs to bring adults and children into the library. They have worked together this last year, to update the collection and create a welcoming atmosphere.

If you are ever in Nocona, stop in and say hello!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Lessons Learned from an Infocentre Upgrade

As part of my duties here at NTRLS, I consult with our member libraries on their Integrated Library Systems (ILS). I was at the John Ed Keeter Public Library of Saginaw yesterday assisting them with their migration from Sagebrush Athena to Follett’s Infocentre. Saginaw uses Novell, which was a challenge because Novell is not my primary area of expertise. Here are some lessons learned from the experience.

1. Test, Test, Test. I encouraged Saginaw to set up a test environment before attempting to migrate their “live” system. I did this because if something goes wrong in a test environment, you can easily recover whereas if something happens when migrating a “live” system, it can be devastating.

2. Call, Call again and Call one more time. Follett’s customer service was backed up with phone calls. We called at 11:15 am when we encountered our first issue with the migration. We didn’t hear anything back until after 2 pm and this was after we called them twice more. We, of course, continued to troubleshoot the issue while we waited, but it was still frustrating to have such a poor response time.

3. Download from a faster location if available. Saginaw does not have the fastest Internet connection so I had downloaded some of the required software the night before from my house where my connection is much quicker. Despite this, I still had to spend about an hour downloading some other software. If you have access to a fast connection, I highly recommend you use it.

4. Patience, Patience and more Patience. I hate to report that we never did get it to work correctly. This was actually my second visit to the library to attempt the migration in the test environment. I wanted to try again because Follett released version 2.2 of the Infocentre product. My hope was the newer version would fix whatever was causing the connection failure. We haven’t given up. Follett has upgraded our support request to the next tier and I am going to be on the hunt for a Novell expert who might be able to give us a hand.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Economic Benefit Study Released November 29, 2006

A new study released November 29, 2006 shows that nine public library systems in Butler, Clermont, Hamilton, and Warren counties in Southwest Ohio create an annual economic impact of nearly four times the amount invested in their operations. While this report covers Ohio libraries, much of the resulting information and analysis can be replicated for Texas libraries to determine economic value. The report from Levin, Driscoll & Fleeter in Columbus concludes that, using a conservative measure of value the libraries' cumulative expenditure of about $74 million returned a quantifiable direct economic benefit of $238.6 million, or $3.81 for each dollar expended in 2005. The study also recognizes that these libraries add significant value to their users and communities that cannot be assigned a dollar value including, "improved economic prospects and an enhanced quality of life."

Friday, December 08, 2006

Spanish for Librarians

NTRLS just provided the workshop "Spanish for Librarians" for library staff and volunteers. The instructor, Dr. Maryjane Dunn, the Director of Training at Command Spanish, taught two days of intensive Spanish language verbal drills and exercises. Many attendees commented they were amazed by how many phrases they were able to retain in just two days. This workshop will be repeated at a later date since there is such a demand and seating is limited. Please watch for the flyer (it is anticipated that the workshop will be held in early 2007).

To share a little bit of the knowledge learned, two phrases that we might all find helpful are:
Baje el volumen, por favor. (Lower your voice, please.)
No hablo mucho español, pero trataré de ayudar. (I don't speak much Spanish, but I will try to help.)

TALL Texans Leadership Institute

Texas Library Association is seeking candidates for the 2007 TALL Texans Leadership Institute.

The TALL Texans Institute is a week-long intensive workshop on leadership and management in the library profession. This transformational program is intended to enhance leadership skills in diverse participants. Many librarians have found that this program has changed their careers in profoundly positive ways.

Topics covered include * Improving your effectiveness as a leader * Key components for effective communication * Understanding personal power *
* Styles of influence * Process for making risky decisions * Diagnosing sources of conflict and disagreement * Negotiating skills *
* Principles and Practices of working in collaboration * Leading effective teams * Appreciative Inquiry: an innovative approach to change *
* Coaching and mentoring * Developing commitment to change * Planning your development

The seminar is taught by Maureen Sullivan and Jack Siggins.

Maureen Sullivan is on the faculty of the annual ACRL/Harvard Leadership Institute and is a professor of practice in the new Ph.D./Managerial Leadership in the Information Professions program at the Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science. She received her MLS degree from the University of Maryland.
Jack Siggins is the University Librarian the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. His career in academic and research libraries has included positions at the Library of Congress, the University of Chicago, the University of Maryland, Yale University. He is a graduate of Princeton University with a B.A. degree in Romance Languages. He also holds advanced degrees from American University and the University of Chicago.

The course will be held at Highland Lakes Camp, approximately 35 miles west of Austin within Pace Bend Park. Participants will stay in dormitory rooms on site and all meals are included in the cost of registration. TLA members are encouraged to seek financial support from their employers and TLA units to cover the costs of the workshop.

To apply for candidacy to the TALL Institute, please complete an online application form before January 2, 2007, at

Applications will be reviewed by the TLA Leadership Development Selection Subcommittee. Most participants will be required to have 5 years of professional experience, current employment in the library field, and membership in the Texas Library Association by the date that applications are reviewed (please see application instructions for details).

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Job Search Site

SimplyHired, a search engine focused on employment launches Resume Post, which allows job seekers to instantly post their resumes to 5 major job boards, including Monster, Career Builder and

These two resume posting services will help you to increase your visibility among the companies hiring for the jobs you want most. Before Simply Hired, you'd have to visit different sites one by one to post your resume. And each site would require you to enter your resume in a different format. Now, with our new resume posting services, you don't need to visit a dozen different sites to get the job done. We'll submit your resume to multiple job boards at once to help you on your hunt for the ideal "new gig".

Simply Hired is a great resource for job seekers using your library's computers.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Free Subscription to Playhouse Disney Preschool Time Online

In the November 20th issue of Library Hotline, Disney announces that public libraries can receive a free subscription to Playhouse Disney Preschool Time Online.

"The ad-free, interactive learning program for preschoolers offers story-driven games and activities focusing on building skills in letter and number recognition, shape and color identification, and counting." (Library Hotline, 11/16/2006, p.5)

Email to receive a welcome kit.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Libworm: Search Library Blogs

Libworm is a site I discovered through delicious. It is a search engine for library blogs. Here is what they have to say about themselves.

Frankie Dolan, a UK-based IT engineer, built the infrastructure for David Rothman, a medical library paraprofessional and blogger in Syracuse, NY, suggested to Frankie that this infrastructure would also work very well for making the biblioblogosphere more searchable. Frankie liked the idea, and said she was game if David would take on the day-to-day administrative tasks. David collected the feeds, applied categories, proposed some pre-set searches, and made suggestions about functionality and interface design; Frankie built everything that makes LibWorm work.

It is a wonderful site. I used it to search for North Texas Regional Library System and it showed me all of our blog postings and any other blog that mentioned us. Sweet! I then added the search to my My Yahoo news page so I can monitor the biblioblogosphere for any mention of us.

I think the tool would be especially helpful for newcomers to the biblioblogosphere. You can monitor your favorite feeds with it and even store articles on your account. You can easily create an account and they make a point of mentioning that the service is free.

If you need to find out what they are saying about a hot library topic in the biblioblogosphere, this would be the first place I would go.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

IM Slang: Websites to Translate them

I have been asked quite a lot lately about whether I know the IM and Text Messaging Language. I have to profess that I do not. However, thanks to Stephen Cohen of Library Stuff, I was able to find three sites that will do the translation for you.

Here is the quote from the Cnet Article that Stephen mentions in his blog.

Despite the secrecy, Internet-savvy parents have more and more tools to decipher the code, causing a kind of chat-and-mouse game. Befuddled by lingo seen through monitoring software or over their kids' shoulder--like "wu" for what's up, or "plox" for please--parents are turning to sites like, and for their acronym dictionaries--much to teens' chagrin.

I checked out NoSlang. It lists the top 25 for Parents to know.

Age Sex Location (Race / Picture)

Boyfriend / Girlfriend

Be Right Back

Code 9 - means parents are around

Get Naked on Cam (webcam)

Got to Go

I don't know

(Lets) meet in real life

Laugh Out Loud

Male or Female

Mom Over Shoulder

Naked in Front of Computer

Newbie - often an insult to somebody who doesn't know much about something.

