Friday, August 31, 2007

Userful regarding a bulk discount for libraries in Texas

HI folks Jerry over at Northeast Texas Library System has some very important news to share with us. If you wish to find out more, feel free to contact him and here is the info:

Hello everyone,

I've been talking with Daniel Griffin, VP at Userful regarding a bulk discount for libraries in Texas. Initially, they were just offering a discount to systems individually, but I asked if they could apply the discount to all the systems and/or libraries in Texas and he has agreed to that. So as libraries order, regardless of what system they are from, the discount will apply as a single bulk purchase reaping a better discount.

The discount applies to all purchases within a 6 month period, so timing is an issue. We would need to coordinate those purchases. So, if you have libraries that are interested in replacing their public computers using available Gates or other funds, let's collaborate. We could end up leveraging a pretty fair discount for them.

By the way, Userful has also addressed an issue that I felt may have been one reason some libraries were holding back on a purchase. They now offer their single Discover station as a complete package, not just the software. Anyone afraid of losing 6 workstations in a pod arrangement during a catastrophic event, can just plan to order multiple single workstations.

We have 3 libraries that are happily using Discover Stations now: Muenster, Kilgore and Van Alstyne in case anybody wants to contact them.

I'm planning to announce this bulk discount at our next membership meeting on October 2, so let me know if you have libraries that are considering this product for the public PC's. This product can help a library go a long way toward sustainability.

Jerry McCulleyAssistant Coordinator/Technology ConsultantNortheast Texas Library System625 AustinGarland, TX

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Local Children Bookstore Closing

Hi. I received the following from Martha Chambers, director of the Watauga Public Library.

The attachment includes a recent Fort Worth Star Telegram article(August 12th, Northeast edition) on the closing of Brystone's Children's Books, in Watauga. Owner Marianne Harper is retiring, and the store is scheduled to close on August 31 (altho there's a possibility it will remain open through Labor Day). Everything in the store (books, educational toys, furniture, etc., is 50-60% off) so if you have some year end collection funds you want to spend, I highly recommend this store. The reason I'm recommending it is because it is the best children's bookstore I have ever seen, and I have seen a lot of them. The selection of materials is incredible, and so is the service, so it's no wonder this store has received such high ratings among independent book stores. It's on Watauga Road (which those in this area know becomes Mid-Cities Blvd when you cross Rufe Snow heading east, or becomes Western Center Blvd when you cross 377/Denton Highway heading west), close to the famous Chef Pointe Café. So if you can, may want to check this out, soon. You won't be sorry. Best regards, Martha

Social Networking site for the younger kids.

Imbee is the first free social network designed for tweens! It is designed for kids ages 8 - 14. CEO Jeanette Symons stated in the August 2007 edition of School Library Journal that " was developed to enable our members to define their own user experience, and focus more on their own content creation instead of just corporate content consumption."

Imbee is tweens personal spot on the internet. It's full of fun things to do like:
Create a blog
Upload pictures
Make trading cards
Create and join groups

Imbee is a parent approved, teacher endorsed social networking site appropriate for kids and 'tweens.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

FY 2008 TexShare Database Program Participation Fees

To all TexShare Member Libraries,

The FY 2008 TexShare Database Program participation fees for your
individual institutions are posted on our web site at:

Amigos Library Services is sending out the invoices and collecting the
payments on our behalf. The invoices are going out this week. As in
the past, all fees will be due October 31, 2007 (the deadline will be
extended for those public libraries that are using FY08 Loan Star
Libraries grant funds to pay the fee).

If you have any questions about the invoice, please contact Rowena Ho at
Amigos Library Services at or call 1-800-843-8482.
If you need more information about the TexShare Database Program, please
contact me at the e-mail address below.

Ann Mason
TexShare Coordinator
Library Resource Sharing Division
Texas State Library and Archives Commission
512-463-0188 512-936-2306 (fax)

J. Frank Dobie Library Trust Awards for 2008

Application guidelines for the J. Frank Dobie Library Trust Awards for 2008 are much the same as in past years. Please remember that all applications are to be mailed in triplicate. Single copies or faxed applications will not be considered.

