Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Library Support Staff Certification

Library Support Staff Certification Program
A Briefing for Discussion

The Institute of Museum and Library Services awarded a Laura Bush - Librarians for the 21st Century grant to the American Library Association (ALA) and the Western Council of State Libraries to support the “Library Support Staff Certification Program” (LSSCP) project. This project is developing a competency-based certification program for the approximately 160,150 library workers in positions not requiring a Master’s Degree in Library Science. The primary target audience is public and academic library support staff. The project began in July 2007 with the hiring of Karen Strege and Nancy Bolt as Project Directors. An Advisory Committee was formed with representatives from ALA divisions, round tables, committees and the Western Council of State Libraries.

The proposal grew out of many years of studies conducted by ALA and state organizations calling for a certification program for library support staff (LSS). (See http://www.ala-apa.org/lsscp/LSSCPNarrative.pdf for the complete grant narrative and for citations to the relevant studies.) One of the more relevant studies occurred in 2005 when the ALA Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment (HRDR) sent a survey about professional development and certification to members of the Library Support Staff Interest Round Table (LSSIRT). Over 3,300 responded to the survey, and 86%of the respondents thought that a certification program would be beneficial; 76% said that nationally recognized professional standards were important; and 66% supported a national certification program to help them provide better service and grow in their understanding of librarianship.

The LSSCP Advisory Committee welcomes your comments on the Library Support Staff Certification Program (LSSCP). Send your comments to Jamie Bragg (jbragg@ala-apa.org) or to Jamie at ALA Headquarters, 50 East Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611. There will be an Open Forum on LSSCP at the ALA Midwinter meeting in Denver, CO, on Saturday, January 24 from 10:30am till noon at the Colorado Convention Center, Room 702. Comments will be accepted by mail or email until January 31, 2009, when revisions based on the comments will be made. All documents relating to LSSCP, are available at www.ala-apa.org/lsscp, including expanded versions of these topics. Those unable to attend the Open Forum at the Midwinter meeting may comment via blog postings at www.lsscp.blogspot.com, beginning December 19.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Register NOW for the first-ever North Texas Conference for Library Supporters

Registration is now open for the first annual North Texas Conference for Library Supporters!!! This event is designed for
* Members of Library board members, Friends of the Library and library foundation members;
* Library volunteers and other supporters; and
* Library staff who work with any of the above.

Patrick Heath, TLA President-Elect and 1987-2007 Mayor of Boerne, TX, will deliver the keynote address, "Your Library Forms the Character of Your Community."

Scheduled for 8:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m. SATURDAY January 31, 2009 at the Lockheed Martin Recreation Area in southwest Fort Worth, the conference will feature
* Training Sessions,
* Dedicated Time to Visit the Exhibit Hall,
* Time for Networking with Peers, and
* Lunch and Refreshments!

Free exhibit space will be available to any library support group interested in
* Sharing their ideas,
* Promoting their events,
* Bragging on their successes, and / or
* Selling whatever products or services they use in fundraising.

To register, get more information or sign up for exhibit space, visit http://www.librarysupportersnetwork.com/conferencenews.html.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Looking for College Newspapers?

Check out Newslink - it includes campus newspapers from around the United States as well as select international campus papers.

This comes in handy for those who have family and friends scattered at different colleges around the world - now I can follow what is going on in my nieces worlds from one link!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Web 2.1 - Site of the Week - Animoto

Site Name:Animoto
URL: http://www.animoto.com/

This site makes videos out of your pictures. It was very easy to use. I did a video from some TechNet 2008 photos posted to our Flickr account. It downloaded my pictures and then I selected a soundtrack from some of their public domain music. All very easy. The 30 second videos are free, but you have pay $249 a year to do the more advanced material. Not bad considering how much time a staff could save on presentation videos.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Registration authority for lib.tx.us domain names

If your library's website or online catalog uses a domain name ending in "lib.tx.us" you should pay attention to this.

Until now, these domain names have been registered through the Texas Higher Education Network (THE.net) at the University of Texas. As of October 27, 2008, this service will be provided by NeuStar, Inc., which is the central manager for domain names ending in .US under contract with the U.S. Department of Commerce. See
http://www.the.net/forms/lib-tx-us-form.php for the announcement at THE.net.

To guarantee that your domain name will continue to be reserved for your library, you will need to file some paperwork with NeuStar, Inc. You can submit the paperwork immediately, and you must submit it within 6 months to continue using your "lib.tx.us" domain name. Registration of the domain name will continue to be free.

The required paperwork is described in item #17 of NeuStar's Frequently Asked Questions page at
http://www.neustar.us/faqs/ There are two forms, which must be accompanied by a cover letter on your library's letterhead. Contact Judy Daniluk at NTRLS (jdaniluk@ntrls.org) if you need assistance with the forms. Customer Support at NeuStar.US is also very helpful.

Monday, October 06, 2008

$250 Stipend Available from TLA Genealogy Round Table

The Genealogy Round Table (GRT) of the Texas Library Association will award a stipend of $250 annually to cover the cost of registration and conference expenses for the TLA Annual Conference for a librarian or paraprofessional who works with a genealogy collection or genealogy patrons. The purpose of the GRT Conference Stipend is to encourage TLA and GRT membership and provide a means for supporting participation in the TLA Annual Conference. Recipient will gain insight into the Genealogy Round Table by volunteering during the annual conference.

--Recipient must be a member of the Texas Library Association
--Recipient must be employed as a librarian or paraprofessional in a Texas Library
--Recipient must work with a genealogy collection or genealogy patrons
--Recipient must agree to be a Genealogy Round Table volunteer during the conference
--Recipient must submit a completed application form and letter of reference on or before the stated deadline
--Recipient must submit a report evaluating the conference, stating whether it fulfilled expectations, and what was learned that can be used in the recipient’s library. Report must be written and submitted to the GRT Conference Stipend Committee Chair within 30 days of the end of the conference
--Recipient must agree to attend all GRT sponsored or co-sponsored pre-conferences, programs and/or meetings during the conference

DEADLINE: Submit application and letter of reference postmarked by January 10 for the conference in the spring of that year.

To request an application, contact:

Laurie Mahaffey, Chair, GRT Conference Stipend Committee
Central Texas Library System, Inc.
1005 West 41st Street
Austin, Texas 78756

Monday, September 29, 2008

Author Bill Crider Will Be in Duncanville!

Duncanville Public Library Director Carla Bryan has asked us to help get the word out about "a TERRIFIC program our Friends group is hosting." Texas author Bill Crider will be honored at the Friends of the Duncanville Public Library's 12th Annual Author Banquet Thursday Nov. 6 at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the library's circulation desk for $15/each, or $90 to reserve a table.

"Bill is a great presenter & a wonderful author whose books are so much fun to read," Carla tells us. To request an electronic file of a flyer to post and/or distribute - or just for more information, please contact her at 201 James Collins Blvd.; Duncanville, TX 75116; 972-780-5053; cbryan@ci.duncanville.tx.us .

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Conference Registration Is NOW OPEN!!!

"Get 'Em In!"
The first annual all-day North Texas Conference for Library Program Planners and Presenters

Thursday November 20, 2008
at the
Lockheed Martin Recreation Area
in Southwest Fort Worth

Designed for folks responsible for presenting and / or coordinating library programs, the event will include training sessions, some presenter showcases, dedicated time to visit exhibits, time to network with peers, and even refreshments and lunch!

Keynote Address: Marketing Without Money
by Emmy Award-winning TV reporter Jeff Crilley

Registration is now open!

Fee: $15 if paid by November 10
$20 after November 10 or at the door

Lunch will be provided for all who register, but lunches for those who register at the door will arrive 15 - 30 minutes later and be served separately.

Conference attendees may earn up to 6 CE/CPE hours at this event.

8:30 - 9:00 Sign-in

8:30 - 1:00 Exhibits - including Service Providers, Product Providers and Presenters for Hire

9:00 - 10:30 Keynote Address - Jeff Crilley: Marketing Without Money
10:45 - 3:30 Training Sessions and Presenter Showcases

11:45 - 1 Lunch (provided)

3:45 - ?? Eric's Circle

Session details will be posted soon on the Library Presentations Network SIG website!

Library Presentations Network Special Interest Group WEBSITE & DISCUSSION LIST

It's AVAILABLE NOW! Another website specifically designed for communication among library staff and supporters who share a common interest.

The Library Presentations Network is one of four Special Interest Groups (SIGs) created by Texas Library Association (TLA) District 7 in partnership with the North Texas Regional Library System (NTRLS). The other three SIGs are the Library Program Planners and Presenters Network, the Library Supporters Network, and the Library Technology Network.