Not much, you?

Parent Emergency

Parents are Watching

Parent In Room

Parent Over Shoulder


Parents Are Watching

Send To Recieve (pictures)

Talk Dirty To Me

Pirated Software


What the ####?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

How Many Web Sites Are Porn? Feds Count

About 1 percent of Web sites indexed by Google and Microsoft are sexually explicit, according to a U.S. government-commissioned study. Government lawyers introduced the study in court this month as the Justice Department seeks to revive the 1998 Child Online Protection Act, which required commercial Web sites to collect a credit card number or other proof of age before allowing Internet users to view material deemed "harmful to minors."

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Michigan High Court to Hear Case about Public Library Privileges

This article, which I found on the Library Link of the Day, details a case the Michigan Supreme Court case is hearing about a resident of one community suing to be allowed to use the public library of another community. Something for all us to monitor.

At issue: Can some municipalities decide to invest more in their libraries, providing extra services that only local residents enjoy? Or should any citizen of the state be able to check out books from any library, from Sault Ste. Marie to Saugatuck?


The case began when the Bloomfield Township library told George Goldstone of Bloomfield Hills that he couldn't check out books there.

If Goldstone's attorney prevails in his argument that the Michigan Constitution gives all residents equal access to any public library, then librarians fear that the local taxes some communities now assess to enhance their libraries will disappear -- along with the special programs that the taxes fund.

Calculating the Value of Your Library

The November 6, 2006 Library Journal highlights The Maine State Library's "Library Use Value Calculator." This calculator answers the questions "What is your library worth to you?" and "How much would you pay out-of-pocket for your library services?"

You can customize how to figure the value of the calculations and use on your library's website. Seeing the figures based on my usage of my local library was eye-opening.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Public Libraries - Share Your Stories About Public Access Computers!

Hi. I am on the steering committee for the MaintainIT Project. We are looking for some information. Please see below for more details. Please help if you can. If you can't share a story, pass it on to someone who can. Many thanks.

The MaintainIT Project ( is gathering stories on how libraries maintain computers and Internet services for their communities. From the information collected, the Project will create best practice guides tailored to different types of public libraries and will distribute the free guides beginning in Spring 2007.

Librarians, IT staff, and technology consultants are invited to share both challenges in keeping public computers running as well as successes and lessons learned. Stories can be submitted online at or by contacting the project at, or 415-633-9390 and 800-659-3579 x 390.

Until December 15, the emphasis is on gathering stories from small, rural libraries, as the first guide will be oriented towards your needs.

The MaintainIT Project is a three-year project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. MaintainIT is a project of TechSoup (, a nonprofit serving fellow nonprofits and public libraries with technology information, resources, and product donations.

Thursday, November 02, 2006 - Compare book prices online fast and easy is a neat tool to use to compare prices of online retailers for books, DVDs and music. The webmaster emailed me and asked if I had ever used her site. I decided to give a go and blog my impressions.

Overall Impression: Although most of the prices do not compare to the discounts received through our preferred vendor, Brodart, it is a handy, easy-to-use tool to see if an item can be found more cheaply online. I was pleasantly surprised by the tool and will be returning to it when I go shopping for a book online.

Here is what they write about themselves:

What is BooksPrice? What do you do? BooksPrice is a free service that searches for the best deal in books, cds and dvds among the main on-line stores. BooksPrice is specializing in price comparisons on several books, cds and dvds together. BooksPrice is an independent web site, not owned by any bookstore. The search result is therefore totally objective.

I did a search on the title Wisdom of the Crowds and received a listing of different media types of the item. Once I figured out which listing was for the book, I clicked on the Compare Prices button. This took me to a page listing several online retailers and their price for the item. It even included the shipping price which was handy. Some of the choices were for used books so I checked the New Books checkbox at the top and got a shorter listing of the vendors offering the book new. I clicked on the Buy link and was taken to the vendor's website.

Some of the vendors I did not recognize so I went back to FAQ and here is a listing of the retailers they currently search. Nice list!!!!

Abebooks Blackwells page1books CDUniverse Alibris Barnes & BiggerBooks A1Books Tower Records Family Christian Stores Overstock bookpool HKFlix christianbook Bunches of Books ClassBook allbooks4less iChapters textbookx Ignatius Chapters halfvalue iUniverse ValoreBooks Wal-Mart ecampus PhatCampus BestPrices BookCloseouts halfpricecomputerbooks Biblio Powells BOOKS A MILLION Amazon MarketPlace bookbyte Amazon Pickabook Countrybookshop JeannieMay IEShop Footprint Press B&N BookQuest Marketplace Marketplace Alibris Market

You can search by ISBN number as well which I believe some librarians will love. They even have an API so you can place a search box widget on your website if you so desire.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Internet Librarian 2006 - Day Three

I am back in Fort Worth. I didn't have Internet Access the last day of conference so I putting this last blog entry together in hindsight. Let's hope my notes are good....

I devoted the majority of my last day to Mobile Handheld devices since my knowledge was really lacking in this arena. Overall, the presentations were really good. Here are some tidbits of knowledge I gleaned from them.

  • There are so many wonderful devices now available in the marketplace. My favorite was the cell phone that opened up to a television screen. You could watch videos on it. It even had Picture in Picture.
  • Most websites do not render well for small screens(called Mobile Optimized Web). If you want to offer your website information services to the small screen crowd, you will need to design your website using another scripting technology such as WAP. This scripting technology strips down the website to just text and a few graphics.
  • There are tools that will take sites like the ntrls page and strip it down to its component parts. The one mostly mentioned is I have yet to try it, but plan to soon.. Of course, some companies hate these tools because they don't render their website well.
  • Text messaging is the most popular way to convey information on a cell phone. If you want to reach the younger crowds, you have to figure out a way to get the information to them in this fashion. 4Info has done a really great job of this. This company has an open interface at that allows people to open their data services up to SMS inquiries. You can select a keyword such as NTRLS and then tell 4Info what information to send if they receive that keyword in a text message. For example, for NTRLS we might send them data about our member libraries. A user then would send the code @ntrls to 4INFO's text messaging number and 4INFO would send a response back about our libraries. Pretty slick material....
  • and other search engines have WAP enabled websites for handheld devices. Try them, practice them and then let your patrons know about them.
  • Ball State University built a WAP version of their website including their catalog. Lot's of development time and effort, not to mention, they received a grant to do it. Still, it is nicely done. You can access their work at

Overall, I think handheld devices are gaining prominence in the US and public libraries need to begin to address them. In my mind, the public libraries should collaborate with university libraries to build mobile interfaces. Since so many students today are exposed to this type of service at the University level, it would be nice for public libraries to say, "Hey you don't have to lose this type of service just because you are not at school anymore. We offer the same." In fact, this is a good reason to collaborate with University libraries on any of the services offered.

The closing keynote was about gaming and libraries. Elizabeth Lane Lowley from RIT gave it. Very interesting. She gave some examples of how games are being played today. Traditional game playing is being mixed with an online environment. People are given game directions online to do something in the real world. Cruel2bekind is an example. People are given points based on the good deeds they do in real life. Another one is called tombstone Hold Em where people get poker hands based on the type of tombstone they can find in a cemetery. Gaming has always been so popular and it has taken off online in the last twenty years. It is time for public libraries to look at how they can engage their patrons using games. Anybody up for a library scavenger hunt!!!!

Try out 42 entertainment for some ideas on gaming.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Internet Librarian 2006 - Day Two

Hi again from California where sea otters munch on food in the water while you eat your lunch at the Fisherman's Wharf....

I decided to focus my efforts today on social computing. Podcasting and Videocasting was the first session. We heard from several people. I highlight the ones that really impressed me. Greg Schwartz from the Louisville Public Library introduced the crowd to podcasting. His definition of podcasting was the "distribution of audio files over the Internet using RSS technology." The beauty of podcasting, according to Greg, is that patrons can subscribe to content and receive automatic downloads. Greg mentioned that it takes commitment of time and staff to offer podcasts and libraries should analyze their communities on whether it is a service worth offering. Libraries offer podcasts of programming events, upcoming events, library news and bibliographic instruction. It can also be used for visually impaired sector as well as staff training. Greg mentioned nine steps to podcasting.