J. Frank Dobie Library Trust Awards are monetary awards given each spring to library applicants selected by the Award Committee.
Application Eligibility Application is open to public libraries in Texas which (1) serve a population of 20,000 or less, (2) are legally established*, and (3) are open for service at least 20 hours a week.
Number and Amount of Awards The number and amount of awards depend on net income produced by the Trust. In 2007 four libraries received an award of $10,000.
Expenditures of Awards According to the terms of the Trust, funds awarded may be used solely for the purchase of books. Note: books which have been reformatted for ease of use, i.e., books on audio tape or CD-Rom are eligible.
Award Criteria In establishing the Trust, Mr. Dobie instructed the Award Committee to take into consideration the degree of support that applicants receive from their communities. Therefore, awards are made not only on the basis of need, but also on the extent to which community governments,
library boards, friend’s organizations, and individuals have promoted and supported the library, in comparison with their potential to do so. Applications should include, but need not be limited to, the following information to help the Committee determine the support of the library by the community, the support of the community by the library, and the library’s need of additional book resources.
* A brief history of the library and description of its service area.
* The library’s itemized budget for the current year and itemized expenditures for the two preceding years.
* The amount of library income for the current year and two preceding years by source. As applicable, itemized income derived from city government, county government, school district, state government, and federal government, and income derived from the private sector (gifts, fund raising events, etc.)
* The number of full-time and part-time salaried staff by job title and the number of volunteer hours.
* Hours of service.
* The growth of the book collection over the past three years, by volumes and titles. Note: Please express in terms of net additions per year as opposed to cumulative figures.
* Circulation statistics for the past three years, in whatever detail they have been kept.
* Any support other than tax funds (which are reported as income) provided by city, county, or school district, such as library quarters.
* Any engagement in library cooperation, such as cooperation of the public and school libraries.
* An account of local efforts in support of the library, extending over one or more years. Statistics provide some evidence of continuing local support of the library, but limited insight to the persistency and intensity of effort that went into their making. Tell how local government, businesses, and citizen groups have contributed to the betterment of the library. Tell of efforts the library staff, board, and friends have made toward the promotion and improvement of library service.
* The kinds of books the library proposes to buy and the reasons for such purchases. There are no restrictions on the kinds of books that may be bought; however, regardless of type, books purchased should be of good quality and lasting value.
* The name and qualifications of the library staff member who would be responsible for book selection, or the name and qualifications of a consultant outside the library who would be willing to advise the library in its book purchases.
Submittal of Application Applications must be mailed (no faxes) in TRIPLICATE to: James B. Stewart, Chairman, J. Frank Dobie Library Trust, Victoria Public Library, 302 N. Main, Victoria, Texas 77901-6592. James B. Stewart can be contacted by email at
Please include a cover sheet with the following information:
Contact person
Name of Library
Address and telephone number
Email Address
Applications for the 2008 awards must be received by DECEMBER 14, 2007.
At Mr. Dobie’s request, announcement of the awards will be made at the annual meeting of the Texas
Library Association, which in 2008 will be held April 15-18 in Dallas.
*A legally established public library is one established as a department of a city or county government
by charter, resolution, or ordinance: or by contract as provided for in the Interlocal Cooperation Act,
Texas Civil Statutes, Article 4413 (32c): or as a nonprofit corporation chartered by the Office of the
Secretary of State for the purposes of providing free public library services, and having a current
contract with a city, county, or school district to provide free public library services for the city,
county, or school district.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Seizure of Iraqi National Library

On August 10 the Iraq National Library and Archives was seized at gunpoint and occupied by Iraqi security forces. There are fears that the building will be the subject of looting, vandalism, and attack by opposing forces.

After the collapse of Saddam’s regime, the library lost many rare books and ancient artifacts to looters and arsonists. The librarian and his staff have rebuilt the library since then, but the collection is now at risk again.

The library director’s diary has been posted by the British Library, and makes fascinating reading.,,2145707,00.html – An article in The Guardian about the seizure of the library. - The diary of Saad Eskander, Director of the INLA