The Library Presentations Network exists to facilitate networking among library staff and supporters involved in planning and presenting library programs.

In addition to having its own website and an annual conference, each SIG will hold periodic meetings for networking and discussion of business. Some meetings will take place online via chat. Meetings will be called and conducted by District 7 officers.

Each SIG website will serve as a gateway to information about the annual conference, additional SIG-specific resources and an email discussion list where members can network. Archives of the discussion list will be available online. Other features will be added in the future to support the online environment for peer networking.

Future plans for the SIG websites include extended features for online peer networking, such as online chats, blogs, wikis, and other Web 2.0 innovations. As each SIG website is enhanced and the other SIGs come online, members also will be able to maintain online profiles and contact lists.

To join the email discussion list for this SIG, visit the Library Presentations Network, click on "discussion" and follow the directions.

Information about the other SIG websites will be posted here as the websites become accessible.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Continuing Education Opportunities

The South Central Chapter of the Medical Library Association is holding its Annual Meeting in Dallas next month, and several continuing education classes are available. Even if you aren't a medical librarian, you may find one or more classes of interest to you.

Classes will be held at the Radisson Hotel Central Dallas, 6060 N. Central Expressway (Mockingbird @ Central Expwy). CE credit from the Medical Library Association (MLA) is available for all classes, which are listed as follows. Click on the class name for details about that class.

CE1 - Medical Terminology (8 MLA contact hours)
Saturday, October 11
8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.

CE2 - Measuring Your Impact: Using Evaluation for Library Advocacy (6 MLA contact hours)
Saturday, October 11
8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

CE3 - Creating Online Tutorials in Less Than 30 Minutes (4 MLA contact hours)
Sunday, October 12
8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

CE4 - Posters 101: Making Order Out of Chaos (4 MLA contact hours)
Wednesday, October 15
8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

CE5 - Distance Education (8 MLA contact hours)
Wednesday, October 15
8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Note: A Web-based portion will follow the presentation of this class. Participants will receive a total of 8 contact hours, representing their online and live course work.

CE6 - Information Security & Sensitive Information (4 MLA contact hours)
Wednesday, October 15
1:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

CE7 - MARC & Copy Cataloging
Wednesday, October 15
1:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

To register for these classes, please go to http://www.regonline.com/sccmla-2008 and select the "Partial Conference: CE Only" option to begin. Classes are available for $100 (for 4 contact hours) or $150 (for more than 4 contact hours) per class.

Of course, if you wish to register for the entire meeting, you are more than welcome to do so as well. More information about the meeting may be found at http://sccmla.org/Meetings/Meeting_2008 .

If you have any questions about this, please message dallas2008@sccmla.org.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Resources for Texas Libraries, Archives, Etc., Located in Possible Hurricane Path

With weather forecasters predicting the direction of Hurricane Ike to turn toward the Texas gulf coast, the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) has sent out a list of recommended programs and resources that are available for librarians, archivists, curators, records managers and other custodians of historical records when their units are faced with pre-planning or responding in a natural disaster situation.


TSLAC offers to state agencies and local governments Records Management assistance such as active and continuing records management solutions, protection of governmental records options and preparation before an emergency situations arise. For resources visit http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/slrm/ or call the TSLAC State & Local Records Management division (512-421-7200).


The Heritage Emergency National Task Force, co-sponsored by Heritage Preservation and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), has set up http://www.heritagepreservation.org/PROGRAMS/TFcurrent.html for taking reports on damage to cultural resources and requests for assistance from affected organizations. Used for the first time during the floods this summer in the Midwest, this site also has information on coping with water damage, saving your treasures and navigating FEMA and Small Business Administration disaster assistance. For more information contact 202-233-0800 or taskforce@heritagepreservation.org.


The Collections Emergency Response Team (AIC-CERT) is a product of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works. It offers a rapid-response team of 60 individuals who are trained to assess damage and initiate salvage of cultural collections after a disaster has occurred. They are staffed 24 hours a day. Call 202-661-8068 for simple advice or to request the deployment of a CERT team to your area. To view their brochure, visit http://aic.stanford.edu/news/AIC-CERT.pdf.


The Amigos Library Services with a membership of 750 libraries and cultural heritage institutions, mostly in the southwestern United States, offers immediate guidance in the event of an emergency. They provide information, referrals to local resources, damage recovery and on-site assistance before, during and after an emergency or natural disaster. Contact Amigos Support Desk (800-843-8482 x2863 during business hours; 469-223-4900 after hours or amigos@amigos.org). In the Dallas area call 972-851-8000. For a disaster plan template for libraries and archives, visit http://www.amigos.org/files/disasterplan.pdf.

Source: TSLAC Communications Officer Derick Hackett (512-463-5514; dhackett@tsl.state.tx.us)

Trouble keeping up with tasks?????

Interesting site for keeping up with tasks, errands, meetings etc...
Remember the Milk. I really like the idea of listing errands and the locations are then mapped out for the best path.......... For those that love lists - this is for you?? For the rest of us, it may help organize!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Call for Articles from Library Staff and Supporters

If you've been visiting the NTRLS website in the past year or so, you may have noticed that each month we post a variety of items related to a featured topic. In addition to a podcast and the Executive Director's column, there's always an article written by someone in the field.

NTRLS invites its readers to submit articles for our website. Please refer to our Authors' Guidelines for a list of our upcoming themes and details about our preferred format for submissions.

2009 Guidelines for J. Frank Dobie Trust Award

Application guidelines for the 2009 J. Frank Dobie Library Trust Awards are much the same as in past years. Please remember all applications are to be mailed in triplicate. Single copies or faxed applications will not be considered.

If you are unable to open the attached pdf file by clicking on the link above and need the guidelines mailed, please contact Michelle Wendel (mwendel@victoriatx.org).

Sunday, September 07, 2008

2008-2009 Public Library Internet Survey in the Field

TSLAC Library Development Program Coordinator Stacey Malek alerted us last week that several Texas libraries will be getting letters asking them to complete the 2008 National Survey of Public Library Funding and Technology Access. All libraries are eligible to participate should they choose, and their survey responses will be used as replacements for non-responding sampled libraries.

NTRLS-area libraries selected to participate are in the cities of Alvord, Arlington, Blue Mound, Burleson, Crowley, Denton, Everman, Flower Mound, Fort Worth, Granbury, Haltom City, Iowa Park, Jacksboro, Keller, North Richland Hills, Olney, Rhome, River Oaks, Saginar, Seymour, Southlake and White Settlement.

The survey will be available for completion through November 7, 2008. A print version of the survey is included for convenience, but the survey should be completed online at http://www.plinternetsurvey.org. Weekly updates on survey completion progress in our state, in real time and reflecting current completion status, will be available directly at http://survey.pnmi.com/states/ and may be exported to Excel.

Last year's survey response rate was 78.6%. Results of that 2007-2008 study, which include the official overall study book released by ALA, may be viewed at http://www.ii.fsu.edu/plinternet. Funded by the American Library Association (ALA) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the survey is part of a larger study managed by ALA. This survey group has been conducting these surveys since 1994. Responses provide vital data used by researchers and advocates.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

LYSN SIG Listserv Subscribers

It's barely been 24 hours since we announced the "grand opening" of the first of the 4 special interest group discussion lists, and already we have 290 subscribers. I must admit that we kick-started the list with names of CYC conference attendees, but we've received additional subscribers just about every hour since the announcement. It will be interesting to watch the four subscriber lists grow once we get them all available!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Library Youth Services Network Special Interest Group WEBSITE

It's here at last! The first of four websites specifically designed for communication among library staff and supporters who share a common interest.

The Library Youth Services Network is one of four Special Interest Groups (SIGs) created by Texas Library Association (TLA) District 7 in partnership with the North Texas Regional Library System (NTRLS). The other three SIGs are the Library Program Planners and Presenters Network, the Library Supporters Network, and the Library Technology Network. For more detailed information about the TLA District 7 / NTRLS SIGs, click here.

The website for the Library Youth Services Network SIG was developed first because we wanted to capture the networking excitement created by the Children's and Youth Librarians Conference of North Texas, which took place a little over two weeks ago. The Library Youth Services Network exists to facilitate networking among library staff and supporters involved in library services to youth, from newborns through teens. To read more about the Library Youth Services SIG, either visit the website or simply click here.

In addition to having its own website and an annual conference, each SIG will hold periodic meetings for networking and discussion of business. Some meetings will take place online via chat. Meetings will be called and conducted by District 7 officers.

Each SIG website will serve as a gateway to information about the annual conference, additional SIG-specific resources and an email discussion list where members can network. Archives of the discussion list will be available online. Other features will be added in the future to support the online environment for peer networking.