1. Determine content and format
2. Assemble equipment and people.
3. Record
4. Edit and export to mp3
5. Listen!
6. Upload file to server.
7. Generate your RSS feed using
8. Publish feed URL.
9. Promote. Respond. Repeat.

Jeff Humphrey of INCOLSA spoke of how they are migrating their streaming online videos to videocasting. Instead of paying for the cost of steaming, they have decided to go with the latest trend and have their users download their CE videos via a RSS stream. I spoke with Jeff at length at the break on how they were accomplishing this and I believe this is something NTRLS should explore doing with its CE program. I will research it and see what I can do.

David Free of the Georgia Perimeter College talked of lessons learned from his podcasting experience. Here is his list:

1. Make sure it feeds.
2. Promote, then promote some more.
3. Keep it short (6 to 10 minutes long)
4. Use music sparingly
5. Multiple voice rock.
6. Podcast events work best.
7. Consider your web presence (make the links readily available)
8. Listen to your listeners.

He said the best format for the podcasts is 96 kbit/s in mp3 format. Finally, buy a good microphone, it makes all the difference.

David King of the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library talked about videoblogging. Videoblogging allows people to subscribe to video feed versus the audio feed subscribed to with podcasts. He showed some really great footage from some of the more popular videoblogs. One video showed a gentleman trying to open a can of soup and not being able to do it. It was a great commentary on the product. Rocketboom is the most popular videoblog online today. They often show advertisements and get $40K for it. The difference with regular commercials, however, is that they get to do the commercials themselves. The net changes everything doesn't it?

David listed several ways libraries could use videoblogging.

1. booktalk
2. bibliographic instruction
3. cultural memory project
4. collaborative project with schools and other organizations.
5. environmental
6. Library- behind the scenes
7. travel segments
8. political debates
9. hobbies and lifestyles.

After a lunch with the otters, I then attended a session on Flickr and Libraries. Flickr is one of the better Web 2.0 tools available today. The two speakers, Michael Porter of OCLC Western and Michael Sauers of BCR, showed some neat usage of Flickr. The National Library of Australia was by far the most impressive as they asked their citizens to upload their pictures to Flickr for historical reasons. They currently have 1.2 millions photos for this project. If you want to explore some neat ways to play with Flickr, go to Fd Flickr Toys.

My last session of the day was on RSS and Javascript. It was a good session on how you can place RSS newsfeeds on a website. I learned that I could use a site like RSS Mix to combine several feeds together and then use Feed2JS to place this mix on our website. If you are worried about time lag on loading the RSS newsfeeds, you can download the Feed2JS software to your server. I also learned about RMail which is a free service to allow people to have RSS news headlines sent directly to their email accounts. You can create widget to place on your blog to allow your readers to do this.

Overall, it was a good day. Tuesday night, a Farmer's market set up shop down the block from the hotel. It was great fun to walk up and down the street looking at all the booths. Finally, if you are ever in Monterey, you have to try Rosine's. Best food I have ever had at a conference event.....the pies are fantastic.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Internet Librarian 2006 - Day One

Hi from Internet Librarian 2006 in Monterey California where the sea lions wake you up in the morningÂ….

My purpose in coming to this conference was to learn some new tricks for our System and for our member libraries. Here are the highlights of my first day at conference

Two speakers really wowed me Monday morning. The first was Michael Stephens from Dominican University and the author of the blog. He really pushed to the audience that Web 2.0 created many offspring. Two of these offspring are Library 2.0 and Librarian 2.0. For those of us who are Librarian 2.0, we are embracing our patrons and making them the center of our planning. We are also the trendsetters and not the followers. For Library 2.0, Michael gave the following rules that all public libraries should follow:

1. LetÂ’s expand our brand.
2. Break down the barriers. Here he was talking about policies that prevent our users from experiencing all we have to offer in public libraries.
3. Go where the users areÂ…
4. Adopt a 2.0 philosophy. We need the ideals of the masses..
5. Its about experience and play. Its okay to fun to do what we do.
6. Create a culture of trust.

The second speaker that wowed me was Helene Blowers, director of Information Technology at The Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County. Helene and I have a connection in the fact that we serve as board members for the MaintainIT project. It was nice to put a name with a face.

Helene’s library has initiated an intensive “training” program for their staff called Learning 2.0. She stressed that it was not a “training” program, but a learning one. Their library did nothing to assist their staff in this endeavor other than give structured exercises to learn some Web 2.0 tools. The tools they introduced to their staff included blogging, digital photos, RSS, tagging, wikis and podcasts. Each week, the staff had to learn a Web 2.0 tools. When the staff member was done with the learning, they received a MP3 player with a chance to win a brand new laptop. She called the prizes her carrots. The program had three objectives:

1. Introduce staff to new technology.
2. Encourage staff to take responsibility for their learning.
3. Reward the staff for taking the initiative to complete the exercises.

I found the new twist to CE very interesting. It put more of the responsibility of the learning in the hands of the staff so they took more ownership of their own training. I can actually envision having them come to NTRLS to teach us how they put together this innovative program so we can use it in our own libraries.

If anything, I believe I am going to explore putting together an online course for member libraries to use to help their staff learn the new Web 2.0 tools.

Monday afternoon was highlighted by a session led by Sara Houghton of the San Mateo County Library. Sara writes the Librarian in Black blog, which is one of the best on the web because of the original content she posts. Her session was by far the best of the day. She gave advice on how to reach patrons online and it was great advice. I think all libraries should follow her advice and start to reach out to their online patrons. She gave a 20 item checklist.

1. Ensure you are findable in the major search engines.
2. Make sure you are listed in the library directories.
3. List your library in Wikipedia.
4. Make sure you are listed in Wikimapia.
5. List your library events and services in local community websites and calendars.
6. Ensure that your library has a presence on local government, school and community websites.
7. Monitor local blogs, technology boards, CE boards and other forums.
8. Create a profile for your library in social networking sites like Myspace and Facebook.
9. Offer assistance via Instant Messaging.
10. List your library in free WiFi directories.
11. Check reviews olibraryr libary on social review sites.
12. List your library's blog on geography blog search engine.
13. Are your items listed in Worldcat?
14. Make sure you are on Local Google.
15. Push out newsletters via RSS and email.
16. Consider being present in Second Life and other online game environments.
17. List your staff as experts in various free expert-finding tools.
18. Make your audio and video findable.
19. Make sure you library blog is in blog search engines.
20. Subscribe to feeds to find discussions about your library.

Other highlights of the first day:

  • Mystery Writer J.A. Janice gave the opening keynote. She talked about how she writes and where she gets her inspiration. Apparently, if you make her mad, you will end up in one of her books as the bad guy. Also, she sang two songs for us. A first for me.

  • I received a tour of a library created in Second Life. Second Life is online simulation game where you can create an online version of yourself. This is a real library where the virtual people go ask questions of the reference desk and attend programming. Strange as it sounds, this might be one way to reach our patrons online. Fascinating stuff!!!!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Presentation - Enhancing Your Website using Web 2.0 and the New Web

Please find the presentation I did for the Public Library Administrators of North Texas (PLANT). It focuses on Web 2.0 tools libraries can utilize for their websites.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Expanded Books - Update

I have an update from a previous post about the vendor Expanded Books. Friday, I spoke with Skye Van Raalte-Herzog from Expanded Books. She told me that Expanded Books is looking to form partnerships with libraries and library organizations as publishers have asked them to reach out to libraries. If you are interested, you should contact the company directly through their website.

For NTRLS member libraries, you should expect a fax sometime this week asking about participating in a pilot program. Expanded Books is willing to send us looping DVDs for each of our member libraries willing to show the Expanded Book Videos. These videos are really nicely done so please sign up for the pilot program.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Expanded Books - Selling Books through Online Video

Expanded Books is a new service that videotapes interviews with authors about their latest works. The company then places the videos on sites like Yahoo, MSN, etc. People can watch the videos to get a better idea of a book. I watched my first one on MSN about Bobby Thompson Homerun in the late 1950s. Here is what they write abou themselves.