Monday, August 20, 2007

Small Library Management Workshops IV: Reference Services

The 4th in the series of 5 Small Library Management training Program workshops is ready for registration!
SLM IV: Reference Services will be held in seven locations around the state from October to December of 2007. The program is open to employees of small community libraries serving less than 25,000 people who do not have a Master's degrees in Library and Information Science. There is a limit of two staff members per library in locations where seating is limited. Non-MLIS staff from other types of small libraries may attend. However, the focus is on small, public libraries. Those registered and not working in a small, public library setting could be asked not to attend if space becomes an issue.
Day 1 of the workshop will cover the changing face of reference in small community libraries. Day 2 will be hands-on using the TexShare databases to answer reference questions.
After attending this workshop, participants will:
understand the shift from traditional reference service to online resources in the context of the small library be comfortable conducting an effective reference interview both in person and online have increased knowledge of reader's advisory resources understand the adult and children's content within the TexShare databases be more familiar with choosing an appropriate database to answer patron questions
Texas State Library & Archives Commission staff will be presenting this two-day workshop. I will be presenting Day 1 of the workshop on the reference and reader's advisory basics and my colleague, Tine Walczyk, Manager of Continuing Education & Consulting, will be presenting the TexShare Databases on Day 2. Day 2 will be hands-on work.
Dates and locations:
New Braunfels - October 11 & 12, 2007
The Woodlands - October 15 & 16, 2007
Lubbock - October 18 & 19, 2007
Corpus Christi - October 25 & 26, 2007
Abilene - November 8 & 9, 2007
Fort Stockton - November 15 & 16, 2007
Canton & Terrell - December 6 & 7, 2007
For additional information or to register, please visit:
Dawn Vogler
Library Management Consultant
Texas State Library & Archives Commission PO Box 12927 Austin, TX 78711-2927
(512) 936-4449 phone
(512) 463-8800 fax

Dawn Vogler
Library Management Consultant
Texas State Library & Archives Commission PO Box 12927 Austin, TX 78711-2927
(512) 936-4449 phone
(512) 463-8800 fax

Free DVD Offer

Posted by request:
Hello Texas Librarians:
We would like to make you aware that Sweet Tornado: Margo Jones and the American Theater, the documentary that was aired nationwide on public television is available for free for your library as a DVD.
Since Ms. Jones was a native Texan and a pivotal figure in American theater, we are eager to make sure her memory lives on. Please contact Lisa Taylor at <> with your name, your library address and phone number to receive the DVD. Basic information follows.
Jones' story, after successfully airing on public television stations nationwide last spring, is now available as the DVD SWEET TORNADO: MARGO JONES AND THE AMERICAN THEATER, starring Judith Ivey as the dynamic and idealistic director from Texas, and Richard Thomas as Tennessee Williams, whose early career she championed. Marcia Gay Harden narrates the one-hour documentary, produced in high-definition format.
The documentary has been praised as smartly crafted, bold, moving by The Dallas Morning News and by Leonard Maltin as a heartfelt tribute to a woman with great dreams and equally great demons in her life.
In addition to the documentary, the SWEET TORNADO DVD includes features and footage of particular interest to theater lovers, theater educators and libraries. Among them: an incisive interview with noted Tennessee Williams authority Albert R. Devlin and a discussion - with contributions from Arena Stage founder Zelda Fichandler and director Adrian Hall - about how and why the professional nonprofit theater took root half a century ago.
The DVD also includes material about the classic drama Inherit the Wind - which Jones premiered - and assessments of her life and career from playwright Horton Foote, actor Ray Walston, and others. Judith Ivey offers her account of how she found the role for this unusual amalgam of live performance and documentary biography. Other extras include behind-the-scenes footage from shooting of the performance portion of the documentary.
Lisa Taylor
Taylor-Made Press
Dedicated to promoting culture
Cell 214-914-1099
923 Salmon Dr.
Dallas, TX 75208

Friday, August 17, 2007

Bookswim: Renting out Books the Netflix Way

This last week, I had an interesting conversation with Shamoon Siddiqui and George Burke, cofounders of Bookswim. Bookswim is a company that rents out books with the Netflix business model. Customers can get up to three books at a time for a monthly fee. The books are sent directly to the customer’s residence. There are no late fees and no postage for the customer.

I had emailed Shamoon at the request of one of my library directors, Tina Hager from the Little Elm Public Library. She had read an article about how the two were buying books from Library book sales to boost their inventory numbers. (According to the Bookswim website, their inventory currently stands at 150,000 and growing.) Tina wanted to know if NTRLS could work with Bookswim to create a partnership with NTRLS member libraries. Specifically, she wanted to know if NTRLS could arrange for Bookswim to buy book sale books from member libraries.

I am happy to report that Shamoon and George were open to the ideas of purchasing books from NTRLS libraries. They have two ways of purchasing the books. First, they will sometimes need a specific title and will pay the usual book sale amount for it. Secondly, they buy leftover books from book sales at a much reduced price (example: $2 a box). We did not discuss postage cost so I need to get back to them on this, but it sounds like a good fundraising opportunity for NTRLS libraries. I will post more as the details are worked out.

Of course, Shamoon and George took an opportunity to inform me that they have a service called Bookswim for Libraries. Here is what is on their website.