Future plans for the SIG websites include extended features for online peer networking, such as online chats, blogs, wikis, and other Web 2.0 innovations. As each SIG website is enhanced and the other SIGs come online, members also will be able to maintain online profiles and contact lists.

To join the email discussion list for this first SIG, visit The Library Youth Services Network, click on "discussion" and follow the directions.

Information about the other SIG websites will be posted here as the websites become accessible.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Web 2.1 - Site of the Week, HitmeLater

SiteName: HitmeLater
URL: http://www.hitmelater.com/.

After a long absence, Web 2.1 Site of the Week is back. I took most of August off from the feature to give me some time with my family. :> The site this week has nothing to do with Web 2.o or anything like it, but I thought it was a different concept. You can now hit the Snooze button on your email. If you do not want to deal with an email, you can forward it to 24@hitmelater.com and it will resend the email in 24 hours. If you want the email back in 4 hours, you can send it to 4@hitmelater.com. Microsoft is apparently working on a "Do not disturb" feature for outlook, as I learned through this TechDirt post. I wonder if I can get a snooze button for some other things....

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Colony Public Library Recognizes Homeschoolers in August

I subscribe to a semi-monthly newsletter for homeschool families which is published by a good friend and fellow Bedford resident. I'm always interested in what homeschool families want to know and what they want to tell each other about, so I wasn't surprised to see the following article in the most recent newsletter:

The Colony Public Library Recognizes Homeschoolers in August

Getting a library card has never been so rewarding!

If you are heading to The Colony Library during the month of August for a library card or to check out books, there is a special gift waiting for you.

During the month of August, the library is recognizing Homeschools as their "School of the Month." Home-school students who are getting a library card or checking out books can stop by the reference desk to receive their gift. Students under 17 must be accompanied by a parent with a picture ID.

The library is located at 6800 Main Street, at the corner of North Colony Boulevard and Main Street.

For more information, please call the library reference desk at 972-625-1900, extension 3.

However, I was very surprised that I hadn't heard about this through the invisible library network - especially since The Colony Public Library is a member of NTRLS. I realize that there's no way to know everything that's happening in our member libraries, but I feel badly for not knowing about this. What a great way to get students and parents into the library, getting cards and checking out materials - and it's relatively easy to implement in every library community!

Kudos to The Colony Public Library for implementing this program and for whatever they've done to assure that the homeschool community knows about it. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to visit some other NTRLS websites to find more great ideas to share with our readers!

Friday, July 18, 2008

TexShare Service Outage 7/18-7/20/08

from TexShare Database Coordinator Russlene Waukechon at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission:

Sent: Friday, July 18, 2008 9:32 AM

Please be aware that *all* web servers at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission will be down on Friday, July 18 at 5 pm until Sunday, July 20, at 5 pm.

The www.texshare.edu domain and all TexShare Database menu pages hosted there -- including all custom gateway menu pages -- will be unavailable.

The www.tsl.state.tx.us domain and the TexShare Database portal for public libraries hosted there will also be unavailable.

This outage also includes The Library of Texas (www.libraryoftexas.org) and all TRAIL services.

Access to the TexShare Databases for libraries that maintain and host their own TexShare menu pages will not be affected.

rwaukchn@tsl.state.tx.us 512.463.7402 fax 512.936.2306

Web 2.1 - Site of the Week - Dimdim

Site Name: Dimdim
URL: http://www.dimdim.com/

After two weeks off, the site of the week is back with a neat new Web 2.0 site called Dimdim. I'll let the site explain what they do.

"Dimdim is a free web conferencing service where you can share your desktop, show slides, collaborate, chat, talk and broadcast via webcam with absolutely no download required for attendees."

If you ever have used WebEx or some other web meeting tool, you know how expensive they can be. Dimdim offers this capability at no price. Be careful though, you get what you pay for. I started a meeting and invited two people to join me. The chat feature worked very well, however, the sharing of the desktop was bit clunky for the host and did not allow the other meeting participants to take control of the host desktop. The whiteboard was very well done except for the text box seemed to crash on me quite often. We also uploaded a pdf document to share, but it took some time for it to upload and once it was visible, it was difficult for the host to manipulate. I also find my computer freezing up at times.

Overall, I would give this site a B. Nice to have some tools available to utilize, but it needs some refinement to be able to use it to the degree that you can the fee-based services.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Free Webinar Helps with Public Computer / Public Printer Issues

Chris Jowaisas, Administrator of Library System Grants & TANG for the Library Development Division of the Texas State Library & Archives Commission, pointed this out to us:

Are you tired of spending time figuring out how to maintain or support your public computers?

Do you wish you could ask someone how they manage public computers at their library? (For example, how do they manage printing? Reservations? Questions from laptop users? And more...)

Are you interested in sharing how your library gets things done?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you're in luck! The MaintainIT Project is here to help!

At the MaintainIT Project (http://www.maintainitproject.org/), we interview hundreds of librarians about how they maintain, support, and sustain their public computers. We then publish all of their experiences, successes, and challenges in free guides called Cookbooks, so librarians can learn from the experiences of others who've done it before them.

The best part? Everything the MaintainIT Project does is free, and everything is on http://www.maintainitproject.org/. We also produce free webinars, and we'd like to invite you to a free webinar on how you can use MaintainIT resources to make a difference in your library. Please come!

DATE: July 29th, 2008
TIME: 1:00 PM Central Time Zone

Kam McEvoy, Electronic Resources Specialist for the Central Texas Library System, Inc., will be facilitating this webinar for libraries in your state.

Please spread the word!

To register for this free webinar, click here: <https://cc.readytalk.com/registration/96pccu4n7sej/99eyw9ykhwwb>

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

ALA in Anaheim - Great Time!

I was fortunate in that I was able to attend the ALA conference in Anaheim this year. I have been to TLA and PLA and even the Internet Librarian conferences, but this was my first ALA. And lucky me, it was in southern California.

The main appeal to me was of course, getting to meet and talk with librarians from all over - I met 7 men from China that had gone to school together in China and hadn't seen one another in 15 years. I met a very interesting librarian from South Carolina who shared with me the struggles she deals with daily - budgets, overcrowding, older materials, but she still has a passion for her job. The sessions are great - good ideas, new perspectives and all, but the invigorating part of the conference, is hearing the passion about what we do - day in and day out.

In order for this posting to not be too long - I will highlight some of the sessions I attended.

PACs in the Library 2.0 World - It was interesting to see how libraries are using different 2.0 tools in their catalogs. Amy Cantu, Ann Arbor District Library shared that all staff blog - not required but strongly encouraged. They can remain anonymous if they wish - and it is open to controversial comments. Staff are encouraged to make it relevant, fun and simple. They haven’t had problems with spam or inappropriate comments. Staff were very concerned about cursing/etc. in comments but it’s not been a problem at all.

Not Evolutionary - Revolutionary was a program discussing the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County's project to become "America's Best Public Library by 2010." The library departments and tasks were divided among the steering committees and then each committee studied the area and suggested improvements - short and long term. They were each encouraged to look for "low hanging fruit" - those things you can change more quickly. It was admitted that staff were a bit fearful and dubious at first, but as they became part of the process - most are excited about the changes and opportunities. This project is huge - every aspect of the library is under scrunity and change - based on staff comments, public comments and adminstrative insight. I wish every library had a chance to undergo this type of self evaluation and forward thinking movement. Check out the webiste at PLCMC!

Public Programs in a Shoebox: What If You Don't Have a Community Room? Since we have so many smaller, or more rural libraries with limited meeting space, this title really caught my attention. Many ideas were not new - but it was good to be reminded...such as partner with your parks department, restaurants, daycares, even chuches to use their spaces. It was suggested to set up centers throughout your library to separate the crowds (hopefully) that will attend your programs. Also, an idea I hadn't personally thought of - do a progressive program (like a progressive dinner). Start the program at one location and move around town to different sites - this would require more planning and transportation - possibly - but would be fun for the participants.

I attended parts of several other sessions - I am the worst at going to 20 - 30 minutes of different sessions - seems to fit my personality well. Also, I spent quite of bit of time in the vendor areas and saw some great products and furniture - oh if only all libraries were well funded!