Expanded Books uses the power of the Internet and video to reach millions of potential book buyers, attract new readers, and boost book sales. Expanded Books’ edgy entertainment style has never before been applied to books and broadens both awareness and the market for featured titles With our unique approach, our videos have the potential to reach younger, tech-savvy audiences who have turned to alternative media sources. The production team behind Expanded Books has years of experience producing network comedy and entertainment television and brings this high level of expertise to each production.James Michael Tyler, Expanded Books’ celebrity host, is well known by millions of people both in the U.S. and abroad because of his role on Friends as Gunther. He’s warm, friendly, funny, and he appeals to younger audiences.

I contacted them about what they could do for libraries. I was told that they had just brokered a deal with Overdrive, the online audio/video vendor. I don't know any of the finer details yet, but will pass them on as I get them. I hoping NTRLS can broker a deal with them for our member libraries.

I think this would be a nice readers advisory service to provide to patrons. You might keep an eye and ear out for future devleopments.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Adult Programming Wiki

NTRLS has created an Adult Programming Wiki. This wiki was created by The North Texas Regional Library System to be a one stop shop for adult programming ideas for public libraries. The best source for successful programming ideas is the front line librarian who is out there creating, planning and facilitating programs. Please add your program ideas that have worked, share what you would have done differently, and give any helpful hints you deem appropriate.

This wiki is open to all library staff that would like to share programming ideas. You will need to log in to the site to add new ideas. The password is available on the sign-in screen.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Libraries are limited, obsolete (?)

There is an interesting editorial in the Lawrence Journal-World from a citizen debating the need for a new central library. These points are not new to most of us, but it is time to come up with our judicious counterpoints.

1. Libraries are inefficient. Like me, kids seek fast, convenient access to up-to-date information. That’s available on the Internet. In this new information age, libraries are an obsolete place to store and disseminate information. Rather than speed access to reliable, up-to-date information, libraries provide only remote, slow and inconvenient access to limited and often outdated information.
Go to any library. The stacks are empty; it’s the computers that are busy. Then ask yourself if it makes sense to locate those computers in one central and remote location, like a downtown library, or instead locate the computers where kids, seniors, and everyone else wants to use them.

2. Libraries are limited. Everybody wants access to reliable information. The Internet is a gateway to unlimited data and information about government, business, and the community. Multiple information providers on the Internet make fact checking easy and reliable. No single person, such as a librarian, can or should be relied upon to verify accuracy. Single sources for information verification are inefficient and potentially dangerous. (emphasis added).

3. Libraries are obsolete. Modern information technology involves two-way communication between providers and users of information technology. With instant messaging, blogs, message boards, and email, the Internet fosters information sharing among virtually unlimited numbers of information providers. Computers are communication devices that bring communities together.

The editorial ends with "Before the City of Lawrence commits to wasting millions of dollars on a new downtown library, ask yourself a few questions. When was the last time you were at the library? When was the last time you logged on? Why is that?" I think this is a good question we need to be asking our patrons also.

Friday, September 29, 2006

ViewScore Aggregates Product Reviews

ViewScore is every shopper's dream come true. It takes reviews from different sources online, aggregates the product scores and gives you an overall score. Right now, it only deals in electronics. A great tool for you and your patrons...

ViewScore develops a product search-engine to provide users with consistent, uniform and easy-to-follow/easy-to-compare product recommendations. ViewScore product ranking technology eliminates the time-consuming search process and enables consumers to find the most suitable product within the shortest time. Shoppers can then continue to the next phase, selecting a vendor or purchasing the product.

ViewScore aggregates and processes product review content from thousands of data sources - compiles a unique numerical product review score for each product; ranks the aggregated product review scores; and present the user with final product recommendations. Users can then drill down further and dive into individual product reviews to learn more about each product and the reviewer’s opinion, refine their product search, move to the "where to buy" phase or go directly to a merchant site to purchase the product of their choice.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Sustaining the Rural Library: A Discussion of Current Trends Facing Public Libraries

Here is an interesting online program on rural libraries. According to the site, you can partcipate if you have a web browser. Here is the info from the OPAL website:

Sustaining the Rural Library: A Discussion of Current Trends Facing Public Libraries What are the current trends and issues affecting the operation and administration of rural public libraries? What are some strategies for sustaining rural libraries? Join Dr. Bernard Vavrek for a discussion of current challenges and future opportunities for rural public libraries. Bernard Vavrek is Professor of Library Science and Chair of the Department of Library Science at Clarion University of Pennsylvania. He is also director of the Center for the Study of Rural Librarianship, an entity dedicated to supporting rural and small libraries across the United States. He is an active member of the American Library Association and the Association of Rural and Small Libraries. Currently, he serves in an advisory role to the Rural Library Sustainability Project, and MaintainIT, two programs sponsored by the Gates Foundation. His teaching specialties include reference resources, rural library services, marketing, and public access computers.

Its on October 4th and starts at 9 AM. If you can't make it to the live broadcast, they let you listen to an archived Podcast of the event.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Gurulib: Catalog for Personal Collections

I read about Gurulib on Superpatrons blog. The site itself is a useful tool for indivuals who want to track their various personal collections. However, I found out that through it you can search from a list of 530 public libraries. Most automation software will do this for you today so you can easily copy catalog new items in your collection. If you do not have access to a cataloging tool, you might want to try out Gurulib. I created an account in less than five minutes. I then clicked on the button, Add Item. I was given the choice of searching Amazon or a public library. You can add as many public libraries as you want, but you can only search one at a time. It is a new tool so give it some time and I bet they build in the ability to search multiple sources at once. I really liked the interface as well. It was easy to use and seemed to take advantage of all the Web 2.0 functionality.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Online Resources for Teens and Programming

I just ran across two interesting online sites - one for teens and one for programming for all ages. Both have great ideas and encourage input from librarians - take time to check them out.

The Alternative Teen Services website is a grassroots publication maintained by teen librarians for the purpose of exchanging ideas, resources, and passion about serving young adults. By using grassroots media and new social learning tools to discuss teen librarianship, we hope to learn and be inspired by each other in a fun and supportive environment. Our efforts should work towards the end goal of improving teen library services through information sharing and grassroots media.

The EZ Library Program Directory was created by the Mid-Hudson Library System to help librarians find easy, inexpensive program ideas covering a wide range of topics, activities, costs and ages--from infants to adults.

To look for a program idea, choose Search for a Program and search by one or more of the categories or search by keyword. If you wish to share programs that have been successful in your library, please use the Submit a Program section.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Charred laptop at Yahoo!

Charred laptop at Yahoo!
Charred laptop at Yahoo!,
originally uploaded by Chico Gino.
If you have laptops in your library, be careful and make sure to take advantage of battery recalls if you qualify. This laptop was at Yahoo's headquarters in California.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Wyoming Authors Wiki

I read about this wiki on Library Stuff. Wiki's are great tools to utilize for several reasons. First, it can be used on your website by your patrons. For example, you can create a wiki on the best books to read and have your patrons make contributions to it. Secondly, it is a great tool for project management. If your staff needs a inexpensive tool to track that critical project, wiki's allow for easy interaction between the project team because anyone can contribute and edit a wiki page. Finally, if you are working on a publication with a group of people from different locations, a wiki allows you to centralize the document so tracking versions is not so difficult.

We plan to start using wikis here at NTRLS in the near future. We have discoverd PBwiki which is a free for the basic service. Keep an eye out.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Future of Libraries - Top Ten Trends

This article lists ten trends in the library world + mentions areas the library needs to be ready for the future. Thomas Frey has some outside of the box thinking and ideas - worth your time to read.

The Future of Libraries Beginning the Great Transformation

By Thomas Frey, Executive Director of the DaVinci Institute

We have put together ten key trends that are affecting the development of the next generation library. Rest assured that these are not the only trends, but ones that have been selected to give clear insight into the rapidly changing technologies and equally fast changing mindset of library patrons.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Resources for Teens and FAEQs

If you have ever had that uncomfortable teen approach your desk, mumble a personal question, and then leave quickly, this site is for you. A great link for your teen webpage is at the Internet Public Library's FAEQ (Frequently Asked Embarrassing Questions) - a source for health and sexuality.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Online Legal Resources

TexasLawHelp, is your one stop, online resource for free and low-cost civil legal assistance in Texas. This website provides general legal information, a legal assistance directory, and links to other assistance organizations such as 2-1-1.