Library Partnership
We're supplementing a library network's books by allowing each library to have a special type of bookswim monthly membership that would work as follows: if a patron requests a book, the librarian can in turn request it (and others) using their bookswim membership. The books would be shipped directly to the library and then can be distributed to the patrons who had asked for them. The books are treated as your own inventory would be; you can choose a return date and impose late fines if you wish. BookSwim will be removed from this entire process. When the titles are returned, the library can package up the books and ship back to BookSwim. We can get books to your library as fast as interlibrary loan.We will always be sure to have the latest titles and popular titles, which make BookSwim a gem to use for patrons who do not wish to remain on a waiting list. All books can be delivered within a few days, as fast as some ILL orders.
The library will likely pay a monthly or yearly fee for this service and will be allowed X number of books out at a time each month or year. We don't have late fees so the library can keep titles for as long as needed. Additional advantages include speed of delivery and consolidation of shipping.This is a new program and rates can be negotiated based on your library's readership and budgetary needs.
Contact BookSwim here and be sure to include intended usage amount and budget.

Shamoon and George also write on their website, “We know that libraries have limited shelf space and must be sure that the books they carry are going to get borrowed, so rare or older titles may not be included in their collections. In addition, everyone knows how difficult it can be to borrow a bestseller or new release from the library based on limited availability and long waiting lists. Why put your patrons through that?”

I told Shamoon and George that some of the NTRLS libraries might be interested in this service. The two are willing to work with us on a consortium price and invoicing arrangements. If you are interested, please let me know. If I get enough interest, I will pursue the matter further.

If you are interested in Bookswim, Shamoon and George also told me that they are looking for willing library directors to work with them on designing different service offerings. In essence, they want a library director to help them try out new things in a pilot project format. If you are interested in helping them out, please let me know and I will set up a time for all of us to chat.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Wikipedia scanner

Judy Daniluk is our web/IT specialist and she sent me the following email this morning.



Did you hear this story on NPR this morning? I think it ought to be mentioned on our blog.

A grad student at the California Institute of Technology has developed a tool that can scan Wikipedia, partially trace the users that are modifying the articles, and show which user made which changes. It shows that in many cases the articles are being slanted by "interested parties." For example, negative information in an article about Wal-Mart was deleted by someone using a Wal-Mart corporate computer. The story cites other examples concerning Dow Chemical, Diebold, and Exxon-Mobil.

The changes are only traced as far as the IP address of a computer inside a particular company, so there's no proof that the changes are being made by company employees, but the implication is strong.

Wikipedia has never claimed to be an authoritative, unbiased source of information, but many people, not understanding the nature of the wiki format, tend to accept it that way. This new tool may help people realize that it is important to confirm their facts with other information sources .

The NPR story can be found at
The story in Wired magazine, which the NPR story references, can be found at


Thursday, August 02, 2007

Electricity from body heat

I found this info on the web today, and thought I would share it with all of you. Harnessing electricity from body heat. Pretty interesting stuff! Heres the URL and a snipit of info about it:

Making calls from a cell phone with no battery, using just the warmth of your hand? Perhaps that’s no more than a pipe dream right now. But new circuits are already making it possible to harness body heat for generating electricity.

Numerous items of medical equipment are attached to the body of a patient in the intensive care ward. They monitor the heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, pulse and breathing rate. This tends to produce quite a jumble of cables, for all these devices require their own electricity supply.

In future, medical sensors may be able to function without power from a wall socket. Instead, they will draw all the power they need from the warmth of the human body. The respective data will be sent by a radio signal to the central monitoring station.

The Hollywoord Librarian

The Hollywood Librarian: A Look at Librarians Through Film is complete, and had its red-carpet premiere at the American Library Association annual conference in Washington, DC on June 22, 2007 to over 4,000 librarians and friends.
It is the first movie ever on the subject of the real lives and actual work of U.S. librarians. Using the “hook” of Hollywood motion picture clips, it introduces the audience to all kinds of librarians: school and children’s librarians, special librarians (medical and corporate), academic librarians, library educators and graduate students, a cataloger, and public librarians. Beginning with the history of information organization – Hypatia and the Library of Alexandria – it then touches on Andrew Carnegie, Melvil Dewey, and early women library professionals. Moving on into the 21st century, the documentary gives audiences the chance to peer into the world of librarians: the skills and passion it takes, the challenges of book censorship, and most of all, declining library funding.
The Hollywood Librarian is appropriate for audiences from young adult up. It runs 95 minutes (also known as “feature length”).