Finally, I was proud to pick up an Award for Best in Show for the Bedford Public Library. Way to go Bedford!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Web 2.1 - Site of the Week - Searchme

SearchmeMaximize stack view

Sitename: Searchme

URL: http://www.searchme.com/

This is the neatest search engine I have come across in some time. I see it as a visual Google. When you do a search, it offers suggestions on which categories to search. For example, I did a search on "North Texas Regional Library System" and it offered me a choice of looking just in libraries, US Government, blogs or everything. I naturally clicked on libraries and was pleasantly surprised when it showed me the pages of the website instead of a textual laundry list. I did another search on "sunburn" and it gave me several possible categories including children's health, movies and cats. The neatest feature is the Searchme Stacks. You can see my NTRLS stack above. This is graphical representation of a favorites list. What makes this so unique is that you can drag and drop the website images to your newly created stack. It is very cool and fun to do. Once you have a stack created, you can share it with others through blogs, emails or just save it to your harddrive. Reference librarians will love it as it will give them a quick and easy way to share websites with their patrons. Be forewarned that the site is still in beta and TechCrunch complained about the relevancy of the searches, but the search engine does attempt to index the entire web so its database will be comparable to some of the big search engines.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Web 2.1 - Site of the Week - Art and Seek

Name: Art & Seek
URL: http://www.artandseek.org/

This innovative website is local to the Dallas-Fort Worth area and is hosted by the local PBS affiliate KERA. It allows you to search for art events in DFW and gives you further information. They have a blog and several RSS newsfeeds. You can even bookmark various events to any of the bookmarking services. Organizations can add their own events and I noticed there were a couple of library events listed. Thanks to dona weisman again for this suggestion.

Author's Note: TechNet 2008 took place last Thursday. We had over a 100 people attend the conference. I was very happy with the results and I heard nothing but good reports from everyone involved. Thanks to everyone who contributed to the effort.

Monday, June 16, 2008

TechNet 2008 Conference in review

Last week NTRLS coordinated the first-ever North Texas Regional TechNet Conference for library staff members and supporters.

Keynote speaker Barbara Galik, Executive Director of Cullom-Davis Library at Bradley University in Peoria (IL), opened the event with a presentation about Second Life. Of the 20 separate sessions presented during the rest of the day, each participant had time to attend four. One participant commented that deciding which sessions to attend was especially hard since almost every topic each time-period related "either to my work or my interests or both!" Participants also spent time visiting with exhibitors, meeting kindred spirits from other types of libraries and generally expanding their tech-networks.

Exhibitors represented companies from coast to coast (CA to NY) and even from another country! Having Canadian company Insignia Software as an exhibitor and keynote session sponsor prompted staff to refer to the event as "our international conference." We welcomed to the exhibit hall some companies which had never before participated in a library-oriented conference plus several companies which are a core part - and constant supporters - of the library world.

Many positive comments have been received, both in writing and in person, and we've not only welcomed constructive criticism but produced plenty of our own. Several people have let us know already that they're looking forward to next year's conference and wish some of their friends and colleagues had attended this one with them.

The good news is that there WILL be a TechNet 2009 and, thanks to everyone's participation, patience, praise and critiquing, we'll be able to improve and build on the success of TechNet 2008.

By the way... if you work with children or youth in a library setting, you may want to register soon for the next North Texas Regional conference: CYC 2008, the second annual Children and Youth Librarians conference for North Texas library staff and supporters. For information about attending and/or exhibiting at that conference, visit http://www.cyc2008.com/ .

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Web 2.1 - Site of the Week - Zamzar

Site: Zamzar
URL: http://www.zamzar.com/.

This site was recommend to me by done weisman, our CE consultant. Although the site does not have social sharing capabilities(although there is a blog), it is too useful of a tool to not mention. Zamzar is a file converter. You can take a file in one format and convert it to another format. The list of file conversions the service provides is impressive. You are limited on the file size if you use their free service, but if you find yourself needing to convert files on a regular basis, this is the way to go.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Great Site for Literacy & ESL Students

GCFLearnFree.org, formerly GCF Global Learning, is funded by the GCF Community Foundation, which is operated by Goodwill Industries of Eastern North Carolina, Inc.

The site offers a free curriculum of tutorials, classes, articles, video modules and everyday life interactive lessons that give learners a chance to experience daily challenges without real-world consequences. A short tutorial helps low-literacy learners understand how to complete the lessons, which have both audio and text directions.

Users are asked to create a site user account, but GCFLearnFree.org promises not to share the information with others nor email the site user without permission. Agencies and organizations are welcome to add a link to GCFLearnFree.org on their websites, under conditions provided on the site.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Web 2.1 - Site of the Week

Name: Book Glutton
URL: http://www.bookglutton.com/

NTRLS Technology Consultant Judy Daniluk referred me to this site. It is a really neat site that allows people to create, or join, an online book club. What makes this site different than other online book clubs is that you read the book online with your other book club members. The online reader is actually quite good. Through the reader, you can schedule times to chat about the book and even make annotations as you read the book to share with your other book club members. Authors might find it a great tool as you can upload your own work and then make it available to everyone to read. The site states that your copyright will be protected, but the books will be publicly available on the site so keep that in mind before you upload your masterpiece. I personally do not see myself using this site very much as I still like the feel of a book in my hands. If you don't mind reading material on the computer, this is a great social networking site for book lovers.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Web 2.1 - Site of the Week

Site Name: Clickcaster
URL: http://www.clickcaster.com/

NTRLS uses Clickcaster to store its podcast series Librairan Live. When we first started on this site, it was geared towards the public with consumer type devices like sharing of podcasts and the ability to create profiles to social network with others. Well, this didn't last. The website was sold to another company who turned it into a business website where organizations can sign up to create, store and publish their podcasts. You can even embed the episodes on your website. Neat site if you like to podcast. You can get a basic free package, but we discovered this was not enough space for our weekly podcast so we have a general membership. Very reasonable.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Web 2.1 - Site of the Week

Name: Myxer
URL: http://www.myxer.com/

This site allows you to create, upload and share original ringtones. I used it to create a ringtone for my phone using public domain music. You can also use copyrighted material to create a ringtone, but I cannot encourage this practice as it is illegal. If you want to create original ringtones, you can do it here through the web browser with no additional software. You upload the audio file to their servers, cut out about 30 seconds of it for a ringtone and then send a text message to your phone. This text message will include directions on what to do to get the ringtone on your phone. Be forewarned, you will be charged for the text message and the data download unless you have an unlimited plan.

You can also sell ringtones at Myxer so if you are looking for an interesting fundraising idea, why not sell ringtones.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Web 2.1 - Site of the Week

Site Name: Meebo
URL: http://www.meebo.com/

Instant Messaging has become an accepted way to communicate for all of us (not just those born after 1994) Meebo is a way for us to IM each other without having to worry about proprietary software. You can IM through a variety of IM services including Yahoo, AOL, Google and MSN. You can do all of this through a web browser. Very slick...

If you develop websites, you might want to also check out the Meebo me widget. A widget is a small application that you can place on your website by copying generated code from the widget producer. Meebo has created one for IMing. You can place the Meebo Me widget on your website and have people IM you through your website. It is an inexpensive way to provide virtual reference.

A Library Programming Challenge

Watch the news! Check out the community blogs! Look at the local newspaper!

Find out the "news" for your community and plan programming for those topics. I often hear that people do not attend adult programming, and honestly, they don't - unless the topic is very important in their life.

One idea that came to my mind this morning as I read the newspaper, yes actually a print newspaper, was "staging your home to sell." The real estate market is tough and many in your area are probably trying to sell their home. There is a great article about staging that could be used to create the program or contact a local agent and see if they will present for you.

Friday, May 02, 2008

ALA Announces Outreach Grant Program

American Library Association Announces Outreach Grant Program for Federal Writers' Project Documentary


Deadline: July 11, 2008

The American Library Association, in partnership with Spark Media, a Washington, D.C.-based production and outreach company, has announced an innovative library outreach program to enhance and increase the nationwide impact of Spark Media's documentary film, "Soul of a People: Voices from the Writers' Project." Major funding for the program has been provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The film and library outreach program is designed to acquaint public, academic and special library audiences with the story of the largest cultural experiment in U.S. history — the Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration — told against the backdrop of the Depression and 1930s America.

Following an application process, 30 libraries will be selected to each receive a $2,500 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to present five different public outreach programs during the period of the national broadcast of "Soul of a People" in the Spring of 2009.

The grants will be used for scholar honoraria, book purchases, publicity and other program-associated costs. Libraries will be asked to enlist from a local college or university a lead project scholar with expertise in American history, the WPA and/or the WPA era to help present and plan programs, ensure that program content conveys intended humanities themes, and work with local media and other partners in planning.

Librarians applying for "Soul of a People" grants must register their institution at Grants.gov. Prospective applicants are advised to register with Grants.gov as soon as possible, since the process can take up to two weeks to complete.

The application and guidelines for "Soul of a People" and complete instructions for registering and applying through Grants.gov may be found at the ALA Web site.