One area of specific interest, is the Do It Yourself forms such as filing for a divorce in Texas.

While we can not give legal advice to patrons, will provide excellent legal information that will assist your patrons. It is one of the best, user friendly websites I have seen online.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Google to allow Downloading of Public Domain Books

I read on Techcrunch today that Google is going to allow users to download books that are in the public domain which seems to go against what Google has said in the past.

Until now, Google only allowed people to read the out-of-copyright books online (and only snippets of copyrighted works). To search the database of available full titles, go to and click the “full view books” option when searching. This new move contradicts earlier statements by Google that scans of out-of-copyright books would not be made available for printing.

For those libraries who are hurting for Collection Development funds, this would be one way to offer the classics to your community with no cost.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Librarians at the Gates

This article from the Nation made me proud to be a librarian!

Courage, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. And in an era of increasing controls on the gathering and dissemination of information, many Americans are unaware of the courageous stands librarians take every day.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Bookmooch - Trade Books Online

Bookmooch is an online trading community for books. You get points for giving away books and you can recoup the points to receive books from others. I emailed them to ask how public libraries could take advantage of the site. Here is the reply:

Two ways:
1) by participating, ie getting rid of the books they no longer want in order to earn points, which they could use to get free books they'd otherwise buy
2) as a charitable cause: I have a small number of points received to the "library fund" as donations that I can give out to public libraries. This is not big yet (we've been up only two weeks) and is around 10 book points.

If you are weeding, you might want to take a look at this site as an optional way to discard your books and get something in return.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Why have an "About Us" Link on your Web Page?

“An About page should provide context and necessary facts, but should also give the reader compelling reasons to do what you want them to do.” Like the rest of your website, your About page is a robot. You load it up with information, give it directives, and send it out to represent you in the world. Although forums, blogs, and other two-way forms of online communication help bring humans back into the equation, you’re pretty much stuck with the robot model for relatively static essentials like the About page—but you do get to decide what kind of robot you want to use.

An interesting article posted on A List Apart examines how to build this section into a more robust area. And I have to admit after recently perusing several library webpages, there is some room for improvement.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Public Libraries - Are they going private?

From the Idaho Statesmen:

BoDo developer Mark Rivers began marshaling his forces Tuesday in a bid to sell Boise Mayor Dave Bieter and Capital City Development Corp. on his $130 million Library Blocks neighborhood development.

At a breakfast with Downtown business leaders, Rivers asked for their support in building the "political momentum" needed to overcome civic leaders' caution and propel his vision for a new Downtown urban neighborhood consisting of homes, stores and offices, plus a new $42 million public library. Construction of the library would be privately financed.

The building would be sold to CCDC, the city's urban renewal agency, which would then lease it to the city for almost $2 million a year. Government watchdog Dave Frazier has labeled the plan unconstitutional and compared it to "a man that buys City Hall, then offers to lease it back to the city."

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Do You Charge Tourists to Use Your Computers?

Six bucks and hour
Six bucks and hour,
originally uploaded by travelinlibrarian.
This picture has caused a lot of conversation in the biblioblogsphere this afternoon. I cannot imagine a public library being this unfriendly to outsiders, but apparently it happens. What about you? Do you charge to use your computers if the person is not a resident?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Handheld Devices in the Library

This article made me contemplate how libraries can take advantage of the fact that the younger generations who like to use cell phones, Ipods, Portable PlayStations, etc to communicate with each other through text messaging and instant messaging. The article details a new handheld device from Sony called "Mylo" which stands for My life online. The device comes with built-in IM services from Google, Yahoo and Skype.

The mylo is meant to operate on Wi-Fi wireless networks, which are increasingly available on college campuses, in busy public spaces and in homes with wireless broadband connections.

Since more and more public libraries are establishing Wi-Fi networks(those busy public spaces mentioned above), it seems like a logical next step would be to market to the younger generations about their ability to use these Wi-Fi networks for their text messaging and IMing. In my mind, it would be a great way to get this generation to come to library.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006 Getting User Reviews for your Library is an online social networking site where users can write reviews on local businesses and government services. I learned about it on the Librarian in Black Blog.

Here is what they write about themselves.

Yelp is...
...the ultimate city guide that taps into the community's voice and reveals honest and current insights on local businesses and services on everything from
martinis to mechanics.

As advised on the Librarian in Black blog, I did a search using the term library with the zip code 76109 and received several possibilities, including one for North Texas Regional Library System. No one had written reviews for any of the NTRLS libraries. What a great, easy way to collect feedback on your library. The service is at no cost and if your patrons start to write reviews, you might receive some helpful feedback on how to improve your library.

Now all we need is someone to create a online social networksing site exclusively for library reviews. What a boon of data that would be!

Monday, July 31, 2006's Library Processing Service

Wouldn't it be great if you could get library processing with your purchases? Well, now you can.

"Libraries already use when they need fast and reliable delivery of products at competitive prices, but our library customers have told us they would like Library Processing in order to better serve their patrons," said Greg Greeley, vice president of books, magazines and corporate accounts. " is proud to offer libraries this seamless, end-to-end processing service which will make it even easier for libraries to shop with us."

I know several of our member libraries will often use because it is so easy and quick. This adds an additional value to using the popular online retailer.

Read more (Business Wire)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Library Terms That People Understand

This nice presentation is about usability of library websites. Lots of data and good explanations on different usability tests. If you are looking to redesign, or create, your library website, I recommend this.

Intellectual Freedom Course

LibraryU has announced a new course: Ensuring Access: The Rights and Responsibilities of Intellectual Freedom. This course is recommended for all levels of library staff.

How are the First Amendment rights of your library patrons impacted by CIPA, the USA Patriot Act and other challenges to information access and privacy? Do your personal beliefs ever come into conflict with your library's intellectual freedom philosophy? As library staff on the front lines, we protect the intellectual freedom of our patrons by ensuring their access, not by defending the content of what is accessible.

I encourage you to bookmark this site and take the free, online training courses. Other course titles include: Special Needs Children @ Your Library, Budgeting 101, Cataloging and Automation for Trustees. The focus is based on the Illinois Library System but much of the information is helpful for all libraries.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

TLA Response to TSLAC Sunset Review

Please find it here.

Books replace drugs as treatment

Patients with certain mental health problems are to be prescribed library books instead of medication as part of an innovative scheme.

This news bit is from BBC News. Anyone going to their doctor in north Essex with certain psychological problems will be directed to the public library to check out certain books. It is a pilot program, but one worth watching as this might be another way to do outreach. I can see librarians and Doctors working together. Doctors suggest certain titles to patients who then go to the library to check out the item. Librarians could get a list of recommended books from the doctors to make sure plenty of the titles are on hand. It would add value to the libraries in the minds of both the doctors and the patients.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Connecting Your Library's Collection and Amazon

Do you use® to locate books? Wish you could easily find out if the Library owns a book you have located? The Hennepin County Library in Minnetonka, MN has that capability now. So far the feedback looks very positive. This is a great tool to bring in new patrons that tend to purchase most of their books from Amazon.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006 to Launch Video Podcast Directory

FUSA Capital Corporation, parent company of SearchforMedia Network and a leading innovator of video and audio search engine technologies, today announced the addition of a video podcast directory to beginning Wednesday, July 12, 2006. The popular video discovery and sharing site will now offer users an easier way to find video podcast content from among the site's thousands of sources.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Search Engine Submissions

As always, Search Engine Watch has great guidance in helping you get your library's webpage more visible in search results.

It covers search engine submission, placement and marketing issues. It explains how search engines find and rank web pages, with an emphasis on what webmasters can do to improve their search engine rankings by properly submitting, using better page design, HTML meta tags, and other tips.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

ALA praised for meeting in New Orleans

Travel Daily News reports that the ALA Annual Library Convention helps New Orleans recover from Hurricane Katrina. With the eyes of America on New Orleans’ recovery from Hurricane Katrina, nearly 17,000 librarians, exhibitors and library supporters attended the first citywide convention held in the Big Easy since the storm. Widespread news coverage praised ALA members for their "intrepid" spirit and impact on the local economy by going to New Orleans.

First Lady Laura Bush made an appearance at a national town hall meeting on school libraries on Monday, June 26. Her keynote address helped place a spotlight on the plight of school libraries throughout the United States. he town hall meeting was hosted by the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), a division of the ALA, and Scholastic. The event included a distinguished panel of school library experts who discussed the problems faced by school librarians.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Altered Books - Get Creative with Your Discards

Altered books provide a way for creative staff and users to continue the life of a withdrawn book. There are many sites for guidance in creating altered books. This could be a program in the library. Find a local artist that will undertake the planning of the program. Some libraries' friends' groups are creating purses, furniture and art out of withdrawn books and then selling them for $20 and up. A quick look on ebay even found some altered books going for over $100!

A great place to start is:

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Superpatron - Friends of the Library, on the Net

Superpatron is a blog run by a patron. The author posts entries about events and articles relevant to the library community, but does it with a patron point of view. Here is an example of one of his blog entries:

7 Things You Didn't Know You Could Do at the Library (via Pop Goes the Library)
7 Things You Didn't Know You Could Do at the Library - MSN Encarta, from superpatron Martha Brockenbrough. Here's thing two:
Even if my local branch doesn't have the book or movie, it's no problem. I just have it sent where I want it--free of charge. This is the second amazing library secret: They're happy to move things from one library in the system to another if it makes it easier for you to get what you want.
Thanks to
Pop Goes the Library for the link.That blog has some great ideas about DVD discussion groups (using a special collection to make sure everyone in the group can see the movie without fear of late fees), tips for libraries who want to circulate comics (hint: clear tape reinforcement), and a pointer to Mother Reader's 48 Hour Book Challenge.

This superpatron is great. All libraries should have one and get the person online writing a blog. What a great way to bring awareness of the library to the community!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A New Survey on Public Attitudes Towards Libraries

Here is a blog post from the Librarian in Black:

From Public Agenda (a non-partisan opinion research organization): A Fresh Look at Public Attitudes About Libraries in the 21st Century. This survey finds that "Americans prize public library service and see libraries as potential solutions to many communities’ most pressing problems, from universal access to computers to the need for better options for keeping teens safe and productive." The finding most interesting to me, and one that flies in the face of most libraries' marketing and technology plans, is that higher-income families use the library more than lower-income families.

$116.6 million to Protect Australian Families Online

Story of Interest:
The Government will create a National Filter Scheme to provide every Australian family with a free Internet filter as part of a $116.6 million comprehensive package of measures to crack down on the scourge of Internet pornography, the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan, announced.

The National Filter Scheme is the centerpiece of the Australian Government's Protecting Families Online package. Protecting Families Online will also include measures to provide Australian libraries with free filters so computer corners at libraries across Australia will become child-friendly zones.

As part of the implementation of this package the National Library of Australia will be required to provide filtering on all of its public access Internet terminals, with the option of disabling the filter when the terminals are being used by adults.

Child-safe computers in Australian public libraries:

The protections offered by free home-based PC filters will be extended to cover those families who do not have access to the Internet in their homes and rely on public libraries to provide this service.The National Filter Scheme will provide free filters to all public libraries nationally. As part of the implementation of this package the National Library of Australia will be required to provide filtering on all of its public access Internet terminals, with the option of disabling the filter when the terminals are being used by adults.In conjunction with the responsible State, Territory and Local Governments, libraries will be encouraged to mirror the action required of the National Library of Australia and make as many of their computers as possible child-safe.

Follow the link above for the complete article.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Photographic Preservation Society

This interesting organization has made its goal to archive photographs for libraries and museums by digitizing them. Here is what they are all about(taken from a job ad)

Photographic Preservation Society was created as a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit to aid libraries and museums which lack the funds and expertise necessary to preserve their historical photographic collections. Through corporate and individual sponsorships, PPS will digitize the images and document the collection's metadata, enabling the owner to properly store the originals. The owner will then be able to use the photographic duplicates as many times and in as many ways as necessary. PPS will incorporate these images and metadata into our online Virtual Museum, offering these historic treasures to a global audience.

I have always said that someone needed to come along to do this for public libraries. This organization is based in Fort Worth with one of its founding members being Dr. Samantha Hastings from the University of North Texas School of Library and Information Science. I applaud their efforts. Let's hope this group can succeed in this worthwhile endeavor.

Monday, June 19, 2006

NTRLS has a Flickr Account

Flickr is a photo sharing, online social networking site that is considered by many to be a leader in the new Web 2.0 world. NTRLS has recently signed up for a free account and will be using the tool to share event photos. Here is what you need to do.

1. Go to
2. Sign up for a free account.
3. You can then begin to upload folders to your flickr account. We decided to download their Desktop Flickr Upload Tool which allows for much easier uploading of the photos than the web based upload tool.
4. You can then go to Flickr's tool section(look at look at the top right hand of your home page).
5. Click on Display Flickr photos on your website on the right hand side.
6. Follow the wizard.

Here is the result of our efforts. It makes adding photos to your website a breeze. It took me about twenty minutes to do the steps above while before it would take a couple of hours to properly format and arrange the photos. Very easy to use. I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Boing Boing and Duct Tape Marketing

I recently discovered Boing Boing and Duct Tape Marketing. These two blogs are two of the most popular on the web according to Technorati. Boing Boing is a self-proclaimed directory of wonderful things. Duct Tape Marketing is run by nine marketing gurus, each with a different marketing expertise. I think both of these are worth your time in reading on a weekly or even daily basis.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Create Comic Books for Your Library!

This article describes how some big time companies are allowing their users to create comic books.

Paramount is not alone. Already, online games publisher Sony Online Entertainment and the National Geographic Society have signed on to license their own versions of the software, and Planetwide said it is in talks with at least one rock 'n' roll band interested in giving its fans a new way to indulge their fantasies.

The standalone version of the software is $29.99. With the recent craze about comics and graphic novels in public libraries, I think this would be a very neat way for libraries to reach out to their younger readers.

Performers and Speakers in the DFW area

At a workshop last week, a website was shared that provides information for multicultural speakers and performers for the Dallas/ Fort Worth area. The D/FW International page has a Speakers Bureau that can be searched by topic and a Global Artist area that can be searched by cultural distinction. This website also has information that your new immigrant patrons might find very helpful.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Rethinking the Concept of the Book

The author of this article from the The New York Times Magazine envisions what the world will be like with a universal library made for us by Google.

"Brewster Kahle, an archivist overseeing another scanning project, says that the universal library is now within reach. "This is our chance to one-up the Greeks!" he shouts. "It is really possible with the technology of today, not tomorrow. We can provide all the works of humankind to all the people of the world. It will be an achievement remembered for all time, like putting a man on the moon." And unlike the libraries of old, which were restricted to the elite, this library would be truly democratic, offering every book to every person.

But the technology that will bring us a planetary source of all written material will also, in the same gesture, transform the nature of what we now call the book and the libraries that hold them. The universal library and its "books" will be unlike any library or books we have known. Pushing us rapidly toward that Eden of everything, and away from the paradigm of the physical paper tome, is the hot technology of the search engine. "

Interesting read from someone outside of the library field....

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Small Business Startups Start at the Public Library

This article outlines how public libraries are reaching small businesses. Here are the libraries that are highlighted.

  • At the Johnson County (Kans.) Library, a series of small business seminars teaches the basics of starting and running a business, from obtaining start-up capital to managing finances. Denise Upah Mills absorbed valuable information on proper methods for networking by attending numerous seminars and was able to start her first company, "Invisiband," whose mission was to increase penetration of broadband Internet service to residents of rural cities. She sold the firm for a profit and started a second firm, "Six Degrees Solutions," which helps other business owners develop stronger business relationships and create strategic alliances through networking with other owners in their area.
  • The Brooklyn Public Library hosts a discussion series called "You Can Do It, Too," where local business owners share stories about starting their company using the library's small business resources. The library also conducts their annual "PowerUP!: Your Business Starts Here" competition, open to aspiring Brooklyn-based businesses that require start-up capital. The competition provided Farid Ali and George Constantinou with the knowledge and financial resources to open their successful restaurant, Bogota Café Bistro, in Brooklyn's trendy Park Slope neighborhood.
  • The San Diego Public Library proved helpful to Joy Lynn de la Rén, who successfully started a mail-order company, "Caring Products Inc.," by using the San Diego Central Library's outreach program, "Business Resources & Technology Link" to learn about business essentials such as patents, trademark, copyrights, successful Internet marketing and e-commerce.
  • The Library System of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania's "Biz Info to Grow: BIG," a series of seminars and access to print and online resources, helped Sam and Jo Farner start their concierge company, "Extra Time For You." The Farners visited the library for two years, attending workshops and poring through demographic and economic data to build their corporate client list. Sam and Jo continue to visit the library to look for new ways to further grow their thriving firm.