Contact:Link to Complete RFP

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

LISWire - The Librarian's News Wire

Blake Carver has started a new site, LISWire - The Librarian's News Wire (http://liswire.com). You can probably guess what the site is about from the name, but it may interest you to know that there are also 2 mailing lists and a bunch of RSS feeds. Blake Carver and Robin Blum are running the show and are looking for press releases and other news items of interest to librarians to get things going. You can sign up for an account and submit things you'd like to announce to the library world. Blake will be cross-posting most announcements to LISNews for a little while until they see how much traffic they get at LISWire.

"It's just out of beta, so there might still be some bugs floating around," Blake explains, adding, "Let me know if you spot something that needs fixing! I'd love any and all feedback you can provide."

Blake has also started work on a similar site that still needs quite a bit of work, but you can check it out: LISEvents - The Librarian's Events Calendar (http://lisevents.org/) You can probably guess what that's all about, too!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Web 2.1 - Site of the Week

Site Name: Trooker
URL: http://www.trooker.com/

This week, we are introducing Trooker, a Web 2.0 search engine for online videos. I am a sports fan and I often hear about fabulous sports plays that I did not get a chance to see. I would search for the clip online through the main search engines to no avail. I could never find it. I was so frustrated until I discovered Trooker.

Here is how they describe themselves on their website.

Trooker is an up-to-the-minute video viewing community. With Trooker you can find and watch videos continuously, get alerts when there are new videos on your topic of interest, and create your own sets of videos from anywhere on the net. With Trooker, you can trook your friends and share your watching experience by instantly exchanging videos with them.

You can create an account with Trooker. An account allows you track your favorite vidoes and then you can even create code to embed them on your own website. You can also email your favorite videos to your friends.

By far, the most useful aspect of the service is the search feature. Trooker search Youtube, Brightcove, myspace and several other video sharing sites. If you do a search on the keyword, Librarian, you get some interesting choices. Make sure to click on the button "Add to Set" if you want to save the video as a favorite.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Circulating Video Games

There is a great article in the April 2008 School Library Journal on the effects of circulating video games at the library. It is also mentioned that book circulation has gone up since games were added to the collection.

Check it out!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Teen Resource Center

The website for the Office of the State Attorney General of Texas includes an area targeted specifically to teens. The site, http://www.oag.state.tx.us/teens/index.shtml, includes information about leadership, money matters, relationships, and crime & justice. Teens can find information there about such things as getting a job, dating violence and staying safe online, and they can find a list of additional resources for still more information.

Why IT Departments Hate Web 2.0

An article in the current Information Week uses "Herding Cats" to describe attempts by corporate IT departments to control users enamored of Web 2.0 tools for collaboration. The article explains why IT departments don't like the online collaboration tools and suggests some alternatives that are more acceptable in a corporate environment where information tends to be sensitive or proprietary.

Since I'm in a position of promoting the use of Web 2.0, I found it useful to see a description of the specific risks that make IT departments wary, and I was encouraged to see that most of the risks are directly related to the protection of sensitive information. We certainly need to exercise some discretion about the types of information we publish in our wikis, blogs, and social networking sites, but that still leaves us a lot of useful applications.

Some of the specific risks that were mentioned in the article are:

  • When sensitive information resides on a third party's computer system, its security depends on the soundness of the third party's security practices and integrity.
  • Access to proprietary information might be granted on a casual basis to individuals who should not be authorized, and access might not be revoked promptly when an individual leaves the company.
  • Blogs, wikis, and such tend to exist without the knowledge and control of corporate management. In a litigation situation, where a company is required to produce all relevant information (including digital information), there can be serious legal consequences if these uncontrolled information stores escape notice.

Commercial in-house collaboration tools such as SharePoint are easier to control, but slow to set up compared with the freedom of the common Web 2.0 tools. As an alternative, some Web 2.0 vendors such as PBwiki and Google Apps offer company accounts where an administrator can set access rights for individual users and prevent the disclosure of information to outsiders.

The conclusion is pretty much the same as what we tell our teenagers about MySpace and Facebook – think before you put something online. It doesn't have to stop you from using the tools wisely.

Mrs. Janie Rector's Donation: The new Azle Public Library

The 2008 TLA Outstanding Services to Libraries Award was presented last week, in recognition her successful advocacy of the library to the community, to Mrs. Janie Rector of Azle (population 10,000).

In 2000, Mrs. Rector informed Azle Public Library Director Judy Whitt that she wished to do something for the community in memory of her husband, specifically A NEW LIBRARY ON MAIN STREET! After finding and purchasing land for not only the library, but also a substantial portion of a new park, she made her proposal to city officials.

Next Mrs. R formed a committee of Friends of the Library, and they visited at least 25 libraries in the area and out-of-state. Armed with disposable cameras and taking pictures of these facilities (with permission), they compiled four large annotated scrapbooks with typed notes for future reference. Then Mrs. R joined TLA, attending conferences in Austin and San Antonio to get ideas for the new library. She hired an architect and a contractor and saw that Judy Whitt was included all phases of the building project.

In her hands-on mode Mrs. R. volunteers every Monday afternoon in the present library to get the feel of library operation—working in circulation, shelving books, assisting patrons. She attends various NTRLS workshops to better understand public libraries.

In addition, this extraordinary library patron plans to furnish the building and purchase RFID technology and self-checkout in the new facility, which will open later in the year.

(The information above comes from a presentation prepared by TLA Awards Committee Member and Councilor Alternate for LiFTA.)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Web 2.1 - Site of the Week


At Helene Blowers' presentation last week, I learned about a neat new way to introduce people to the new web. It is called Web 2.1 - Site of the Week. I really love this idea and we are going to try to do this here at NTRLS through our Blog.

Site of the Week

If you are like me, you have been receiving emails asking you to join a person's reputation network on Naymz. I decided to give a try after I received two in one day. Here is what they write about themselves.

What is Naymz?
There is little that is as important as your good name. The importance of your name and online reputation is steadily increasing as more and more people flock to the Web. Naymz is an innovative Reputation Network that lets you establish and promote your good name online. Join Naymz to make your good name work for you!

It is a straightforward site and easy to register. Once you have a profile, you can send out emails to people you know asking them to join your network. You get a reputation score based on a number of factors including how many references you have in your profile. You can also tell people about yourself through your profile. In theory, it is a sound idea. A good online presence can really enhance your chances in hunts for jobs, credit and other opportunities. Most social networking sites do not worry about reputation, which is one reason Naymz promotes it.

A word of caution: This site was very flaky as I tested it out. It crashed on me several times. Whenever you are investing time in a web 2.0 website, or tool, just be aware that some of these companies are still working on their products and there is no telling when, or why, they might pull the plug. In other words, do not spend too much time on a new website until it has been fully proven and established.

Monday, April 21, 2008

TLA Highlights

I had a good conference last week. With all the walking I did, I believe I lost an extra pound.

Here are the highlights of the week for me.

At the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, the commission considered changes to the FY2009 budget. This budget revision included a $300,000 reduction for the Systems program, which translates to a $489,000 budget for NTRLS. The commission approved the budget modifications as presented.

I was pleased to facilitate a program on Learning 2.0 by Helene Blowers, who is the developer of the program and currently works at the Columbus Metropolitan Library in Ohio. She gave a wonderful presentation on the topic. If you are not familiar with the concept, I will let Helene describe it. It is “an online discovery program designed to encourage library staff to learn about emerging web 2.0 technologies (blogs, wikis, podcasts, etc) and other user-centric tools that are changing the way users and libraries communicate, collaborate and share information.” Her presentation is available on her LibraryBytes blog. The NTRLS staff will be doing the training during the month of May. Helene is coming back in June to do a NTRLS workshop. Check ntrls.org for more details.

I attended the TSLAC Resource Sharing Task Force meeting. I was so impressed with what the taskforce is attempting to do that I volunteered to be co-chair of the taskforce. I will be sharing this responsibility with Richard Wood, Executive Director of Libraries of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Libraries of the Health Sciences. For those who have not heard, the taskforce will come up with a new model for Interlibrary Loan in Texas. The taskforce will be using a recent study as a guide in its efforts. My main interest in the project, of course, is how Systems can play a role in the new model. I will keep everyone up-to-date on what transpires.

I attended the District 7 meeting to request a partnership with them. As many of you know, NTRLS is moving towards a multi-type system. District 7 is already serving multi-type libraries so instead of NTRLS duplicating programs and services; we are going to build on the inherent synergy between the two organizations. I will write about our efforts in this arena in a future blog posting.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Automated libraries - machines as circ

The Shenzhen Public Library in Southern China co-developed and patented a new automated library machine that not only lends books, but issues cards as well. The machine is meant to be a twenty-four hour access to the library's collection and holds around 400 books on a multilayer conveyor belt. The books, stored behind glass, allow patrons to browse, make their selection, receive their book, and then return it to the machine when they're done.

Patrons also have the ability to reserve items through the library's OPAC or the machine itself. Once the item is ready, the patron gets a text message on their phone and the book is sent to the machine closest to the patron.

The scariest thing about this is the price, or rather the lack of price. The machine only costs a little over US$57,000.


Monday, April 07, 2008

Free Job-Hunting Resource

Several NTRLS-area libraries have kiosks provided by the Dallas Morning News which patrons may use, without charge, to search for jobs in the metroplex. Now, it's possible to expand the job-hunting area for your patrons.

The Austin Statesman, Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express News have all joined together to offer a FREE helpful resource for jobseekers in these difficult times. You may "test drive" this free service at http://www.jobview.com/greatertxjobs.asp?sitename=Demo

If your patrons might want to see job opportunities in four major Texasmarkets with it - via this free service - contact Ryan Solberg at Jobview (866-562-8439).

Blog Idea

We hope you'll join children's author Melanie Watt's blog tour, featuring the world's most lovable worrywart, Scaredy Squirrel. Anyone who's ever had fears (real or imagined) or has suffered a moment of social anxiety, will relate to Scaredy Squirrel's hilarious efforts to ward off danger. The tour begins today at Big A, little a, and continues through Friday, April 11. A full schedule with links for each blog is available at: http://www.raabassociates.com/wattblogtour.html.

The tour is in celebration of Scaredy's third book, "Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach," where he fears being captured by pirates, chased by lobsters, and knocked out by falling coconuts. We hope that you love Scaredy as much as we do and that he has your support during this weeklong tour (his very first trip without his safety supplies!) You can find more information about Melanie Watt and the Scaredy Squirrel books by visiting http://www.scaredysquirrel.com/.

If you host a blog at your library and would be interested in participating in one of our future blog tours, please send us a brief description of your blog, and a link.
Kristen Pisanelli
Raab Associates Inc.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Video Gaming Study

Brian Verdine is completing his dissertation at Vanderbilt University and is studying how adult’s use video games and other media – regardless of your level of exposure to video games. If you interested in taking the survey please link to:
(Note it is 80 questions so a bit lengthy)

Monday, March 31, 2008

Great Potential - But Libraries Need Some of This $$

Indianapolis - Hoosiers are making good use of registering their vehicles online.

So far this year 500,000 Hoosiers have completed BMV registrations online, saving $2.5 million. The BMV offered a $5 discount to encourage on line registration and it appears to be working.

Commissioner Ron Stiver announced the next step Monday.

"Surveying our customers we found 17 percent of Hoosiers don't have access to a personal computer," Stiver said, announcing "a partnership with 3,500 computers at 462 libraries across the state which will now offer materials and guides creating greater awareness around the $5 discount for public library customers."

Historically online registration at the BMV hovered around six percent. It skyrocketed this year to 25 percent.

Friday, March 28, 2008

GoodSearch-ing for Friends of the Library Kennedale (FOLK)

The Friends of the Library Kennedale (FOLK) has signed up for GoodSearch. This means that, every time anyone uses the search number designated for FOLK, GoodSearch will put a donation into a "kitty" for that Friends group. At the end of the year, FOLK will receive a check from GoodSearch for an amount based on the total number of searches

Kennedale Public Library Director Gwen Bevill suggests, "Each of us could make the GoodSearch website our homepage on the public computers and ask people to try it first before going to Google and other search engines."

Supporters can raise money for a non-profit's cause by using GoodSearch.com to search the internet and/or GoodShop.com to make online purchases - provided that the non-profit has registered with GoodSearch.

Yahoo-powered GoodSearch.com is the search engine with a unique social mission. GoodSearch donates 50% of advertising revenue to the nonprofits and schools selected by their users. GoodShop.com is the new online marketplace that donates a percentage of your online purchase to the charity or school of your choice. GoodSearch and GoodShop have been promoted in the magazine Oprah, on the ABC News and in The New York Times.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Library Lines: Eateries embrace reading event

This was brought to our attention by Bedford Public Library Supporter Karen Kersey:

Lexington - Food lovers and book lovers: keep your library cards handy during National Library Week in April. Local food establishments have partnered with “Lexington Reads … and Eats!” to offer a literary look into the savory (and sweet) side of town.

During the week of April 13-20, residents who bring their Minuteman Library Network cards with them to Wagon Wheel Nursery or to Bollywood Café will receive discounts. In the mood for a hot drink to sip or a tasty treat while reading? Go to Peet’s Coffee and Tea or to the Royal Bakery or Wilson Farms for a free small coffee or a literature-inspired treat. Find how the Mango Curry at Lemongrass compares with your vision of the food inspired by Madhur Jaffrey’s “Climbing the Mango Tree.” Details of local business participation will be available at Cary Library.

Special cards and flyers on the April events will be available at participating businesses and at the library. Events include naturalist John Root, authors Frances Moore Lappe and Katherine Hall Page, food-related movies, and book discussions with coffee provided by the Bedford Street Starbucks. A complete menu of events is always available at www.carylibrary.org.

Apply now for Picturing America!

Public, private, parochial, and charter schools and home school consortia (K-12), as well as public library systems and school districts, are invited to apply for Picturing America by April 15, 2008. Successful applicants will receive a set of 40 high-quality reproductions of American masterpieces, a teachers resource book and additional educational resources. To access guidelines and the online application, visit http://picturingamerica.neh.gov.

Applications take less than one hour to complete and may be submitted on behalf of a single school or public library, or on behalf of multiple locations within a system or district. If you have already submitted your application, no further action is necessary.

If you have any questions, please contact the ALA Public Programs Office at publicprograms@ala.org or 1-800-545-2433, extension 5045.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Ten Tips for the Awkward Age of Computing

A humorous and helpful site: Tools to help use computers as you age.
If you rack up enough birthdays, sooner or later you're going to experience some loss of vision, hearing, or physical dexterity. It's as inevitable as puberty. Fortunately, accessibility settings and programs in Windows Vista and Windows XP make it easy to resolve most age-related computing problems without additional software or devices. And, if you need more help, Windows is compatible with a wide array of assistive technology products you can add on for high-powered assistance.

Either way, getting older doesn't have to interfere with your ability to use a computer and remain a top performer at work. If PCs can be easily customized to meet the needs of people with severe disabilities such as blindness, deafness, and quadriplegia, they can certainly handle diminished vision, muffled hearing, and stiff fingers. Accessibility features also make it easier to cope with temporary injuries, such as a broken arm, or to manage routine inconveniences such as blurred vision following an eye exam.

Here are ten tips on how you can use Windows XP to counter the effects of the awkward age. We encourage you to copy, print, or post these cartoons, reproduce them in company publications, or forward them to friends and colleagues.

TLA Annual Conference for library friends, trustees, and advocates

A message from Beth Crabb, TLA/LIFTA Chair:

As this year's chair of the TLA Library Friends, Trustees, and Advocates Round Table, I'm writing to solicit your help to encourage lay people in your area to attend this year's annual conference in Dallas.

As you know, this year's conference includes a great number of programs that will be of particular interest to library friends, trustees, and advocates. I have attached a brief list of some of them to this email. Each of the programs on the list is described in detail in the conference brouchure, which is available online at the TLA website.

In particular, I want to extend an invitation to the LiFTA luncheon at noon on Wednesday, April 16. I'm really excited about the program this year, which features authors Jenna Bush, Rosemary Wells, and Elizabeth Noble. Individuals attending the luncheon do not need to be TLA or LiFTA members or even registered for the conference. However, they must purchase tickets by next Tueday, March 25. Tickets are $31.00 and may be purchased online at the TLA website or by mail, postmarked not later than Tuesday the 25th. If help or further ordering information is needed, contact Nan Ellis at TLA, 512/328-1518.

Tables at the luncheon will seat 10, and if a group of 10 purchases tickets, we will reserve a table for them. You, or someone from the group, will just need to let me know that the tickets have been purchased and identify the group so we can make a sign..

I appreciate your help in disseminating this information and your support for the friends and trustees.

Beth Crabb
Chair, TLA Library Friends, Trustees, and Advocates Round Table

Friday, March 07, 2008

Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) Needs Our Help!

Most NTRLS-area libraries have been recipients of books distributed by First Book, a nonprofit organization with a single mission: to give children from low-income families the opportunity to read and own their first new books.

Now the president of that organization has sent this message, asking for our help.

"Reading is Fundamental (RIF), a national nonprofit literacy organization and a good friend of First Book, needs your help. The President's proposed fiscal year 2009 budget eliminates the RIF Book Distribution Program. Unless Congress reinstates funding for this program, RIF will be unable to distribute 16 million books annually to the nation's youngest and most at-risk children.