What does your library do to reach the business community? NTRLS has two consultants with business backgrounds who can help you develop outreach programs for the business communities. Give us a call.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

60 Sites in 110 Minutes

Mike Baldwin, Director of the Benbrook Public Library, asked me to post a link to this website. He attended this program at TLA in Houston last month and was very impressed with the sites outlined in the presentation. Jenny Levine, The Shifted Librarian, and Michael Stephens, Tame the Web: Libraries and Technology, are long-time bloggers in the biblioblogosphere and I hear do a great job presenting at the various library conferences around the world. If you are not a library blog reader, but are looking to get into it, I recoomend these two.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

LibraryThing: Future of OPACs

If you have not heard of LibraryThing, I highly recommend you take a moment to check out the website. It is amazing tool that allows people to catalog their own personal book collections by downloading MARC records from the Library of Congress. Users can search the entire collection for books, which numbers of 2 million volumes. Once you find a book, its record includes tags, book recommendations, member reviews, a rating for the book and other users that own the book. It feels like a combination a library OPAC and but it is all controlled by the website users. Tim Spalding, the creator of LibraryThing, has recently hired a librarian and is looking to hire a librarian-developer. Once you begin to use the tool, you can quickly tell that a librarian had some input on it. It really is amazing tool. I only hope libraries can offer OPAC as rich in functionality as LibraryThing.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Internet Searching: Librarians Do It Better

Interesting read from Reuters. Although the article focuses on medical librarians, I believe it is relevant for librarians in all types of settings. I am currently preparing to teach an Internet class for TWU SLIS this summer. This class will be include non-LS majors and I hope to instill in them the importance of good solid internet research skills. This article reinforces my thoughts that librarians can serve the role of teaching others to become information literate in this information age. We do Internet Research daily so it comes second-nature to us, but for a majority of people, searching the Internet can be a very frustrating experience. They are often faced with too many results and not enough knowledge to know what information is credible. IMHO, information literacy should be a goal of all public libraries. Let's teach them to fish instead of giving them a fish.

Records Management 101

Have you ever wondered how long you have to keep each email you receive? How about those patron records? Often people are very unsure of the legal requirements for record retention. The State and Local Records Management Division of TSLAC is here to help! Each county in Texas is assigned a Records Management Analyst that can answer state, county and local questions. They are just a phone call or email away. To find your analyst, go to

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Big Read

The Institute of Library and Musuem Services and the National Endowment for the Arts are teaming up to have a One Read, One Nation event which they are calling the Big Read. Libraries can apply for grants for up to $20,000 to help defray participation costs.

Monday, May 15, 2006

DVD Storage and Retrieval

Recently I was visiting a local library that is using the Imation Disc Stakka to store and retrieve their DVD collection. This library is still in the testing phase, but is positive about the results so far. After searching several sites, I have found mixed reviews - but mostly positive. DVD storage and retrieval seems to be a time consuming and costly library task lately. Do you buy locking cases? Do you have them on the shelves where they are easily "borrowed" without a library check-out? Or do you use something like Imation? This is still an area in discussion. Please share any experience you have in DVD storage and retrieval.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Proposal to block social sites from libraries, schools

Here is an interesting post on the LJ Tech Blog about blocking social networking sites like MySpace from libraries. The proposal defines a social networking site as any site that allows a person to create a profile and contact others.

The term ‘commercial social networking website’ means a commercially operated Internet website that—
(i) allows users to create web pages or profiles that provide information about themselves and are available to other users; and (ii) offers a mechanism for communication with other users, such as a forum, chat room, email, or instant messenger.

You can read the whole text here.....

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Should the Internet Remain Neutral?

Congress is moving to give Internet providers the ability to regulate who gets what bandwidth. Check out my post at Library Technology NOW.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006 Free Library Website Enhancements

Glen Peterson of the Hennepin County Library System has put together a neat service for libraries called Small to Medium sized libraries, less than $1 million per year in total income, can use the services for free (large libraries have to pay a fee). You can add the following to your website: Library Events, Library Blogs, Library RSS feeds, Contact Your Library and Customized web enabled databases. Neat!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Networking and Learning!

One great benefit of TLA is seeing so many other librarians from around the state. I have met several librarians that I first met last year in Austin. It seems that everyone has bags and carts full of free stuff and are beginning to look a bit tired. Me too!!

I started today at the Technology Sampler Platter workshop present by David Whelan from the Cincinnati Law Library Association. Kudos to David for making technology understandable and interesting to those of us non-techie's. I overheard several people saying how great of a presenter David was - which unfortunately is not always the case! Anyway, I haven't had much time to explore tech sites that he shared, but plan to look at Plone - a Content Management System, and Open Source Systems for Libraries to stay abreast of developments with integrated systems and Open Source. It is hard to make it sound exciting here, but this is really beneficial information for libraries.

At the Leaders in Libraries workshop, David Bendekovic shared tools on assessing yourself and your library. At first, we took a quick overview of our leadership style - I am "Human Resource", which is a leader that thinks people first. The other three types of leadership styles were Structural - all about logic, facts and data; Political - the importance is building networks and allies; and Symbolic - the main task is providing vision and inspiration.

He also challenged us to look at the library's mission statement - and make it short enough to fit on a t-shirt. All staff should know the mission by heart. He gave several corporate mission statements as examples of being short, but powerful such as Disney's - We're here to make you smile.

My day finished with the presentation by actress Marlee Matlin - very inspiring! We all count and we need to be the library for everyone!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Happenings at TLA

I am busy once again at a conference - this time TLA (for those of you not in Texas, this is the Texas Library Association annual conference). We are meeting in Houston this year - surprisingly it is not too hot!

While I had many meetings today, I did manage to make it to several workshops. I was lucky enough to be on a panel discussing multicultural library programs with many talented librarians and community leaders. It was especially fun to meet author Pat Mora, the author of many books, including Tomas and the Library Lady.

My connection tonight is very slow and therefore I will make this entry short and sweet. I attended workshops on search engines and current trends in this arena, CE programs and how to make them stronger and finally advocacy - mostly dealing with current Friends groups. All were well presented and have me pondering my role in all of these areas. The day ended on a fun note - I watched several of the Book Cart Drill Teams - those Book Divas were in neon pink and really let loose. It was inspiring - I might just have to try their routine back at the NTRLS office!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Weeding Your Library Books: Turn them into Art

This article tells how The Portland Public Library in Maine has found a unique use for their old books. They gave them to artists who turn the books into works of art.

Mr. Whittaker works for the Portland Public Library in Maine, where a small portion of such ill-fated books are given a new life as art. And this art can now be checked out at public libraries across the country.

The article goes on to state how other libraries can check out the works.

(To borrow a work, go to the Portland library's Web site, Under the subject heading Altered Books, find the title of a work you want, its artist and call number. Take that information to the reference desk at your local public library and request an interlibrary loan.)

The Dallas Public Library has already requested some of the pieces. Why not your library? If you are about to weed, why not invite local artists to do the same to your weeded collection?

Friday, April 21, 2006

Garland Library Offers Downloadable Movies

Late fees on movies from the library could be a thing of the past for some library users as the city of Garland's library becomes the first in the state to offer free downloadable movies.
Nicholson Memorial Library on Thursday began offering a service on its Web site that allows library cardholders to download from 170 educational, classic and IMAX titles, said Mignon Morse, library services manager. For more information, see the article in the
Dallas Business Journal.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Think It, Then Plinkit

If you are going to TLA next week, you might want to check out this program. Plinkit is the content management system that the Texas State Library and Archives Commission will use for its website project this fall. If you have not heard about this program, TSLAC is going to allow member libraries to establish a web presence for free through the Plinkit software. It should start in the Fall.