"While RIF is hard at work demonstrating to Congress the importance of reinstating their program's funding, they need the help of all of us who believe in the power of books in the lives of children. We urge all of the First Book community to reach out to their members of Congress to request the reinstatement of RIF funding. Your voice, as a constituent, is the most important resource we have to make sure that Congress protects this critical program.

"Please act now and help RIF build support for reinstating the funding by sending an e-mail to your members of Congress. Ask them to support the reinstatement of RIF's funding in the coming budget process.

"We hope you will share this message with family, friends and colleagues who could also contact members of Congress. Thank you for your support as First Book and RIF work to bring new books and resources to the kids
who need them most!"

Kyle Zimmer
First Book

Note: Visit http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/ for names and contact information of your own representatives.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

VoTexas logos available

From: Enea Abbud [mailto:enea@thinkstreet.net]
Sent: Thursday, March 06, 2008 11:41 AM
Subject: VoTexas!


I would like to thank you for getting the word out to all of your libraries about the VoTexas campaign.

I am attaching campaign logos that can be used on library websites as a link to the votexas.org website.

Several libraries throughout Texas have already done this, and it is yet another great way for Texans to get all of the voting information they need.

I ask that participating libraries inform us about their participation because we will be reporting to the Secretary's office.

Simply email enea@thinkstreet.net, and we will be sure to acknowledge your participation.

Thanks for helping Texans get all the voting information they need!

Enea Bañales
3601 South Congress Avenue
Building B, Suite 300
Austin, Texas 78704
512.444.7900; 512.444.7950 (f)

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Texas Library Systems Coordinator February Meeting


I attended the Texas Library Systems coordinator meeting last week and we received some news that impacts the future of NTRLS. First, we were presented with four memos released by the Institute of Museum and Library Services(IMLS). These memos further clarify IMLS guidelines on allowable costs and activities for grantees and subgrantees. As a reminder, IMLS is the federal agency that gives funds to the Texas State Library. Systems are technically subgrantees of the IMLS funds. Here is what these memos outlined.

Seeking Grants – NTRLS can no longer write grant proposals on System Grant time. This means that NTRLS staff will not be allowed to write grants of any sort during its normal business hours. It cannot utilize any grant resources including equipment, staff or office space for this purpose. TSLAC is attempting to get further clarification on this guidance so hopefully it will not be a strict as the memo seems to indicate.

Construction – NTRLS can no longer do anything connected to library construction including consulting and continuing education.

Continuing Education and Consulting – NTRLS is restricted to only activities that directly support the IMLS goals for its State program, which is called LSTA. NTRLS will be required to clear all CE workshops with TSLAC to ensure that they follow LSTA guidelines. If you are familiar with the LSTA priorities, you know that they are broad so we are not too concerned about this restricting what we can offer in CE and consulting.

Staff documentation – I am now required to sign a document certifying that System Staff worked on the projects outlined on our timesheets.

TSLAC also informed System Coordinators that our FY 2009 System Grants will be much smaller than anticipated. NTRLS is looking at $489,000 in FY2009 instead of the anticipated
$536,000. We will have to make some difficult decisions to help compensate for this sudden loss of nearly $50,000.

If you would like to make your voice heard about any of this, please contact either Gloria Meraz of TLA or Peggy Rudd, dir.lib@tsl.state.tx.us, at the Texas State Library.

If you would like to see copies of the memos, please go to our Communications Center on ntrls.org.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Official Website for Texas Elections

Another source of information about voting in Texas, how primaries work in Texas, etc., is the official Texas elections website at http://www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/voter/index.shtml

At that site, voters can find out whether or not they're registered by visiting https://team.sos.state.tx.us/voterws/viw/faces/SearchSelectionVoter.jsp

To find out the location of their Election Day voting site, voters need only enter the Voter Identification ID (VUID) from their Voter's Registration Certification or, if they provided a drivers' license number when they registered, they may enter that license number when visiting https://team.sos.state.tx.us/voterws/viw/faces/SearchSelectionPolling.jsp

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Bedford Public Library Wins Teen Tech Week Mini Grant from ALA/YALSA

Bedford Public Library is the only library in the state - and one of ONLY 20 in the nation - named to receive a Teen Tech Week Mini Grant from the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), the fastest-growing division of the American Library Association (ALA). The grants give each winning library $450 cash and $50 worth of Teen Tech Week products to offer inventive activities, resources and services to celebrate Teen Tech Week, March 2-8.

The 2008 Teen Tech Week Mini Grants are made possible by Teen Tech Week 2008 Corporate Sponsor Dungeons & Dragons, a subsidiary of Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

For a complete list of the winners, visit http://www.ala.org/ala/yalsa/teentechweek/ttw08/contests/winners.cfm

Additional information about Teen Tech Week is available at http://wikis.ala.org/yalsa/index.php/Teen_Tech_Week

To list your library's plans, or to find out more about Teen Tech Week events, visit http://wikis.ala.org/yalsa/index.php/Tune_In_%40_Your_Library_resources#Teen_Tech_Week_2008_.40_.2Ayour.2A_library (Registration required to post.)

For more information, contact YALSA at 1-800-545-2433, ext. 4390 or yalsa@ala.org.

NPR highlights video games in libraries

Gaming and libraries - hear what Michigan is doing...

Monday, February 18, 2008

Texas Voter Information

Calling out to all Texas Libraries!
The Secretary of State's campaign Votexas needs all of the Texas libraries to help educate Texans about voting. Because this is an election year, it makes it even more important to have this information out and available to all Texans.
We have comprehensive, bilingual brochures available for distribution at your branches. Also, we would love to have our logos and links on your websites and to be included in any newsletters or community postings.
If you are interested in participating in this voter education effort please contact me as soon as possible. In the mean time, please check out our new website at www.votexas.org
Thank you and I look forward to working with you!
Enea Bañales
3601 South Congress Avenue
Building B, Suite 300
Austin, Texas 78704
512.444.7950 (f)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Consider WILLA CATHER SPEAKS for your library

The Weatherford Public Library will be bringing Betty Jean Steinshouer from Florida to do her nationally-acclaimed WILLA CATHER SPEAKS program on THE MAKING OF MY ANTONIA for the Big Read project on April 17. Since her travel expenses to Texas will be paid, she has offered to stay for up to a week after and make her programs available to other libraries that are within a few hours' drive of Dallas-Fort Worth.

Some of you may remember the very successful MEET LAURA INGALLS WILDER tour that she did in the fall of 2003, under a mini-grant from the Texas Humanities Council. She would be willing to work with any libraries who might need funding assistance again. Be in touch with her as soon as you can at bjsteinshouer@mindspring.com or her voice mail at 727/826-6217.

Although she is coming to Texas to do Willa Cather, other authors in her repertoire besides Cather and Wilder include Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Gertrude Stein, Sarah Orne Jewett and Marjory Stoneman Douglas. She also does combined programs such as ON HEMINGWAY and AMERICA AT WAR.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Texas Municipal Library Directors Association 2008 Membership Dues Renewal

Greetings from your TMLDA President Kerry McGeath,

We would like for you to join us in the Texas Municipal Library Directors Association (TMLDA) for 2008. You can save time and postage by joining online with a credit card at www.tmlda.org/duesrenewal.html . An instant confirmation will be sent to you for your records.

By your commitment to TMLDA, you strengthen the ability of your Association to meet your informational needs and represent your interests.

Remember, too, that membership is now open to Library Directors, Assistant Directors, Department Heads, County Librarians and System Coordinators. Please encourage others to join as well.

Some of the benefits you get from being a TMLDA member are:
* A forum for Directors and Administrators to get together and share common concerns;
* Participation in the TML legislative process, a critical arena for Texas libraries;
* A program at the Texas Municipal League's (TML) Annual Conference held in the Fall;
* Eligibility to apply for “Achievement of Excellence in Library’s Award”; and,
* Reduced subscription rates for TML's monthly magazine Texas Town & City, and/or the Texas City Officials Directory and Buyer's Guide.

For more information about TMLDA, visit our web site at www.tmlda.org. If you have any questions regarding your renewal, please contact me at (817) 748-8384 or KMcGeath@ci.southlake.tx.us.

We would be grateful for your support and hope to work with you through your participation in TMLDA this year.

Friday, January 25, 2008

2008 TLA Conference Stipend Available

Biblionix is offering a $500 travel stipend for attendance at the 2008 conference of The Texas Library Association (TLA) in Dallas April 15-18, 2008. A committee designated by the TLA Small Community Library Round Table (SCLRT) will choose the recipient.

Eligibility requirements:
* Library director or staff at a public library
* Member of TLA and SCLRT

The funds may be used to cover the following conference expenses:
* Conference registration
* Pre-conference workshop
* Travel costs
* Meal functions at the conference
* Expenses (meals, cabs, etc.)
* Cost of replacement staff if needed

* Volunteer for a minimum of 4 hours at the conference, at least 2 of which must be at the SCLRT booth
* Attend pre-conferences, workshops and/or sessions such that you attain a minimum of 8 CE credits
* Attend the SCLRT business meeting
* Attend the SCLRT dessert social
* Complete a one-page summary of your experience, discussing highlights of what you did, what was most rewarding, and how this grant process could be improved. Send to the same address as the grant submittal by May 15, 2008.
* Serve on the Biblionix TLA/SCRLT Stipend selection committee in 2009.

* Coverage (including recipient’s name, position, and library) on SCLRT, TLA, Texas Library Systems, and Biblionix communications.

* 02/29/08, 5 p.m. - The application must be received no later than this date/time.
* 03/07/08 - Notification/Announcement of recipient
* 04/01/08 - Stipend check mailed to recipient

The stipend application does not register you for the conference or make any other travel reservations. Attendees should register directly with the TLA, airline, hotel, etc.

For application information, visit http://www.biblionix.com/tla-stipend.pdf .

Public Libraries Using Spanish

Great website!

Public Libraries Using Spanish (PLUS) seeks to lend a hand by gathering useful resources that can help you make your library a more welcoming place for Spanish speakers. Card applications, brochures, programming suggestions, signage, press releases and news articles―many in Spanish with a side-by-side English translation―are collected here and are yours to use as you wish.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

NASA and Gaming

Nasa investigates virtual space

The game could inspire the next generation of Nasa employees
The US space agency is exploring the possibility of developing a massively multiplayer online (MMO) game.

The virtual world would be aimed at students and would "simulate real Nasa engineering and science missions".

The agency has published a "request for information" (RFI) from organisations interested in developing the platform.

Nasa believe the game would help find the next generation of scientists and engineers needed to fulfil its "vision for space exploration".

Monday, January 21, 2008

Any excuse for a Program!!!

If you're looking for a light-hearted reason to celebrate with a program at your library, consider Bonza Bottler Days - dates when the number of the day is the same as the number of the month.

2/2/08 is the next one we'll see; then 3/3/08 and 4/4/08 and so on.

According to their website, "When Australians like something, they might exclaim, 'Bonza!' which means 'super,' "great,' or 'fantastic.' 'Bottler' is slang for 'something excellent.' Thus, the celebration each month is now known as Bonza Bottler Day.'"

For information, contact
Gail M. Berger
Bonza Bottler Day
14 Fernwood Dr.
Taylors, SC 29687

Awards for Library Instruction / Library Instructor

Do you know an outstanding instruction librarian who deserves to be recognized? The Library Instruction Round Table is accepting nominations for the Outstanding Service in Library Instruction Award. This award recognizes an individual who has made significant contributions related to the advancement of library instruction in Texas. This award, which may not be made every year, is made based on factors such as: the impact of the nominated person on multiple libraries and educational initiatives; the extent of the individual's contributions in the area of library instruction; and the innovation of ideas or projects developed by the nominated person.

LIRT is also soliciting nominations for the Library Instruction Project of the Year Award. This award recognizes an innovative or creative library instruction project or initiative in Texas. The project may relate to new models, methods, and techniques in areas such as:

* New services and resources developed for library instruction
* Assessment of a library instruction class or program
* Marketing of a library instruction program or service
* Collaboration between library staff and other members of an institution or related organizations
* Cooperative ventures between different institutions

Self nominations are encouraged for both awards and will receive equal consideration. Please visit http://www.txla.org/groups/lirt/awards.html for additional information including eligibility requirements, submissions, and selection criteria.

Nominations for both awards must be postmarked, emailed, or faxed by February 29, 2008. Nominations must be sent to the Awards Committee Chair:

Danielle Cunniff Plumer
Library Resource Sharing Division / THDI
Texas State Library and Archives Commission
PO Box 12927
Austin, TX 78711-2927
512.463.5852 (phone) / 512.936.2306 (fax)

A selection committee will review all nominations and notify awardees at least four weeks prior to the TLA Annual Conference.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Dallas Officials Will Try To Restrict Porn At Library

DALLAS -- Top city officials said they will review ways to restrict pornographic Web sites on public library computers in response to a newspaper study that found the viewing of explicit material to be commonplace.

A Dallas Morning News examination of Internet use at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library during a 45-minute period on Dec. 19 found that about 7.5 percent of Web pages viewed by library patrons contained pornography.

The log of Web pages, which the newspaper obtained using the Texas Public Information Act, showed that about 5,200 of the more than 69,300 Web pages viewed during the time period contained material such as full nudity, sexual intercourse or sex acts.

For complete article: http://www.nbc5i.com/news/15051015/detail.html

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Digital-to-Analog Converter Box Coupon Program

NOTE: This article, with active links and additional information, is available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/dtvcoupon/

Starting January 1, 2008, all U.S. households will be eligible to request up to two coupons, worth $40 each, to be used toward the purchase of up to two, digital-to-analog converter boxes. For more details on the federal regulations, including the budget information, please see the DTV Converter Box Coupon Program Rules.

For a quick overview, see the Associated Press (AP) video about the digital TV converter boxes with Technical Writer Peter Svensson at AP Online Video Network www.ap.org/ovn/)

See also an interview with John Kneuer, Assistant Commerce Secretary for Communications & Information, on the C-SPAN television program "The Communicators" on February 3, 2007. Mr. Kneuer discussed the conclusion of the transition to digital TV by February of 2009.

For a brochure explaining the basics of the Coupon Program, click here. (PDF 245 Kb) [Folleto en español (PDF 245 Kb)]

Coupon Program Fact Sheet (Printable version Acrobat PDF 138 PDF)


The Libri Foundation is currently accepting applications for its 2008 BOOKS FOR CHILDREN grants. The next deadline is Jan. 25.

The Libri Foundation is a nationwide non-profit organization which donates new, quality, hardcover children's books to small, rural public libraries throughout the U.S. Since October 1990, the Foundation has donated over $3,500,000 worth of new children's books to more than 2,300 libraries in 48 states, including Alaska and Hawaii.

In order to encourage and reward local support of libraries, The Libri Foundation will match any amount of money raised by your local sponsors from $50 to $350 on a 2-to-1 ratio. Thus, a library can receive up to $1,050 worth of new children's books. After a library receives a grant, local sponsors (such as formal or informal Friends groups, civic or social organizations, local businesses, etc.) have four months, or longer if necessary, to raise their matching funds.

The librarian of each participating library selects the books her library will receive from a booklist provided by the Foundation. The 700-plus fiction and nonfiction titles on the booklist reflect the very best of children's literature published primarily in the last three years. These titles, which are for children ages 12 and under, are award-winners or have received starred reviews in library, literary, or education journals. The booklist also includes a selection of classic children's titles.

Libraries are qualified on an individual basis. In general, county libraries should serve a population under 16,000 and town libraries should serve a population under 10,000 (usually under 5,000). Libraries should be in a rural area, have a limited operating budget, and an active children's department.

Please note: Rural is usually considered to be at least 30 miles from a city with a population over 40,000. Town libraries with total operating budgets over $150,000 and county libraries with total operating budgets over $350,000 are rarely given grants.

Applications are accepted from independent libraries as well as libraries which are part of a county, regional, or cooperative library system.

A school library may apply only if it also serves as the public library (i.e. it is open to the everyone in the community, has some summer hours, and there is no public library in town).

A branch library may apply if the community it is in meets the definition of rural. If the branch library receives its funding from its parent institution, then the parent institution's total operating budget, not just the branch library¹s total operating budget, must meet the budget guidelines.

Previous BOOKS FOR CHILDREN grant recipients are eligible to apply for another grant three years after the receipt of their last grant.

Libraries that do not fulfill all grant requirements, including the final report, may not apply for another grant.

Application deadlines for 2008 are: (postmarked by) January 25th (NOTE:
THIS IS AN EXTENSION), April 15th, and August 15th. Grants are awarded January 31st, April 30th, and August 31st.

Application guidelines and forms may be downloaded from the Foundation's website at: http://www.librifoundation.org/.

For more information about The Libri Foundation or its Books for Children program, please contact Ms. Barbara J. McKillip, President, The Libri Foundation, PO Box 10246, Eugene, OR 97440. 541-747-9655 (phone); 541-747-4348 (fax); libri@librifoundation.org (email). Normal office hours are: Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Pacific Time.