NetFair on Wednesday, April 26th at 4:00 p.m.
The title: Think It, Then Plinkit
Two presenters: Eduardo Loera (Library Technology Consultant at TSLAC) and Len Borowski (Linux System Administrator at TSLAC)
Plinkit is a Web authoring system designed for public libraries that shows what open-source software and a collaborative approach can accomplish. In a nutshell, this tool makes it simple for library staff to create and maintain a dynamic, professional Web presence.
for more information on Plinkit

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Outreach to your Virtual Patrons

The Alliance Library System and OPAL (Online Programming for All Libraries) are taking outreach to whole different world. These two organizations plan to hold programming for people participating in the online game called Second Life.

Second Life is a 3-D virtual world entirely built and owned by its residents. Since opening to the public in 2003, it has grown explosively and today is inhabited by nearly 200,000 people from around the globe. There are shopping malls, events, homes, lands of different types, and best of all, participants can contribute content, buildings, and other digital creations. (taken from the email I received about this event)

They have two events currently planned: Getting Along with IT staff for Librarians and Educators and Second Life Library2.0 Book Discussion. They are looking for volunteers to help out. If you are interested, check out their blog.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Books via RSS

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and is an XML standard that allows bloggers and website creators to syndicate their content for distribution. You can then subscribe to these RSS newsfeeds via a News Aggregator. It has been used for about everything you can imagine, but this post might be of interest to Librarians. It is the timeline of RSS book publishing. If I understand the concept correctly, authors will allow readers to subscribe to a RSS newsfeed that sends them part of the author's book on a regular basis. The recent book, Pulse, is one example of this type of RSS book publishing. It reminds me of the old serialized novels written through magazines. Neat utilization of a neat technology!!!

Understanding New Learning Technologies

Amy Finn discusses assessing and integrating new learning methods. She defines some of the current technologies below.

It’s important to make new friends and become acquainted with new technologies for a variety of reasons. Understanding what they are all about can help practitioners envision when, how, and where to incorporate them into our businesses. Below is a condensed, high-level overview of some of these newer technologies.

Weblog (blog), web-based publication consisting primarily of periodic articles
Accessible to large audiences, diaries, communication and collaboration (blogstorming)

Blend of words mobile and weblog (mobile weblog)
Content posted to Internet from mobile or portable devices, instant access to real time information.

Web application that allows users to add content (as on an internet forum) and edit content.
Easy way to develop private and/or public knowledge bases; sharing vast amounts of information simply and cost effectively.

Weblog that uses video as primary presentation format.
Distribute video content, audiovisual communication via internet.

Pod Cast
Technologies that enable automatic distributing of audio and video programs over the internet; publish and subscribe models available.
Enables independent producers to create and deliver self-published broadcasts.

Real Simple Syndication is a way to track blogs.
Updates to blogs are automatically sent to user computers; approximately 6 million people--5 percent of the U.S. online audience--use RSS.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Live Homework Help Webinars

Lewis Maurer from sent me this email about some exciting CE opportunities.

Hi Adam -
We have scheduled Live Homework Help webinars for April, May and June that your members may find interesting as they consider renewing and joining the NTRLS group. Would you please consider distributing this info:
Online demonstrations (webinars) of Live Homework Help are open for April, May and June. The webinars allow you and your staff to find out more about Live Homework Help, ask questions and see a live tutoring session. Two of the webinars have librarians offering LHWH as guest presenters. You can attend right from your office with a high speed internet connection and telephone. Please click on "See LHWH" at the Raving Fans website: to see the schedule and sign up.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Librarians Input Wanted: Microsoft Windows Live Academic Search

If you have use Google Scholar, you know how handy it is to search academic journals via a web search tool. Microsoft has decided to launch its own academic search tool. It is in beta, but has a very nice user interface that enhances the search experiences. I recommend you try it out and provide feedback to the creators via the feedback button.

Academic search is committed to working with librarians to continually improve the academic search experience. The most important thing you can do is provide us with input and suggestions. We want to hear from you, the experts who work every day with people who are seeking information and conducting research. We value your expertise and encourage you to share ideas on how we can make a better product for the academic user community. Please send your feedback to

It took bad press for Google to realize librarians exist. Microsoft has always valued the librarian profession much more than Google. I applaud Microsoft for taking this extra step to reach out to librarians.

Always Losing that Flash Drive?

Check out the Wallet Flash 1.1 (128MB to 2GB, $29.00 - $169.00). It is a credit card sized USB 2.0 drive that fits in your wallet. Also, look at the EZVue Vista USB Drive that displays files names on a scrollable LCD so you don't have to plug it in to check the contents.

Monday, April 10, 2006

The 2.0 Movement

I am sure many of your have heard terms like Web 2.0, Library 2.0, etc. This article describes it as Community 2.0. Very nicely done article for those looking for an introduction to the 2.0 movement...

Times have changed. The Web has too. What was once considered an ancillary feature of Internet websites has suddenly become the raison d’être. Community is the new consumption. With the emergence of new Web 2.0 tools, the non-technical person has been given a major voice online. In today’s online environment all users, regardless of programming knowledge, have been empowered and given a sense of value.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Best Blooks of the Year

No, that is not a typo in the headline. "Blooks" is the name given to books that arise out of blogs. Apparently, it is a way for new authors to be discovered.

The growing popularity of blooks shows that blogs are "the new means to discover talent and new voices that couldn't break into the world of publishing before," says blogger Jeff Jarvis, a former editor and publisher who writes the blog BuzzMachine. "You can go create a property and a voice and an audience without having to go through the publishing meat grinder."

With millions of blogs available today, I wonder how many blooks are actually printed every year. Good question for a reference desk....

You can read who won the award this year.

ALA's State of American Libraries Report

"The concept of the library as just a place for books is long gone. Today’s library is now more broadly defined as “a collection of resources in a variety of formats that is (1) organized by information professionals or other experts who (2) provide convenient physical, digital, bibliographic or intellectual access and (3) offer targeted services and programs (4) with the mission of educating, informing or entertaining a variety of audiences (5) and the goal of stimulating individual learning and advancing society as a whole.” (George M. Eberhart, Whole Library Handbook 4 [ALA Editions, 2006])"

Interesting report...outlines many of the high level issues libraries are facing today.

It might also be interesting to note that Bedford Public Library's closure last year was mentioned in the report.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Code for a Cause

This is a website where organizations, with a worthy cause, can post projects requesting the assistance of web developers and software developers. I created this tool because we are looking to upgrade Library Technology NOW. I couldn’t locate a website to make my plea so I went to to create one. I did this because allows you to clone websites. It took me about 15 minutes to set it up. If you need help, post a project. If you can offer help, let the community know.

You might also check out Neat site!

FBI Newspaper Articles

Search newspaper articles about the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) in more than 50,000 historical newspaper pages. The pages are PDF and most are in excellent quality. This is a great historical resource.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Way to Go Carolyn!

Carolyn was selected to attend this year Tall Texans Leadership Institute. This annual event is held by the Texas Library Assocation. Way to go!!!

Video Games in Libraries?

Have you thought about it? I know of two NTRLS libraries offering video games to their 12-18 crowd. It is a great way to reach them on a level they understand. Who knows? They might check a book out while visiting your library to play a game.

Here is an article about how they implemented video game playing in the King County Library System.


There has been much discussion lately concerning online book options for children. TumbleBookLibrary is an online collection of animated,talking picture books which teach young children the joys of reading in a format they'll love. TumbleBook has clear, bright illustrations, easy instructions and has received good evaluations on several electronic lists.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Podcasting: Making your Library's Voice Heard

Are you Ready for Podcasting?

This is the name of an article written by Connie Crosby on She does an excellect job of introducing the subject of podcasting. What is podcasting? Here is short definition:

Podcasting entails audio content that is delivered via an RSS feed presenting a downloadable or streaming file (often mp3). (

Translation: You can record programming into an audio computer file, transfer it to a computer attached to the Internet and then let people download it to their MP3 Players. People can then subscribe to your audio recordings via a RSS newsfeed so they will know exactly when you have a new recording.

As the article indicates, it is relatively inexpensive to get started and makes for a great way to get the word out about library programming and services. If you are interested in attempting to do this and need help, let me know. We can set up a time to discuss.